Revenue boost as Pune drinks up in 2018

Pune,Revenue boost,alcohol

Tipplers from the city consumed a record amount of alcohol in 2018 with 19.25 per cent more during April to December as compared to previous year, the reflection of which is in higher revenue collection, according to statistics released by state excise department.

Higher sale of alcohol has brought good news for state excise department as the revenue earned has increased by 9.18 percent for Pune district. Higher sale of alcohol and its reflection in more revenue is a boon for the excise department as the sale of liquor had undergone a severe hit in 2017 due to Supreme Court ruling banning sale and service of alcohol within 500 metres of highways. The Ban was lifted in July 2017.

According to statistics revealed by the Pune branch of state excise department, liquor sales in Pune showed an unprecedented increase which includes Country Liquor by 23.17 per cent, Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) by 14.96 per cent, Beer by 11.92 per cent and Wine by 26.95 per cent.

The state excise department collected ₹1195.07 crore from April to December 2018 against ₹1094.62 crore collected from April to December 2017. As per officials,in 2018 revenue collection rate saw an increase by almost 9.18 per cent.

In the nine months from April 2018 to December 2018, Pune consumed 209.93 bl (bulk litres) of country liquor,which is 39.4 bl more than what was consumed during the same period in 2017.

As far as country Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) is concerned, it also saw a hike in consumption by 14.96 per cent. IMFL sale between April 2018 and December in 2018 was 250.24 bl as compared to 217.68 bl during the same period in 2017.In the case of Beer, sale from April to December in 2018 was 377.64 bl as against 337.42 bl during the same period in 2017.Along with that, sale of wine also witnessed a rise by 26.95 per cent. From April to December in 2018, the sale of wine was 10.50 bl as against 8.28 bl during the same period in 2017.

“There has been no specific reason behind the spike in sale of alcohol, but the possible reasons could be increasing population,changing culture and the recently lifted government ban on serving of liquor along the highways,” said SD Phulpagar, deputy superintendent, state excise department, Pune.

Shivaji Khandve,president of Pune district wine merchants association said, “Due to strict vigilance by state excise department on illegal trade of liquor from adjoining states, there has been an increased sale of liquor in Pune. As far as our industry is concerned we are happy with these figure and hopes trend continues.”

Statistics further revealed that from April to December 2018,Punities served around 848.31 bl of liquor through 2,600 liquor establishments in Pune district.

Excise department seized liquor worth Rs 4.68 cr in April -December 2018

The Pune branch of the state excise department registered 2,343 cases of illegal sale of liquor in the city from April to December 2018 which was less by 264 as compared to cases registered in the same period in 2017.

In connection to the registered 2,343 cases the state excise department, arrested 1,599 people and seized 163 vehicles. During this nine-month-period, the excise department seized liquor worth ₹4.68 crore.

“Criminal activities in our jurisdiction have dropped significantly.The credit goes to our team,as per guideline issued by our seniors we have kept strict vigilance through the city and district to prevent illegal trade of liquor,” said SD Phulpagar,deputy superintendent,state excise department, Pune. Those engaged in illegal trade of liquor should consider themselves warned as this drive will be continued through the year, added Phulpagar.

In 2017,Pune branch of the state excise department seized liquor worth ₹ 6.64 crore in 2,607 cases registered with them. In connection to the registered cases they arrested 1,497 criminals and seized 207 vehicles from Pune district.

As far as 2018 is concerned, December month was said to be very busy in terms of keeping tabs on illegal liquor activity for state excise department. The excise department registered 366 cases in December 2018 the highest in the year while September 2018 saw registration of 207 cases, the lowest in 2018. A similar trend was seen in 2017,when December 2017 recorded the highest cases with 447 illegal liquor cases and April 2017 registered 180 illegal trading cases, the lowest in 2017.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Worst price slump in 18 years shows scale of farm crisis

Farm crisis,Indian farmers,BJP

This financial year, 2018-19 could end up being the worst year for farm incomes in almost two decades, government data indicates in a revelation that emphasises the gravity of the ongoing agrarian crisis and highlights a possible fault line for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

According to Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data for the month of December released on Monday by the ministry of commerce and industry, the WPI sub-component for primary food articles has been negative for six consecutive months beginning July 2018. This means their prices are falling.

WPI for primary food articles is a good indicator of farm-gate prices as farmers sell their products in wholesale rather than retail markets. Even the food sub-component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket has registered negative growth between October and December 2018. The disinflation in wholesale prices is not visible in the non-farm economy though. The overall WPI has shown positive growth in all these months.

Analysts say the asymmetry in inflation – falling farm-gate prices and rising non-farm prices – means that farmers have suffered deterioration in their terms of trade. They are selling their products cheaper, but having to buy other things at higher prices.

The WPI sub-component for food components was -0.1% in December. It was -2.1%, -4%, -0.2%, -1.4% and -3.3% in the preceding five months. The last time WPI for primary food articles showed negative annual growth for two consecutive quarters was in 1990. The disinflation in farm prices has also led to a collapse in nominal farm incomes, which was last seen in 2000-01.

Doubling farm incomes was one of biggest promises of the Narendra Modi government after it assumed office in 2014. It was repeated during a resolution on agriculture adopted by the BJP at its recent national council meeting in New Delhi. The resolution says: “Budget allocation for the agriculture sector has also increased in recent years and this government is fast reaching towards the goal of ‘doubling the farm income’. This National Council expresses its confidence that the aim of ‘doubling the farm-income’ would be achieved in given time period under the BJP government.”

The agrarian crisis is one of the factors that may have resulted in the BJP’s loss in three Hindi heartland states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in December, according to analysts, and the party clearly doesn’t want it to affect its prospects in the 2019 parliamentary elections. HT reported on December 29, 2018 that the government is considering a farm package that could include farm loan waiver, direct income support to farmers, crop insurance at a flat premium of Rs 1, and Rs 2,000 per acre transfer to farmers to make up for post-harvest losses.

“The crisis of price growth in agriculture is a political economy problem. The present government has been trying to appease rating agencies and middle class at the cost of domestic economy and farmers by low inflation through keeping food prices depressed,” said Himanshu, an associate professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. “A hike in kharif MSPs did not help, because there is also a problem of demand deflation in the rural economy. Collapse in rural wage growth has eroded purchasing power and demand, which cannot be addressed by farm loan waivers and MSP hikes,” he added.

Along with their adverse distributional impact on farmers, disinflation in food prices will also have a macro impact on the Indian economy. Fall in nominal rural incomes due to falling prices and low rural wage growth, are bound to put a squeeze on consumption demand in the economy. At a time when consumption growth is already decelerating, this will have an adverse impact on overall growth figures as well, said Niranjan Rajadyaksha, research director and senior fellow at IDFC Institute, Mumbai.

“The disinflation in food prices shows that terms of trade have worsened for agriculture. This also underlines the fact that the crisis in the rural economy is of incomes and not wealth. The government thinks that it can address the rural crisis by aiding wealth creation by promoting construction of houses and toilets. This is not going to work and it is also too late for the government to address the crisis in farm incomes,” said Praveen Chakravarty, chairman of the Congress data analytics department.

The BJP offered a different view. “Falling inflation is always a welcome sign, as it is pro-poor. But rising inflation does not always mean that the farmers are getting a good price for produce, because of inefficiency and gaps in supply chain. Falling inflation will also help the Reserve Bank of India cut down interest rates and catalyse faster growth,” said BJP spokesperson Gopal Agarwal.

To be sure, the current crisis in farming is related more to a crash in farm prices rather than output growth.

In July, 2018, the government increased the minimum support prices (MSPs) of 14 crops to give farmers a 50% return over their cost of production.

According to quarterly WPI data from June 1983 onwards from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) database, the last time WPI for primary food articles showed negative annual growth for two consecutive quarters was in December 1989 and March 1990. This analysis has used both the 2004-05 and 2011-12 series of WPI.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Indonesia woos Indian airlines to boost bilateral trade

During 2017, about 485,000 Indian visitors – or more than 1,300 a day – had travelled to Indonesia and the number for 2018 was expected to be about 600,000, the people cited above said.(REUTERS)

Indonesia is keen on Indian carriers starting flights to the country and renewing their air services agreement as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade and commercial relations, people familiar with developments said.

The leaders of India and Indonesia had directed civil aviation authorities of both sides to discuss enhancing of traffic rights through bilateral air services consultations during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Jakarta in May 2018. They had also emphasised the urgency of establishing more flight connectivity.

“Air connectivity continues to be a challenge as no Indian carrier is flying to Indonesia now. Given the number of Indians who visit Indonesia every year, the routes should be profitable for Indian airlines,” a person said.

During 2017, about 485,000 Indian visitors had travelled to Indonesia and the number for 2018 was expected to be about 600,000, the people cited above said. The issue of Indian carriers starting flights had become more pressing as Indonesian airlines will touch the limit of 28 direct flights a week to India under the existing air services agreement, they said. Garuda Indonesia had started direct flights between Bali and Mumbai from April 2018 and Batik Air and Air Asia Indonesia have launched flights serving Indonesian and Indian cities.

The people also said there was a lot of room for increasing bilateral trade, which had touched almost $20 billion in 2017. At the same time, India’s rice and bovine meat exports had increased and Indonesia is discussing the import of sugar from India, they said. Indonesia has invited Indian businesses to help develop the port on Sabang island, close to Malacca Strait and efforts are on to convince Indian businesses of the advantages of investing there, they added.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Global smartphone market to shrink in 2019: TrendForce report

Global smartphone market,smartphone market, TrendForce report

The global smartphone market is expected to shrink further in 2019 due to weaker demand and other unfavourable factors, a report said on Tuesday.

Global smartphone production is expected to reach 1.41 billion units this year, down 3.3 % from the previous year, according to the report from TrendForce, a leading market intelligence provider.

Replacement demand is likely to slacken this year due to a lack of devices with landmark functions, TrendForce said, adding global smartphone output could drop as much as 5 % on-year due to the uncertainty and fallout from the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Yonhap news agency reported.

Samsung Electronics Co is projected to grab the leading market share of 20 % this year, followed by Huawei with 16 % and Apple Inc with 13 %.

Among the top three industry players, Huawei will likely become the only company to post positive growth in smartphone production.

Samsung’s smartphone output is predicted to shrink 8 % on-year to 293 million units, with Apple’s production likely to fall 15 % to 189 million.

Earlier, another industry tracker, Strategy Analytics, predicted global smartphone shipments to come to 1.43 billion this year, down 0.6 % from a year earlier.

Strategy Analytics forecast a market share of 20.3 % for Samsung, 16.1 % for Huawei and 14.4 % for Apple.

TrendForce said Samsung will likely take a more aggressive strategy in terms of price and specifications as the company finds it hard to tap new business areas.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

With more tariffs, US-China trade outlook looks grim, says data

US,China,Trade

With seven weeks to go until a deadline that could see the U.S. ramp up tariffs on Chinese goods once again, the economic damage wrought by the months-long trade war is becoming clearer even as a pathway to a lasting resolution remains muddied.

While Chinese goods going to the U.S. initially held up in the face of higher tariffs due to so-called front-loading, their value slumped in the final quarter of 2018, according to the latest available data. For sales going the other direction, the crunch was more immediate. In both cases, further declines are on the cards if the talks fail to produce a resolution.

Negotiators from both the U.S. and China expressed optimism after mid-level talks wrapped in Beijing this week, boosting sentiment across global markets. Still, the path forward remains unclear: Another round of talks hasn’t been scheduled, and the government shutdown in the U.S. has dominated President Donald Trump’s attention.

Both Trump and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan were slated to appear later this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, providing an opportunity for high-level dialogue. But the shutdown may yet prevent Trump’s appearance, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Companies in both countries just want to see a deal get done.

“We urge both governments to use the time remaining in the 90-day negotiating period to make tangible progress on the important issues at the core of the current dispute: equal treatment of foreign companies in China, as well as China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies,” said Jake Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council in Beijing. “Uncertainty is bad for business.”

As evidence mounts by the day that the slowdown in China’s economy is worsening, policy makers in Beijing are focusing on getting rid of the duties that Trump has leveled on Chinese goods since last year, according to a former high-level official briefed on the government’s thinking. U.S. officials appear to want to maintain the pressure of tariffs, the official said.

China and the U.S. will move ahead with trade talks as scheduled, Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing at a regular weekly briefing Thursday, without giving any further details over when they would take place. He wouldn’t confirm reports that Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. soon to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Meanwhile, the economic risks are growing. Economists now see the threat of deflation in China after producer price inflation slowed sharply in December, to the weakest pace since 2016.

That would not only squeeze corporate profitability at home, but also put pressure on global price gains, as export prices usually follow those at factory gate. With industrial output and retail sales growth both at the weakest levels in a decade, China’s woes would also mean softer demand for imports, hurting other economies including the U.S.

A reduction in Chinese imports of U.S. goods came quickly after the retaliatory imposition of tariffs, the data show. Without a breakthrough in talks, U.S. corporations are likely to experience a deepening decline in their Chinese sales, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts even seeing an “informal boycott” in place.

The full year numbers will look somewhat different, partly because China has resumed purchases of U.S. soybeans and other goods. Even if the current truce is made permanent and the tariffs are eventually rolled back, the damage to many companies may already be done.

China’s trade data for the full year of 2018 is due to be released on Jan. 14, and economists see year-on-year export growth slowing in December from November.

The Trump administration is pushing for a way to make sure China delivers on its commitments in any deal. Trump and Xi have given their officials until March 1 to reach an accord on “structural changes” to China’s economy on issues such as the forced transfer of American technology, intellectual-property rights and non-tariff barriers.

“The hard work of addressing structural issues to create a level playing field in China do not appear to have been resolved,” said Lester Ross, a policy committee chief at the American Chamber of Commerce and also partner-in-charge at the Beijing office of law firm WilmerHale. “And China going forward will likely still want to increase the diversification of its sources of supply even for agricultural commodities.”

The 90-day time frame is a tight window in which to nail down deep changes to China’s economic model, reforms which past U.S. administrations advocated for years and U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support.

Even so, progress in talks signals that an interim deal that suspends new tariff hikes is possible, according to Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.

“The earlier escalation of the trade conflict between the U.S. and China and souring bilateral relations appear to have given way to a more conciliatory approach since early December,” he wrote in a note Thursday. “However, we do not see the U.S. fully removing the specter of tariff hikes any time soon.”

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Delhiites could live 3 years longer if the Clean Air Plan works out

National Clean Air Programme,Delhi pollution,Delhi air

Delhi’s residents could hope to live 3.35 years longer if the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is implemented and the reduction in air pollution is sustained, according to Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor in economics at University of Chicago and the director of the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC).

Greenstone is one of the creators of the Air Quality Life Index of AQLI which measures the impact of particulate matter pollution on life expectancy. According to Michael Greenstone, Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world.

NCAP, which was launched by India’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan last week, aims to reduce the concentration of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micron) and PM 10 (coarse pollution particles) in 102 non-attainment cities (cities which didn’t meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015) by 20% to 30% by 2024 over their 2017 annual average levels. NCAP was criticised by environmental experts for not having legally binding air pollution reduction targets. It aims to take a “participatory and collaborative” approach.

Greenstone said the targets could also be achieved by providing incentives or disincentives . “I think it’s terrifically important that the government get deeply engaged in air pollution reduction. NCAP reflects that the public is beginning to demand improvements in air quality. It’s an important step,” Greenstone said, adding that NCAP has very ambitious goals “As is so often the case here too, the devil is in the detail. I assume there will be a lot of hard work in successfully meeting those goals. Money helps focus people’s minds. Empower people to meet targets, give them incentives to deliver it.”

In the US, under the Clean Air Act, if states failed to get their counties to comply with standards, then the money to build highways was withheld. “What’s at stake here is an opportunity for people to live longer,” Greenstone added.

Greenstone who has worked with and tracked the air pollution reduction strategies in China for decades said India’s neighbour has achieved improvements through a “methodical focus.”

“In China, the work on air pollution was set out by the demands from the public. India is the biggest thriving democracy in the world; China has more of a single party rule. It’s been quite surprising to me how responsive the Chinese government has been to air pollution, even though China doesn’t have a history of democracy,” he said. According to Greenstone, China managed an unprecedented reduction in air pollution in a very short time.

“After the US passed the clean air act in 1970, it probably took 12 to 15 years for reduction in pollution in US to be as large as what China has achieved in only four years. The US had two or three vicious recessions in the midst of that but China has been growing. So it’s against backdrop of growth that it is especially interesting,” he said.

In China, officials who didn’t achieve the target in their city or district didn’t get promoted or were punished for not delivering on air pollution targets. Using satellite data, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a tool developed by EPIC for both India and China found that PM 2.5 levels air across China were down by 12% in 2016 compared to 2013 levels.

Greenstone recommends targeting the biggest polluters first through NCAP. “Go to the biggest polluters and fix them.” EPIC has been working with the Gujarat government for several years now on developing an emissions trading system for industries there. Taxes, cap and trade mechanisms could be used under NCAP too he said.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Waterway projects to boost N-E connectivity

Waterway projects,northeast,Shipping ministry

The Centre is working on developing a network of waterway projects spread over 4,000 kilometres in the North-East and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh to enhance connectivity to the region as part of its Act East policy of developing better economic and political relations with South-East Asia.

The seven states of India’s northeastern region are dependent on a narrow stretch of about 22-kilometre land in West Bengal’s Siliguri for connectivity to the rest of the country. Nepal and Bangladesh are located on either side of the corridor.

The shipping ministry made a presentation regarding the waterway projects to the Fifteenth Finance Commission, on January 2. It said the network was aimed to connect “heart of India” to the region’s “extreme end” to boost trade.

“We are working towards the decongestion of the highly congested Siliguri Corridor and establishing an alternate modal choice for cargo and passenger movement,” a shipping ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), which was signed in 2015, allows Indian and Bangladeshi vessels to use identified waterways in the two countries.

The two countries had decided that the 309-kilometre Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of the Kushiyara River and 146-kilometre Sirajganj-Daikhowa that of the Jamuna will be developed for round the year navigation as part of PIWTT at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

The Sirajganj-Daikhowa stretch can facilitate connectivity between National Waterway-1 (the Ganga) and National Waterway-2 (the Brahmaputra) and enable movement of larger vessels from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Assam’s Sadiya, via Bangladesh.

India is working to develop the National Waterway-1 as part of the World Bank-funded Rs 5,369 crore Jal Marg Vikas Project from Haldia in West Bengal to Varanasi.

Bangladesh and India also signed an agreement for passenger and cruise services. India will also soon be able to use Bangladesh’s busiest ports — Chittagong and Mongla — for cargo movement.

In Myanmar, India is working on Rs 904.04 crore Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project to provide an alternate route to the North-East. It will connect Myanmar’s Sittwe Port to the region. It is expected to contribute to North-East’s economic development by opening up the sea route to it. It, too, will reduce pressure on the Siliguri Corridor, the shipping ministry noted in its presentation.

“We are providing connectivity between Haldia and Kolkata by sea up to Sittwe (539 kilometres) through inland waterways terminal up to Paletwa (158 kilometres) and by road (121 kilometres) to the Indo-Myanmar Border to Mizoram. We have already completed phase 1, which involved sea dredging on Sittwe-Paletwa stretch of Kaladan river. The road construction along the border has also begun,” the official said.

India is also looking to establish inland waterway connectivity between India and Nepal as decided during the Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s visit to India in April 2018.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Uri-The Surgical Strike box office day 4: Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam’s film is a hit, collects Rs 46 crore

Uri: The Surgical Strike,Uri: The Surgical Strike box office,Vicky Kaushal

Actor Vicky Kaushal’s first solo release of the year Uri: The Surgical Strike has registered a impressive performance at the box office. The film opened a bit better than what was expected, with a collection of Rs 8 crore. It has now made a total of Rs 46 crore in just four days.

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh also shared the box office figures of the film on Twitter. He tweeted, “#UriTheSurgicalStrike is unshakable… Excellent on Day 4… Higher than Day 1… Will cross Rs 50 cr today… Trending better than #Raazi, #Stree and #BadhaaiHo… Fri 8.20 cr, Sat 12.43 cr, Sun 15.10 cr, Mon 10.51 cr. Total: Rs 46.24 cr. India biz. #Uri #HowsTheJosh.”He added in another tweet, “#UriTheSurgicalStrike emerges the FIRST HIT of 2019… Indeed, 2019 has started with high josh… Sets the BO on (fire) on Day 3… Packs a solid total in its opening weekend… Fri 8.20 cr, Sat 12.43 cr, Sun 15.10 cr. Total: Rs 35.73 cr. India biz. #Uri #HowsTheJosh.”Directed by Aditya Dhar, the film is inspired by the 2016 surgical strike carried out by India in Pakistan. Vicky plays an Indian Army major in the film while Yami Gautam, Mohit Raina, Kirti Kulhari and Paresh Rawal also have prominent roles in the film.

On being asked about the film’s prospects of joining the Rs 100 crore club, film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi had told HT, “The possibility is certainly there but it depends on how entertaining the script is. If the script is engaging enough, anything can happen. The onus for a film’s success also lies on the writer and director of the film. If it will make it to the Rs 100 crore club depends how well it is written, narrated and directed.”

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Good to have ties with China, Russia, Japan and India: Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on Monday said it’s good to have relationship with countries like Russia, China, Japan and India as he expressed hope to reach a trade deal with Beijing.

Trump, addressing reporters at the White House before leaving for Louisiana for a farmers event, said the US is doing very well with China, which is having a hard time with its economy because of the tariffs he has imposed on the import of their items.

“I have a great relationship with President Xi Jinping because it’s good to have relationships with Russia, China, Japan and India and I have relationships with almost everybody. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said.

“I think that we are going to be able to do a deal with China. We are, I can tell you, we are getting things that, before I became president, you would’ve had no chance at getting. They would have laughed at your president’s face,” he said.

The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on more than US $300 billion of each other’s goods US officials were in Beijing last week for talks to resolve the trade dispute. Trump and Chinese leader Xi agreed on December 1 to a three-month truce in the escalating spat.

The next round of negotiations would be held in Washington between January 30 and 31 Both sides have set March 1 as the deadline to defuse trade tensions.

“We’re doing very well with our economy. We are at records. Our unemployment numbers just hit a record, another record. We’re doing extremely well as a country. We’re doing better than any country right now anywhere in the world. China wants to negotiate,” Trump said.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Before pet trade ban we should regulate the cruel business

Animal trade,Pet trade,Pet farms

Last week, California introduced a new rule that requires pet stores to sell pet animals, including cats and dogs, only if they came from animal shelters or not-for-profit rescue groups. California is probably the first region anywhere to take such an initiative. “Big win for our four-legged friends,” said the assemblyman who introduced the bill.

India’s policies on pet trade lag California’s by decades. The country, which had no rules to regulate the business, has just set up standards for animal housing and care, with the union environment ministry notifying the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) rules, 2018. Among other things, the rules regulate the shadowy and often cruel world of pet shops. Pet traders will have to register with the government. Shops are required to keep records of breeders and suppliers — microchipping animals to track them — as well as maintain reports for mortalities among animals.

But state governments have not even started implementing the rules. “The 60-day deadline for all pet shops and breeders to register ended in November. In Maharashtra, not even one dog breeder or pet shop has registered. Maharashtra is in violation of the rules,” said Gauri Naulekhi, director trustee, People for Animals. “On the other hand, there are thousands of online sites advertising pet shops and breeders.”

N G Jayasimha, member, Maharashtra Animal Welfare Board (AWB) said that the board, which will be the agency to register pet shops, will start the work soon. “We had a meeting recently and have now actively started the process,” said Jaysimha. “You cannot expect change overnight. To me, it is because the (pet) market has never been regulated. We did not want a kneejerk reaction.”

Pet trade across the world is a cruel business that animal lovers would like to shut down. According to a report by Humane Society International/India, published by Hindustan Times last year, animals destined to become pets are transported and kept in inhumane conditions. The creatures are denied a veterinarian’s care if they become sick or injured. Females are kept in confinement and forced to breed multiple times, wreaking their health in the process.

Babies are separated from mothers soon after birth, leading to high mortality rates. Animals are transported or kept in small containers with inadequate access to food and water. Animals can be mutilated to make them ‘safe’, with practices like de-beaking, tail-docking, feather plucking, nail clipping and de-clawing, the report said. Once sold, pets that land up with insensitive owners suffer more cruelty. Naulekhi said that she had come across reports of animals kept in cruel conditions by owners.

“Breeds like St Bernard and Huskies (which are native to cold climates) are kept in balconies in Delhi’s summer heat when the owners go to work,” she said.

In light of these cruel practices, animal rights activists said that banning pet trade and breeding will be the right thing to do. “Some people compensate for their lack of self-confidence by buying an exotic breed,” said Naulekhi. “This could be changing; educated people are adopting Indian dogs.”

“The California rule is a great message; India is a probably a couple of decades away. We have been trying to promote adoption of pets over buying,” said Jayasimha, who said that it is easy to buy a pet in India because prices are cheap. The new regulations could make the trade more expensive and convince more Indians to adopt local breeds rescued from the streets, said Jayasimha. “It should be a matter of pride with one less dog on the street.” Naulekhi said that since India has been struggling to regulate the pet trade, the new rules are welcome. “The regulations have come after years of struggle by animal lovers. We should focus on this,” she added.

“The ideal case scenario is what happened in California. We go step by step. To do away with all kinds of pet trade — logically, legally and environmentally — this is the right thing to do.”

[“source-“hindustantimes”]