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Explained | The World Bank controversy that killed the Doing Business Report

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An internal audit found that Chinese influence at the World Bank led to data manipulation and ultimately a rigged national ranking for China in past Ease of Doing Business indexes. While the regulators investigate the matter and the global investor community remains dazed at the findings, Moneycontrol looks at what this means for India.

Representative Image (Reuters)


The Washington, DC-based International Bank for Reconstruction and Development Group said on September 16 it's pending publication of its Doing Business report after an indoor audit found “undue pressure” by top bank officials to control data had resulted in country rankings changed to favor China.

The investigations showed that the report, considered a worldwide benchmark to gauge investment climate across nations, had boosted China’s ranking in 2017.

Then International Bank for Reconstruction and Development president Jim Yong Kim then chief executive Kristalina Georgieva, who is now director of the International fund, are implicated within the findings. Moneycontrol takes a glance.

What is the Doing Business Report?

The Doing Business report outlined the amount of business regulation in 190 economies. It assessed the business climate on 12 broad parameters integral to starting, sustaining, and winding down a business. The 2020 report was the 17th within the series of annual studies.

The quantitative indicators ranged from handling construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, and trading across borders. These might be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time. The study presented an in-depth analysis of costs, requirements, and procedures that a selected sort of private company is subjected to altogether countries and provided nations with specific prescriptions on how and when to reform key laws.

Why is it so crucial?

Nations around the world monitored the annual reports since they set the convenience of Doing index for the subsequent year. The index is that the formal ranking of countries – from most business-friendly to worst. it's competitive, changes quickly, and has in recent years garnered huge media attention. This report of sorts showed whether nations had improved or degenerated in their efforts to make a more liberal economic ecosystem, a minimum of for the typical business.

The growing significance of the index was partially thanks to rising interest across the developing world from countries including India, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and China, which are continuously engaged in seeking more foreign direct investment.

What had been done?

On instructions from former International Bank for Reconstruction and Development president Jim Yong Kim and ex-CEO Kristalina Georgieva, the Doing Business team was instructed to re-evaluate China’s data to stay its rank at 78. Internal audits had been triggered in June 2020 by repeated allegations of knowledge manipulation. firm WilmerHale had prepared an independent report at the request of the bank’s ethics panel. Both raised concerns about China’s influence at the planet Bank.

They found that Kim discussed the report and China’s performance with senior Chinese officialdom in September 2017, a significant breach of practice and ethics because the results are never disclosed before the worldwide launch of the report. Also, the then executive for China met with members of the planet Bank’s East Asia and Pacific regional office on September 14 to tell them that if China’s rankings improved, everyone would be “relieved.”

How did it get so bad?

This isn’t the planet Bank’s first brush with scandal. In January 2018, Paul Romer, the planet Bank’s chief economist, announced that past releases of the index would be corrected and recalculated going back a minimum of four years. Romer apologized to Chile, saying the previous director of the group liable for the index had repeatedly manipulated its methodology, unfairly penalizing the country’s rankings during the administration of left-wing President Michelle Bachelet.

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Now, after reviewing all the knowledge available so far on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and therefore the final report released by the planet Bank, the management decided to discontinue the Doing Business report.

Why does this matter for India?

Since the Narendra Modi government took charge in 2014, it's focused on improving India’s rankings. the govt said in multiple fora that its target was to be counted as a part of the highest 50 clubs as soon as possible. It also initiated a good sweep of reforms to continuously improve conditions of doing business on the bottom across local, state, and national levels.

As a result, India’s rankings improved dramatically over the past five years. within the latest rankings, it rose 14 places to 63rd position in 2019, up from 74th within the previous year. The country was also placed within the list of “economies with the foremost notable improvement” for the third year during a row. Overall, India’s position jumped from a coffee 142 in 2014, an unparalleled feat.

The government had also extensively marketed its achievements both domestically and abroad. Continuously invoked at political rallies and television debates, the term “ease of doing business” had become an inherent part of the political discourse within the country.


Where does the govt stand on the issue?

After the controversy broke out, Kaushik Basu, who was International Bank for Reconstruction and Development chief economist from October 2012 to October 2016, said that while pressure from governments had always been the case, it had never given in. He said that to India’s credit, both the present and former Indian governments had never put pressure on the planet Bank for favorable reviews.

The sudden discrediting of the rankings has brought into question the framework of the report, its intent, and therefore the entire process. While the Centre has not yet officially commented on the matter, reports have stated that some officials fear this may discredit India’s overall simple doing business endeavor.

However, most officials believe it'll help in exposing how China bullies multilateral institutions to accommodate its demands. With global opinion on the matter slowly becoming clear, they hope this may cause more businesses to shift from China to India. India is currently wooing businesses to shift their supply chains from China through a variety of incentives

'Shocking': Former World Bank economist Kaushik Basu on manipulation of Doing Business ranking

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The World Bank Group on September 16 said it ended publication of its Doing Business report after an investigation cited "undue pressure" by top bank officials.

Indian economist Kaushik Basu (image: live.worldbank.org)

Economist Kaushik Basu dubbed reports of manipulation of the World Bank's Doing Business ranking as "shocking".

Basu was Chief Economist of the World Bank from October 2012 to October 2016.

He said that when the Doing Business report was under his charge, the organization never gave in to pressure from governments.

He also clarified that the World Bank never faced pressure from the current or previous Indian government, led by Narendra Modi and Manmohan Singh respectively.

"The news of manipulation of World Bank's Doing Business Ranking is shocking. DB was under my charge from 2012 to 2016. There was pressure from govt. We NEVER gave in. Sad that this changed. I may add, to India's credit, I never had pressure from India's govt—current or previous," Basu tweeted.

The World Bank Group on September 16 said it ended publication of its Doing Business report, after an investigation cited "undue pressure" by top bank officials, including then-Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva, to boost China's ranking in 2017.

The report ranks the country based on the investment climate.

An internal report had raised "ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff".

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A board investigation conducted by the law firm WilmerHale cited "direct and indirect pressure" from senior staff in the office of then-World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to change the report's methodology to boost China's score, and said it likely occurred at his direction.

GST council meeting today: Kerala, Maharashtra to oppose move to bring petrol, diesel under GST

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Central excise and state VAT (Value Added Tax) make up for almost half of the retail selling price of petrol and diesel.

The 45th GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to be held on September 17. (File image: Reuters)

Kerala and Maharashtra governments will oppose any move to bring petrol and diesel under the products and Services Tax (GST) regime.

The 45th GST Council meeting, chaired by minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman, to be persisted Citizenship Day and a proposal on taxing petrol and diesel under the only national GST is probably going to be haunted.

"Finance Minister Smt @nsitharaman will chair the 45th GST Council meeting at 11 AM in Lucknow tomorrow. The meeting are going to be attended by MOS Shri @mppchaudhary besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States," the Finance Ministry has tweeted.

A day before the scheduled meeting, the Kerala government said that it'll vehemently oppose any move to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime as which will further reduce revenue generation for the state and asserted that the Centre should reduce its levies on the 2 commodities to supply relief to the folk .

Central excise and state VAT (Value Added Tax) structure for nearly half the retail asking price of petrol and diesel. Bringing them under the GST would impact revenue generation for the states

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Talking to PTI, Kerala minister of finance K N Balagopal said the state will strongly oppose if there's any move to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime. He said the fuel prices skyrocketed thanks to the large increase of its cess by the Centre and if the Union Government reduces the cess, which can help in bringing down the costs of petrol and diesel. If petrol and diesel are brought under the GST regime, Kerala will lose Rs 8,000 crore annually, said the minister.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar also opposed any such move. The Nationalist Congress Party leader said that the Centre is liberal to levy taxes but it shouldn't touch areas that are under the state's jurisdiction, reported Hindustan Times.

"If there's any move to try to to so, the government will put forth its view in tomorrow's GST Council meeting," Pawar, who is additionally the minister of finance of the state, was quoted as saying.

In the meeting, the GST council may review rate of over four-dozen items and extend till New Year's Eve , tax concessions on 11 COVID-19 drugs. Besides bringing petrol and diesel under the only national GST tax, it's going to also take up a proposal to treat food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy a 5 percent GST tax on supplies made by them.


India expected to grow at 7.2% in 2021 but economic growth could decelerate next year: UN report

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The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2021, released here on Wednesday, sounded a cautiously optimistic note to say that the global economy is set for a strong recovery in 2021, albeit with a good deal of uncertainty clouding the details at the regional and country levels over the second half of the year.Representational image.

India is predicted to grow at 7.2 percent in 2021 but economic process could decelerate next year, consistent with a United Nations report which said the recovery within the country is constrained by the continued human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the negative impact of food price inflation on private consumption.

The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2021, released here on Wednesday, sounded a cautiously optimistic note to mention that the worldwide economy is about for a robust recovery in 2021, albeit with an honest deal of uncertainty clouding the small print at the regional and country levels over the last half of the year.

After a 3.5 percent fall in 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects world output to grow 5.3 percent this year, partially recovering the bottom lost in 2020.

The report said that India “suffered a contraction” of seven percent in 2020 and is predicted to grow 7.2 percent in 2021.

“The recovery in India is constrained by the continued human and economic cost of COVID-19, and therefore the negative impact of food price inflation on private consumption,” the UNCTAD report said.

The report projects that India will clock an economic process of 6.7 percent in 2022, slower than the country’s expected 2021 rate of growth .

However, even with a slower rate of growth of 6.7 percent, India will still be the fastest-growing major economy within the world next year.

“India, which experienced a contraction of seven .0 percent in 2020, showed a robust quarterly growth of 1.9 percent growth within the half-moon 2021, on the rear of the momentum of the last half of 2020 and supported by government spending in goods and services," the report said.

"Meanwhile, a severe and broadly unanticipated second wave of the pandemic, compounded by bottlenecks within the vaccine roll out, hit the country within the second quarter, on top of rising food and general price inflation, forcing widespread lockdowns and drastic consumption and investment adjustments,” it said.

It noted that income and wealth inequalities within the country have widened, and “social unrest has increased”.

The financial institution estimates another sharp contraction (quarter-on-quarter) within the second quarter followed by a rebound afterwards.

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“Given the inherent fragilities in dealing with the pandemic and restoring employment and incomes, growth in 2021 as an entire is estimated at 7.2 percent, insufficient to regain the pre-COVID-19 income level," the report said.

"Going forward, assuming away a resurgence of the pandemic to the degree experienced within the second wave, a revitalisation of personal sector activity, subject still to a slow recovery of jobs, is probably going to be matched with a more adverse policy environment, especially on the fiscal front, and with continuing pressures on the balance of trade . On these conditions, the economy is predicted to decelerate to six .7 percent growth in 2022,” the report said.

Further, it said that in India, consumer inflation was already at 6 percent before the pandemic. The COVID-19 shock caused a short-lived dip in prices, but because the economy recovered and food prices accelerated, the country returned to a 6 percent rate of inflation in mid-2021.

The UNCTAD said that global growth is predicted to hit 5.3 percent this year, the fastest in almost half a century, with some countries restoring - or maybe surpassing - their output level of 2019 by the top of 2021.

"The global picture beyond 2021, however, remains shrouded in uncertainty,” it said, adding that looking ahead, the UNCTAD expects world output to grow 3.6 percent in 2022.

South Asia suffered a pointy contraction of 5.6 percent in 2020, with the region’s economic activity delivered to a halt because of widespread restrictions.

Deficient public healthcare systems and high levels of informality magnified the impact of the pandemic in terms of both health and economic outcomes, which was reflected during a stark rise in poverty rates, the report said.

The UNCTAD expects the region to expand by 5.8 percent in 2021, with the more vigorous recovery signalled at the start of the year muted by a rapid surge in infections during the second quarter of 2021.

Moreover, the limited progress made in terms of vaccine rollouts continues to go away the countries of the region vulnerable to future outbreaks. For 2022, the UNCTAD expects the region’s rate of growth to moderate to five .7 percent.

The US is projected to grow at 5.7 percent in 2021 followed by a 3 percent GDP growth next year.

“In America , the fast recovery within the us recovery is predicted to boost GDP to 2 percent above its pre-COVID-19 level,” it said.

China, estimated to grow at 8.3 percent this year, will see its growth hamper to five .7 percent in 2022.

The report said that the planet needs simpler multilateral coordination, without which recovery efforts in advanced countries will damage development prospects within the South and amplify existing inequalities.

“The global recovery from the pandemic must reach beyond emergency spending and infrastructure investments to embrace a reinvigorated multilateral model for trade and development,” said Rebeca Grynspan, the secretary-general of the UNCTAD.

“Only a concerted rethinking of priorities holds out hope of addressing the inequality and climate crises that have come to define our era.”

Centre responsible for rise in its debt and fall in GDP: Shanti Dhariwal

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Shanti Dhariwal made the allegation while replying to a debate on the Rajasthan Goods And Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

GDP data After Covid slump, India records best-ever quarterly GDP growth at  20.1% in Q1 know here detail | आ गए Indian Economy के 'अच्छे दिन'! पहली  तिमाही में रिकॉर्ड 20.1% GDP

Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal on Tuesday blamed the Centre and its "wrong policies" for the increase in its debt and fall within the country’s GDP.

Dhariwal made the allegation while replying to a debate on the Rajasthan Goods And Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Seeking passage of the Bill, the minister said the Centre has already enacted a law like the Bill being piloted within the state assembly which, consistent with the GST Council decision, is obliged to enact a law exactly almost like the Centres.

Accordingly, this amendment has been bill brought within the Bill, he said.

The bill was gone by voice vote.

The state assembly also passed the Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agriculture University, Bikaner (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and therefore the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2020.


Replying to the talk on the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Agriculture Minister Lal Chand Kataria said that there was no provision for removal of the vice-chancellor within the previous law if any unprecedented condition warrants it before the top of his tenure.

Therefore, the supply concerning the removal of the vice-chancellor is required to be included.

Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agriculture University, Bikaner (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was also gone by the House following the reply given by the agriculture minister.

The firm will prepare a candidate verification report for every aspirant to provide the necessary inputs to the BBB members before the interactions of the individual personages with the bureau, according to a public notice issued to invite bids. PTI SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 / 01:58 PM IST The Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the headhunter for state-owned banks and financial institutions, on Monday invited bids from firms to carry out background verification of candidates for director-level vacancies. The firm will prepare a candidate verification report for every aspirant to provide the necessary inputs to the BBB members before the interactions of the individual personages with the bureau, according to a public notice issued to invite bids. "A bidder will be selected under the Quality cum Cost Based System method (QCBS) with weightages of 80:20 (80 percent for technical proposal and 20 percent for financial proposal) and as per procedures described in this RFP," it said. It also said that Rs 9,000 per candidate for approximately 50 candidates per annum would be paid to the firm. The agency is expected to check educational and employment history, crime and default cases if any and other aspects as mandated by the Bureau. RELATED STORIES Trust between govt, industry critical to leverage opportunities created by COVID: FM Nirmala Sithara... 158 dengue cases in Delhi this year; 32 in September Climate change biggest global challenge, India committed to combat it: Bhupender Yadav The firm should also extensively examine the social media content of the candidate, it said, adding three weeks-time would be given to complete the process. The selected firm will be engaged for two years, subject to a review of performance after one year by the Bureau. The last date for submission of application is October 5, 2021, it said. The government in 2016 had approved the constitution of the BBB as a body of eminent professionals and officials to make recommendations for the appointment of whole-time directors as well as non-executive chairpersons of PSBs and state-owned financial institutions. It was also entrusted with the task of engaging with the board of directors of all PSBs to formulate appropriate strategies for their growth and development. Besides, it was asked to frame a strategy discussion on consolidation based on the requirement. The government wanted to encourage bank boards to restructure their business strategy and also suggest ways for their consolidation and merger with other banks. PTI TAGS: #Banks Board Bureau #BBB- #Economy #India FIRST PUBLISHED: SEP 13, 2021 02:00 PM PROMOTED CONTENT Recommended by HDFC Home Loans Now @ Low Emi of 649*/L onwards. HDFC Home Loans Now @ Low Emi of 649*/L onwards. HDFC.Com Home Furniture upto 50% Off | Check Out Sofas, beds, dining sets, shoe racks & wardrobes Home Furniture upto 50% Off | Check Out Sofas, beds, dining sets, shoe racks & wardrobes @home by Nilkamal The Soccer Star Is Moving On: Cristiano Ronaldo Sold Manchester House The Soccer Star Is Moving On: Cristiano Ronaldo Sold Manchester House Mansion Global The cost of hearing aids in Gurgaon might surprise you Hear.com Kunal & Soha are all set to go for a holiday. Are you? Kunal & Soha are all set to go for a holiday. Are you? clubmahindra.com Nepal is struggling to recover after the earthquake in 2015, will COVID19 pose a new challenge? Nepal is struggling to recover after the earthquake in 2015, will COVID19 pose a new challenge? CNA - Insight WATCH MUST LISTEN Simply Save | Know the taxation rules for interest earned on EPF contribution of over Rs 2.5 lakh Simply Save | Know the taxation rules for interest earned on EPF contribution of over Rs 2.5 lakh STAY UPDATED Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter Enter Email address submit Get Daily News on your BrowserEnable

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The Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the headhunter for state-owned banks and financial institutions, on Monday invited bids from firms to carry out background verification of candidates for director-level vacancies.

The firm will prepare a candidate verification report for every aspirant to provide the necessary inputs to the BBB members before the interactions of the individual personages with the bureau, according to a public notice issued to invite bids.

"A bidder will be selected under the Quality cum Cost Based System method (QCBS) with weightages of 80:20 (80 percent for technical proposal and 20 percent for financial proposal) and as per procedures described in this RFP," it said.

It also said that Rs 9,000 per candidate for approximately 50 candidates per annum would be paid to the firm.

The agency is expected to check educational and employment history, crime and default cases if any and other aspects as mandated by the Bureau.

The firm should also extensively examine the social media content of the candidate, it said, adding three weeks-time would be given to complete the process.

The selected firm will be engaged for two years, subject to a review of performance after one year by the Bureau. The last date for submission of application is October 5, 2021, it said. The government in 2016 had approved the constitution of the BBB as a body of eminent professionals and officials to make recommendations for the appointment of whole-time directors as well as non-executive chairpersons of PSBs and state-owned financial institutions.

It was also entrusted with the task of engaging with the board of directors of all PSBs to formulate appropriate strategies for their growth and development.

Besides, it was asked to frame a strategy discussion on consolidation based on the requirement. The government wanted to encourage bank boards to restructure their business strategy and also suggest ways for their consolidation and merger with other banks.

US jobless claims reach a pandemic low as economy recovers

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Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims dropped from a revised total of 345,000 the week before. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January, reflecting the steady reopening of the economy after the pandemic recession.

Source: Reuters

The number of USA citizens seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 310,000, an epidemic low and a symbol that the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant has yet to steer to widespread layoffs.

Thursday’s report from the Department of Labor showed that jobless claims dropped from a revised total of 345,000 the week before. the amount of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January, reflecting the steady reopening of the economy after the pandemic recession.

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But the spread of the delta variant this summer has put renewed pressure on the economy and therefore the job market. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve System reported that U.S. economic activity “downshifted” in July and August, partially due to a pullback in dining out, travel, and tourism associated with concerns about the delta variant.

And last week, the govt reported that hiring slowed dramatically in August, with employers adding just 235,000 jobs after having added roughly 1,000,000 in both June and July. Hiring plummeted in industries that need face-to-face contact with the general public, notably restaurants, hotels, and retail. Still, some jobs were added in other areas, and therefore the percentage actually dropped to five .2 percent from 5.4 percent.

This week, quite 8 million people lost all their unemployment benefits with the expiration of two federal programs that covered gig workers and other people who had been jobless for quite six months. Those emergency programs had been created in March 2020, when the pandemic first tore through the economy.

An additional 2 million people have lost a $300-a-week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits that expired in the week. Some business owners had complained that the federal supplement made it harder to fill open jobs. Those pleas led governors in about 25 states to cancel the $300 payment early and to shut off the 2 emergency programs in most of these states also. But academic research has found that thus far, the first cut-offs in jobless benefits have led to only a little increase in hiring in those states.

Many economists express concern that the cut-off will cause financial hardship because the resurgence of the pandemic will make it harder for a few of the unemployed to seek out work. After previous recessions, emergency expansions of jobless aid ended at a time when far fewer people were still receiving benefits.

Finance Ministry releases Rs 9,871 crore to 17 states as revenue deficit grant

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The grants are released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission in monthly installments to meet the gap in revenue accounts of the states post-devolution. The commission has recommended this grant to the 17 states during 2021-22.


The Finance Ministry on Thursday said it has released the sixth monthly instalment of revenue deficit grant of Rs 9,871 crore to 17 states.

Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant is provided to the states under Article 275 of the Constitution.

The grants are released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission in monthly instalments to meet the gap in revenue accounts of the states post-devolution. The commission has recommended this grant to the 17 states during 2021-22.

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The Department of Expenditure has released the sixth monthly instalment of Post Devolution Revenue Deficit (PDRD) grant of Rs 9,871 crore to the states on Thursday, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

With this instalment, a total amount of Rs 59,226 crore has been released to eligible states in the current financial year, it added.

The eligibility of states to receive this grant and the quantum of the grant was decided by the commission based on the gap between assessment of revenue and expenditure of the state after taking into account the assessed devolution for the financial year 2021-22, it noted.

The states recommended for PDRD Grant by the Fifteenth Finance Commission are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

The Fifteenth Finance Commission has recommended a total PDRD Grant of Rs 1,18,452 crore to the 17 states in 2021-22. Out of this, an amount of Rs 59,226 crore (50 per cent) has been released so far.

Centre to increase database of farmers from 5.5 crore to 8 crore by December with help of states: Narendra Singh Tomar

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In a video conference with the state chief ministers, Tomar asked state governments to create a database for the state using the federated farmer database prepared by the central government and allow linkage to the state land record database.Govt ready to talk with farmers, but no repeal of farm laws: Union  Agriculture Minister - India News

The Centre will increase the farmer database from the present 5.5 crores to eight crores by December this year with the support of states, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.

In a video conference with the state chief ministers, Tomar asked state governments to make a database for the state using the federated farmer database prepared by the central government and permit linkage to the state land record database.

"The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has created a database of 5.5 crore farmers and it'll be increased to eight crore farmers by December 2021 with the assistance of state governments," a politician statement quoted Tomar saying within the conference.

Noting that agriculture has got to be linked with digital technology, research project and knowledge, the minister emphasised that both the Centre and states must work together for agriculture to offer a lift to the economy.

He also said with the establishment of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Mandis and start-ups will get loans easily.

In the conference, digital agriculture and the of emerging technology for smart agriculture was discussed and therefore the concept of farmers' database was explained.

According to the statement, a national farmer database is being created by taking data from existing schemes like PM-KISAN, soil health card and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The database will have connectivity to the state land records database.

Stating that there's a rise in farm exports, Union Food and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said, "India is emerging as a trusted export partner and there's further scope for improvement of agri-exports."

He emphasised that the infrastructure must be strengthened for storage and warehousing.

The objectives of the conference were to spotlight the salient features of "Atmanirbhar Krishi" (self-reliant agriculture sector) and to enable states to reinforce farmers' income. it had been also an event to share innovative initiatives undertaken by the states.

The discussion with the states centred round the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund found out to drive infrastructure investment.

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The recent modifications within the scheme were explained – the eligibility has been extended to APMCs, state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, FPOs and self help groups.

The eligible activities were explained like community farming, assets, post-harvest management projects and first processing.

In the conference, the necessity to form India self-reliant in edible oils and palms was stressed and therefore the role of the states was discussed.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) and therefore the saturation of Kisan mastercard for little and marginal farmers was also discussed. Upgradation of the beneficiary database was emphasised.

There was discussion on export of agriculture products and therefore the role of APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) in increasing agriculture exports.

The states were told that APEDA will facilitate cluster centric capacity building exercises for state officials, FPOs, farmers, start-ups, etc.

The first day of the two-day conference saw the participation of Chief Ministers and Agriculture Ministers of States like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Goa.

Two junior Agriculture Ministers Kailash Choudhary and Shobha Karandlaje, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey were among other senior officials present at the conference.

‘Make in India’ needs a quality revolution

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While we have a favourable external environment with most global buyers looking to hedge their bets outside China, India must trigger a quality revolution among its manufacturers in order to grab this opportunity 


One of the foremost striking contrasts for global buyers in sourcing products from India vis-a-vis China remains an astonishing lack of attention to quality among an enormous majority of Indian manufacturers. This problem is acutely pronounced in the small and medium scale manufacturing (MSME) sector.


For example, within the apparel and textiles sector, India is home to several world-class and quality-conscious manufacturers. Similarly, other industries even have top-quality manufacturers.


It is outside the big-league players that we see a precipitous decline in adherence to the worldwide quality standards. Contrast this with China, where there's no shortage of small or midsized firms following the strict us and European standards of quality.


The pandemic brought now home once more. In early 2020, because the demand for three-ply masks shot through the roof round the world, our teams struggled to seek out even a couple of manufacturers from India who were making masks that met the US FDA’s or EU CE standards for exports. as compared, many such factories in China — a majority of them small or midsize units — were readily producing their FDA/CE certification on demand.


This experience, among others, has led us to conclude that poor quality control remains perhaps the most important self-inflicted barrier to the expansion of Indian exports. this is often a drag area that needs attention and therefore the gaps got to be addressed.

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To begin with, we'd like to recognize that quality, like charity, begins reception. Most Indian small-scale units were found out to satisfy domestic or local demand, and that they have bought into the self-perpetuating myth that Indian customers are fine with goods of lower quality.


Garments and apparel manufactured in India and sold in Indian retail stores are rarely tested vigorously for strength, stretchability, and tear resistance of the material. this is often readily apparent to anyone in India who has bought a pair of jeans or shirt from the US or Europe — the difference in quality is stark. this is often changing, but not at the pace where Indian brands are often considered globally competitive.


Now, when these very manufacturers aim for growth through exports, they're seldom conscious of quality standards demanded by foreign buyers. In other cases, they decide that implementing higher quality control in factories isn't well worth the significant time and investment for a gift within the distant future.


Education and awareness-building are the keys to addressing this issue at a private unit level. In some cases, local associations have also played an important role. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, an association of chemical and pharma manufacturers formulated a group of world-class standards for effluent treatment and disposal, which were then mandated for all member units. Pressure from industry peers eventually forced all units to take a position as inexpensive yet effective waste treatment plants, allowing their products to pass even the strictest sourcing requirements from buyers around the world. Exports took off, and every one unit earned a handsome return on their investments.


While the manufacturers don an enormous share of the responsibility to take care of global standards of quality, there's important work to be done by other stakeholders also. Most critically, we'd like a radical overhaul of our domestic standards enshrined under ISI/BIS, bringing the standards themselves also as procedures for checks and audits as on the brink of their global counterparts as possible. Our domestic standards are outdated or weak and are seldom accepted by international buyer of repute.


Even if we were to concede that an entire overhaul of the ISI/BIS specifications could also be a long-drawn and tiresome process, the work at hand also can be accomplished by a myriad of government-funded ‘export promotion councils’, who can each undertake promulgation and audit of world-class standards for industries and units falling under their respective jurisdiction.


For India to be a key player in global exports it necessitates a pervasive attention and adherence to global standards of quality, particularly among small scale manufacturers. While we've a favourable external environment with most global buyers looking to hedge their bets outside China, India must trigger a top quality revolution among its manufacturers so as to grab this chance .


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