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102 Villages Electrified Last Week; 11,429 Villages Electrified till date under DDUGJY
Dec 26,2016

102 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 19thto 25thDecember 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 17 villages belong to Assam, 9 to Bihar, 10 to Chhattisgarh, 29 to Jharkhand, 5 to Manipur, 30 to Odisha and 1 each to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In view of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modis address to nation, on Independence Day, Government of India has decided to electrify remaining 18,452 un-electrified villages within 1000 days i.e. by 01 May, 2018. The project has been taken on mission mode and strategy for electrification consists of squeezing the implementation schedule to 12 months and also dividing village electrification process in 12 Stage milestones with defined timelines for monitoring.

11,429 villages have been electrified till date. Out of remaining 7,023 villages, 698 villages are uninhabited. 3,775 villages are to be electrified through grid, 2,502 villages to be electrified through off-grid where grid solutions are out of reach due to geographical barriers and 48 villages are to be electrified by State Government.

Total 1654 villages were electrified during April 2015 to 14 August 2015 and after taking initiative by Government of India for taking it on mission mode, 9,775 additional villages have been electrified from 15thAugust 2015 to 25thDecember, 2016. In order to expedite the progress further, a close monitoring is being done through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA) and various actions are also being taken on regular basis like reviewing the progress on monthly basis during the RPM meeting, sharing of list of villages which are at the stage of under energization with the state DISCOM, identifying the villages where milestone progress are delayed.

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Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 554 Lakh Hactare
Dec 26,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 23rd December, 2016 stands at 554.91 lakh hectares as compared to 523.40 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 278.62 lakh hectares, rice in 9.33 lakh hectares, pulses in 138.25 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 50.63 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 78.08 lakh hectares.

The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Wheat278.62259.37Rice9.3313.27Pulses138.25125.73Coarse Cereals50.6354.91Oilseeds78.0870.12Total554.91523.40

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CII-Triveni Water Institute inks MoU with the Water Research Center, Tel Aviv University, on Improving Indian Water Scenario across States and Regions
Dec 26,2016

CII-Triveni Water Institute, CIIs Center of Excellence on Water and the Water Research Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel, entered into Memorandum of Understanding, during the 9th India-Israel Forum. The MoU was signed by Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, and Prof Joseph Klafter, President, Tel Aviv University.

The MoU enhances cooperation of the two countries on planning, designing, and implementing new and innovative tools and technologies that improve management of water in India. It identifies opportunities and geographical areas where WRC-TAU and CII-TWI will pool expertise and derive workable, scalable solutions in the water sector in India, for the benefit of the community at large. This includes technology, management, policy reforms and advance tools and techniques.

It covers various sectors namely, irrigation, industry, domestic water use, wastewater management, municipal sewage recycle, improving water use efficiency, training and capacity building, and most importantly implementing of strategies in drought prone areas of India. CII-Triveni Water Institute and Water Research Center, TAU together will work towards improving the water scenario across several states and regions of India.

Prof Klafter, TAU, mentioned that learnings from Israel, customized and applied to water sector in India will further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries. Political will and scientific considerations will lead to successful applications. In situ treatment technologies will also have a key role to play on a decentralized basis.

Mr Nikhil Sawhney, Member, Advisory Board, CII-Triveni Water Institute, and Managing Director, Triveni Turbine, mentioned that models of Public Private Partnerships, Awareness Generation, Policy reforms and Pricing that were applied and helped convert a desert country like Israel into Water surplus country will be further studied for adoption in India. The MoU would help advancing these.

Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said that the MoU opens doors to new state-of-the-art techniques and technologies that will be customized and implemented. He mentioned that combination of Intelligent Policy, Advanced Technology, and Stakeholder Participation will certainly bring about the much desired change in the sector. CIIs WATSCAN, Water Scanning Tool, will be used and further strengthened for selection, and implementation of Water management strategies in the country.

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Let FCI, other Govt bodies issue transferrable instruments to farmers to mitigate note ban distress: ASSOCHAM
Dec 26,2016

In order to mitigate the problems of farmers and those engaged in allied activities like poultry farming and horticulture, arising out of the demonetization, the ASSOCHAM has suggested issuance of Transferrable Receipts (TRs) by agencies like the Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and other Central and state entities against procurement of the farm produce.

n++In the first place, the government should instruct FCI and other central agencies like NAFED to procure a whole lot of farm produce and issue the farmers/growers TRs which should be then honoured at all the farm related stores. These TRs can become some kind of Paytm tools and be then aggregated by one nodal agency; preferably FCI,n++ the ASSOCHAM said.

It said with the help of the state governments, the TRs should be allowed to trade without much hassles, maybe upto a limit of Rs 50,000. Since these instruments are to be originated at the FCI level, it would be easy for the Central Government to guard against its misuse for exchange of scrapped money. In any case, most of the scrapped notes have returned into the banking system and now the problem largely relates to shortage of new currency.

n++Likewise, the TRs can also be issued by some agencies like Tea Board, Fisheries boards, Jute Boards and Rubber Boards and then some of the retail chains can be roped in for honouring the same. It would also work on the model of Sodexo lunch coupons n++, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

He said with most of the products being decanlised , even state owned companies like the State Trading Corporation should join the FCI in this operation, while the MMTC which had remained engaged in fertilizer imports can be useful in reaching out to farmers directly or through cooperative stores for supply of urea or other nutrients in exchange of the TRs.

n++We urge the Prime Ministers Office, the Agriculture Ministry, the Finance Ministry, Commerce Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India to work on this model in a matter of few days, along with the state agencies,n++ the chamber said.

It said some of the marginal farmers and growers of horticulture produce are facing the problem of selling their produce with the unscrupulous elements taking advantage of the situation. n++Extra ordinary situation demands extra-ordinary solutions; so this model of TRs should be tried so that the farm distress is mitigated and wide support is forthcoming for the bigger war against black money and corruptionn++, Mr Rawat said.

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I&B Ministry revises timeline for Phase III & Phase IV of Cable TV Digitization
Dec 26,2016

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is extending the cut-off date for Phase IV of Cable TV Digitization to 31 March, 2017 in lieu of uncertainty in the market due to pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas. Digitization in rural areas was targeted to be achieved by 31st December, 2016 under Phase IV. A notification in this regard will be issued shortly.

Ministry is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31st January, 2017 on account of ongoing court proceedings.

In Phase III areas, digitization in remaining urban areas in the country was to be completed by 31st December, 2015. However, some MSO Associations/individuals had moved various High Courts and obtained either extension of cut-off date / stay on the operationalization of the Notifications of the Ministry dated 11 November 2011 and 11 November 2014. The matter when raised before the Honble Supreme Court by the Ministry, transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing and disposal vide its order dated 01 April 2016. Honble High Court of Delhi has disposed-off most of the cases and it is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed-off in very near future.

The Ministry will be issuing instructions to all the Broadcasters, Multi System Operators (MSOs), Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and the Authorised Officers to ensure that no analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31st January, 2017. It is also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase-I and II areas.

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Government directs GCMMF/Amul to ensure 100% milk producers accounts to be opened by 30th December 2016
Dec 26,2016

Consequent upon the Governments decisions of demonetization, certain unintended impacts have been observed especially in the sectors thriving upon sheer cash transactions. In this regards, non-availability of funds to the co-operative banks for making payments to Milk producers/farmers by dairy co-operative against the milk supplied by then came to the notice of the government. GCMMF/Amul has been specifically directed to ensure 100% milk producers accounts to be opened by 30th December, 2016. Similarly, other co-operatives have been directed to ensure the opening of 100% accounts of milk producers/farmers by 30th January, 2017.

Specific instructions have been issued to all the agencies such as National Dairy Development Board, Mother Dairy, Delhi Milk Scheme and all state Dairy co-operative federations for ensuring direct payment to milk producers bank account at the earliest. Low penetration of nationalized banks and co-operative bank accounts in rural areas need adequate financial support with appropriate safe guards.

Responding promptly to the prevailing situation of reported payment problems, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has regularly reviewed and directed to take appropriate action to aliviate the problems. Meeting with Mother Dairy, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Fed (GCMMF) /Amul, Delhi Milk Scheme and like co-operative is taken at regular intervals.

In order to take stock of the prevailing situation, Secretary , Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries, Shri Devendra Chaudhry has accordingly convened a series of meetings and initiated actions for streamlining the payment system to Milk producers and even sale of milk to consumers through cashless transactions primarily.

It is to be noted that there are 1.70 lakh Dairy Co-operative Societies (DCS) at village level having 1.6 crore milk producers affiliated with 218 milk unions. About 850 lakh litres per day Milk is procured including from private dairies. However, the value of milk procured from DCS is to the tune of rupees 120 crore per day. For weekly and 10 days payment cycle the substantive amount is to be disbursed to lakhs of milk producers spread over varied geographical areas.

Using the window of opportunity opened by the demonetization decision, it is high time to accelerate the opening of bank accounts of all those unbanked milk producers to make it cashless and digital sooner than later. Eventually, transparency saving habits, financial enclosure etc. would be benefiting milk producer in multiple ways.

The situation of easing the payment to milk producers is being reviewed and monitored periodically by the Government.

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Tea Board Takes Up the West Bengal Tea Garden Workers Payment with RBI
Dec 26,2016

After the notification of demonetization by Government of India on 08 November 2016, the Tea Board has taken several initiatives for ensuring smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers and opening of bank accounts and enabling the workers to migrate to the digital payment system.

For ensuring smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers in West Bengal, the Chairman, Tea Board has written to the Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal, on 23 November 2016 for implementation of the Notification No. 5881-F(Y) dated 16 November 16 of the State Government for payment to tea garden owners through the bank accounts of the District Administration. Letters were also issued by the Chairman, Tea Board, to the Chief Secretaries, Government of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, on 17 November 16, for issuing directives to the District Administration for accepting deposit of money from tea garden owners in any bank account of the District Administration and withdrawal of cash by the Administration for handing over to the owners for making payment to garden workers.

For follow up with the Bankers and tea producers associations, meetings were held by the Tea Board at Kolkata and Siliguri on 24 November 2016.

On 06 December 2016, a letter was written to the Labour Commissioner, Government of West Bengal to advise the operating Trade Unions to cooperate for opening the individual accounts in tea gardens, so that wages to the tea garden workers can be paid smoothly. The Board on 09 December 2016, requested all the State Governments of tea growing States for facilitating opening of accounts for the individual workers of tea gardens. The Zonal and Regional offices of the Tea Board are vigorously pursuing with the garden managements for opening of bank accounts for their workers and employees. Tea Producers Associations were also advised by the Board for facilitating the opening of individual bank accounts for the workers for smooth payment of wages.

Shri. Santosh Sarangi, Chairman, Tea Board, has discussed the issue of payment of wages to tea garden workers with the CGM, Reserve Bank of India and requested for taking effective steps by RBI for ensuring prompt payment of wages to the tea garden workers. This was followed up with a meeting of Tea Board Officials Shri A. K. Das, F. A. & C.A.O. and Shri S. Soundararajan, DTD, with the Regional Director and Chief General Manager of Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata on 21 December 2016. The officials of the Board requested the RBI officials on the following:

For issuing suitable directives to the concerned Banks catering to the tea gardens in North Bengal for taking special initiatives for smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers.

Measures for improvement in the currency flow to the tea growing Districts in the state of West Bengal i.e. Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling , Alipurduar and Coochbehar as per the requirement so that outstanding wages can be paid immediately and also ensuring timely payment of wages in coming days.

Expeditious opening of Bank Accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), for individual workers so that wages can be transferred by the garden owners directly to the workers accounts.

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INR382 Billion Potential Treasury Gains Could be Unlocked by Banks
Dec 24,2016

The softening of yields due to surplus liquidity could help Indian banks in registering INR 382 billion of potential treasury gains for FY17, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The INR 382 billion worth of potential treasury gains are significantly large, considering the banking sector reported an INR 236 billion profit for FY16 (public sector banks (PSBs) reported INR 177 billion in loss). The development comes at a time when the banking sector is facing challenging conditions. The profitability levels of Indian banks remain weak owing to continued pressure on asset quality and weak loan expansion. It would be imperative for banks starved for capital to strengthen their capital adequacy ratios.

Meanwhile, even better placed banks can use this likely opportunity to improve their provision coverage ratios, which recently witnessed a downtrend. However, large profit booking, followed by a spike in yields, could have a double whammy effect on the profitability levels of banks in subsequent years.

Treasury Gains to Partially Ease Capital Requirement for PSBs: Treasury gains in FY17 would enable PSBs to contribute towards reducing their capital requirements, in accordance with the Basel III requirement. Domestic additional Tier 1 (AT1) issuances worth INR154 billion have been made so far in FY17, with increased participation from mutual funds. Ind-Ra believes the softening of yields could prove to be an additional impetus in the development of AT1 markets.

Demonetisation to Drive Yields Lower: A surge in deposits, due to demonetisation, will increase demand for government and high-rated corporate bonds, and is likely to put downward pressure on yields under the current tepid credit demand scenario. Banks are poised to benefit from the softening of yields, considering they are the largest holders of government bonds (about INR29 trillion as on 11 November 2016).

UDAY Bonds to Add to Treasury Gains: In addition to statutory liquidity requirement (SLR) bonds, banks hold bonds issued by states under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY). UDAY bonds have been converted to bonds from standard restructured loans given to state distribution companies (discoms). In FY16, the value of loans converted to state government bonds under UDAY was about INR0.75 trillion. Ind-Ra estimates the value of loans converted to state government bonds at end-September 2016 at about INR1 trillion, a significant proportion of which continues to be a part of banks investment portfolio. Under UDAY, discom bonds with different maturity periods, ranging from 4-15 years, were issued. The yields at the time of the issuance were in the range of 8.10%-8.75%. At present, UDAY bonds are trading at close to 7.25%. This could result in a potential gain of 100bp-150bp.

Mid-Sized PSBs Likely to Register Larger Treasury Gains: Some mid-sized PSBs would continue to report stressed profitability figures for FY17 on account of rising credit costs due to the ageing impact of a large proportion of assets classified non-performing in FY16. Treasury gains would provide some relief to the overall profitability levels of PSBs. Some mid-sized PSBs witnessed an increase in their investment portfolios in recent quarters on account of challenges with regard to the deployment of incremental deposits. The compression of yields has proved to be a boon for them. A weak profitability forecast, along with challenging capital conditions, would result in mid-sized PSBs registering high treasury gains to protect themselves from potential capital erosion.

Daily Average LCR Reporting to Increase SLR Holdings of Banks: Ind-Ra expects an increase in the structural volatility in the liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) of banks, given the proposed switch from monthly to daily average LCR calculations by January 2018.

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Defence procurement related exercise to yield results in 2017: Manohar Parrikar
Dec 24,2016

The exercise undertaken by the government in terms of defence procurement will start yielding results from next year onwards, Union Defence Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++In defence procurement we have planted some grafts, which I expect to produce result, but even there you have to wait for 2-3 years, now two years are over, probably next year 2017 is a year where whatever exercise has been carried out will start yielding results,n++ said Mr Parrikar.

He said that most of the issues pertaining to defence procurement procedure are being gradually sorted out.

n++I am still clearing the mess of the earlier government, I do not intend to point finger, this is not for blame game, but till now there were so many errors, mistakes, casualness, things have gone in cycles and cycles,n++ said Mr Parrikar.

n++Slowly but surely these issues are getting sorted out and I am very sure that we will make it as the road ahead is very clear,n++ he added.

Highlighting that government has initiated various policy initiatives, the Union Defence Minister said, n++If we properly assess the requirement of defence forces, we can make many of the changes happen.n++

He also said that industry should come out with clear recommendations. n++We expect that while we will also change DPMs (Defence Procurement Manuals) and OFB (Ordinance Factory Board) very soon into IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured) concept, slightly differently put up, but at the same time we will expect that the biggies in the private sector also spread requirement to the small and medium.n++

n++There is a definite improvement, the percentage of small and medium, legally required is 20, it was around between 9 per cent in OFBs and to about 14-15 in PSUs, today it has crossed 20 and is at an average of about 29 per cent in MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector,n++ he added.

Talking about the need for Indias defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) to remain competitive, he said that if good material can be got at a cheaper price why should advance be paid, except where development and small scale industry is involved.

n++Why should he restrict himself, he should ask for best quality at cheapest rates. I am not going to give advance if I can get good material at credit why should I pay advance to another company,n++ said Mr Parrikar.

He said that in case of high-technology item, the policy has to be different.

n++If it is developed, manufactured and supplied by small industry, the policy has to be different, we are working on it, that is why some time is being taken, but when it comes out it will be much better manuals,n++ said the Union Defence Minister.

n++Both these manuals are being worked because now lot of things have been eliminated, they are gone, so now there are very few things, but critical issues are remaining,n++ he said.

He said that there are more issues in offset like skill development, if it should be outsourced to a competent agency, and if it can be used for venture capital. n++These are questions we are answering and will be replying to them very soon but I think all these aspects are now limited to 4-5 pointed issues, give us those.n++

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Demonetisation a short term challenge; Dr. Arvind Subramanian, CEA
Dec 24,2016

Asserting that the Indian economy is n++very stablen++ at macro level, the Chief Economic Advisor Dr. Arvind Subramanian today said, managing demonetisation is a short term challenge for the next few weeks and months.

Dr. Subramanian said one of the challenges for the Indian economy in the short term is to manage the demonetisation fall-out n++How do we manage demonetisation in the next few weeks and monthsn++, he said, adding however, that this would be a short term phenomenon.

Referring to some important global developments like the latest hike in the US Federal Reserve rates and firming up of crude oil prices, he said the Indian economy is well- cushioned to cope up with these events.

On the hike in US interest rates, the CEA in the Finance Ministry said n++This was anticipated and expected. My own view is that on this the Indian economy is very well cushioned to absorb the impact of this. The RBI policy also took account of this in a very sensible way. There may be some short term things. This is not something we need to worry aboutn++.

Asked about the outflows from the emerging markets, he said after the US elections there were already big fund flows from the emerging markets. n++But given that India is in bright spot, the impact on us would be much smallern++, said Dr. Subramanian.

As for the rising crude oil prices, he said there would be some ups and down. n++If it persists there would be some implications but I dont think oil prices are going to surge to a level which is difficult to handle for Indian++.

On the demand from the ASSOCHAM for lower rates in the goods and services tax (GST) Dr. Subramanian said the lower and simple taxes are always preferable but there was a strong case for inclusion of real estate and electricity into the GST value chain. He echoed the views express by ASSOCHAM president Mr. Sunil Kanoria and several others senior members of its managing committee who shared their perspective about state of Indian economy particularly after the demonetisation of high value currency notes.

Listing the global challenges to be dealt with by the Indian economy, Dr. Subramanian said while the strengthening of US dollar would be of less concern, the main headwind can be felt in the form of weakening of Chinese currency and those of other competing economies.

He said it is not only the Chinese currency but also from Vietnam, Philippines and Bangladesh which would become more competitive. This could affect Indias competiveness in the export markets. He said if the Indian economy has to grow by 8%, then exports must expand by 15%.

But key factor to watch, in the unfolding global scenario, would be whether the developed countries would be able to handle more exports especially that of services from developing countries like India.

Dr. Subramanian also pointed out several key economic reforms undertaken by Indian economy in the recent past. This included passage of GST Constitutional Amendment Bill which he described as the n++mother of all achievementsn++.

The other reforms included the passage of the bankruptcy law allowing easy exit, Adhaar bill making the direct benefit transfer schemes functional and institutionalizing of the monetary policy committee in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

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Sustained Recovery Challenge for Commercial Vehicle Industry
Dec 24,2016

Despite a drop in sales over the recent quarters, a spike in incremental capacity additions of medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCVs) since July 2016 is expected to increase the System Capacity (SC) and elevate deployment risk in the medium term, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). If an aggressive selling strategy is adopted by the financiers through attractive financing options, it may create inorganic demand resulting in overcapacity in the system and eventually leading to higher delinquencies.

Ind-Ra calculated SC multiple of 1.6x as on August 2016 is unlikely to return to its ideal level of 1.4x in the near term, despite witnessing correction over the months from 1.85x in June 2013. Ind-Ra believes that a structural shift towards higher tonnage MHCVs will continue, especially after the roll-out of GST.

Ind-Ra developed an index known as the SC multiplier to study the sensitivity of system capacity and Index of Industrial Production (IIP) on delinquencies. The SC multiplier estimates an expected movement of delinquencies based on the movement in the system capacity and IIP growth. Higher the multiple, higher would be the delinquencies. Delinquencies of less than 2% in August 2016 corresponds to the SC multiple of 1.6x. Ind-Ra believes the multiple is expected to move upwards in the medium term, resulting in an expected rise in delinquencies.

A steep reduction in MHCV sales and higher replacement demand in FY14 and FY15 has led to limited new additions, thus correcting excess capacity and improving CV capacity utilisation. This has corrected delinquencies to less than 2% in August 2016 from 4% in October 2015. However, a relatively lower replacement demand in 2HFY16 and FY17 has resulted in an increase in new additions, despite lower sales in the recent quarters. However, if the incremental capacity build-up is not supported by the corresponding growth in the industrial activity, it may result in higher delinquencies.

Ind-Ra believes the structural shift towards higher tonnage MHCVs will continue. Sales data indicates that the proportion of MHCVs over 25 tonne has increased manifold (56% in 1HFY17 from 19% in FY10). Furthermore, roll-out of GST is expected to further boost the demand for high tonnage vehicles, as large scale intrastate good transport will become cost effective and hassle-free. This, however, exposes the industry to elevated deployment risk, if industrial activity registers disappointing growth. Moreover, deployment of heavy tonnage MHCVs will also be a constraint due to high fixed cost associated with it.

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Rabi crops sowing crosses 554 lakh hectares
Dec 23,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 23 December 2016 stands at 554.91 lakh hectares as compared to 523.40 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 278.62 lakh hectares as on 23 December, showing increase from 259.37 lakh hectares last year. The area under rice crop has shown decline to 9.33 lakh hectares from 13.27 lakh hectares last year.

The pulses crop area was higher at 138.25 lakh hectares compared with 125.73 lakh hectares same time last year.

The area under coarse cereals crop was lower at 50.63 lakh hectares compared with 54.91 lakh hectares last year, while area sown under oilseeds moved up to 78.08 lakh hectares from 70.12 lakh hectares last year.

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RBI All-India House Price Index (HPI) up 8.1% yoy in Q2FY17
Dec 23,2016

The Reserve Bank of India today released the quarterly House Price Index (HPI) for Q2FY17 for All-India and 10 major cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kanpur and Kochi).

All-India HPI (base 2010-11=100) has sequentially increased by 2.0% to 235.8 in Q2FY17 from 231.1 in Q1FY17.

Annual increase in All-India HPI stood at 8.1% in Q2FY17 which remained lower than 13.0% growth recorded a year ago. However, it recorded a slightly higher growth compared to Q1FY17.

On an annual basis, Chennai witnessed maximum increase of 18.0% in Q2FY17; whereas Jaipur witnessed maximum contraction (-6.3%).

On a sequential basis (i.e., Q2FY17 over Q1FY17), Delhi recorded highest HPI increase of 4.5%; whereas Kanpur recorded the maximum contraction of -4.6%.

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Foundation stone laying ceremony for first Second Generation Ethanol Bio-refinery on 25 Dec 2016
Dec 23,2016

The Foundation Stone laying ceremony for setting up the first Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery in India is being held on 25 December 2016 at village Tarkhanwala, Bathinda (Punjab), with an approximate investment of Rs 600 crore. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL), a Central Government Public Sector Undertaking, is setting up the project.Minister of Food Processing Industries, Harsimarat Kaur Badal, Minister of State (I/C) Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal shall jointly lay the Foundation Stone.The Government of India is encouraging production of Second Generation (2G) Ethanol from agricultural residues to provide additional sources of remuneration to farmers, address the growing environmental concerns and support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme for achieving 10% Ethanol Blending in Petrol.The Bathinda Bio-refinery will be utilizing agriculture residues for production of 100 KL per day or 3.20 crore litres per annum of ethanol which may be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of the State. The proposed Bio-refinery will generate employment for about 1200 -1300 persons in the Biomass supply chain and generate an additional income of approximately Rs 20 crore per annum for the farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues. The project shall also help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.One of the major outputs of this Bio-refinery shall be Bio-fertilizer approximating 30,000 tonnes per annum which shall be incorporated into the soil for improving soil fertility and overall productivity of farms in Punjab. The Bio-refinery shall also produce more than 1.00 lakh Kg of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.Oil PSUs, in line with vision laid down by Government of India, are planning to set up twelve (12) 2G Ethanol Bio-refineries across 11 States viz. Punjab, Haryana, U.P., M.P, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and A.P. The estimated investment for the 12 Bio-refineries is Rs 10,000 crore. These Bio-refineries shall produce around 35- 40 crore litres of Ethanol annually, thus contributing significantly towards the EBP programme.Recently, in Petrotech-2016 on 07.12.2016, Oil PSUs also entered into 6 MoUs with Technology licensors and State Governments for setting up Bio-refineries in Dahej (Gujarat), Panipat (Haryana), Bina (MP), Bargarh (Odisha) and Bathinda (Punjab).The Bio-refinery at Bathinda is the first step towards achieving 10% blending of Ethanol in petrol. Similar 2G Bio-refineries at other places are expected to be started soon.

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World crude steel production up 5% to 132.4 million tonnes in November 2016
Dec 23,2016

World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 132.4 million tonnes (mt) in November 2016, 5.0% up on November 2015.

Chinas crude steel production for November 2016 was 66.3 mt, an increase of 5.0% compared to November 2015. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan produced 8.6 mt of crude steel in November 2016, a decrease of -1.4% compared to November 2015.

In the EU, Germany produced 3.3 mt of crude steel in November 2016, a decrease of -4.2% compared to November 2015. Italy produced 2.1 mt of crude steel, up by 11.2% on November 2015. France produced 1.3 mt of crude steel in November 2016, up by 11.8% year-on-year.

Turkeys crude steel production for November 2016 was 2.9 mt, up by 10.4% on November 2015.

In November 2016, Russia produced 6.0 mt of crude steel, up by 5.0% on November 2015. Ukraine produced 2.0 mt of crude steel, up by 3.1% compared to the same month in 2015.

The United States produced 6.2 mt of crude steel in November 2016, an increase of 6.8% compared to November 2015.

Brazils crude steel production for November 2016 was 2.4 mt, down by 4.8% on November 2015.

The crude steel capacity utilisation ratio of the 66 countries in November 2016 was 69.6%. It was 67.1% in November 2015. The November 2016 capacity utilisation ratio is 0.1 percentage point lower than the October 2016 ratio.

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