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Mining slump drags factory output growth to 3-month low of 4.3% in Aug






New Delhi:Factory output growth slipped to a three-month low of 4.3 per cent in August due to a sharp slump in mining output growth and moderation in primary goods output, alongside the impact of a high base. Meanwhile, retail inflation inched higher to a two-month high of 3.77 per cent in September from a 10-month low of 3.69 per cent in the previous month on the back of rise in fuel prices, data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) Friday showed.


Industrial output had grown at 6.7 per cent in July 2018 and 7.1 per cent in August last year. Inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index (Combined) had stood at 3.28 per cent in September last year. Cumulatively, however, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) recorded an improvement during April-August, rising to 5.2 per cent as against 2.3 per cent a year ago.



Economists said core-core inflation (inflation excluding food, fuel & light and transport & communication), which has

remained above 5 per cent for last 11 months, coupled with the slower IIP growth hints at weakening demand. Incidentally, after two successive rate hikes, the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee (MPC) kept key policy rates unchanged last week, citing a tepid inflation trajectory and downward revision to inflation projections.

However, the central bank’s stance was changed from “neutral” to “calibrated tightening”. The International Monetary


Mining slump drags factory output growth to 3-month low of 4.3% in Aug Fund (IMF) on Tuesday called for further tightening of monetary policy in India to anchor expectations as inflation was expected to pick up. According to the data released Friday, mining output posted a contraction of 0.4 per cent during August as against 3.4 per cent growth in July and 9.3 per cent growth in the year ago period. Primary goods output also slowed to 2.6 per cent in August from 6.7 per cent a month ago and 7.1 per cent in August last year.


Manufacturing output, which constitutes more than 77 per cent of the IIP, moderated to 4.6 per cent in August from 7 per cent in July but was higher than 3.8 per cent in the same period last year, the data showed. Electricity output grew at 7.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent a month ago but remained lower than 8.3 per cent growth seen last year. Consumer durables sector recorded a single-digit growth rate of 5.2 per cent in August as against 14.3 per cent in July, while consumer non-durables sector or the fast-moving consumer goods grew at 6.3 per cent in August compared with 5.5 per cent in July.


Of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector, 16 recorded positive growth during August, with the industry group ‘manufacture of furniture’ posting the highest positive growth of 29.2 per cent followed by 18.9 percent in ‘Manufacture of wearing apparel’. The industry group ‘Printing and reproduction of recorded media’ showed the highest negative growth of (-) 19.2 per cent followed by (-) 17.0 per cent in ‘Manufacture of tobacco products’.


“On quarterly basis, July-September core-core inflation declined to 5.64 per cent from 6.10 per cent in April-June. This along with IIP for August 2018 suggests some weakening of demand in the economy. Despite softening of core-core inflation, it has remained elevated (more than 5 per cent) in last 11 months,” Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings said.


As per the retail inflation data, food and beverages inflation rate rose to 1.08 per cent in September from 0.85 per cent in the previous month and the Combined Food Price inflation for September also increased to 0.51 per cent from 0.29 per cent in the preceding month. The index for fuel and light increased to 142.1 in September from 140.8 in August and 131.0 last year. The inflation rate for fuel and light, however, remained at the same level as previous month at 8.47 per cent in September.


At 3.77 per cent, the overall retail inflation rate is within the RBI’s inflation rate projection 4 per cent in July-September and 3.9-4.5 per cent in October-March. The RBI, in its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy statement last week, had said food inflation has remained unusually benign, which imparts a downward bias to its trajectory in the second half of the year, factoring in the estimate of the impact of an increase in minimum support prices (MSPs) announced in July in the baseline projections.




India can’t achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without agri-revolution: Kant




New Delhi: India cannot achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without revolution in the farm sector, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Addressing Mahindra Samriddhi Agri awards, he said there is a need to boost investment in the agriculture sector as well as to introduce new technology and market reforms.

Kant also stressed on scrapping Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and some old laws like Essential Commodites Act, which restrict movement of farm produces.


However, he said agriculture is a state subject and the central government has limited role in it.

“In India 50 per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture. If India’s GDP has to grow at 9-10 per cent for the next 30 years, then it cannot be without bringing revolution in the agri sector,” Kant said.

He also emphasised on eliminating middlemen in marketing of farm produces to boost farmers’ income.

Kant expressed confidence that farmer income will be doubled by 2022.
He said there is a need to spread good agriculture practice and success stories of farmers across the country.

“The second revolution in agriculture will come from technology and marketing,” Kant said.

Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd,, said: “The contribution made by our farming community is a manifestation of this new age of farming which we celebrate through our annual awards”.

As part of Mahindra Agri Village (MAV) programme, he said the company has worked closely with more than 50 villages.

“Our Prerna initative has empowered nearly 2,000 women farmers over 40 villages, through the introduction of gender-neutral farm tools for reducing farm drudgery, and dissemination of knowledge and essential capabilities,” Goenka said.

Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman (Lifetime Achievement Award) 2019 was conferred upon E A Siddiq for his immense contribution to Indian agriculture. The award was handed over to recognise his contribution of enhancing productivity of paddy (Both Basmati & Non Basmati).

The group gave awards in total 11 categories.

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Mukesh Ambani bails out Anil in Ericsson payout case day before SC deadline




Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani stepped in to bail out younger brother Anil Ambani by helping him repay Reliance Communications’ (RCom’s) dues to Ericsson. The last-minute rescue spares the younger Ambani a three-month jail term for contempt of court.

RCom cleared the entire dues to Ericsson India to purge the contempt of a Supreme Court order. The debt-ridden company had already paid Rs 118 crore of the Rs 550-crore dues. In addition, the company had paid around Rs 3 crore in penalties to Ericsson.

“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita for standing by me during these trying times and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” said Anil Ambani in a media statement. RCom had time until Tuesday to make the payment, failing which Anil Ambani, its chairman, would have had to serve a three-month jail term, according to the court’s order.

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Probing Amazon, Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law: ED

Press Trust of India



New Delhi : Investigation has been initiated against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed the Delhi High Court.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani noted the submissions of the ED that a case has been registered under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the two companies and disposed of a PIL which has alleged that the e-commerce giants were violating foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.

The court had earlier sought response of the central government, Amazon and Flipkart to the plea which has sought a probe into the alleged FDI violations.


The ED, in its reply filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, has said the “department has already registered and initiated investigation under the provisions of FEMA against the two companies to ascertain whether they have been contravening any provisions of FEMA or contravening any rule, regulations, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under FEMA….”
The agency also sought dismissal of the petition.

The petition by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog, also asked for initiation of legal proceedings against the two e-commerce companies under the FEMA for alleged violation and circumvention of FDI norms.

The plea, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, has claimed that Amazon and Flipkart have created multiple entities to circumvent the FDI norms and route the hot-selling stock at cheaper rates.

The petition has contended that according to Press Note 3 of 2016, which regulates FDI in e-commerce, entities like Amazon and Flipkart are not to exercise ownership over stock, nor directly or indirectly influence price of goods and services sold on their marketplace.

It claimed that by creating name lending companies, Amazon and Flipkart buy branded goods in bulk at discounts from manufacturers and render small sellers uncompetitive by a wide margin, thus influencing the prices in violation of the FDI norms.

“As a consequence of this FDI norms violation, smaller sellers are unable to participate in the fast growing e-commerce sector,” the plea has contended, adding that due to subsidised prices on such platforms, small sellers are unable to sell in the brick-n-mortar world too.

Besides, the plea has also claimed that the two e-commerce firms have created several other group companies in the chain to divide discounts and losses.

“Exchange offers, EMI costs and bank offers are funded completely or substantially by Amazon and Flipkart and constitute a clear influence on price in violation of FDI norms,” it has alleged.

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