The government has permitted exports of 'Ponni Samba' and 'Matta' varieties of basmati. It has also permitted exports of Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram onions, albeit under licence
New Delhi: The government today allowed the export of three varieties of non-basmati rice grown in the southern states in anticipation of bumper crop production this year, reports PTI.
Partially lifting a three-year old ban, the government has permitted exports of 'Ponni Samba' and 'Matta' varieties of basmati, subject to a cap of 25,000 tonnes each, while shipments of 'Sona Masuri' have been permitted with a cap of 1,00,000 tonnes, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
"Certain varieties of rice (Sona Masuri, Ponni Samba and Matta) are permitted to be exported with a limit on quantity of export for the KMS (Kharif Marketing Season), 2010-11," the DGFT said, adding that the export ban continues on other varieties.
Exemptions from the export ban would also be contingent upon the value of shipments exceeding $850 per tonne.
These varieties are grown in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
According to the agriculture ministry, rice production will rise to 94 million tonnes in the 2010-11 crop year, from 89 million tonnes in the previous year.
The DGFT, an arm of the commerce ministry responsible for export and import-related matters, said that overseas shipment of two varieties of onions has also been permitted, subject to a licence.
"The export of Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram onions is now restricted and their export shall be permitted under licence," it said, adding that the ban on exports of other varieties of onions will continue.
The government had banned the export of onions early this January to rein in soaring prices, which touched Rs70-Rs85 per kg on 21 December 2010, in retail markets of major metros.
The decisions were taken on Wednesday by an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
While the Anil Ambani Group has already sought an investigation by SEBI, stock exchanges and investigating agencies into hammering of its companies' stocks, it said today that it has identified brokers sending mass e-mails/SMS/voice calls with baseless sensational charges against group companies
The Anil Ambani group today said it has identified the stockbrokers behind the spread of malicious rumours and "baseless sensational charges" against it and sought immediate action by the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) against the perpetrators.
The group said these brokers were sending out mass emails and SMSs and were also making large-scale voice calls with baseless and sensational charges against its firms.
Stocks of various companies belonging to the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) have fallen sharply in the past few weeks and the group has blamed corporate rivals, a cartel of stock market manipulators and 'rumour mongering' for this heavy sell-off.
While the group has already sought a probe by SEBI, stock exchanges and investigating agencies into the matter, it said in a fresh statement today that it has "identified stockbrokers sending mass e-mails/SMS/voice calls with baseless sensational charges against ADA Group."
While the group did not name the brokers in its statement, the names and other details about their suspicious activities have been submitted to SEBI.
Moneylife sources confirm that indeed some brokers were in the know of the developments in New Delhi and were hammering the stocks. However, action that may be taken by various investigating agencies against group companies is a different issue.
"These brokers (are) guilty of blatant violation of SEBI (FUTP) Regulations," the group said. These regulations relate to Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices (FUTP) relating to the securities market.
The group said that it was "bringing the matter to the immediate attention of SEBI/cyber crime/police for seizure of electronic and dealing room records."
It also sought a "full-fledged SEBI investigation and punitive interim orders against guilty brokers".
Stocks of ADA group firms plummeted further today after regaining some of the ground lost over the past few weeks yesterday.
The group's telecom arm, Reliance Communications, was over 4.5% down in morning trade, while Reliance Power was down over 3.4%. In addition, Reliance Infra, Reliance Broadcast, Reliance Capital and Reliance Media Works were also down over 2% each.
Hit hard by the steep decline in its stocks, the ADA group yesterday blamed 'corporate rivals' and a cartel of market manipulators for causing panic among investors.
Seeking to assuage the concerns of its over 11 million investors, the group also said it was a victim of an illegal bear cartel that destroyed over Rs3,00,000 crore in market value for the infrastructure sector in the past few weeks.
The comments came a day after the group stocks fell by up to 19%, causing a market value loss of over Rs11,000 crore in a single day on 9th February.
The group company stocks bounced back yesterday, but regained only a small part of the value that they have lost over the past few weeks.
Why did the media ignore ISRO’s S-band scam for so long after it was in the public domain, asks Achintya Mukherjee
Details of the 'ISRO scam', which the Opposition claims to have unearthed a few days ago, were sent by the Bombay Telephone Users' Association (BTUA) to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and LK Advani, then leader of the Opposition, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), eight months ago, in June 2010 to be precise. But politicians raise the issue-as they are doing now on the ISRO spectrum case-only to score political brownie points when it is convenient to them. Consequently, the loot of the natural resources of the country, which belong to all its citizens, continues unabated.
I am aware that the papers about the scandal were received (although for some strange reason, Speed Post acknowledgement due notices never come back from the political luminaries in Delhi), because I did hear from my sources in Delhi that the matter had reached the prime minister. But we heard of no action. Neither Mr Advani, nor his party did anything in the matter then. It was not raised in Parliament, nor was the information 'leaked' to the Delhi media, as has become the practice, so that an investigation could begin.
The principal issues in matters related to spectrum were raised in a consultation paper of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum allocation, put up on the TRAI website on 16 October 2009. In its response on 22 December 2009, BTUA had focused on the questions of (1) taking an inventory of the spectrum in use and not in use, (2) the return of spectrum received in excess or that which was affected by re-farming (example, defence, police, railways, etc), and (3) logical re-farming on the principles of best and efficient use per application, thus freeing the unused spectrum which would be released for commercial allocation.
BTUA criticised the authorities for raising these questions again when the very same questions had already been raised by TRAI in the consultation paper of May 2004 on spectrum-related issues. BTUA said that "it should have been the task of the DoT and its subsidiary agencies by now to have transparently studied this subject and indeed presented to the country a possible roadmap…it is the DoT (Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing) that should have given the answers for availability and suggestions for re-farming. In fact, without the data on this availability, decisions will only reflect the skewed process of recommendations and piecemeal approach to critical issues of progress."
Had such an inventory been taken, it would have become clear which organisation (private or public) was using which bandwidth and all questions of the allocation of 72Mhz to Dewas would have come out in the open. The citizens of India remain in the dark till today if there are other bandwidths generously doled out to other organisations. It is not to say that infinite spectrum is available, but the whole process appears to be manipulated to create an artificial scarcity, when the management of spectrum can be more efficient and transparent.
Incidentally, BTUA's response was not even put up on the TRAI website. The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) has repeatedly pointed out to TRAI and DoT (and I have done so myself) the need to have effective involvement of consumers who are the biggest stakeholders in the telecom space. Without this, all decisions are skewed in favour of service providers and the industry because it is they who have the lucre-not the ordinary consumer.
BTUA made the point that whereas the government may have raised huge resources through auctioning of spectrum to cover a part of the budgetary deficit created by profligacy, private enrichment from nexus and corruption, leakages and sheer incompetence in all areas of governance, in the final analysis, all of this would be recovered from the common citizens through the cost of services provided and taxes thereon.
All of these questions were also posed to the users of spectrum who would also be affected by this poor management. BTUA's note was sent to several members of the press and to a large group of activists and citizens on BTUA's email list. The issues went unpublished in the media because it would have gone against the interests of the service providers.
I wrote then: "Democracy can only work if there is a critical mass of citizens who are committed to asking the right questions and demanding accountability of the executive (Government of India)... Your involvement is vital for adding to that critical mass. So please think about it and tell us what you feel."
The Association wanted to carry the voice of the people to the policy-makers. It still does, in the hope that some of it will pierce their deaf ears in Delhi.
(Achintya Mukherjee is the honorary joint secretary of the Bombay Telephone Users' Association-BTUA)