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Cash Crunch after demonetisation Move by PM Modi has Hit Raw Jute Farmers and Jute Mills

West Bengal accounts for about 85 percent of the country's jute production, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Assam

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FILE - A private money trader counts Indian rupee currency notes at a shop in Mumbai, India. (Representational image). VOA

– by Bappaditya Chatterjee

Kolkata, Nov 25, 2016: Cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation has hit raw jute farmers and jute mills alike, which may ultimately lead to closure of mills and cause hardship to workers and labourers, various stakeholders rue.

Jute farmers are at the receiving end since traders have been unable to purchase the raw produce from them due to shortage of cash after the November 8 demonetistaion of high-denomination currency.

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For mill owners, too, a crisis seems to be looming large on the horizons as raw jute stocks lying with them are depleting fast. The industry is finding it difficult to even arrange for fortnightly wage payments to around 3.5 lakh mill workers.

Jute millers are now seeking intervention by the Jute Corporation of India (JCI), similar to the one 11 years ago when the industry faced a crisis owing to a sharp drop in raw jute supply.

West Bengal accounts for about 85 per cent of the country’s jute production, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Assam.

The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has already approached the government and the Jute Commissioner’s Office to seek restoration of normalcy in raw jute supply.

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“Usually, the growers accept cash for their produce sold to local traders. However, cash payments are not possible at present due to demonetisation and bank transfers will take some more time. As a result, the arrival of raw jute at various ‘mokams’ (local jute markets) has come down by 80-85 per cent,” IJMA Chairman Raghavendra Gupta told IANS.

[bctt tweet=”About 10-15 per cent of the total 40 lakh jute farmers in India accept payments through banks. ” username=””]

“The supplies of raw produce to jute mills has suffered. The trade over the past few days has been virtually nil. Whatever raw jute has arrived at mills is due to old contracts,” he said.

According to industry sources, jute produce in the 2016-17 season (July to June) was estimated to be around 90 lakh bales. About 30 per cent of the crop has arrived in the markets till mid-November while the supply of the remaining 70 per cent has been held up due to the cash shortage.

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This held-up supply may not come soon since there could be a tendency on part of the growers to hold on to stocks till normal cash supply is restored, according to millers.

“Recent income tax raids on private jute ‘mokams’ have already instilled fear among raw jute traders who are now shying away from supplying to mills,” a miller told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

“On an average, many mills do not have raw jute stocks beyond one month of normal production capacity,” Gupta said.

The end result could be a cut in production shifts, and resultant job losses for labourers.

“Raw jute stocks vary, depending on mill capacity. A small mill will suffer in terms of production and for want of raw jute. In that case, a miller will have no alternative but to cut down on production shifts,” IJMA member Sushant Agarwal said.

In October 2005, the JCI had purchased about two lakh bales of raw jute commercially and made it available to eligible mills in proportion to their spindle capacity.

“It is an opportune time for the JCI to enter the market and purchase raw jute commercially to protect farmers and sell the raw jute to mills based on their existing spindles and production control orders (basically, jute bag orders from the Centre) issued by the Jute Commissioner’s office,” the IJMA President said.

The industry feels it could face a double whammy due to possible dilution of government orders too in the wake of non-fulfilment of prior orders.

“About 80 per cent mill workers hold bank accounts while the rest don’t. Currently, these bank accounts are being registered with the jute mills. Bankers are also opening accounts of workers on the mill premises so that wages in future are given through bank transfers,” Gupta added. (IANS)

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Prince Charles Arrives in New Delhi for two day Visit to Meet PM Narendra Modi

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife arrived New Delhi for a two-day visit to India to complete their 10-day four-nation tour

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Prince Charles
Prince Charles visits India with his wife for two days. Wikimedia.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, arrived New Delhi on Wednesday on a two-day visit to India at the final leg of their 10-day four-nation tour that also took them to Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

“Their Royal Highnesses Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive,” the British High Commission in India tweeted.

Prince Charles is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening and discuss a wide range of issues, including that of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will take place in April 2018 in the UK.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles arrives in India with his wife. IANS.

Ahead of the royal couple’s arrival, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), economic cooperation, and other bilateral issues would also come up for discussion.

Bilateral trade between India and Britain stands at $12.19 billion. India is the third largest investor in Britain and the second largest international job creator in that country.

Britain is the third largest inward investor in India, with a cumulative equity investment of $24.37 billion for the period April 2000-June 2017

The Indian diaspora in UK is one of the largest ethnic minority communities in the country, with the 2011 census recording approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin equating to almost 1.8 percent of the population and contributing 6 per cent of the country’s GDP.

This will be Prince Charles ‘s ninth visit to India. He had earlier visited India in 1975, 1980, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2013. (IANS)

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Editorial Freedom Should be used Wisely in Public Interest says PM Narendra Modi to Media

Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change

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Editorial Freedom
PM Narendra Modi speaks about Editorial Freedom. Wikimedia

Chennai, Nov 6: Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Monday said that editorial freedom should be used in public interest and urged the newspapers to devote space to increase awareness about climate change.

Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebrations of Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium, Modi said lot of things happen around the world and the editors decide what is important to be published in their newspapers.

He said: “Editorial freedom should be used wisely and in public interest.”

Pointing out the natural calamities occurring around the world at regular intervals, PM Modi urged newspapers to allocate space to increase awareness about climate change.

Narendra Modi said the freedom to write does not in anyway reduce the importance to be accurate and correct, adding that though media outlets may be owned by the private sector, they serve a public purpose, have much social accountability and their conduct should be above board.

editorial freedom
Media must use editorial freedom with public interest, says PM Modi. Wikimedia.

He said technological advancement enables citizens to compare, discuss and analyse the credibility of news and the media should take extra caution to maintain its credibility.

According to him, reform in media can come from within and through introspection.

Observing most of the media discourse revolves around politics, Modi said the nation is made of over a billion people and the media should focus on the people and their achievements.

Citing the spread of mobile phones, Modi said citizen reporting is important in showcasing individual achievements and also helping in the aftermath of natural disasters.

PM Narendra Modi also released a souvenir.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and his deputy O.Pannerselvam also participated in the function.

Paying encomiums to the founder of Daily Thanthi S.P. Adithanar and his son Sivanthi Adithan, Palaniswami said the daily would certainly see centenary celebrations.

Leaders of several political parties, law makers, industrialists, movie actors and diplomats attended the function.

Earlier on his arrival PM Modi was received by Purohit, Palaniswami and others at the airport.

From the airport Modi reached the INS Adyar naval base here in a helicopter.

At INS Adyar, Modi had a meeting with Palaniswami and discussed about the rain and relief situation in Chennai and neighbouring districts. (IANS)

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India will become High-Middle Income Country by 2047, says World Bank CEO

World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she has no doubt that India will be a high-middle income country by 2047.

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World Bank CEO
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. IANS.

New Delhi, Nov 4: Lauding India’s increasing per capita income, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she has no doubt that India will be a high-middle income country by 2047 when it completes its centenary year of independence.

“In the last three decades, India’s per capita income has quadrupled. I have no doubt India when it hits its century of independence in 2047, will be a high-middle income country,” Georgieva said while addressing India’s Business Reforms conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra here.

Georgieva praised India for its sudden jump of 30 ranks in 2017, the biggest leap ever, in the history of the ease of doing business.

World Bank CEO
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia.

“We are here to celebrate a very impressive achievement. In 15 years of the history of the ease of doing business, such a jump of 30-ranks in one year is very rare. In cricket, I understand that hitting a century is a big milestone.”

ALSO READ: Doing business in India is easier now!

She hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “high-level ownership” efforts and “championship of reforms” that led to achieve India such a ranking in ease of doing business.

Reminding Guru Nanak Dev’s preachings, the World Bank CEO said: “Today is also the anniversary of Guru Nanak which reminds me of his words that whatever seed is sown, the plant will grow thus.” (IANS)