New Delhi: The BJP’s three day brainstorming session in Shimla, ended on Friday with, no roadmap for the future of the party. The meet was overshadowed by the expulsion of senior party leader Jaswant Singh, on the first day.
A bad monsoon has the government worried. Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar says the poor rains have seriously affected crops, drinking water and livelihoods in India. Pawar told a group of state farming ministers that while early sowing of winter crops in more areas could offset some of the losses, the situation was still grim. Monsoon rains have been more than a quarter below normal this year, and prices of some crops have shot up. Even before the poor monsoon set in, food prices in India have been rising by about 10% annually.
The finance minister also expressed concern. On Friday Pranab Mukherjee said India will have to import food such as oil and lentils this year. The country has already contracted to import more than 4 million tones of sugar and vegetable oil imports could hit a record high in November when the dry weather hits oilseed crops.
The drought is bringing a windfall to some. Jain Irrigation Systems expects to double profits this year as a country hit by drought tries to increase farm output. The company says its gains will be driven by a 30-50% hike in sales of drip irrigation products. Jain irrigation made Rs123 crore in profits in the last financial year.
Aviation regulator DGCA wants to wants airlines to change the way they structure their fares. It’s asking both domestic and international carriers to stop charging fuel surcharges separately and instead club it to basic fares. Currently airline can charge as little as Rs.200 as base fare for a one-way ticket, while charging Rs. 2000 or more as fuel surcharge. But clubbing the two charges could increase costs for airlines because the 3% commission they pay travel agents on the base fare will have to include fuel costs as well.
Markets made gains on Friday. The Sensex shot up 229 points to close at 15,241, while the Nifty went up 75 points to close at 4,529.