Jignesh Shah-led MCX clarified that in its opinion there is no material information, which may have a bearing on the price volume in its shares
India's premier bourses, BSE and National Stock Exchange (NSE) have sought clarifications from Jignesh Shah-led Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) about substantial increase in its trading volume.
The exchanges have observed significant price and volume movement in MCX shares in the recent past.
In a circular issued on Tuesday NSE said, “Substantial increase in trading volumes has been observed in Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. The exchange, in order to ensure that investors have latest relevant information about the company and to inform the market place so that the interest of the investors are safeguarded, had written to the company.”
In response, MCX said, “With regard to increase in volume/ price, the company would not like to speculate nor would like to comment on the increase in the volume/ price in the recent past, as in our opinion there are no material information which may have a bearing on the price / volume in the scrip.”
MCX in a clarification to the BSE also said, “As a responsible corporate, we would like to assure you that the company will at all times adhere to the compliance requirement in terms of the listing agreement in the larger interest of the shareholders as per best corporate governances practices.
Shares of Multi Commodity Exchange have surged over 80% over the past fortnight after suffering a massive fall that was triggered by the crisis at National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).
On the volume front, 1.45 lakh shares were traded on the BSE, while over 5 lakh shares changed hands on the NSE during the afternoon trade.
Both NSEL and MCX are promoted by Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL). FTIL holds 26% stake in MCX, the only listed commodity exchange in the country.
NSEL is presently facing a crisis of settling Rs5,600 crore dues to 148 members/brokers, representing 13,000 investors, after its trade was suspended on 31st July following orders from the government.
At 2.30pm Wednesday, MCX was trading 4.99% higher at Rs459.75 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was marginally down at 19,915.
There are inherent risks and dangers if India were to adopt genetically modified crops. Here is an expose about several myths surrounding GM crops. This is the first part of a three-part series
There has been a great deal of publicity of late, particularly by the Agriculture Minister, about the necessity of genetically modified (GM) crops for feeding India’s masses, while dismissing the widespread concerns about them. These concerns cover health, environmental impacts, farmers’ indebtedness, loss of seed diversity and sovereignty. These risks are not activist extremism, but have repeatedly been endorsed by independent investigations—both abroad and in India.
Independent reports on GM: The first serious report in India was in 2010 by former minister of environment Jairam Ramesh, who called for a moratorium on Bt brinjal after inputs at seven public hearings and perusing scientific studies in favour and against its introduction. Then, in 2012 a report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Agriculture (PSCA) consisting of 31 members across party lines, unanimously castigated rampant regulatory failures, the exaggerated claims of increases in yield of Bt cotton, the health and environmental risks increasingly being reported across the world, and the stranglehold by large transnational seed corporations, whose expensive patented seeds have to be purchased afresh every year causing economic distress and suicides of farmers. The PSCA called for a complete moratorium on field trials of GM crops until a proper bio-safety regulation based on the best globally available legislation is enacted and regulatory loopholes are plugged. Its report is accessible here as well as a three page press release of it by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
The most recent report is by a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court in a public-Interest Litigation (PIL) on GM (Writ Petition no (Civil) No.260 of 2005). The TEC consisted of six members, of which five submitted a unanimous report calling for the following:
Each of these has been followed by a spate of articles, in some newspapers, attacking the findings of the PSCA, personal denigrations of their authors and fear mongering that without GM, India will be unable to grow the food it needs. GM is one of the most important issues for India as it affects food and seed, vital for us all, and also because the spread of living organisms is irreversible. There is thus the need to sift PR hype from truth.
GM hype and GM truth: The hype is that GM is cutting edge technology in agriculture, that 170 million hectares are under GM crops, and that India will be left behind if it does not adopt this GM technology. The truth is that 170 million hectares constitutes only 3.4% of the world’s total agricultural land, that only six countries account for 91.8 % of all GM area (USA 40.8%, Brazil 21.4%, Argentina 14%, Canada 6.8%, India 6.3%, and China 2.3%) and that most countries in the world are rejecting or restricting it. The first four countries, accounting for 82% of all GM cropland, have average farm sizes of about 300 to 1000 acres and their main GM crops are Herbicide Tolerant (HT) i.e. designed to withstand herbicides, which will kill all plants other than the genetically modified HT crop. This actually results in more irresponsible spraying of herbicides, thereby leading to more toxin consumption. It has also led to unprecedented herbicide resistance in weeds. These pose a major problem to US farmers who cannot eradicate these “super weeds” which have affected 61 million acres of US farmland (Report by Stratus Agri-Marketing). The TEC has rightly recommended that there is no justification for HT GM crops in India, where sizes of Indian farms are only 3 acres on average and manual weeding provides employment to millions of women.
In India, Bt cotton is the only crop permitted so far. Bt crops involve the transfer of a gene from a soil bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt) into the seed, to produce a protein toxic to a targeted pest e.g. the bollworm in cotton. The hype is that Bt cotton yields have made India the second largest exporter of cotton whereas the truth is that very little of this is due to higher yields from Bt cotton. In fact, according to Cotton Advisory Board figures, cotton yield increased by 69% (i.e. from 278 kgs per hectare in 2000-01 to 470 kgs per hectare in 2004-05) when Bt cotton was less than 6% of total cotton area. However, as Bt cotton expanded to over 90% of the cotton area, yield increased by only about 6%, stagnating at around 500 kg per hectare for the past 5 years. India has also become the world’s largest exporter of organic cotton—which does NOT use GM seed. In fact organic cotton exports are now being jeopardised by Bt contamination, as importers of organic cotton do not permit the slightest trace of genetic modification. Moreover, some types of bollworms have developed resistance and, after Bt cotton, there is an unprecedented invasion by other pests—such as sucking pests—which were earlier never a problem with cotton. Farmer risks now include more expensive seeds (5 to 10 times the cost of earlier seeds), pesticide spraying on these secondary pests and crop failures as these seeds need timely irrigation, which 65% of our farmers cannot provide. While some farmers may have benefited, amongst rainfed farmers indebtedness and suicides have not decreased despite wide adoption of Bt cotton. Other possible impacts eg Bt toxin on soil microbes and on animals which consume the plant, allergy in cotton pickers and consumers, and health consequences of Bt cotton seed oil now being liberally mixed into edible oils, need to be monitored through independent and transparent long term studies, which is, unfortunately , not happening.
Stay tuned for part two of the three-part series.
(Dilnavaz Variava has been involved with the environmental movement in India for close to 40 years. She has held many roles, including CEO of WWF-India, Vice-President of the Bombay Natural History Society-BNHS, and on several apex committees of the Govt of India. Since about 10 years, ever since she was asked to Chair the Working Group on the Ecological Foundations for Sustainable Agriculture for a Govt of Maharashtra Expert Group on Agriculture, she has been closely involved with this subject. She is Honorary Convener of the Consumer Group of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture- ASHA.)
After laying more than 70kms of gas pipeline on farmland, the Tamil Nadu government wants GAIL to reroute the laying process and align it with highways. This entails several risks, that of safety, security and maintenance
State-run GAIL (India) Ltd is the largest gas transmission and marketing company in India, operating for the last 25 years, covering over 30,000kms of gas pipelines, out of which they themselves have laid 10,000kms.
At the moment, work on their Kochi to Mangalore gas pipeline, 310kms of which are projected to pass through Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, has to be stopped at the request of state government. The Tamil Nadu government alleges that the farmers, in some of these areas, feel that laying gas line will lead to a loss of agricultural production!
GAIL has, in the past, laid network of gas pipelines on farmlands in several states like Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh Haryana, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra, without any trouble. Experience shows that laying the gas pipeline via the farmland is the safest means of transport of gas, which is practised all over the world. It does not affect the farmer who is adequately compensated, and the pipelines are laid one or two metres below the ground level.
BC Tripathi, chairman and managing director (CMD) of GAIL, in a recent interview, has stated that the so-called unrest, agitation and apprehension in the minds of farmers have been created by vested interests. The work on the pipeline started after initial consultation, mutual discussions and after arriving at an understanding with the Tamil Nadu government and with its cooperation, GAIL has, in fact laid more than 70kms of gas pipeline on farmland.
To appease the farmers, it appears the Tamil Nadu government has now proposed that GAIL must reroute the laying process and align it with the highways. Such a change—laying the gas pipeline along with highways—entails several risks, that of safety, security, maintenance etc. Even the process of laying the pipeline would totally disrupt the movement of goods and services during the construction, besides being costly. In addition, such a move would mean that the gas lines would have to be below the national highways, on which heavy loads of traffic will pass!
GAIL, failing to receive an encouraging response from the Tamil Nadu government, has now resorted to take up the issue through the Madras High Court. GAIL feels there is no other alternative means to resolve the issue, though they are keen to sit across with the state government and find a solution to the problem.
Tamil Nadu government must realise that this gas pipeline will bring in much needed gas to the power starved state. Their own revenue will also come in the form of 4 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscmd) of gas to cover the taxes and other levies.
Readers of Moneylife may recall that Tamil Nadu Government had made objections in regard to the development of CBM (coal bed methane), as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Board (TNPB) had not given clearance to the project, though the work on this has been going on for a couple of years. In this particular case, it will be another 60 days or so before we know the recommendations of a Committee appointed for investigating this matter. Such delays only harm the national progress.
GAIL's work on the gas pipeline is also stuck in the same manner, which has followed the laid down procedure of the government, and this interference by Tamil Nadu government cannot be accepted, as it reflects on its poor ability to sort out the mess created by vested interests.
Hopefully, we expect the Court to direct the Tamil Nadu government to assist GAIL in completing the project on time and to take care of the leaders of the agitators.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)