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Prepare ten priority areas, business continuity plan: PM Modi asks ministers.

Apr 07, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked Union ministers to prepare plans to fight the economic impact of COVID-19 on war footing and asserted that this crisis is an opportunity to boost the 'Make-in-India' initiative and reduce dependence on other countries.
 
Chairing the first meeting of the council of ministers after announcing a 21-day lockdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak via video-conferencing, Modi indicated a phased emergence from the lockdown and said that 'a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots aren't existing should be made'.
 
Talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Modi said that the government must work on war footing to mitigate the impact, adding that the ministries should prepare a business continuity plan, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
    
Source: Live Mint



Fruit, veggie exports back to near normal.

Apr 07, 2020

The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee in Vashi said 140 tonne mangoes were shipped from Mumbai on Saturday for the markets in the Middle East, reviving the export of essential commodities through the sea route.
 
Export of essential commodities including fruits and vegetables, which takes place by sea routes, bounced back to near-normal levels with the monago consignment to the Middle East. The arrival of mangoes are also increasing at mandis. However, exports by air are yet to begin on a large scale as exporters await government’s decision on subsidies to get relief for the cargo freight rates, which have increased three fold since the outbreak of Covid-19.
 
After the government announced lockdown and stopped movement of passenger flights and trains, export of fruits and vegetables had almost stopped. Now, the export that takes place by sea route has resumed and is about 70% to 80% of the export that was taking place during normal times.
    
Source: The Economic Times



‘Truck aggregators’ can link farmers to ‘mandis’: Modi.

Apr 07, 2020

PM Modi on Monday asked ministers to harness technology and explore innovative solutions like using ‘truck aggregators’ on the lines of app-based cab services to connect farmers with mandis. Truck aggregators could help farmers transport their produce from farms or registered warehouses to agrimarkets at cheaper costs and in a hassle-free manner. Modi’s suggestions came during his interaction with Union ministers via video conference.
 
Though India has a few truck aggregators, they are not popular among farmers who still have to depend on local operators.The Centre had last week tried to minimise hassles by launching new features at its national agriculture market portal (e-NAM). The e-NAM provides a database of transporters to the traders. Under newly launched features, traders would now be able to use the link to navigate to the logistics providers’ website and select appropriate services to deliver produce. More than 3,75,000 trucks would be added for the purpose. 
    
Source: The Times of India



WTO, WCO chiefs pledge joint efforts to facilitate trade in essential goods.

Apr 07, 2020

The chiefs of the two multi-lateral bodies - WTO and WCO - on Monday pledged to work together to facilitate trade in essential goods such as medical supplies, food and energy in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dirctor general Roberto Azevedo and World Customs Organisation (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya in a joint statement said the two bodies would work closely together to minimize disruption to cross-border trade in goods – in particular those essential to combat the COVID-19 pandemic – while safeguarding public health.
 
'They also pledged to establish a coordinated approach to support initiatives that facilitate cross-border trade so that essential goods can quickly reach those most in need, including in least developed and land-locked countries,' it said.
    
Source: Outlook India



FCI sends enough food stocks to states to implement PMGKAY for next 3 months.

Apr 07, 2020

FCI has sent enough stocks to states throughout the country to implement PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) wherein 5 kg foodgrain per person per month for the next three months has to be distributed free to all National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries. Many states like UP, Bihar, Telangana, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram have already started lifting foodgrains from FCI under this scheme. In the course of the next few days, other states will also start lifting the foodgrains for distribution under PMGKAY. FCI is working tirelessly and has ensured that enough food grain stocks are made available in every part of the country during the countrywide lockdown. In the last 13 days since 24.03.2020 when the lockdown was announced to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, FCI moved an average of 1.41 Lakh MT food grain per day against the pre-lockdown daily average of about 0.8 Lakh MT. A total of 603 rakes carrying about 16.88 Lakh MT food grains have been transported across the country till 05.04.2020. Another 59 rakes to carry approximately 1.65 Lakh MT foodgrain are being loaded today.

    
Source: Devid Course



Wineries use table grapes to meet target.

Apr 07, 2020

Wineries in Nashik, which had earlier decided to reduce the volume of grape crushing by 30% — due to the slowdown and rain-caused damage to plantations of wine variety of grapes — have started using table grapes to meet their targets.
 
According to the All-India Wine Producers’ Association (AIWPA), wineries have crushed around 18,000 tonne of grapes so far, including 7,000 tonne of tables grapes. Around 1.25 crore litres of wine has been produced so far this season.
 
This is the most viable solution available to both the grape farmers and wineries. Around 3,000 tonne of grapes have been procured from farmers and crushed in past three weeks when grape supplies to the domestic market were affected, said a senior AIWPA official. 
    
Source: The Times of India



Covid-19 crisis: India, Australia agree on collaborating on research.

Apr 07, 2020

India and Australia on Monday agreed on the importance of bilateral experience sharing and collaborative research efforts in the context of the covid-19 pandemic during a telephone conversation between the prime ministers of the two countries.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison also discussed their respective domestic response strategies and 'agreed on the importance of bilateral experience-sharing in the context of this health crisis, including through collaborative research efforts,' a statement from Modi’s office said.
 
Modi conveyed that India was ready facilitate and support any Australian citizens stranded in India due to travel restrictions with Morrison giving a similar assurance vis a vis India’s student community in Australia.
    
Source: Live Mint



Plans afoot to forecast crop output every month.

Apr 07, 2020

The government plans to forecast crop output and yield every month to get regular predictive analysis on the likely demand-supply situation and its impact on prices. The current system of preparing forecasts every four months is inadequate, said officials. Often, prices of sensitive farm commodities start rising, leaving the government no time or opportunity to quickly balance the market, they said.
 
Last year, for instance, onion prices started rising rapidly as floods severely damaged the crop, but it was too late for the authorities to act because it takes a long time for imports to be contracted, shipped and provided to vendors and retailers.
    
Source: The Economic Times



India agrees to export 3.75 mln tonnes of sugar 2019-20: Trade body.

Apr 07, 2020

Indian mills have agreed contracts to export 3.75 million tonnes of sugar since the current marketing season began on Oct. 1, a leading trade body said on Monday.
 
Of the 3.75 million tonnes, mills have already shipped out 2.86 million tonnes of the sweetener, Praful Vithalani, president of the All India Sugar Trade Association, told Reuters.
 
India's top four sugar export destinations were are Iran, Somalia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, Vithalani said.
    
Source: The Economic Times



Punjab allows inter-district, interstate movement of honey, bee colonies.

Apr 07, 2020

Amid the coronavirus-triggered curfew, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday asked all deputy Commissioners to allow the inter-district and interstate movement of bee colonies, honey and other beehive products.
 
The move was in line with the advisory issued to the state by the National Bee Board on March 28, said a government release here.
 
Notably, Punjab contributes over 50 percent of honey export from the country.
 
Expressing concern over the plight of honey bees, which are living creatures and need constant care, Singh ordered immediate steps for their protection, and to save the beekeeping trade.
    
Source: Outlook India



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