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Commerce Ministry plans integrated logistics portal

Jan 19, 2018

 
The newly set up logistics division of the Department of Commerce has initiated work on an integrated logistics portal that will be a transactional e-marketplace.
 
The move is aimed at simplifying the regulatory processes in both domestic and export-import (EXIM) logistics to reduce transactional costs and time.
 
The e-market place will connect buyers as well as logistics service providers with all government agencies such as Customs, port community systems, sea and air port terminals, shipping lines and railways, said an official from the Commerce Ministry.
 
In order to establish linkages with government agencies, the industry and academia to develop a detailed action plan, the logistics division plans to enter into formal partnerships with all the stakeholders. The Commerce Department on Tuesday signed an MoU with industry body CII to set up a logistics working group. The group aims to ‘foster focussed engagement with industry to examine logistical issues and recommend solutions’.
 
Logistics can be the cause of success and the reason for failure. The speed of import or export, or doing business within country, will depend on logistics. The moment you bring down the cost of logistics, the volume will increase dramatically, pointed out Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, stressing on the need to develop the logistics sector.
 
Agreement with CII
Under the MoU, CII will identify logistics challenges facing the industry and suggest action solutions to the Logistics Division. It will also interact with State governments and work on promoting the logistics sector, along with capacity building programmes. The two sides will cooperate in organising a national logistics convention each year to bring together stakeholders in the sector.
 
Logistics costs in India, at 13-14 per cent of GDP, are higher than those in developed countries. The World Bank Logistics Performance Index ranked India 35 in 2016 compared to 54 in 2014.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Suresh Prabhu: Government working on diversifying export basket

Jan 19, 2018

Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said the government was working out a strategy to diversify the country’s export basket in a bid to enhance its export presence in the top items of world trade. We are working on a marketing strategy to diversify the export basket and we will offer it to industry. 
 
The government is committed to increase the ease of doing business and make India a leading destination for various products and services in the world, Prabhu said. The share of exports (both goods and services) in the country’s GDP has been declining consistently from 25.2% in 2013-14 to an estimated 20% in 2017-18, under-performing the economic growth rate. The lacklustre performance has been attributed to various reasons, including unsteady global demand, over-valued domestic currency, high logistics costs and general uncompetitiveness in many sectors.
 
 Of late, merchandise exports have moved up, but still a long way to. Prabhu said the ministry will soon hold consultations with various stakeholders on an export policy for farm products.
 
My ministry has plans to introduce measures with a view to further facilitate the trade in this sector’s products. The government has established 60 fully equipped agri-export zones (AEZs), in addition to 42 mega food parks and 128 cold chains, to boost agricultural and food processing exports, Prabhu said. The minister was speaking after inaugurating Indus Food — a mega international food and beverage trade show at India Expo Mart In Greater Noida.
 
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Source: Financial Express



Basmati export to Iran likely by next week

Jan 19, 2018

Basmati rice prices are seen rising in the international market with Iran likely to begin import of the cereal soon. 
 
 
Rice exporters, who are already getting 20% higher price for basmati compared with last year, said Iran could start import as early as next week. 
 
The announcement by Iran is expected soon as the trade was opened by this time last year, said Vijay Setia, president of All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA). The delay is due to the extended domestic rice season in Iran 
 
India exports about 4 million tonnes of basmati rice every year to more than 100 countries, of which Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait, the US and the UK are the main buyers. 
 
The revival in price of basmati in the international market follows a lean cropping season in India. Farmers had shrunk the area under basmati due to a fall in the domestic price of the commodity. 
 
Usually, demand and price of basmati increase around this time of the year, when Iran starts imports of the commodity after the close of its domestic rice season. Last year, Iran had announced import of basmati in the second week of January. This time the announcement is coming at a time when international basmati prices are already strong. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Modi, Netanyahu inaugurate entrepreneurship venture iCREATE

Jan 19, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Israeli counterpart dedicated to the nation, the iCREATE, an independent Centre created with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship, located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
 
Addressing the gathering, Modi said that innovation has a key role to play in bringing the people of India and Israel, closer to each other. He said the entire world has taken note of the technological prowess and creativity of Israel.
 
The two leaders visited various stalls that highlighted technologies and innovations across diverse fields.
 
Established as an autonomous centre of excellence, the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCREATE) is taking shape on a sprawling 34 acres campus on the outskirts of Ahmedabad
 
It offers end-to-end solutions to entrepreneurs, including grooming, incubation, mentoring, networking and angel funding.
 
Modi said the youth of India has energy and enthusiasm. What the youth needs is a bit of encouragement and institutional support, he added.
 
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working to make the entire system innovation-friendly, so that intent can generate ideas; ideas lead to innovation; and innovation helps create a New India.
 
He said that the first pre-requisite of success is courage. He congratulated the courageous youth who are engaged in innovative activities at iCreate.
    
Source: SME Times



Sugar production to be up by 4%; exports possible, says ISMA

Jan 19, 2018

Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has revised country's 2017-18 sugar production upward by about 4% and said the country can export additional sugar from the current season. 
 
A release from ISMA said: The satellite images of cane area harvested and remaining cane area unharvested in the fields across the country in the second week of January 2018, have been procured by ISMA. On the basis of these images of balance area, trend of yields and sugar recoveries achieved till now as also expected yield/sugar recovery in the balance period of sugar season, ISMA has revised its sugar production estimates in the current season to around 261 lakh tonnes, against the first advance estimates of ISMA of 251 lac tons.
 
As compared to sugar off-take from sugar mills during last season 2016-17 of around 246 lac tons, it is estimated that the sugar consumption in current year would be around 250 lac tons in the current season. Therefore, as per the revised estimates of 261 lac tons of sugar production, India can export some of the additional stocks within the current season itself. 
 
Considering the additional sugar availability expected in the current season of around 10-11 lac tons over the domestic requirement, senior members of ISMA met the officials in the Food Ministry, Government of India yesterday and today. Detailed submissions were made before the Government about the need to dispose off some of the additional stocks in the current season itself. It was submitted by ISMA that the main reason for the fall in sugar prices in the recent past was the expected sugar production during the current season, which is now looking to be more than the domestic requirement, because of which several sugar mills were under pressure to sell their sugar for revenue generation to pay to the cane farmers. 
 
It was also noted that several sugar mills were unable to pay cane price to the farmers because of the recent fall in sugar prices which have started falling below the cost of production. Therefore, there was concern about the sugarcane farmers getting affected due to their cane price arrears accumulating. 
 
According to ISMA, the Government that there is need to take action to control the falling prices, for which some of the stocks could be exported as quickly as possible. The Government appreciated the problems of the sugar sector and agreed that all steps required to be taken to ensure that the additional sugar stocks gets exported quickly, will be taken soon. This could include similar steps as taken by the Government in the past like mandatory sugar exports by each sugar mill in the country. ISMA requested for quick decision in the matter. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Maharashtra gives nod to Rs 4,000-cr climate resilient agri project

Jan 19, 2018

The Maharashtra government has approved a Rs 4,000-crore project aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture, to be partially funded by the World Bank. 
 
A government resolution (GR) issued yesterday said the project, named Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna, will be implemented in 5,142 villages across 15 districts. 
 
It will roll out in 2018-19 and continue till 2023-24. 
 
The total cost of the project is Rs 4,000 crore, 70 per cent of which will be borne by the World Bank while the state will contribute 30 per cent over six years, said the GR. 
 
 
Principal secretary, finance, and principal secretary, agriculture will decide the rate of return and repayment period by holding talks with the World Bank officials, the GR stated. 
 
The scheme would cover small- and medium- scale farmers, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. 
 
The state government had set up a seven-member panel, headed by principal secretary, agriculture, to select drought-prone villages for the implementation of this project. 
 
Objectives of the project are to improve soil quality, develop foodgrain varieties which can sustain climate variations and effect necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Government to link 109 more mandis on e-NAM by next month

Jan 19, 2018

The government will link 109 more mandis on the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNam) by next month to ensure farmers get better rates for their produce, a senior agriculture ministry official said. 
 
So far, 470 mandis in 14 states have been integrated with the eNAM platform, launched in April 2016 with an aim to help farmers with better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of their produce. 
 
 
The government has set a target of linking total 585 mandis on the eNAM platform in the current fiscal. 
 
Work is in progress in additional 109 mandis. We expect these mandis to go live on the e-NAM platform by first week of February, the ministry official told PTI. 
 
 
Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Chandigarh and Puducherry are the upcoming states/union territories (UTs) which have shown interest to connect some of their mandis on the eNAM platform. 
 
That apart, Telangana, Gujarat and Maharashtra wants to connect additional mandis on the eNAM, the official added. 
 
On the eNAM platform, farmers can choose an option to trade directly on their own or via registered commission agents. Farmers can either trade on the eNAM portal or via mobile app available in 5-6 languages. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



GST Council meet: A look at key changes

Jan 19, 2018

GST Council tweaked rates and issued a number of clarifications to end the confusion in case of many services. ET takes a look at key changes that will become effective from January 25. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



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