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‘Andhra Pradesh aims for 10% share in India’s overall exports’




Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday said that the state is aiming for a 10 per cent share in the overall India’s exports basket by 2030.

Participating virtually in the Maritime India Summit 2021, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reddy said that currently Andhra Pradesh has an export share of 4 per cent.

Delving on India’s overall trade, the Chief Minister said that 95 per cent of the trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is through maritime transport.

“Indian ports handled approximately 1.2 billion metric tonnes of cargo traffic in the year 2019 – 2020 and much required policy reforms like 100 per cent FDI, Make-in-India, Sagar Mala and Bharat Mala have been introduced to ensure exponential growth in this sector,” he said.

Reddy added that Maritime India Vision 2030 document will stand as a testament to the government’s commitment.

“I believe that the importance of ‘Blue Economy’ in a nation’s growth story extends much beyond the maritime trade and the Export – Import statistics,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that the true value of “Blue Economy” is unlocked only when all the allied sectors dependent on the ocean such as aquaculture, maritime and coastal tourism, chemical and bio-technological exploration, ship building and other port-led industries also mature enough to provide sustainable employment and growth opportunities.

Reddy termed the draft of the first ever National Fishing Policy released in September 2020 as an example of several such steps taken in that direction.

He told Modi that drawing inspiration from him, Andhra has taken a lot of transformative steps to leverage it coastline of 974 km, which is the second largest in India.

“Today, I am proud to say that Andhra Pradesh is on the top spot in the country in Ease of Doing Business rankings 2020 released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry and one of the factors that contributed to this achievement is the state government’s consistent efforts in developing port infrastructure, support ecosystem and encouraging port-led industrialization,” the Chief Minister said.

He added the state has one major port in Visakhapatnam, five functional ports and 10 other notified state ports with world class facilities which can handle more than 170 million tonnes of cargo per annum, second to Gujarat.

According to Reddy, several industrial nodes came up in the state, including the state taking up the development of three greenfield ports at Ramayapatnam, Machilipatnam and Bhavanapadu on an innovative model that mitigates all risks associated with green field port development.

He said these ports are deep-drafted ports all set to be operational by 2023, creating an additional capacity of at least 100 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

“In order to ensure that the ports operate at their fullest capacities, the state government has consciously taken steps to attract large investments in the sectors ranging from manufacturing, petrochemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals which are port-dependent,” he added.

Reddy said the state government has also undertaken the development of eight fishing harbours, establishment of testing labs and cold chain facilities to better provide ecosystem for aquaculture to increase the share of aqua-related cargo from the ports.

“I would also like to extend my invitation to the representatives from various companies from India and abroad attending this summit through the Government of India to invest in AP and I assure you the best environment for your operations and the fullest support in making your endeavor a successful one,” he added.


Blue Dart Med-Exp to test UAS for vax deliveries




Logistics company Blue Dart, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), has formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium with the mission of revolutionizing the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with Drones amid the surging second wave.

Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly drone flights on an experimental basis in Telangana.

The aim is to assess an alternate logistics route in providing safe, accurate and reliable pickup and delivery of health care items from distribution centre to specific location and back.

Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories.

Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart said, “It’s been over a year and our battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold new challenges that need solutions in real-time. The pandemic has taught each one of us the importance of logistics and the need for a tech-led supply chain infrastructure. As an organization Blue Dart has always been surrounded with the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth. While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines.”

Commenting on Blue Dart’s experiment with Drone flights for Beyond Visual Line of Sight delivery of vaccines Ketan Kulkarni, CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart says, “The consortium aims at enabling safer, efficient and cost-effective Drone delivery flights. With efficient systems in place, it can help reduce the current logistics cost, making the healthcare logistics faster and efficient. We are delighted to be granted the rights to commence operations and this is definitely the need of the hour. Mankind is witnessing the worst time and Blue Dart is committed to giving back to the society in which it operates and will always be ready to take one step forward.”

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Fuel prices unchanged on Thursday




Fuel retailers spared consumers of any further increase in fuel prices by keeping retail prices of petrol and diesel unchanged on Thursday.

Accordingly, petrol continues to cost Rs 92.05 per litre and diesel Rs 82.61 up in Delhi.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price prices remained static on Thursday but its actual retail prices varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

In Mumbai, regular petrol now comes for Rs 98.36 a litre just few days away from crossing the historic level of Rs 100 per litre.

Petrol prices in some states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in some places in Maharastra have breached the Rs 100 per litre mark while premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.

Before Thursday’s price hold, fuel prices increased for three consecutive days this week up to Wednesday. Petrol and diesel prices also increased on four consecutive days last week

Petrol prices have increased by Rs 1.50 a litre Delhi in May in the seven increases so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 1.88 per litre in capital this month.

IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices.

OMCs benchmark retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. In the last fortnight global oil prices have hovered in $66-67 a barrel range higher than the levels when petrol and diesel prices were last revised. Crude prices have jumped around $ 69 a barrel now.

With global crude prices at around $ 69 a barrel mark, OMCs may have revise fuel prices upwards again if there is any further firming up.

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RAI seeks capital support for retail industry amid pandemic




Retailers Association of India (RAI) has urged the government to take steps for capital infusion into the retail industry with ECLGS benefits and loan moratorium.

Speaking about the state of the Indian Retail Industry, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said: “The retail industry in India has been in a perpetual paradox ever since the first set of restrictions began last year in March 2020. The businesses and the workforce in retail need to be cushioned by the government or the local authorities to ease off their hardships.”

He further said that two most important and immediate steps that can prevent this industry from collapsing are to prioritise vaccination of the last mile workers and to urgently provide financial support.

RAI noted that as the days of the lockdown drag on, it is getting increasingly difficult for retailers to retain employees and to keep their businesses afloat. Retailers need to pay salaries, minimum electricity, rentals, property taxes etc, even if the businesses are shut due to the lockdown.

The cash inflow of the industry has come to a standstill, while the fixed operating cost remains intact.

The immense financial stress faced by the retail sector will adversely impact both livelihood and the financial institutions exposure to the sector as retailers start to become insolvent. Millions of MSME suppliers too get no payment from the industry participants.

RAI has recommended that the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India step in to bring some relief to the mounting stress on the retail business in the wake of second wave of Covid -19.

It noted that corporate retail outlets is one of the 26 sectors, selected by the Kamath panel under the ‘Resolution Framework for Covid-related Stress’. While this was mentioned in the announcement of ECLGS 2.0 it has not been clarified in the notification which announced ECLGS 3.0, it said.

“This needs to be clarified and ECLGS funds made available to the retail sector immediately. Availability of additional funding to eligible retail businesses will go a long way in contributing to retail revival and protecting jobs,” it said.

It further sought a moratorium on principal and interest for six months for the 26 stressed sectors.

RAI also asked the government and the RBI to mandate banks to give ad-hoc working capital loans of 30 per cent more than current limits so that critical payments like salaries and wages can be made, among other recommendations.

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