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Eyeing Southeast Asia, India builds port in Indonesia

Mar 20, 2019

India is developing its maiden deep-sea port in Indonesia's Sabang close to Andaman and Nicobar Islands making its maiden foray in the southeast Asian amid China’s slew of connectivity plans for ASEAN under BRI. 
 
The Sabang port is being developed in partnership with neighbour and strategic partner Indonesia. An Indian Coast Guard Ship Vijit, is currently on a visit to Sabang, Indonesia, from March 17-20. The deep sea portwill give India wide access to Southeast Asia as a counter-balancing force. The port will be a key element in India's Indo-Pacific strategy, persons familiar with the project told ET. 
 
A joint initiative to develop deep-sea port in Sabang in Indonesia’s Aceh province to enhance maritime connectivity as part of respective Indo-Pacific strategies was launched last year. India and Indonesia are trying to complement each other with proposed connectivity and infrastructure projects in the region. 
 
 
During the visit of Prime Minister of India to Indonesia in May 2018, both sides had arrived at a Shared Vision of Maritime Cooperation in the Indo Pacific under which deepening economic and people-to-people exchanges, including connectivity with port of Sabang was identified as a key priority area. A series of steps have since been undertaken by both sides to implement the joint vision. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



India keen to host WTO mini ministerial

Mar 20, 2019

India has proposed to host an informal gathering of ministers of the members of World Trade Organization (WTO) in May to discuss the interests of least developed countries and developing countries in global trade rules amid the US accusing emerging economies of benefitting from exemptions meant for poor nations. 
 
India, which hosted a similar meeting last year, has already teamed up with China, South Africa and Venezuela to counter the US allegations and highlighted the glaring asymmetries through which the US has benefited. 
 
At last year’s mini ministerial, we had portrayed our right to market access globally. We have proposed to organise another ministerial in Delhi in May to ensure to take this idea forward, said commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu at the CII- EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership. 
 
 
India had organised the informal gathering last year in the wake of talks collapsing at the Buenos Aires ministerial conference in December 2017. This year’s mini-ministerial meeting comes as developing countries fight to safeguard their eligibility to get Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) at the WTO. 
 
 
WTO allows special provisions for developing countries called S&DT, such as longer time periods to implement agreements and commitments, measures to increase trading opportunities, provisions to safeguard their trade interests and support to build capacity to handle disputes and implement technical standards. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Letter to BS: America needs India's support for its own economic growth

Mar 20, 2019

This is with reference to “Winners and losers” (March 19). The termination of duty free benefits by the US on the import of goods from India does not call for a major panic. First, the US cannot afford to provoke India that is its major trading partner. Indian exports to the US is a small percentage of our overall export trade. The US, on the other hand, needs India to support their economic growth.
 
Second, the prevailing US laws exclude imposition of import duties for essential commodities like textiles, bags and apparels and as pointed out, only a few nominal ones actually get affected. Accordingly, preventing imports exceeding 50 per cent from any one country cannot be strictly applied to India. The US can at best roll over or delay the excess percentage of imports from India to the next financial year. It is only a technical necessity.
    
Source: Business Standard



India's growth in last 5 yrs has been transformational: Shringla

Mar 20, 2019

The rapid economic growth and developmental strides of India in the last five years have been transformational and the country is all set to emerge as a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years, India's envoy to the US has said.
 
India is one of the strongest major emerging economies, India's Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry with the George Washington University's Institute for International Economic Policy here on Tuesday.
 
In terms of fundamentals of the country's economy, its inflation has come down from over 10 per cent five years ago to about 4.6 per cent, the fiscal deficit has come down from almost six per cent to 3 per cent which are very important indicators, he said.
 
We have made huge strides in the last five years. I think it has been transformational the way we have grown, Shringla said.
 
Inflation is also seen as an unpaid tax on the middle class and the poor. So bringing down inflation, bringing down fiscal deficit is good governance and good management of the economy, he said, adding that India has been successful in attracting USD 259 billion in Foreign Direct Investment, 90 per cent of which has come through the automatic route.
    
Source: Business Standard



Vast improvements sought for trade and exchange at Moreh-Tamu border

Mar 20, 2019

Myanmar and India recently continued their bid for growing bilateral cooperation at a seminar convened to discuss opportunities of enhancing connectivity between Manipur in India and Sagaing Region in Myanmar and specifically advances to be made regarding trade at the Moreh (India)-Tamu (Myanmar) border. 
 
The Myanmar-India Seminar-cum-Workshop on Issues of Formal and Informal Trade at Moreh-Tamu was convened on 17 March at the Border Chamber of Commerce in Tamu, Sagaing Region.
 
Discussions stressed the imperative of transforming informal trade into formal trade and the importance of established and enforced rules and regulations. To help in facilitating this transformation, some participants underlined the corresponding need for a Trade Office at both Tamu and Moreh led by respective Trade Commissioners to oversee the implementation of the new law-abiding trade regime. 
 
Speaking at the gathering, Former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, noted that there are currently some 62-64 items allowed under India-Myanmar border trade, but that trade is still being hindered in the absence of changes in policy consistent with most favoured nation trading policies. 
 
Specific commodities discussed at the seminar included beetle nut, beans and pulses. Participants broadly agreed that the duty tax for beetle nut should be drastically reduced from its current rate of 40 per cent. 
    
Source: mizzima.com



Trade liberalisation, but on our terms

Mar 20, 2019

India has a whopping $104-billion trade deficit with the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) grouping, which was 64 per cent of India’s total trade deficit of 2017-18.
 
No wonder, there is a raging debate on opening up a very significant portion of the market, given the sensitivities around agriculture- and labour-intensive domestic industries. Several other trade agreements are also in various stages of negotiations.
 
Long-term, back-ending of tariffs or spreading tariff eliminations over a longer period of time has been our palladium of trade negotiations in the past. However, it need not continue to be so for all lines in which concessions are eliminated. The introduction of Tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) can be a more germane transitional tool; providing a degree of safeguard to the future demand growth in a rapidly expanding market. This is particularly useful while negotiating with countries which have saturated markets.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Government to hire pro team to monitor KISAN scheme

Mar 20, 2019

The government is planning to hire senior professionals and support staff to monitor and implement PM KISAN scheme in which BJP-ruled states have taken the lead, sending names of small and marginal farmers eligible to receive Rs 6,000 annually in three equal instalments. 
 
 
Initially, we are going to hire six professionals, who can deal with data analytics, ground monitoring and supervision of the implementation. Since, the scheme is a continuous year-long programme, it will need trained professionals and experts to deliver the results, said a senior agriculture department official, who is dealing with PM KISAN scheme. 
 
The scheme is being monitored by a project monitoring unit (PMU) at the centre led by a joint secretary Vivek Agrawal, designated as the chief executive officer. The states and union territories may also set up a dedicated PMU for the effective implementation of this scheme. 
 
The centre can transfer 0.25% of the amount earmarked for the first instalment and 0.125% for the subsequent instalments to state governments to cover the expenditure of PMUs, if established, and for meeting other related administrative expenses including cost incurred on stationery, field verification, certifications and data uploading, the official said. 
 
The government so far has received data of 47.6 million eligible beneficiaries. First level validation of 40 million beneficiaries has been completed and payment of first installment of Rs 2,000 each has been made to around 27.6 million farmers. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Relief for farmers as Nafed plans massive mustard seed purchases at MSP

Mar 20, 2019

The central government’s National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) plans to procure a large quantity of mustard seed at the minimum support price (MSP).The MSP is Rs 4,200 a quintal (qtl); the wholesale price is now Rs 3,500-3,700 a qtl. Hence, the entry of Nafed will be a big relief for growers making distress sales amid a forecast of a record high output.
 
We are waiting for the (central) government’s order to start MSP operations. We would purchase the last seed available for sale, V R Boda, chairman of Nafed, told this publication.
 
Normally, mustard seed harvesting starts by early March. Oilseed crushing mills, warehousing companies and trading houses invariably build their inventory ahead of the entry of government agencies such as Nafed and state co-operatives.
 
Seed arrival gradually improved around Holi across major producing states. We hope Nafed enters with an aggressive buying plan but not hold its procured quantity for long, as it did a couple of years ago. We would like the entire mustard seed to be available for crushing this season, said B V Mehta, executive director of the oilseed mills body, the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA).
    
Source: Business Standard



Consider food processing technology

Mar 20, 2019

Punjab Agricultural University’s (PAUs) Kisan Mela series titled Process agricultural produce to make farming more profitable concluded at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Rauni, Patiala, today.
 
Over 137 stalls were set put which showcased farm literature, agricultural tools and equipments. Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, was the chief guest. 
 
Dr Dhillon urged farmers to apprise themselves of benefits of processing agricultural food. Endeavours in this direction can help in earning huge profits, he said.
 
He familiarised farmers with effective food processing techniques to curb wastage and lead to better productivity. He also told about subsidiary occupations, including beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and food processing. 
    
Source: Tribune india



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