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More worrisome is food inflation which stands at 5.7% in rural markets and over 8% in the urban markets. The combined food inflation, urban plus rural, is at a kissing distance of 8%. Analysts say that it should be the concern of the government since inflation has a (political) cost. However, there is also a benign picture. “The upward price pressure is concentrated mainly in cereals and vegetables and is not broad-based,” says Neha Saraf of Nomura Securities. But the fact remains that the CPI inflation is still above the 5% target that RBI wants to achieve by March 2017. While this year’s budget has been rural and agriculture-centric but its impact would play out in the longer term. In the shorter term, the government should be ultra-careful on inflation front. The inflation at the wholesale front has also presented a grim picture. As per the government data released this week, the wholesale prices rose at 1.6% in June this year, while food inflation crossed 8% mark mainly driven by vegetable prices (17%).
News Source : The Sunday Guardian - New Delhi, 18 July 2016]]>
The centre’s response came during a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by Swaraj Abhiyan, a non-profit seeking relief for drought-hit regions in the country. The plea sought timely disbursement of crop loans, drought relief, help in procurement of subsidized cattle fodder and formulation of an integrated water policy. The south-west monsoon, which irrigates over half of India’s crop area, recorded a deficit of 14% in 2015, the second straight year of sub-par rains; in 2014, the rain deficit was 12%. Since then, 10 states have declared drought—Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan. After recording crop losses, several of these drought-hit states are now facing an acute drinking water crisis. In at least two states, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Indian Railways is bringing water to parched areas in trains. The apex court told the centre that it had the responsibility to inform states of impending drought. “The central government has a responsibility to tell states that you’re headed for trouble. As the central government, you get a lot of information. Inform the states and ask them to take precautions. It’s not just money, it’s your duty to say please be careful, there’s a drought situation,” the court said.
News Source : Mint - 21 April 2016]]>
The remark by the Bench submitted that 256 districts in 10 states were declared as drought-affected. He clarified that the declaration of a particular area as drought-affected did not mean that it was affecting the entire population of that area as all are not farmers or engaged in agriculture-related occupation. The law officer said the total population in such areas may be 33 crore but “the actual number of people affected by drought is likely to be less than what is reflected in gross population figures of such drought-affected districts”. The Apex Court said that the Centre should adopt modern technology to assess drought situation in states instead of following “eye estimation” (cursory survey of farms) method, which is not even mentioned in Manual for Drought Management. The court directed the Centre to apprise it how many households in drought-hit areas got 150 days employment under MNREGA and asked it to submit a compilation of advisories on drought.
News Source : Millennium post - 21 April 2016]]>
News Source : Business Line - New Delhi, 5 May 2015]]>
Even the States which are implementing the Act are doing so “partially” as most of them have continued with the old set of beneficiaries primarily with the aim of not losing any quota of the concessional food grains under the targeted PDS. The government has so far not articulated its policy on the delay in the identification of beneficiaries on the basis of the socio-economic caste census. Mr. Sen, who was closely associated with the formulation of the Act, emphasised the need for “political will’’ to implement it. “The action has to be at the States’ level. They must have political will to use whatever socio-economic caste census data is available to come out with transparent indicators and make a new list (of beneficiaries).”
News Source : The Hindu - New Delhi, 5 May 2015]]>
Procurement prices are already up with supply shortage resulting in export-grade Alphonso mangoes selling at between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,200 per crate (of five dozen) in Mumbai’s wholesale markets, up from Rs 1,750-1,800 at the same time last year. “We are buying at almost double the price from last year. The quality is poorer and will further impact our prices. A clearer picture will emerge in May when exports usually peak,” said Murtaza Bharmal, CEO of Pune-based MSY Traders, which sells mainly Alphonso, Kesar and Badami varieties to the UK, Bahrain and Vietnam. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) data, exports declined 26 per cent in 2013-14 to 41,280 tonnes from 55,585 tonnes in 2012-13. A majority of Indian mangoes are sold in the UAE, followed by the EU led by importers in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. After the import ban was lifted by the EU this January, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had stated that the government expected mango exports to increase by as much as 50 per cent this fiscal.
News Source : Business Line - New Delhi, 5 May 2015]]>
To boost basmati trading, the government announced a waiver of 4 per cent cess (2 per cent market fee and 2 per cent rural development fund) on the purchase of basmati. As over 8.5 lakh hectare area was under basmati cultivation last year, the state suffered a loss of over Rs 550 crore due to non-collection of cess on basmati, said Kulbir Singh Matta, District Mandi Officer, Faridkot. Due to cess waiving, the market committees at Faridkot and Muktsar suffered a loss of Rs 20 crore and Rs 42 crore, respectively. "Despite that, we failed to promote basmati cultivation as its prices crashed in the international market," Matta said.
News Source : The Tribune, New Delhi, 4 April 2015]]>
The law aims at providing legal entitlement to 5kg of subsidized food grains per person per month at ` 13/kg to two thirds of the country’s population. At present, the government is allocating foodgrains to 11 states/UTs as per the new food law, while the rest of the states are getting the foodgrains quota as per earlier PDS norms.
News Source : Mint, New Delhi, 4 April 2015]]>
This comes after an RSS-backed outfit, following a meeting with Javadekar, recently said the government has put trials of GM crops on hold.Former environment minister Veerappa Moily in the UPA government had approved GM field trials for crops such as rice, maize, wheat and chickpea. Meanwhile, 45 transgenic crops approved by the genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC) during UPA rule for field trials await mandatory nod from the state governments concerned, thus delaying commercial introduction of GM crops. However, with states including Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu refusing to give mandatory NOC for GM field trials, it has delayed the process of commercial cultivation of various drought, flood and other stress-tolerant GM crops. Agriculture ministry sources told that only states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh Haryana and Maharashtra have agreed to provide NOC for GM trials.
News Source : The Financial Express - New Delhi, 3 September 2014]]>
The State Energy department, for instance, offers 90 per cent subsidy and the Agriculture department 50 per cent subsidy. In the first phase, the government has set a target of bringing at least 3,000 IP set farmers in Karnataka under this scheme in the current financial year, the minister added. Farmers’ solar power facility will be connected to the grid. These grid-connected solar power-generating units will be provided with net metering facility to keep a record of power supplied to the grid. The government will pay Rs 9.56 per unit of solar power (generated without obtaining the subsidy) and Rs 7.20 per unit (if any government subsidy is obtained), Shivakumar explained.
News Source : Deccan Herald - Bangalore, 2 September 2014]]>