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 ‘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.
There have been quite a few ambitious announcements by the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). However, the most difficult to achieve seems to be its plan to ramp up capacity to 25,000MW by 2015
Given that R-Power's current capacity is just 600MW and even assuming that it grows eight times to 2,000MW in two years, Reliance ADAG's plan to touch 25,000MW by 2015 and 35,000MW by 2017 seems unrealistic. The rule of thumb is that you need roughly Rs40.5 million per MW - therefore, it would seem that ADAG will need more than Rs1 trillion to achieve its target. Even if we assume 70% debt, it will have to raise a mind-boggling Rs300 billion in equity. Seems like an uphill task. The second problem is execution. Most of its projects have already fallen behind schedule.
A Kotak report today says, "Targeted capacity of 25GW by FY2015E is ambitious given the high degree of execution risks involved. Our scepticism stems from the present status of projects, which are significantly lagging their original execution schedule." It points out that the current capex run rate is sluggish at Rs35 billion in FY10 which is marginally lesser than Rs37 billion in FY09, indicating sluggish execution. Out of its IPO proceeds of Rs116 billion, it has only used Rs55 billion.
Kotak also points out that its plans to expand its gas-based capacities face high fuel risk. R-Power plans to set up 10,000MW of gas-based capacities with 7,480MW in Dadri and 2,400MW in Samalkot. Kotak believes that Reliance Power's current valuation of 2.3x FY12 net worth is expensive given execution and fuel uncertainties and the fact that a large portion of capacity would be UMPPs (12,000MW) which are usually not value accretive given competitive bids.
In the last two months Reliance Power's stock is pretty much stagnant at around Rs160 levels, after falling from a high of Rs190 in July.
Anil Ambani also assured Reliance Communications shareholders that the company would be debt free in the next three years. Market reaction to this announcement has been scepticism. RCom has a huge debt of Rs300 billion and the plan was that the stake sale in Reliance Infratel, RCom's tower arm would help retire some of this debt. However, even after being in the news for the last many months this deal has not come through. The investor approach seems to be - we will believe it when we see it. In the AGM, ADAG said that RCom's capital expenditure would be only fourth of what it had been over the last three years implying that free cash flows would help it retire debt.
RCom's stock fell from a high of Rs205 in late June to around Rs155 late August. Since then it has recovered to Rs170 levels.
Shareholders' hopes from Reliance Capital may be on a bit more firmer ground with ADAG talking of its ambition to create a bank and listing the life insurance business. However, even both these are not new announcements and are already known to the market and long awaited. Reliance Capital's share price has been among the best performing in the ADAG pack, moving up from a low of Rs611 in May to around Rs850 recently.
(This article is based on secondary research. The report is for information only. None of the stock information, data and company information presented herein constitutes a recommendation or solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities. Investors must do their own research and due diligence before acting on any security. Some of the opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and may not necessarily represent those of Moneylife).