FMC lifts ban on futures trading in sugar

New Delhi: Commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) today lifted the ban on trading in sugar futures, as retail prices of the sweetener have dropped by 40% since January and also buoyed by expectations of a bumper output in 2010-11, reports PTI.

"We have allowed to lapse the ban on sugar futures trading today," FMC chairman B C Khatua told PTI.

He said FMC would take a decision on launch of new contracts in 2-3 days after consultation with sugar industry and commodity exchanges.

The government had banned futures trading in sugar in May last year to control prices in the domestic market. India, the world's second largest producer and biggest consumer, has been importing sugar from February 2009 to meet domestic demand.

However, the output in 2010-11 (October-September) is expected to rise to 25 million tonnes from 19 million tonnes in the current sugar year, which runs from October to September. Annual demand is 23 million tonnes.

The prices have crashed to Rs30-Rs32 per kg in the retail market of Delhi from a record Rs48 a kg in the mid-January.


Govt raises onion minimum export price by $75

New Delhi: The government has raised the minimum export price (MEP) for onions by $75 to $425 a tonne for October, the third straight month in a row, to discourage overseas shipments and tame domestic prices, reports PTI.

"The minimum export price of onion has been increased by $75 to $425 a tonne for October to contain rising domestic prices," said a senior official with agri-cooperative Nafed, which is the government's nodal agency for regulating onion exports.

Last month, the onion MEP stood at $350 a tonne, while in October, 2009, it was $300 a tonne.

Depleting stocks of onion in cold storage chains is driving up prices, as fresh crops are only expected to arrive after November, the official said.

The wholesale prices at Lasalgaon, in Maharashtra, which is Asia's biggest onion market, have risen sharply by 60% to Rs1,600 per quintal today from Rs1,000 per quintal in the same period last month, according to official data.

A similar increase was seen in retail prices across the country. For instance, in metros, onion prices have increased to Rs19-Rs24 a kg today from Rs10-Rs16 a kg a year ago.

"Higher export prices would help discourage overseas sales and increase domestic availability," the official said, adding that presently, demand for Indian onions is low as prices are higher by $50 a tonne in the global market as compared to Pakistan and China.

A higher MEP has slowed down the country's onion exports, which declined for the sixth consecutive month in September, according to Nafed.

Overall onion exports from India declined by 59% to 57,855 tonnes in September from 1,41,299 tonnes in the same period last year, it said.

Agri-cooperative major Nafed, along with 13 other agencies involved in onion exports, regulates exports by fixing the MEP every month. No export can take place below the MEP and all contracts are registered with Nafed.

India's onion output was estimated at around 130 lakh tonnes in 2009-10.


The world is India’s oyster. And we are handing out cards to prove it

The ‘unique’ ID card may also be issued to foreigners or illegal immigrants resident in India, say some reports. Why not issue the card to the whole world?

Today's news report (no kidding): If unique identity (UID) officers are to be believed then foreigners or illegal immigrants staying in India may also get the all-important ID to be issued by the Central government. "We have been asked to enrol everyone staying in the country," said a senior government official. He did not deny the possibility of foreigners or illegal immigrants getting the UID.


"Give me your tired, your poor, your non-identified, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. They don't have to worry no more.
Send these, the homeless to me; I'll gift them a card that will set them free."

(With due apologies to Emma Lazarus and her "The New Colossus.")

It's official now. India is about to embark on its most prestigious project yet. No, this is not about our quest to find water on the moon because our cities don't have any of the stuff to drink. We are about to issue 'unique' ID cards to anybody who lives on this planet. Since 'Aadhaar' might not roll out easily from the tongue of say, a native Basque speaker, the project will now be rechristened 'Numbers sans Frontiers'.

Since our latest census (after the forms are suitably modified to include caste, blood groups, name of closest watering hole and details of domesticated animals) is bound to prove that two out of every five people alive on Earth are Indian, what harm if we issue ID cards to the rest?

Finally, our problems with Pakistan will be sorted out. There will be no more illegal infiltration of militants anymore as anybody with the NSF (Numbers sans Frontiers) card can pick up an AK-47, get into a Toyota pick-up and drive through Wagah.

Illegal migration from Bangladesh will also be a thing of the past. That's simply because the migrants will not be illegal any more. They'll have the NSF card to prove it.

Since the NSF card will have details in all the official languages of India with a thousand dialects thrown in (the all-knowing, omnipotent IT czar with a bad moustache who is behind the project will work out the details) along with a moving screen with bad Indian soap operas, this card will be identifiable at each and every corner of the world. 

The only danger to this ambitious project, of course, will hinge on how Steve Jobs will react. Will he come out with an iNSF (with Flash, to boot)? That's when Indian ingenuity will save the day. Our home-grown NSF cards will be packed with features which will not function. That's how we will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Talking about wheat, the person holding the NSF card will be able to buy virtual grain from our Public Distribution System. "If they don't have bread, let them bake," as one of our senior ministers put it, not too long ago.

Dear reader, if you have not got your NSF card yet, don't fret. When reports last came in, it was confirmed that these cards will be issued only after every other form of Indian identity (PAN cards, driving licenses, passports and school-leaving certificates) will be destroyed in a Nazi-like orgy of serial bonfires. It is also rumoured that this bonfire will be used to light up the torch of every Commonwealth Games to come, if there are any left. Isn't it time that the Queen passed the baton and picked up her very own NSF card?   

Don't watch this space for more. I'm off to get my NSF card.



anil gupta

7 years ago

it is so easy make fun of any ambitious program. AAdhar is a step in the right direction and like mavericks before, this initiative will also prove critics wrong. i am generally not very enthusiastic about such measures but in this case, the inclusion of the poorest will justify the irony and paradox that critics like the author may see. it is silly to argue against an indian identity and support green card, ah!!!


7 years ago

do not create a scare, through out the developed world data is collected by a unique number for each individual. The author will be the first person to get chipped if he wants to travel to USA and he will call it progress.


7 years ago

great writing.really a thoo on the face of our ministers and bureaucrats.but they have gone shameless.

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