Erosion In Farm Incomes



What is it? The erosion in farm income in unirrigated areas due to extreme temperature and rainfall events, induced by climate change, in a scenario where there are no policy responses, according to forecasting by the Economic Survey 2017-18, released yesterday.

Why is it important? In the backdrop of this government’s tall promise to double farm incomes by 2022, it drives home two points: the impact of climate change on agri yields and the imperative to help farmers with irrigation, even as groundwater resources deplete. According to the Survey, the area irrigated was about 40%, with parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand vulnerable to climate change on account of not being well-irrigated.

Tell me more: The Survey preface contained a section titled ‘ten new facts on the Indian economy’, which chronicled an increase in taxpayers after the twin policy moves of demonetisation and GST (goods and services tax).


$300 million

What is it? The amount of money from 21 loans extended by financial services major Religare Enterprises to seemingly independent companies that was routed to private entities belonging to Religare promoters, Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh.

Why is it important? This information, quoted from a central bank investigation of the companies 2015-16 accounts, is part of a lawsuit filed by a private equity firm against the Singh brothers, accusing them of “diversion, siphoning and digression of assets”. Although Religare has denied the allegations, it opens up another front against the Singh brothers, who are battling debt and legal troubles that date back to their sale of pharma company Ranbaxy to Daiichi Sankyo in 2008.

Tell me more: The suit has been filed by Siguler Guff & Company, which manages over $10 billion in assets and has a 6% stake in Religare Finvest.


Rs 300 crore

What is it? The value of secondary share sales made by about 100 former and current employees of Paytm in the digital payments and e-commerce unicorn. About 20-25 Paytm employees made over $1 million each.

Why is it important? In the last two months, this is the second such instance of a significant number of holders of employee stock options (ESOPs) in an unlisted Internet business cashing in, the other being in Flipkart. For Paytm itself, this was the third time it has enabled such a transaction in the last two years. Such exits will lend ESOPs greater legitimacy as a compensation tool in the startup ecosystem.

Tell me more: In the latest share sales, Paytm was valued at $10 billion, which is $3 billion more than what its valuation in March 2017, when it received a funding round from Softbank.



What is it? The percentage of electoral trust funding that went to BJP in 2016-17. Of the total amount of Rs 325 crore, the BJP received Rs 290 crore.

Why is it important? With a general election due in the next 18 months, there’s been an increase in the total amount distributed by electoral trusts, as well as an increase in the share of the ruling partywithin that. In 2014-15, the previous instance of a sizeable outgo from electoral trusts, the BJP received 62% of the Rs 177 crore. Even so,

Tell me more: In 2016-17, the highest contribution was from Prudent Electoral Trust, formerly Satya Electoral Trust (Rs 283.7 crore), and donors to it included DLF (Rs 28 crore), UPL (Rs 25 crore) and JSW Energy (Rs 25 crore).


148 kph

What is it? The speed of a short ball delivered by all-rounder Jofra Archer while playing for the Hobart Hurricanes in a Big Bash League match.

Why is it important? Archer’s stock in T20 leagues is on the rise. After a stirring performance at Hobart, the past four days have seen the 22-year-old being picked by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 11.25 croreand then yesterday by the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League

Tell me more: Archer, a West Indian by birth, he has chosen to take the qualification route to play international cricket for England, but he won’t be eligible till 2022, when he will be 27. Meanwhile, in 37 T20 matches, he has compiled noticeable records with the bat and the ball, and is also an athletic fielder.

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News in numbers, Apr 14, 2016: $250 mn to beat cancer, e-platform for farm produce trading…

1.20 million barrels per day (bpd)

What is it? The expected increase in global demand for oil in 2016, according to 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Why is it important? This is 500,000 bpd lesser than the previous estimate, raising concerns of crude prices going down again. Oil prices hit a 12-year low of $27 in January this year. A producers’ meet to freeze output at January levels to support prices, which is scheduled for this Sunday in Doha, is keenly awaited though Iran has refused to participate in it.

Tell me more: On February 16, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Qatar said they would freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers agreed to join in on the plan. This resulted in increase in oil prices by 30% in the subsequent weeks.

$250 million

What is it? Internet billionaire Sean Parker’s funding to set up a non-profit institute to beat cancer.

Why is it important? It brings together over 300 scientists at 40 labs in six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research – immunotherapy – which uses one’s immune system to fight cancer. This seeks to draw in on the advantages of scientists and researchers working together rather than in silos, though this also has the risks of suppressing diverse opinions to think alike.

Tell me more: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy would pursue immune therapy patents on behalf of the six institutions and license them, taking a 10-15% cut of the revenue generated by the patents to be put back into the institute. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and around 14 million new cases in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.


What is it? The number of local markets to be connected on an e-platform called National Agriculture Market launching today.

Why is it important? The e-platform aims to provide farmers with wider choices of selling their produce at better prices, a move that is likely to help the government fulfill its promise of doubling farm incomes by 2022. Currently, farmers sell their produce to traders at the nearest market. This comes at a time when farmers are reeling under two successive droughts.

Tell me more: The 21 markets are spread across 8 states. The Indian government plans to bring 585 such markets on to the platform by March 2018. However, the government may need to tackle some state laws/rules that may be a hindrance to this national e-marketing platform.

64 lakh litres

What is it? The quantity of water the Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI to supply to drought-hit villages in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? This direction comes along with the order to BCCI to shift all 13 IPL matches, including the finals, to be played in the state after April 30. BCCI had promised it would use treated sewage water for the IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune and the teams from these cities would contribute Rs 5 crore each towards drought relief measures in the state.

Tell me more: The BCCI said though it respects the court’s orders, it is difficult to re-organise the tournament mid-way. The BCCI Secretary said it was unfair to target the league and questioned if the swimming pools in five-star hotels have been shut or if people in the state have stopped watering their gardens.


What is it? The number of new fund offers (NFOs) for which mutual fund houses have filed draft papers with the market regulator so far this year.

Why is it important? Indicates that the mutual fund industry would retain or outpace last year’s growth (which saw 191 draft papers of NFOs). In 2015-16, 43 lakh new equity accounts were opened taking the total to 3.6 crore, the fastest addition since the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is still less than the total of 4.1 crore accounts at the time of the crisis.

Tell me more: Reflecting the increasing demand for mutual fund products from retail investors in what is perceived to be a largely risk-averse market, the investors’ base hit a record high of 4.76 crore at the end of March.

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The stress in agricultural incomes, lower prices of agri products and falling rural demand

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


The latest data on two widely considered corporate barometers of rural demand—Mahindra’s tractor sales and Hindustan Unilever’s overall performance—point to stress in agricultural incomes. Wage increases on the farm, and opportunities to earn, are flat or falling. As are prices of agricultural and allied products, both in the domestic and international market.

Lower rural wage increases and opportunities…

Incomes of agricultural labourers are under pressure. The rate of increase in rural wages for all agricultural occupations has dropped steeply from last year’s levels. And the rural employment guarantee scheme, a safety net of sorts for rural labour, appears to be seeing a pullback: between April 2013 and December 2014, our period under study, unmet work demand is the highest and expenditure levels the lowest.




…and lower prices of agri products…

Even the income of farmers is under pressure. The increase in domestic prices of key crops in 2014 was lower than in the previous two years. Realizations are dropping even in the export markets, the effect of which tends to be felt in the minimum prices the government sets for farmers in the domestic market.




…are leading to flat consumer demand

Lower farm incomes are putting pressure on sales of products that are closely tied to rural disposable incomes, impacting corporate revenues and profitability.






Source: Labour Bureau; MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) dashboard; www.eaindustry.nic.in; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Kolkata; Mahindra website; Hindustan Unilever quarterly results

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