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Govt approves Rs 206.8 cr for Implementation of Agriculture Export Policy scheme

Jul 19, 2019

The government has approved an outlay of Rs 206.8 crore for 2019-19 for a central sector scheme titled ‘Implementation of Agriculture Export Policy’ aimed at doubling farmers’ income by 2022. 
 
The Central Government has approved a Central Sector Scheme titled ‘Implementation of Agriculture Export Policy’, the government said in a notification. 
 
Of this, Rs 134.50 crore are allocated to setup dedicated clusters for mangoes, pomegranate, bananas, grapes, tea, coffee, turmeric, and marine products, among others along with pre and post-harvest management of the production, upgrading the supply chain to attain much higher levels of export from those clusters. 
 
The approved scheme also entails outlay for post-harvest infrastructure in clusters, capacity building, grant towards Public Private Partnership for Integrated Agriculture Development (PPP-IAD) and laboratories 
 
The ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ seeks to double farm exports to $60 billion by 2022 from $30 billion last year, and will invest Rs 1,400 crore to set up specialised clusters in different states for different produce to push exports. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Trade point planned at India-China LAC

Jul 19, 2019

The Indian Army has approved the opening of a new trading point with China at Dumchelle in Ladakh, the third such along India’s disputed, albeit peaceful 3,488-km border with China in a confidence building measure ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s October visit.
 
Although the Indian Army’s spokesperson did not respond to queries, three officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that the army has cleared the opening of the post, and that it is up to the government now.
 
Hindustan Times learns that the trading post could open as soon as the end of the year and that work has already started on the customs check point and the road to it. The only thing left is for the Cabinet Committee on Security to sign off.
 
Dumchelle is in Southern Ladakh, and is strategically located between Chushul , one of the five designated Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) meeting points between the Indian and Chinese armies, and Demchok in Southern Ladakh.
 
The two other recognised trading points with China are Lipulekh in Uttrakhand and Nathu La in Sikkim. Predetermined, locally made items are traded through these points with an aim of boosting the local economy.
 
President Xi is scheduled to be in India in October for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opening up another trading point along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) would be a major confidence building measure, analysts said.
 
Although the Dumchelle trading point will be new, trade at the border town between residents of Ladakh and the Tibetans from the other side has a long history. Goods are bought and sold at Dumchelle regularly. In addition, there is a three-week-long fair at Dumchelle where locals from both sides participate.
 
In the past, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has even used the hotline, which connects military commanders on both sides of the border and which is used to sort out minor issues, to discuss dates of the fair. It is an informal arrangement between the two sides, a senior serving Indian Army officer said.
 
It is a traditional trade route. In the past, the army has written to the government advising it to either completely stop the trade or formalise the exchange, a government official added.
    
Source: Hindustan Times



CMs panel to release a time-bound roadmap for implementation of agri reforms

Jul 19, 2019

The high-powered committee of chief ministers on transformation of agriculture on Thursday said it is mulling over linking the central grants to states to bring about reforms in agriculture as the government strives to transform agriculture in the country to help double farmers’ income by 2022. 
 
Agriculture being the state subject, the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis-led nine member committee has deliberated upon ways to incentivise states to fully implement the major reforms in agriculture introduced in the past including some key legislations to attract private investments in the sector at its first meeting. 
 
The committee, formed after a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recently held governing council meeting of NITI Aayog, in its first meeting decided to come up with a comprehensive time-bound roadmap for implementation of these agriculture reforms by states. 
 
The committee will seek view from all member states by August 7 following which NITI Aayog will make a comprehensive presentation on ways to transform agriculture. This will be discussed and a new agriculture policy will be given shape in the second meeting of the committee on August 16,”Fadnavis said after the four-hour long meeting. 
 
According to Fadnavis, the committee will come up with a background paper and a comprehensive agriculture policy to transform the sector after taking all  states on board. “The policy will focus on ways to enhance investment credit in the sector,” he added. 
 
The committee also examined provisions of Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and will suggest changes to attract private investments in agricultural marketing and infrastructure. Centre is of the view that the Essential Commodities Act, in its present form, is deterring investment in agricultural marketing as it imposes stocking limits. Hence, the committee is expected to look at a  policy directive in this regard so that investors have enough confidence about the provisions of the Act. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



China promises greater market access to India if it improves RCEP offer

Jul 19, 2019

China has dangled a carrot before India to make it improve its market liberalisation offer under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact by offering to open its own market even more, but New Delhi is cautious.
 
In the one-on-one talks between the two countries, that are part of the 16-member proposed regional bloc, China has said that if India went beyond its current offer of eliminating tariffs on about 74 per cent items for the country, it would not only match it but commit to a higher number, an official told BusinessLine.
 
India, however, is apprehensive that its industry will not be able to make as much gains from the tariff elimination under RCEP as the Chinese already have a head-start which is reflected in the $54-billion trade surplus China has over India.
 
Most of the countries that are part of the RCEP, including the 10-member ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, are pushing India to decide on its market opening offer for China as early as possible as that was holding the rest of the negotiations back.
 
Members keen on pact
Members are keen to have the RCEP agreement in place by the end of this year and a three-member team comprising Trade Ministers from Indonesia and Thailand and the ASEAN Secretary General was in New Delhi last week to meet Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in order to fast-track decision making.
 
Although India is also not eager to open its markets for Australia and New Zealand, to the same extent as for the ASEAN, Japan and South Korea with which it has bilateral free trade agreements, it is most cautious about China as the Indian industry feels most threatened by it.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Piyush Goyal may meet USTR in Washington next month

Jul 19, 2019

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal is likely to meet United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert E Lighthizer when he travels to Washington on a three-day visit next month to resume trade talks. 
 
 
Goyal will likely be in Washington August 7-9 amid rising trade tensions between the two countries. His trip follows a two-day visit by US trade officials for a relationship-building exercise with their Indian government counterparts last week. 
 
New assistant USTR for India Christopher Wilson and deputy assistant Brendan Lynch were in New Delhi July 11-12 for the first set of talks after the US withdrew duty-free benefits for Indian exporters. 
 
India then imposed retaliatory tariffs on the import of 28 items from the US for which Washington has dragged India to the World Trade Organization. 
 
It is a three-day trip but the date of his meeting with the USTR is yet to be decided, said an official. Goyal’s visit is crucial as it follows a decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump at the G20 Osaka Summit last month that their commerce ministers must meet. 
 
Key issues such as e-commerce, intellectual property rights, medical devices, steel and aluminium, and agricultural commodities could be discussed at the upcoming meeting. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



India- Argentina should continue to provide market access to agri products: Tomar

Jul 19, 2019

Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare met Dr. Luis Miguel Etchevehere, State Secretary of Agro-industry of the Argentine Republic in New Delhi, today. During the meeting, it was discussed that the Working Sub-group on Animal and Plant Health shall strengthen Reciprocal Trade set up under the Work Plan signed in February 2019. This will be instrumental in channelizing and expediting the cooperation in identified areas.
 
Shri Narendra Singh Tomar expressed happiness on the conclusion of sanitary and phyto-sanitary approvals for export of guar and millet from India to Argentina and lemons and chia seeds from Argentina to India. He said that both sides should continue to work towards providing market access to other agricultural products of interest to each other.
 
Shri Tomar also expressed the need to increase bilateral cooperation in exchange of technology to increase productivity, reduce post-harvest losses and to develop climate-resilient varieties. In order to reduce food losses and wastage, he suggested collaboration with Argentina in improved Agronomic practices, storage technology, and processing.
    
Source: Devdiscourse.com



Govt merges Council of Trade Development and Promotion with Board of Trade

Jul 19, 2019

The government has merged the Council of Trade Development and Promotion with the Board of Trade to bring greater coherence in consultation process with all stakeholders for promoting exports and imports. 
 
According to a notification of the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT), the new forum will remain as Board of Trade and will work with ten terms of references. 
 
The new board would provide a platform to states and union territories for articulating their perspectives on trade policy and help states to develop and pursue export strategies in line with the national foreign trade policy. 
 
Besides, the forum would advise the government on policy measures for preparation and implementation of short and long term plans. 
 
It would also review export performances of various sectors, identify constraints and suggest industry specific measures to optimise export earnings and to examine existing institutional framework for imports and exports. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Manipur airlifted 150 MT of organic pineapples across the country in 2018: CM

Jul 19, 2019

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that around 150 metric tonnes of organic pineapples were airlifted to Delhi and other cities last year. He said this was achieved even as organic Manipur pineapple is being consigned to marketing platforms such as Big Basket and NE Agro Products for sale in major cities of the country.
 
 
Stating that horticulture is a key sector to the economic prosperity of the state, the chief minister stressed the need to focus on some specific items like pineapple, lemon, orange, ginger and Yongchak (tree bean) among others, which are suitable for growing in the state.
 
He said organic produce of Manipur has been exported to different countries and that organic U-morok (King chilli) had reached Australia, Canada and the US.
 
He informed that since 2015-16, Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) had been able to register 12,500 organic farmers covering 12,500 hectares in the state. Under this mission, he said, 10 Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) had been formed, and an additional five more FPCs are in the process of forming.
 
 
The CM also informed that the state had been actively working for the upliftment of ginger growers of Pherzawl District. The government had been able to link buyers with ginger growers this year, he added. Around 4,000 MT of ginger had been marketed outside the state fetching more than Rs 12 crore this year alone. In 2018, sale of 1,000 MT of ginger was made by MSTC Ltd., a Government of India company fetching Rs. 1.9 crore, he added.
 
Directorate of Horticulture and Soil Conservation had acquired Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kachai lemon, he said and added that now Kachai lemon has become the only lemon variety of India to have a GI tag.
 
Asserting that the government is open for those willing to invest efforts in horticulture opportunities, Singh said that Manipur State Co-operative Bank Ltd. had recently provided loan to an apple grower. Last year as well, financial assistance of around Rs. 95 lakh had been provided under StartUp Manipur to a strawberry grower, he said.
 
Moreover, he said, cold storage infrastructures are being set up in various districts for the convenience of farmers.
    
Source: Indian Express



Jaishankar to attend BRICS' foreign ministers meet in Brazil next week

Jul 19, 2019

 External affairs minister S Jaishankar will participate in the standalone meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from July 25 to 26. 
 
This would be Jaishankar's first engagement with the BRICS foreign ministers since assuming office in May. 
 
BRICS Foreign Ministers' meet twice annually. One meeting is hosted by the BRICS chair as a Standalone meeting, usually in the capital and the other meeting is held on the sidelines of the UNGA. Last month BRICS leaders had a successful informal summit on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Thursday. 
 
During the meeting, Jaishankar is expected to discuss amongst other issues, the preparation for the 11th BRICS Summit of the leaders slated to be held in Brasilia in November this year. 
 
In 2018, the then External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had participated in the standalone meeting hosted by South Africa in Pretoria in June, and the customary BRICS foreign ministers' meeting on the margins of UN General Assembly in September. 
 
India attaches high importance to its engagement with BRICS and has continued to engage BRICS at the highest levels. We believe that BRICS has emerged as a valuable forum for consultation, coordination, and cooperation on contemporary global issues of mutual interest and has helped promote mutual understanding, the MEA statement said. 
    
Source: Times of india



Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation to set up 6 logistics hubs to attract investors

Jul 19, 2019

The state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has proposed the development of logistics hubs in six corridors comprising Nagpur-Wardha, Jalna-Aurangabad, Chakan-Talegaon-Hinjewadi-Ranjangaon, Khalapur-Taloja, Shahpur and Tarapur over the next two years. The government expects an investment of over Rs 20,000 crore in the proposed logistic hub. The first of such hub will come up at Chakan within a year. Apart from Indian companies, investors from China, Singapore and Indonesia have already evinced interest to invest in the upcoming logistics hubs.
 
State industries minister Subhash Desai told DNA, "With a strong and conducive integrated logistic hub policy in place, MIDC is in the process of setting up of six logistic hubs across the state.''
 
MIDC will develop logistics hubs in its own industrial estates and also play a role of planning authority and nodal agency for the development of these hubs. MIDC will provide the trunk infrastructure such as water, roads and electricity and land while the funds will come from Indian and foreign investors.
 
MIDC chief executive officer P Anbalagan said, "MIDC is coming up a logistics hub on 500 acres at Chakan and another at Talegaon on 500 acres and it is in the process of land acquisition. The allotment of land should complete in the next two to three months and actual work will commence in three months. Within a year part of the logistic hub will be commissioned in Chakan. This apart, MIDC has got land at Bidkin, which falls in Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, on build to suit model and the proposed logistics hub will house warehousing, assembling and engineering. Another logistic hub is proposed near Jalna. He said MIDC is engaged in the land acquisition for Wardha Nagpur corridor where already JNPT is setting up a dry pot
 
In the Khalapur-Taloja- Navi Mumbai corridor, MIDC is in the midst of acquisition of 1,000 acres of which 500 acres is proposed for logistic hub and 500 for engineering. He said the Singapore based Ascendas is setting up a logistics hub at Chakan on 100 acres. MIDC has already inked MoU with the company.
    
Source: Dna India



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