Zia Haq

Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

Articles by Zia Haq

Fresh storms, hail rain misery on farmers

A fresh bout of stormy weather brought heavy rain and hail, and more misery for the agriculture sector, this week with farmers, meteorologists and commodity traders fearing significant damage to key rabi crops and held up harvesting

A farmer inspects the damages of his wheat crop flattened by strong winds and rains, on the outskirts of Amritsar. (PTI Photo)
Updated on Mar 26, 2023 04:53 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Enough fertilisers for kharif season: Centre

India will have sufficient stocks of key fertilisers for the kharif (summer-sown) season beginning next month and won’t need to import at least two types of crop nutrients as they are aplenty, Union minister of chemicals and fertilisers and health, Mansukh Mandaviya, said on Wednesday

The country’s food security is closely linked to availability of fertilisers, which are federally subsidised for millions of farmers. (HT)
Published on Mar 23, 2023 12:42 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Stormy weather impacts rabi crop amid shortages

Stormy weather that tore through several food bowl states over the past week has impacted rabi (winter-sown) crops including wheat in several pockets, a top central government official on Tuesday said.

Stormy weather impacts rabi crop amid shortages. (HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 22, 2023 03:01 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Centre may overhaul key PMSYM pension scheme

The PM Shram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM), launched in 2019, is a voluntary, contribution based pension scheme to offer assured pension of ₹3,000 a month for informal workers who have no safety nets.

PMSYM is intended for the bulk of the workforce unlikely to have any form of insurance cover.(Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Mar 21, 2023 02:11 AM IST

Rain, hailstorm damage wheat crop in key states

Storms, rain or hail could batter almost the entire country for another two days, an update by the India Meteorological Department said on Sunday.

Heavy rainfall has been recorded in Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu in the past 24 hours.
Updated on Mar 20, 2023 04:02 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Farmers receiving PM Kisan benefits decrease by 24 million, Parliament told

Payouts to cultivators under the scheme accordingly saw a reduction of 14% from ₹67,032 crore in 2021-22 to ₹57,646 crore in 2022-23, according to a written reply in the Lok Sabha on February 14.

Since the launch of PM Kisan scheme in 2019, nearly 110 million farmers have received <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2.50 lakh crore in all, spread over 13 instalments. (AFP)
Updated on Mar 16, 2023 01:08 AM IST

Indian consumers’ right to repair now spans four key sectors: official

The framework aims to ease access to overhauling services not just by original manufacturers but also by reliable third-party technicians to lower costs and lengthen shelf life of devices and appliances

India is estimated to have generated 5 million tonnes of electronic waste in 2022, ranking only behind after China and the US. (Representational Image)
Published on Mar 15, 2023 12:12 AM IST

Wheat thrives as heat spell remains absent so far: Centre’s review

A record hot spell in March last year crimped output of the staple in the world’s second-largest grower by 2.5% to 106 million tonne.

“Absence of a heatwave has kept wheat crops healthy and robust and there is no adverse impact,” said Gyanendra Singh, head of the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal. (HT)
Updated on Mar 14, 2023 04:54 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Retail inflation eases slightly to 6.44% in February; milk, cereals up

The food and beverages inflation index, which has been elevated due to extreme weather and global headwinds, stood at 6.26% during the month against 6.19% in January.

Consumer prices continued to be above the Reserve Bank of India’s so-called tolerable limit of 6% for two straight months. (REUTERS File Photo)
Updated on Mar 13, 2023 06:52 PM IST

Farmers switch crops amid concerns over climate crisis

India is among countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which can roil its farm sector, still the biggest source of employment, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.

In Tamil Nadu, a large number of cultivators are growing sesame instead of groundnut in the face growing water scarcity. (HT)
Published on Mar 13, 2023 12:02 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Infrastructure quality to be bolstered amid climate, seismic fears

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is revamping an array of design norms and quality benchmarks, from oil pipelines to steel and concrete buildings, a move that will span all sectors of Asia’s third largest economy, several officials said.

Homes in mountains will also have stricter codes, especially in the wake of subsidence in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath. (PTI)
Updated on Mar 07, 2023 04:36 AM IST

Govt to double down on rice, millet stocking amid heat threat to wheat yield

To tide over any shortage, the government has doubled down on paddy purchases and has asked states that grow millets to draw up elaborate networks to buy the hardy cereals

The government aims to procure 34.1 million tonne of wheat at federally determined prices (Himanshu Sharma)
Updated on Mar 05, 2023 05:03 AM IST

No damage to wheat, expect record output: Centre after key meet

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday said it expected record wheat output, despite predictions of crop-damaging heat in March, following a key stock-taking meeting with state food departments, people familiar with the matter said

Ajmer, Mar 01 (ANI): Workers harvest wheat crop, at a village, in Ajmer on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (Himanshu Sharma)
Published on Mar 02, 2023 01:10 AM IST

GDP slows to 4.4% in Oct-Dec quarter: Govt data

NEW DELHI: India’s economy grew 4

India’s economic growth slowed down to 4.4% in the third quarter of 2022-23 (Bloomberg File)
Published on Feb 28, 2023 06:35 PM IST

Centre steps in as onion prices plummet due to supply surplus

The world is battling an onion crisis, prompting a World Bank warning last month, but in India prices have fallen so low that some farmers are letting their produce rot, according to growers and traders

Bengaluru: A worker carries a sack onnion at a market, in Bengaluru, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) (PTI12_01_2022_000234A) (PTI)
Published on Feb 27, 2023 01:02 AM IST

India unlikely to ease ban on wheat export

Stocks of the grain in the world’s second-largest grower plunged after a heatwave cut output by 2.5% to about 106 million tonnes in 2022

India’s decision not to reopen export, at least until its own wheat purchases for state-held stocks are over, comes amid higher overall consumer inflation. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 24, 2023 10:52 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Wheat auctioning fails to curb prices

The Union government’s decision to sell 5 million tonnes of wheat in the open market through staggered auctions to cool prices has not brought down retail rates of the staple beyond a quarter point

Stocks of the grain in the world’s second-largest grower dwindled when a heatwave crimped output by 2.5% to about 106 million tonnes in 2022, even as it kept exporting. (PTI)
Published on Feb 23, 2023 01:42 AM IST

Centre forms panel to save wheat from heat

Last year, a similar disastrous hot spell in March, when temperatures leapt to record highs, crippled wheat yields as output shrank 2.5% in the world’s second-largest producer, stoking a crisis-like situation.

Workers fill sacks with wheat at the market yard of the Agriculture Product Marketing Committee (APMC) on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, in May 2022. (REUTERS/FILE)
Updated on Feb 22, 2023 04:46 AM IST

Key fertiliser maker slashes prices by 14%

India’s largest manufacturer of fertilizers, IFFCO Ltd, has decided to cut prices of a widely used mix of crop nutrients by nearly 14%, according to a company executive, a move that will help lower farming costs and subsidies in a year of global food crisis which is driven in part by higher costs of agricultural chemicals

A man spraying insecticides manually by hand on a agriculture green field full of green new corp plants in a sunny daylight (Shutterstock)
Published on Feb 21, 2023 01:07 AM IST

Centre cracks down on hoarders of pulses, other farm produce

The govt’s move comes following rising consumer inflation, which hit a three-month high in January at 6.52%.

Ranchi, Feb 01 (ANI): A vendor selling spices and pulses at a market, in Ranchi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (Somnath Sen)
Published on Feb 19, 2023 01:18 AM IST

Wheat crop robust, but likely early summer sounds alarm

Wheat growers are worried about a repeat of last year’s disastrous early summer that shriveled crops, with temperatures rising steadily over northwestern plains, prompting top agricultural bodies to caution farmers.

A farmer ploughs a wheat field in Udhampur on Monday. (ANI)
Published on Feb 18, 2023 12:51 AM IST

IIM Rohtak to monitor programme to curb paddy residue burning

The Rohtak-based institute will carry out field assessments to see if machinery, funding, and current measures are good enough

Farmers set aflame paddy stalks around October to clear their fields for their next crop. (HT (File))
Updated on Feb 17, 2023 08:21 AM IST

Massive food-purchase plans on anvil: Officials

Geopolitical uncertainties, global supply-chain disruptions due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic, and depleted state-owned cereal stocks are the main reasons for expansion of procurement, which refers to the government’s purchases of foodgrains at benchmark floor rates known as minimum support prices (MSP), one of the officials said.

Currently, federally held cereal stocks are at a six-year low after extreme weather crimped wheat output in 2022-23 by 2.5% to 106 million tonne (REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 17, 2023 01:30 AM IST

India likely to continue curbs on wheat, rice exports

The government banned wheat exports in May last year as overseas sales from the world’s second-largest producer rose due to the Ukraine war at a time when production fell 2.5% due to a heatwave, straining availability.

The overall production of wheat reached 106.84 million tonnes, reporting a dip of 2.75 million tonnes as compared to 109.59 million tonnes estimated during the 2020-21 season, according to the Fourth Advance Estimates of Production of Foodgrains for 2021-22 released by the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare. (AFP)
Updated on Feb 13, 2023 05:54 AM IST

Agri exports in first 3 quarters hit record $20bn in 12.6% jump

Overseas shipments were boosted by basmati rice, which registered a 16% increase in value terms, a surprising 92% jump in exports of pulses and 25% in fresh vegetables, mainly to demand from the US, UAE and China, latest data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority show.

India has also emerged as a net exporter of farm products, whose exports touched an all-time high of US$ 50.2 billion in 2021-22, according to official data.
Updated on Feb 09, 2023 05:06 AM IST
By, New Delhi

This Valentine’s Day, hug a cow, says Animal Welfare Board

The board, in its notice, said the decision was taken on instructions of the ministry of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying.

Representational image
Updated on Feb 09, 2023 04:41 AM IST
By, New Delhi

RBI hikes key rate to 6.50% to tamp down sticky core inflation

Central banks typically raise the repo rate – the interest rate at which commercial banks borrow money by selling their securities to the Reserve Bank – to shrink money supply in the economy

The RBI had first raised rates by 40 basis points at a surprise meeting in May. (ANI image)
Published on Feb 08, 2023 11:55 AM IST

Costlier wheat hits staples; flour prices get 22% higher

In 2022, India was hoping to harvest 110 million tonne of wheat, but a prolonged heatwave around reaping time crimped output to 106.84 million tonne, about 2.5% lower than the preceding year’s 109.59 million tonne.

Winter sowing of the staple grain in the world’s second-largest consumer has held steady. The country hopes to reap a record 111-112 million tonnes, with harvesting two months away. (HT)
Published on Feb 07, 2023 12:12 AM IST

FCI back to off-budget borrowing to meet food subsidy, other costs

Off-budget funding refers to the practice of financing an expenditure that is not fully accounted for in budgetary allocations. It often helps the government to lower the fiscal deficit number.

Representational image
Updated on Feb 06, 2023 05:46 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Union Budget: Disappointed by no increase in PM-Kisan payouts, say farmers

The agriculture sector, the country’s largest employer, has grown at an average annual growth rate of 4.6% in the last six years, according to data from the annual Economic Survey 2022-23.

The government has allocated a mere <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1 lakh for MIS-PSS for 2023-24, down from <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,500 crore in 2022-23 (both Budget and revised estimates being equal).
Updated on Feb 03, 2023 12:32 AM IST
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