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India seeks global cooperation in sugarcane, biofuel sectors to fight climate change

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New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) India sought closer global cooperation to increase the production of sugarcane and biofuels to enhance the welfare of farmers and fight climate change at the 30-nation meeting of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) that began here on Tuesday.

Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and New and Renewable Energy, Pralhad Joshi in his inaugural address highlighted India’s commitment to advancing technology and skills in the sugar and biofuel sectors.

Experts from the 30 member countries are participating in the meeting, which will conclude on June 27.

They are brainstorming on the future possibilities, challenges, and strategies in the sugarcane, sugar, and allied sectors.

Earlier, India hosted the 41st session of ISO council Meeting in 2012.

The minister highlighted India’s strides in ethanol production and blending, underscoring the nation’s commitment to sustainability and encouraging international cooperation in these efforts.

He also underlined the success of the Global Biofuel Alliance, an initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Emphasising the importance of sugarcane for the biofuel industry, the Minister said while India was the world’s largest sugar consumer the country was also a significant biofuel producer with the achievement of over 12 per cent ethanol blending in petrol and now poised to achieve the 20 per cent target soon.

The Minister underscored the role of biofuels in combating climate change and detailed the positive impacts of India’s Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme on the sugar industry and farmers.

The Minister encouraged delegates to leverage this conference for future ventures in the sugar sector.

Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary Department of Food & Public Distribution and Chairman, ISO, emphasised the urgent need for the global sugar and ethanol industry to tackle climate change through sustainable practices, including developing drought-resistant sugarcane, conserving water, and promoting biofuels.

Further, the need for more collaboration amongst ISO member countries in using modern technology for their farmers and small players was also highlighted.

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India and Brazil, being the top two sugar producing countries, should collaborate and synchronise efforts in research and development in sugarcane so that better varieties suitable for local conditions with higher yield and sucrose content may be developed, he added.

Jose Orive, ED, ISO, congratulated India on handling the ISO matters as Chair successfully and organising the event in such a grand manner.

He appreciated the synergy between government of India and Indian sugar & biofuel industry which has played an instrumental role in the progress of India in this sector.

On the occasion, a workshop titled ‘Sugar & Bio-Energy – Emerging Vistas’ was held on Tuesday. The session focused on taking sugarcane farming and the sugar sector towards more sustainable practices and the key role played by the Ethanol Blending Programme in this direction. Further, a stronger Global Biofuel Alliance would facilitate more replacement of fossil fuel with green fuels.

Mechanization & modernization of the sugar sector was also discussed to take the sustainability theme forward, sugarcane farming was at the core of deliberations during the session.

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A session on digitisation of the sugar sector highlighted various initiatives like AgriStack of the government of India which is revolutionising agri-statistics and data management.

Peter de Klark, Economist of ISO, and Dr. Claudiu Covrig, clarified on the demand and supply scenario in the global sugar and ethanol sector in the near future, this panel discussion showed the patterns of sugar trade and expectations on sugar prices in the global market.

Lindsay Jolly, Consultant of ISO shared his perspective on the potential of hydrogen as a source of energy and role of sugar sector in this field.

He was optimistic on the growth of green hydrogen as a major source of fuel for the automobile sector as well as in the electricity sector.

–IANS

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Indian realty sector saw over Rs 5,327 cr investment from domestic investors in April-June

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Keeping up with the growth momentum in the Indian real estate industry, the domestic investors pumped in around $638 million (more than Rs 5,327 crore) in the real estate sector in the second quarter this year, from $127 million in the same period last year.

According to data from leading real estate consultant Vestian, institutional investments in the real estate sector surged 96 per cent in the April-June period to $3.1 billion, from $1.6 billion in the same period last year.

“The Indian real estate sector garnered significant investments in the second quarter of 2024, dominated by foreign investors as the looming uncertainty over the major economies of the world has faded away,” said Shrinivas Rao, CEO, Vestian.

According to the firm, foreign investors had the highest share of 71 per cent of the total investments in Q2 2024.

Industrial and warehousing sector reported a single large deal worth $1.5 billion, accounting for 48 per cent of the total investments received in Q2.

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According to a latest Hurun report, with real estate companies worth $36 billion in 2024, India is accelerating to become the real estate capital of Asia.

Residential sales in India are expected to grow 10-12 per cent in FY2024-25, according to the ‘2024 GROHE-Hurun India Real Estate 100’ report.

India is projected to add 200,000 km of national highways by 2037, fostering the growth of micro cities and further value addition by India’s real estate sector, he added.

–IANS

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'FPI community to play key role in positioning India as 3rd largest economy'

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The net foreign portfolio investor (FPI) inflows turned green this month, both in the equity and debt segment, and as India enters ‘Amritkaal’, the FPI community will play a major role in positioning it as the third largest economy in the world, market experts said on Saturday.

There was a total net inflow of Rs 2,82,338 crore for both equity and debt in FY24.

According to market watchers, the reason for a quick rebound in the capital markets can be attributed to the positive sentiments, a stable government’s assurance on continuity of reforms, tepid US Fed rates, and strong domestic demand.

“The recent announcements in IFSC Gift City for wide participation for foreign and Indian investors has also diverted the international players to allocate a substantial portion of their global portfolio to India markets,” said Manoj Purohit, Partner and leader, FS Tax, Tax and Regulatory Services, BDO India.

In the first week of this month, FPIs infused Rs 7,962 crore in equity while their debt investments in the same period stood at Rs 6,304 crore.

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All eyes are on the budget proposals to be tabled on July 23 which will hopefully announce path-breaking reforms providing India a golden opportunity against the other emerging global markets. “As India enters ‘Amritkaal’, the FPI community will play a major role for the nation to position as the third-largest economy in the world,” said Purohit.

–IANS

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Robust sovereign credit rating agencies need of the hour: Amitabh Kant

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) As India embarks on its journey to become ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047, it’s important that we have appropriate credit ratings and call out global agencies for biases and lack of transparency for not objectively assessing India’s strong economic fundamentals, G20 Sherpa and former NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, said on Saturday.

Addressing the CareEdge Ratings ‘Conversations 2024’ conference in Pune, he said the notion that developing countries offer more risky investments is not solely based on objective financial metrics but is significantly influenced by subjective assessment.

Kant stressed the need for promoting home-grown credit ratings agencies, saying that appropriate sovereign credit ratings are actually a very critical issue that impacts not only India but also the entire emerging economies.

Hailing India’s high growth rate of around 8.2 per cent, he stressed that future growth will come from cutting-edge areas.

According to Najib Shah, Chairman, CareEdge, the world is moving away from domination by a single superpower, a single currency and moving towards a more balanced and complex system that’s emerging and evolving.

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“Such an environment also has implications for the financial situation. Destructive competition between the US and China has ushered in a new era of competing geopolitics and economies. The role of the credit rating agency will be important here for acting in a transparent, competitive, professional manner,” Shah told the gathering.

At the event, Gulshan Malik, Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India (SBI) said the banking sector in India is adequately capitalised as well as ready to fund the next phase of growth which is very critical.

–IANS

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Centre fixes meeting with states to boost maritime, waterways transport

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New Delhi, July 13, (IANS) The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways will convene the State Maritime & Waterways Transport Committees’ meeting on Tuesday to hold discussions for the comprehensive development of maritime and waterways transport across India and expanding its reach to include the remaining states.

The meeting to be held via video conferencing will be chaired by T. K. Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, according to an official statement issued on Saturday.

“The meeting will focus on the preparation of state-specific Maritime and Waterways Transport Master Plans, formulation of Maritime Sector Policies, Green Initiatives, Waterways Development, Cruise Tourism, Urban Water Transportation, and the Development of Lighthouses,” the statement added.

Recognising the need for a unified approach to manage and integrate the waterways transportation sector, the Ministry has established State Maritime & Waterways Transport Committees (SMWTCs) to coordinate various initiatives and schemes within each state.

These committees will be pivotal in consolidating efforts and providing focused leadership in the maritime and waterways sector. Each state committee is headed by the Chief Secretary or Additional Chief Secretary and includes representatives from major ports, maritime boards, state PWD, Inland Waterways, Department of Tourism, Department of Fisheries, Railways, NHAI and Customs.

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Currently, SMWTCs have been constituted in 13 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam, Goa, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Lakshadweep, with plans to establish them in all 30 coastal and waterways states and UTs of India.

The agenda for the meeting includes reviewing the progress made by already constituted SMWTCs, discussing the issues faced by different states along with discussion on implementation of Sagarmala Programme, development of National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) at Lothal, opportunities in Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax/Ferry/Urban Water Transportation, Sagarmala Shipbuilding Clusters, Harit Nauka (Green Transition) Scheme for Inland Waterways, Cargo Promotion Scheme, MoUs with States for Coastal and River Cruise Tourism and support for State Inland Waterway Transport.

Chief Secretaries and Additional Chief Secretaries, as Chairpersons of SMWTCs, will present progress in their states, SMWTC initiatives, state-specific issues, and required support from the Ministry, aiming to review progress, address issues, and foster collaborative solutions to enhance maritime and waterways transport in India.

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–IANS

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India has potential to become world’s 2nd largest economy by 2031: RBI Dy Governor

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Mumbai, July 13 (IANS) Given the country’s innate strengths, it is possible to imagine India striking out into the next decade to become the second largest economy in the world not by 2048, but by 2031, and the largest economy of the world by 2060, RBI Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra has said.

In a speech at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, this week, Patra said there is a traditional advantage that is likely to continue working in favour of India’s growth prospects. The development process has been predominantly driven by capital accumulation, which makes investment the main lever of growth which has stabilised at 31.2 per cent during 2021-23, and is showing signs of acceleration.

In his speech now posted on the RBI website, Patra said: “Historically, India’s investment has been financed by domestic savings, with households being the prime provider of resources to the rest of the economy. In the period 2021-23, the gross domestic saving rate has averaged 30.7 per cent of gross national disposable income. Thus, unlike many countries, India does not have to depend on foreign resources, which play a minor and supplemental role in the growth process.”

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The current account gap in the balance of payments – has remained modest at around 1 per cent of GDP in 2023-24. This provides insulation to the Indian economy from external shocks and imparts viability and strength to the external sector. Illustratively, India’s gross external debt, which is the accumulation of current account deficits over time, is less than 20 per cent of GDP and almost entirely covered by the level of foreign exchange reserves, Patra explained.

Second, the rising growth trajectory on which India is poised is entrenched by macroeconomic and financial stability as inflation has fallen back into the tolerance band around the target of 4 per cent. This reflects the cumulative impact of steadfast monetary policy actions and supply management. In fact, core inflation that excludes food and fuel and is most amenable to monetary policy has fallen to its lowest level ever.

Alongside macroeconomic stability, financial stability is getting reinforced by prudent financial policies and active on-site supervision complemented with off-site surveillance, which harnesses SupTech, big data analytics and cyber security drills. India’s financial sector is predominantly bank-based. Gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) in the banking system have steadily fallen from their peak in March 2018 to 2.8 per cent of total assets by March 2024, he added.

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Another aspect of macroeconomic stability is the ongoing fiscal consolidation. As a result, the general government debt which is estimated at 81.6 per cent of GDP at the end of March 2024 is expected to decline to 78.2 per cent by end of this decade by the IMF. Our projections show that if expenditures are increased on reskilling/upskilling the labour force in the most productive sectors of manufacturing, investing in digitalisation and promoting energy efficiency, the general government debt will fall even further to 73.4 per cent of GDP by 2030-313. This is significant in the context of the IMF’s projections that show the debt ratio as projected to rise to 116.3 per cent in 2028 for advanced economies and to 78.1 per cent for emerging and middle-income countries, Patra said.

He also explained that a potent growth accelerator emerges from India’s favourable demographic dynamics. India’s population is now regarded as its greatest asset in an inter-temporal perspective, especially when the rest of the world ages rapidly and populations shrink. Today, every sixth working-age person in the world is an Indian. India’s demographic dividend is expected to last for more than three decades. Every effort must be made to reap this opportunity, he added.

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Patra pointed out that another growth multiplier is India’s digital revolution. India is emerging as a world leader in leveraging digital technologies for transformative change. The trinity of JAM – Jan Dhan (basic no-frills accounts); Aadhaar (universal unique identification); and mobile phone connections – is expanding the ambit of formal finance, boosting tech start-ups and enabling the targeting of direct benefit transfers. India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an open-ended system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application is propelling inter-bank peer-to-peer and person-to-merchant transactions seamlessly. Payment systems in India operate on a 24 by 7 by 365 basis. The internationalisation of the UPI is progressing rapidly, the RBI deputy Governor added.

–IANS

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