Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
UP sugar industry stands to lose Rs3,000 crore this year

The UP sugar industry is likely to incur loss of Rs600 per quintal due to falling sugar prices and over-production

With the concerns of higher production and low recovery of cost, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) sugar industry is set to reel under heavy losses this year. The State has paid the highest cane price of Rs2,500 per tonne on an average recovery of 9% to the farmers. Thus, sugar factories in UP are not able to recover even their raw material cost.

Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) acts as a floor price for sugar farmers. They are legally entitled to get this minimum price. If any State government or any other authority fixes any price for sugarcane above the FRP, the difference is paid by that State government. But sugar mills are allowed to offer any price above FRP.

"UP has produced 51 lakh tonnes of sugar this year. For one bag of sugar the industry has lost as much as Rs400. The break-even cost in UP is Rs3,600 per quintal this year. This is considering the levy price of 20%. On a production of 51 lakh tonnes we will be losing approximately Rs3,000 crore. The loss is Rs600 per quintal," said Shyam Lal Gupta, secretary general of the Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association.

"The industry is in heavy losses on account of the higher cane prices paid to the farmers and as per the present valuations we are not even covering the cane cost.

If this situation prevails in the long run then the UP sugar industry will become sick or farmers will move away. The industry has paid Rs2,500 per tonne to the farmer. But seeing the sugar prices, the industry will not be able to pay even the FRP," said CB Patodia, advisor, Birla Group of Sugar Companies and president, UP Sugar Mills Association.

The UP sugar industry is now under a situation where it is not capable of paying more than the FRP of Rs139 a quintal.

UP is the second-biggest sugar producer after Maharashtra. Following expectations of oversupply, the government is planning to decrease the levy quota from 20% to around 15%. The imposition of import duty will provide the much-needed relief to the sugar factories and farmers.

According to industry sources, the State government pleases the farmers by ensuring that factories should pay a good price to them while the Centre looks at the interest of the consumers. The industry is required to pay a good price to farmers during the sugar-producing season (October-September).

"Farmers in Maharashtra are getting lower prices despite good-quality cane. Sugar is the only industry which is subsidised by the Centre," added Mr Patodia.

Cane acreage in UP is likely to touch 2.15 million hectares during the year 2010-11. India is likely to produce 23 million tonnes (MT) of sugar in 2010-11. Last year the country produced 19MT of sugar. India already has 3.5MT of stocks from the 2009-2010 production, thus putting further pressure on prices.

Sugar prices in UP have crashed from Rs3,800 per quintal to Rs3,000 as the Central government allowed import of raw sugar and increased the stock limit.

 Due to the bad monsoon last year, India allowed imports of white and raw sugar to bring down domestic prices when the production declined to 14MT.



Pradip Kumar Daftari

7 years ago

Report seems exaggerated and false.

Bug in IndusInd Bank’s software unduly debits customers’ account

A software glitch in IndusInd Bank’s system puts customers in a spot, levies charges for low account balance for no fault of the customer

Issues related to technology continue to plague our banking system even today. On the one hand banks claim to have in place state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure in place to serve customers in a faster and efficient manner. But on the other hand, the same banks face regular issues with maintenance and upkeep of this so-called technology, at the expense of the customer.

Glitches in a bank's software system are rare, but when they do raise their ugly head, they can be one of the most irritating and troublesome issues that customers have to deal with. Currently, a bug in the software of IndusInd Bank is posing similar problems for its account holders. A current account holder with the bank, Girish Mittal, has brought this to the attention of Moneylife.

The bank has a facility wherein the excess funds in the account (above Rs 10,000) are transferred to a fixed deposit. However, the bug in IndusInd Bank's software does not allow funds to be drawn from the fixed deposit wherever any cheque is debited from the account. Instead, the software allows the account to be charged directly. Due to this the balance in the account becomes lesser than Rs 10,000 and the software levies unnecessary charges to the customer.

Explaining the issue, Mr Mittal said, "If for instance, a cheque for Rs5,000 comes for debit, it gets debited from the balance in the current account, instead of being replenished from the fixed deposit. The balance thus reduces to Rs5,000 and the software then charges my account."

This has been happening for the past one year and more, with the software levying penalties every time the account balance goes below the minimum, when actually the account holds substantial funds.

Having raised this issue with the bank, one would expect that it would look into a matter as alarming as this. Surprisingly, even after repeated complaints to the bank authorities, IndusInd Bank has chosen not to act on it. Every time the customer is forced to call the top management officials, who then arrange for the charges to be reversed for that month. But that hardly is the solution as the same thing happens the next month.

Mr Mittal said, "I had brought this to the notice of IndusInd Bank several times, but they seem least interested in resolving the issue. Instead of providing a permanent solution, they are only making stopgap arrangements."

The pressing issue here is, can banks randomly charge customers' accounts without being authorised to do so, just because the account exists?

An email query sent by Moneylife to IndusInd Bank remained unanswered till the time of writing this piece. The customer has now approached the Reserve Bank of India's customer services department to look into the matter. RBI has asked IndusInd Bank to explain their stance.




7 years ago

From the report it appears to be a feature designed, not a bug. Report is silent about terms regarding creating of automatic FD account. Does it say that sweep in facility would be available from the such FD account. Overall, you should have done more homework.

Mohammed Hanif Ismail

7 years ago

IndusInd Bank's Net Banking service is also poor. If one tries to login on
" IndusNet" and uses ' virtual key board' for entering Password it will NOT open one's A/c, and a message would flash " Invalid Id or Password"; however if one uses the same Password without the help of 'Virtual Key Board" then only you are able to view your Net Banking A/c.Similarly if one tries to use RTGS/NEFT service to transfer money; and if he clicks the tab RTGS/NEFT, it will hang your whole Computer System.

RIL plans mega foray into power; Mukesh extends olive branch to Anil with promise of gas supply

Within weeks of the decision by the world's richest siblings to scrap a 2006 accord that barred them from expanding into each other's businesses, RIL said it has planned "mega investment" in thermal, hydel and nuclear power generation

Reliance Industries (RIL), India's most valuable company, today announced multi-billion dollar investment plans in the power sector and said that it will supply natural gas to Anil Ambani Group's power plants as and when they are ready, reports PTI.

RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani said the company was ready for a "big surge forward" and will use its strong finances for "inorganic" growth and new ventures including expansion of capacity to produce polyester.

Addressing company shareholders exactly five years to the day when he and his brother Anil split the Reliance empire created by their father Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh signalled his desire to end the feud with his younger sibling Anil.

"With legal dispute (over supply and pricing of natural gas from RIL's Krishna Godavari basin fields to Anil Ambani Group's power plants) behind us, we look forward to a harmonious and constructive relationship with Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)," he said at the meeting, which contrary to speculation was not attended by Anil Ambani.

RIL, he said, was ready to supply gas to ADAG's power plants including the proposed 7,800 MW at Dadri near Delhi, as and when they are ready to receive the fuel. The supplies would, however, be subject to the government allocating gas to ADAG plants like it has done for all of the over 60 million cubic meters per day of output from KG-D6 fields.

"As and when the power plants of ADAG are ready to receive gas, we would commence supplies to them subject to government granting allocation...," he said.

Within weeks of the decision by the world's richest siblings to scrap a 2006 accord that barred them from expanding into each other's businesses, RIL said it has planned "mega investment" in thermal, hydel and nuclear power generation.

The company has already forayed into telecom sector, which along with power, was hitherto the reserve of Anil Ambani under the 2006 non-compete accord.

"We are ready to bring into full play our investment mobilisation capabilities, as well as our superior project execution capabilities, into a sector that is crying out for transformational mega initiatives," he said.

While Mr Ambani did not put a figure to the investment, sources in know said RIL may be planning $10 billion spending, including on bidding for the government's planned ultra mega power projects in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

"We are drawing up specific plans for mega investments in this (power) sector with clean coal-based power generation projects, hydel projects and also in nuclear power as and when it is opened up," he said.

Mukesh and Anil fought a bitter battle over gas supplies from KG-D6 both in and outside the courts where the younger Ambani claimed fuel as per terms decided in 2005 family agreement that split the Reliance empire between them.

RIL opposed such supplies saying government alone had the right to price the fuel and fix its users.

"The Supreme Court upheld, in most parts, the stand of RIL. It has always been our position that we are, and continue to be, governed by the provisions of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in all respect of the petroleum operations carried out by us.

"We have also been fully conscious that the Government of India has more than a significant say in these operations," Mukesh said at RIL's AGM in Mumbai.

Earlier, dressed in his trademark black business suit with a white shirt, Mukesh arrived at Birla Matoshree in his black Merc along with his wife Nita and mother Kokilaben.

Anil, who was rumoured to be making an appearance at the AGM, was absent.

"For Reliance, power business is a natural and synergistic extension of its energy portfolio," he said announcing the "game-changing" development of RIL and ADAG annulling the earlier non-compete agreement and replacing it with a new one.

"This new agreement opens up the full range of power business for RIL, except non-captive gas-based power plants until 2022. This paves the way for Reliance to participate in the whole value chain of power business, spanning generation, transmission and distribution," he said. "We see and unbounded opportunity in this space."

Sources said RIL may be planning 20,000-30,000 MW of power plants over next five years.

Under an agreement reached exactly five years ago, Mukesh, 53, kept the petrochemicals, oil and gas units and Anil, 51, got the power, telecommunications, financial services and entertainment units.

After scrapping of the 2006 non-compete agreement, RIL on June 11 acquired an Internet services company for $1 billion.

As reconciliatory move, Anil withdrew a Rs10,000-crore defamation suit he filed in 2008 against Mukesh in the Bombay High Court. The brothers and their families are also said to have holidayed in South Africa's Kruger National Park last week.

RIL, operator of the world's biggest refining complex and India's largest natural gas field, had cash equivalent of more that Rs21,874 crore, Mr Ambani told company shareholders.


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