Connect with us

Published

on

United Nations, Jan 9 : Fuelled by policy reforms and rebound in credit, India’s economy is forecast to expand by 7.5 per cent during the 2019-20 fiscal year and retain its position as the fastest growing major economy in a world of slowing growth, according to the World Bank.

The Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report released on Tuesday kept the forecasts made for India in its June report for the next fiscal year and the 7.3 per cent estimate for the current fiscal year, up from 6.7 per cent recorded in 2017-18.

However, it warned that in South Asia, the upcoming election cycle “elevates political uncertainty in the region”.

“The challenging political environment could adversely affect the ongoing reform agenda and economic activity in some countries,” it added.

The GEP presented a gloomy outlook for the world as a whole: Growth was projected to slow to 2.9 per cent for the current year, down from the estimated 3 per cent for the last year and to grow only by 2.8 per cent in the next two years.

It blamed trade tensions and slowdown in manufacturing for the pessimism.

The report said: “India is forecast to accelerate to 7.5 per cent in fiscal year 2019-20 as consumption remains robust and investment growth continues, and as (economic) activity benefits from recent policy reforms and a rebound in credit.”

For the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years, the GEP has projected a growth rate of 7.5 per cent.

The World Bank’s 7.5 per cent growth projection for the next fiscal year is slightly higher than the 7.4 per cent made by the International Monetary Fund last October.

But the GEP’s estimate of 7.3 per cent for the current fiscal year falls between India’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) figure of 7.2 per cent and the Reserve Bank of India’s 7.4 per cent.

China’s growth rate was estimated to be 6.5 per cent last year and forecast to be 6.2 per cent this year and the next, and going down further to 6 per cent in 2021.

In South Asia, Pakistan’s growth rate is forecast to fall drastically from last fiscal year’s 5.8 per cent to 3.7 per cent this fiscal year “as financial conditions tighten in the face of rising inflation and external vulnerabilities”. In 2019-20 it is forecast to rebound to 4.8 per cent.

Bangladesh grew faster than India with 7.9 per cent in the last fiscal year “driven mainly by private consumption and supported by remittance inflows”, the report said. But its growth is forecast to fall to 7 per cent in the current fiscal year.

Releasing the report, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said: “At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead.

“As economic and financial headwinds intensify for emerging and developing countries, the world’s progress in reducing extreme poverty could be jeopardised. To keep the momentum, countries need to invest in people, foster inclusive growth, and build resilient societies.”

According to the GEP, the advanced economies are the worst performers, with a growth rate of 2.2 per cent last year that is forecast to steadily fall to 2 per cent this year, and to 1.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent in the next two years.

The US, though, is faring better in that group with a 2.9 per cent growth last year and projected growth rates of 2.5 this year and 1.7 per cent and 1.6 in the next years.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

Business

Some want IBC not to be implemented: ArcelorMittal

Published

on

Sunil Mittal-wefornews

New Delhi, Jan 22 After years of trying to get a foothold in India through a greenfield project and almost getting it via a brownfield acquisition, the world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal on Tuesday castigated corporate rivals for trying to sabotage its takeover bid of Essar Steel under the new bankruptcy rule.

“It appears there are certain parties in India who would like that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) not be implemented according to the law.

“The IBC was introduced for a very serious reason – to address a major problem with bad loans. If the law is not implemented correctly and the rules are flouted, as suggested by some, this sends a negative signal about the certainty of India as an investment destination,” ArcelorMittal India tweeted.

The outburst of the company headed by NRI Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, is significant as it follows the decision by India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) to put on sale its entire loan exposure of Rs 15,431 crore in bankrupt Essar Steel, which is undergoing resolution proceedings since August 2017, much beyond the mandatory 270 days allowed under the IBC.

In October 2018, the Committee of Creditors (CoC) to Essar Steel, led by SBI, had approved ArcelorMittal’s proposal of Rs 42,000 crore to the lenders and an additional Rs 8,000 crore towards capital expenditure in Essar Steel.

However, a group of creditors including the promoters of Essar Steel have challenged the decision of the CoC. Last week, the CoC filed an application at NCLAT requesting for a speedier disposal of the case within the next three weeks.

The company, in its tweeted statement, said that the opportunity to make an offer for the assets in the IBC process has been very transparent and no company or individual can say they were not aware of the process and therefore should not expect to come in at a late stage, providing no details as to the financing of their offer after a decision has been taken by the CoC.

Soon after the CoC of the debt laden firm had declared ArcelorMittal as the highest bidder in the auction for the steel company, promoters of Essar Steel came up with its offer to repay Rs 54,389 crore seeking withdrawal from insolvency proceedings.

The plan included an upfront cash payment of Rs 47,507 crore to all creditors, including Rs 45,559 crore to the senior secured financial creditors, i.e. 100 per cent recovery.

“In the case of Essar Steel, opportunities have been provided to bidders for nearly a year to first be eligible and second, to make a compelling offer.

“ArcelorMittal has followed the process from the start. We fully expect the process to continue to be implemented correctly and as per the law and that statements attempting to convince otherwise not be given any credibility,” it concluded.

Continue Reading

Business

Sensex down 130 points minutes after opening in green

Published

on

Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Jan 22: The S&P BSE Sensex declined around 130 points minutes after opening on a positive note on Tuesday, tracking weakness in the major Asian markets.

The NSE Nifty50 also traded over 40 points lower than its previous close.

At 9.37 a.m., the Nifty50 traded at 10,917.95, lower by 43.90 points or 0.40 per cent from its previous close.

The BSE Sensex, traded at 36,439.17 points, lower by 139.79 points or 0.38 per cent from the previous close of 36,578.96 points.

It had opened at 36,649.92 points and so far it touched an intra-day high of 36,650.47 and a low of 36,413.30 points.

IANS

Continue Reading

Blog

RSS affliates warn against farm loan waiver in interim budget

Published

on

Farmers Protest

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Four BJP governments in states had rolled out farm loan waiver schemes but RSS affiliates have strongly warned against these in the interim budget, saying such a move would only worsen the agrarian crisis and put further pressure on the banks.

This comes in the midst of speculation that the Narendra Modi government may be showering sops on farmers in its interim budget before the Lok Sabha polls.

Instead, the sangh parivar affliates want a social security net and various forms of assistance for the farmers.

With agrarian distress expected to be a major plank for the opposition and the Congress promise of farm loan waiver that helped it majorly in its victory in the Hindi heartland state, there are indications that the Modi government may walk a similar path making the February 1 exercise more significant than a vote on account.

Buoyed by the Congress coming to power in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, party President Rahul Gandhi has flayed Modi for waiving corporate loans while ignoring the plight of farmers. He has even asserted that an “united opposition will not let Modi sleep” until and unless farmers’ loans across the country were waived.

While the Congress’ farm loan waiver attracted much ridicule from Prime Minister Modi, it was he who had triggered the trend of waiving farm loans when ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections he had announced relief for the farmers in February, 2017. Subsequently the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government announced a loan waiver package for around 86 lakh small and marginal farmers.

The BJP governments in Maharashtra and Rajasthan in 2018 had announced waiver of loans taken by small and marginal farmers.

Soon after the Congress executing its pre-poll promise of loan waiver in the three Hindi heartland states, the BJP regime in Jharkhand in December last followed suit, giving farmers financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per acre for the kharif season.

However, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a sangh parivar affliate, asserts that the Modi government should desist from indulging in populist measures. Its has warned about pitfalls of farm loan waivers.

“The last thing the government should do is resort to farm loan waivers. Rather than being a solution, loan waiver would further deepen the miseries of our farmers. Indeed farmers are in distress and the way the opposition parties for their electoral sake, have raised the issue, the government may deem it to be a political compulsion. But it would be a mistake if it does so,” BKS organisational secretary Dinesh Kulkarni told IANS.

Explaining the opposition to the “short-cut” of loan waiver, Kulkarni said such a move only encourages the practice of defaulting on loans contending that only a handful of farmers benefit.

“The Congress governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have waived farm loans but has it solved the crisis of the farmers. The only thing that it did is pressuring the banks and making them wary of giving further loans to the farmers,” Kulkarni said.

He said that unless there was holistic mechanism to ensure that farmers get the right price for their produce and middlemen are eliminated, the vicious circle of debt will continue.

“Loan waiver may halt the vicious debt circle for a short period of time but it won’t bring them out of that. Without a mechanism to make agriculture profitable or even allowing the farmers to recover their cost of production, they will be back to being debt ridden from the next season,” said Kulkarni adding that the government must sit with peasant bodies and other stakeholders to chalk out long term plans to resolve the agrarian distress.

Talking about its expectations from the budget, the RSS’ labour wing the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said the focus should be on expanding the social security net to the unorganised sector including agriculture workers and also advocated against farm loan waiver.

While admitting that the government may be inclined towards presenting a populist budget, BMS President C.K. Saji Narayanan said farmers should be incentivised to procure seeds , fertilisers and equipments rather than waiving their loans.

“Our farmers are in distress and indeed need lot of assistance from the government but loan waiver should be the last thing. Waiver as a short term measure is acceptable but then it has its long term effects on the economy which the government should guard against.

“The need is put up a mechanism to ensure that farmers gets right price of their produce. They should be given subsidy to purchase seeds, fertilisers and equipments instead of loan waiver,” Narayanan said.

A critic of the Modi government’s labour and economic policies, Narayanan said the budget should focus on giving relief to the middle class and urorganised sector workers.

“This government for most part of its tenure, has functioned like Congress-led UPA. But in the last year or so there has been substantial change in its attitude. However, with elections on the horizon, it may indulge in populist measures. But that doesn’t mean it should go for loan waivers.

Narayanan said the government in the budget should look to providing relief to the middle class and the workers in the unorganised sector.

“Our major demand is that the income tax exemption limit should be raised to Rs 10 lakh besides that we hope that government will no more neglect our workers especially contract labourers. In addition to hiking contract labour’s wages, unorganised sector has to be brought under social security net including agricultural labours,” he added.

While Prime Minister Modi and his government have been touting GDP growth as FDI inflow as its major achoevemnets, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the RSS said, job-less growth was meaningless.

“GDP growth or FDI inflow should not be the parameters for development, what matters is how much employment is generated.

“As regards the agrarian crisis, the question is why our farmers are debt ridden, and answer to that question can never be loan waiver,” SJM National Co-Convener Ashwani Mahajan said.

He held the “historic neglect” of the agriculture sector by successive governments to be the core issue.

“Besides their persistent failure to even recover their cost of production, the steady rise of prices of farm inputs and farm equipments being under GST, has further pauperised the farmers,” he said.

He said instead of giving the farmers “alms” in form of loan waiver, the need was concrete policies aimed at reforming and reviving the farm sector and making it economically viable and profitable.

“There are large numbers of seasonal agricultural labourers who are rendered jobless for a large part of the year. The focus should be on rehabilitating them as also come with policies to make agriculture profitable.

Mahajan recommended giving major focus on food processing, oil seeds protection, change in crop production, subsidizing farm inputs.

“The one thing that must be immediately done is to exempt farm equipments from GST. We sincerely hope the government will use this budget to lay out long term plans to revitalize the economy and resolve the agrarian crisis instead of falling trap to electoral populism,” added Mahajan.

(Anurag Dey can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular