Science and technology minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, however, discounted fears of its adverse impact, saying the distribution of rainfall across the country so far has been uniform and there could be even improvement given the model error margin of plus or minus 4%
New Delhi: Monsoon rains are expected to be below normal at 95% with an error of plus or minus 4%, science and technology minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said here today.
He, however, discounted fears of its adverse impact, saying the distribution of rainfall across the country so far has been uniform and there could be even improvement given the model error margin of plus or minus 4%.
"It is not a reason to worry," he told reporters here.
"Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 95% of the long period average with a model error of plus or minus 4%," he told reporters here today.
In April, during the first monsoon forecast, the government had said the monsoon would be normal, with the rainfall is likely to be 98% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus 5%.
IMD director general Ajit Tyagi attributed the revised forecast to factors like weakening of the La Nina condition (associated with monsoon) which has become neutral, the below temperature over Indian ocean and the pressure over the North Atlantic which has become unfavourable.
Over the four broad geographical regions of the country, rainfall this season is likely to be 97% of its long period average over North-West India, 95% over North East India, 95% over Central India and 94% over South peninsula, with a model error of plus or minus 8%.
Experts say it is too optimistic to hope that FDI will curb inflation which is the outcome of restrictive laws, poor infrastructure and wastage
The chief economic advisor to the government and the National Planning Commission have said that allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail will help tame inflation. However, a section of experts are not so sure that allowing FDI will bring about any changes.
"Most retailers are suffering losses and are having problems with staffing and cost management. FDI may bring some relief, but overall neither will it have any impact on inflation or change the retailing scene," said an analyst. He was commenting on the government allowing foreign investment in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CTAI) has raised serious objections to FDI in retail, saying that the idea that FDI in retail will tame inflation in imaginary.
"The argument that FDI in retail will tame inflation is nothing but an imaginary exercise by the people who have the tendency to ignore the ground realities," CTAI said in a statement last week, in view of the poor infrastructure and archaic laws that have hampered effective distribution and marketing of goods in the country.
At a meeting last month, Dr Kaushik Basu, the government's chief economic advisor, said, "The gap between farm gate prices of agricultural produce and the retail prices (in India) are amongst the highest in the world as also amongst the emerging markets. China, which opened its retail sector to FDI in 2004, has shown the benefits of opening of the sector and having in more players." This idea that FDI-backed modern retail could curb inflation has been repeated by big global retail chains like Wal Mart and Carrefour, who are trying to enter the Indian market.
According to some sector experts, the idea that FDI will bring in advanced business acumen and management know-how, does not answer how it will eliminate the problems which has plagued the public distribution system, and the supply of goods-problems of corruption, wastage and the lack of legal and infrastructure facilities.
According to a study published by Nielsen, sales at modern retail stores grew by 34% in 2006 and 29.3% in 2010. Traditional kirana stores could increase sales by only 1.5% in 2006, but improved growth to 6.2% last year. Organised retail makes up less than 10% of the retail market in India, which is estimated at close to $400 million. The Boston Consulting Group has estimated the size of the organised retail market at $28 billion and expects it to grow nine times to $260 billion in 10 years.
"It is well known that organised retail constitutes a very small space in India's retail sector. Allowing FDI in that space will not constitute any major upheaval," another analyst said. "Moreover, companies like HUL are reaching out to rural customers themselves, often in the absence of modern retail. So it may be too soon to perceive that the kirana sector is under a threat."
Shortage of retail space, a steep rise in rents at premium locations, problems with inventory and goods management have emerged as the main concerns for retailers. FDI could help them in a sort of financial recovery and aid their expansion plans.
In the next 18 months, the Future Group plans to open 250-300 stores, Aditya Birla's More and Reliance Retail are looking at more hypermarkets and 150 stores each. By 2013, Spencers wants to add 1 million square feet of retailing space to the chain.
While the suggestion that the presence of FDI in retail could help reduce inflation appears unconvincing, it could give hope to retailers who are looking for financers during a lull in the market.
To improve availability of power in Uttarakhand, UJVNL intends to set up 300 MW to 500 MW gas based power plants at Kashipur and Haridwar
GAIL (India) Ltd and UJVN Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for evaluating the potential of setting up of gas based combined cycle power plants in Haridwar and Kashipur in Uttarakhand under joint venture route.
To improve availability of power in Uttarakhand, UJVNL intends to set up 300 MW to 500 MW gas based power plants at Kashipur and Haridwar.
As per GAIL's assessment, there is a demand potential of 4.5-5.0mmscmd in Uttarakhand. GAIL is currently executing two pipeline projects (i) Karanpur-Moradabad-Kashipur-Rudrapur and (ii) Saharanpur-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Dehradun to transport gas to consumers in Kashipur, Rudrapur, Roorkee, Haridwar and Dehradun. The Karanpur-Moradabad-Kashipur-Rudrapur pipeline will be approximately 182 km in length with an investment of Rs239 crore. This pipeline will be connected to GAIL's existing Auraiya-Dadri pipeline at Karanpur. The second pipeline from Saharanpur-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Dehradun will be approximately 170 km in length with an investment of approximately Rs255 crore. This pipeline will be connected to GAIL's existing Bawana-Nangal pipeline.
GAIL and UJVNL propose to set up around 350 MW to 500 MW gas based power plant each at both places to meet the power requirement of the state. Natural gas required for both power plants will be supplied by GAIL.
On Tuesday, GAIL ended 0.57% up at Rs433.10 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.31% to 17,560.30.