Photo: HTThe story of pulses from last year is a stark illustration of what ails agriculture policy. Due to the misfortune of pulses prices this year, we can be sure that its acreage will fall drastically, and we may have a shortage and high prices next year. This is an example of the inherent urban bias in India’s agriculture policy, which persists to this day. Indeed, among all World Trade Organization members, India is among a handful of countries with negative protection of agriculture. Lastly, one more policy lesson is that pulses continue to be in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.

December 12, 2017 17:37 UTC

BUENOS AIRES: A book on food security written by Sachin Kumar Sharma , associate professor of the Delhi-based Centre for WTO Studies has become a best seller at the 11th ministerial conference here.Published by Springer, "The WTO and Food Security" deals with public stockholding policies of selected developing countries from the perspective of WTO rules.The book also makes an assessment of the provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and how they could hamper the efforts of countries to address the challenges of food security.According to Sharma, who felicitated for the success of his book at a session here, the book highlights the issue of public stock holding in India and elsewhere and also the policy constraints being faced by developing nations on account of the WTO rules.The public food stockholding is a hot topic here as the 11th ministerial is mandated to come out with a permanent solution to deal with the food security issue.The book, according to the author, also made a case for amending the provisions of the AoA to make WTO rules just and fair for the millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.It deals with food security problems in 12 countries, including China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Zimbabwe and steps needed to mitigate the problem of hunger and undernourishment.

December 12, 2017 17:15 UTC

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the government will fully protect public deposits in financial institutions. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/MintNew Delhi: All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) has threatened to go on strike if the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017, or FRDI Bill, is not amended to safeguard interest of depositors even as the government has assured that it will protect rights of customers. “Our banks deal with huge public money and total deposits in the banks today are more than Rs106 trillion. It is contemplating a strike action against this unwarranted FRDI Bill, if the government proceeds further (with the Bill),” it said. Also read: FRDI Bill: Arun Jaitley says public deposits will be protectedThe FRDI Bill is currently undergoing scrutiny by a joint committee of Parliament.

December 12, 2017 17:15 UTC

Illustration: Jayachandran/MintThe Gujarat election campaign has been ugly, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has escalated the bitterness in his speeches. It was completely unnecessary on Modi’s part to raise this irrelevant matter in the Gujarat election campaign. But not only is the issue old, it is again irrelevant to the Gujarat election. As the serving prime minister, Modi should appreciate the constraints under which Singh and other people in India’s highest political office have operated in the past. Should Narendra Modi withdraw his remarks against former prime minister Manmohan Singh?

December 12, 2017 17:03 UTC

They were evacuated and taken to a company base camp at Bufliaz, he said.Peer Ki Gali along the Mughal road, connecting Kashmir with the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri , experienced heavy snowfall since Monday. However, the pilgrimage to the shrine was on despite heavy rains.Heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh forced the district administration to sound an alert on Tuesday. A police patrolling team had to bring back tourists from Anjani Mahadev and Solang valley areas on Monday evening when snowfall started. "The entire valley is experiencing heavy snowfall, so the roads have been closed. Most parts of Lahaul and upper Manali continued to receive snowfall leading to intense cold conditions in the state.

December 12, 2017 17:03 UTC

As strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney says, a communist government in Nepal will be beholden to Beijing. "In his earlier stint as PM, Oli stoked tensions with the plains people ( Madhesis ) and with India. Dubbed "Oily Oli" by his critics, Oli scapegoated India for Nepal's political and constitutional crisis. It was under Oli early last year that Nepal signed a trade and transit agreement with China seeking to reduce its dependence on India. Or the Maldives which recently signed an FTA with China with revealing the details of the agreement.

December 12, 2017 16:52 UTC

Gujarat Election With Times: Milk politics of BJP and CongressGujarat is the birthplace of Amul and the politics of milk cooperatives drives electoral calculations in key areas. BJP leaders now lead all 18 of Gujarat's milk cooperatives and both BJP and Congress have fielded candidates with links to the cooperatives.

December 12, 2017 16:41 UTC

BHOPAL: Amidst the looming agrarian crisis and reports of farmer suicides in Madhya Pradesh , the peasants are once again under dues as the state stares at a possible drought. This year, Rabi sowing area is all set to go down, thereby affecting the wheat production. This may also put a spanner in the state's ambition to bag yet another Krishi Karman award.Talking to TOI, minister for agriculture Gaurishankar Bisen said the dams in Madhya Pradesh were not adequately filled even after monsoon this year. "Irrigated land yields more than that which is not irrigated," Bisen said.Last year, wheat was sown on about 64 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh. This may go down to about 52 lakh hectares this year, Bisen said.

December 12, 2017 16:30 UTC

"It is the duty of every Indian to preserve and protect our culture. Let me once again clarify that religion is personal, while culture is a way of life," he said.He said the festival is a time to "renew our commitment to love and serve our families, communities and society; to be just and transparent in our dealings; to promote social and economic inclusion of all; to promote lasting peace between people of different religions and cultures and to promote sustainable development". "As you all are aware, education is the most important tool for transformation of the society through enlightenment and empowerment. Education is meant to bring out all the good qualities of head and heart in an individual by instilling the values of compassion, morality and ethics. It must help in building character, enhancing capacity, promoting good conduct and patriotism," Naidu said.

December 12, 2017 16:19 UTC

BHOPAL: Congress launched a scathing attack on chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after police failed to trace minister of state Lal Singh Arya Leader of Opposition (LOP) Ajay Singh asked, "What is the reason that Lal Singh Arya is meeting the chief minister and state BJP president but police cannot find him? This is shameful for the chief minister that police are raiding the minister's bungalow with an arrest warrant and he is absconding. "State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chouhan is brazenly supporting Lal Singh Arya. He said, "I support what the state BJP president has said about Lal Singh Arya and the arrest warrant." "I don't understand the compulsion of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that he is taking his government to this depth of disgrace.

December 12, 2017 16:17 UTC

DocsApp has over 2,000 doctors registered on the platform, in domains like dermatology, gynaecology, sexology, paediatrics, psychiatry, general medicine and weight management. Ltd, which operates the doctor consultation app DocsApp, on Tuesday said it raised $7.2 million in a Series-A funding round from Bessemer Venture Partners and Japanese firms Techmatrix Corp. and DeNa Networks. The Bengaluru-based start-up will use the funds for hiring, expanding operations, product development and an outreach to get more doctors to join DocsApp. DocsApp has over 2,000 doctors registered on the platform, in domains like dermatology, gynaecology, sexology, paediatrics, psychiatry, general medicine and weight management. It is backed by GSF Accelerator, IIT-M Incubation Center, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Anupam Mittal, founder of and Srikanth Sundararajan from Helion Venture Partners.

December 12, 2017 16:07 UTC

Highlights 1 Bhamre first inaugurated the Injupani Bridge, a 140-metre long-bridge on Roing-Koronu-Paya road. 2 Injupani Bridge will provide an uninterrupted access between Roing & Tezu. Showcasing its commitment, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre today dedicated two crucial bridges in eastern Arunachal Pradesh to the nation. Bhamre flew to Rowing in eastern Arunachal Pradesh where he inaugurated the two bridges. The completion of the Injupani Bridge will provide an uninterrupted access between Roing & Tezu, both important district HQs in Arunachal Pradesh.

December 12, 2017 16:07 UTC

The US has rejected any improvements proposed in the existing peace clause on food security issue at the WTO Buenos Aires meet. On Monday, trade minister Suresh Prabhu had made India’s position clear—that any outcome at Buenos Aires is presaged on a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security. Earlier, she issued a draft agreement on the permanent solution, but only with modest changes. Mohamed was expected to issue the draft text later on Tuesday to indicate a possible way out on the permanent solution. An outcome on the permanent solution is key, as this is the only mandated issue for the Buenos Aires meeting.

December 12, 2017 16:07 UTC

The study found that abortions are more than 22 times more common than the government’s estimate of less than 700,000 terminations. Illustration: JayachandranNew Delhi: Some 15.6 million abortions take place in India each year, with the majority of women taking pills at home without adequate counselling, a study said on Tuesday, calling for more trained doctors in public hospitals. “Women in India face considerable challenges trying to obtain abortion care, including the limited availability of abortion services in public health facilities,” the Guttmacher Institute’s investigator Susheela Singh, said in a statement. Researchers said that close to three in four abortions were achieved using drugs from chemists and informal vendors, rather than from health facilities where proper counselling and health checks should be provided. “This new evidence provides policymakers with information that is essential for designing and implementing effective reproductive health care programs,” he added in a statement.

December 12, 2017 15:56 UTC

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up by 36 cents at $65.05 at 1414 GMT, after breaking above $65 for the first time since June 2015 and trading as high as $65.83. Photo: BloombergLondon: Oil rose above $65 a barrel for the first time since mid-2015 on Tuesday following a shutdown of the UK’s biggest North Sea oil pipeline, which helps set the benchmark for global prices. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up by 36 cents at $65.05 at 1414 GMT, after breaking above $65 for the first time since June 2015 and trading as high as $65.83. “With no timeframe yet available as to when supplies through the Forties pipeline will resume, bulls are in control,” said Ole Hansen of Saxo Bank. Analysts and traders said the outage was likely to cause significant delays in the loading of Forties crude cargoes.

December 12, 2017 15:56 UTC