Slow pace of cane crushing unlikely to hit sugar output: Pawar

New Delhi: Food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today informed Parliament that the country's overall sugar output was unlikely to decline this year on account of slow pace of cane crushing in some states, reports PTI.

“The initial slow pace of production by sugar mills in some states is unlikely to decrease production of sugar in the current sugar season as a whole,” Mr Pawar said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha today.

Of the total 600-odd sugar mills in the country, only 199 mills have started crushing operations in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka till 15th November of the current sugar season, which runs from October to September, according to official data.

Mr Pawar said that unseasonal rains during the October-November period of the 2010-11 sugar season have slowed down cane crushing activity in states like Maharashtra, the country’s biggest sugar producing state.

However, the minister exuded confidence that “the mills are likely to make it up in the course of time.”

After two years decline, sugar production in India, which is the world's second biggest producer, is estimated to be higher than demand at 24.5 million tonnes in the 2010-11 sugar season.

The country, which is the world's largest consumer of sugar, has an annual demand of about 23 million tonnes. Last year, the sugar output stood at 19 million.


No directions to public lenders to cut real estate exposure: Centre

New Delhi: The government today said it has not directed public sector banks to cut exposure in real estate following the housing-finance bribery scam, reports PTI.

“No… Why should we say this,” financial services secretary R Gopalan told reporters when asked if the government has given such directions to the state-run banks.

The comments come in the wake of the housing finance scam unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which arrested the CEO of LIC Housing Finance, Ramachandran Nair, LIC secretary (investment) Naresh K Chopra and six other senior bankers in connection with a housing-finance racket.

The CBI has also issued notices to 21 companies to provide all the documents related to the case and explain any benefits received by them as also favours extended to the accused persons.

Going by reports, the multi-crore scam could have an adverse impact on property prices, as lenders could tighten the norms for giving loans to realty players.


Realty industry sees no impact of loan scam on housing prices

New Delhi: Demand and prices of property are unlikely to decline as a result of the housing finance scam racket unearthed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this week, reports PTI quoting the country's top developer DLF and consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

“Property prices are sub-set of demand. We do not foresee any negative impact on demand. Hence, the prices will not come down,” JLL India chairman and country head Anuj Puri told PTI when asked about the likely impact of housing finance scam on property demand and prices.

Mr Puri, however, pointed out that the banks would be more cautious in lending to developers, who in turn would have to depend more on other sources like private equity for funds.

Echoing similar views, DLF Group executive director Rajeev Talwar said: “Property demand depends on the growth of the economy. Any individual misdemeanour should not impact the growth of the real estate sector.”

The views of DLF and JLL differ from HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh who, yesterday, had said that there could be correction in property prices as a fallout of the housing finance scam.

“Some developers will bring down the prices and sell...

the unsold stock with developers is huge across the country.

In this scenario, prices cannot go up definitely,” Mr Parekh had said.

On 24th November, the CBI arrested LIC Housing Finance CEO Ramachandran Nair and seven other top bankers for allegedly colluding with Mumbai-based Money Matters in sanctioning housing loans meant for individuals to corporates.

“There will be repercussions in terms of increased caution by banks while lending to developers. Borrowing will become more expensive and the process involved in getting it lengthier as banks increase their vigilance levels,” Mr Puri of JLL said.


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