Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Easing domestic demand and a weakening trend in the global markets where the precious metal fell as the dollar gained against major currencies, reducing its appeal as a safe haven after the US Federal kept interest rates unchanged, led to persistent fall in gold and silver prices on the country's major bullion markets during the first fortnight of May. Prices of agri commodities such as sugar prices recovered on the back of pickup in demand from bulk consumers and retailers, driven by ongoing summer season. Prices of select edible oils declined on adequate stocks position. BULLION: Gold prices continued to fall across the country as demand for the metal from jewellers faded. Reports of weak trend in the global markets too put pressure on the prcies as strong dollar reduced the appeal of the metal as a safe haven. Glolbally, gold drifted lower to USD 1,233.70 an ounce as against previous fortnight's level of USD 1,263.70. Silver too eased to USD 16.71 an ounce from USD 17.64. At Delhi, gold prices fell by Rs 975 to Rs 28,575 per 10 gram, while at Kolkata, the precious metal moved down by Rs 890 to Rs 28,505 per 10 gram. At Chennai, prices were down by Rs 880 to Rs 27o,030 per 10 gram, while at Mumbai, it lost Rs 870 to Rs 28,205 per 10 gram. In step with gold, silver prices at Kolkata fell sharply by Rs 3,700 to Rs 378,000 per kg and were down by Rs 2,125 to Rs 38,485 per kg at Mumbai. At Chennai, silver prices dropped by Rs 2,100 to Rs 40,700 per kg, while at Delhi, they were down by Rs 1,625 to Rs 38,600 per kg. SUGAR: Supported by pickup in demand from bulk consumers and retailers, triggered by summer season, sugar prices recovered in the country's leading wholesale markets. At Mumbai's Vashi wholesale market, sugar S-30 quality strengthened to Rs 3,876-3,935 per quintal from Rs
3,872- 3,932, while medium sugar (M-30) traded at Rs 3,916-4,092 per quintal. Meanwhile, the government decided to restore the subsidy for states to ensure sale of 1 kg of sugar at a cheaper rate for 2.5 crore AAY families, the poorest of the poor, under the public distribution system (PDS). A decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The sugar subsidy was discontinued with effect from March 2017. The Union food ministry as well as some states had been keen on its continuance for at least families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). The CCEA, according to government sources, has approved a proposal to bring back the subsidy of Rs 18.50 per kg to state governments for selling 1 kg of sugar to AAY families via ration shops. The subsidy burden on the Centre will be around Rs 550 crore for supplying about 3 lakh tonnes of the sweetener. In the 2017 Budget, the government withdrew the sugar subsidy and earmarked only Rs 200 crore to clear past claims. For the last fiscal, Rs 4,500 crore were allocated for the scheme that covered BPL families too. Under the scheme, states were buying sugar from the open market at wholesale rates and selling at a subsidised rate of Rs 13.50 per kg through PDS. The Centre was providing subsidy of Rs 18.50 per kg to states. PULSES: Ahead of summer sowing, the Agriculture Ministry has proposed further hike in the import duty of tur dal (pigeon pea) from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in a bid to curb overseas purchase, arrest steep fall in wholesale prices and keep farmers' morale high. "The current import duty is not having any impact on the domestic rates, which are continuing to rule below the MSP. We have written to the finance ministry to raise the duty to at least 20 per cent to restrict shipments," a senior government official told PTI. Sending right price signal to farmers is important ahead of the 2017-18 summer (kharif) planting season to begin from July, as it would boost their morale and keep them motivated to grow pulses, which are mostly grown with rainfed conditions in marginal to sub-marginal lands, the official said. On March 28, the import duty was slapped on tur dal as its wholesale price had slipped below the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,050 per quintal fixed for this crop year 201617 ending next month. Prices are still under pressure in view of a bumper crop of about 4.23 million tonnes been harvested this year as against 2.56 million tonnes in 2015-16. The ministry is concerned that the trend of falling prices would affect the farmers' sentiments towards the tur planting during the 2017-18 kharif (summer) season even as it has planned a detailed strategy to further scale up the output to a new record. India is the world's largest pulses producer. Tur dal contributes 15 per cent of the total 22 million tonnes of pulses output. WHEAT: More than 72.17 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has arrived in the mandis of Haryana so far. The five government procuring agencies have purchased over 72.10 lakh metric tonnes while traders have purchased more than 6,834 metric tonnes at Minimum Support Price. Stating this here, a spokesman of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said the procurement process was running smoothly in the mandis. Giving details of the wheat procured by government agencies, he said that more than 17.82 lakh MT of wheat has been procured by Food and Supplies Department, whereas HAFED has purchased more than 25.90 lakh MT. The official said that Food Corporation of India has purchased more than 8.50 lakh MT, Haryana Agro Industries Corporation purchased more than 6.61 lakh MT and over 13.26 lakh MT has been procured by Haryana Warehousing Corporation. He said district Sirsa was leading which accounted for more than 10.29 lakh MT of wheat that so far arrived in the mandis. Meanwhile, wheat procurement for the central pool in Punjab grew by 10 per cent in the ongoing Rabi marketing season over the previous season's purchase, on higher arrivals. Wheat procurement by the stateowned agencies reached 112.20 lakh metric tonne (LMT) so far as against procurement of 102 LMT in the corresponding period of last season, FCI official said. As wheat crop arrivals are still on in various grain markets of the state, total wheat procurement is expected to be around 118-120 LMT, officials said. "This time, there will be a bumper crop in Punjab. The total procurement may reach 118-120 LMT," an official of Punjab Agriculture department said. Punjab this season is anticipating 170 LMT of wheat output on the back of favourable weather conditions and absence of any major attack of any disease on the crop. Last year, wheat production was pegged at 165.12 LMT. Wheat procurement for the central pool during previous season in Punjab was 106.56 LMT. Private traders have also evinced keen interest in buying wheat from mandis as their purchase was on higher side this season. Private traders including roller flour millers have purchased 2.50 LMT of wheat as against 1.70 LMT in corresponding period of last year, official said.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India