Naren­dra Modi, Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia

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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

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