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Punjab lowers market fee on basmati rice

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Sep 22 (IANS): Paving the way to provide a level-playing field for basmati traders and millers from within and outside Punjab, especially in the light of the provisions of the new agriculture Bills, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced reduction in the market development fee and the rural development fee rates, from two to one per cent each.

The move, which will also help keep Punjab basmati competitive in the international markets, will provide relief to the tune of Rs100 crore to traders and millers, according to an official spokesperson.

However, the change comes with the caveat that no refund of any fee will be allowed to any paddy, rice dealer, miller or trader for export of the basmati paddy or rice to other countries from the state.

The Chief Minister’s announcements came in response to a proposal of the Punjab Mandi Board, made after thorough examination of the representations received from the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association and the Punjab Basmati Rice Millers and Exporter Association.

The Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association had submitted that with the farm ordinances coming into force, the disparity in fees and other charges among the basmati producing states would be around four per cent, thus making the rice industry in Punjab economically unviable as it would be unable to compete with rice exporters in Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, which had totally exempted the market fees from agricultural produce.

They had also pleaded that Punjab-based exporters would not be able to cover the additional cost of taxes, which is four per cent plus, thus making it extremely difficult for them to remain in business.

This trend may force them to purchase paddy from other states to remain in competition.

Pointing to the excellent Mandi infrastructure network of the Punjab Mandi Board, the Association had urged the state government to implement 0.35 per to one per cent usage charges or mandi fees on the first purchase instead of all other charges that are currently levied, in order to keep the Punjab rice industry competitive viz-a-viz other states.

India

Harsh Vardhan’s comments unfortunate, aim should be to fight the pandemic unitedly: Rahul Gandhi

“It’s an unfortunate comment. The whole nation has to fight this disease together. I don’t think it’s appropriate to blame someone or the other.

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Wayanad (Ker): Describing as “unfortunate” the comments by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on rising COVID-19 cases in Kerala, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said it was not appropriate to blame others and point fingers, but fightthe pandemic unitedly.

With Kerala witnessing a spurt in infections recently, Vardhan had recently said the state was “paying the price for gross negligence” during Onam festivities when unlocking of services along with an increase in travel for trade and tourism led to the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s an unfortunate comment. The whole nation has to fight this disease together. I don’t think it’s appropriate to blame someone or the other.

The spirit should be to overcome this huge challenge.

I had warned in February that India was facing a huge challenge.However, this is not the time to point fingers and we all should work together,” Gandhi said.

He said Kerala follows a decentralised response to the pandemic and the state was giving out a good, decent result.

“The spirit of the people of Kerala, including the health workers, is giving a good decent result here.Of course there are shortcomings like there are in every situation.

But overall I feel the spirit of the people is going to overcome this disease here.The mitigation work in Wayanad is also good,” the Congress MP said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has, however, said Vardhan’s comments should not be seen as a criticism of the state government’s COVID-19 management.

The chief minister had said on Monday that the COVID-19 situation in the state was under control during and after the Onam festival season as a strict vigil was enforced.

“Our COVID preventive measures were a success but the massive protests across the state by an irresponsible opposition derailed the efforts of the government,” Vijayan said.

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India’s April-August FDI inflow rises 13%

“FDI equity inflow also increased by 57 per cent from $160.46 billion during 2008-14 to $252.42 billion (2014-20).”

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FDI

New Delhi, Oct 21 : FDI inflows into India have increased by 13 per cent during April to August 2020 on a year-on-year basis, official data showed on Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, $35.73 billion has been received during the period under review.

“It is the highest ever for first 5 months of a financial year and 13 per cent higher as compared to first five months of 2019-20 ($31.60 billion),” the ministry said in a statement.

“FDI equity inflow received during F.Y. 2020-21 (April to August, 2020) is $27.10 billion. It is also the highest ever for first 5 months of a financial year and 16 per cent more compared to first five months of 2019-20 ($23.35 billion).”

Besides, the ministry’s data showed that FDI inflows have risen by 55 per cent during the last 6 years.

“Total FDI inflow grew by 55 per cent, i.e. from $231.37 billion in 2008-14 to $358.29 billion in 2014-20,” the statement said.

“FDI equity inflow also increased by 57 per cent from $160.46 billion during 2008-14 to $252.42 billion (2014-20).”

The ministry said that measures taken regarding FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased inflows into the country.

“Continuing on the path of FDI liberalisation and simplification, Government has carried out FDI reforms across various sectors,” the statement said.

FDI is a major driver of economic growth and an important source of non-debt finance for the economic development of India, it added.

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India

NHPC Board approves merger of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power with it

Shares of NHPC on Tuesday closed at Rs 20.25 on the BSE, higher by 1.25 per cent from its previous close.

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Reliance Power

New Delhi : The Board of Directors of state-run hydro power major NHPC on Tuesday approved the proposal to merge Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd with it.

Lanco Teesta Hydro Power is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NHPC. The state-run major had won the bid to take over the 500 MW Teesta VI hydro power project under the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP).

Lanco Teesta Hydro Power was executing the 500 MW (125 MWx4) Teesta VI hydro project on the Teesta river in Sikkim.

“The Board of Directors of NHPC Limited in its meeting held today i.e. Tuesday, October 20, 2020, has approved the proposal to initiate the process of merger/amalgamation of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of NHPC Limited) with NHPC Ltd under Section 232 of the Companies Act, 2013 subject to approval of Government of India,” NHPC said in a regulatory filing.

Shares of NHPC on Tuesday closed at Rs 20.25 on the BSE, higher by 1.25 per cent from its previous close.

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