Budget 2018: Farmers selling cheap, so why do fruits and veggies cost you a bomb?

Foodgrain production in 2016-17 is estimated at 276 million tonnes and in 2017-18 it is targeted at 275 million tonnes

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As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gets down to finalise his Budget Speech, which many believe could be focused on the farm sector, the December data on consumer food price index (CFPI) and its wholesale price counterpart should offer some insight.

The CFPI-based inflation for the month of December rose to 4.96 per cent year-on-year from 4.35 per cent in November. In contrast, the wholesale price index-based food inflation declined from 6.06 per cent in November to 4.72 per cent in December. As such, retail price food inflation has crossed past wholesale price one for the first time in the recent months.

Though this divergence in the movement of inflation isn’t uniform across all commodities in the group but the index numbers are a pointer to the fact that while farmers continue to reel under the impact of low rise in prices aggravating the distress scenario in rural areas, consumers in cities aren’t getting farm goods that cheap.

Labour bureau data showed that wage growth of general agriculture labourers (watering and irrigation workers), which is a proxy for rural wages grew by 5.16 per cent in October 2017 – the last publicly available data – from the same period last year. It was lower than 7.2 per cent growth seen between October 2015 and October 2016.

The trend of fall in prices in wholesale markets not reflecting fully in the consumer prices is more pronounced in perishable commodities mainly potatoes and tomatoes and also in chana (gram dal) whose prices have seen a massive slump under the weight of bumper harvest.

Data sourced from the department of consumer affairs’— Price Monitoring Cell — shows that in Delhi wholesale markets from December 1 to 29, price of chana dal fell by 9.2% while in the retail markets it dropped by just 2.6%.

In case of some perishables, it was more acute.

Tomato prices in the wholesale markets of Delhi dropped by almost 74 per cent in December, while in the retail markets the commodity became cheaper by mere 47 per cent during the same period.

Click To Read : Budget 2018

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Budget 2018: Jaitley’s speech, deficit data to decide rupee’s fate in 2018

How Modi fares in reining in the fiscal deficit while seeking to jump-start activity may determine the currency’s direction for the remainder of the year, analysts say

Budget 2018 Rupee Value

Budget 2018 Rupee Value

Don’t let the rupee’s strength fool you, strategists say. The rally that boosted the currency to the strongest in 32 months will probably be short-lived.

The rupee is facing headwinds as elevated energy prices threaten to increase inflation and worsen public finances in a nation that imports most of its oil needs. Traders are also bracing for higher government spending as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to take measures in the February budget to revive an economy that’s forecast to grow at the slowest pace in four years.

How Modi fares in reining in the fiscal deficit while seeking to jump-start activity may determine the currency’s direction for the remainder of the year, analysts say.

“The budget could well set the tone for the rupee in 2018,” said Aditya Pugalia, Dubai-based director of financial markets at Emirates NBD PJSC, the second most-accurate forecaster in Bloomberg’s quarterly rankings. “A slip-up on the deficit could add a layer of uncertainty.”

Emirates NBD predicts the rupee will weaken to 65 per dollar by the end of March. Mizuho Bank Ltd., the third-best forecaster in Bloomberg’s survey, sees it depreciating to 65.60, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey is 64.50. The rupee advanced to 63.2463 on Jan. 8, the strongest since April 2015. It rose 0.3 percent Monday to 63.4175.

The forecasts mark a turnaround in sentiment. The rupee strengthened in 2017 for the first time in seven years as slow inflation, stable commodity prices and a slew of policy reforms lured about $30 billion of foreign inflows into India’s stocks and bonds.

Target Exceeded

A surge in oil prices to a three-year high and slowing economic growth has clouded the picture. The budget deficit exceeded the target for fiscal year 2018 by the end of November, while inflation accelerated to the quickest pace in 17 months in December, data showed Friday. Read More

Budget 2018: This is what the technology sector wants from FM Arun Jaitley

Ahead of the announcement of Union Budget 2018, Tech Industry leaders share their concerns and demands

Budget 2018 tech

Key issues

Newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, etc, are changing the rules of the game for incumbent IT players

Impact of new regulations such as H1B, GDPR could result in higher deployment costs as well as increased compliance costs

Convergence in online-offline business models in the e-commerce sector, largely due to heightened competition

What industry wants

Adjustments to past years’ income emanating from APAs should be recognised as income of those years itself

Equalisation levy should be treated as tax on income and be eligible for tax credit in a foreign country to the overseas online ad businesses

Extend the exemptions granted to STP units in relation to procurements,as before the GST roll-out

Tax collected at source (TCS) under the GST has been suspended till March 2018 for e-commerce companies. This provision should be removed, given their onerous compliance obligations

Mechanism for entering into an advance agreement (akin to APA) with tax authorities for eligibility of tax holiday claim should be introduced

Click Here To Read : Budget 2018

Amazon Great Indian Sale: Deals on Pixel 2 XL, Honor 6X, LG Q6 & more

In the four-day sale, the e-commerce giant is expected to run discounts, exchange offers, interest-free EMIs on credit cards and cashback offers on various products

Amazon Great Indian Sale

Amazon India is gearing up for the next iteration of its ‘Great Indian Sale’, which commences on January 21. During the four-day sale, the e-commerce giant is expected to run discounts, exchange offers, interest free equal monthly installments (EMIs) on credit cards and cashback offers on various products, including smartphones and electronic items.

In addition, the e-commerce portal has partnered with HDFC bank for instant cashback of 10 per cent on debit cards, credit cards and EMI transactions.

Here are some of the upcoming deals on smartphones:

Google Pixel 2 XL

The elder sibling in the duo of second-generation Pixel smartphones is among the top flagship device that were launched last year. The phone is expected to be sold at a massive discount during sale and would be available for less than Rs 40,000.

ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2 XL: A strong ‘nexus’

Honor 6X

The Honor 6X, a dual-camera set-up-based budget offering from the stable of China-based electronics major Huawei, would be available at a price cut on the

Click to read more on → Amazon Great Indian Sale

Modi-Netanyahu meet: Why there are limitations to India-Israel relations

The Israeli prime minister may want closer ties with India as the situation in Palestine deteriorates, but that’s not going to be easy

Modi-Netanyahu meet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will commence his return visit to India on Sunday, January 14, within six months of Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel. Modi’s trip had been the first visit of an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state, nearly 70 years after the state came into being and 25 years after India established diplomatic ties with it.

The last quarter of a century has seen extraordinary progress in bilateral relations: Israel is now India’s major defence supplier, security partner and source of important technologies in diverse areas including water, agriculture, energy, information technology and innovation. Both prime ministers share an interest in wordplay; hence, Netanyahu has named the “Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund”, I4F, while Modi uses the term “I4I” for “India for Israel and Israel for India”, conveying both mutual personal camaraderie and the solid substance of the relationship in frontier areas.

Prime minister’s programme

Taking a cue from Modi’s sojourn in Israel, Netanyahu’s visit to India will have a variety of engagements which, taken together, will exemplify the depth of the political relationship and the commitment to boost and diversify economic ties, and highlight the joint interest to fight extremism with the visit to Mumbai to commemorate the November 2008 attacks. Netanyahu will also be exposed to India’s popular culture, with a “road-show” along an eight-km drive from Ahmedabad airport to Sabarmati Ashram where the Israeli leader will see some aspects of Gujarat’s street culture.

This will be topped by Netanyahu’s engagement with Bollywood at an event titled ‘Shalom Bollywood’, at which he will meet the glitterati from cinema and plead with them to shoot their films in Israel, taking advantage of its beautiful landscape and its cinema-friendly weather.

Click To Read : Modi Netanyahu Meet

Another milestone for Isro with 100th satellite: 10 things you should know

16 nanosatellites made by the US placed into the sun-synchronous orbit of the Earth

ISRO

India on Friday launched a polar rocket with 31 satellites, including three Indian and 28 of six other nations from its spaceport in Sriharikota. The 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) roared into a clear sky after a perfect lift-off at 9.29 a.m. after a 28-hour countdown. The 320-tonne rocket will eject the satellites one-by-one and deploy them into the earth’s lower orbit about 17 minutes and 18 seconds after the lift-off.

Isro Chairman designate K Sivan says PSLVC40 is special for Isro since it is coming after a failure 4.5 months back.

Also Read : 4 months after failed bid, ISRO launches 100th Satellite Cartosat-2 Series

PSLVC40 Performance was excellent and entire system perfectly. Its a green flag for high profile missions.

S Somanath, Director, LPSC says today’s successful launch is a reassurance to all of us about PSLV. The previous launch failed due to a “very minor” issue.

Here’s all you should know about the launch : ISRO

Kamala Mills fire: Two ‘1 Above’ pub owners nabbed, one still absconding

The Sanghvi brothers, who were on the run since the incident, were arrested from the Andheri area

Kamala Mills fire

Jigar Sanghvi and Kripesh Sanghvi, ‘1 Above’ pub co-owners wanted in connection with the December 29 Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives, were arrested on Wednesday, police said.

The Sanghvi brothers, who were on the run since the incident, were arrested from the Andheri area here, additional commissioner of police S Jaikumar told PTI.

The police had on Tuesday arrested Vishal Kariya, a hotelier, for allegedly giving shelter to the Sanghvi brothers and Abhijeet Mankar — owners of the ‘1 Above’ pub.

ALSO READ: Fix fire safety: 15 measures to prevent Kamala Mills tragedy like situation

The trio has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other offences under the Indian Penal Code.

Police had also announced a reward of Rs 100,000 for information about their whereabouts.

Mankar was still absconding.

ALSO READ: Kamala Mills fire to Chennai floods: Why India’s regulations aren’t working

On December 29, a fire had swept through the ‘1 Above’ and adjacent Mojo’s Bistro resto pub in Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai, resulting in the death of 14 people.