UP government’s decision to raise the cane procurement prices will inflate sugar prices further say experts
The prices of sugar are set to increase following Uttar Pradesh (UP) government’s decision to hike rates for sugarcanes to Rs240 per quintal from Rs205-Rs210 per quintal. Its effect can be seen in the markets sugar prices at retail level moving up by about Rs3-Rs4 per kg. UP is the second largest sugar producing state in India.
“The cane procurement prices have been increased by the UP government. This will directly affect the retail prices for sugar. From the current level, sugar prices are expected to rise further,” says Sageraj Bariya, managing partner, Equitorials research firm.
Currently the ex-mill price in UP is around Rs29 per kg. In Mumbai’s Vashi market, the prices are currently trading at Rs2-3 higher as compared to a month ago. Yesterday, in the Vashi’s wholesale market, M-grade sugar was quoted at Rs33 per Kg and S-grade was Rs32 per Kg.
There is a dispute going on between the farmers and government over the pricing policy for sugarcane. Last month, the Maharashtra government in agreement with farmers declared three different rates for sugarcane. Accordingly sugar factories across the state will buy sugarcane between Rs1,800 to Rs2,050, depending on the area. In Maharashtra co-operative sugar factories, mostly controlled by politicians, dominate the sugar industry.
The UP government increased the state advised price (SAP) by Rs35-40 per quintal of sugarcane to Rs235-240 per quintal for different varieties, against which the sugar industry in UP has filed a petition at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, requesting it to quash the minimum buying price.
Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), general secretary Shyamlal Gupta told Moneylife that, “Election is approaching and the cane pricing policy has been increased to Rs240 per quintal from the earlier Rs210 per quintal. It is a clear strategy of the government. This will affect the sugar mills from the state, and would eventually lead to arrears and defaults in bank loan payment. Our petition is pending with the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.”
“The ex-mill prices should be at least increased to Rs3,400-Rs3,500 per quintal if the mills have to sustain. This naturally means that the retail price will go up by around Rs3-4 per Kg,” Mr Gupta added.
For the current year, India’s sugar production is estimated to 26 million tonne, around 2 million tonne higher compared to last year. The consumption is pegged at 22.5 million tonne. On 22nd November, the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) approved export of one million tonnes of sugar under the Open General License (OGL) scheme.
In its second quarterly results Balarampur Chini, leading player in the sugar industry, noted that, “As we enter into 2011-12 sugar season, we anticipate the price pressure to ease on the domestic front due to export potential thereby facilitating improved performance by the sector as a whole. Exports gain significance in the current operating scenario when the SAP for cane has increased making it un-remunerative for sugar mills to convert cane to sugar at the current realizations.”
Mr Gupta says that, “The long term solution for this problem is to link the sugar cane prices to the prices of sugar realisation.”
While there appears to be mess in terms of fixed policy for sugarcane prices across the country, world over, sugarcane prices are linked with sugar prices. Major sugar producing countries like Brazil, Australia and Thailand share or pay 70% of the sugar prices to farmers as price for sugarcane.
Many people strongly believe that using a simple or common password will never harm them on the Internet. However, cyberspace is a lot more dangerous than your home or streets and it is advisable to have a robust, safe and smart password for everything
Do you think the irritation to remember long and difficult characters as password for several websites you visit has made you to opt for a simple password? Well, you are not alone. Lakhs of people feel the same and use most common passwords like 123456, abc123 or simply their name or date of birth on the Internet and end up compromising their security.
Last month, Google launched a major advertising campaign on ‘good to know’ guides for online safety and privacy. Their example of a “very strong password” is ‘2bon2btitq’, taken from the famous Hamlet quote “To be or not to be, that is the question”. Empirically though, this is not a strong password—it’s almost exactly average! In the leaked 2009 RockYou dataset, four people out of 32.6 million picked ‘2bon2btitq’ and five picked ‘2bon2b.’
“Google’s advised password is more common than what half of users choose. There are about 500,000 more common passwords in the RockYou set—enough that ‘2bon2btitq’ is unlikely to come up in an online guessing attack but not nearly enough to prevent instant cracking if leaked in hashed form,” said a report from the University of Cambridge.
Why then do people use simple passwords? There are several reasons. One of the most common one is difficulty in remembering the character sequence and total number of characters in a password. While a majority of websites, including banks, still feel a password of eight characters is good enough, there are several others that insist on at least 13 characters in a password. In addition, most banks ask the customer to change their passwords after certain period like three months or six months. In addition to remembering passwords, the user is also required to remember username for all sites. This makes people to go for simple and easy to remember usernames and passwords.
One reader posted on a blog about the difficulty of using different passwords and usernames. “The elephant in the room is the deplorable idiocy with which services set their password requirements. For example, looking just at the banking sites that I use, on my credit union I may use symbols and spaces and long passwords, but I have to change the damn thing every 90 days. On PayPal I can use symbols and long passwords but not spaces. On Chase, I can have long passwords, but can only use letters and numbers, no spaces or symbols allowed. And at the Bank of Montreal, I am limited to exactly six alphanumeric characters, (no more or less),” he said.
However, this does not mean you can get away from using robust, safe and smart passwords. Last month, Facebook admitted that they witnessed six lakh compromised logins or one in every 140 milliseconds every day. For comparison, a blink of the eye takes 300-400 milliseconds. To overcome the issue of compromised logins, Facebook launched a new feature, ‘Trusted Friends’, which can help someone recover his account in case it is compromised by taking help from these trusted friends.
One interesting thing is that most of the passwords are compromised by the websites through poor site design combined with bad luck and human error. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use a typical system to keep track of all sites. One of the most common things these search engines access and read is the robots.txt file of a website to categorize and archive the contents. This file or protocol is a convention to prevent web crawlers and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website that is otherwise viewable for public. This helps web administrators to keep part of their site that contains user information like names and passwords hidden. However, many a times, web administrators are found to be ignoring this—resulting in leaks.
Here is what John Masterson did to reveal security lapses at Facebook. In March 2011, a Facebook worm solicited visits to a website that promised some sexy/funny content. Once you arrived there, it asked you to log in to Facebook to view the content. It was a fake, and the site wrote the harvested email addresses and associated passwords to a text file whose name Mr Masterson guessed. He reported the site to Facebook security (never got a response) and the web host providing services to the site. He downloaded the text file every five minutes until the site was shut down, which took several weeks. Here is the list of the compromised passwords (3,389) available at http://test.johnmasterson.com/pw.txt, and if yours is the one on this list, then change it immediately.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to have strong, safe, smart and easy to remember but difficult to break passcode or password.
Here is an advice provided by a reader on a blog on creating a strong password:
1: Make sure they are generated as randomly as possible. Words you make up in your head are often too easy to guess. Picking words at random from a dictionary is good enough in many cases. Random letters are usually good too. Feel free to use password generators.
2: Length! NEVER go below 10 characters for anything important. +15 is what I would recommend for almost anything today. If you use words, go for more than five words. The smaller the set of words you choose from, the longer it has to be. The length of the words is irrelevant if the phrase is longer than 15 characters. If you pick words from a large dictionary, it's safe with 4-5 words. Also, feel free to mix languages—that makes it even more secure.
3: If you use words, use some intentional mis-spellings. But don’t use mis-spellings in your passphrases that you make often in regular text! Try to make up a new one, or it’s too easy to guess.
4: It shall NEVER be easy to guess! If it’s a phrase, it should NOT be guessable. Any existing poem or saying or similar shall NOT be used. Make something up! Do NOT use something connected to your work or hobbies. Even if you think it’s unguessable, it probably can be guessed anyway. Phrases should not make sense. “The sun is yellow and big and warm” is bad, “this green wallpaper particle hole calculator” is good.
5: Don't take phrases and make them shorter by dropping everything but the first character. Removing data decreases complexity, decreased complexity means easier to guess (lower entropy). Keep them long!
6: Do not use existing phrases as passwords. Do not use the password examples, do not use other people’s password examples; do not use ANY password examples. Use YOUR OWN passwords!
7: When you see “password”, think “passphrase”, which means length!
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“We have been confronting the challenge posed by inflation in the past two years. Sustained high economic growth has led to improvements in purchasing power in both rural and urban areas,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said
New Delhi: Confirming a slowdown, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said economic growth will moderate to about 7.5% in the current fiscal, lower than the earlier projection of 9%, reports PTI.
“I am confident that we will be covering some of the losses in our growth momentum and may end the year with over 7.5%,” he said while addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2010-11 stood at 8.5%.
The economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years at 6.9% in the July-September quarter of the current fiscal. For the first half (April-September) of the fiscal, the average growth rate stood at 7.3%.
GDP growth in the second quarter of the fiscal slowed to 6.9% from 8.4% in the corresponding period last year, mainly on account of rising interest rates and the uncertain global scenario.
The tight monetary policy employed by the RBI to tame inflation affected the performance of manufacturing and other infrastructure sectors, with the eight core industries recording only 0.1% growth in October, the lowest in the last five years.
In the Budget for 2011-12 fiscal, Mr Mukherjee had projected a GDP growth rate of 9% plus/minus 0.25%.
“My growth projection was on the basis of achievements which we have immediately after the international financial crisis of 2008,” he said, adding, “I am modest. I have not said that I will be reaching the figure I projected in the Budget.”
“We cannot expect we can reach a high growth rate of 9% overnight. We will have to live with relatively moderate growth this year. Next year, we will try to improve the growth rate higher. This year, growth could be 1% down. We should focus on the strategy of domestic demand-driven growth,” he said.
Mr Mukherjee said considering the current global context and slowdown in the domestic industrial sector, “The growth performance is not at all disappointing.”
Earlier this week, Mr Mukherjee had said the Indian economy is battling both global and national problems and this is getting reflected in the growth numbers.
“We have been confronting the challenge posed by inflation in the past two years. Sustained high economic growth has led to improvements in purchasing power in both rural and urban areas,” Mukherjee said.
Overall inflation has been above the 9% mark since December 2010. It stood at 9.73% in October.
Food inflation, which accounts for 15% of overall inflation, fell to 8% for the week ending 19th November after remaining elevated for four months.
He said the rise in purchasing power has accentuated demand-supply imbalances in some specific commodities, like vegetables, fruits and protein-rich items.
“In addressing this issue, we have taken both short-term fiscal and administrative measures and also medium-term steps to improve supply response,” Mr Mukherjee said.
He said in the short and medium-term, the country should emphasise on domestic demand-driven growth to ward off the adverse impact of the global crisis and improved productivity in agriculture is necessary to meet the objective of inclusive growth.
“We have already begun the process of fiscal consolidation. Though it may appears extremely difficult, I am hopeful of fiscal balance targeted for the current financial year. The state governments also need to work toward fiscal sustainability,” Mr Mukherjee said.