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Cane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 come down to Rs. 6,225 crore
Jun 08,2016

Sugarcane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 have come down to Rs. 6,225 crore. As on 8.06.2016, about 87% cane dues have been paid for the season. During the corresponding period of last year these dues were Rs. 19,437 crore.

State wise cane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 are as follows:-

Name of State

Dues at FRP (in Rs./cr.)

Bihar143Punjab28Uttrakhand198Uttar Pradesh2428Andhra Pradesh181Telangana99Gujarat255Maharashtra883Karnataka1325Tamil Nadu610Puducherry11Chhattisgarh15Odisha32Madhya Pradesh16Goa1Total dues6225

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Ind-Ra: Policy Stance Accommodative, but RBI Concerned about Upside Risks to Inflation
Jun 08,2016

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its second bi-monthly review for this fiscal maintained status quo on the repo rate. The repo rate, reverse repo rate, and marginal standing facility rate continue to stand at 6.5%, 6.0%, and 7.0%, respectively. This is in line with India Ratings and Researchs (Ind-Ra) expectation. RBI also kept the cash reserve ratio at 4% in line with Ind-Ras expectations.

Ind-Ra believes RBI had front-loaded the rate cut in the month of April 2016 on the expectation of a normal monsoon and declining retail inflation. Although the expectation of a normal monsoon has gained further strength post the latest assessment by Indian Meteorological Department, so have the pressure points with respect to inflation. These are (i) firming up of global oil prices and (ii) the impact of implementation of the award of Seventh Pay Commission. Therefore, Ind-Ra believes keeping the policy rates unchanged at this juncture is a prudent step. Ind-Ra believes RBI still has room to ease policy rates by another 25bp this fiscal but it will be contingent on the outturn of monsoon and its subsequent impact on inflation along with crude price movement and global risk balance.

Upward Bias in Inflation Trajectory: For RBI, the transmission of the previous rate cuts remains a work-in-progress and it sees some uncertainties surrounding the domestic inflation trajectory. Yet RBI has retained its Consumer Price Inflation projection at the level n++of around 5% during FY17n++, which is same as stated in the April 2016 policy statement. The forward stance of RBI however crucially hinges on the evolving inflation trajectory amid continued global uncertainties. Inflation surprised on the upside in April 2016. Consumer Price Index increased to 5.4% in April 2016 led by food prices. On the domestic front, the behaviour of food inflation and the ability of the manufacturing sector to exercise pricing power over the coming months will determine the inflation trajectory. However on both accounts, the outlooks appear favourable. According to Indian Meteorological Departments revised forecast, rainfall will be above normal and well distributed (spatial and temporal) this year. In addition, the existence of excess capacity in the manufacturing sector will keep a check on output prices even as demand picks up.

Growth Momentum Visible: According to RBIs assessment, domestic conditions for growth are improving gradually, mainly driven by consumption demand. Rural demand is likely to pick-up pace aided by a normal monsoon while rising consumer confidence, combined with the implementation of Pay Commission award, will likely boost the overall consumer spending. The central banks latest rounds of forward-looking surveys indicate an improvement in the business situation, driven by a pick-up in capacity utilisation and order books. Private investment, though, remains weak due to financial stress. However, public investment, mainly in roads and railways, is gaining strength and is likely to give a fillip to private investment. Despite the signs of improving business conditions, RBI expects business confidence will remain curbed on account of external factors such as slowdown in global economic activity, geo-political events with consequent impact on financial flows, and muted trade on weak demand. The central bank has retained its projection of gross valued added for FY17 at 7.6% based on its assessment of risks from domestic and global factors.

Policy to Have Neutral Impact on Bond Market: In the near term, the bond market is likely to look through todays policy as a reiteration of RBIs stated intent of staying accommodative and providing adequate liquidity - resulting in curve steepening. The focus will be on high volatility global developments such as the upcoming US Fed policy review (14-15 June 2016) as also the Brexit vote decision. The bond market is likely to remain focussed on the scope for incremental open market operations in the coming days. RBI has made an open market purchase of INR0.70trn in the last two months. While the short-term possibility of bond yields moving up remain, Ind-Ra remains constructive on the bond market for the medium term based on two developments - favourable demand & supply dynamics and easy liquidity. Ind-Ra expects the overall focus of market to shift to these two developments, once the uncertainties related to the Feds action and concerns over monsoon alleviate.

Rupee to Remain Stable, Notwithstanding FCNR B Redemptions: Ind-Ra had already outlined that the foreign currency non-resident bank account FCNR (B) deposit redemption risks were manageable, which RBI emphasised today. RBI is actively deploying a communication channel to discourage any possible episodes of currency speculation as also alleviate excessive concerns building up around the redemption pressure. In Ind-Ras assessment, RBIs proactive cognizance of redemption pressure as also willingness to utilise foreign exchange reserves, if need be, will ensure rupee stability when the bunched up redemptions fall due. At the same time, RBIs management of rupee liquidity in the period can be through multiple tools - longer tenor term repos, durable infusion through open market operation purchases of G-sec and relaxation in the daily requirement for cash reserve ratio (currently at 90%), ensuring the transition into a neutral liquidity position. The rupee is likely to continue taking cues from the shifts in global risk preference and stay relatively stable ahead of the Fed policy outcome.

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Observational Campaign to study Small-Scale Processes and Large-Scale Monsoon Variability under a Joint Indo-UK Effort
Jun 08,2016

Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched the National Monsoon Mission program in 2012 with an aim to improve monsoon prediction at all temporal and spatial scales through joint efforts of national and international scientific communities. Although there has been considerable progress in research in monsoon modelling and predictions, however processes operating at small scales pose a major challenge towards improved prediction. Paucity of data at smaller space and time scales, have a major effect on the large-scale variability of the monsoon. Improved understanding of the smaller scale physical processes will help in improving the computer simulation models, parameterization of physical process, which in turn will produce improved monsoon prediction.

To address the issue of better understanding of processes that drive the variability, and predictability of the South Asian Monsoon, India and United Kingdom have embarked on an ambitious plan to carry out a large-scale joint observational campaign involving the deployment of UKs BAe-146-301 atmospheric research aircraft with sophisticated scientific instruments and Indias Sagar Nidhi and Sindhu Sadhna research ships during the period May-July 2016. The UKs instrumented aircraft is a special aircraft which can fly at a very low-level for taking the observations. The aircraft observations will be augmented by special observational programs over the land using boundary layer flux towers, radars, Microwave Radiometers etc.

This joint effort is part of the implementation agreement signed between MoES and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK on n++Predicting the Variability of the South Asian Monsoonn++ under the existing MoU between MoES and UK on Collaboration in Earth System Science. Three research projects involving the Indian and UK scientists will study different aspects of physical processes affecting the monsoon.

The project n++South West Asian Aerosol - Monsoon Interactions (SWAAMI)n++, involves measurements of aerosols across northern India and the Bay of Bengal during the pre-monsoon which will then be synthesized with long term measurements from ground based networks and data from previous intensive campaigns. The study is expected to characterize the mechanisms by which aerosols influence the Indian monsoon. The project n++Interaction of Convective Organization and Monsoon Precipitation, Atmosphere, Surface and Sea (INCOMPASS) aims to capture the key surface-atmosphere feedback processes in models. The study will improve the skill of rainfall prediction in operational weather and climate models by way of better understanding and representation of interactions between the land surface, boundary layer, convection, the large-scale environment and monsoon variability on a range of scales. The aim of n++BoBBLE: Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experimentn++ is to determine, quantify and model ocean-atmosphere interactions that drive variability in the South Asian monsoon. Under this project, an observational campaign will be undertaken in the Bay of Bengal during June-July 2016 along with the analysis of wider observational and reanalysis-based data sets, and a set of hierarchical modelling experiments. The study will improve the understanding about the role of thermodynamic surface and mixed layer processes in the monsoon as well as the role of large-scale ocean structure, ocean dynamics and ocean biogeochemistry in the monsoon.

The observational campaign will start on 8th June 2016 and will last till end of July. The cost of this important observational campaign is approximately Rs 50.00 crore which is shared between MoES from the Indian side and NERC and the UK Met Office from the UK side.

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Shri Piyush Goyal Launches n++SURYAMITRAn++ Mobile App
Jun 08,2016

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy launched n++Surya Mitran++ mobile App at National Workshop on Rooftop Solar Power. The GPS based mobile app is developed by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) which is an autonomous institution of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The Surya Mitra Mobile App is currently available in Google play store, which can be downloaded and used across India. This App is a high end technology platform which can handle thousands of calls simultaneously and can efficiently monitor all visits of Suryamitras. The trained Suryamitras who opts for entrepreneurship have joined in the Mobile App in several states. These Suryamitras are once again sensitized by NISE on soft skills Customer Relations Management, Punctuality and are now ready to deliver the services.

This innovative mobile approach shall enhance the employment of trained youth in solar PV technology and also improve the businesses of solar entrepreneurs because of quality servicing, maintenance and repairing professionals are now available to customers at the click of a button on their mobiles.

Under NABARD scheme of Off grid Solar PV system few lakhs of off-grid systems have been installed and systems do require regular maintenance. To keep the system in good condition skilled manpower is required, therefore, the proposed technical platform of Suryamitra Mobile App can be utilized for this purpose too. MNRE has an ambitious target of installing 100,000 solar PV pumps in several states. Suryamitra Mobile App would come handy with respect to O & M, Repair and maintenance of solar pumps. Similarly, millions of Square meter of solar water heater systems are already installed in various states. In order to maintain the existing system and to install new systems properly, Suryamitra App would be very useful.

Overall this technical platform which is very useful in the field of Renewable energy to serve customers at their doorsteps with quality installation, repair, and O&M services. Suryamitras with the help of NISE ensure standard functioning and servicing of Solar PV and thermal systems to all customers. NISE has checks and controls in place to ensure that all Suryamitras offer quality service at reasonable price to their customers. NISE has fixed a price Rs 150/- per visit as visiting charges for Suryamitra Services and for installation and O&M Charges Suryamitras would charge standard charges as per MNRE advised rates. It is hoped that Suryamitra Mobile App would act as an effective catalyst in creating demand for solar products in the country and in offering employment and business opportunities for Suryamitras.

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World Bank Cuts 2016 Global Growth Forecast to 2.4%
Jun 08,2016

The World Bank has scaled down its 2016 global growth forecast to 2.4% from the 2.9% pace projected in January 2016. The move is due to sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade, and diminishing capital flows.

According to the latest update of its Global Economic Prospects report, commodity-exporting emerging market and developing economies have struggled to adapt to lower prices for oil and other key commodities, and this accounts for half of the downward revision. Growth in these economies is projected to advance at a meager 0.4% pace this year, a downward revision of 1.2 percentage points from the January outlook.

This sluggish growth underscores why its critically important for countries to pursue policies that will boost economic growth and improve the lives of those living in extreme poverty, said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Economic growth remains the most important driver of poverty reduction, and thats why we are very concerned that growth is slowing sharply in commodity-exporting developing countries due to depressed commodity prices.

Commodity-importing emerging markets and developing economies have been more resilient than exporters, although the benefits of lower prices for energy and other commodities have been slow to materialize. These economies are forecast to expand at a 5.8% rate in 2016, down modestly from the 5.9% pace estimated for 2015, as low energy prices and the modest recovery in advanced economies support economic activity.

Among major emerging market economies, China is forecast to grow at 6.7% in 2016 after 6.9% last year. Indias robust economic expansion is expected to hold steady at 7.6%, while Brazil and Russia are projected to remain in deeper recessions than forecast in January. South Africa is forecast to grow at a 0.6% rate in 2016, 0.8 of a percentage point more slowly than the January forecast.

A significant increase in private sector credit - fueled by an era of low interest rates and, more recently, rising financing needs -- raise potential risks for several emerging market and developing economies, the report finds.

As advanced economies struggle to gain traction, most economies in South and East Asia are growing solidly, as are commodity-importing emerging economies around the world, said World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Kaushik Basu. However, one development that bears caution is the rapid rise of private debt in several emerging and developing economies. In the wake of a borrowing boom, it is not uncommon to find non-performing bank loans, as a share of gross loans, to quadruple.

In an environment of anemic growth, the global economy faces pronounced risks, including a further slowdown in major emerging markets, sharp changes in financial market sentiment, stagnation in advanced economies, a longer-than-expected period of low commodity prices, geopolitical risks in different parts of the world, and concerns about the effectiveness of monetary policy in spurring stronger growth. The report introduces a tool to quantify risks to the global outlook and finds that they are now more tilted to the downside than in January.

n++Flagging growth prospects in emerging markets and developing economies would slow or even reverse their progress in catching up to income levels of advanced economies,n++ said Development Economic Prospects Group Director Ayhan Kose. n++However, some commodity-importing emerging and developing economies have been able to register steady or accelerating growth over the last three years.n++

Regional Outlook

East Asia and Pacific: Growth in the East Asia and Pacific region is projected to slow to an unrevised 6.3% rate in 2016, with Chinas expansion expected to ease to 6.7%, as projected in January. The region excluding China is projected to growth at 4.8% in 2016, unchanged from 2015. This outlook assumes an orderly growth slowdown in China accompanied by steady progress on structural reforms and appropriate policy stimulus as needed. Growth in the rest of the region is expected to be supported by rising investment in several large economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand), and strong consumption supported by low commodity prices (Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam).

Europe and Central Asia: The continuing contraction in Russia is keeping the forecast growth rate for the region at 1.2% in 2016, a 0.4 percentage point downward revision from the January outlook. Geopolitical concerns, including flare-ups of violence in eastern Ukraine and the Caucasus and terror attacks in Turkey, weigh on the outlook. Excluding Russia, the region is expected to expand at a 2.9% rate. Growth projections for the eastern part of the region have been revised down from the January outlook as countries adjust to lower prices for oil, metals, and agricultural commodities. Activity in the western part of the region will benefit from moderate growth in the Euro Area and strengthening domestic demand, helped by subdued fuel costs.

Latin America and the Caribbean: The region is forecast to contract by 1.3% in 2016 after a 0.7% decline in 2015, the first back-to-back years of recession in more than 30 years. It is projected to begin expanding again in 2017, gradually gaining momentum to around 2% in 2018. Prospects vary across the region: South America is anticipated to contract by 2.8% this year, followed by mild recovery in 2017. In contrast, supported by ties to the United States and strong exports, output in the Mexico and Central America sub-region, and the Caribbean, are expected to grow at 2.7% and 2.6% respectively in 2016, and more in 2017 and 2018. Brazil is forecast to contract 4% in 2016, and its recession is expected to carry over into 2017, amid attempts at policy tightening, rising unemployment, shrinking real incomes and political uncertainty.

Middle East and North Africa: Growth in the region is forecast to pick up slightly to 2.9% in 2016, 1.1 percentage points less than expected in the January outlook. The downward revision comes as oil prices are expected to track lower for the year, at an average of $41 per barrel. The main reason for the slight improvement in regional growth in 2016 is an expected strong recovery in the Islamic Republic of Iran following the lifting of sanctions in January. An envisaged upturn in average oil prices in 2017 is projected to support a recovery in regional growth to 3.5% in 2017.

South Asia: Growth in South Asia is forecast to accelerate to 7.1% in 2016, despite weaker-than-expected growth in advanced economies, which has dampened export growth in the region. Activity has remained resilient as domestic demand, the main driver of growth, remained robust. India, the regions largest economy, showed strengthening activity, as did Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Most South Asian economies have benefitted from the decline in oil prices, low inflation, and steady remittance flows.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to slow again in 2016, to 2.5%, down from an estimated 3.0% in 2015, as commodity prices are expected to remain low, global activity is anticipated to be weak, and financial conditions are tightening. Oil exporters are not likely to experience any significant pickup in consumption growth, while lower inflation in oil importers should support consumer spending. However, food price inflation due to drought, high unemployment, and the effect of currency depreciation could offset some of this advantage. Investment growth is expected to slow in many countries as governments and investors cut or delay capital expenditures in a context of fiscal consolidation.

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Government of India and Asian Development Bank Sign $120 Million Loan Agreement to Modernize Irrigation and Improve Water Management in Odisha
Jun 07,2016

Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $120 million loan agreement to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in Odisha.

The loan is the second tranche of a $157.5 million financing facility under the Orissa Integrated Irrigated Agriculture and Water Management Investment Program. The financing will be used for modernizing seven irrigation subprojects resulting in improved irrigation in over 100,000 hectares, and strengthening of Water User Associations (WUAs) and the institutional capacity of Odishas Department of Water Resources. The selected areas for the investment program are the Baitarani, Brahmani, Budhabalanga, and Subernarekha river basins and part of the Mahanadi delta.

Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs and Ms. M. Teresa Kho, Country Director, ADBs India Resident Mission signed the loan agreement on behalf of Government of India and ADB respectively. A separate project agreement was signed by Sh. P.K. Jena, Principal Secretary, Water Resource Department of Government of Odisha.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Raj Kumar said that agriculture is a priority sector for India and especially for Odisha because of its high potential to generate jobs and contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The project aims to improve existing irrigation infrastructure, operation and maintenance, and water use efficiency that will lead to higher agricultural productivity.

Ms. M. Teresa Kho, Country Director, ADBs India Resident Mission said that the investment program has already demonstrated the value of participatory irrigation management and will continue to support the WUAs to manage the planning, construction, and operation and maintenance of irrigation systems as an equal partner of the government.

The second tranche loan from ADBs ordinary capital resources has a 20-year term. The State of Odisha, acting through its Department of Water Resources is responsible for implementing the tranche 2 activities and overall program, which are both due for completion by September 2018.

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13,000 MT imported pulses arrived, more in pipeline
Jun 07,2016

About 13,000 MT imported pulses have reached the country and delivery of about 6,000 MT pulses in pipeline. Arrived quantity includes 11,000MT Tur and 2,000MT Urad. Besides contracted import of 38,500 MT pulses, the Government agencies have procured 51,000 MT Kharif and 60,000 MT Rabi pulses so far.

This was informed during the inter-ministerial committee meeting held to review prices of essential commodities. The meeting was chaired by Secretary Consumer Affairs, Shri Hem Pande.

The State Governments have been urged repeatedly to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock to sell at reasonable prices which should not be more than Rs. 120 /kg. The Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have been allocated some quantity on receiving their requests. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Telangana are reportedly further subsidizing the prices for the benefit of consumers.

In Delhi, Kendriya Bhandar and Safal have been allocated pulses to sell through their outlets. So far 635.31 quintals Tur and 245 quintals Urad have been sold by these agencies at Rs 120/kg.

The committee was informed that the FCI has about 32 million tonne of wheat in its stock against the PDS requirement of about 24 million tonne. The Government has already sanctioned about 6.25 million tonne of wheat for open market sale operations during the current financial year.

Regarding onions, as market intervention efforts, NAFED and SFAC have procured 15,635 MT onions so far.

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RBI maintains status quo in Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17
Jun 07,2016

The Reserve Bank of India, on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, has decided to keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.50% in the Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17. It further decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0% of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) and continue to provide liquidity as required but progressively lower the average ex ante liquidity deficit in the system from one per cent of NDTL to a position closer to neutrality. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.0%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.0%.

The inflation projections given in the April policy statement are retained, though with an upside bias. Considerable uncertainty surrounds these projections, which should be clarified by incoming data in the next few months, said the statement. Also, on a reassessment of balance of risks, the GVA growth projection for 2016-17 has also been retained at 7.6 per cent with risks evenly balanced.

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GDP Growth to Increase to over 8%: CII President
Jun 07,2016

n++The economy has definitely turned around and CII strongly expects GDP growth to pick up to over 8 per cent during the current financial year,n++ stated Dr Naushad Forbes, President, Confederation of Indian Industry. CIIs GDP projection for the year was 7.75-8.25% in April 2016, and Dr Forbes expects the year to close at the upward end of the band.

GDP growth for 2015-16 was estimated at 7.6% as compared to 7.2% for 2014-15. The last quarter growth rate of 7.9% is the highest for the year. Dr Forbes added, n++We believe that recovery is now well-entrenched and can be expected to pick up pace with better monsoons, rural demand, and ongoing fast-paced reforms process.n++

Signs of a recovery are evident in the improved performance of many more sectors than earlier as borne out by the marked pick-up in core sector growth. Consumer spending has remained strong, reflected, for example, in the rising sales of two-wheelers (over 21% in April 2016) and the growth of domestic air passenger traffic (over 22% in 2015-16).

Although the growth rate of gross fixed capital formation, a proxy for investment, has lagged at 3.9%, CII believes that the first quarter of the current year would show faster growth due to additional capex spending by Government on infrastructure projects. This would crowd in private investments as well, especially as the interest rates have come down, felt Dr Forbes.

There has been steady pick-up in the value of announced projects by both the government and the private sector. The share of completed projects as a proportion of projects under implementation has also improved in the quarter ending March 2016, the CII release said.

The CII Associations Council (ASCON) survey results for the quarter January - March FY16 reveal an improvement in production growth over the corresponding quarter a year ago. The current trends also point towards a bottoming out of growth in the majority of sectors.

As per the survey, more sectors have moved from low growth to moderate and high growth categories. Capacity utilization too has picked up, indicating demand acceleration. This reflects the increased growth in private consumption to 7.4% in the official data.

The Government has adhered to the fiscal deficit target of 3.9% and has announced several new policies which add to the comfort of investors including Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, National Capital Goods Policy and Intellectual Property Rights policy. The CII President stated that such policy announcements would infuse new investments into the economy.

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ASSOCHAM appeals to Haryana Government for strict vigil on Jat agitation, industry wary of flare-up
Jun 07,2016

In order to avert the repeat of carnage during the previous reservation agitation of February, 2016, the ASSOCHAM today made a strong plea with the Haryana Government along with the Central agencies to take effective pre-emptive steps to ensure that renewed Jat agitation does not disrupt normal life in the state and the neighbouring areas.

n++We hope the Haryana Government , having learnt from the previous violent agitation that cost the state thousands of crores of rupees and several precious lives, would make fool-proof arrangements to maintain the confidence of the common citizen and the investors, particularly in cities such as Gurgaon, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal,n++ the ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

Besides, strict vigilance must be maintained on all the water channels and resources in the state which are not only the supply sources to Haryana but other neighbouring states like Delhi. n++Along with better coordination with the Railways and the Central agencies, all the highways and railway lines must be protected at any cost and no untoward incident should be allowed anywhere in the state,n++ Mr Rawat said.

He said the state is still smarting under loss of property and lives during the previous agitation which had dent the investor confidence there. The maximum damage was done to the trade and small industries and under no circumstances peoples confidence should be affected again.

ASSOCHAM made an appeal to the Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal to personally monitor the developments and n++Let the state administration be on top of the situation, rather than taking reactive steps.n++

The chamber said at a time when the country needs growth in a difficult economic environment, no state can afford any deterioration in the law and order situation. n++All the stakeholders and particularly those indulging in agitation should respect law of the land.n++

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Swachh Yug : Gram Panchayats along the Ganga to be made Open Defecation Free
Jun 07,2016

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in partnership with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, is intensifying support to the five States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, to make all villages along the banks of the Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF). There are 5,169 villages along the river Ganga that fall under 1,651 Gram Panchayats (GPs), 52 districts, and 5 States.

The campaign, being a collaborative effort between the Swachh Bharat Mission, local youth leaders (युवा) and the Namami Gange project (गंगा) - is being called Swachh यु-ग, which translates into the age of Swachh.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs, under the coordination of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, is enlisting the support of youth agencies such as the Bharat Scouts and Guides, Nehru Yuva Kendras and National Service Scheme. These organizations will be called upon to provide a large number of local youth volunteers to support a behaviour change campaign in the 52 districts under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

To take this initiative forward, a nodal officer has been identified for each district to work on making their district Open Defecation Free (ODF) in mission mode, as well as to focus on Swachhta at the village through proper Solid and Liquid Waste Management and maintaining general cleanliness. In addition to the monetary incentive offered by the government under the Swachh Bharat Mission, extensive interpersonal behaviour change communication training will be given to local trainers through a network of virtual classrooms across the 5 Ganga States.

The first Virtual Classroom will be launched tomorrow, June 7, 2014, with 12 districts of Bihar undertaking a 5 day training for 50 youth volunteers in each location, connected to the trainer virtually. The training will be a mixture of a classroom interactive component, as well as a field visit component. Youth volunteer organizations will assist in these districts through massive local youth involvement.

All relevant government departments would also be involved to contribute towards making this initiative a success. The local district administrations of the 5 States, through a series of video conferences, have been advised to mobilize local NGOs, associations, private sector organizations, faith-based organizations and developmental agencies to support this work.

The districts and States have been assured of full support from the Central government in these efforts. The State teams have, in turn, expressed their enthusiasm for and commitment towards the initiative.

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Agri Ministry Agrees For New Policy On Cold Chain, Also Promises To Augment Onion Storage Capacities In Maharashtra, MP & Odisha, Says Its JS
Jun 06,2016

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare agreed to evolve a new National Policy on Cold Chain to provide direction for the long term approach for holistic infrastructure creation in both agri and horticulture products.

Making the aforesaid announcement at a National Conclave on n++Strengthening of Farm-to-Consumer Cold-Chain Infrastructuren++ under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Mission Director, MIDH, Dr. Shakil Ahammed also added that the proposed policy would be evolved in due course of time in necessary consultations with all concerned stakeholders including the Chamber of Commerce such as PHD Chamber.

In Addition the Joint Secretary also declared saying that the Centre has decided to expand the capacities of storages facilities for onion in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and even Karnataka to ensure minimum wastages on onion in view of its recent production in which farmers had to virtually throw away their onion produce in the absence of storage facilities in certain pockets of Maharashtra and even Karnataka.

Dr. Ahammed informed that capacity expansion for storages facilities in the State of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra would be respectively done to an extent of 38,000 tonnes, 6,800 tonnes and 12,000 tonnes although, he gave no time limit for the job.

Elaborating on the new National Policy on Cold Chain for agri and horticulture products, Dr. Ahammed indicated that the focus of the government of the day would be productivity and quality of the produce of both agri and horti products and that the policy for storing the agri and horti items would be designed keeping in view the two aspects of agri and horti produce so that the farmers do not loose on their produce and the consumer gets the best of the price in the entire supply value chain of the marketing of agri and horti produce.

The report highlights that as per latest estimates 1219 cold stores are either permanently closed or not available and the total number of functional cold stores is 5367, amount to a total storage size of 26.85 million tonnes. Therefore, a new National Policy on Cold Chain is called for accompanying host of incentives and tax holiday schemes so that investors flock in to create such infrastructure as is required to plug wastage in agri and horti products. It adds that seamless cold chain infrastructure is essential for doubling the incomes of farmers by 2022 as enunciated by Prime Minister Modi.

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Innovation & Incubation Centre To Come Up At KVISs Under Utilized Assets Worth Rs. 50,000 Crores, Claims Its CEO at PHD Chamber
Jun 06,2016

Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is gearing up to channelize all its energies for suitable appropriation of all its utterly underutilized assets, spread across the country with an estimated amount of Rs.50,000 crores for setting up of innovation and incubation centre for start ups and stand ups to realize the Prime Minister ambition for enhancing innovations in multiple sectors of Indian economy for its overall growth, capital creation and additional employment generation.

Disclosing the above at an Innovation Summit-2016 Enhancing Innovative Capacities of MSMEs under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CEO, KVIC, Mr. Arun Kumar Jha also observed that one of the key policy making institutions in India - the NITI Aayog and the leading financing institution SIDBI - are collectively on the job.

n++KVIC has been grappling with the problem to seek a solution as to how the it could explore ways and means to suitably turn its dead assets located at different parts of the country in turning them into profit making centres. However, recently the NITI Aayog as also SIDBI have come into the rescue of KVIC by proposing to it various schemes and financial assistance so that such assets could be converted into yielding centresn++, said Mr. Jha.

According to him, innovation and incubation centres would be ideal to be set up in such places for necessary impartment of training to emerging entrepreneurs, largely in MSMEs segment for various sector of Indian economy so that their hidden potential is realized for growth, capital creation and additional employment generation in the country.

The CEO KVIC also admitted that his institution was toying with the idea of engaging celebrities to promote KVIC and its products but with Prime Minister agreeing to endorse the two, not only the sales of KVIC went up by 30% but also its brand image underwent a massive transformation in the recent past.

General Manager, SIDBI, Mr. Satya Prakash Singh expressed a concern saying that not many genuine entrepreneurs including start-ups and stand-ups have been approaching SIDBI for financing and therefore, asserted that crores of rupees grant and assistance already earmarked for such entrepreneurs in the Budget would be allocated through a high level of due diligence.

According to him, entrepreneurs and start-ups should first complete their home work in a meticulous manner and subsequently approach the SIDBI to support their venture that are found to be economically viable as the institutions will entertain only such requests.

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Ind-Ra: Coal Price Hike to Pressure Margins & PLFs of Power Generators
Jun 06,2016

The 13% to 19% hike in the base prices of lower grade coal (G6 to G17) by Coal India (CIL) this week will negatively impact the ailing thermal power generators in India and result in a shift to imported coal from domestic coal, especially for the coastal power plants, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ra believes this will squeeze thermal power generators operating margins, since they will need to absorb some of the increase in costs. Ind-Ra opines that some generators may be forced to reduce their plant load factors in order to cut losses.

Prices of the most consumed varieties of G11 to G13 grade coal will move up by INR100/t-INR150/t, translating into an increase of around eight paise per kWh. This comes over and above the INR300/t increase caused by the clean energy cess since 2015 and the recent increase in royalty to 18% from 14%.

Ind-Ra estimates that post the increase in domestic coal prices by CIL, domestic coal will cost around 5.75% more compared to imported coal for coastal plants on an average. The higher cost may cause many of these plants to shift their consumption to imported coal from domestic coal. Ind-Ra estimates, energy charge based on domestic coal at INR1.66 per kWh at FYE16, across a sample of power plants on the eastern and western coasts of India, which is around the same as the energy charge based on imported coal for coastal plants due to their proximity to ports. Around 10% of total coal consumed by the thermal power sector in India was imported in the last year.

On a Pan India basis (apart from coastal power plants), there exists an overhang in electric supply in the short term power market due to the paucity of long term Power Purchase Agreements for the last five years forcing power plants to supply power on a short term/merchant basis. The summer of 2016 has witnessed short term/merchant rates as low as INR1.6 per kWh on the power exchanges, which is barely sufficient to cover the variable expenses of these plants under the current cost scenario.

Considering the unfavourable demand-supply situation and the overall scenario for thermal power generators, it is unlikely that they will be able to pass on the full impact of this price rise to end consumers. Despite the negative impact of the price hike Ind-Ra believes it will not materially impact the credit profiles of large thermal power generators.

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Indias e-waste growing at 30% per annum: ASSOCHAM-cKinetics study
Jun 06,2016

India is emerging as one of the worlds major electronic waste generators and likely to generate 52 lakh metric tonnes (MT) per annum by 2020 from the current level 18 lakh metric tonnes growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30%, an ASSOCHAM-cKinetics recent study coinciding with the n++Environment Dayn++ (June 5) noted.

The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 130 million tons in 2018 from 93.5 million tons in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent from 2016 to 2018, according to a study on Electronic Waste Management in India, conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM )--cKinetics joint study on n++World Environment Dayn++.

As Indians become richer and spend more electronic items and appliances, Computer equipment accounts for almost 70% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%). Other equipment, including household e-crap account for the remaining 4%, it said.

The sad part is that a mere 1.5% of Indias total e-waste gets recycled due to poor infrastructure, legislation and framework which lead to a waste of diminishing natural resources, irreparable damage of environment and health of the people working in industry. Over 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers in this market, dismantle the disposed products instead of recycling it.

In India, about 4-5 lakhs child labours between the age group of 10-15 are observed to be engaged in various e-waste (electronic waste) activities, without adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM while releasing the paper. The chamber has also strongly advocated the need to bring out effective legislation to prevent entry of child labour into its collection, segregation and distribution, reveals the study.

n++E-waste typically includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, white goods such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)/ Plasma televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on.

As per the study, E-waste workers in India suffer from breathing problems, such as asthma and bronchitis. Many workers are children, who are unaware of the hazards and by the time they reach 35 to 40 years of age, theyre incapable of working, points out the study.

About 2/3 of e-waste workers in India suffering from respiratory ailments like breathing difficulties, irritation, coughing, choking, tremors problems who all are engaged in various e-waste (electronic waste) activities due to improper safeguards and dismantling workshops.

The recovery of metals like gold, platinum, copper and lead uses caustic soda and concentrated acids. The workers dip their hands in poisonous chemicals for long hours. They are also exposed to fumes of highly concentrated acid. Safety gear such as gloves, face masks and ventilation fans are virtually unheard of, noted study.

According to the study, computers, televisions and mobile phones are most dangerous because they have high levels of lead, mercury and cadmium -- and they have short life-spans so are discarded more, adds the study.

The main sources of electronic waste in India are the government, public and private (industrial) sectors, which account for almost 75% of total waste generation. The contribution of individual households is relatively small at about 16 per cent; the rest being contributed by manufacturers. Though individual households are not large contributors to waste generated by computers, they consume large quantities of consumer durables and are, therefore, potential creators of waste, reveals the ASSOCHAM study.

E-waste accounts for approximately 40 percent of the lead and 70 percent of heavy metals found in landfills. These pollutants lead to ground water and air pollution and soil acidification. High and prolonged exposure to these chemicals/ pollutants emitted during unsafe e-waste recycling leads to damage of nervous systems, blood systems, kidneys and brain development, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen damage.

Despite the Indian government stringent law to regulate e-waste trade, destitute children still face hazards picking apart old computers, TV etc. The chamber has also strongly advocated the need to bring out effective legislation to prevent entry of child labour into its collection, segregation and distribution.

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