Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
Economy & Nation Exclusive
Cotton export ban not in the favour of farmers, ginners: Traders

Due to the dip in domestic demand and surplus production, cotton traders want the export ban lifted

The government, on Monday, announced that it won’t allow additional cotton exports during the current marketing year, after reviewing the current domestic consumption pattern. However, traders are disappointed with the announcement, saying that it will hurt the interest of the cotton growers as well as the ginners.

According to All Gujarat Cotton Ginners Association (AGCGA), the government estimate the production so far is 24 million bales (one bale is 170 kg). Considering the expected output, the total production will be somewhere around 34 million bales. The consumption is pegged at 26 million bales. However, there is very little demand from the spinning mills. Most of them have reduced their inventories and running with only 7-15 days of cotton reserves. Besides, most of the spinning mills are based in south India. Due to the issue of electricity cuts there, most of them operate at about 50% of the production capacity.

“So there will be dip in the domestic demand. We project the demand to be around 23 million bales. So we can easily export more cotton. Most of the mills will come under pressure, as with export ban there is no competition for them. So the ginners have to give whatever price the mills demand,” said an official at AGCGA.

On Tuesday, the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, objected fresh cotton exports. “Until further order, there won’t be fresh registration,” said commerce, industry and textiles minister Anand Sharma after the meeting. It also decided that about 2-2.5 million bales would be allowed to be exported by already registered exporters only after revalidation and scrutiny.
On 5th March, the commerce ministry had announced a complete ban on cotton export after reviewing the shortfall in domestic supplies. However, the ban was partially lifted on 12th March after agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar, objected. Farmers from the cotton producing states of Maharashtra and Gujarat had also launched an agitation against the complete cotton export.

Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry projected domestic production at 34.08 million bales, 4% higher compared to last year. Hence more exports could be allowed.

In the current cotton year, India has exported 9.4 million bales. The cotton season runs from October-September.

Last week, the government directed Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to purchase around 15,000 bales of cotton from Gujarat and maintain a reserve of one million bales per month. CCI has also been directed to buy cotton at Rs4,400 per quintal.

However, AGCGA feels that CCI doesn’t have the capacity to buy. This will force farmers to sell their produce to ginners at lower price.

Cotton traders are demanding exports to be allowed. Dhiren Sheth, president, Cotton Association of India, told Moneylife, “We are disappointed with the announcement. Exports should be allowed. If the domestic mills want they can buy and build their stock. Irrespective of the various estimations, cotton export will be in the interest of everybody including the growers.  Prices will certainly see a downfall after the announcement.”

Traders also expect a fall in the cotton prices. “The price in the international market is Rs38,000 per candy. One candy is 356 kg of cotton. While in India the prices are Rs34,000 per candy after the export ban. When the exports were allowed, prices were in the range of Rs36,000 per candy. There was a clear loss for the traders as well the farmers. Considering the output, export should be allowed,” said Piyush Vasoya, Rajkot-based cotton exporter.

Meanwhile, the recently released report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), suggested that in India’s production is likely to fall by two million bales to 32.2 million in 2012-13. This is because the farmers are likely to switch over other crops, giving better remunerative on the back of an unclear cotton export policy.




5 years ago

no thanks

Sensex, Nifty may be in for a short rally: Wednesday Closing Report

Nifty has resisted a breakdown and may rally tomorrow

Nervousness ahead of the release of the key economic indicators and the RBI monetary policy kept the market subdued till noon. While gains in Europe perked up the indices in the second half, the news of a massive earthquake off the Indonesian coast resulted in a flat close.

The Nifty broke yesterday’s range to close in the negative. The index still carries a negative bias. If the index closes below 5,205, we may see it going down to the level of 5,165 and then further to 5,100. However, to see some gains the index must close above 5,295. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 68.38 crore shares.

The market opened in the negative on global cues as Asian markets were trading lower on fresh European debt concerns. Nervousness ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy, due next week, also weighed on the sentiments. The Nifty opened 35 points lower at 5,209 and the Sensex resumed trade at 17,126, down 118 points from its previous close.

The early slide saw all sectoral indices on the BSE trading lower. The market fell to its intraday low in the first half-hour itself with the Nifty touching 5,191 and the Sensex dropping to 17,076.

A gradual upmove was noticed as investors resorted to bargain hunting at lower levels. The market ventured into the green in noon trade on positive signals from the European markets. The benchmarks hit their day’s high around 2.00pm with the Nifty rising to 5,264 and the Sensex going up to 17,319.

However, as news of an 8.7 magnitude striking off the coast of Indonesia was known, the markets once again slipped into the red in the last hour. But a firm trend in the European indices ensured a flat ending. The Nifty closed 17 points down at 5,227 and the Sensex finished 44 points lower at 17,199.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 659:977.

Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.63% and the BSE Small-cap index fell by 0.27%.

BSE Healthcare (up 0.58%); BSE Bankex, BSE IT (up .019% each) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.10%) settled higher while BSE Metal (down 1.34%); BSE Capital Goods (down 1.05%); BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.86%); BSE Capital Goods (down 0.83%) and BSE Realty (down 0.77%) were the top sectoral losers.

The top Sensex gainers were Sun Pharma (up 2.08%); NTPC (up 1.79%); Infosys (up 0.92%); State Bank of India (up 0.43%) and HDFC Bank (up 0.33%). The losers were led by Jindal Steel (down 2.92%); Bharti Airtel (down 2.27%); Sterlite Industries (down 1.97%); BHEL (down 1.92%) and Tata Power (down 1.87%).

The key performers on the Nifty were Kotak Mahindra Bank (up 2.55%); Sun Pharma (up 2.01%); Infosys (up 1.86%); NTPC (up 1.85%) and Power Grid Corporation (up1.27%). The main losers on the index were ACC (down 4.31%); Ambuja Cement (down 4.05%); Reliance Infrastructure (down 3.71%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.30%) and Reliance Power (down 2.35%).

Markets in Asia settled lower as fresh debt concerns in Europe weighed on the sentiments. A spike in the yields of 10-year Spanish bonds, touching the highest level this year, had investors worried.

The Hang Seng declined 1.06% the Jakarta Composite lost 0.48%; the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.83%; and the Straits Times closed 1.21% lower. Bucking the trend, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.13% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.21%. Markets in South Korea and Malaysia were closed for trade today. At the time of writing, the key indices in Europe were in the positive and US stock futures were in the green.

Back home, institutional investors—both foreign and domestic—were net sellers in the equities segment on Tuesday. While foreign institutional investors pulled out funds worth Rs328.67 crore, domestic institutional investors sold stocks amounting to Rs190.18 crore.

Piramal Healthcare today said it has received approval from European regulator to market its bio-orthopaedic product BST- CarGel used for cartilage repair in the European Union. The approval provides access to a $200 million-market in Europe with a potential for a larger market with greater penetration of treatment in Europe. The stock declined 1.24% to close at Rs450.30 on the NSE.

Unity Infraprojects is looking to generate up to 25% of its targeted Rs5,000-crore revenue by 2014-15 from overseas markets in a bid to ensure a better rate of return and higher margins. The stock settled 0.10% lower at Rs50.55 on the NSE.

Engineering, procurement and construction company, Tecpro Systems, has secured orders totalling Rs297 crore from Abhijeet Projects and NTPC. The APL order is worth Rs 155 crore while the NTPC order is valued at Rs 141.9 crore. The stock closed at Rs188.55 on the NSE, up 2.88% over its previous close.


Public Interest Exclusive
Fake medicine: Is evidence-based medicine a waste of time and money?

Patients seem relieved and comforted that they needn’t go through repeated tests and torture as supported by our obsession with evidence-based medicine. They can enjoy their lives that have been prolonged by simple things like exercise, reasonable diet, and patient-centered goals

We proclaim from house-tops that modern medicine is evidence-based and all other systems are not. What is this evidence base that we talk about; that too in a “risk factor arena”? Let us examine one such commonly talked about evidence base for hypertension treatment. Elevated blood pressure, which is at best, a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, etc, has now been elevated to a full blown “silent killer” disease status, thanks to the pharmaceutical lobby. Let us analyse its “so called” evidence base very calmly from the beginning.

The largest and possibly the longest follow up study, MRFIT (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial),  has just given us the following data, if one were to go by the data alone. The conclusions of MRFIT analysis by Dr Roger W Sherwin is quite shocking: “The original goal of the MRFIT was to determine whether reduction of the risk factors like smoking, cholesterol and elevated blood pressure in high-risk but otherwise healthy men would reduce CHD (coronary heart disease) mortality, non-fatal MI (myocardial infarction) or CHD, cardiovascular mortality and mortality from all causes. (1) Their paper answers these questions thus:

“In conclusion we have shown that it is possible to apply an intensive long-term intervention program against three coronary risk factors with considerable success in terms of risk factor changes. The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on CHD or total mortality.”

In other words, they found that changing the “risk factors” does not apparently change the risks. This necessarily means that the “risk factors” are not as important as they are thought to be. Indeed, it should be concluded that the “risk factors” were no such thing; at least as far as MRFIT trial is concerned.

  • Diastolic pressure has no clinical significance; it is only the systolic pressure that matters, if anything! Most of our RCTs in this area are based on the diastolic reading!
  • The linear science of MRFIT study shows that any level of systolic pressure is better than its higher level! No cut off point at all!
  • Therefore, if 110 systolic reading is good 100 would be better and so on.
  • What does our evidence base tell us? Strictly speaking scientifically, systolic pressure of zero is better than 10 mmHg! Will any one survive with zero pressure?
  •  All RCTs in hypertension arena are based on surrogate end point of BP level coming down. What happens to the patient? No study has reported the real end point of death for the guidance of the NICE guidelines creators. However, by default, there is one study which was stopped prematurely because of the real end point data. The HOT study was stopped in eighteen months (it was to go on for five years) but published with a comment thus: “better drugs in larger doses bring the pressure down very effectively and so the study need not continue.” (2) The truth is that nearly 27% more patients died in the treated group within 18 months compared to the control group which was deemed dangerous to continue the study protocol. So the only one end point (death) study did show that effectively and quickly lowering the BP with powerful drugs is a sure exit visa from this world!
  • RCTs themselves are under a dark cloud these days. No two humans are alike. Where is the scientific basis for matching based on a few phenotypical data? NICE director, Sir Michael Rawlins, had opined in his Harveian Oration in 2008: “that RCTs have been put on an undeservedly high pedestal”! (3)
  •  Let us look at the physics of blood pressure (BP). Everything flows by whirling in nature. How do we know that blood flow inside the vessel is laminar? If it is laminar, it cannot exert later pressure on the vessel wall as Co. Sine 90 is zero. Our definition of blood pressure is lateral pressure exerted by the flowing blood on the vessel wall. Studies have now shown that blood probably flows by whirling only even inside the large blood vessels. Capillary flow is by capillary chaos! Moreover, when a blood vessel gets blocked with atherosclerotic plaques, what happens to blood pressure (if flow is laminar) depends on the Bernoulli’s principle, and not what we project in our textbooks! (4)
  •  If we put all the 17 studies of BP in the literature together, the inclusion criteria will fit only about 39% of the hypertensive population. Where is the evidence base for the rest of the 61% patients?  This is my observation.

Uffe Ravnskov’s analysis of survival benefit, Relative Risk Reduction, and absolute risk reduction (ARR) shows our evidence base in very poor light! (5)

                                                                  BP                 Cholesterol
Relative Risk Reduction%                          -20                      -21                  
Absolute risk reduction %                          -0.8                     -3.3                   Survival chance without drugs %                 96                      88.5                  
Survival chance with drugs %                     96.8                     91.8 

If we look carefully modern medicine deep down is very, very shallow. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

Diabetes—the story is no different!

“But recently part of a large clinical diabetes study was halted after researchers found an increased death rate among those taking higher doses of blood sugar-lowering medication. The ACCORD trial, as it is called, is funded by several US government agencies and the finding surprised many doctors. The New York Times of 27 May 2009 had this to say: “For decades, researchers believed that if people with diabetes lowered their blood sugar to normal levels with drugs, they would no longer be at high risk of dying from heart disease. But a major federal study of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older patients with Type II diabetes has found that lowering blood sugar actually increased their risk of death, researchers reported. The study also stressed that intensive blood pressure and combination lipid therapies do not reduce combined cardiovascular events in adults with diabetes.13

Pregnant fat mothers are now the target for drug companies! They are now pushing to give a dangerous drug, Metformin, which has long list of dangerous side effects like muscle pain and weakness, cardiac arrhythmias like slow or uneven heart rate, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, reduced sex hormone levels, limb numbness, pain abdomen, and even lactic acidosis, a dangerous side effect, to babies to prevent them from becoming diabetics in life even when they are in their mother’s womb. They propose to give Metformin to every obese pregnant lady! I think it is pure insanity. See this report in The Daily Mail: "If the strategy is a success, the treatment could be in widespread use in as little as five years, with tens of thousands of overweight but, otherwise healthy mothers-to-be drugged each year." 14

Routine screening patients with diabetes for occult coronary disease, a bad practice in my opinion, has been shown not to reduce cardiovascular mortality according to the results of large American study.15 We need not scare the common man by saying that he is more prone to heart disease and death if he suffers from diabetes. “Current best evidence requires a change in emphasis in our care for patients with Type 2 diabetes. Clinicians should prioritize supporting well-being and healthy lifestyles, preventive care, and cardiovascular risk reduction for these patients. The randomized trial evidence that we reviewed does not strongly support tight glycaemic control as more beneficial than harmful in reducing the risk for diabetes complications,” 16


I can not sum up this note in a better way than what one of the doctors, Mark Mc Connell, did in the US after all these evidences erupted: “So much theory, so much data, and so little time. Is the care of patients so complicated? It actually seems fairly straightforward unless we have a hard time giving up our past biases that "lower is always better". The patients I meet generally are overwhelmed with testing, clinic visits, finger pricks, and fat bills.”

Patients are happy to be given the good news that they are doing well clinically. They seem relieved and comforted that they needn’t go through repeated tests and torture as supported by our obsession with evidence based medicine—a real boondoggle. Patients can enjoy their lives that have been prolonged by fairly simple things like exercise (daily walk has been shown to produce 80% reduction in premature deaths due to risk factors!), reasonable diet, and patient-centred goals. Unfortunately, we have ‘wise’ doctors who think that BM Hegde is being less compassionate towards modern medicine. They have a right to their opinion, of course. Some might even say that these references are selective, but that is what is being done daily in all science papers, anyway. I will have to pay them in their own coin. Uncertainty is the only certainty in this world. The world is simply a Wirklichkeit (changing drama, reality).

I do not believe in the caste system in healing. For me healing a patient can be achieved by any means which are scientifically authenticated, as long as my interventions do not become worse than his/her original disease. Primum non-nocere! After all, patient care is just CARING for the patient.

 “Intellectual integrity made it quite impossible for me to accept the myths and dogmas of even very great scientists, more particularly of the belligerent and so-called advanced nations. Indeed, those intellectuals who accepted them were abdicating their functions for the joy of feeling themselves at one with the herd”—Bertrand Russell (1872-1969)


1)  Zukel WJ, Paul O, Schnaper HW. The multiple risk factor intervention trial (MRFIT). I. Historical perspective. Prev. Med. 1981 Jul; 10(4):387-401.

2) Hot Study Group.

3) Rawlins M. The Harveian Oration of 2008. De Testimonio. On the evidence for decisions about the use of therapeutic interventions. Royal College of Physicians, 2008. 

4) Hegde BM. Where is the reality?

5) Ravnskov U. Chance of surviving with and without treatment. 18 June 2002 ...

6) Marcia Angell. Patient Preferences in RCTs.  NEJM 1984; 310:1385-87.

7) Clarke CJ. Rapid determination of number of patients required for RCT. Lancet 1966; 11: 1357.

8) Cromie BW. Feet of clay of RCTs. 1963; 11; 994-997.

9) Freidman, Howard S. RCTS and common sense. Am. J. Med. 1986; 81: 1047.

10) MRC streptomycin trials BMJ 1948; 11: 769-782.

11) Harris L Coulter. The Controlled Clinical Trials by Centre for Empirical Medicine and Project Cure Washington DC 1991. ISBN 0-916386

12) Sherwin RB. MRFIT study.

13) ACCORD study.

14) Babies treated in the womb for obesity

15) Young LH, Wackers FJ, Chyun DA, et al. Cardiac outcomes after screening for asymptomatic coronary artery disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. JAMA 2009; 301: 1547-1555.

16) Montori VM and Balsells MF. Glycaemic control in Type II diabetes Time for an evidence based-about face? Ann. Intern. Med. 2009; 150: 803-808.

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])



DrSharmila Rao PN

5 years ago

very interesting article, the entire health and healthcare industry is driven by multinational drug companies and the so called ELITE I am the indians of the software guys, the MBA's and whatnot urban crowd.
be it anything starting with use of flourides in your toothpaste, to baby food, child nutrition, diapers, sanitary towels, instant food, all are bequeaths to us from the west after they have figured that it screws up life style, Honestly this requires dedicated campaigning for which unfortunately I do not have the energy.


5 years ago

This is useless article. Any drug which has been proven to produce positive outcome with defined and low risk, should be acceptable to use. It is possible for many drugs to have side effets and the tests show even this and the testing agencies/ doctors are to evaluate the benifits versus the low incidence of side effects. Those who preffer drugs which have not been tested rigorously as per requirements of FDA of USA or equivalent, can take their risk. I have seen people get kidney damage due to Homeopathic drugs, which some people swear by for safety, despite no tests to prove their side effects or even their efficacy in well structured diuble blind statistically vaild tests. So many Ayurvedic medicines are banned in western countries, as they have been proven to contain toxic levels of heavy metals.



In Reply to Mathai 5 years ago

did you even read the article? the good doctor doesnt preach homeopathy or ayurveda.he is speaking about the problems with 'evidence' based diagnosis. it is all trial and error and pharma companies have incentives to disproportionately highlight one or more risk factors (which makes them money easily).

drsharmila raop

In Reply to pravin 5 years ago

Praveen and Mathai,
Alternate medicine or non-invasive cures have their fraction of unethical and incapable practioners.
I have in my own practise accosted cases where I have prescibed a drug that was altered by the pharmacist. Now I have made it a practise to prescribe an unnecessary x-ray so that the MBA/software/ unmentionable understands oh! by the way these crowds who are so into evidence based medicine, take their medication only after an online google search.


In Reply to pravin 5 years ago

You have missed the point. Tested medicines are logicaly to be supported versus untested medicines. Pharma companies have to give detailed test resilts to regulators before approvals. The article is just political talk against 'big pharma'. As people should know, FDA approves after a rigourous test but no test can be on millions of people. So after the drugs are commercially introduced after FDA approval, data on actual population is also to be tracked. On the much larger sample, some new trends get detected some times of which some may be adverse. This does mean the proceedures accepted based on statistically accepted sample size is not s good balance of cost and risk. You must remember that cost also has to be controlled to make drugs at a targeted cost/price acceptable for patients.

It is strange that people can accept ono-aloopathic drugs without such testing. People do not understand the much greater risk.

The article did not recognise such crucial information


In Reply to mathai 5 years ago

Pravin, perhaps you wanted a more direct answer on the specific points e.g. benifits of controlling blood pressure & blood sugar. The article goes against a large body of knowledge of many years and it makes little sence. If you want to follow it, do it at your own peril. I thought it better to address the larger issue of rigourous testing versus not testing, as that is more relevant.

sharmila rao

In Reply to mathai 5 years ago

Pharma companies are supposed to but many times certain issues are not refereed to like, the risk of carcinoma is greater in feel dry sanitary towels, or even keep dry diapers.
There are high potency antibiotics that give rise to equally disastrous adverse effects.

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