Companies & Sectors
Modi to meet bankers, insurers on crop insurance
New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet senior officials of all banks and insurance companies in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss the implementation of the government's crop insurance scheme, an official source said on Monday.
 
The finance ministry source said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also attend the meeting at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development office along with officials of the finance and agriculture ministries.
 
The meeting will discuss ways to bring more loanee farmers under the 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana' (PMFBY) so as to realise the target of 50 percent insurance coverage.
 
Of the farm credit target of Rs.8.5 lakh crore set for this fiscal, only Rs.75,000 crore is under crop insurance. 
 
Currently, only around 25 percent of the country's total crop area is covered by insurance.
 
Drought and unseasonal rains last year forced the state governments to seek over Rs.10,100 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund.
 
Under the new crop insurance scheme to be implemented from April 1 for kharif crops to be sown from June and available to both loanee and non-loanee farmers, the premium is a low two percent of sum insured for all kharif crops and 1.5 percent for all rabi crops.
 
For annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers will have to pay a premium of 5 percent. The remaining premium share, as was the case with previous schemes, will be borne equally by the central and state governments. 
 
Addressing farmers at the Krishi Unnati Mela here on Saturday, Modi explained the benefits of PMFBY and said it had been evolved after wide-ranging consultations.
 
The 2016-17 budget has increased the allocation for agriculture, irrigation and rural infrastructure in order to help farmers cope with the impact of two successive years of poor rainfall.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Maharashtra assembly in turmoil over AG's Marathwada demand
Mumbai : The Maharashtra assembly was thrown into turmoil on Monday over state Advocate General Shrihari Aney's demand for a separate state of Marathwada, with the ruling BJP's ally Shiv Sena as well as the opposition seeking action against him.
 
Amid the ruckus, slogan-shouting and noisy scenes created by legislators of all parties, the house was adjourned thrice on Monday afternoon.
 
Many legislators demanded to know if the government would consider a 'sedition' charge against Aney. 
 
The issue was raised at the start of the day's proceedings by the members of the Shiv Sena, opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party who raised slogans and demanded Aney's removal from the post.
 
While Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik called Aney the 'Owaisi of Maharashtra', NCP's Dilip Walse-Patil demanded his sacking failing which, he added, it would be construed that the BJP-Sena government was supporting him.
 
Sena leader and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam later announced that his party legislators will neither participate in the assembly proceedings nor attend cabinet meetings until Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took action against the state's top law official.
 
Later, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse assured of "time-bound action" in the legislative council. 
 
At a function in Jalna on Sunday, Aney allegedly said that Marathwada had borne more injustice than the Vidarbha region and should therefore be made an independent state.
 
He urged the people of Marathwada to launch a movement for a separate state.
 
State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant demanded to know whether "Aney was functioning as an agent for dividing the state", while legislator Nitesh Rane condemned the advocate general and legislator Sanjay Dutt demanded Aney's sacking.
 
Dhananjay Munde, NCP's leader of the opposition in the legislative council who initially moved an adjournment motion, sought a clarification from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Aney's removal.
 
"First, he spoke of a separate state of Vidarbha; now he wants a separate Marathwada; tomorrow, he will demand Khandesh and then want Mumbai to be separated from the state," Munde remarked.
 
When the opposition demanded Aney's resignation earlier, Fadnavis supported him and he got the courage to go a step further, Munde added. He demanded his removal and a clarification from the chief minister. 
 
Lok Bharati's Kapil Patil said Aney's statement was tantamount to treason and wanted to know if the government would invoke legal provisions against him.
 
Last year, after Aney sought a referendum on Vidarbha, Fadnavis said there was no need for the AG's resignation as he had spoken at a private function.
 
Moreover, the chief minister said, the creation of a separate state fell in the domain of the Centre and parliament.
 
At that time, Fadnavis mollified the Shiv Sena by saying that Aney's statement did not amount to insulting the 105 martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Explore 'Make in India', Hong Kong urges its industries
Hong Kong : Even as it promotes Hong Kong as the gateway for Indian companies to the Chinese markets, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is promoting India as an alternative manufacturing base for its industries based in China, states a research report.
 
"In recent years, the sustained rise in production costs on the Chinese mainland has eroded the profit margins of many Hong Kong companies with labour-intensive factories located on the Chinese mainland, prompting them to seek alternative production bases elsewhere," the report states.
 
"In a nutshell, India offers many advantages as an alternative production base, along with the added advantage of having a domestic market of great potential," notes the report.
 
Most of the manufacturing units in Hong Kong migrated to China to take advantage of the low costs after the region was handed over to the latter by the British in 1997.
 
Some of the multi-storeyed buildings that once housed garment units are now used as offices or are lying vacant.
 
With manufacturing units shifting base, Hong Kong has turned into a business services hub.
 
According to HKTDC's report, India was the world's second biggest exporter of textile and garment products in 2014, shipping goods worth $36 billion, behind China's exports worth a whopping $399 billion.
 
The report also cites the lower import tariff levied on Indian goods by the US and the European Union (EU).
 
India has been an active player in Asia, securing free trade agreements (FTAs) inside and outside the region. India has also been in talks on an FTA with the EU. 
 
Further, US import tariff rates for Indian yarn-related products range between zero percent and 2.7 percent. The weighted average import tariff rates of the EU and US on non-agricultural products from India are 4.5 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
 
On the demographic profile the report states that the Indian median age of 27 is way below China's 37, ensuring a good supply of young workers for many years to come.
 
"As an aside, China recently announced abandonment of its one-child policy in response to the country's ageing population, though the effect would not be appreciable over the short-to-medium term," the report added.
 
According to HKTDC, the Indian wage levels are comparatively lower than what is paid in China. Furthermore, labour productivity in India is going up while that in China has been declining.
 
The report also cites the presence of industrial estates with plug and play facilities in India for Hong Kong manufacturers to relocate their factories rather than getting bogged down in land acquisition and other issues.
 
The HKTDC report cites the huge domestic market available in India for Hong Kong manufacturers apart from the country being an alternative production site for overseas markets.
 
Meanwhile businessmen in Hong Kong told IANS that the region is the best route to do business with the Chinese.
 
"We know the people who have shifted operations out of Hong Kong to China. It is better for Indian companies to set up an office here than landing directly in China," Noordin A. Ebrahim, director of Masterful Ltd, told IANS.
 
Referring to credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service to cut Hong Kong's long term debt outlook due to its close link to China, Ebrahim said: "I feel it is a political judgement rather than financial."
 
Ebrahim is of the view that China would not do anything to shake the confidence of the Hong Kong business community and would like to see that peace continued to prevail in the former British colony.
 
Hong Kong has transparent and rules based systems, very low taxes and knowledgeable work force, he added.
 
"Knowledge of the local market is important while branding products for China and other markets. Hong Kong-based brand consultants would provide the same for Indian companies," David Lo, chairman, Hong Kong Designers Association, told IANS.
 
"The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the mainland (China) and Hong Kong would result in liberalisation of trade in service between the two regions from June 2016," Yvonne So, director, corporate communication and marketing at HKTDC, told IANS.
 
"Overseas companies can take advantage of CEPA by outsourcing to, or partnering with, a CEPA-qualified manufacturer or services provider in Hong Kong," she added.
 
As for the human resources available, she cited Hong Kong's nine major universities having more than 75,000 full-time undergraduate students and 8,000 taught and research full-time post-graduates.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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