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India banned onion exports. Now Asia has eye-watering prices

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From Kathmandu to Colombo, it’s a kitchen nightmare: Onion prices have gone crazy. That’s because India, the world’s biggest seller of the Asian diet staple, has banned exports after extended Monsoon downpours delayed harvests and supplies shrivelled. And dedicated buyers across the region, like Nepalese housewife Seema Pokharel, are flummoxed.

“This is a terrible increase,” said Pokharel, out shopping for vegetables in Kathmandu. “Onion prices have more than doubled in the last month alone.”

Whether it’s Pakistani chicken curry, Bangladeshi biryani or Indian sambar, Asian consumers have developed a serious dependence on Indian onion supplies for go-to dishes. Shorter shipment times than from rival exporters like China or Egypt play a crucial role in preserving the taste of the perishable commodity.

But last Sunday India banned all exports from India after local prices jumped to 4,500 rupees ($63.30) per 100 kg, their highest in nearly six years, due to the delay in summer-sown crop arrivals triggered by longer, heavier rains than usual.

Since the ban, countries such as Bangladesh have turned to the likes of Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey and China to increase supplies in a bid bring prices down, government officials and traders said.

But the hefty volumes lost will be hard to replace.

India exported 2.2 million tonnes of fresh onions in the 2018/19 fiscal year ended March 31, according to data from India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. That’s more than half of all imports by Asian countries, traders estimate.

‘TAKING ADVANTAGE’

Rising prices of alternative supplies will add to the headache for importers trying to get the vegetable from elsewhere, said Mohammad Idris, a trader based in Dhaka. In the Bangladesh capital, consumers are now being asked to pay 120 taka ($1.42) per kilogramme for their prized onions – twice the price a fortnight ago and the highest since December, 2013.

“Prices are going up elsewhere in Asia and Europe,” said Idris. “Other exporting countries are taking advantage of the Indian ban” to raise their asking price.

In response to the crisis, the government of Bangladesh has initiated sales of subsidised onions through the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

“We are looking for all possible options to import onions. Our target is to import in the shortest possible time,” said TCB spokesman Humayun Kabir.

But the shipments from elsewhere – Iran and Turkey are also potential suppliers – that authorities in countries across the region are investigating will all take time.

“It takes one month when it comes from Egypt and about 25 days from China, while it takes only a few days from India,” said Dhaka trader Idris.

The need for alternative imports is so severe, though, that countries like Sri Lanka have already placed orders with Egypt and China, said G Rajendran, president of the Essential Food Commodities, Importers and Traders Association.

Onion prices in Sri Lanka have risen by 50% in a week, to 280-300 Sri Lankan rupees per kilogramme.

‘DOUBLE THE PRICE’

For other countries, there may be little option but to sit tight and hope for the best.

Malaysia, the second-biggest buyer of Indian onions, expects the ban to be temporary and sees no reason to panic, said Sim Tze Tzin, deputy minister of agriculture.

But even India has been importing onions from Egypt in an effort to calm prices. And there won’t be any meaningful drop in prices before summer-sown crops start to hit the market, said Ajit Shah, president of the Mumbai-based Onion Exporters’ Association.

That’s not expected until mid-November, meaning the export ban isn’t going away in the near term.

“India could resume exports once prices drop, but it will take time,” said Shah. “Until India resumes exports, supplies will remain limited in Asia.”

For now, consumers like Kathmandu shopper Pokharel are having to change habits across Asia.

“I went to buy 5 kilogrammes of onions for our five-member family but ended up buying only 3 kilogrammes due to higher prices,” said Afroza Mimi, a Dhaka housewife on a shopping expedition the day after India imposed the export ban.

“They (traders) are selling old stock nearly at double the price. This is crazy.”

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Pleasant weather in Delhi, it will rain for the next two days.

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Representative Image | Source: NDTV

The weather pattern is changing in Delhi. The weather in the national capital has been pleasant since morning today (Wednesday). The wind is blowing between the movement of clouds, due to which the temperature has come down. According to the Meteorological Department (IMD), it will be partly cloudy in Delhi today i.e. on September 14. Also, there may be light rain or drizzle with winds at some places.

After the rains on Monday in Delhi, there was a slight drop in the temperature on Tuesday and people got a slight respite from the sultry heat. Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a change in the weather and light rain in Delhi-NCR from today i.e. Wednesday.

According to the forecast of the Meteorological Department, there may be light rain in Delhi for the next two days from today. It will be cloudy and winds will blow at a speed of 30 to 40 kilometers per hour. In Delhi today, September 14, the minimum temperature may be 26 degree Celsius while the maximum temperature may remain 34 degree Celsius.

Source: Aajtak

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Make Noida part of Delhi, AAP leader writes open letter to PM Modi

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Image Credit: Wikimedia

Aam Aadmi Party’s Gautam Buddh Nagar region president Bhupendra Singh Jadaun has composed an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the incorporation of Noida inside the province of Delhi.

In the open letter dated September 12, posted from Jadaun’s twitter account, he has requested that Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has been giving essential conveniences, for example, water, power, schooling, wellbeing, and transport to individuals of Delhi, which the occupants of Gautam Buddh Nagar locale (Noida) have been denied of. “Very much like Delhi, individuals of Gautam Buddh Nagar ought to likewise have the option to get free power, good education, the advantages of Farishte scheme; the ladies inhabitants ought to have the option free transportation; senior residents ready to go on pilgrimage free of charge; and they are not made to go around different offices to get their Aadhaar card, ration card or driving permit,” the letter peruses.

Jadaun has expressed that the occupants of Noida ought to likewise get the option to choose their delegates in the neighborhood enterprises, very much like it occurs in Delhi. Further, the occupants living in metropolitan and country regions in the area ought to get the possession freedoms of their territory, while the people who live in alleged unlawful provinces ought to likewise get proprietorship privileges alongside essential conveniences like in Delhi, he said.

Source: IndianExpress

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New rule on free electricity in Delhi, subsidy will not be available without applying from today, CM Kejriwal announced

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Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a big announcement. Now only those people will get electricity subsidy in Delhi, who will apply for it. The applications for this will start from today itself.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that some people do not want to take free electricity. In such a situation, now only those people in Delhi will get electricity subsidy who will apply for it.

Form to be filled

A form will come along with the electricity bill. The form has to be submitted to the electricity bill center. He said that we are issuing a number (7011311111). A missed call has to be made on this number. A message will come on a missed call. There will be a link in it. Which will open the form on WhatsApp. Messages will also be sent to those whose mobile numbers are registered. The number of people who will fill the form on 31 October. They will get the benefit of the scheme. On filling the form in the next month, the bill of the previous month will have to be submitted. He said that his government would run door-to-door awareness campaign regarding this.

The facility will be applicable from October 1

Arvind Kejriwal said, earlier there used to be a lot of electricity in Delhi. We fixed it. Now electricity is available 24 hours. Electricity is available free of cost in Delhi. The money saved by stopping corruption is giving convenience to the people. He told that there are 58 lakh consumers of electricity in Delhi, out of which 30 lakh electricity bills come to zero. Half the bills of 17 lakh consumers come. We will give subsidy to those who ask for subsidy. This facility will be applicable from 1st October.

Source: Aajtak

 

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