IFFCO starts India’s First Water Soluble Urea Phosphate Fertiliser Plant
NEW DELHI, March 7: India’s first ever 50 MTPD Urea Phosphate water soluble fertilizer plant started functioning at IFFCO’s Kandla Unit in, Gujarat. Urea Phosphate is a 100 per cent water soluble fertilizer and is widely used for cash/commercial crops and horticulture.
It has content of 17% N and 44% P2O5 and is basically a product formed by reaction of urea and phosphoric acid. It is usually applied through drip irrigation.
After inaugurating the plant, the Iffco Managing Director, Dr. U S Awasthi, said that “It is a great moment for all of us to start India’s first water soluble fertiliser plant. There is huge market demand for this product. IFFCO is the first manufacturer in India to manufacture at large scale of 50 MTPD Urea-Phosphate. This product has significant impact on quality and yield of cash crops, horticulture crops, vegetables and grains.”
He also said "this is in addition to IFFCO’s commitment to farmers to provide them best quality fertilisers as per the requirement of his soil which will help in enhancing the farm productivity."
Also, foundation stone of a Barge Jetty at the Jetty project site was laid by Dr. Awasthi. The Barge Jetty is proposed to be constructed adjacent to IFFCO’s plant and next to its liquid cargo jetty. The cost of project is Rs. 34.50 crore. A MoU has been signed with KPT for 30 years of operation of barge jetty through a special purpose vehicle under IFFCO Kisan bazaar & logistic Ltd.
Dr. Awasthi further added that “The objective of new Barge Jetty is to receive about 1.5 million MT of solid raw materials and imported fertilizers to be sold by IFFCO. This new jetty will also ease out the waiting time of cargos & will also save the money.”
He added that the process of environment clearance is in progress and CRZ clearance shall be taken after environment impact assessment report is finalized. Environment & CRZ clearance is expected by June’2011. The Project shall be completed within 16 - 18 months i.e. tentatively in last quarter of 2012.
Kandla being a creek and tidal port, Panamax vessels cannot be received here. With commissioning of barge jetty, Panamax vessels shall anchor in mid sea (about 12 km from creek) and material shall be unloaded into barges (capacity 2500 MT & 5000 Mt) which shall berth on barge jetty to unload the solid cargo. This will help in unloading at 10000 MTPD rate and will avoid waiting time due to port queue and save dispatch money.
Also dumper movement of 12 km shall be avoided and this will avoid wind age losses of material and protect the environment too. The handling of material from ship to barges, unloading, stevedoring, bagging & loading of imported fertilisers into railway wagons and transfer of raw materials to plant shall be done by an agent for which MoU has already been signed.
British Trade Minister to visit India
NEW DELHI, March 13: To strenghthen trade and investment relationship between both the countries, Britain's Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green will be visiting India on a five-day tour from March 14.
During the first official visit since his appointment, Lord Green, who assumed office in January this year after a distinguished career in international banking, will meet top ministers and officials in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
The Minister's visit aims to identify further opportunities for the UK and Indian businesses to work together to realise India's ambitious goals for economic growth in critical areas such as infrastructure development, Also to explore further opportunities for Indian businesses to take advantage of the highly attractive investment climate offered by the UK.
The March 14-18 visit reinforces the central role of the trade and investment relationship in a stronger, wider, deeper partnership between India and the UK, as set out by Prime Ministers David Cameron and Manmohan Singh in July last year.
In New Delhi, Lord Green will meet Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss plans for further economic liberalisation in India and the subsequent role that British business could play, to the mutual economic benefit, the trade office in London said.
He will also meet the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Jaipal Reddy and the Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath.
Lord Green will also attend an event which brings together key UK and Indian partners in the infrastructure and rail sectors.
In Mumbai, Lord Green will deliver a speech on "UK and India the financial sector and beyond" at an event hosted by the City of London and Mint.
The Minister will call on the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India S Subbarao and meet a range of business leaders such as Mahindra Group chief Anand Mahindra, Tata group chairman Ratan Tata and ICICI Bank chief executive Chanda Kochhar.
In Chennai, Lord Green will promote UK skills and expertise and demonstrate how valuable a partner the UK can be to India outside the traditional markets.
Rail Budget 2011: No increase in train fare this year
NEW DELHI, Feb 25: There will be no increase in train fares this year, railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced in Parliament today while presenting Rail Budget 2011.
Regretting the two incidents of sabotage that led to a large number of deaths last year, Mamata said to avoid such incidents in future, anti-collision devices will be commissioned in three more divisions and all unmanned crossings will be done away with in the next fiscal.
Mamata, however, said rail accident rate has declined from 0.29 per cent last year to 0.17 per cent at present. The states with lowest number of rail accidents will get two new projects and two new trains as an incentive, she said.
The booking charges for A/C as well as non A/C seats have been slashed by 50 per cent and online ticketing is all set to get cheaper. Physically handicapped passengers will now be given concession in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains as well. Also, the lower age limit for female senior citizens will be reduced from 60 to 58. Concession for male senior citizens has been reduced by 10% to 30%. ( Read: Highlights of Rail Budget 2011 )
One of the highlights of the budget was the introduction of over 200 new routes, especially for the North-East. Another special addition is the introduction of double-decker air-conditioned train service on the Jaipur-Delhi and Ahmedabad-Mumbai routes.
Three new Shatabdi trains will be introduced on Pune-Secunderabad, Jaipur- Agra and Ludhiana-Delhi routes, she said. New Duronto trains will be introduced on Allahabad-Mumbai, Pune-Ahmedabad, Sealdah-Puri, Madurai-Chennai, Chennai- Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai Central-New Delhi routes.
As many as 47 additional trains will be introduced for the Mumbai suburban section and nine for Chennai, Banerjeee said.
Also, trolleys will be introduced at railway stations, said the minister. The 'Go India' smart card ticket project will be launched this year.
The railways is planning to invest Rs 57630 cr in the 2011-12 fiscal and railway earnings, she said, are set to exceed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark.
As many as 442 stations are to be completed and 584 upgraded by 2012 and new railway line capacities are to be increased to 700 km, she said.
Banerjee announced that the first coach from the new rail factory at Rae Bareli will roll out in the next three months. Also, there is a plan to set up a rail industrial park in Nandigram and a metro coach factory in Kolkata. A coach factory is also planned to come up at Singur as is a track-machine industry in Uluberia.
A locomotive centre is to come up in Manipur's Imphal. Railways is to set up a bridge factory in J&K considering need for large number of bridges on railway projects in the state, Banerjee said.
Enthused by the high number of medals in international sports competitions won by the Railways, a Sports Cadre will be set up in the department.
As many as 16,000 ex-servicemen will be inducted by March in the Railways for the first time. A 700 MW gas-based power plant will be set up at Thakurli in Maharashtra, she said.
Centre plans to double exports in three years
NEW DELHI, Feb 23: In a bid to give quantum jump to country’s export, the Centre, on Wednesday, floated a draft strategy paper on export for doubling overseas merchandise to US$450 billion by 2014.
The paper focuses on diversifying country’s export in new emerging markets and putting in place policy initiatives to enhance value addition of such products and services having inherent competitive edge.
“Our target is to double country’s exports in dollar terms over the next three years from US$225 billion in 2010-11 to US$450 billion in 2013-14. To realise this, exports have to grow at compound average growth of 26 per cent per annum” Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here. The draft paper primarily outlines strategy that would accelerate growth of exports to keep trade deficit within manageable bounds, he said.
Suggesting multi-pronged strategies to boost export, it recommended promoting export of high value products that have strong domestic manufacturing base. Outlining market strategy it proposed market diversification strategy based on changing dynamics of growth in the global economy. The core strategy should focus on retaining presence and market share in country’s traditional developed country markets.
“We would have to focus on markets in Asia including Asean, Africa and Latin America. We must establish new beachheads and strengthen our presence in newly opened up markets,” it suggested. The paper also suggested strategy for building brand image to establish greater acceptance of India’s export products and sectors in foreign markets.
Efforts must be made to strengthen to build up a brand image for important Indian exports and promote a thrust for quality up-gradation. It also suggests series of measures to rein in import growth through domestic policy in sectors like agriculture, fertilizers, electronics, pharmaceutical industries, engineering, coal and petroleum. The government will give a month’s time to all stakeholders to give their views on draft strategy paper. “Once we get all the comments, a final strategy for export promotion will be made by March 31,” Sharma said.
Upcoming food crisis needs top most attention: Dr U S Awasthi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Feb 18: The Iffco Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, has stressed on the need for reforms in agriculture sector to meet the challenges of the food crisis in the country. Some parts of the world are facing food crisis and India needs to pay top most attention at all the levels to ensure food availability, its access and affordability to an individual at all the times.
Speaking at a seminar on “Tapping the Farm Potential of Eastern India --Boosting production” here, Dr Awasthi said India has achieved an all time high food grains production of 234.47 mt during 2008-09. It, however, declined to 218.2 mt during 2009-10. The food grains production target is 244.5 mt during 2010-11. “The food grains production needs to be sustained,” he added.
Dr Awasthi said agriculture is facing the onslaught of climatic extremes, higher input cost and fluctuation in output prices etc. leading to plateauing and or decline in crop productivity and food availability for majority of population. The climatic extremes include simultaneous occurrence of drought and or flood in one or the other parts of country, thus limiting agricultural production. As a result, food prices are increasing, limiting its availability affecting human and animal health.
He said the meaning of farm productivity should not be construed as food grains production only, but should include overall farm production that includes oilseeds, sugarcane, fiber crops, fruits and vegetables and flower crops, animal products (milk and milk products, meat, eggs) and other enterprises being executed by farmers for his livelihood.
Dr Awasthi said the overall farm productivity needs to be increased by efficiently harnessing available resources to ensure food availability on sustainable basis. Eastern India has tremendous potential to increase farm productivity, particularly of rice crop which needs to be harnessed by pragmatic approach considering location specific situation.
He suggested several steps to increase farm productivity. These include correcting imbalance use of nutrients and promotion of integrated nutrient management; timely availability of inputs in adequate quantity at consuming point; and incorporation of crop residue in soil and use of farm waste for preparation of organic manure on the farmers’ field.
The other steps he suggested were inclusion of green manure, pulses in cropping systems; reclamation of problematic soils; development of water resources – rejuvenation of water bodies / wells, check dam, lift irrigation scheme, drip / sprinkler irrigation systems and exploring production potential in rainfed areas.
He urged the corporate, representing various industries, to come forward for taking such type of initiatives for enhancing farm production and linking to food processing industry for its value addition so as to generate employment opportunities and also food availability in the country.
He concluded by saying that India has the potential and the commensurate efforts would lead to better farm productivity as, “it is not late for today but it should not be too late for tomorrow.”
Daikin introduces affordable range of ACs; heats up Indian market
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Feb 16: Daikin is all set to heat up the air-conditioning market in India with the introduction of affordable range of energy air conditioners. Daikin India, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd., Japan, also plans to expand its dealer network to 1,000 from the existing 600 and also offer Daikin Solution Plazas, said Mr Kanwal Jeet Jawa, Managing Director, Daikin Air-conditioning India Pvt. Ltd.
He said the innovative range of 20 new products will be introduced across residential, light commercial & commercial segments.
“The newly launched products bring with them strong technology that offers lower cost of ownership, unmatched quality and durability,” said the Managing Director of the company that is market leader in the premium air-conditioning.
Under its upcoming five-year business plan, Mr Kanwal Jeet Jawa said Daikin India is looking to set up a R&D center in India to develop products tailored to each of the emerging markets.
At Daikin India, he said “innovation is an everyday mission that powers our vision to stay ahead in everything. This year we are taking yet another bold step in this direction by upgrading the star label of complete FTE series to 3 star & FTG series to 5 star rating.”
Daikin India plans to get aggressive in the Indian market by opening of multiple Daikin Solution Plazas, a key step towards strengthening Daikin India’s endeavour to establish itself as a main player in the consumer air-conditioner segment.
Mr Kanwal Jeet Jawa said “Indians appreciate quality products and the range is ideally suited for consumers who are willing to enjoy the superior Daikin experience that is now available at competitive price band. Daikin India is geared to take the center stage by offering an affordable pricing proposition coupled with robust after sales service in order to spread the merits of high star rated products & inverter models during 2011-12.”
He said India’s air-conditioning market is estimated to grow at a robust compound annual growth rate of 20-25 per cent and Daikin India has all the trappings to becoming the leader in the growing residential air-conditioning market.
Daikin India has allotted 5 to 6 per cent of the turnover as marketing spends for an aggressive brand awareness campaign to boost the brand impact. In the first phase, company aims to target the growing middle class with its new mid-market pricing strategy.
Currently the Daikin India manufacturing plant which is strategically located at Neemrana, Rajasthan with a sprawling area of 160,000 sq metres entailed an initial investment of Rs. 2,100 million. The facility has the capacity to manufacture 20,000 VRV units and 1,800 Chillers and will produce only HFC refrigerant (Ozone friendly) based products at first stage.
Daikin, India’s No. 1 VRV brand is aggressively looking to grow its market share and aims to increase it by 15% over next 3 years. The company expects to attain 15% market share in Chillers while becoming the leading HVAC player in India.
India, Malaysia ink landmark trade pact
KAULA LUMPUR, Feb 18: India and Malaysia on Friday signed a landmark pact that paves the way for freer flow of trade in goods and services, besides enhanced investment and economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his Malaysian counterpart Mustapa Mohamed and witnessed by Prime Minister Najib Razak and several leading captains of industry from both sides.
"The CECA will usher in a new era of much deeper economic cooperation. Indian Premier Manmohan Singh is very supportive of this and a very good friend of Malaysia," Najib said while standing behind the two seated ministers after the pact was inked.
The CECA marks a new era in bilateral ties, with both the ministers calling the agreement a vehicle that would serve to enhance trade and investment flows and encourage freer movement of goods, services and professionals between India and Malaysia.
India was Malaysia's 13th largest trading partner in 2010, with exports amounting to USD 6.5 billion and imports at USD 2.4 billion.
Indian investments in Malaysia were valued at USD 15.9 million, mostly in scientific and measuring equipment, fabricated metal products, furniture and fixtures.
This is the second trade pact India has signed in the past three days.
Sharma inked a trade pact with Japan on Wednesday before flying in Kuala Lumpur Thursday night.
The two countries envisage that with the CECA in place from 1st July, 2011, bilateral trade will accelerate and touch at least USD 15 billion by 2015.
"The agreement is an ambitious one encompassing services, investment and trade and opening up various sectors for investment opportunities," Sharma said at a press conference after inking the deal.
"The modest trade bilateral target of USD 15 billion by 2015 is doable and can happen sooner by the signing of CECA," Sharma said.
He said Indian business houses have invested in the petroleum, synthetics, railways and IT sectors in Malaysia and the two countries were also working on projects in third countries.
He stressed that Asia was today the hub of economic activity and noted that the integration of Asian economies would help in realizing developmental objectives.
The Malaysian trade minister said there were two factors which would push the CECA to greater heights -- the direct impact of tariff reductions and the excitement and feel good factor between the two countries.
The two ministers noted that signing of the deal would also facilitate the movement of skilled professionals.
Malaysia has also agreed to higher FDI by Indian companies in the construction services and IT sectors.
Mustapa said the negotiators had helped produce an agreement that had nine times more on the positive list than the negative list.
The Malaysian minister emphasized that India was a very important country for Malaysian businessmen, with trade between the two goings up to USD 9 billion this year.
He said the impact of the CECA would extend beyond just trade and investment, projecting a huge increase in tourist arrivals.
The CECA is seen as adding value to the existing Asean-India FTA by subjecting more products to tariff concessions and advancing the timelines for reduction or elimination of tariffs.
Officials said the agreement also contains more trade facilitation provisions that will enable exporters to comply with rules of origin requirements.
The pact also has provisions that will allow joint ventures between Malaysia and Indian services companies in sectors like healthcare, telecommunications, retail and environmental services.
The agreement also includes a dedicated chapter on Movement of Natural Persons, an area that has been negotiated by Malaysia for the first time ever, which will facilitate the temporary entry of installers and contractual service suppliers, independent professionals and business visitors from India into Malaysia and Malaysia into India.
The CECA also contains provisions to encourage strategic partnerships and to enhance collaborative ventures in areas such as infrastructure development, human resources development, science and technology, creative industries and business facilitation.
The decision to explore the feasibility of comprehensive economic cooperation between Malaysia and India was taken during a visit to India by former Malaysian Premier Abdullah Badawi in 2004.
Japan and India sign free-trade deal after sales slide
TOKYO, Feb 16: Japan and India have signed a free-trade agreement that will see tariffs on 94 per cent of goods scrapped within a decade.
It will focus on the textile, drug, auto and services sectors, and comes as trade between the two is sliding.
Bilateral trade fell 23% to $10bn (£6.2bn) in 2009, the Japan External Trade Organization said.
In a separate report, the World Trade Organization said more open markets will help boost Japan's growth.
On Monday, Japan was overtaken by China as the world's second-largest economy and it is keen to boost trade to help offset sluggish domestic demand.
India on the other hand is one of the world's fastest-growing economies and is looking for new markets for its companies' products.
Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma inked the trade deal in Tokyo.
According to the World Trade Organization while Japan's governments have taken steps to boost economic growth, they need to do more where trade is concerned.
"While looser macroeconomic policies have helped Japan's economy to recover from the global financial crisis, they do not address its long-standing structural problems," the WTO said in trade policy review of Japan.
"These problems can be addressed more effectively by far-reaching structural reforms, of which trade liberalization (and the resulting stimulus to competition) is an integral part," it added.
In another attempt to boost ties between the two Japan is mulling plans to finance some of India's infrastructure projects.
India's commerce minister has proposed setting up a $9bn fund that would help further develop the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor.
The project started in 2007 and is based on a similar project between Tokyo and Osaka. It is being funded in part by the Japanese government and Japanese companies.
When finished it will include a high-speed rail freight network, three new sea ports and six airports.
It is expected to attract investment of more than $100bn.
India to hike subsidy on fertilizers
NEW DELHI, feb 16: The move is deemed necessary to ward off a further inflationary impact on already high food prices
In a bid to cushion farmers from the impact of high global prices, the Central Government on Tuesday decided to hike the quantum of subsidy payable to fertilizer companies to ensure that the domestic prices of NPK nutrients — urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MOP) — are maintained at ‘reasonable' levels.
The decision was taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee which met here to review fertilizer prices in the wake of a global rise in input costs of fertilizer manufacturing units.
Evidently, the move to compensate producers for the higher prices of imported raw materials was deemed necessary to ward off a further inflationary impact on already high food prices.
The step has come a day after constitution of a task force headed by UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani to evolve a suitable mechanism for direct payment of subsidy on kerosene, LPG and fertilizers to the intended beneficiaries. In 2009-10, the subsidy on fertilizer alone stood at over Rs.64,000 crore.
Speaking to the media after the GoM meeting, Fertiliser Secretary Sutanu Behuria said: “The subsidy level will be increased so as to maintain the affordable prices. We are working out the details…Given that global prices have risen, the MRP should be maintained at a reasonable level. The government will absorb the burden of rise in global prices by way of subsidising.”
The price difference is more in the case of import-based fertilizers.
Hike in fertiliser sop close to industry needs: Chander
NEW DELHI, Feb 16: The Fertiliser Association of India is delighted at the government’s decision to hike fertiliser subsidy.
Satish Chander, Director General of the association said that hikes have been close to the industry requirements.
Adding that the new rates will be beneficial to the industry, Chander is expecting nutrient-based subsidy (NBS), decanalisation and new urea investment policy in the upcoming budget.
Japan eclipsed by China as world No 2 economy
TOKYO, Feb 14: Japan lost its 42-year ranking as the world's second-biggest economy to China in 2010, with data out on Monday showing a contraction in the last quarter due to weak consumer spending and a strong yen. While Japan was expected to fall behind a surging China in the year, the data underlined the weak state of a Japanese economy burdened by deflation, soft domestic demand and pressured by the industrialised world's biggest debt.
"It is difficult for the deflation-plagued Japanese economy to achieve self-sustained growth," said Naoki Murakami, chief economist at Monex Securities.
While China's leap forward reflects a shift in economic power as the country transforms itself from poverty-hit communist state to global heavyweight, it highlights the need for shrinking Japan to energise its economy, analysts said.
Japan's post-war "economic miracle" put it at number two behind the United States for more than four decades, but stagnation after the Japanese property bubble burst in the 1990s helped put booming China on course to supplant its neighbour.
However, Japan remains around 10 times richer on a per-capita basis, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Predictions vary as to when China may overtake the United States as number one economy, but it should happen by 2025, according to estimates by the World Bank, Goldman Sachs and others.
Japan's real gross domestic product slipped by an annualised 1.1% in the October-December quarter as the expiration of auto subsidies hit car sales, a new tobacco tax sapped cigarette demand and a strong yen hurt exports.
While the first contraction in five quarters was not as severe as forecasts of a 2.4% slide, Japanese GDP data is subject to constant revision.
The economy grew 3.9% in 2010, its first annual growth in three years. But this was not enough to keep it ahead of surging China.
Nominal GDP of $5.474 trillion in 2010 put Japan behind China's $5.879 trillion, the data showed.
Despite Japan crawling out of a severe year-long recession in 2009, its recovery remains fragile with deflation, high public debt, weak domestic demand and a strong yen all concerns for policymakers.
Pressure is on Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has seen his approval ratings tumble as his government looks to boost the economy without deepening the debt amid a legislative impasse over his $1.1 trillion budget for the next fiscal year.
In January Standard & Poor's cut Japan's credit rating one notch to "AA-" from "AA", saying the government lacked a "coherent strategy" to ease a debt running near 200% of GDP, the highest of any developed nation.
Nearly a third of government spending is being swallowed up by a social security system catering to a rapidly greying society, Standard & Poor's warned, with that ratio set to rise without reforms as Japan continues to age.
Kan's centre-left government has prioritised social security reform and a tax system overhaul, but the opposition has so far refused to begin talks on the issue.
Private consumption, accounting for about 60% of Japan's GDP, slid by 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in October-December as subsidies for green car purchases expired and as cigarette sales were dented by Japan's biggest ever tobacco tax hike.
Exports slipped in the quarter as the yen surged to 15-year highs against the dollar, making Japanese goods more expensive overseas and eroding repatriated profits.
But many analysts expect the economy to rebound in the January-March quarter as the rising tide of global recovery lifts Japan, amid a recent pick-up in corporate spending and exports.
"The contraction will not last long," said Murakami. "Companies' manufacturing activities are recovering rapidly in January-March this year from their bottom in October 2010."
The government said that Japan's economy would be helped by recovery elsewhere and could reap the benefits of its huge neighbour China, the world's number-one export market.
"We welcome, as a neighbouring nation, that China's economy is advancing rapidly," said Kaoru Yosano, minister for fiscal policy.
Exports grow by 32.5 pc to USD 20.6 bn in January
NEW DELHI, Feb 13: India's exports grew by a healthy 32.5 per cent year-on-year to USD 20.6 billion in January, 2011 on account of increasing demand in the western markets.
During April-January this fiscal, the country's shipments went up by 29.4 per cent to USD 184.6 billion.
"It is a huge jump...Export performance is pretty damn good...By February, we should cross USD 200 billion," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday.
Imports in January, 2011 is estimated to increase by 13.1 per cent to USD 28.6 billion over the same period last year, leaving a trade deficit of USD 8 billion during the month under review, Khullar said.
During April-January, 2010-11, imports rose by 17.6 per cent to USD 273.6 billion.
"The import numbers will be revised," Khullar added.
During the first 10 months of the financial year, trade deficit stood at USD 89 billion.
Sectors that registered healthy growth during April-January, 2010-11 include gems and jewellery, engineering and petroleum and oil lubricants, he added.