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FinMin denies farmers to buy seeds with old notes

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New Delhi, November 18: The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rejected a proposal entailing permission for farmers to buy seeds worth Rs 10,000 per day with old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 until November 24 for Rabi crop. The proposal was sent by Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on November 15.

Thus demonitisation of 86 % of cash inflow in Indian economy is hard hitting country’s 500 million farmers as this is the most ripe period of season to sow the Rabi crop.

The Agriculture Minister also highlighted how badly the sector is hit by the ban as the country’s Rabi target is around 638.09 lakh hectares of sown area while till November 11 only 146.85 lakh hectares which is 23 per cent of the national target was achieved. After December 10, the sowing seeds would hurt the both the quality and yield.

Finance Minister rejected the proposal and allowed farmers to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans.

Department of Economic Affairs however cited the “rise of deposits in Jan Dhan accounts” to reject the Agriculture minister’s request of allowing old currency for seed purchase. The Ministry also said this may turn into “a conduit to offload black money.

Rejecting the Mohan Singh’s plea for relaxation to farmers for the coming week, the Ministry further 16 crore Jan Dhan active accounts in the rural sector could be used by farmers to exchange currency or withdraw cash and used for buying seeds and fertilisers.

The agriculture minister also highlighted that if farmers could buy new seeds with old currency they could purchase certified quality seeds from public sector National Seeds Corporation (NSC) rather than relying on low-yielding seeds saved from their earlier produce due to lacking funds.

The low quality seeds would lower the national output and waste the high-yielding seeds cultivated by NSC, said the agriculture minsiter.

The proposal was well designed as Mohan Singh had also suggested that selling agencies like NSC, ICAR or state agriculture departments may collect attested identity cards and details by farmers so ensure the best use of the provision. Another suggestion was to deny the refund of money or seeds for the made purchases through old currency notes.

But the finance Ministry rejected the proposal and allowed 25000 allowed farmers to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans.

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Business

India’s April industrial production output up 5%

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New Delhi, June 12: India’s industrial output rose by 4.9 per cent in April 2018 from a rise of 4.57 per cent in March, official data showed on Tuesday.

According to the data furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the corresponding growth during April 2017 stood at 3.2 per cent.

“The General Index for the month of April 2018 stands at 123, which is 4.9 percent higher as compared to the level in the month of April 2017,” CSO said in the “Quick estimates of index of Industrial Production”.

“The cumulative growth for the period April-March 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 4.3 per cent.”

IANS

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Business

McLeod Russel sign MoU to dispose of some Assam tea gardens

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

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McLeod Russel

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) World’s largest tea producer McLeod Russel India on Tuesday signed an MoU with city-based M.K Shah Exports Ltd to dispose of eight tea gardens in Assam for a consideration of Rs 331 crore.

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

“…the company has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with M. K. Shah Exports Limited, having registered at Kolkata on June 5, 2018,” the tea producer said in a regulatory filing.

These gardens contributed Rs 192.76 crore to its turnover in the last fiscal, which was over 12 per cent of its last year’s revenue.

“The company proposes to utilise the sale proceeds in repayment of certain high interest bearing debts, for buying back company’s own shares from the shareholders of the company to the tune of Rs.100 crore…and making investment for diversification into packet tea business,” the company had said earlier.

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Analysis

Is your building earthquake safe? Probably not

Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category.

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Though earthquakes have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country, Indian real estate and infrastructure sector still has lots more to learn — and implement — to ensure the safety of life and property.

Although structural requirements and concerned technologies are incorporated in the building process, sector players say many modern technologies used worldwide are yet to be widely used in the country.

According to V.K. Gehlot, Director, National Centre for Seismology, “base isolation” and “dampers” are the major technologies to make buildings strong enough to resist seismic vibrations. But they are not widely used in India because of the cost involved and requirement of frequent maintenance.

Through base isolation, engineers decouple the building or the superstructure from its substructure which rests on ground, thus protecting the building during an earthquake.

Dampers on the other hand work as shock absorbers and minimise the magnitude of vibrations transmitted to the building from the ground.

The cost difference between a building with and without dampers is approximately Rs 350 per square feet, according to Major Sandeep Shah, Managing Director of Taylor Devices India.

The company is a manufacturer of earthquake-resistant equipment and he says “all developers” in the country are aware of the technology.

Shah said the company’s devices have been used in Terminal-2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, lobby block building of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, and New Udaan Bhavan at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.

He pointed out that “at present none of the buyers are aware that by using dampers buildings can be protected and would remain habitable even after a major earthquake. That may be the reason why no one (buyer) is asking for such buildings.” But once they are made aware, Shah was sure they would want the technology in the building they are going to live in.

According to Aunirban Saha, Director (Marketing, Construction and Sustainability) of the Saha Groupe of Companies, “most of real estate projects are designed to the grade of ‘Earthquake Resistant — Collapse Prevention’ “. That means that in the event of a major earthquake, the building would not collapse and there won’t be any loss of life. However, the building itself would not be in a habitable condition and would need to be demolished and reconstructed, he explained.

The next higher standard is “Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category,” Saha added.

The highest category of structural safety is that of “Earthquake Resistant — Operational”. Under this, there would be no damage to the property or any injury caused to its occupants irrespective of the magnitude of the earthquake.

Saha said most developers go for the first category of “Collapse Prevention” as they find it more cost-effective. Most home buyers are not aware of earthquake-related safety grades, he added.

The higher structural grades, Saha said, made more sense in today’s market scenario for commercial real estate because such properties are preferred by big multinational companies.

According to Dikshu C. Kukreja, Principal Architect at C.P. Kukreja Associates, “all leading architects of India have the knowledge and skill about the technologies available to incorporate them in our designs and construction.”

Other than dampers, structural concepts such as bracing — where X-shaped braces strengthen the columns of the buildings — and couplers — where bars are joined together — help in absorbing movement during an earthquake.

Siesmologist Gehlot says that earthquake resistance should be enforced as a default, even for small structures. Today, when building a house, 95 per cent people do not bother about earthquakes. “Our usual way of construction is that we will give it to a mason and they will start constructing,” he adds.

All that needs to change, he emphasises.

By Rituraj Baruah

(Rituraj Baruah can be contacted at [email protected])

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