Economy
Affected by hail, Himachal apples await better days
Small and less succulent, the apples from Himachal Pradesh this year have been quite a disappointment. Experts, however, say that things will change for the better after the mid-September harvest.
 
"This time there was widespread and abnormally high damage to all stone fruit crops (apricots, peaches, etc.), as well as the apple, because of hailstorms in April and May when the fruit was in the development stage," S.P. Bhardwaj, a former Joint Director at the YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, told IANS.
 
The damage, he said, was widely reported from the mid-hills of Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts. "The damage slowed down the fruit's growth and development. A lean winter and less rainfall during the monsoon, too, affected the crop," he said.
 
But the impact was lesser for orchards in the higher ranges that were unaffected by the hailstorms and where harvesting takes place only by mid-September.
 
Reports from the field say prominent mid-hills apple belts in Kotkhai, Balsan, Kiari, Chirgaon, Maroag, and Rohru in Shimla district, Karsog, Churag and Seri in Mandi district and Ani and Dalash in Kullu district were badly hit by the hail.
 
According to Bhardwaj, the plant first repairs its own damage and only then helps the fruit to attain its true size (the average apple weighs between 180 and 225 grams). This is the reason for the undersized, less-juicy fruit -- not quite the apple of the consumer's eye.
 
Add to this the 50% to 60% crop deficit this time, and you know why the business has not been great so far.
 
There is good news round the corner, though. The harvesting of crops in the apple orchards in the higher reaches is yet to happen and the fruit here -- at altitudes above 8,000 feet -- is healthy and still ripening.
 
"The harvesting in the high reaches will begin by September 15. There is no damage to the crop here by the hail," said Sanjeev Khimta, an apple farmer from Thanedar in Shimla district.
 
The delicious variety of apples from Kinnaur district, known for their natural sweetness, colour and succulence, will hit the markets in mid-October.
 
Estimates by the horticulture department say that this season, the overall production of apples in the state is likely to be 50% to 60% less than the last season's bumper production of 755,000 tonnes or 37.5 million boxes of 20 kg each.
 
Himachal Pradesh is one of India's major apple-producing regions, with more than 90% of the produce going to the domestic market. Apples alone constitute 89 per cent of the state's fruit economy of Rs3,500 crore ($520 million).
 
But a beaming Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes, a prominent apple grower herself, said the farmers are getting record prices.
 
"The growers are in the habit of plucking the fruit early to get higher rates. Though the production is less this time, our farmers are getting 20 to 25 per cent higher prices compared to the previous years," she said.
 
A top quality 20 kg apple box is selling at between Rs1,800 and Rs2,200 at the orchards in Shimla district, said a grower. This is around Rs500 higher than last year.
 
Horticulture department officials say that till date, over three million boxes of apples have been sold.
 
The apple yield was 625,000 tonnes in 2014-15, while it was 739,000 tonnes in 2013-14, 412,000 tonnes in 2012-13 and 275,000 tonnes in 2011-12, according to the Himachal Pradesh Economic Survey for 2014-15. The yield was at an all-time high of 892,000 tonnes in 2010-11.
 
Besides apples, other fruits like pears, peaches, cherries, apricots, kiwis, strawberries, olives and plums are the state's major commercial crops, as also almonds.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Corporate cyber threats no longer just an IT concern: Report
Cyber threats today are no longer restricted to a company's communications and IT domains, calling for more than just technical controls to avert attacks and protect the business from future risks and breaches, a new report said on Monday.
 
According to the joint report of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and KPMG, cyber security today embraces multiple units of an organisation like human resource, supply chain, administration and infrastructure. It, therefore, requires governance at the highest levels. 
 
"It is vital to keep pace with the changing regulatory and technology landscape to safeguard and advance business objectives. Working backwards by identifying and understanding future risks, predicting risks and acting ahead of competition, can make a company more robust," said Richard Rekhy, Chief Executive Officer, KPMG in India.
 
Titled ‘De-risking India in the new age of technology,' the paper launched at the second CII National Risk Summit 2016 in Mumbai suggested that cybersecurity has started gaining visibility at the top level and is now an essential part of boardroom discussions.
 
"Well-orchestrated risk management practices help organisations deliver sustainable results by keeping pace with changes in client behaviour, staying ahead of competition, identifying emerging technology trends and business model changes early," added Suresh Senapaty, Chairman, CII National Risk Summit 2016.
 
Regulators are increasingly holding board members and senior executives of a company accountable for cybersecurity of their company, often with stiff penalties, including but not limited to, heavy fines and legal consequences. 
 
The leadership level, therefore, needs to be aware of the internal and external cyber threats and incidents that can or are affecting their organisations, the report added. 
 
"This white paper is our first step to de-risk India. We explore the challenges that organisations face and then suggest the better risk management practices that can be followed in an accelerated environment of cognitive technologies to harness an organisation's potential to the fullest to balance the risks and opportunities," added Mritunjay Kapur, Partner and Head, Risk Consulting, KPMG in India.
 
According to the paper, an organisation cannot rely solely on technical controls to avert a cyber incident. It needs a combination of the right people, processes and technology to prevent such incidents.
 
"Robotics and cognitive technologies not only support in managing the risks for an organisation, but can help eliminate potential operational risks. The new-age disruptive technologies bring much needed controls within an organisation," it added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

If you are in Mumbai, you may want to attend our Special Program on "Cyber Crime & You: Rights & Protection" being held under the Police & You series...

Mr Sanjay Saxena (IPS), the Jt Commissioner of Police (Crime) at Mumbai Police is the Chief Guest while Adv Prashant Mali and Mr Ramesh Mohite, who set up the first Cybercrime Investigation Cell while service with Maharashtra Police, are the main speakers.

Read more: Cyber Crime & You: Rights & Protection

Wednesday, 31st August, 5pm to 7pm

Venue: Eknath Thakur Hall, Saraswat Bank Head Quarters, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025 (landmark, just after Ravindra Natya Mandir, turning right on one-way at Sayani Road junction).
 
If you have still not registered, please RSVP with Shilpa at 022-49205000 or email [email protected] or Call/SMS/ WhatsApp on +91-7045156415 (Please give your Name. email ID & Contact number)

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SC asks banks to respond to Mallya's plea against contempt notice
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India to respond to beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya's plea seeking the recall of the notice of contempt for allegedly not making full disclosure of all the assets owned by him and his family as directed by the top court earlier.
 
Giving ten days time to the SBI to file its response, the bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman gave Mallya a week's time to file his rejoinder as it directed the hearing of the matter on September 27, 2016.
 
Mallya's lawyer Mahesh Agarwal said the liquor baron has contended that the disclosure of the assets was for the settlement of outstanding dues with the banks, and since no settlement was taking place he was not obliged to make disclosure and consequently there was no contempt.
 
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that Mallya's plea for the recall of the order could not be entertained as he has failed to make a personal appearance before the court in pursuance to the contempt notice. However, Justice Nariman asked him to respond to Mallya's application seeking the recall of the contempt notice so that the pleadings in the matter are completed and it is finally heard on any Tuesday. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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