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IFFCO MD Dr U S Awasthi calls for zero food loss, waste to make world free from hunger, malnutrition

By Deepak Arora

QUBEC CITY, Oct 7: The IFFCO Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, has appealed to the world leaders to ensure food is provided to every individual at all times. He also called for minimizing food loss and food waste and to ensure that each individual is educated in this regard.

Speaking on the theme “Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 – Reconciling needs and challenges” at the four-day International Summit of Cooperatives here, Dr Awasthi stressed that food was a challenge for poor people and it’s for this reason that we have to ensure food to every individual at all times.

He said “food and feed saved is food and feed produced. We have to reach the unreached for better tomorrow and to make the world fre from hunger and malnutrition through zero food loss and waste.

The 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives brought together over 3,000 participants from 93 countries along with 200 well-known speakers. Discussions during the four-day summit focused on economic issues, the development of cooperative businesses, food security, employment, and access to health care and services.

India’s Dr Awasthi said there was need for “realism” rather than “idealism” due to dynamic nature of agriculture.

The IFFCO Managing Director said if we have to meet the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, then there was need to minimize food loss and food waste. In this regard, he said, it was important to change mindset of an every individual.

Globally, he said about one third of food produced (1.3 billion MT) is lost or wasted annually. The food lost or waste was 42 to 46 per cent in Europe and North America and 27 to 39 per cent in Sub Saharan Africa and South / South East Asia. He said food grain of US $ 6 billion had gone waste in 2010 in India.

Dr Awasthi called for strengthening post harvest technology, food processing and marketing to minimize food loss and waste.

The IFFCO Managing Director called for increase in crop productivity without any deleterious effect on resources and environment. He also called for strengthening extension system and use of ICT.

He said it was important to install drip system to save 30 to 40 per cent water and 25 to 30 per cent nutrients.

Similarly, he stressed on the need to effective utilisation of energy in various sectors and thrust on management of soil health for posterity.

There was also need to provide livelihood opportunities to rural populace to prevent migration, he added.

Dr Awasthi said there was need to introduced new agro technology to mitigate effects of climate change. He said each degree rise in temperature can lead to average 5 per cent loss in grain yield.

He also said there was need for insurance cover for farmers of rainfed areas to mitigate climate change.

He said IFFCO represents 40,000 cooperatives with around 50 million members. Fertiliser production and sales are about 8.6 million tonnes and 10 to12 million tonnes, respectively. He said IFFCO was involved in general insurance, rural communication and educating farmers and cooperatives to adopt good agricultural practices for increasing crop productivity. It has presence in Senegal, Argentina, Peru, Oman, Dubai, Jordan and Canada.

He said IFFCO has demonstrated the impact of agro technology that assisted 15 to 25 per cent increase in crop productivity.

In conclusion, Dr Awasthi said the path to achieve “realism” was possible for cooperatives. “They have the capabilities to bring change, involve them to make them visible and vibrant.”

Canara Bank bags Golden Peacock Award

LONDON, Oct 29: Canara bank has been conferred with the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance instituted globally by the Institutes of Directors(IOD), India.

The Award was presented to V.S.Krishna Kumar, Executive Director of the Bank, at the hands of Rt. Honourable Theresa May,MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department of UK, in a glittering function held at Millennium Mayfair Hotel here.

The Award was given away during the “14th London Global Convention on Corporate Governance & sustainability” in which many high profile dignitaries including MPs and Minister from the British Parliament attended.

Canara Bank's London Branch staff led by the Chief Executive N.K Sahoo, Chief General Manager, attended the programme.

India improves Doing Business ranking, but still among the world's worst

WASHINGTON, Oct 29: With India ranked 142nd in the new Doing Business report released Tuesday, foreign investors are likely to need more than just an invitation to come and Make in India.

Just ahead of the troubled Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, India continues to languish among the world’s worst because of poor showing on all but three parameters.

Singapore topped the ranking, done every year by the World Bank Group, with New Zealand, South Korea, United States, United Kingdom and Australia finishing in the first 10. China topped India’s neighbourhood at 90, followed by Sri Lanka at 99, Nepal at 108, Bhutan at 125, Pakistan at 128, Bangladesh at 173 and Afghanistan at 193.

That’s out of a total of 189 economies.

But here is how India moved the needle, however little.

It made starting a business easier by reducing the registration fee considerably, but, the report added, it also made it difficult at the same by demanding a declaration.

Getting a power connection became cheaper in the country’s two largest cities Delhi and Mumbai by slashing the amount required as security deposit.

Bolstering protection of minority investors by bringing in more transparency to the boardroom, and bringing additional safeguards for shareholders of privately held companies.

In fact, India ranked an impressive 7th worldwide in protections for minority investors. The other parameter on which India did well was on getting credit, coming in 36th.

India has had a testy relationship with Doing Business reports, questioning their credibility and their dismal findings, but also keeping them in the rearview mirror at all times.

Kaushik Basu, former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s chief economic adviser, admitted as much in his foreword for the report, as the bank’s chief economist now.

“I used, criticised, valued and debated the Doing Business report,,” Basu wrote, about his reaction to the report as a consumer. He in now on the manufacturing side.

He did not elaborate on possible impact of the report on decision making in the Indian government, but it is clearly, in his words, “valued” by some including chief economic advisors. Much remains to be fixed. Getting power connection for a new business, for instance, takes 105 days, more than three times the Singapore average of 31 days.

It takes 47 days to register a property in India compared to 4.5 days in Singapore.

And if things soured, resolving insolvency can take 4.3 years in Indian to 0.8 in the island nation. Singapore may be an unfair comparison, for reasons of size. But West Bank and Gaza are hardly the kind of benchmarks to inspire a country of out-sized ambition such as India.

2.6 million cooperatives, 1 billion members, 250 million jobs: Cooperatives are part of the equation—and the solution!

QUBEC CITY, Oct 9: Today marks the close of the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, which has brought together over 3,000 participants from 93 countries along with 200 well-known speakers.

Discussions during the four-day summit focused on economic issues, the development of cooperative businesses, food security, employment, and access to health care and services.

Indisputable economic impact

Considerable ground has been covered since the first edition of the Summit was convened in 2012, coinciding with the United Nations’ International Year of Cooperatives. During the past two years, the cooperative movement was invited—for the first time—to participate in B20 discussions and to partner strategically with a number of international organizations, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Bank.

This year’s Summit illustrated more clearly how important the cooperative movement is to the world economy. As cited in various studies that were presented during the Summit, there are 2.6 million cooperatives worldwide, with 1 billion members and 250 million jobs. Within the G20 nations, cooperatives account for 12% of all jobs and annual revenue of US$3 000 billion.

“This Summit has shown us that cooperatives and mutuals can be part of the solution to the significant challenges facing the world today,” said Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group and Summit co-host. “None of these enormous challenges can be solved at just the regional or national levels, nor can government alone resolve the issues. Response must be organized on a global scale, and rather than confrontation and ‘everyone for themselves,’ dialog and cooperation are what is really needed.”

Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Cooperative Alliance and Summit co-host declared: “I am pleased and excited at the wealth of studies and policy tools presented at the 2014 Summit. The new World Co-operative Monitor launched this week, reveals the turnover of the largest 300 co-operatives – 2 200 billion USD, equivalent to the GDP of Brazil. It shows that co-ops are a global player, and a genuine counterweight to investor enterprise. This is now showing as a steady upward trend over the last 10 years. The Alliance’s brand new Survey on Co-operative Capital presented today, shows that co-operatives are securing non-traditional, reliable streams of capital while guaranteeing member control and preserving the co-operative difference. I also warmly welcome the “Co-operatives and Employment Global Report”.

It shows that 250 million people worldwide have work within co-operatives. We can now say with confidence that co-operatives contribute to resilient employment and a sustainable economy. They make up almost 12% of the entire employed population of the G20 countries. This new solid evidence allows us to go to global decision makers with confidence, to make this new case for proper recognition of our co-operative model of business.”

Solution for myriad global issues

Various studies presented during the week revealed how the cooperative business model has helped societies improve health, increase prosperity, lower unemployment rates, and address inequality. For instance, financial cooperatives clearly demonstrated their resilience during the recent financial crisis. Some have even been ranked among the world’s strongest financial institutions, as is the case with Desjardins Group, which was ranked second in the annual list published by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

The 2014 Summit Declaration: Committed to doing more, and doing it better.

The closing ceremony presented the draft declaration for 2014, setting forth 23 specific commitments to shape action in the coming years.

They include:

• Increase the role of financial cooperatives in financial inclusion on a global scale
• Facilitate access to agricultural land and help maintain local ownership
• Continue efforts to improve rural populations’ access to affordable energy for food processing and preservation
• Encourage changes to policies that can leave people in developing countries more vulnerable or lead to financing and operational rules that impede cooperative development
• Develop innovative solutions to help communities manage health care and services themselves by making citizens central to solutions, with a clear focus on prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits
• Develop initiatives to support the startup, consolidation, and growth of cooperative enterprises, including by assisting with capitalization

In closing, the 2014 draft declaration reasserts the strength and vigor of the cooperative and mutual movement and emphasizes the leading role it must play to meet today’s challenges and ensure a better world tomorrow. As it notes, cooperatives “have reaffirmed that, as builders of local economies and drivers of a more stable, more inclusive, and more humane global economy, they are making an undeniable contribution to the creation of sustainable prosperity.”

DLF Realty firm, six top executives barred from capital markets for 3 years

NEW DELHI, Oct 14: Stock market regulator Sebi cracked down Monday on India’s biggest realty company DLF by barring six top executives, including promoter-chairman KP Singh, from accessing the securities market for three years, choking its options to raise fresh funds.

The move, linked to disclosure lapses in 2007 when DLF went public and listed on exchanges, is the latest in a series of setbacks for the company credited with building Gurgaon as a corporate and residential hub on the barren Aravallis, just outside the Capital.

“I find that a case of active and deliberate suppression of information to mislead and defraud the investors in the securities market in connection with the issue of shares of DLF in its IPO is clearly made out,” Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi's) whole-time member Rajeev Agarwal said in his 43-page order.

In 2007, DLF went public in a record-breaking initial public offering of Rs. 9,187 crore, India’s largest at the time.

The real estate giant has faced a number of problems in recent years, including angry lawsuits by customers upset with project delays and political controversies surrounding the company’s alleged links with Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, whose party lost power earlier this year.

Responding to the order, the company said, “DLF will defend itself to the fullest extent against any adverse findings and measures contained in the order passed by Sebi. DLF has full faith in the judicial process and is confident of vindication of its stand in the near future.”

It was unclear how the firm’s lenders, often the real estate industry’s lifeline, would react to the investigation that looked into charges of failure by the company to properly disclose its relationship with subsidiary firms.

“It can be very damaging for the company,” said lawyer Hiroo Advani. “This could lead them to struggle to complete ongoing projects. Also, if banks start calling in their loans, it would further compound the adverse impact.”

The ruling could also have an adverse impact on the firm’s stock. News of the Sebi ban broke after trading had closed on Indian stock exchanges, when DLF shares were down 3.7% at Rs. 146.70 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The order came after a four-year probe into the process of share transfer by three DLF subsidiaries in three other allegedly related firms -- Sudipti, Shalika and Felicite.

In April 2010, the Delhi high court had asked Sebi to look into the complaint of one Kimsuk Krishna Sinha on the dealings. Calling the share transfer process a “sham transaction”, Sebi said the banned executives employed “a plan, scheme, design and device to camouflage the association” of DLF with these three entities.

This is the second setback for the Delhi-based developer in two weeks. Last week, the Delhi HC dismissed the company’s petition seeking a stay on investigations by the anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India into allegations of anti-competitive practices.

DLF executives barred by Sebi include KP Singh’s son Rajiv Singh (vice-chairman), daughter Pia Singh (whole-time director), TC Goyal (managing director), Kameshwar Swarup and Ramesh Sanka. All these people, including KP Singh and his two children, were part of the top management at the time of filing IPO documents.

About G S Talwar, also a non-executive director at that time, Sebi said it could not be established whether he was involved in day-to-day operations and was therefore given the “benefit of doubt”.

In a statement, the company, however, reassured “investors and all other stakeholders that it has not acted in contravention of law either during its initial public offer or otherwise”.

“DLF and its board were guided by and acted on the advice of eminent legal advisors, merchant bankers and audit firms while formulating its offer documents,” the release said.

IFFCO Director Aditya Yadav wins ICA Elections

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Oct 5: India's Aditya Yadav, a Director on the IFFCO Board, has been successful at the ICA Elections by winning with a huge margin the prestigious seat on the ICA Global Board.

Aditya Yadav bagged 136 votes with the next candidate receiving only 72 out of the total 482 votes.There were total of eight contestants.

On this momentous occasion, Iffco Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, said that it was a remarkable victory of India, IFFCO and Aditya Yadav.

He said he would certainly bring fresh energy and dynamism on the ICA Board and truly represent the voices of millions of Indian farmers and cooperatives of India in this international forum.

This post held been earlier held twice by the than chairman of IFFCO, late Surinder Jakhar.

The Iffco Managing Director had planned the election campaign of Aditya Yadav in a well laid out strategy using handles such as a short promotional film, a micro website, twitter, emails, telephones and SMSes.

The campaign included a short and crisp promotional introductory one minute full HD film of international standard, a micro website by the name so that international members could be approached through internet.

A Twitter handle @adityayadav4ica was also made to make a constant touch with global cooperatives; their individual Twitter handles were tapped and followed.

Feeds from this Twitter handle were also used in the micro-site to keep all the voters updated. A separate appeal from the IFFCO Managing Director was made and sent through his email to all the voters in five global languages followed by e-mailers to remind voters to cast their votes in favor of IFFCO.

Aditya Yadav also made a separate appeal on a similar pattern and emailed it all the voters.

Each member cooperative across the globe was also contacted individually via telephone in five different languages. It was like one on one conversation on behalf of Yadav in their native language, which actually gave instant response to the campaign. This was appreciated by many cooperatives worldwide as this was the first time when somebody called them for seeking support and vote.

A similar message was also repeated via SMSes. A regular follow-ups were also done.

The entire board of directors led by IFFCO Chairman B S Nakai congratulated Yadav for his remarkable feat and lauded the strategical efforts of Dr U S Awasthi.

Delhi to Agra in 105 minutes

NEW DELHI, Oct 13: India's first semi-high speed train between Delhi and Agra to run at a speed of 160 kmph will be flagged off next month. The train, which will reduce travelling time between the two cities to 105 minutes, is likely to be named Gatimaan Express. It will have LCD TVs behind each seat and also have passenger information system.

Equipped with comfortable seating arrangement, the train will also be fitted with automatic fire alarm and emergency braking system.

Railways has sought safety certificate from Commissioner Railway Safety to run the semi-high speed train next month after completing all necessary preparations. The transporter has already conducted two trials of the train and all arrangements like fencing off certain areas along the route and upgrade of signalling system are being carried out.

To be pulled by a 5,400 HP electric locomotive, the train will run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph, the maximum on Indian tracks and is expected to cover the 200 km distance in about 105 minutes. The train will have executive class and chair car category of seats and also catering facility.

Railways is also planning to launch similar trains in eight more routes including Delhi-Kanpur and Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar.

Youngsters will take IFFCO to new heights, says Dr Awasthi

Dr U S AwasthiPHULPUR, Oct 2: IFFCO Managing Director Dr U S Awasthi has been impressed by the enthusiasm and performance of the young employees during his visit to the Phulpur plant near Allahabad. “Interacting with our young Iffco employees at Phulpur I am sure they will take iffco to newer heights," he said.

Situated near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh , IFFCO Phulpur complex has two production units – Phulpur unit-I and Phulpur unit-II and is the world’s largest fertilser complex based on naphtha as feed stock.

Dr Awasthi said in a tweet “Our phulpur unit has performed well the employees are working hard and the plant is saving energy and environ. Very happy."

The Managing Director also used the occasion to inaugurate a biofertilizer unit. “Inaugurated the semi automated Iffco biofertiliser unit today. It produces azetobactor and phosphobacteria," he tweeted.

In an interaction with the newsmen, Dr Awasthi said that Iffco is not scared of foreign competition. "Rather we believe competition would benefit us if reputed manufacturers from abroad set up their units in the country. Competition is always beneficial to those who are competitive.”

He was responding to a question relating to the probability of major players from abroad entering the fertiliser sector as part of the “Make in India” campaign and its possible impact on IFFCO which produces 36 per cent of the country’s total stock of phosphatic fertilisers and 21 per cent of nitrogenous fertilizers.

Dr Awasthi, however, stressed on the urgent need for a new fertiliser policy which only would enable us to reach our target of 18 lakh tonnes for this financial year without incurring losses. Last fiscal saw us suffering a loss of Rs 30 crore, he added.

Mukesh Ambani’s twins join business

Akash, Neeta AmbaniMUMBAI, Oct 12: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani's twins, son Akash and daughter Isha, were on Saturday inducted into the boards of Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio Infocomm as directors at a board meeting of the two firms.

Both firms valued over Rs 75,000 crores are seen as the next big revenue drivers for RIL, as its revenues from its upstream business have fallen and its entry into developing SEZs has failed to take off. RIL still drives most of its revenues from its core refinery and petrochemicals businesses.

Mukesh Ambani's wife, Nita Ambani, was inducted into RIL's board earlier this year.

Isha graduated from Yale with double majors in psychology and South Asian Studies.

Akash graduated from Brown University with major in economics and is closely involved in the development of products and digital services applications in Reliance Jio.

Analysts' tracking the company see the inductions as a precursor for both to be inducted into RIL board in the future as both companies worth over Rs 75,000 crore are almost fully owned by RIL.

SunEdison develops new solar technology

CHENNAI, Oct 6: SunEdison, a well-known name in solar technology space, has claimed that it has developed an advanced polysilicon technology. Consequently, it is on target to produce solar material at the lowest cost, says a company release.

“This represents a step-change in technology, and will enable SunEdison to deliver a 400 watt peak solar panel at a cost of $0.40 per watt peak by 2016,” the release adds.

“Solar energy is at a transformational moment in time, and innovative technology is what will power that transformation,” the release quotes Ahmad Chatila, Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison, saying. “Our latest advance in technology will enable solar power to become the lowest cost energy solution – not just an alternative to other renewable sources, but the cost-winner over fossil fuels as well,” it quotes him as further saying.

The technology, called “high pressure fluidized bed reactor (HP-FBR)”, the company claims, produces high purity polysilicon 10 times more efficiently, and with 90 per cent less energy used than non FBR technologies.

The HP-FBR technology, it is pointed out, requires less land, less capital and fewer natural resources.

HP-FBR technology is now in production at Ulsan in Korea. It is a joint venture facility of SunEdison, SunEdison Semiconductor, and Samsung Fine Chemicals (SFC).

The capacity of the Korean plant was originally designed for 10,000 tonnes per year but has been enhanced to 13,500 tonnes.

The plant is expected to operate at full capacity by the first quarter of 2015.

Raymond launches online store

MUMBAI, Oct 6: In a move to ensure increased visibility and availability of its products, Raymond, a leading manufacturer and retailer of worsted fabrics, has launched its online store,

Raymond is in the fabrics business for the last eight decades, and, according to a company statement, the online store integrates all Raymond products, brands and services under a common e-commerce platform. The range of products on offer includes textiles, apparel brands, home furnishing and accessories.

The company launched individual e-commerce enabled brand websites of Raymond, ColorPlus, Park Avenue and Parx with a common shopping cart.

“E-tailing at present is a small contributor to retail, and is fast emerging as an alternate commercial channel across multiple product categories amongst a rapidly evolving netizen base in the country.” Vijay Basrur, Head, e-commerce, Raymond, said in a statement.

“According to industry estimates, e-tailing market is set to reach $32 billion by 2020, and, hence makes perfect business sense for Raymond to capture this growing demand.”

In the near future, plans to introduce additional features, including a unique concierge service from Raymond Made to Measure where customers can order customised products without visiting the store.

Gold sinks to lowest in 15 months on robust US data

SINGAPORE, Oct 6: Gold tumbled to its lowest level in around 15 months on Monday after better-than-expected US jobs data boosted the dollar, dampening safe-haven appetite for bullion and pushing silver and platinum to multi-year lows.

Gold, which often influences other precious metals, has also failed to capitalize on geopolitical tensions caused by military conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Cash gold had fallen 0.20 per cent to $1,188.37 an ounce by 0325 GMT. It earlier dropped to $1,183.46 an ounce, its weakest since June 2013.

Platinum touched its lowest since 2009, silver fell to its weakest since 2010, and palladium hit an 8-month low.

"A strong dollar is a major problem for gold. Sentiment is very bearish but I think we expect some kind of rebound," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong, who pegged support at $1,180 an ounce.

"There's a little bit of physical buying, but premiums haven't changed. We have to see what happens later in the day. If demand is coming, of course, it will push up the premiums."

Premiums for gold were quoted at $1.20 to $1.60 an ounce to the spot London prices, unchanged from last week, despite a sharp drop in cash gold prices.

The absence of main gold consumer China is weighing on the physical market, which usually sees a pick up in demand from jewellers and retail investors when prices fall.

Chinese markets have been shut for national holidays and will reopen on Wednesday.

US gold was at $1,189.00 an ounce, down 0.33 per cent.

The dollar started the week on a strong note in early Asian trade on Monday, holding near a more than four-year high touched after an upbeat US non-farm payrolls report increased speculation that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in mid-2015 or earlier.

Data from the labour department on Friday showed US non-farm payrolls rose 248,000 last month and the jobless rate fell to 5.9 per cent, the lowest since July 2008, underscoring that the US economy continues to improve.

In Tokyo, sellers pushed up premiums for gold bars to 25 cents to spot London prices from zero last week to offset the decline in global prices.

"At this moment, demand is not good. But maybe when the holiday in China is over, the premiums may go up further," said a dealer in Tokyo.

Markets in Singapore, a key bullion trading centre in Southeast Asia, were also closed for a public holiday.



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