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Food processing sector needs to ensure products conform to global stds

Nov 23, 2017

While the Indian food processing industry, estimated to be worth $121 billion, presents an opportunity for growth, it needs to focus on product conformity with global standards and quality, together with factors like logistics traceability and safety, quality of packaging and delivery.
 
These were the findings of a joint study, titled Food processing sector - Challengers and growth enablers, by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Grant Thornton.
 
There is a need for policy intervention and field-level changes for India to develop global competitiveness in many related sub-sectors and ensure that they are firmly entrenched in global value chains, it added.
 
The study, however, noted that significant reforms undertaken by both the Central and state governments - be it 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) under the government approval route in trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India; enhanced investment in food processing; proactive steps simplifying ease of doing business, delisting of horticulture crops or insurance schemes to support the vulnerable farmers - will make the sector more competitive and market-oriented.
 
It added that even marginal reductions in post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables, which are to the tune of about 25-30 per cent, are bound to give better returns and improve farmers’ incomes.
 
The study stated that there was a huge scope for large investments in food processing technologies, skill development and equipment, as it has been estimated that the total food production in India will double in the next 10 years.
 
It added that fast growth in food processing and simultaneous improvement in the development of value chain were of great importance to achieve favourable terms of trade for India’s agriculture sector, both in the domestic and international markets.
 
Given the trade in production of food commodities, the food processing industry in India is on an assured track of growth and profitability, the study said, adding that it was expected to attract phenomenal investment in capital, human, technological and financial areas.
 
The Indian food and retail market is projected to touch $482 billion by 2020 from $258 billion in 2015, the study said, adding that the country’s food processing sector had the potential to attract investment worth $33 billion and generate employment of nine million persons’ days by 2024.
    
Source: FNB News



India, US will continue to work for inclusive growth: Ivanka

Nov 23, 2017

India and the US will continue to work together to increase economic opportunities and inclusive growth, US President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump today said, days ahead of her visit to Hyderabad for a global business summit. 
 
Ivanka, 36, will lead a high-powered American delegation of officials, women entrepreneurs and businessmen for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 in Hyderabad, a three-day summit beginning November 28. 
 
The summit will be attended by 1,500 entrepreneurs from 170 countries and would have around 350 participants from the US, a large number of whom are Indian-Americans. 
 
Ivanka would deliver the keynote address at the summit, which would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
 
She said that her aim for this summit is to serve as an open and collaborative environment for the exchange of ideas, to broaden networks, and to empower entrepreneurs to take their ideas and passion to the next level. 
 
The US and India will continue to work together to increase economic opportunities and inclusive growth. I very much look forward to my visit and to seeing Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Minister (Sushma) Swaraj once again, Ivanka told reporters on Tuesday. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Canada's peas acreage set to fall as top buyer India imposes tariff

Nov 23, 2017

India's decision to impose a steep tariff on pea imports could jeopardize $1 billion worth of pulse trading with Canada, which may cause farmers there to trim their pea acreage by nearly one-third. 
 
Earlier this month, India imposed a 50 percent import tax on peas, as pulse prices fell below their government-set support levels because of record output. 
 
The duty is expected to lift domestic pulse prices and spur farmers in India, the world's biggest buyer of pulses, to boost pulse plantings, reducing import requirements in 2018. 
 
Pulses, a cheap source of protein, are a staple part of the Indian diet. Canada is the world's top pulse crop exporter. The short-term move to lift Indian market prices could impact India's long-term food security needs, Canada's International Trade Minister Francois Champagne said in an interview last week. 
 
The tariff on peas and fears that India may impose a similar hike on red lentils could curb spring plantings in Canada of both crops by 30 percent and 35 percent respectively, said Marlene Boersch, a partner at Mercantile Consulting Venture. 
 
The seeded area for dry peas in Canada for the 2016/2017 crop year, from August to July, is forecast to be 1.72 million hectares (4.3 million acres), according to data published by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. 
 
Canadian yellow pea prices have slumped since India's tariff announcement to between C$5.50 ($4.31) and C$6 ($4.70) per bushel from between C$7.50 and C$8, according to LeftField Commodity Research. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



MMTC to import 2,000 tonnes onion to check prices: Ram Vilas Paswan

Nov 23, 2017

State-run MMTCBSE -1.01 % will import 2,000 tonnes of onion, while Nafed and SFAC will buy 12,000 tonnes locally in order to boost supplies and check prices, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today. 
 
He said that his ministry has again written to the commerce ministry to reimpose export floor price of USD 700 per tonne on onion to discourage outbound shipments. 
 
Onion prices in most retail markets have skyrocketed to Rs 50-65 per kg due to tight supply. 
 
We have asked Nafed (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) to procure 10,000 tonnes and SFAC (Small Farmers Agriculture-business Consortium) about 2,000 tonnes directly from farmers and sell in consuming areas. We have also asked the MMTC to import 2,000 tonnes, Paswan told reporters. 
 
Onion prices have been under pressure since August, but they have now touched high level that the government is trying all means to improve the availability and control prices.
 
While the private traders have imported 11,400 tonnes in the last few months, now the government agency MMTC will soon float tenders to import 2,000 tonnes in two tranches .
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Cabinet clears changes to plug loopholes in insolvency code

Nov 23, 2017

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to plug potential loopholes in the new corporate turnaround regime and to ensure rescued companies remain in reliable hands.
 
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said changes to the IBC have been proposed through an ordinance that’s awaiting presidential assent.
 
One of the changes proposed is to ensure that promoters deemed wilful defaulters do not eventually end up taking control of the company again. The exact nature of the amendment and its scope will be known only after the text of the ordinance is available after the president gives his assent, a person familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
 
Some changes have been proposed in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Since this is being done by way of an ordinance, till it is approved, as a matter of propriety, we shall not give details, Jaitley told reporters.
 
The government put in place a new bankruptcy resolution regime and empowered the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to nudge banks to take defaulting firms to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in a decisive attempt to deal with the Rs10 trillion of toxic assets (bad loans and restructured loans) choking the banking system. The bad loans have also impaired lenders’ ability to finance new projects to boost economic growth, which slumped to 5.7% in the quarter to June, the slowest pace in three years.
 
The administration has been quick in responding to implementation challenges of the new bankruptcy code, one of which is the possibility of wilful defaulters subverting the legal process to remain in control of the company by proposing revival schemes. The code, as it stood prior to the amendments approved on Wednesday, does not prevent promoters of a failed company from proposing a turnaround plan. There have been concerns that promoters could reacquire their companies at a discount once the creditors decide to sacrifice a part of the money they are owed as part of a debt resolution plan.
    
Source: Live Mint



Maharashtra govt to sell tur dal at subsidised rates

Nov 23, 2017

The Maharashtra government today decided to sell tur dal at subsidised rates through its public distribution system (PDS).
 
A decision to this effect was taken by the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
 
The Cabinet approved a proposal to sell tur dal after milling it, which had been procured through the market intervention scheme, by the state government. The government will sell tur dal at Rs 55 per kg, an official from marketing department said.
 
The government has procured around 25 lakh quintal tur for Rs 1,263 crore. The cabinet has decided to mill tur and sell it also to the various departments including tribal development, women and child development and medical education department for their respective establishments.
 
"After milling 25 lakh quintal tur dal, the department will get around 18 lakh quintal tur dal. Of which, eight lakh quintal tur dal will be earmarked for various establishments which are being run by the government like hospitals, anganwadis among others. Remaining 10 lakh quintal tur dal will be sold through the PDS system," he added.
 
The official also said 11,000 quintal tur dal is available at present with the department.
 
An official of food and civil supply department said as the marketing department has not mentioned any criteria for the consumers who can purchase tur dal through PDS, it will allow yellow, saffron and white card holders also to buy it from the rationing shops.
    
Source: Business Standard



Sugar prices down; mills want stock limits to be lifted

Nov 23, 2017

Early arrival of new season production has pushed sugar prices down, say mill owners.
A note from Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma) said sales in the festival months of September and October were around 4.1 million tonnes, compared to about 4.2 mt in the same two months last year.
 
The M-30 variety is now selling here at Rs 3,772 a quintal, down 3.4 per cent from July's Rs 3,905 a qtl. Isma says the ex-mill price in Maharashtra is estimated at Rs 34-35 a kg and in Uttar Pradesh at Rs 352-36 a kg, against the all-India average cost of production of Rs 37.5 a kg. This, it complains, is putting pressure on mills' realisation.
 
The Association estimates sugar production this season (it began on October 1, nearly 25 per cent higher than the one before, at 25.11 mt. Hence, it says, it has asked the government to withdraw the stock holding limit on traders with immediate effect. Else, it says, cash flow will be affected, affecting mills' capacity to pay cane farmers.
 
The 2017-18 season's opening stock is estimated at 3.9 mt. Cane crushing began earlier than the usual in previous seasons. As on last Wednesday, 313 mills had begun operations as compared to 222 which had at this time a year before. Around 1.37 mt of sugar had been produced in the first 45 days of the season, as compared to 0.77 mt in the first 45 days of last year.
 
The main contributors to the higher production are mills in UP and Maharashtra. The former had produced 567,000 tonnes of sugar as on Wednesday, against 193,000 tonnes last year. In Maharashtra, against last year's 192,000 tonnes, this year has already seen 326,000 tonnes. The third largest producer, Karnataka, has produced almost the same as last year.
    
Source: Business Standard



Panel to consult experts to ease GST filing

Nov 23, 2017

 
The committee tasked with simplification of GST returns filing will consult tax experts and trade bodies to make the process convenient for businesses that have minimal transactions, its chairman said today.
 
GSTN Chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey-headed panel comprises tax commissioners of Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab and senior officials from the Department of Revenue and the CBEC.
 
We are also discussing with experts and taking opinion from various other stakeholders as to what simplification could be achieved. The whole idea is that people who are nil filers, who have no sale/purchase transactions, have taken a registration for some future use, they should be able to file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B by pressing just a few buttons. That is our ultimate aim, Pandey told PTI.
 
As many as 40 per cent of the businesses filing returns on GST Network (GSTN) portal have nil tax liability.
 
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council had set up this committee on November 10 to suggest ways for simplification of the returns filing process. It has also been decided to keep in abeyance till March 31 the filing of GSTR-2 (purchase returns) and GSTR-3 (the matching of sales and purchase returns).
 
Now, businesses will have to file simplified initial GSTR-3B forms till March, along with sales returns GSTR-1.
 
The committee would look into simplification exercise because all (GST returns) are intricately connected, Pandey said, when asked if the committee would focus on only GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 or all the returns under GST.
 
The committee will collect feedback from people, the trade and industry and study the whole system in detail and then come out with an appropriate plan.
 
If people have very minimal transactions, they should be able to file both the returns in a manner without going through full complications. Therefore, the display of the forms will be based on certain questions and the questions posed to the dealer, Pandey said.
 
He added that the panel will also look into what information on returns should be taken and at what frequency.
 
Pandey said the ultimate goal will be to provide convenience to people so that those who are filing the returns can do so without any difficulty.
 
According to the data, 55.87 lakh GSTR-3B returns were filed for July, 51.37 lakh for August and over 42 lakh for September. Preliminary returns GSTR-3B form for a month is filed on the 20th day of the next month after paying due taxes.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Proper' business plan in the works to up exports: Suresh Prabhu

Nov 23, 2017

The commerce and industry ministry is chalking out a proper business plan based on market research in its bid to promote exports of goods and services, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said today. 
 
The commerce and industry minister said a proper market segmentation is the need of the hour to understand the potential of domestic goods and services. 
 
aking note of the potential of regions such as Russia and Latin America, he said we are working on a strategy for each of the markets. I am in the process of preparing a proper business plan based on market research. 
 
The segmentation will shed light on the possibility of increasing penetration of products and services, he said at the India luxury summit here.
Prabhu pointed to the huge demand in luxury items in the international market.
 
 
India's merchandise exports have entered the negative terrain after over an year, contracting 1.12 per cent to $23 billion in October. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



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