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FSSAI gazette notification seals standards for country liquer & whisky

Apr 26, 2018

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has issued a gazette notification with respect to standards for alcoholic beverages. Aiming at the safety of alcoholic beverages, the regulations deal with food safety and labelling requirements in alliance with the FSS Act, 2006, and the Regulations, 2011, thereunder.
 
According to the apex food regulator, due to presence of various alcoholic beverages and their different requirements with respect to their standards and labelling, these separate regulations for alcoholic beverages were proposed and notified.
 
The FBOs (Food Business Operators) have been instructed by the regulator to ensure compliance with the standards from April 1, 2019.
 
The regulations will be called as Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages) Regulations, 2018, and the standards specified under them shall apply to distilled and undistilled alcoholic beverages, as per the notification.
 
In India, number of alcoholic beverages are being manufactured as well as imported for several decades. However, the country lacked a comprehensive law on alcoholic beverages prior to FSS Act, 2006.
 
As per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, alcoholic beverages come under the definition of food and the FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, has the standard for only one alcoholic beverage i.e., toddy under the Clause (1) of the Sub-Regulation 2.10.5 related to Beverages – Alcoholic.
 
The notification provides the definition specifying the standards for alcoholic beverages namely, brandy, country liquer, gin, rum, vodka and whisky, liqueur or alcoholic cordial, wines and, beer. It also specifies the requirement for labelling of alcoholic beverages.
 
The labelling requirements include specifications such as declaration of alcohol content; standard drink label; not to contain any nutritional information; no health claim; restriction on words ‘non-intoxicating’ or words implying similar meaning on label of beverage containing more than 0.5 per cent alcohol by volume; wine labelling; allergen warning; and statutory warning.
 
Alcoholic beverage other than wine which contains less than 10 per cent alcohol shall mention the date, month and year of expiry on the label, in that order and shall precede by the words Expiry date _____ or Use by ______.
 
However, the manufacturer may use the expression Best before as optional or additional information. 
    
Source: FNB News



Odisha agri dept, Icrisat launch Bhoochetana, a farm-support initiative

Apr 26, 2018

Bhoochetana, an initiative that transformed lives of several million farmers in Karnataka, was recently launched in Odisha. The department of agriculture, Government of Odisha, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) joined hands and signed a Memorandum of Agreement to potentially benefit 4.35 million farmers in the state. The three-year agreement is set to reach 6.1 million ha of farmland in 30 districts of Odisha through a science-led development approach. 
 
Bhoochetana, meaning revival of the land, involves soil health mapping, nutrient recommendations and support to farmers. Already in Karnataka, over 4.75 million farmers have benefited from this scheme, which has led to a 20-66% crop increase and total net benefits of $350 million. 
 
Now in Odisha, the soil analysis, nutrient management recommendations and treatment will be shared with farmers. This will help increase productivity through improved practices. Also, improved cultivars, local seed banks, land and water management practices and capacity building for farmers will be implemented. The MoA was signed in presence of agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy by the director, agriculture & food production, Government of Odisha, and Dr Suhas P Wani, research programme director, Asia, and director, ICRISAT Development Center, on behalf of director-general of ICRISAT. 
    
Source: FNB News



Centre targets a new high in foodgrains output this year

Apr 26, 2018

The Union government has set a foodgrain output target of 283.7 million tonnes (mt) during 2018-19, in the backdrop of forecasts of a favourable monsoon. The target is nearly 6 mt, 2 per cent, more than the estimated production of 277.5 mt in the last crop year (July-June).
 
The targets set for rice and wheat are 113 mt and 100 mt respectively, which are 2 mt and 3 mt more than the production in 2017-18 as per the second advance production estimates, said Agriculture Commissioner SK Malhotra, while addressing a national conference on agriculture for kharif campaign here on Wednesday.
 
Oilseeds, coarse cereals
 
While the target for pulses is kept at a marginally higher level of 24 mt, which will still mark a new record, the government aims to increase the production of coarse cereals by more than 1.3 mt to 46.7 mt in the current year, he said. The Centre recently declared 2018-19 as the year of millets.
 
There would be a concerted focus on oilseeds whose production fell much well below expectations, due to lower production of soyabean, groundnut and mustard/rapeseed.
 
However, Malhotra also admitted that soyabean crop faces a seed shortage of 93 tonnes as untimely rains damaged soyabean seed crop in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana and urged the States to use seeds saved by farmers with treatment.
 
Cash crops
 
Cotton, after a dip in production last fiscal, is expected to pick up momentum. The government has seta target of 35.5 million bales (of 170 kg each) as against 34 million bales last year.
 
The production of sugarcane in 2018-19 is expected to be as high at 355 mt as that in the current year that witnessed a glut in sugar production leading to slump in prices.
 
Talking about the rabi season just gone by, Malhotra said temperature during February and March was conducive for crop growth, helping farmers to achieve better productivity, even though hailstorm damaged crops in isolated pockets.
 
The Agriculture Commissioner also emphasised the need for increasing coverage of moong and urad in the kharif season by inter-cropping with soyabean, sugarcane, coarse cereals and cotton.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



A fillip to bilateral relationship: Chinese envoy

Apr 26, 2018

The bilateral relationship between India and China is likely to get a fillip following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal meeting with China's President Xi Jinping scheduled later this week.
 
According to Ma Zhanwu, Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, though there is no fixed agenda for the meeting, Modi’s visit to China would lead to strengthening of ties between the two countries.
 
It is an informal meeting, more of one-on-one talks. But we expect the relationship will develop further following Modi’s visit, he said at an interactive session on Doing Business with China, organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday.
 
Post the Doklam stand-off, Chinese investments in India saw a substantial slide.
 
Working together we can bring a lot of change; we will make a difference to the world, Zhanwu said. Education, culture and handicrafts are some of the areas where both the countries can work together.
 
The Chinese consulate plans to host a higher education expo in Kolkata on May 10 and 11. At least 60 Chinese universities will participate in the event at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, he said. India should focus on exports to narrow the trade deficit with China. It (trade deficit) is an interim problem, (and) will not last long, he said.
 
On the proposed visit of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to China, he said, it would strengthen the economic and trade ties between China and Bengal. We are working on the details of her visit; we hope it to be a fruitful trip, he said.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



India's share in global trade up over 16% in 2017-18

Apr 26, 2018

India's overall global trade has increased by 16.32 per cent in 2017-18, shows Department of Commerce data. 
According to the Department of Commerce, the overall trade last fiscal increased to $767.9 billion from $660.2 billion in 2016-17.
 
India's global trade has risen from USD 660.2 billion in 2016-17 to USD 767.9 billion in 2017-18(P), the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry tweeted on Wednesday.
 
While India's global trade grew by 16.32 percent between 2016-17 and 2017-18, India's total trade with LAC (Latin American countries) grew by 19.63 percent.
 
According to recent official data, India’s exports during 2017-18 grew by 9.78 per cent to $302.84 billion from $275.85 billion reported for 2016-17.
 
Imports during 2017-18 grew by 19.59 per cent to $459.67 billion from $384.36 billion reported for 2016-17.
 
Consequently, India's merchandise trade deficit widened to $13.69 billion during last month as against $10.65 billion in the corresponding period the previous year.
    
Source: SME Times



Government made 376 changes related to GST in 10 months: Export promotion council for SEZs

Apr 26, 2018

Government has made 376 changes in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) since its inception in July last year by amending rules, issuing clarifications and circulars related to refund, exemption and rates, Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZs (EPCES) has said. 
 
 
The government has made 376 changes to the tax system by issuing circulars and coming out with clarifications about change in rates or exemptions, said Vinay Sharma, chairman, EPCES at an open house meeting with exporters to discuss issues related to GST. 
 
Of these, 73 changes are related with exemption and 65 with rates. 
 
Exporters flagged concerns related to refunds, exemption of GST, classification of Goods and services and place of supply for service exports and GST Network at the meeting. 
 
Complaining that delay in GST refund has blocked their working capital, exporters have claimed that over 60% of their refunds are stuck with the government. The government has sanctioned GST refunds to exporters to the tune of Rs 17,616 crore till March. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Import of vegetable oils at 1,146,051 tonne in March; up by 3%, says SEA

Apr 26, 2018

The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India has compiled the import data of Vegetable Oils (Edible & Non-Edible) for the month of March 2018. Import of Vegetable Oils during March 2018 is reported at 1,146,051 tonne compared to 1,114,325 tonne in March 2017, consisting 1,122,685 tonne of Edible Oils and 23,366 tonne of Non-Edible Oils i.e., up by 3%.
The overall import of Vegetable Oils during November2017 to March 2018 is reported at 5,931,829 tonne compared to 5,798,776 tonne i.e., up by 2%.
    
Source: FNB News



Foodgrain production to be 284 MT in 2018-19: Govt

Apr 26, 2018

In the backdrop of prediction of a normal monsoon this year and buoyed with the bumper production in last two years, the government on Wednesday said the total food production in 2018-19 will be a record 283.7 million tonnes, including 113 million tonnes of rice.
 
Addressing officials from the states during annual kharif conference here, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the good monsoon has indicated a good kharif season this year.
 
Total foodgrain production in the country is estimated at 277.49 million tonnes this year, which means there will be over six million tonnes more production in 2018-19 if the targets are achieved.
 
As per the ministry's tentative targets, foodgarin production during the kharif season is expected to be 140.2 million tonnes while it would be about 142.5 million tonnes during the rabi season as per the tentative targets, said Agriculture Commissioner S.K. Malhotra the conference.
 
Paddy production would be around 113 million tonnes in 2018-19 including 98 tonnes during kharif season. The ministry has targeted 100 million tonnes of wheat production this year.
 
Monsoon rainfall is likely to be 97 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with an error estimates of plus-minus five per cent.
 
As per the targets, pulses production is expected to be 24 million tonnes while oilseeds production would be 36 million tonnes -- almost six million tonnes compared to that this year (2017-18).
 
Singh said the government schemes had ensured enough production of pulses, thus completely shutting imports.
 
There was a time when one had to pay Rs 200 (per kg) for pulses. However, there is no need to pay, he said.
 
He also said the government was planning to launch new schemes for remunerative prices for all crops in case market prices fall.
 
Malhotra said except soybean there was enough seed stock available for all crops and required measures were being taken to address the shortage.
    
Source: SME Times



With an eye on MSMEs, NITI to launch Atal New India Challenge today

Apr 26, 2018

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog will launch the Atal New India Challenge on Thursday.
 
Under the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators, MSMEs, start-ups to design market-ready products, using cutting edge technologies or prototypes.
 
A total of 17 focus areas, including Climate Smart Agriculture, Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock, Waste Management etc., have been identified for the purpose.
 
The competition will be run in collaboration with five ministries
 
The event will see presence of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari.
 
Applicants showing capability, intent and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to Rs. One crore.
 
This grant will be further supplemented by mentoring, handholding, incubating and other support as needed at various stages of commercialisation, while generating wider deployment for the product.
    
Source: SME Times



'MSME Digital Trade Desk to be set up to push global collaboration'

Apr 26, 2018

The government will set up a Digital Trade Desk to push collaboration between Indian micro, small and medium enterprises and their global peers, a top MSME ministry official said on Wednesday, in New Delhi.
Speaking during the Valedictory function of the first International SME Convention organised by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises concluded in New Delhi on April, 24, MSME Secretary Arun Kumar Panda said that the ministry has planned to set up a Digital Trade Desk aimed at furthering more collaborations between SMEs of India and other countries and for exchange of data.
 
He also said that   another  mega international event is being planned in a few   months. He also said that going by the success of the Convention it is planned to make it an annual feature with 79 countries already showing interest to participate in the next Convention.
 
160 SMEs from 39 countries participated in the three day event where issues of international best practices on SME development and cooperation, global business opportunities for SMEs, problems faced by women entrepreneurs were discussed.  Poland, with 15 SMEs, had the largest delegation, followed by Uzbekistan with 8 SMEs and Ghana with seven. Four hundred SMEs from India also participated.
 
23 agreements were signed between SMEs of India and SMEs of UK, Russia, Uzbekistan, Poland, Bhutan, Austria, Czech Republic, Cameroon and Sri Lanka.
    
Source: SME Times



Rice, buffalo meat push up farm produce exports

Apr 26, 2018

Exports of Indian agricultural and processed foods have staged a rebound in financial year 2017-18 at $18.43 billion, recovering from a five-year low, driven by strong volume growth in rice (both basmati and non-basmati), guar gum and dairy products.
 
The farm product shipments were up 15 per cent in dollar terms over the previous year’s $16.03 billion.
 
Rice accounted for 42 per cent of the total shipments at over $7.7 billion ($5.7 billion last year). Also, the higher unit price realised by exporters contributed to the growth in value terms. In volume terms, rice shipments exceeded 12.68 million tonnes (mt) against last year’s 10.75 mt. Basmati shipments crossed 4-million tonnes, while non-basmati exports were estimated at 8.63 mt for the year.
 
Livestock exports up
 
Buffalo meat shipments, which accounted for 22 per cent of overall exports, were up marginally in value at $4.03 billion ($3.9 billion) and in volume 1.34 mt (1.32 mt).
 
Other livestock products including processed meat, poultry and dairy products have witnessed an increase over last year. Dairy products grew by a fifth to $303 million ($254 million), while poultry products were up 8 per cent to $86 million.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



India, Mongolia to enhance bilateral trade, investments

Apr 26, 2018

India and Mongolia today discussed economic cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, energy, services and IT and agreed to explore possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. 
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a joint media briefing with Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar after the 6th Session of the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation here said the two countries agreed to explore ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance bilateral trade and investments. 
 
Swaraj, the first Indian foreign minister to visit the resource-rich country in 42 years, said India sees Mongolia as a factor of stability in East Asia and believes that Mongolia's social and economic development is important for peace and prosperity in the region. 
 
During the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation, the two sides discussed pressing global challenges, particularly the scourge of terrorism and agreed to collaborate bilaterally and in international arena to thwart the designs of those who extend support to terrorist outfits. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Odisha's Paradip aims to become No. 1 port in India

Apr 26, 2018

State-owned Paradip Port Trust, which has been focusing on promoting competition and bringing down costs to users, is looking at 17 per cent growth in cargo handling -- touching 120 million tonnes (mt) in 2018-19, according to a top official.
 
Betting big on the ongoing capacity-building projects and upcoming industrial parks along with multi-modal logistics parks, which are expected to boost cargo flow, the leading dry-bulk handing port in the country remains bullish on achieving significant growth in its revenue, the official said.
 
Our goal for the current fiscal is to become the number one port in the country overtaking Kandla Port (located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat). On the basis of current trends in cargo handling, we are looking at a 16-17 per cent growth in the current fiscal. Cargo handling should reach around 118-120 mt in 2018-19, Paradip Port Trust Chairman Rinkesh Roy told IANS.
 
The port, on the eastern coast, has taken positive strides in terms of growth in cargo handling in the last three-four years and it had handled 102 mt of cargo in the last fiscal, achieving a growth of about 15 per cent.
 
Our main focus has been on getting higher volume of cargo and our topline has improved significantly. We clocked close to Rs 1,500 crore of revenue in 2017-18 with all income put together. If we are able to touch 118 mt cargo handling, the topline would be to the tune of Rs 1,750-Rs 1,800 crore, he said.
 
Roy said the port rates have not been revised from 2012-13 onwards and would continue to be the same till 2019-20. While other ports had hiked their rates, Paradip Port has kept its rates steady.
    
Source: SME Times



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