Sat, 27th May 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report


Archives of “States and territories of India” Tag

Lohias eye Tata Chem Haldia unit

Indorama Corporation, owned by Calcutta-born NRI billionaire Sri Prakash Lohia, has evinced interest in Tata Chemicals’ struggling fertiliser plant in Haldia.

The unit, closed for maintenance since February 21, makes complex ammonia and phosphate-based fertilisers such as DAP, NPK and SSP, similar to those manufactured by Indorama in Nigeria.

The port-based plant has been operating under considerable strain because of low productivity and an unfavourable cost structure, compared with imported fertilisers, and the Tatas are believed to be open to the idea of selling off the unit.

Last fiscal, Tata Chemicals transferred its urea business, which had a manufacturing facility at Babrala in Uttar Pradesh, to Yara India for Rs 2,670 crore on a slump sale basis.

Out of 690 new MLAs 192 have criminal cases, 540 are ‘crorepatis’: Report

Of the 690 newly elected MLAs to the five state assemblies as many as 192 have criminal cases against them, while 540 of the total are ‘crorepatis’, says a report.

National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed jointly the self-sworn affidavits of 689 out of 690 newly elected MLAs in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. Details of one candidate have not been analysed.

“Out of the 689 MLAs analysed, 192 (28 per cent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the ADR report said.

Besides, 140 MLAs have declared serious criminal cases including cases such as murder and attempt to murder, up from 100 in 2012.

Uttar Pradesh has 36 per cent MLAs with declared criminal cases, followed by Uttarakhand (31 per cent), Goa (23 per cent), Punjab (14 per cent) and Manipur (3 per cent).

Moreover, there are 27 per cent MLAs with serious declared criminal cases in UP, Uttarakhand (20 per cent), Goa (15 per cent), Punjab (9 per cent) and Manipur (3 per cent), it said.

Maharashtra’s Manchester hit hard, 70% of units shut; 80,000 workers affected

Exactly a month after demonetisation, powerlooms in Ichalkaranji, better known as the Manchester of Maharashtra, are struggling to come to terms with the effects of the currency ban. Over 70% of the units in the town are shut and more than 80,000 workers engaged in the looms and yarning, sizing and processing units are either leaving town or are reluctant to come back after Diwali as there is no cash for payment their wages.

Most of the workers come from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “The last two years have been very difficult for the industry and we have been barely managing to survive despite making losses because of high rates of the raw material. Powerlooms have been running at barely 30% capacity in the last 8-9 months because production lines cannot be shut. The scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has brought the industry to a halt.

“Traders have cancelled orders and the units now have nothing to work on,” Satish Koshti, president, Ichalkaranji Powerloom Weavers Cooperative Association said. From a daily turnover of Rs 45-50 crore, business has sharply dropped down to barely Rs 10-15 crore, he said.

Demonetisation has affected the entire cycle of production and supply. Ichalkaranji has over 1.25 lakh powerlooms some 25,000 semi-auto looms and 7,000 shuttleless looms providing employment to over 80,000 people. Ichalkaranji produces some 1.5 crore meters per day generating revenues of Rs 45-50 crore crore per day.

Ichalkaranji has some 25,000 small units in this sector. Around 15% of this is direct exports while another 40% is exported indirectly. Located around 200 km from Pune, Ichalkaranji has been a major textile hub in the country and sends ready cloth to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal and Karnataka. According to Koshti, the season usually begins after Diwali and continues till June every year and this time after a two bad seasons, the industry was looking forward to a good season because of good monsoons.

“Initially for a fortnight, traders were forcing the industry to accept the demonetised notes.

India : With GDP of $370 billion, Delhi-NCR muscles out Mumbai as economic capital of India

The latest Oxford Economics data has crowned the Delhi Extended Urban Agglomeration (EUA)—comprising Delhi, Guragaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad—as India’s economic capital, with a GDP of $370 billion. Delhi EUA dislodges Mumbai EUA by a narrow margin—the former economic capital’s GDP fell short of Delhi’s by $2 billion—though Mumbai, on account of its smaller population, posts better per capita income. While there may be a host of reasons why Delhi is now the nation’s hub of economic activity, given the vast leaps the national capital region has taken in terms of improving physical infrastructure, this was also probably exepected. Factors like the extensive and efficient Metro rail network—though Mumbai has its time-tested suburban train network, and is moving on creating a monorail and metro network—proximity to policy-making, the coming up of top-notch education and research institutions over the past few decades, etc, have definitely helped Delhi gain the edge.

The other factor is also that the high-cost of undertaking economic activity in Mumbai—high land/realty costs and correspondingly higher cost of skilled labour—have made other cities, including Delhi, more attractive for business. The Delhi EUA’s rise is also, in no small measure, predicated on the efforts of neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, to project Gurgaon and Noida as hubs for services and manufacturing. Significantly, Delhi EUA’s ascent has imposed significant costs—pollution has reached unprecedented levels while the physical infrastructure could soon prove inadequate. This has underscored the need for better urban planning. Against the backdrop of the Union government pushing states to better their ‘ease of doing business’, there also needs to be a focus on improving infrastructural capacity.

33 deaths since government scrapped Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes

In the past week since the central government scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in a bid to weed out black money, 33 deaths have been reported across the country that can be directly or indirectly linked to the sudden demonetisation move. While a few deaths have been out of shock, as alleged by the families of the deceased, some deaths are claimed to be owing to exhaustion after standing for long hours in serpentine queues. There have also been reports of suicide and even a murder over demonetisation in West Bengal.

On Wednesday, too, chaotic scenes and long queues were seen outside banks and ATMs across the country as people rushed to withdraw or exchange notes to pay their every day bills.

Here is a list of the reported deaths since the demonetisation was announced:

1. Four days before his daughter’s wedding, Sukhdev Singh died of a heart attack in Tarn Taran, Punjab, as he was unable to buy groceries and other items due to shortage of new currency notes.

2. A 17-year-old BSF Jawan’s son committed suicide in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, after his mother refused to give him smaller value notes.

3. A two-year-old died in Sambhalpur, Odisha, after an autorickshaw driver refused to take the family to hospital as they did not have lower denomination notes to pay the fare.

4. Lakshminarayana, 75, collapsed and was declared dead while waiting in a queue for over two hours outside a bank in Secunderabad, Telangana.

5. Surendra Sharma, a senior citizen from Aurangabad, Bihar, died while waiting in a bank queue.

Bengaluru’s Zzungry has a Raghuram ‘Rajan’s special’ menu

Incumbent Raghuram Rajan will be stepping down as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor on September 4, marking an end to his three-year term at the helm of the Indian central bank. As Rajan paves the way for the incoming RBI governor, Urjit Patel, to take his place in office, a Bengaluru-based food company, Zzungry, has come up with two special dishes to pay a tribute to the outgoing governor.

Zzungry’s ‘Rajan’s Special’ lists Ulundu kozhukattai and Kova kozhukattai, a savoury and a sweet dish to celebrate the legacy of the outgoing RBI Governor.

Zzungry said that both the dishes, one inspired from Madhya Pradesh’s cuisine, is Rajan’s birth place, and the other, inspired from Tamil Nadu’s cuisine, that “connects to Dr Rajan’s origins,” the company said.

Unrealistic to expect Congress to pass GST bill in poisonous atmosphere: Jairam Ramesh

Charging Prime Minister Narendra Modi with “poisoning” the political atmosphere,senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said it is unrealistic for theBJP-led NDA government to expect his party to cooperate and facilitate passage of the GST bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament.

“Government cannot do constitutional murder in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya and expect GST (bill) to be passed,” Ramesh told PTI here today.

“Murder process is still going on in Meghalaya and Manipur. Government is doing its best to cut and clip the wings of the Supreme Court and I think this is dangerous for our democracy,” the former Union Minister alleged.

“Mr Modi wants to silence all opposition. He wants to silence opposition parties and he wants to silence the Supreme Court. This is unacceptable to Indians,” he said.

“There is a certain political environment that is required for bills to be passed and Mr Modi has done everything possible to poison the atmosphere. In this atmosphere to expect the Congress to cooperate, I think it’s been very unrealistic,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

He claimed that the government is looking at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) purely from the point of view of big industries.

“We are looking at GST from an industry, trade and consumer point of view. We want GST to be not only pro-industry, but also pro-consumer. GST is a major innovation, we want GST. GST will benefit, if properly implemented,” the Congress spokesperson said.

But, he also pointed out that the bill would not usher in “full GST”.

ALERT : Monsoon in India delayed, sowing on hold

Over a week’s delay in the monsoon’s onset in the country has forced rain-dependent farmers, especially those in central and north India, to postpone sowing of kharif crops, but experts allayed the fears that grain output could be hit. With the Met department predicting above-normal monsoon rains this year, a welcome break after two consecutive years of deficient rains, senior government functionaries had bet on a sharp pick-up in both farm production and agricultural GDP growth in the current year.

According to agriculture ministry data released on Friday, kharif sowing so far has been 10% lower than in the corresponding period last year, while water levels at the 91 large reservoirs have fallen to an abysmal 15% of their combined installed capacity. The sowing of rice, pulses and oilseeds have got delayed.

“A week’s or 10 days’ delay in the monsoon would not adversely impact the kharif sowing and output, as the rains are expected to pick up pace as predicted by Met department shortly,” Ashok Gulati, former chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, told FE.

NITI Aayog member and agriculture expert Ramesh Chand had predicted more than 6% farm growth for 2016-17 should monsoon forecasts hold good. The agriculture ministry has also set the country’s grain production target at 270.10 million tonnes for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 million tonnes in 2015-16.

Though retail inflation hit a 21-month high of 5.76% in May, led by a 7.55% spike in food inflation, the pace of price pressure is expected to ease as seasonal (summer) effects ebb, analysts said. A good spread and quantum of rains and the government’s recent decision to keep the hike in the benchmark prices of key kharif crops under 5% will help keep inflation from spiralling out of control, they added.

India : Air pollution cuts life of Indians by average 3.4 years

KFPHAir pollution has reduced the life expectancy of Indians by an average of 3.4 years with Delhi topping the list at 6.3 years, according to a study.

Delhi is followed by West Bengal and Bihar at the reduced life expectancy at 6.1 years and 5.7 years, respectively, stated the study conducted by the city-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in collaboration with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Colorado.

However, no significant mortality was observed in Jammu and Kashmir (0.6 years) and Himachal Pradesh (1.2 years).

The study report, titled “Premature mortality in India due to PM2.5 (fine particulate material) and O3 (Ozone) exposure” reveals that PM2.5 has claimed 570,000 lives in 2011 while Ozone 3 has claimed 12,000 lives in the same year.

Along with Delhi and Bihar, other states where life expectancy is found reduced due to air pollution are: Jharkhand (5.2 years), Uttar Pradesh and Odisha (4.8 years), Haryana and Punjab (4.7 years), Chattisgarh (4.1 years), Assam (4 years), Tripura (3.9 years), Meghalaya (3.8 years) and Maharashtra (3.3 years).

As per the report, Uttar Pradesh has the highest premature mortalities due to PM2.5 exposure, which accounts for about 15 per cent of all premature mortalities in the country during 2011, followed by Maharashtra (10 per cent), West Bengal (9 per cent) and Bihar (8 per cent).

Few takers for mineral blocks

Six months after auction process was initiated for 43 mines across 12-mineral bearing states, only six blocks have managed to find buyers — prompting the Centre to direct the states to put in “greater efforts”.

States had identified 43 mines bearing minerals such as iron ore, bauxite, gold and limestone for auction in the first phase. Only six mines have been auctioned, which will earn a revenue, including royalties, of Rs 18,146 crore.

At a high-level meeting of representatives from Centre and the states earlier this month, mines secretary Balvinder Kumar expressed his “dissatisfaction” on the slow pace with only six blocks having been auctioned by three states.

At the Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CCEC) meeting, Mr Kumar directed the states to put in “greater effort” on their part to ensure the success of the auctions.