Expert panel on sugar decontrol may submit report in 6 months

Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor, ministry of finance, said: “We are serious about this (sugar decontrol). Many countries like Brazil have really flourished and we want this to happen in India”

New Delhi: An expert committee on sugar decontrol is likely to submit report in the next six months, reports PTI quoting prime minister’s economic advisory panel chairman C Rangarajan.

In January, prime minister Manmohan Singh had formed an expert committee, under the chairmanship of C Rangarajan, to examine issues related to decontrolling of the sugar sector.

“I think we are meeting after one month again. In the next six months, we hope to submit the report. This is a preliminary meeting, we discussed various issues facing sugar sector,” Mr Rangarajan told reporters after the meeting.

On the deliberation in the meeting, Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor, ministry of finance, said: “We are serious about this (sugar decontrol). Many countries like Brazil have really flourished and we want this to happen in India”.

Apart from Mr Rangarajan and Kaushik Basu, the members of the committee include secretaries to the Department of Food and Agriculture, Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chairman Ashok Gulati, former agriculture secretary Nand Kumar and KP Krishnan, secretary EAC.

“Shared feeling is that potential of this sector has not been realised in India. We will write a serious report. I am keeping my fingers crossed, things will happen,” Mr Basu noted.

The sugar industry is under government control, right from the level of production to distribution.

The apex sugar industry bodies ISMA and NFCSF are seeking partial decontrol of the sector, including freedom to sell sugar in the open market and doing away with the levy obligation for the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Under the levy obligation, sugar mills are required to sell 10% of their output to the government at below-cost rates for supply to ration shops. Mills supply levy sugar at 60% of the cost of production, resulting in an annual industry loss of about Rs 2,500-Rs3,000 crore.

The industry has also been demanding removal of the monthly release system under which food ministry allocates quantity of sugar to be sold in the open market every month.

Sugar production in India, the world’s second largest producer but the largest consumer, is estimated to touch 26 million tonnes as against the annual demand of 22 million tonnes.

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India will be world’s 3rd largest economy by 2030: BP report

“By 2030 China and India will be the world’s largest and third largest economies and energy consumers, jointly accounting for about 35% of the global population, gross domestic product (GDP) and energy demand,” BP’s chief economist Christof Ruhl said releasing BP’s Energy Outlook 2030

New Delhi: India will be the world’s third largest economy by 2030 but its energy demand will slow down to 4.5%, reports PTI quoting global energy giant BP plc.

“By 2030 China and India will be the world’s largest and third largest economies and energy consumers, jointly accounting for about 35% of the global population, gross domestic product (GDP) and energy demand,” BP’s chief economist Christof Ruhl said releasing BP’s Energy Outlook 2030.

There would be “no surge in energy demand as India industrialises. Demand growth slows to 4.5% per annum (against 5.5% p.a. in 1999-2010) as improvements in energy efficiency partly offset the energy needs of industrialisation and infrastructure expansion.”

India’s dependence on imports to meet its gas needs will jump to 47% by 2030 while the same for oil will grow to 91%. The nation will be 40% dependent on imports to meet its coal needs.

He said India remains on a lower path of energy intensity; by 2030 it consumes only about half the energy that China consumes today, at a similar income per capita level as in China today.

Over the next 20 years China and India combined account for all the net increase in global coal demand, 94% of net oil demand growth, 30% of gas, and 48% of the net growth in non-fossil fuels.

Coal remains the main commercial fuel, but its share falls from 70% to 55% in China as a result of maturing industrial structure and from 53% to 50% in India due to domestic resource constraints.

Oil’s share is flat at 18% in China and falls to 26% in India, constrained by prices and growing import dependency. Gas gains market share along with nuclear and renewables in both countries, BP said.

In India, the share of industry continues to grow, as infrastructure development catches up and manufacturing expands to absorb a growing labour force, but it never reaches the Chinese level. “India therefore remains significantly less energy intensive, with a relatively high share of the service sector in GDP.”

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SC directs Centre to implement interlinking of rivers project

The fate of the ambitious Rs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 has remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report (DPR) is in cold storage

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to implement the ambitious interlinking of rivers project in a time-bound manner and appointed a high-powered committee for its planning and implementation, reports PTI.

Observing that the project has already been delayed resulting in an increase in its cost, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said the Centre and the concerned state governments should participate for its ‘effective’ implementation “in a time bound manner”.

The bench, also comprising justices Swatanter Kumar and AK Patnaik, appointed a high-powered committee comprising representatives of various government departments, ministries, experts and social activists to chart out and execute the project.

The committee will comprise Union minister of water resources, its secretary, secretary of ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) and four expert members appointed by the water resources ministry, finance ministry, Planning Commission and MoEF.

Representatives from state governments, two social activists and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been assisting the court in the case, will also be members of the committee.

“We direct the Union of India to forthwith constitute a committee for interlinking of rivers,” the bench said, adding “we direct the committee to implement the project”.

“The committee shall plan for implementation of the project,” the bench said, adding the delay has already resulted in an increase in the cost of the project.

The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002 the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.

A Centre-appointed task force had in a report recommended division of the project into two—the Peninsular component and the Himalayan component.

The Peninsular component—involving the rivers in southern India—envisaged developing a ‘Southern Water Grid’ with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.

The task force had also mooted the diversion of the west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.

The task force had identified 14 links including Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech, Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna- Rajasthan, Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka- Sunderbans, Brahmaputra-Ganga, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.

The task force had also concluded that the linking of rivers in the country would raise the irrigation potential to 160 million hectares for all types of crops by 2050, compared to a maximum of about 140 million hectares that could be generated through conventional sources of irrigation.

The fate of the ambitious Rs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 has remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report (DPR) is in cold storage.

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