India raises import duties on many items

22 : India raised import duties on almost 30 items including agricultural and steel products in protest against the US imposing higher levies on products shipped from the country. Earlier, US hiked tariffs on certain steel and aluminium products which had tariff implication of $241 million on India. China, EU and other trading partners have also hiked tariffs in protest.0

Cabinet approved ‘Three Year Action Plan’

Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the Three Year Action Plan (2017-2020) of the scheme for Agricultural Education Division and ICAR Institutes with an outlay of Rs.2225.46 crore. It comprises of: “Strengthening and Development of Higher Agricultural Education in India” The scheme is aimed to generate quality human resources from the institutions of higher agricultural education

Successful launch of observation satellite

China successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite which will be mainly used in agricultural resources research and disaster monitoring. A scientific experiment satellite named Luojia-1 was sent into space at the same time. The Gaofen-6 satellite was launched on a Long March-2D rocket.

HP govt to promote organic farming

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to promote organic farming in a big way and plans to adopt an integrated approach for promoting organic and zero budget natural farming system. The government has introduced ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushhaal Kisaan Yojana’ (PKKKY). PKKKY will enhance agricultural income by adopting low-cost climate-resilient Zero Budget Natural Farming System.

TNAU seed centre bags award

The seed centre at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has bagged an award for excellence in research on seed technology. The best performance centre award was presented at the annual group meeting of the all-India coordinated research project on national seed projects. All agricultural universities under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research participated in the meet.

YES Bank to launch water-security programme

YES Bank is all set to roll out a capacity building project with farmers in Haryana and Rajasthan under its ‘Livelihood and Water Security’ CSR initiative. The overall focus of the programme would be on sustainable agricultural practices and digital literacy. The programme would be rolled out initially across 15 districts (eight districts in Haryana and seven in Rajasthan).

Cabinet approves MSP for Raw Jute

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Raw Jute.The increased MSP is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. The Jute Corporation of India will be the Central Nodal Agency to undertake price support operations at MSP in the Jute growing states.

First Ever International SME Convention

First Ever International SME Convention will be held in New Delhi from 22nd to 24th April.The convention has specific focus on inclusion of MSMEs in Make in India program &empowering women entrepreneurs. India is home to more than 60 million MSMEs, majority of who are in low-tech areas. MSMEs constitute a single largest employer after Agriculture sector in India.

Sikkim will give pension to organic farmers

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling announced monthly pension of 1000 rupees for farmers engaged in organic farming in the state.Sikking government has banned sale and consumption of non-organic agricultural and horticultural products. Organic farming doesn’t involve the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Sikkim is the first fully organic state in the country.

Fighting Air Pollution

To support the efforts of the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to address air pollution. Cabinet approved a scheme for the promotion of agricultural mechanisation for in-situ management of crop residue. The key component of this scheme is to establish a Farm Machinery Bank for Custom Hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery.

India, Iran sign nine MoUs

India & Iran have signed 9 Memorandums of Understanding following the delegation-level talks b/w PM Modi & Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.The agreements were signed in areas like double taxation avoidance, extradition, agricultural cooperation, port lease, medicine & others. Both the countries also signed an agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports.

G S Kalkat passes away

Noted agricultural scientist Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, who was known for his role in bringing Green Revolution to Punjab, passed away after a brief illness.Kalkat was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his work. He has also worked as a senior agriculturist with the World Bank & had supervised the implementation of World Bank assisted programmes in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indonesia.

NABARD sanctioned 372.51 crore to Odisha

4 : National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has sanctioned Rs 372.51 crore loan assistance to Odisha for irrigation and rural bridge projects.This loan has been sanctioned under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).These projects will provide assured irrigation to about 36440 hectares of agricultural land and will directly benefit about 40000 farmers across Odisha.

MoU between Bank of Baroda and POORTI

Bank of Baroda has entered into MoU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to enable the farmers to purchase agricultural inputs provided by POORTI. This is a Platform for Online Ordering & Rural Transformation of India known as “POORTI”. Poorti is a company providing multi-party mobile commerce platform for easy ordering of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds by farmers with loans given by banks.

Solar-based cold storage

26 : Engineers at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi have developed a solar-powered on-farm storage structure.It can increase the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables in regions where cold storage facilities are absent.It is designed by Pramod Kumar Sharma & others, which can retain the quality and freshness of fruits & vegetables for an additional period of up to five days.

India to make Nigeria self-sufficient

To boost agricultural productivity of Nigeria, India has decided to share their Agricultural expertise to make Nigeria food sufficient.India has been the largest trading partner of Nigeria and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa.India had announced in 2015 concessional loans of $10 billion to African countries.

Centre for floriculture in Tamil Nadu

India & Israel will set up a centre for excellence in floriculture at Thally in Tamil Nadu.Centre would not only develop agricultural practices suitable for selected geographical regions, but would also transfer best practices to farmers.It is part of a 3 year Indo-Israel agricultural partnership signed b/w Mashav & mission for integrated development of horticulture of Agriculture Ministry

Agricultural Education Budget increased

The government has increased the budget of Agricultural Education by 47.4% this year as compared to the financial year 2013-14.It is done in order to adopt quality and holistic approach to higher agricultural education, the Fifth Dean Committee Report has been implemented in all the Agricultural Universities.This is First-of-its-kind that all Graduate Level Courses in Agriculture.

Parrikar launches app ‘Jai Kisaan’

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar launched the Jai Kisaan App, a farmer engagement app containing features to fulfill the needs of the farmer community in India. It is a one-stop solution for agricultural information and cultivation.Its services include soil testing and customized information wherein farmers will have access to fertilizer recommendations on the basis of crop and target yields.

IndiaFirst Life launches Insurance Khata

IndiaFirst Life Insurance has launched India’s first-ever micro-insurance plan ‘insurance khata’ for those in the informal sector and agricultural laborers with seasonal incomes. Insurance Khata provides individuals with the flexibility to pay a premium in parts depending on the periodicity of his/her income. The entry level minimum premium for ‘Insurance Khata’ is Rs. 500/-.

PNB, ACE tie-up for farm machinery

Punjab National Bank and Action Construction Equipment Ltd have tied up for augmenting tractors/agricultural implements financing to the farmers across India. This tie-up will enable PNB to facilitate the availability of quality farm machinery equipment to its farmer base at an interest rate of 9.2% per annum. It will enable ACE to tap into PNB’s branch network and customer base.

IFAD approves funds for NE project

International Fund for Agriculture Development has approved a USD 30 million soft loans for the fourth phase of the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project. IFAD is an international financial institution and an agency of the United Nations. NERCORMP is a livelihood and rural development project aimed to transform the lives of the poor and marginalized tribal families.

No Tax on Agri sale of less than 2 Lakh

The Income Tax Department has clarified that the cash sales of agricultural produce by a cultivator to a trader for less than 2 lakh rupees will not attract tax under the Income Tax Act. A circular issued by the Department stated the cultivator and the trader will also not have to provide their Permanent Account Number. Sushil Chandra is the Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

APEDA to promote NE products

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) an apex organisation will conduct programmes to promote products of north eastern India in Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is being orgIanised under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Programme will be organised in association with Indian High Commission in Yangon and is scheduled to be held in November 2017.

DIPP launches logo contest

A contest has been launched for designing a common logo and tagline for Geographical Indications. A Geographical Indication is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts & industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness.

GDP may grow at 7% in FY’18: NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar has said the economic slowdown that began in 2013-14 has bottomed out and the GDP is likely to grow. It is estimated at 6.9-7 % this fiscal and 7.5% in 2018-19. The economic growth slowed to 7.1% in 2016-17, the year in which 87% of the currency was demonetised, despite a very good show by the agricultural sector.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh said the government started PMKSY to provide a permanent solution from drought. Three ministries are implementing this scheme in mission mode. PMKSY aims not only to create irrigation sources but also to create protected irrigation by harnessing rainwater through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’.

Swiggy’s first-ever CFO

Swiggy has appointed former Olam International executive Rahul Bothra as its 1st chief financial officer. A chartered accountant by qualification, Bothra was previously divisional CFO & vice president – finance at agricultural commodity trading company Olam International Appointment is part of Swiggy’s strategy to strengthen its top deck as it looks to scale its business beyond just delivery

ICAR to undertake major research works

The Indian Council for Agricultural Research ICAR will be undertaking major research works on agriculture this year with the World Bank fund of 1100 crore rupees. The funds will be allocated to ten each of the premier agricultural and veterinary universities in the country. Two research centres would be established in Tamil Nadu for research on preserving and promoting domestic bull species.

RRB merger gets exemption

The mergers of regional rural banks that are ordered by the government are now exempt from seeking CCI approval. The exemption has been granted for a period of five years. RRB’s setup under RRB Act, 1976 provides credit and other facilities to small farmers, agricultural laborers, and artisans, among others, in the rural areas. Currently, there are 56 RRBs.

North Koel Reservoir Project

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal to complete the balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar, stalled since 1993. Completion of the North Koel Reservoir Project will create annual irrigation potential for 1,11,521 hectares of agricultural land (91,917 hectares in Bihar and 19,604 hectares in Jharkhand). The construction of the project was originally started in the year 1972.

GIS-enabled portal

Centre has brought out an online database of more than half a million hectares of land assisting industry. GIS enabled database has details of about 3000 industrial parks, area-wise availability of agricultural/horticultural crops & mineral production. Database is being developed by DIPP, National e-Governance Division & BISAG. It aims to eliminate information asymmetry affecting investments

Scheme to boost farm start-ups

Govt is launching a new AGRI-UDAAN programme that will mentor startups & help them connect with potential investors. It will be managed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research & will help convert innovative ideas from India’s rural youth into viable businesses. Under the programme, start-ups will get incubation space to run their businesses and access to research laboratories & libraries.

Environmental research satellite

Israel has launched it’s 1st environmental research satellite from Guiana, in a JV b/w Israel Space Agency & CNES. VENUS satellite aims to obtain high-resolution photo’s of specific sites to track environmental issues such as pollution, erosion & other phenomena linked to climate change. It is the first time that Israel is launching a satellite to focus on agricultural & ecological research.

MoU for agriculture related price info

3 : Multi Commodity Exchange of India and Mahindra Agri. have signed a MoU to provide agriculture related price information. MCX would be providing price information, open interest information, spot price, future price for all agri commodities. It will enable farmers to manage prices and will provide them with solutions that boost both agricultural productivity and farm incomes substantially

Education qualification for polls

Rajasthan has become India’s 1st State to lay down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies & other cooperative bodies. State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003, were amended for the purpose. It will benefit around 10,000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies. Educational qualifications will range from Class V to Class VIII.

Odisha to set up blood bank for cattle

Odisha is all set to become the first state in the country to have a blood bank for cattle. Blood bank would be set up at Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology at a cost of ` 3.5 crore. It will be funded under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Blood transfusion facility for cattle blood will also be done at the proposed blood bank which will prevent death of cattle during deliveries.

Centre bans sale of cattle for slaughter

The central govt. has banned sale of cattle for slaughter and has allowed it’s trade only among farm land owners. Cattle can be sold only to a person having documents to prove he is an “agriculturist”, the rule says, adding “young” and “unfit animals” cannot be sold. Rules have been notified under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. New rules will be implemented in next 3 months.

IARI in Assam.

Government has decided to set up the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Assam of worth Rs. 155 crore to promote agri education and realize second green revolution in the northeastern region. The first IARI was set up in the national capital way back in 1967. The Modi government announced plans to set up four such institutes.

Indian Exclusion Report

According to the 2016 Indian Exclusion Report released by the Centre for Equity Studies, in terms of exclusion from access to public goods, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue to remain the worst-hit communities. The report determines exclusion by taking into account four public goods, namely, pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for undertrials.

Agriculture Ministry unveils APMC Act

In order to give more freedom to farmers to sell their produce, the agriculture ministry has unveiled “The State/UT Agricultural Produce and Livestocks Marketing (promotion and facilitation) Act, 2017”. The draft law proposes to cap market fees and commission charges payable by a farmer after bringing produce to a wholesale market. The Act was passed in 2003.

New variety of Bakla developed

Scientists of Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) here have developed a new variety of Fababean, commonly called Bakla. The new variety HFB-1 is high yielding and also has high nutritional quality. HFB-1 has been found superior to National Check variety Vikrant in seed yield. It also contains levo-dopa, a precursor of neuro-chemicals in brain such as dopamine, epinephrine.

Subsidised solar water pumps

The Madhya Pradesh government would soon provide nearly 18,500 solar-powered water pumps to farmers in the state at subsidised rates. MP Urja Vikas Nigam would be the nodal agency to make available the solar pumps to the farmers. MP has the highest agricultural growth rate of over 20% since last couple of years.

Govt aims 40% sown area under insurance

The government is aiming to bring 40 per cent of gross sown area of 194.4 million hectare under crop insurance schemes in 2017-18 season. In 2016-17 crop year, about 26.28 per cent or 51.1 million hectare of gross area under crops was insured. At present, crops are being insured under Restructured Pradhan Manthri Fasal Bima Yojana and Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme.

eNAM transacts record ?15,000 Cr

The national agriculture market- eNAM has transacted a record 15 thousand crore rupees business in one year. In April last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Agriculture Market portal eNAM to connect e-mandis in several States. The government targets to double the income of farmers by 2022 and for this government is improving the marketing policy and the Agriculture market.

Mission Fingerling for Blue Revolution

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare on 11 March 2017 launched Mission Fingerling, a programme aimed at achieving the Blue Revolution by enabling holistic development and management of fisheries. The main motive behind this programme is to enhance the fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.

North-East Business Summit

A two-day North-East Business Summit (NEBS) begins in New Delhi. The summit aims to display the strengths, potentials and initiatives of the N-E, promote investment the region and also have focused deliberations on strategic areas like healthcare, connectivity, agriculture, food processing and energy. The summit will also showcase the untapped business potential of N-E to investors worldwide.

GST Council approves GST final drafts

GST Council meet, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has approved the Central and Integrated GST final drafts. Centre and states have decided to exempt agriculturists from registering under the Goods and Services Tax regime, while the threshold for traders has been set at ` 20 lakh turnover. The GST is administered & governed by GST Council and it’s Chairman is Union FM of India.

Pests eat away India’s 35% of yield

According to Indian Council of Agricultural Research scientist, pests eat away about 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India. Such large-scale crop-loss is having an adverse effect on the agricultural biosafety which is paramount to food security of the country. Key Facts Among such pests, nematodes have emerged as a major threat to crops in the country.

APEDA -GULFOOD 2017, Dubai

64 exporters from the agriculture and processed food sector are participating in the ‘Gulf Food 2017’ event in Dubai. This is significant as UAE is a potential market for Indian food products such as basmati rice, fresh fruits & vegetables, buffalo meat, processed fruits, dairy products, wheat etc. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Develop-ment Authority would be inaugurated

Farm Science Congress in Bengaluru

The 13th Agricultural Science Congress being organised in Bengaluru from February 21-24 by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research. It will focus on ‘Strategies for Climate Smart Agriculture’. The event will be held at the University of Agricultural Sciences Bengaluru’s GKVK campus in collaboration with the local ICAR institutes.

Indian Western Regional Agriculture Fair

Union Minister of Agriculture, Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated India’s Western Regional Agriculture Fair 2017 in Bikaner. The government has initiated Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to channelise maximum potential for irrigation and to get rid of the problems related to drought. The government has started another ambitious programme titled as Soil Health Card Scheme for the farmers.

Vetiver Network launched

17 : India Vetiver Network (INVN) has been launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here. INVN is a not-for-profit scientific network to promote vetiver in India. Vetiver has worldwide application to tackle many environmental issues like soil erosion, mitigation of soil and water pollution. The mission of INVN is environmental protection using vetiver.

Pandit Deendayal Krishi Shiksha Scheme

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare minister, Radha Mohan Singh said that all courses upto Agricultural Graduate are being linked with employment.This will be a big help for the students in earning their livelihood.Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Scheme launched in the year 2016 to promote agricultural education under which 100 centres is being opened with a fund of ` 5.35 crore.

Panel mulls on major reform

A committee formed by the Centre to double farmers’ income by 2022 is considering major reforms in agriculture sector. It mulls over reform like adopting a profit-centric approach and to aim at increased productivity and reduced cost of cultivation. The inter-ministerial panel, constituted in April last year, to look into the challenges faced by farmer

Ex-CBI chief Joginder Singh dies at 77

Former CBI Director Joginder Singh, under whose watch the investigative agency probed cases like Bofors and fodder scam, died at 77. Singh was selected for the IPS at the age of 20. He assumed charge of the CBI in 1996. Singh also authored books like ‘Make a Way Where There is None’, ‘50 Days to Top’, ‘Inside CBI’, ‘Some Untold Tales’, ‘Without Fear and Favour’ and ‘Inside India’.

Chikkapadasalgi barrage to supply water

The Chikkapadasalgi barrage built by farmers with their own contribution is full and supply water for farming and also drinking water needs of numerous villages. Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts face acute water shortage during summers & were depended on Maharashtra for water. The barrage is located in Karnataka.It will supply water to over 70000 acres of land in 21 villages.

Fall in yield of red gram

Farmers are keeping their fingers crossed in the wake of poor yield in red gram.According to farmers of Tiruppainjeeli area, they expected at least six tonnes from an acre. But, due to total failure of monsoon, they could hardly harvest even 100 kg. According to official sources, red gram is raised on about 2800 hectares, mainly in Musiri and Thottiyam blocks, in the district, Tamil Nadu.

India, UAE set to ink deals

INDIA and the UAE are likely to sign agreements on maritime affairs, transport and training, agriculture, and SME when visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Major focus of the visit will be signing the comprehensive partnership agreement, and pacts on other areas. The countries have decided to grant mutual recognition of certificates of competency in the maritime training domain.

24th Conference of COCSSO

The two day Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations (COCSSO) has begun at Nagpur, Maharashtra. COCSSO every year, provides a platform for the Central and State Statisticians to exchange views and discuss common issues relating to statistical activities. The theme of this year’s Conference is “Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare”.

India Announce $100 million LoC to Kenya

India has announced a $100-million Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanization. This was decided after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. It was also decided to deepen economic cooperation, identifying expansion of bilateral trade as a “priority”. The two countries are also decided to strengthen coordination in tackling terrorism.

MoU between India and Kenya

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of MoU between India and Kenya on bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors. The MoU covers various activities in these fields which include agricultural research, animal husbandry and dairy, livestock etc. The MoU provides for constitution of a Joint Working Group comprising of representatives from both countries.

BoB Launch Agriculture Investment Scheme

Bank of Baroda has launched an agricultural investment credit for the farmers of Rajasthan. The first loan has been disbursed in Sri Ganganagar. Under the scheme, farmers can avail of loan from the bank’s branches for construction of farm ponds, installation of solar pumps and for any other viable agriculture activities. Bank will help the farmers in doubling their income by the year 2022.

Pesticides stop bees buzzing says report

The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bees to vibrate flowers & shake the pollen to fertilise crops. Some flowers, such as tomatoes and potatoes, must be shaken to release pollen and bumblebees are particularly good at creating needed buzz. The research is consistent with previous work that has shown neonicotinoid pesticides reduce learning and memory in bees.

ADB slashes India’s growth to 7%

Asian Development Bank has trimmed its 2016 growth estimate for India to 7 % from previous 7.4 % on account of demonetisation, weak investment & agricultural slowdown. But India’s growth forecast for 2017 was kept at 7.8 %. “Economic growth in developing Asia remains broadly stable, but a slight slowdown in India has trimmed the region’s growth outlook for 2016,” said the new ADB report.

Rabi Crops Stands at 472 lakh Hectares

Rabi crops have been sown in over four crore 72 lakh hectares till date. It is more than 34 lakh hectares during the corresponding period last year. Wheat has been sown in over two crore 25 lakh hectare. Over one crore 21 lakh hectare area has been covered under the cultivation of pulses. The coarse cereals have been sown in over 44 lakh hectare, Oilseeds in 72 lakh hectare.

Agriculture down as Rabi sowing falls

This year’s rabi production, wheat sowing was down 8.25% from normal until Friday. The area sown of all rabi crops was only two-thirds of the normal rabi area. There are only two weeks to go before the sowing season ends. Analysts have said the latest data released by the ministry of agriculture confirmed that demonetisation had impacted sowing adversely.

Nabard to provide 880 cr to cooperatives

With a view to assist farmers in Haryana, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will provide credit support of ` 880 crore to district central cooperative banks. The amount has been made available for the current rabi season. In addition, NABARD has made provision of an additional credit limit of ` 1,850 crore to ensure that the DCCBs do not face liquidity crunch.

International Conference on Brucellosis

The International Conference on Brucellosis 2016 & the 69th meeting of the International Society on Brucellosis was inaugurated in New Delhi. The three day conference has been organised by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR). Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella.

NCAER Pegs GDP Growth for FY16 at 7.6%

National Council of Applied Economic Research has forecast 7.6% GDP growth rate in financial year 2016-17. The think tank in it’s mid-year review said agricultural sector & the associated increase in rural demand will give an upward push to country’s economic growth. It said, 10 to 11% increase is expected in the output of Kharif foodgrains over last year’s output of 124 million tonnes.

PM Modi Launches Jungle Safari

The PM, Shri Narendra Modi visited Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh. He dedicated Jungle Safari at Naya Raipur, Bus Rapid Transit System, Ekatma Path and unveiled the statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. He launched ‘Sour Sujla Yojna’ for the welfare of crores of farmers all over the country. Solar energy will be utilized for irrigation purposes in the agricultural fields.

Maha tops in 2016 Agri reforms index

Maharashtra has been ranked 1st in the country in 2016 Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index. The survey was conducted by the NITI Aayog. The new rankings come on the back of major central initiatives to integrate the Indian farmer with markets, like an electronic national agriculture market (eNAM) and a new crop insurance scheme.

Scientists develop new variety of arhar

Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute have developed a new arhar (pigeon-pea) variety that matures in 120 days and gives the same 20 quintal-per-hectare yields of normal 160-180 day plants. Arhar, or pigeon pea, is among the most widely consumed pulses in India. Its prices shot up to as much as ` 200 per kg last year due to lower production, leading to a surge in imports.

Current Events October 2016 – Economy

• Infosys Launches Skava Commerce
Infosys has announced the launch of Skava Commerce. It is a modern, mobile-first and modular e-commerce platform that delivers engaging omni-channel experiences. Skava is a Silicon Valley based e-commerce startup which was acquired by Infosys. The platform could help brick-and-mortar retailers to quickly launch new offerings & improve conversion rates of traffic coming from digital channels.
• Mizoram Launches Economic Dev Policy
The Mizoram govt has launched a New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) to boost the state’s agriculture-based economy, develop rural infrastructure & to raise livelihood. The new policy would develop private-public partnerships for adding value to various agricultural, horticultural & other produce. Its main aim was to lead Mizoram from a subsistence based economy to a market-based economy.
• New Simplified Incorporation Procedure
The govt has simplified the process for incorporation of companies to improve ease of doing business. The new Simplified Proforma for Incorporating a Company Electronically (SPICE) is aimed at providing speedy incorporation related services within stipulated time frame. The new proforma will have a standard format of e-Memorandum of Association and e-Articles of Association.
• IMF Revises India’s GDP Forecast to 7.6%
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised projections for India’s economic growth by 0.2 percentage points to 7.6% for 2016-17 & 2017-18. It, however, retained global economic growth at 3.1% for 2016 & 3.4% for 2017. In its World Economic Outlook, IMF also kept GDP expansion for China unchanged at 6.6% in 2016. That way, India would keep its position of the fastest-growing large economy.
• India Economic Summit Begins
The India Economic Summit began in New Delhi,is expected to hold discussions on every aspect of the Indian economy. Visiting PM of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe attended the Opening Plenary session with Commerce & Industry min Nirmala Sitharaman. It will have a special focus on Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation. The event will take up all key issues &look for solutions.
• Arunachal Inks MoU For Skill Development
Arunachal Pradesh government has signed a MoU with the National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology. The MoU will facilitate development of skill to 1,600 people. It is project under a scheme for Skill Development in Electronics System Design & Manufacturing Sector’. It would enhance skill development capacity in ESDM sector for students or unemployed youth.
• US Lifts Economic Sanctions on Myanmar
US President Barack Obama has issued an executive order to lift economic sanctions on Myanmar. The move came after the US was ready to lift sanctions during Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visit to Washington last month. The sanctions were imposed in 1997 & were meant to isolate the military junta then ruling the country. Myanmar has pursued political reforms over the last five years.
• Andhra Signs Pacts with Chinese Cos
The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) has signed an agreement with three China-based entities for development of minerals & industrial park in the state. It will entail investment of about $1.5 billion. Power China Guizhou Engineering Corp, Aluminium Corp of China Limited & Guizhou Maritime Silk Road International Investment Corp would jointly develop the mines & industrial park.
• Coal Ministry to go Paperless from Oct 16
The Coal Ministry has advanced the date for going “totally digital” from November 1 to October 16. All files & papers will be moved to a digital format. This is in line with the Centre’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ initiative. The government had launched the Digital India Programme last year with an aim to transform the country into a digitally empowered and knowledge economy.
• Two Professors Share Economics Nobel
British-born Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom of Finland won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. They won for their contributions to contract theory, shedding light on how contracts help people deal with conflicting interests. The economics prize is not an original Nobel Prize. It was added to the others in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank.
• MoU between Exim Bank with NDB
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a MoU on General Cooperation with NDB through the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism by Government at the level of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs/ Export Import Bank of India. The proposal will enhance trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries. There is no financial implication involved with signing of the MoU.
• UPI is almost like being on a highway
Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of the UIA says India has a unique edge over other countries when it comes to payment systems. His observation comes at a time the NPCI is preparing to launch an upgraded version of the Unified Payments Interface. He said that once some of “the teething issues” are sorted out, the system will be ready to take off in a big way, especially in e-commerce.
• Early childhood development as priority
A recent study by Chunling Lu, the director of the Program in Global Health Economics and Social Change at Harvard Medical School published that China & India have contributed the most to reducing the number of children at risk of poor development. Yet, India continued to have the largest number of children at risk in 2010. This was printed in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.
• Infosys revises salary of CFO Pravin Rao
Country’s second largest IT firm Infosys on Friday said it has revised the pay packages of its top leadership, including Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin Rao. The city-based firm has also inducted CEO of Surya Software DN Prahlad as an independent director. The compensation includes fixed compensation of Rs 4.62 crore p.a. and a variable compensation of up to ` 3.88 crore p.a.
• World Standards Day Observed
World Standards day is celebrated every year on October 14. The theme for World Standards Day 2016 is ‘Standards Build Trust’. Globally, World Standards day for the first time was celebrated on 1970. The aim of World Standards Day is to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers as to the importance of standardization to the global economy.
• Govt to Use Postal N/w for Pulses Dist.
The Government has decided to use postal network for distribution of subsidized pulses. The decision was taken in the Inter Ministerial Committee on prices of essential commodities headed by Union Consumer Affairs Secretary, Hem Pande. The committee suggested that in the absence of government outlets in the states, postal networks should be used for the distribution.
• RCom, Brookfield Ink ` 11,000 cr. Deal
Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) has agreed to sell a 51 per cent stake in its nationwide tower assets to Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure Group. As per the agreement, the telco will receive an upfront cash payment of ` 11,000 crore from the proposed transaction. As part of the deal, the specified assets would be transferred into a separate SPV, to be owned by Brookfield.
• Internet Shutdowns Cost India USD 968 mn
India suffered a loss of almost a billion dollar over the past year due to temporary Internet shutdowns in the country more that any other country. This was according to a recent study by research firm Brookings. There were 81 disruptions in 19 countries between July 1, 2015 & June 30, 2016. In economic costs of Internet shutdowns, India was followed by Saudi Arabia ($465 million).
• Uber Inks Pact with Electronics & IT Min
Transportation app Uber has signed an agreement with Ministry of Electronics and IT’s for skilling drivers on its platform. The agreement, is the part of its UberSHAAN initiative.
It will help individuals receive driver training, facilitate license procurement and vehicle financing. Uber plans to start the initiative with an initial pilot phase in and around Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
• BRICS to Set up Credit Rating Agency
The five-nation group BRICS agreed to set up an independent rating agency based on market-oriented principles. It was announced during the 8th BRICS summit held in Goa, India. It will assist BRICS and other countries to rate infrastructure and sustainable projects in the emerging economies. Thus, it will further bridge the gap in global financial architecture.
• Tata, GE to Train 10,000 in Healthcare
Tata Trusts and GE Healthcare have entered into an agreement to train 10,000 youth in various technical areas of the healthcare sector in three years. The partnership is aimed at bridging the skills gap among healthcare staff in technical or operating roles. The move aimed at bridging demand-supply gap in the sector; candidates to pay back on landing jobs.
• Super Typhoon Haima batters Philippines
Haima, which brought sustained winds of up to 225km/h (140mph), made landfall over Cagayan in the north. Nearly 100,000 people were evacuated from threatened areas as the storm approached. Experts had feared Haima could prove as destructive as the catastrophic super typhoon Haiyan, which claimed more than 7,350 lives in 2013.
• Foundation of Atal Akshay Urja Bhawan
Shri Piyush Goyal, minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, laid the foundation for Atal Akshay Urja Bhawan. Building is named after Vajpayee, as he laid the foundation stone for Wind Turbine Testing Station at Kayathar, Thoothukudi District, TN in 2000. Atal Akshay Urja Bhawan will be the integrated headquarters building for the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.
• Changes in child abduction bill
The 21st Law Commission in its first report recommended a series of changes in the draft Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill-2016. The offenders may include one of the parents or family, relatives and others. The Commission has also recommended 3 months punishment for willful misrepresentation or concealment of fact as regards the location or information about the child.
• Odd-even scheme had little impact
The NGT asked authorities in the national capital to find a solution to growing air pollution in the city. The concern comes after a report that told the odd-even road rationing formula tested this April had little impact. SAFAR recorded 120.8 micrograms of PM2.5 and 248 micrograms of PM10 per cubic metre around 5.30pm, which is much more than the safe limits of 60 and 100.
• SIDBI Launches ASPIRE Fund
SIDBI has launched a ` 60 crore ASPIRE fund to promote innovation,rural entrepreneurship & agri-industry. The Rs 60 crore ‘fund of funds’ falls under ‘A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation and Rural Entrepreneurship & agro-industry (ASPIRE)’ for supporting various venture capital funds. The government initiative aims at providing the necessary support environment to unleash the potential of MSME.
• SIDBI Launches ASPIRE Fund
SIDBI has launched a ` 60 crore ASPIRE fund to promote innovation,rural entrepreneurship & agri-industry. The Rs 60 crore ‘fund of funds’ falls under ‘A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation and Rural Entrepreneurship & agro-industry (ASPIRE)’ for supporting various venture capital funds. The government initiative aims at providing the necessary support environment to unleash the potential of MSME.
• 10th Indo-US Trade Forum Began in Delhi
The 10th Indo-US trade forum began in Delhi. Visa, customs cooperation, greater market access for goods and intellectual property rights are the key issues expected to be discussed. The TPF is the premier bilateral forum for discussion & resolution of trade & investment issues. It has five focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Innovation & Creativity, Services & Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.
• Regional Air Connectivity Scheme Launch
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has launched the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN- Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik. The scheme aims to seek to get more people to fly. Under the scheme, airlines will have complete freedom to enter into code-sharing with larger airlines for connectivity. Airfares will be capped at 2,500 rupees for an hour’s flight for regional flights.
• Nabard Sanctions Loan for NWDA
National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has sanctioned ` 19,702 cr loan to National Water Development Agency (NWDA) for 50 irrigation projects. The loan is sanctioned under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) that was announced by FM Arun Jaitley during the Budget. This would help create additional irrigation potential of 39.14 lakh hectares under these projects in 11 states.
• Sebi Bars 8 Companies from Market
The Sebi has barred as many as eight “vanishing” companies and 40 directors from accessing the capital market. They have been barred from accessing the capital market for the next five. Vanishing companies are those that failed to file statutory returns with the Registrar of Companies and stock exchanges for two years. These firms failed to comply with the requirements of listing agreement.
• Jio Becomes Biggest Data-Carrier
Reliance Jio has become world’s biggest telecom company in terms of data traffic within 45 days of its launch. Reliance Jio has reported a data traffic of 16,000 TB per day, followed by 12,000 TB carried by China Mobile. The telecom arm of RIL commercially launched mobile services on Sept 12. It had claimed to have created history by adding 16 million customers.
• Power Grid Board Nod to Investments
Power Grid Corp board has approved proposals to invest Rs 1,184.45 crore in power transmission projects. The company’s Board of Directors have accorded approval . The Board has approved the proposal ‘Augmentation of Transformation Capacity in Southern Region. It also approved investment for ‘Sub—station works associated with strengthening of transmission system beyond Vemagiri’.
• Toyota to Recall 5.8 million Cars
Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said it was recalling a total of about 5.8 million cars at home and abroad over potentially faulty air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. The recall includes the Corolla and the Vitz subcompact hatchback model. It affects about 1.16 million vehicles sold in Japan, and also includes about 820,000 cars sold in China and around 1.47 million cars in the European market.
• Panel to Resolve Telco Penalty Row
The Telecom Ministry has formed a committee to look into the regulator TRAI’s recommendation of a ` 3,050 cr penalty on top three telcos — Airtel, Vodafone & Idea. The committee has been asked to give a report on the recommendations soon. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had earlier this week suggested a hefty penalty on the three incumbents for denial of Interconnection to RJIL.
• Judge Approve $15B Volkswagen Settlement
US District gave final approval on a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen Group diesel emissions scandal. The German automaker outfitted many of its diesel VWs & Audis with illegal software. It reduced the cars’ emissions in the lab but spewed up to 40 times on the road. The automaker said that with the judge’s approval, it would begin buying back the affected vehicles by mid-Nov.
• Flipkart CFO Sanjay Baweja Quits
Flipkart chief financial officer Sanjay Baweja has put in his papers after a two-year stint. Mr Baweja had joined Flipkart from Tata Communications about two years ago. Flipkart has seen a string of exits in recent months. In April, Flipkart chief product officer Punit Soni and vice president and head of seller ecosystem Manish Maheshwari resigned.
• India 130th in Ease of Doing Business
India rank low at 130th position in terms of ease of doing business. In the World Bank’s latest ‘Doing Business’ report, India’s place remained unchanged from last year’s original ranking of 130 among the 190 economies. The government aims to bring the country in the top 50. The list of countries in the Doing Business 2017 is topped by New Zealand while Singapore is ranked second.
• Tata Inducts Ralf Speth, N Chandrasekaran
Tata Sons board appointed Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth and TCS CEO & MD N Chandrasekaran as additional directors. With the appointments of Speth and Chandrashekharan, Tata Sons board has expanded to 12 members. Krishna Kumar of Indian Hotels Co Ltd and JJ Irani of Tata Steel were notable members of Tata Sons board. Ratan Tata was at the helm of the group before he retired in 2012.
• Biotech-KISAN & Cattle Genomics Launched
The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has launched two new schemes Biotech-KISAN and Cattle Genomics in order to apply science to boost rural economy. The intent of these programmes is to form a network to farmers directly with the scientists and experts. Thus they seek to empower farmers, especially women farmers. Its purpose is to connect farmers, scientist and science institution.
• Govt Notifies Revised DTAA with S Korea
The government has notified a new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and South Korea. It was signed by PM Modi during his visit to Seoul in May 2015. The provisions of the new DTAA will have effect in India in respect of income derived in fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2017. The earlier Double Taxation Avoidance Convention was notified on Sept 26, 1986.
• Sun Pharma Buys Ocular Tech
The country’s largest pharma company Sun Pharma acquired 100% equity in the US-based eye care specialist Ocular Technologies Sarl for a front payment of USD 40 million. It was owned by the private equity firm Auven Therapeutics. The transaction is subject to approval of the US Federal Trade Commission as required under Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. It is expected to be completed by end of 2016.
• Govt Launches Mission Madhumeha
The Ministry of AYUSH has launched Mission Madhumeha through Ayurveda. The Mission Madhumeha will be implemented throughout the country through a specially designed National Treatment Protocol for effective management of Diabetes through Ayurveda. Ayurveda can play an important role in dealing with the rising cases of diabetes in the country.
• IBM to Acquire Sanovi Technologies
Technology major IBM said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bengaluru-based disaster recovery solution provider Sanovi Technologies. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. It will help the US major to strengthen its offering in cloud recovery, cloud migration and business continuity software category for enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructure.
• Baby Born with Microcephaly due to Zika
The first child in Puerto Rico with Zika-related microcephaly has been born. The foetus’s abnormally small head was not detected until the mother was nearly eight months pregnant. The U.S. territory is facing an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus. Nearly 31,500 cases have been reported, including more than 2,300 pregnant women. The first case of Zika in Puerto Rico was reported last Dec.
• Centre Decides to Fix Minimum Wage
Labour Ministry has decided to fix the minimum wage at ` 350 per day for unskilled agricultural labour in C-class towns in central sphere to be effective from Nov 1, 2016. At present, agriculture workers in the central sphere are paid as per the rates prescribed under the national floor level minimum wage, which is ` 160 per day. The ministry will notify minimum wages on November 1.
• Uber Drivers Deserve Workers’ Rights
Uber should no longer treat its drivers as self-employed, a British tribunal ruled. In a decision which threatens the taxi app’s business model by forcing it to pay the minimum wage and offer holiday entitlement. The decision could also affect thousands of others who work for firms, including meal delivery services in the so-called gig economy.
•Vigilance Awareness Week Commences
Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed from today across the country to promote probity in public life and achieve a corruption free society. The week is observed every year from 31st October. The theme of the week this year is – Public participation in promoting integrity and eradicating Corruption. The observance of week commenced with pledge taking by public servants.
• EU, Canada Sign Landmark CETA Deal
European Union, EU & Canada have signed a landmark trade deal. The deal was signed by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau & top European Union officials in Brussels. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, required all EU member states to endorse it. The CETA removes 99% of customs duties between the two sides, linking the single EU market with the world’s 10th largest economy.

Bill Maris, the CEO and founder of Google Ventures quits

Bill Maris, the chief executive, and founder of Alphabet Inc’s , venture capital arm of GV, is leaving the company. Maris, who will leave on Friday, will be replaced by GV managing partner David Krane. GV, previously known as Google Ventures, was founded in 2009 and has invested in more than 300 companies from life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security, and agriculture, and more.

Integrated modern rice mill to come up at Valangaiman

In an attempt to ensure total transparency in procurement process at the Direct Procurement Centres, the Tamil Nadu government on 5th August announced a slew of measures. One of the important announcements, which Chief Minister Jayalalithaa termed as a flagship initiative, was the proposal to set up an integrated modern rice mill with a capacity to handle 30,000 metric tonnes of paddy at Valangaiman in Tiruvarur at a cost of Rs. 20 crore. This would avoid delay in bringing rice meant for PDS from rice mills and the increasing transportation charges, Jayalalithaa said. She announced setting up of two godowns of 10,000 metric tonne capacity each at Kottur and Needamangalam in the district at a total cost of Rs. 40 crore. She said silos would be set up in Thanjavur and Thiruvarur district, each with a capacity to handle 15,000 metric tonnes, at a total cost of Rs. 40 crore.

e-purchase of paddy from TN farmers

Aiming at setting right the shortcomings in the present system and to ensure total transparency in procurement process at the Direct Procurement Centres, the Tamil Nadu government on 5th August announced a slew of measures including e-procurement, setting up an integrated modern rice mill, godowns and silos at the heart of the Cauvery Delta among other places.

Rajasthan becomes first state to approve sewage & waste water policy

Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to approve sewage and wastewater policy. It has been approved by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Jaipur. Under this policy, all district headquarters, heritage cities, and cities in the state which have more than one lakh population will be included. Waste water treated under it will be used in irrigation and agricultural work. The requirement of next 30 years will be covered in this policy. It will be compulsory for every house in the state to connect with sewage system in those cities which have 100% sewage system in next five years.

Feed the Future Training Programme

The second phase of ‘Feed the Future – India Triangular Training Programme is launched in New Delhi by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

PSMA of FAO enters into force

Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) enters into force. The agreement seeks to ensure sustainable fisheries and responsible fish stock management globally.

e-trading platform for NAM

Prmie Minister Mr. Modi launches the pilot of e-NAM, the e-trading platform for the National Agriculture Market, for the farmers, on the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

Low-erucic acid mustard variety (PM30)

Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Indian Agricultural Research Institute jointly develop a low-erucic acid mustard variety namely Pusa Mustard-30 (PM-30) which is beneficial for health and increases productivity.

Maharashtra government sets up task forces on agriculture development and poverty alleviation

Maharashtra government on 18 April 2015 set up a task force on agriculture development and poverty alleviation to address the issues. It will be 12-member panel for agriculture development and will be headed by the state’s additional chief secretary (Agriculture). Task force for poverty alleviation – State government also has set up another task force for poverty alleviation. It will be headed by principal secretary (Social Justice Department).
During the first meeting of National Institution for Transformation of India (NITI) Aayog held in February 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested to all state governments to set up panels for agriculture development and poverty alleviation to address the issues.

Attempt new concordance of trinity’s work

Former governor of West Bengal Gopalakrishna Gandhi called for research into the compositions of the trinity of Carnatic music to determine the points of convergene in their works. Mr. Gandhi, who is chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation, said, besides helping one understand the musical genius of the three composers who had lived more or less contemporaneously, the effort would underscore how the act of composition was a continuing process. It is a process in which there are constants and variables so that each practioner of classical music can make her or his own contribution to ‘Mano dharma’ through the rendering” he said.

Artistes honoured

Former Chief Justice of Jharkhan, M. Karpagavinayagam, conferred the Isai Perarignar title on noted Bharatanatyam guru Krishnakumari Narendran and the Pann Isai Perarignar title on renowned ‘Odhuvar’ S. Thirugnanasambandam, at the inauguration of Tamil Isai Sangam’s 71st annual Tamil Isai festival. The award carried a gold medallion, a citation and a silver plate with a chash purse of ` 10,000.

Weather information, just on SMS away

The Agriculture Dept. has launched SMS service to give information to formers about weather forecasts and agriculture activities such as plant protection measures, fertiliser application and crop insurance. The SMS service in Tamil, which was launched on an experimental basis last week, has received good response.

Farmer gets award for cultivation feat

At a time when paddy cultivation is no longer considered lucrative and farm lands are being converted into housing plots, P. Solaimalai, a farmer from Madurai, has achieved a rare feat by producing 8,272 kg. paddy per acre against the normal production of about 3,800 kg. per acre. He achieved it by using the system of Rice Intensification (SRI) for cultivation. Mr. Solaimalai received a special award from the Agriculture Department on the occasion of Republic Day for setting the highest yield under SRI. He is the first farmer to receive the award, which carries    5 lakh and a gold medal worth of    3,500.

GoM approval pharma pricing policy

The Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Agriculture Minister Mr. Sharad Pawar, gives its approval to the final pharma pricing policy, bringing 348 essential drugs under the government’s price  control regime.

Norms relaxed for free power to farm sector

It is not just agriculture but also allied activities – horticulture and fish prawn culture that will be eligible for free power supply. Apart from the cultivation of food crops, vegetables, seeds, trees and other plants, the tariff revision order, issued by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, states that sericulture, floriculture, horticulture, mushroom cultivation, cattle farming and fish/prawn culture carried out as allied activities of agriculture will be constructed as agricultural activities.

Centre to provide interest subvention

In a bid to prevent distress sale by farmers, the Union Govt. will provide interest subvention at two per cent per annum to banks in respect of short term crop loans upto 3 lakh extended to farmers during 2011-12. This is subject to the condition that they lend such loans at ground level initially at seven per cent. In a release, Lalitha Venkatesan, Chief General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Chennai, stated that in addition, the centre would provide interest subvention at three per cent to those farmers who promptly repay their short-term production credit dues (crop loans upto 3 lakh) on/ before due date fixed by bank.

Agri. Heritage site programme

A new report reveals that the tribal community of Koraput (Odisha) has been chosen by the UN`s Food and Agriculture Organisatiion (FAO) for recognition under its Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Sites programme.

Concern over declining gross cropped area

The State Agricultural Department has voiced serious concern over the declining gross cropped area (GCA). According to official sources, the GCA has been gradually coming down during the past two decades in the state. During the past 15 years about 10 lakh hecters was out of the GCA. In a document presented at the GCA was 55.72 lakh hectares. The net sown area was 48.92 lakh hectares and the current follow was 11.17 lakh hectares. Other follows amounted to 15.42 lakh hectares. The cultivable waste was 3.32 lakh hectares correspondingly follow land had been increasing. Hence the department had emphasised the need for bringing more area under cultivation. But the forming community was not optimistic.