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Boosting private investment, banks’ growth major concerns : Finance Minister

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Arun Jaitley

Mumbai, Sep 22: Looking at ways to revive economy amid a slowdown, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that encouraging private investment and improving capacity of financial system to support growth are the two major challenges for which best solutions have to be found.

“There are two major challenges – encouraging private sector investment and improving capacity of banking system to support growth. We have done adequate analysis as to the cause of these challenges,” he said addressing the 70th annual general meeting of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) here.

“Now as a dynamic society we have to look for best solutions and ensure resolution of these issues faster.”

Jaitley said that there was also a major challenge with regard to increase in stressed assets.

“I think this is the core area of concern today. India has adequately demonstrated its ability to reform, grow at a reasonable pace when world was going slow. Indian administration is supportive of reforms. India’s ability to face challenges in economy is much better, higher than what it traditionally has been,” he said.

The Finance Minister said that the government had amended laws to bring a speedy resolution of the bad debts of banks, including Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

“IBC is now in full swing now. Speed is of essence. Resolution is to be made in good faith. Certain trust in the decision making of these institutions is essential. If we work on these principles, we should be able to accept some early harvest,” he said.

Pledging support to the revival of the banking system, Jaitley said that all government efforts were directed to make banks stronger in terms of resources.

“In this challenge, the government stands one with the banking system. Whatever steps are required to be taken, we will expeditiously work with banking system to strengthen it.”

“All government efforts, whether be it toward erosion of black money, Goods and Services Tax (GST), other reforms, have been to make sure that the ability of the state is strengthened in terms of resources… to find resources for the banking system,” Jaitley said.

“I do believe that India itself has great resilience, which enables it to find solutions. Banks have very important role to play,” he added.

Crediting the banking system for efficiently carrying out operations during demonetisation followed by the remonetisation process, he said that the banks with the constraint of time dealt with the large inflow of cash and distribution of new currency.

“In a matter of few weeks, the whole process of deposit of old currency and remonetisation and distribution of new currency, without any major incident, was implemented by the banking system. The programe where millions of people were involved will occasionally throw a black sheep but the banking system was robust to take action.”

“Implementing it in a few weeks starting from November, and do it conclusively was a great credit to the banking system. Banks were flooded with large deposits, they showed ability to deal with them,” he said.

Jaitley said that demonetisation created a new normal wherein cash transactions have been visibly reduced and tax base has expanded.

“There was a conscious effort being made to alter both the behaviour and spending pattern of society. A new normal was sought to being created.”

“Cash dominated transactions were sought to be replaced with alternate spending culture. There has been reduction in cash spending,” he said.

He said that the new mechanism of indirect taxes — GST — was going smoother than expected and more people are likely to come under the taxation net.

“These are early days of implementation of the alternate taxation system. So far it is going smoother than expected. The decision making mechanism on top has been reasonably institutionalised. The mechanism to issue day to day issues has been created and is robust.”

“The number of people coming within the (GST) network is likely to gradually expand,” he said.

IANS

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Hyundai bets on diesel models, launches Tucson SUV

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Hyundai-Tucson-SUV

Chennai, July 14 : The second largest car maker in India Hyundai Motor India Ltd while continuing to bet on diesel powered vehicles is also looking at faster demand recovery from tier 2/3 cities, said a senior official on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor also launched its new premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) Tucson for the Indian market.

Speaking to reporters, Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing and Service) said the timing of Tucson’s launch is right as there are over five lakh Creta buyers in the country who are looking for an upgrade to a premium SUV.

The new Tucson’s starting price is about Rs 22 lakh.

“With over 6.5 million customers worldwide, Tucson is one of the best-selling SUV’s across the world,” S.S. Kim, Managing Director and CEO told reporters.

He said the model was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2020.

Garg said the booking for diesel engine models are growing and the demand is across the country and more so from tier 2/3 cities.

He said when the fuel prices go up, buyers will look at fuel economy and diesel engines are fuel efficient.

According to Garg, Hyundai Motor has got over 45,000 bookings for its SUV Creta model and 56 per cent of that are for diesel engine variant.

Similarly, one third of the booking for Venue and Verna are for diesel models, Garg said.

“SUV lovers want much more than the fuel economy which diesel vehicles offer. It appears demand will stablilise at this level. There is also good demand for petrol models,” Garg added.

Queried about the pay cuts implemented by various companies and its impact on buyers scaling down their model preference Garg said he is not seeing any such trend.

According to him, buyers prefer to come to the showroom to take delivery of new cars even though Hyundai Motor offers to deliver the car at their door step.

Garg said it is not possible to predict the likely sales for 2020 as some states have Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

He said the company is watching the market behaviour on a monthly basis.

Garg said during June 2020, the company has reached 75 per cent of June 2019 demand figures, In July 2020 the car maker plans to touch 90 per cent of July 2019 levels.

On the availability of components as the company is planning to start third shift in its plant Garg said the localisation levels are very high and the dependence on components from China is very low.

According to Garg the company’s supply chain is ready to meet the demand for increased components as third shift production is soon to start.

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No lay-offs by Wipro amid crorona crisis, no such plan

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, July 13 : Global software major Wipro has not laid off any employee during the Covid-19 pandemic nor has any such plan at the moment, a top company official said on Monday.

“I just want to give comfort and say this categorically that we have not laid off a single employee as the pandemic unfolded,” Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji said at the company”s 74th annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually.

“At the moment, we have no plans to lay off anybody at the company,” he said, replying to a female shareholder.

“We are trying to drive cost deductions through various other means operationally and otherwise,” said Premji.

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.

–IANS

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Google to invest Rs 75,000 crore to boost digitisation in India

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.

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Sundar Pichai

New Delhi, July 13 : Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a Google for India digitisation fund through which, the company will invest Rs 75,000 crore or approximately $10 billion over the next five to seven years to help India go digital.

“We will do this through a mix of equity investment, partnerships and an operational infrastructure ecosystem in India. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” Pichai said during the Google for India virtual conference.

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.

“Second, building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India”s unique needs. Third, empowering businesses to continue or embark on digital transformation. And fourth, leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence for social good in areas like health, agriculture and education,” the Google CEO said.

India’s Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were also present during the conference.

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