PMO wants fertiliser ministry to expedite urea decontrol policy

The decontrol proposal is being pushed by the finance ministry and the Planning Commission, as they are concerned over big subsidy bill on fertiliser, which was estimated at Rs52,840 crore in 2010-11 with almost half of which was on account of urea

New Delhi: Amid inter-ministerial differences over the decontrol of urea prices, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the fertiliser ministry to expedite the proposed policy, reports PTI.

“The PMO has directed the fertiliser ministry to accelerate the urea decontrol policy,” sources said.

On 5th August, the Group of Ministers on fertiliser, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had referred the proposed urea decontrol policy to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approval as there was strong opposition from various ministries.

In the GoM, it was agreed that views of all concerned ministries on the issue would be sent to the CCEA, which would take a final call, source said.

The direction from the PMO comes in the wake of delay on the part of the fertiliser ministry to move the Cabinet note.

According to sources, fertiliser minister MK Azhagiri has not yet cleared the note prepared by the Department of Fertilisers.

The minister is opposing the proposed policy contending that the decontrol of urea sector would lead to rise in prices of the important farm nutrient.

Before the GoM, Mr Azhagiri had written to prime minister Manmohan Singh, opposing decontrol of the widely-used fertiliser. He had said the move should wait till amendment to the new investment policy for the sector is brought about.

Besides the fertiliser, agriculture and petroleum and natural gas ministries, the commerce ministry was also opposed to the move to free urea from price controls.

The proposal is, however, being pushed by the finance ministry and the Planning Commission, as they are concerned over big subsidy bill on fertiliser. In 2010-11, it was estimated at Rs52,840 crore, almost half of which was on account of urea.

Urea is the only fertiliser that remains under full price control. The government had freed prices of phosphatic and potash fertilisers in the last fiscal.

Under the draft policy prepared by the Committee of Secretaries, a partial freeing of the retail price of urea was proposed. It also proposed that with the partial decontrol kicking in, the industry can hike prices by 10% after a year.

The agriculture ministry does not want the prices to escalate. It feels the decontrol could wait for 2-3 years, sources said. At present, MRP (maximum retail price) of urea is Rs5,310 a tonne.

Currently, the domestic production is stagnant at 21-22 million tonnes as against demand of 27-28 million tonnes.


Financial Technologies seeks 6-month extension for MCX stake stale

FTIL has sought extension till March 2012 as it is in the process of divesting the stake in the Multi Commodity Exchange through an initial public offer (IPO) of the commodity exchange

New Delhi: Financial Technologies India (FTIL) has approached the consumer affairs ministry seeking extension by six months to dilute its stake in the commodity exchange MCX to 26%, reports PTI.

The deadline for dilution of the stake expired on 30th September.

"FTIL has sought extension till March 2012 as it is in the process of divesting the stake in the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) through an initial public offer (IPO) of the commodity exchange," a senior consumer affairs ministry told PTI.

FTIL, the promoter of MCX, holds 31% in the commodity exchange.

The company has to dilute its stake to 26% in MCX to conform with the new guidelines prescribed by the commodity markets regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) on the equity structure for the national commodity exchange.

Last month, MCX had received the approval of the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) for an IPO.

MCX has got 12 months time from the date of the clearance of the DRHP by SEBI to launch an IPO.

Under the offer, some existing shareholders of MCX, including FTIL, plan to sell 6.4 million shares, constituting 12.6% of the company's paid-up equity capital.

MCX holds a market share of over 75% of the Indian commodity futures market. It offers futures trading in both agriculture and non-agriculture items.


AIMA elects Rajiv Vastupal as president

Rajiv Vastupal’s focus would be to affiliate with more local management associations

All India Management Association (AIMA), the apex body of the management profession announced the appointment of its new president, Sr vice-president, vice president and treasurer. After 20 years, once again, AIMA's newly elected president, Rajiv Vastupal, is from Gujarat. AIMA has witnessed a good leadership of Gautam Thapar and now Mr Vastupal will lead the organisation's mission by working with a highly experienced and dedicated team of senior officials that will further help building managerial excellence in India.

Rajiv Vastupal is chairman & managing director of Rajiv Petrochemicals Pvt Ltd, a flagship company of Rajiv Group, involved in various manufacturing products of woven sacks, electrical lighting, panels and specialty chemicals. In addition to that he also heads an agency house that imports and exports the PE, PP & PVC products, being an agency of Haldia, Finolex, LG, Jindal etc. It has offices & plants at multi-locations.

Mr Vastupal is a philanthropist and he contributes to several charities in Gujarat. He has been a president of the Ahmedabad Management Association and founder member of YPO, Gujarat. Rajiv Vastupal, President-AIMA, said, "My focus as AIMA President would be on enhancing and building the AIMA brand by consolidating its inherent strengths while establishing new avenues and platforms to augment reach. I would also make concerted efforts to strengthen the AIMA LMA network by increased interactions and simultaneously develop and affiliate with new Local Management Associations."

While speaking at a press conference at Ahmedabad, Mr Vastupal announced the launch of the first computer based test of the AIMA's much awaited Management Aptitude and Skills Test (MAST). With this launch AIMA has expanded its portfolio and presence in the management domain. The first MAST, held on 25 September 2011 across the country, promises to be an enterprising example of providing a level playing field for management students.

AIMA has developed MAST in consultation with HR departments of many renowned companies, including Maruti Suzuki, Nokia, Tata Communications, Moser Baer, and Max India. The test has been endorsed by top companies including Britannia, Nokia, SBI Life, Religare, CMC, HDFC Standard Life, JK Cement, Parle, Suzlon, Moser Baer, Wills Lifestyle and Triveni Engineering.

The other new office bearers of AIMA include D Shivakumar who takes over as senior vice president of AIMA and Dr Preetha Reddy as Vice President of AIMA.

Mr Vastupal shared that AIMA has started the process of setting up a national network of AIMA Centres. The organization has opened its first AIMA office outside Delhi in Bengaluru. He revealed that AIMA plans to set up centres in Pune and Kolkata soon, to have a presence in all regions. These centres will work with the regional industry, Institutes and governments to improve the management standards and practices in their catchment areas, he added.


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