The government on Thursday said prices of pulses were easing as per reports from states due to de-hoarding operations and arrival of fresh crop, but a look at the retail rates reveal that this daily source of protein continues to remain dear.”Retail prices of pulses have registered declining trends as per market reports from the states. Release of pulses seized under de-hoarding operations is being expedited,” the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution said in a statement.”Arrival of new crop has also started. This will help to moderate prices further,” it said, adding that Tur or Arhar dal was cheaper by as much as 3.59 percent in the past week alone at Rs.152.11 per kg on November 18, against Rs.157.77 before that.Similarly, it said the price of Urad dal was down by 6.08 percent — from Rs.150.43 a week ago to Rs.141.28 on Wednesday.But at the retail level, the government’s claims did not appear to hold ground.At the Big Basket online retail store, Tur dal was quoting way above at Rs.201 per kg and Rs.375 for a two-kg bag.Reliance Fresh also priced its Tur dal at a price of Rs.219 per kg.At other retail stores, prices fluctuated anywhere between Rs.190 and Rs.230 per kg.Even the commerce ministry data on wholesale price index for October, released on Monday showed that the pulses remained dearer by 52.98 percent over the past year.Even when compared with the previous month, there was a spike of 9.17 percent.The build-up during the current fiscal year, that is since April 2015, has also been rather steep at 41.45 percent.Similarly, data on consumer price index released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation showed a 22.24 percent inflation rate of pulses as on July 2015, compared to the previous year.The consumer affairs ministry also said thousands of tonnes of pulses had been seized under the de-hoarding operations by the states, which were auctioned or offloaded in the market to increase availability.Curiously, while data released on November 12 said 1,33,828.31 tonnes had been seized, that released six days later showed a lower quantity of 1,32,777.14 tonnes had been confiscated.At the same time, the prices of some other items of mass consumption — onions and tomatoes — were rocketing.On Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially pulses, tomatoes, onions and edible oils in an inter-ministerial meeting.”It was observed that the increase in prices of tomatoes and onions is largely on account of disruption of supplies due to heavy rains in the southern states which is expected to be temporary,” a press note issued after the review said.”The situation is expected to ease in the coming days,” the statement added.
Barack ObamaOutgoing US president Barack Obama in an interview to CBS on “60 Minutes” programme said that he doesn’t think Donald Trump’s “improvisational” campaign style will work well at the White House level, and warned Americans to not “underestimate the guy”.Obama, in his final interview as the US president, said on Sunday that he told Trump, and would advise Republicans in Congress and voters, “just to make sure that as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place.”“It had been an ‘unusual’ transition,” said Obama, adding, “I suspect the President-elect would agree with that”. Obama said that Trump is in the process of building up an organisation that will support his presidency.“We’ll have to see how that works,” Obama told “60 Minutes” Steve Kroft. “It will be a test, I think, for him and the people he’s designated to be able to execute on his vision.”“We are moving into an era where a lot of people get their information through tweets and soundbites… There’s a power in that. There’s also a danger—what generates a headline or stirs up a controversy and gets attention isn’t the same as the process required to actually solve the problem,” Obama said.The outgoing President said “thick skin” and “stamina” are important qualities to have when serving as the Commander-in-Chief, adding that he believes he is the same person today as he was at the beginning of his tenure.Obama said “thick skin helps” in getting the complex presidential job done. He also recommended that a US President has to be physically strong enough and must not get distracted by critics in the government and the media.“I think your ability to—not just mentally and emotionally but physically be able to say, ‘We got this. We’re going to be okay’,” is important, said Obama.Obama also said that he is proud that his basic character and outlook did not change during his tenure. “…People who are closest to me will tell you that—the guy who came here is the same guy who’s leaving,” he said of himself.Obama also said he had been “disturbed” about intelligence reports over Russia hacking the US election.“I have been concerned about the degree to which, in some circles, you’ve seen people suggest that Vladimir Putin has more credibility than the US government,” Obama said.“I think that’s something new, and I think it’s a measure of how the partisan divide has gotten so severe that people forget that we’re on the same team,” he said.Reflecting on his own presidency, Obama said while he was effective “in shaping public opinion” around his two successful presidential bids, he “lost the PR battle” in building support around some of his administration’s policy initiatives.“There were big stretches, while governing, where even though we were doing the right thing, we weren’t able to mobilize public opinion firmly enough behind us to weaken the resolve of the Republicans to stop opposing us or to cooperate with us,” Obama said.