El Nino & major crops

On Thursday, IMD assigned 33% probability to below-normal rainfall and ~ 25% probability to deficient rainfall this year due to El Nino. Monsoon rainfall is likely to be 95 per cent of the normal with a margin of plus- minus five per cent error. One thing about El Nino is that all El Nino years are not drought years but all drought years are El Nino years 

India witnessed droughts in 2002, 2004 and 2009 and El Nino. A strong El Nino can cause droughts in India, Southeast Asia and Australia and heavy rainfall in other parts of the world like the US and Brazil.

According to http://www.commoditiescontrol.com/eagritrader/common/topstories_newsdetail.php?type=MKN&itemid=230896&comid=1&cid1=0&varid=0&varietyid=,3,1,2,&log=Y

In 2002-03, total food grain production had fallen to 174 MT (-) 17.8% YoY. Total cereals (-) 18%, coarse cereals (-) 22% YoY, rice production (-) 23% YoY, wheat production (-) 10%, oilseed production (-) 28%. Ground nut was impacted the most (-) 45%, Soybean (-) 22% and Mustard (-) 24%, Castor seed production (-) 34%. Total pulses production was down by 17%. Moong was impacted the most and the production (-) 24% YoY. India’s GDP growth came at 3.9%.

In 2004-05, food grain production declined to 198.46 MT (-) 7%. Of this total cereals (-) 7%, coarse cereals (-) 11% YoY. Pulses were most impacted (-) 12%. Moong crop (-) 78% in Kharif season. Higher Rabi season production of Rice, Jowar, Maize, Ground nut and Mustard seed mitigated some of the El Nino impact felt during the Kharif season. GDP growth down to 7.5% YoY from 8.4% YoY.

In 2009-10, the total food grain production declined to 218.11 million tonnes (-)7%. Total cereals (-)7%, while coarse cereals (-) 16% YoY, rice (-) 10% YoY, maize (-)15% YoY. Total Oilseed production (-)10% YoY. Moong crop (-) 33% YoY.  GDP grew by 8.6%, due to government spending in response to the GFC.

Sugar cane crop & Cotton crop stood out for different reasons. Sugarcane due to its irrigation and cotton for its Bt seed technology.

Private forecasting agencies like Skymet say there is 40% chance of below average and 25% chance that there would be a drought.  North-western and western central regions parts of India would be impacted the most.  It said areas around Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, east and west Madhya Pradesh, Vidharba and central Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa, Karnataka and Telangana could develop into strong localized drought regions if El Nino persists.  

South Asian Climate Outlook Forum said that rains could be below average in Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and some parts of Pakistan, while an average monsoon is expected in Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. It has however said that it is a little early to assess the likely strength of El Nino.


El-Nino & a major upset awaiting commodity markets

The exotic sounding El – Nino and its impact in the current year could lead to a major upset in the commodity markets on account of considerable changes in the weather under it .

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology shows that the upper surface temperatures of the Pacific is increasing above normal, by 0.5 degree and continue to get hotter in the coming months. Consequently, El-Nino would be witnessed at the beginning of July.

It has the potential to cause famines in the Southeast Asia viz., Indonesia, Malaysia and some parts of India and Australia while South American countries like Brazil, Peru and Argentina could witness excessive rains.

It is likely that in the countries around the Pacific Ocean, particularly in Australia, La-Nina might prevail contrary to the El-Nino. Now, most of the countries under the impact of El-Nino are commodity producers. This might inturn cause a spurt in the prices of zinc, coffee, cocoa, cotton and Soybean.

During the previous El-Nino, Indonesia experienced drought resulting in disruption of hydro-electric power generation which in turn affected the production of Nickel. With water level of rivers going down, difficulty arose for the Nickel ore water transportation.

In Peru mines got water-logged due to excessive rains. Consequently, zinc and nickel prices jumped. According to several traders, as Indonesia has imposed ban on the export of Nickel ore, the market has discounted it and given this no major fluctuation would be witnessed in nickel prices vis-a-vis zinc.

It is likely that the commodity market would become volatile between June and August, under the impact of famine in the Southeast Asia and Australia, whereas exposure to commodities prone to flood damage in South America is better between December and February.

Indian monsoon would be weaker than the normal. With severe El – Nino predicted, despite the irrigation,it could hurt India affecting the already fragile agri – economy.

Mumbai Votes 2 – Low voter turnout – Does it care only for stock market turnover?

Mumbai  41%
Constituency Name Area Sitting MP  Party % votes % votes of total
Mumbai North  Dahisar – Malad (W) Sanjay Nirupam Congress 37.24% 15.27%
Mumbai North – West Goregaon – Andheri Gurudas Kamath Congress 35.91% 14.72%
Mumbai North – East Mankhurd – Ghatkopar Sanjay Patil Congress 32.60% 13.37%
Mumbai North Central Vile Parle – Bandra Priya Dutt Congress 48.04% 19.70%
Mumbai South Central Chembur – Sion Eknath Gaikwad Congress 43% 17.63%
Mumbai South  Worli – Colaba Milind Deora Congress 42.48% 17.42%

Looking at the low voter turnout, my friend Amol made this comment, “Mumbai only cares for stock market turnover, rather than turning out to vote.” Succintly captures the apathy of the citizens. Although the turnout of ~ 51% (meaning only 51 out of 100 registered voters actually turned out to vote) is 10 ppt more than 2009 Loksabha turnout of 41%, it is still abysmally low.

Last post we looked at the phenomenon of vote splitting and how it benefitted one party over the other. It is also a corollary of low voter turnout. High voter turnout would have negated this dynamic by ensuring a candidate doesnt win purely because of this, atleast in constituencies where the margin of victory was 2000 -5000 votes.

In this post we look at another important corollary of low voter turnout. Lesser and lesser representativeness of our democracy. In the above table, columns 5 & 6 are the % of votes gained by the candidates and the effective % votes of total votes. Now, with just ~ 41% average turnout across constituencies, a candidate with as low ~ effective 13% (32.4% of 41%) of total votes won in Mumbai North – East constituency. Thus the MP is actually a choice of ~ 10% of the registered voters in that constituency and not a majority of the eligible voters in the constituency. Wicked stuff. Is this really a representative democracy? No wonder these politicians are so unpopular on say a twitter or facebook or even TV but they actually manage to win because most of this junta doest vote and therefore doesnt count. Politicians discount this audience. This is totally a fault of the voters who didnt turn out to vote.  

Imagine the situation had the turnout been 80%, more voters would have excercised the vote and this skew would have been negated. It would have been more representative, the MP sent to parliament would have genuinely raised issues facing the broad spectrum of the society rather than miniscule 10% – 15%. It would genuinely stop politicians from taking YOU for granted. Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra. There is another chance. 

Moyes- Never “The Chosen One”

Finally David Moyes has been relieved of his misery after 51 tough matches of being the manager of the greatest football club on earth “Manchester United”.

David Moyes was hand picked by the Master Sir Alex Ferguson himself when he decided to call it quits after being at the helm for 26 years and winning almost everything in sight.

He was termed as “The Chosen One” by one and all. But as the season progressed it became a nightmare for the Champs and for all their fans.

The main reason has been the manager Moyes who has been an uninspiring choice. He started the campaign by raising concerns on the tough schedule for United which was very negative from a manager of a team known to overcome every challenge thrown at them and also for its fighting spirit.

Later he committed the mistake of replacing the entire support staff of United including experienced coaches like Rene Muelensteen. Also his training methods were from dinosaur age and caused injuries to players like Van Persie and company.

Moyes could also not win the confidence and loyalty of players due to his stubborn decisions.

He ignored players like Kagawa, Hernandez and Zaha for poor performers like Young, Valencia etc.

He was also poor in the transfer windows with making a desperate signing of Fellaini from former club Everton who has been very poor. Yes he signed Mata in January but played him out of position mainly.

The only good thing he did was to manage to keep Rooney and give a chance to young talent like Januzaj. But this was not enough to keep him after United has had their worst season ever where they have won nothing and have failed to qualify for next year’s Champions League. United have lost 11 games in the league already and lost to clubs whom they had not lost for ages. Under Moyes, Old Trafford was also not the fortress that it was.

In comparison if we look at the Mourinho (Special One) who was a strong contender for this job, we see that he has been brilliant for Chelsea. Unlike Moyes, Mourinho has managed to win loyalty of the players just like Ferguson which has motivated them to play well.

So can we say that Moyes was “The Mistaken One” by Sir Alex??

Yes it was and Sir Alex is too proud to accept it. But humans and bound to err. Now all United fans would be hoping that the new manager would be an experienced one who is not overwhelmed by this tall order and takes the team back to where they belong i.e. on the pinnacle and scale the summit.

Mumbai Votes – 2014 Lok Sabha elections

Constituency Name Area Sitting MP  Votes won SS (or BJP) +MNS Votes 2009 Margin of victory Party
Mumbai North  Dahisar – Malad (W) Sanjay Nirupam 2,55,157 396880 5779 Congress
Mumbai North – West Goregaon – Andheri Gurudas Kamath 2,53,899 339369 38415 Congress
Mumbai North – East Mankhurd – Ghatkopar Sanjay Patil 2,13,505 405720 2933 NCP
Mumbai North Central Vile Parle – Bandra Priya Dutt 3,19,352 277352 174555 Congress
Mumbai South Central Chembur – Sion Eknath Gaikwad 2,57,165 290251 75641 Congress
Mumbai South  Worli – Colaba Milind Deora 2,72,411 305847 112682 Congress

With India’s first past the post system of parliamentary democracy, one just needs to ensure one secures one more vote than the second placed candidate. One can get elected by even 25% vote share.  Last time round in Mumbai in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with the sole exception of Mumbai North Central from where Priya Dutt won comfortably, the other Mumbai constituencies witnessed the mayhem wrought by the MNS (a newbie political party back 2009). With both SS & MNS targeting pretty much the same vote bank, the votes got vertically split benefitting the Congress in a 3 cornered fight.

The fifth column shows the combined votes gained by the SS+MNS. With the exception of Mumbai North Central, all other constituencies saw the SS+MNS votes outnumbering the Congress votes won, hurting the SS+BJP alliance badly.

This time round the MNS has decided to not to field candidates against the BJP in 3 constituencies, i.e. Mumbai North, Mumbai North East and Mumbai North Central. This, they say, has been done obstensibly to help the NDA form the government at the centre and help Mr Modi to be the next PM. Not sure how will it help as out of these 3 constituencies, there is Mumbai North Central from where Priya Dutt seems comfortably placed from the above statistic. Out of the remaining 2, there is Mumbai North – East constituency from where AAP’s Medha Patkar, who being a grassroots activist might just pip the others. Mumbai North, thus is the only constituency from where the SS+BJP would win comfortably. In the remaining 3 seats, Milind Deora too seems to be in the lead. In the other constituencies, the vote – split phenomenon might just continue unless the x – factor in the form of the ‘Modi wave’ does the trick. 

Huge double anti – incumbency for the ruling dispensation, the x – factor Modi wave, vertical – split of votes with the MNS, tactical voting would all be at play. It ensures a heady cocktail in 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai. Now unless the voter turnout is high in the 70% region, will it negate some of the negative dynamics at play. With the turnout being at an abysmal 41% last time round and just around 36% at 3 pm, 70% mark seems a tall order. It would indeed be a shame if the voting turnout doesnt increase even with such high awareness. The figure might just cross 50% but it is NOT enough to drive out the incumbents.

Auto Drivers bigger than the law??

How often have we seen old people, females with their kids or tored office goers standing stranded on the middle of the road helpless with out any rickshaw agreeing to take them where they want.

This is the story of mostly all Mumbaikars everyday who bear the brunt and rash attitude of rickshaw wallas. They have blackmailed by going on strike and have managed to increase the fares by many folds but still plight according to their wish.

But the question is whether this is right as per laws. Answer is NO!!

As per the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Law section 22 d 178 (3b) any auto and taxi with their meter UP saying “For Hire” has to take a passenger anywhere they want whatever the distance maybe.

Failing to do so they attract a penalty of Rs.100 if the passenger complains to the Mumbai Traffic police. This can be done by lodging an online complaint at http://trafficpolicemumbai.org/Complaint/ or calling at number 100.

They can also mail Joint Commissioner at jcptraffic@trafficpolicemumbai.org

Also one important point to remember is that passenger should first GET IN the auto and then say where they want to go. The auto driver cannot say NO.

Another instance of auto drivers defying law is in Delhi. As per Delhi Motor Vehicle law an auto with battery below 250W and speed 25kmph do not come under the Act and so they have banned the e-rickshaws. But they have defied this law also by buying these at Agra, Ghaziabad and Noida so that they do not come under this law. They use 4 batteries of 15V power around 850W and speed more than 35Kmph. By defying this law they are not bound to pollution rules. They also do not need to have insurance and thus expose passenger safety.

These instances point that auto and taxi drivers have no respect or fear for law as they have political backing.

But it is high time we commuters fight back so that the government realizes their mistake amd they also start taking serious actions against these goons who actually should serve the people as they fall under the “Public Service Vehicles”.

The Unpredictable and Competitive Champions League

Champions League football is the biggest European club football tournament where the top teams of all European leagues come together to play for the highest award.

This tournament has always been very competitive and unpredictable in nature where even the underdogs give the favorites a run for their money.

This years tournament has also been the same uptil now. The tournament has reached the final 4 stage and it has been full of ups and downs.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich are the expected semi finalists and Athletico Madrid and Chelsea are the surprise ones.

Athletico beat the mighty La Liga rivals Barcelona to enter the semi finals. They were the underdogs but they were competitive just as they have been all season in La Liga. Chelsea came back from dead and beat the cash rich PSG via penalties to enter the semies.

Bayern Munich started as favourites against struggling Manchester United but were given a run for their money by the club known to prove their critics wrong and also for their fighting spirit.

Real Madrid riding on their great first leg win saw off the gritty Borussia Dortmund.

So the final 4 line up for this years Champions League are a mix of favourites and underdogs which is fitting for the viewers as it brings something new. It also gives different players like Diego Costa, Hazard, Demba Ba etc. to become stars.

Let us all keep tuned in for some more action that is in store for us.