Economy
Monsoon ends this week, record food output likely
A "normal" monsoon and adequate water in major reservoirs nationwide, coupled with more money to agriculture, have set the stage for a record agricultural output of 270 million tonnes -- 2 per cent in excess of the government's target -- for the kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) crops of 2016.
 
With the southwest monsoon officially withdrawing this week, water available in 91 reservoirs nationwide is 25 per cent more than the amount available in October 2015, according to Central Water Commission data, except in Karnataka and Gujarat, which saw an 20 per cent deficit in seasonal rainfall.
 
Against the government target of 132 million tonnes, India is set for a kharif output of 135 million tonnes, according to preliminary government estimates; the previous highest was 131 million tonnes in 2011-12.
 
It also appears India will meet the rabi target of 137 million tonnes, one million tonnes more than the previous high in 2013-14.
 
A third of India's districts were faced with deficient rainfall in the June-August period; it now appears that Karnataka and Gujarat will be hardest hit, according to a report, 'Monsoon Granular Review' by CRISIL, a research agency.
 
A "double whammy" -- three successive years of deficient rainfall and poor irrigation facilities -- makes 13 districts in the two states the worst-affected in this "normal" monsoon season, the report said.
 
The four-month monsoon season ended within normal limits of (+/-)4 per cent of the 100-year average. The actual deficit was 3 per cent -- India received 97 per cent of normal rainfall in the June-September period -- diverging from the prediction of 6 per cent excess rainfall forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) as the monsoon began.
 
The 91 major reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission are at 75 per cent capacity, equalling the average availability of the last 10 years.
 
"The share of distressed districts in all-India kharif production is just 1.7 per cent but the stress to agricultural household incomes could be high because a quarter of the kharif production in Karnataka and a third in Gujarat comes from the distressed districts," the CRISIL report said.
 
Even with Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala getting less-than-normal rains, adequate irrigation facilities will ensure that these states are not affected as much as Karnataka and Gujarat, the report said.
 
With the exception of some districts in some states, the picture for India's agricultural economy looks positive due to the fact that the sowing of the summer crop has crossed the end-of-September average sowing of 102.5 million hectare to reach 107.1 million hectare.
 
Pulses output in the kharif season was estimated to be 8.7 million tonnes, 22 per cent more than the best of 7.1 million tonnes achieved in 2010-11, and 60 per cent more than last year's 5.5 million tonnes.
 
Oilseeds production is set to be 234 million tonnes, 4 per cent more than the best of 226 million tonnes produced in 2013-14.
 
Every monsoon -- whether it is good (above normal) or bad (below normal) -- leaves some areas inundated and some parched. In the "normal" monsoon of 2016, eight states received less than 85 per cent of normal rains.
 
A normal monsoon in 2013 hid 30 per cent and 23 per cent deficits in Bihar and Jharkhand, respectively.
 
In 2016, except for central India, the other three regions -- northwest, southern peninsular and eastern (including northeast) -- reported deficits in June-to-September rainfall.
 
Only four of 36 meteorological sub-divisions received more than 20 per cent above normal rainfall. Drought-stricken Marathwada and the coastal strip of Konkan in Maharashtra received 22 per cent and 21 per cent above-normal rainfall, while two divisions of Rajasthan, west and east, received 20 per cent and 32 per cent above-normal rains, respectively.
 
Nine divisions -- covering eight states -- of coastal and southern Karnataka, Kerala, eastern Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya have received less than 80 per cent of the normal monsoon rain.
 
Twenty-three divisions-covering the whole of eastern and central India-received normal rainfall.
 
The north-eastern monsoon -- or the retreating monsoon, as it is called -- is set to give normal rains to Tamil Nadu, southern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, according to the IMD forecast, offering relief to the distressed parts of the states.
 
Cotton and sugarcane, the major cash crops of India, have suffered in this season. Cotton has been planted on 83 per cent of normal cropped area, and its production is expected to be 11 per cent less than the best production of 360 lakh bales achieved in 2013-14.
 
Sugarcane is being cropped on 90 per cent of normal cropped area, and the season is expected to produce only 82 per cent of the best cane production of 360 million tonnes achieved till date (2011-12 and 2013-14).
 
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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Refund money to flat buyers: SC tells Unitech
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed real estate major Unitech to refund the principal cost of flats to 39 buyers who had booked apartments in a Gurgaon project seven years back and have still not got possession of their houses.
 
Directing Unitech to refund the principal amount, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said the question of interest and compensation for failure to deliver the possession of flats would be considered at the next hearing of the case in the second week of January next year.
 
While passing the order, Justice Misra said Rome was not built in one day and the foundation of any economy was the "faith" that a buyer reposed in the seller. 
 
The court, in its order, noted the agony of the buyers as they told the bench that even after paying the entire amount they were still without a roof of their own and were living in rented accommodations. 
 
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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k.mohanarangam k.mohanarangam

7 months ago

of late the Apex court is making undisputed,impartial,
landmark Judgements. thanks to the chief and his team

Microsoft develops first human-like speech recognition system
In a major breakthrough in the field of speech recognition, Microsoft researchers have created a technology that accurately recognises the words in a conversation like humans do.
 
The team from Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research reported a speech recognition system that makes the same or fewer errors than professional transcriptionists.
 
The researchers reported a word error rate (WER) of 5.9 percent, down from the 6.3 percent WER the team reported just last month.
 
The 5.9 percent error rate is about equal to that of people who were asked to transcribe the same conversation, and it's the lowest ever recorded against the industry standard "Switchboard" speech recognition task.
 
"We've reached human parity. This is an historic achievement," said Xuedong Huang, the company's chief speech scientist in a Microsoft blog post.
 
The milestone means that, for the first time, a computer can recognise the words in a conversation as well as a person would.
 
In doing so, the team has beat a goal they set less than a year ago - and greatly exceeded everyone else's expectations as well.
 
"Even five years ago, I wouldn't have thought we could have achieved this. I just wouldn't have thought it would be possible," said Harry Shum, executive vice president who heads the Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research group.
 
The research milestone comes after decades of research in speech recognition, beginning in the early 1970s with DARPA, the US agency tasked with making technology breakthroughs in the interest of national security.
 
"This accomplishment is the culmination of over 20 years of effort," said Geoffrey Zweig, who manages the Speech & Dialog research group.
 
The milestone will have broad implications for consumer and business products that can be significantly augmented by speech recognition. That includes consumer entertainment devices like the Xbox, accessibility tools such as instant speech-to-text transcription and personal digital assistants such as Cortana.
 
"This will make Cortana (Microsoft personal assistant) more powerful, making a truly intelligent assistant possible," Shum said.
 
To reach the human parity milestone, the team used Microsoft's Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK), a home-grown system for deep learning that the research team has made available on GitHub via an open source license.
 
CNTK's ability to quickly process deep learning algorithms across multiple computers running a specialised chip called a graphics processing unit vastly improved the speed at which the team was able to do research and, ultimately, reach human parity.
 
Moving forward, the researchers are working on ways to make sure that speech recognition works well in more real-life settings.
 
That includes places where there is a lot of background noise, such as at a party or while driving on the highway.
 
In the longer term, researchers will focus on ways to teach computers not just to transcribe the acoustic signals that come out of people's mouths, but instead to understand the words they are saying.
 
"The next frontier is to move from recognition to understanding," Zweig said.
 
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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