World
US seeking common ground with India to clinch climate deal
Starting with President Barack Obama, the US is making a concerted effort to seek common ground with India with assurances to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, says the White House.
 
It "is quite entirely unfair to the Indians" to "describe them as the biggest obstacle" to a climate change deal, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. "Anytime you negotiate an agreement with more than 180 countries, there are going to be a lot of issues to work through," he noted.
 
"But there's no denying that there has been a concerted effort on the part of the United States, starting at the level of the President, but also including the rest of our negotiating team to seek common ground with the Indians," Earnest said.
 
The US also sought "to reassure them about our commitment to investments moving forward and helping countries adapt to the impacts of climate change."
 
It also wanted to make "sure that those countries are demonstrating a commitment of their own to reducing carbon polluting, and joining the rest of the world in the fight against climate change," Earnest said.
 
Asked if Obama in his call Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi previewed a proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to expand the amount of money available to developing nations, the official said he didn't have a more detailed readout of their call.
 
But "I can tell you that, in general, that US support both in the public sector and the private sector for efforts to assist countries as they adapt to the impacts of climate change is something that President Obama and Prime Minister Modi have discussed extensively over the last several weeks and months."
 
"This was something that was discussed extensively when the President sat down face-to-face with Prime Minister Modi just last week when they were both in Paris," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if it came up in their conversation."
 
Given its commitment "to those kinds of investments," Earnest said: "We want to make sure that there is also a commitment on the part of the Indians and the other 180 or so countries that have showed up to Paris to make serious down payments on cutting carbon pollution."
 
"A commitment to doing that is not automatically in direct conflict with the kind of economic priorities that many of those countries have identified for themselves," he said.
 
Earlier at a New York Times Energy for Tomorrow Event in Paris, Kerry described Modi as "a really interesting leader who is appropriately seized by technology and by the possibilities, and he faces this enormous challenge also."
 
"India, a very poor country, has an enormous challenge of bringing Indians in to the modern economy," he noted.
 
"Their baseline needs for energy production to keep their economy going are what they are. And he doesn't have the luxury of cutting that off and then still growing and moving."
 
"So we've got to help," Kerry said. "Everybody has to help. And there are ways we think we can help - technology transfer, adaptation, mitigation."
 
"There are things we can do. We really want a joint venture, work with India to try to do it just as we are with China."
 
"We have an obligation, I think, to try to do that, and we're trying to work through the modality of how do you present that, what's appropriate, what can we do politically and what can we do substantively. And we're trying to get there," Kerry said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Nearly 70 percent of Indian farms are very small, census shows
As much as 67 percent of India's farmland is held by the marginal farmers with holdings below one hectare, against less than 1 percent in large holdings of 10 hectares and above, the latest Agriculture Census shows.
 
"The average size of the holding has been estimated as 1.15 hectare. The average size of these holdings has shown a steady declining trend over various Agriculture Censuses since 1970-71," an official statement said on Wednesday.
 
Nonetheless, the percentage of area that was actually operated under larger holdings was more than 10 times the actual land held at 10.59 percent, while for marginal farmers it was three times lower at 22.50 percent.
 
This clearly shows the stress that marginal farmers undergo in India.
 
Another cause for concern is that in 2010-11, the proportion of net irrigated area to net area sown was 45.70 percent, which shows that for half the country's farmland irrigation is yet to reach farmers, who rely entirely on rains for their crops.
 
Among the sources of irrigation, tube-wells was main source followed by canals.
 
While the cropped area in India is estimated at 193.76 million hectares, nine states accounted for 78 percent of it -- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and West Bengal.
 
Out of the total 64.57 million hectare net irrigated area, 48.16 percent is accounted for by small and marginal holdings, 43.77 percent by semi-medium and Medium holdings and 8.07 percent by large holdings, the census shows.
 
Agriculture Census in India is conducted at five-yearly intervals for collection of information about structural aspects of farm holdings in the country. The basic unit for data is the area under operational holding. 
 
The Agriculture Census data is collected in three phases - first on primary subjects like the numbers and area of operational holdings, followed by a detailed one based on samples from 20 percent of villages on tenancy, land use, irrigation and finally on pattern of input use.
 
The concept of agricultural operational holdings does not include those holdings which are not operating any agricultural land and are engaged exclusively in subjects such as livestock, poultry and fishing. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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TRAI seeks comments on differential pricing of data services
Indian telecom watchdog TRAI on Wednesday said that differential pricing of data services by various operators might potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory tariff and sought comments/opinion from stakeholders.
 
In a consultation paper, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said some service providers were offering differential data tariff, either free or discounted, on certain contents of particular websites, applications or platforms.
 
"The objective of offering such schemes is claimed to be the desire of various service/content/platform providers to enable consumers, especially the poor, to access certain content on the Internet free of charge," the sector regulator said.
 
It said potentially, both positive and negative effects arise from an economic and regulatory perspective where reduced rates are tied to specific content.
 
"On the one hand, it appears to make overall Internet access more affordable by reducing costs of certain types of content. On the other hand, several negative effects might ensue. Differential tariffs result in classification of subscribers based on the content they want to access. This may potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory tariff," it added.
 
The consultation paper sought comments from industry stakeholders on whether the telecom service providers should be allowed to have differential pricing for data usage for accessing different websites, applications or platforms.
 
It also asked if differential pricing for data usage was permitted and the measures to be adopted to ensure that the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, affordable Internet access, competition and market entry and innovation were addressed.
 
Finally, it sought opinion on whether there were alternate methods, technologies or business models, other than differentiated tariff plans, available to achieve the objective of providing free Internet access to consumers.
 
The stakeholders could give their comments by December 30 and counter-comments by January 7, 2016.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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