Govt to allow export of 55 lakh bales of cotton from October

New Delhi: The government will allow unrestricted export of 55 lakh bales of cotton from 1st October but dispatches beyond the ceiling would attract export duty of Rs2500 per tonne, reports PTI quoting a government official.

Cotton production this season, starting next month, is projected at a record 330 lakh bales, the official told PTI.

In the cotton year 2009-2010 (Oct-Sep), the production was 292 lakh bales. One bale is equal to 170 kg.

The decision to allow unrestricted export of 55 lakh bales was taken at a meeting of commerce secretary Rahul Khullar, agriculture secretary P K Basu and textiles secretary Rita Menon here on 1st September, he said.

However, exporters will have to register their overseas contracts with the Textiles Commissioner. The registration process is scheduled to start from 15th September, he said.

With domestic consumption estimates of 220 lakh bales, the country may have a closing stock of 50-55 lakh bales at the end of the season.

While cotton exports aggregated about 83 lakh bales during the last season and closing stocks 40.5 lakh bales, the government had brought in several restrictions in the wake of high prices of the natural fibre.

Cotton prices had increased by about 35% in the global market between October 2009 and May 2010.

The commerce secretary had earlier said that overseas shipments of cotton beyond the quota would attract export duty.

The export restrictions, which were mostly announced during April-May this year, included export duty of Rs2,500 per tonne and suspension of registration of new export contracts, besides restriction of shipments under the licence regime.

The government has also announced doing away with the licence regime.

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LIC to invest Rs1,000 crore in mall-cum-office complex at Mohali

Chandigarh: State-owned insurance major Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) today said that will invest a sum of Rs1,000 crore to develop a mall-cum-office complex at Mohali, reports PTI.

"The expected investment in developing a mall-cum-office complex in Mohali will be Rs1,000 crore and it may be ready within one-and-a-half to two years," a senior LIC official, who declined to be identified, told reporters here.

On 9.6 acres of land LIC has proposed to build 6 lakh square feet of area for this project. "Three lakh square feet will be developed for shopping and a mall while remaining 3 lakh square feet area will have offices," he said.

Currently, LIC is in the process of hiring an architect for this ambitious real estate project. Consultancy agency IL&FS has also submitted its report on how to go about this project, he revealed.

LIC had bought 9.6 acres of land at a prime location through an auction, which was conducted by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority in 2008 by shelling out Rs465 crore.

Interestingly, throughout the auction, LIC remained the sole bidder for this project and paid just over Rs1 lakh per square yard, which was the highest ever rate in the region at that point of time.

LIC has already developed real estate projects in Mumbai and Bangalore. "LIC has also plans to develop a shopping mall in Kolkata where it possesses 5 acres of land," he further said.

Besides, LIC has 3.6 acres of land in Ludhiana which it bought in September 2008 at a sum of Rs228 crore.

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Govt permits export of 250,000 tonnes of sugar under ALS

New Delhi: The government today decided to allow the export of about 2,50,000 tonnes of sugar over the next three months, enabling mills to meet a part of their total export obligation of nearly one million tonnes, reports PTI.

Mills had imported 20.75 lakh tonnes of sugar in the 2004-05 crop year (October-September) under the Advance Licence Scheme (ALS), which makes it mandatory for mills to export an equal quantity later. Mills are still left with an export obligation of nearly one million tonnes and the deadline is March, 2011.

"We have decided to allow mills to meet their export obligation in two tranches. Mills can export 25% of the quantity (9,67,000 tonnes) in the next three months and the rest of the quantity after November," a senior food ministry official told PTI.

Mills cannot export the sweetener without the release order from the ministry.

The government has decided to allow sugar exports as the country is likely to achieve a higher production than the annual demand in 2010-11 (October-September) after two year's of low output.

India's sugar production is estimated at 25.5 million tonnes in 2010-11, while demand is pegged at 23 million tonnes.

Furthermore, the retail prices have declined by 40% since mid-January. Retail sugar prices, which touched nearly Rs50 a kg in Delhi in mid-January, have come down to Rs30 per kg now.

In December last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had decided to extend the deadline to meet the export obligation till March, 2011, considering the low production of the sweetener during the current season, ending September.

It also gave an option to millers to pay customs duty as applicable during the relevant period and get exempted from the export obligation.

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