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GST impact in Q1 will pull down GDP for whole year: CSO

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Chief Statistician T.C.A. Anant

While the Indian economy is expected to perform better in the second half of this fiscal, the twin impact of demonetisation and GST implementation is estimated to pull down GDP growth to 6.5 per cent in 2017-18, from 7.1 per cent in the previous year, Chief Statistician T.C.A. Anant said on Friday.

Releasing the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO’s) first advance estimate for Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in 2017-18, Anant said their projections for the entire fiscal showed that the nominal GDP calculated at market prices is expected to grow at 9.5 per cent, which is lower than 11.75 per cent estimated in the Union Budget presented last February.

The nominal GDP will be used as the benchmark for most indices in the forthcoming Union Budget to be presented on February 1.

“Implicit calculation suggests growth in the second half of 2017-18 will be better than the first. For the next two quarters, we have projected a growth 7 per cent… so the increase of Q2 will be maintained,” he told reporters here.

“Number of figures had come in low for the first quarter for the GDP coming in lower at 5.7 per cent because of industry reaction in anticipation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) coming in,” the CSO said.

Businesses going into a “de-stocking” mode on inventories in anticipation of the GST rollout from July and sluggish manufacturing growth pulled down the Indian economy’s growth during the first quarter of this fiscal to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest under the Narendra Modi dispensation.

Breaking a five-quarter slump, a rise in manufacturing sector output, however, pushed the growth rate higher to 6.3 per cent during the second quarter (July-September) of 2017-18.

CSO data showed that in the first half (April-September) of the financial year, the economy grew at 6 per cent, indicating that it will accelerate in the second half (October-March).

Anant said that with more corporate data now being available since the second quarter, including the GST collections for November, although GDP is estimated to grow further, the dampening effect of the first quarter’s fall would pull down the growth rate for the full year.

He also indicated that the government could find it difficult to achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent of GDP.

“Assuming that budgetary targets will be met, which gave a fiscal deficit of 3.24 per cent, our figures estimate it to be at 3.29 per cent, which rounding off becomes 3.3 per cent,” he said.

At the time of releasing the second quarter GDP data in November, Anant had said: “GST has brought in a number of uncertainties because of tax for the period not being paid on time. The government has extended the deadlines for filing GST returns, so the tax data for the relevant period is still coming in.”

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Equity indices rise, Sensex up 700 points

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, March 31 (The key Indian equity indices traded on a positive note on Tuesday with the BSE Sensex trading over 700 points higher.

The Sensex was above the 29,000 mark while Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was around the 8,500 level.

The gains were in tandem with the rise in Asian markets.

At 10 38 a.m., it was trading at 29,171.89, higher by 731.57 points or 2.57 per cent from the previous close of 28,440.32.

It had opened at 29,294.9 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 29,316.80 and a low of 28,667.36

The Nifty was trading at 8,509.15, higher by 228.05 points, 2.75 per cent.

Among the Sensex stocks, the top gainers so far were Infosys, ONGC, HCL Technologies, ITC and Tata Steel, while, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, Maruti Suzuki and Bharti Airtel were the only losers.

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Corona positive cases from Nizamuddin religious gathering spread across states, 6 dead in Telangana

More than 2,000 delegates, including from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan, attended the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat – a Muslim religious organisation – from March 13 to 15.

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Nizammudin

New Delhi, March 31 : A religious congregation of 2000 people at a mosque in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area which has thrown up several corona positive cases is a ticking time bomb as six of the persons who returned to Telangana have died from the virus and positive cases are emerging from at least five regions including J&K, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Telangana Chief Minister’s Office said in a tweet, “Six people from Telangana who attended a religious congregation at Markaz in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi from March 13-15 succumbed after they contracted coronavirus. Two died in Gandhi Hospital while one each died in Apollo Hospital, Global Hospital, Nizamabad and Gadwal.”

The state has intensified its efforts to locate all those who returned from the event and the contact trail.

The suspected outbreak was discovered earlier today in Delhi as it emerged that several hid their travel history to foreign countries and a large congregation was held on March 13-5 at a markaz in Nizamuddin. The area was sealed today and hundreds of those present were whisked away to hospitals.

The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium which otherwise holds sporting events is being prepared for a possible large size quarantine centre in case there is a huge outbreak of the virus. Reports are emerging that COVID-19 cases linked to this gathering are being across the country in J&K, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar and Telangana.

As many as 1,400 people continued to stay at the Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s “Markaz” in Delhi’s Nizamuddin West even after the event.

The Telangana Chief Medical Officer confirmed that six people who attended this congregation have died in Telangana after testing positive for coronavirus. A cleric who was there had died after testing positive for coronavirus in Srinagar last week.

More than 2,000 delegates, including from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan, attended the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat – a Muslim religious organisation – from March 13 to 15.

So now, after the congregation dispersed, those who had gathered have gone in different directions and six have died in Telangana.

This constitutes a mammoth health risk for those present and others who may have come in contact or are even now coming into contact through transit.

Sooner or later, it is feared this may be a form of community transmission as infected people move in different directions.

This is so symptomatic of the virus spread where even once infected person can pass it onto hundreds of others.

Jammu and Kashmir where many of these people returned is already on alert. The district administration in all ten districts have fanned out teams to trace those who might not have disclosed their travel history or contact history with Tabligi Jamaat.

Another worrying strand that has emerged is that the list of those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin from Jammu & Kashmir is huge. Clearly, many of them are not in quarantine yet and the administration and police are making efforts to identity, trace and isolate.

It is learnt that the government has prepared a 50 page list of people from J&K who attended the congregation or came in contact with those. Efforts are being made to identify these people and isolate them.

District magistrates in different districts of Kashmir have issued a strong warning today evening to those who have entered the Valley after March 1 and have not so far revealed their travel history to the authorities.

The order issued today evening by the various district magistrates said all those who entered the Valley after March 1 with travel history abroad, outside the Valley or association with members of the Tabligi group are given the last chance to report to the authorities within two days failing which they could face imprisonment under the provisions of the disaster management act, 2005.

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Infosys Foundation commits Rs 100 crore to fight Covid-19

Half of the donation, Rs 50 crore has been committed to the PM Cares Fund.

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narayana murthy

Bengaluru, March 30 : Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the software company, On Monday onated Rs 100 crore to fight Covid-19.

“These are unprecedented times that require every section of the society to rise up to the challenge,” said Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation in a statement.

Half of the donation, Rs 50 crore has been committed to the PM Cares Fund.

The foundation has identified three broad areas to which the balance funds will be directed to: expanding hospitals capacity to treat Covid-19 patients, providing ventilators, test kits and personal protective equipment, and to ensure access to food and nutrition for the underprivileged.

“All our efforts will be targeted towards ensuring that the relief material reaches the people who need it the most, whether it is a patient who cannot afford treatment, our healthcare personnel, or daily-wage workers whose livelihood has been severely impacted,” Murty said.

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