Agri sector: Painful journey towards a market economy

download (4).jpgSource: Financial Express, Apr 19, 2018

The farmer is back again in the headlines. The recent peasant march through the streets of Mumbai shook up urban India in a way few agriculture related events do. The issues were the same as in every other state of India: access to natural resources (land, water, soils, forests), rising costs of inputs, falling prices, opaque markets, etc. A few months ago, it was Gujarat; earlier it was Haryana or Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh or perhaps all of them. Punjab’s story as the iconic success model of the Green Revolution is already long forgotten. Now, it’s a tale of sub-par growth, falling water tables, flat yields and a younger generation in the grip of drugs and human traffickers.

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With the ongoing cash crunch, digital money gets another lifeline

Source: Business Standard, Apr 19, 2018

New Delhi: After a lull for months, things might be again looking up for the country’s digital money entities, due to the ongoing cash shortage.

After demonetisation, the sector had a shortlived dream run, from November 2016 to mid-2017. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s data on prepaid payment instruments (a chunk of which is mobile wallets), these collectively clocked Rs 38.3 billion in transactions during January, falling to Rs 36.5 billion in February. The March numbers are not out, but might fall again – many users stopped using mobile wallets after the February 28 deadline for getting the know-your-customer (KYC) checks done by mobile wallet entities. Many had decided not to get this done and, say observers, the digital money space had lost almost 45 per cent of its user base.

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US energy majors want govt to give them larger access to Indian markets

Source: Business Standard, Apr 18, 2018

New Delhi: The United States government has praised India for buying LNG, oil and coal from it but has offered little business interests in return, at the end of the First Strategic Energy Partnership between the two countries.

US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry offered no signs of having nudged investment by American companies in India’s oil and gas exploration blocks. He did not say if Washington will ease off on the cases it has dragged India into at the WTO dispute resolution forum for alleged favours shown by New Delhi to domestic solar companies and said it will wait for outcomes before signing on to membership of India promoted International Solar Alliance.

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Sweden announces $ 6 million as seed money for innovation projects in India

download (3)Source: The Economic Times, Apr 18, 2018

STOCKHOLM: India and Sweden on Tuesday signed a joint innovation partnership and agreed on a joint action plan with a seed money of $ 6 million from here to push PM Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative besides agreeing to work on a security agreement that would enable intelligence sharing.

Taking forward their defence cooperation including joint production the two sides decided to strengthen their defence partnership. The two countries agreed that the innovation partnership will be a ‘win-win” outcome.

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Liquor sales hit by excise policy, complex rules

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 19, 2018

NEW DELHI: Heading out for drinks at your favourite watering hole in Gurugram, Noida or Delhi? You may return disappointed. Last April, the Supreme Court’s ban on the sale of liquor near highways had hit restaurants, hotels and bars.

Although the curbs were subsequently modified to exempt places that served liquor, restaurateurs now say their businesses are getting hit by new excise policy and licence norms, which have led to a scarcity of liquor supply in some states. “We are working with various state governments and we are going through a tough time, especially in states like Delhi, UP and Haryana,” said Rahul Singh, president of the National Restaurant Association of India and owner of the Beer Café.

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India, Nordic countries vow to strengthen ties

Source: IBEF.org, Apr 18, 2018

Stockholm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his counterparts from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark today vowed to deepen cooperation between India and the Nordic countries, as the leaders deliberated on key issues of security, economic growth and climate change.

Modi and the leaders of the five Nordic countries participated in the first India-Nordic Summit co-hosted by India and Sweden here.

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Modi, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Finnish Premier Juha Sipila, Iceland Premier Katrin Jakobsdottir, Norwegian Premier Erna Solberg and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven participated at the Summit titled ‘India-Nordic Summit:Shared Values, Mutual Prosperity’.

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India starts construction of ₹1,600-cr Mizoram-Myanmar Kaladan road

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Apr 17, 2018

Kolkata: After years of delay, India finally kicked off the construction of the 109-km road project that connects Paletwa river terminal to Zorinpui on the Mizoram border in Myanmar, as part of the $484-million Kaladan Multimodal project. But completing it by2019 will be a herculean task.

The ₹1,600-crore road project that passes through dense forests and hilly areas was awarded to Delhi-based C&C Constructions in June 2017. But the contractor had to wait till January this year for the requisite clearances from the Myanmar government to start ground work.

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