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Modi govt has thrown the economy to the wolves: Amit Mitra

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Kolkata, Sep 24 : Accusing the NDA government of “throwing the economy to the wolves”, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Monday said “surgical strikes” in the form of demonetisation and rolling out of an ‘unprepared’ GST regime as also liquidity crunch of NBFCs were responsible for the present downturn.

“In November, 2016, there was the first surgical strike on the economy – the demonetisation. Demonetisation was a structural change where both structure and function of the economy had been hit,” said Mitra, addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Bengal Chamber.

On November 8, 2016, following an announcement by prime minister Narendra Modi, the central government demonetised the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500

“This was perhaps the biggest demonetisation exercise in the world other than in Libya or the USSR. In no democracy have we seen withdrawal of 86 per cent of currency of two denominations. And then the growth rate of 8.15 per cent which we had seen in 2015-16 declined to 7.17 a year later.

“Then on July 1, 2017, came another massive structural change, another surgical strike on the economy, the GST was introduced. But the system was not yet ready. It was an unprepared GST that was rolled out, despite objections from us.

“It was a manmade or person-made singular decision.. You have thrown economy to the wolves,” said Mitra, who earlier headed the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST.

He said the crisis in the Rs one lakh core entity infrastructure financing major IL&FS was another major factor. “The NBFCs now face a liquidity crunch”.

Turning to direct taxes, Mitra said in the first six month of 2019-20 fiscal, the corporate tax collection has been only 4.7 percent. The budgetary target for the fiscal is 17.5 per cent. “To make it to the target, you need 27 per cent growth in tax collection at a time when economic growth rate is tanking”.

He alleged that the government-made structural destabilisation Government of the economy has resulted in the present miserable situation, with the country now having the highest unemployment rate in 45 years”.

“What concerns me is that there is not much fiscal headroom,” he said,

Talking about the states’ financial scenario, Mitra said “GST is not hitting its target, while the states’ development expenditure has shot up from 40 per cent to 60 percent, with the centre cutting of its share since the last three years and increasing our share in 18 central projects”.

Disagreeing that companies did not have money to investment, the economist said eight top-50 companies are holding Rs 8 lakh crores in their books. “They are sitting on it because of a demand shortfall.

“Why is the automobile industry passing through difficult times? Because people are not buying cars. So there is a lack of demand. The structural harakiris we have done are trickling down,” Mitra added.

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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Healthcare sector revenues likely to grow by 20% in FY22: ICRA

he risks to the recovery could be in the form of additional regulatory measures, protracted restrictions on international travel and jump in Covid-19 cases”.

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New Delhi, Jan 19: Even as the healthcare sector witnessed squeezing of revenues due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its long-term outlook remains stable on the back of swift rebound in occupancy as well as structural factors, ICRA said on Monday.

The rating agency expects the occupancy of companies in the sector to bounce back substantially to 60 per cent in FY22, from the estimated occupancy of 52 per cent in FY21, and the revenue growth to be at 20 per cent in FY22, against an estimated contraction of 19 per cent in FY21, aided by a lower base as well.

There has been significant sequential improvement in occupancy every month after the sharp fall in April and the pent-up demand is also likely to support the performance, as elective procedures cannot be delayed indefinitely by domestic as well as international patients, the report noted.

Due to the high operating leverage, the EBITDA margin is likely to rise to 13 per cent in FY22, against an estimated EBITDA margin of 9 per cent in FY21. The capital expansion was already slowing down, even pre-Covid, and is likely to remain modest in FY22 as the players have adequate capacity to grow over the medium term and the near-term focus is on better utilisation of the existing facilities rather than expansion of the network.

Consequently, the capex as well as startup costs of new hospitals are likely to be much lower going forward, which will also aid profitability. The net debt is expected to stay largely range-bound, but the debt protection metrics is likely to improve significantly due to a sharp rise in accruals, ICRA said.

According to Kapil Banga, Assistant Vice President, ICRA: “The credit risk profile of entities in the sector had been on improving the trajectory over the last two years and notwithstanding the near-term disruption due to the pandemic, as well as given the essential nature of the services, ICRA believes the sector will resume on its growth trajectory in FY22. The risks to the recovery could be in the form of additional regulatory measures, protracted restrictions on international travel and jump in Covid-19 cases”.

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Excise duty collection surges 48% in FY21 on high fuel levies

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.

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Modi Poster on Petrol Pump

New Delhi, Jan 17 : As the government has kept excise duty on petrol and diesel elevated amid the pandemic with a view to increase revenue, the total excise duty collection during April-November FY21 has surged nearly 48 per cent as compared to the year ago period.

The excise duty collection during the first eight months of the current financial year was over Rs 1.96 lakh crore, compared to over Rs 1.32 lakh crore collected during April-November FY20, official data showed.

The collection in November 2020 was highest so far in the financial year 2020-21 at Rs 35,703 crore. In November 2019, excise duty collection stood at Rs 18,948 crore.

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.

As fuel prices are at record high despite low crude oil prices, demand has been raised from several quarters to reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel to provide relief to the common man.

In the national capital, petrol is sold at a record high level of Rs 84.70 a litre while diesel is priced at Rs 74.88 per litre.

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