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Negative impact of demonetisation on economy transitory: Rating agencies




By Venkatachari Jagannathan 

Chennai, Nov 1 : The adverse impact of demonetisation on the Indian economy would be transitory, according to global and domestic credit rating agencies.

However, the current slowdown could partially be attributed to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced in July, they say.

“While the aim of demonetisation to curb the use of black money was in line with the government’s broader reform agenda, the cash crunch it caused contributed to significantly lower real GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the March quarter,” Thomas Rookmaaker, Director, Sovereigns and Supranationals Group at Fitch Ratings, told IANS.

“This negative impact on growth seems transitory, just like the effect on growth, because of GST implementation in the July quarter,” he added.

According to analysts at the rating agencies, economic growth in India would accelerate again in the second half of the year.

“Demonetisation was a major structural change that the Indian economy underwent, which led to disruption on the demand and supply side and thereby the overall economy,” Kavita Chacko, Senior Economist, CARE Ratings, told IANS.

Chacko said economic performance, as seen from the quarterly GDP growth, saw a sharp deterioration since the third quarter (October-December) in 2016-17.

“GDP growth (year-on-year) fell from seven per cent in Q3FY17 to 6.1 per cent in Q4FY17 and further declined to 5.7 per cent in Q1FY18, the slowest pace of growth in five years,” she said.

This slowdown in the economy could partly be attributed to the disruptions caused by demonetisation. GST implementations too had contributed to the economic weakness, Chacko added.

Asked whether demonetisation has achieved its objective of curbing black money, Rookmaaker answered in the negative.

“The fact that 99 per cent of the bank notes have found their way back to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) seems to suggest that demonetisation was not very effective in rooting out black money and reducing the informal sector,” Rookmaaker said.

“Implementation of the GST may actually be more effective in formalising informal business, as it seems to help draw small firms into the tax net,” he added.

According to Rookmaaker, the bounce back is likely to happen in the second half of the year. “It is still uncertain how long the drag on growth from demonetisation and GST implementation will persist. But our baseline scenario is that growth will accelerate again in the second half of the year. This seems to be supported by a sharp and fairly broad-based recovery in industrial production in August,” Rookmaaker said.

India’s sovereign credit profile would benefit from an improvement in government finances, which currently stand out as a major weakness compared with its peers, Rookmaaker said.

Read more…Diwali was dim for fashion industry reeling under demonetisation, GST

Other rating agencies say that except for two sectors, there would be no long-term impact of demonetisation. “We believe there is no lasting impact in most sectors, barring real estate and the gems and jewellery sector,” Abhishek Dangra, Director in the Corporate Ratings Group, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings, told IANS.

He said the companies in these two sectors, which traditionally relied significantly on cash transactions, had been forced now to make structural changes owing to policy level changes that limit high value cash transactions.

“Companies in the automobiles and consumer durable sectors have a high — and an increasing degree of — financing penetration, muting the impact of demonetisation, despite initial disruption. We expect demand/supply and the commodity price environment to have a greater impact on most sectors,” Dangra added.

Saswata Guha, Director, Financial Institutions, at Fitch, said that the increase in liquidity with the banks had not been fully taken advantage of.

“I think the benefit to the banking sector in terms of heightened liquidity post-demonetisation was pretty clear. While funds are gradually finding way into the broader financial system (like asset management, insurance), the impact is still quite benign on banks from a liquidity perspective since credit growth remains pretty weak,” Guha told IANS.



FIR lodged against Shia Waqf Board chief for hurting sentiments of Sunnis



Mumbai, Dec 18 : An FIR has been registered at JJ Marg police station against Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi by a Mumbai based organisation Raza Academy, for allegedly hurting religious statements of Sunni Muslims.

Earlier, the case was lodged against Rizvi on the basis of a complaint of the Sahaba Action Committee at Lucknow ‘s Chowk Police station.

In the complaint, the Sahaba Action Committee claimed that Rizvi had offended the members of Sunni sect of Islam by his remarks over their Caliphs.

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India retaliates after Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Poonch



Pulwama encounter

Srinagar, Dec 18 : India is strongly retaliated after Pakistan Army resorted to heavy mortar shelling    along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Pakistan Army  violated ceasefire by indiscriminate firing with small arms, automatics, and mortars .The troops guarding the borderline retaliated and the  exchange of fire was continuing intermittently  when last reports came in. The unprovoked firing from Pakistan side began in the evening.

On December 12, an encounter broke out between militants and security forces in Sopore area.

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US pullout from INF Treaty may ruin arms control system: Putin




Moscow, Dec 18 Russia will have to take additional measures to boost its security if the US withdraws from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

US withdrawal from the INF Treaty may ruin the entire arms control system, said the Russian President.

“Such a step will have the most negative consequences, and will noticeably weaken regional and global security,” Putin said while speaking at an extended meeting of the Russian Defence Ministry board, Xinhua news agency reported.

“In fact, in the long term, the talk is about the degradation and even collapse of the entire arms control architecture and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” he added.

For a long time, the US has been using unsubstantiated accusations that Russia had violated its obligations under the treaty as a pretext to withdraw from it unilaterally, thus violating the treaty itself, Putin said.

He agreed that the INF Treaty did not involve other countries which have medium and shorter range missiles.

“But what prevents us from starting negotiations on their accession to the current agreement, or starting to discuss the parameters of a new treaty?” Putin said.

The treaty, in modern conditions, plays the role of a stabilising factor, which allows maintaining a certain level of predictability and restraint in the military sphere, he said.

He recalled that the INF Treaty signed in 1987 involved the elimination of medium-range and shorter-range (500-5,000 km) ground-based missiles. At the time, the USSR had no other missiles, while the US had sea-based and air-launched missiles.

Russia, since the signing of the treaty, has developed sea-based and air-launched missiles, which was the cause for Washington’s concern, Putin said.

According to Putin, it will not be difficult for Russia, if necessary, to create appropriate land-based systems as a response to the US withdrawal from the INF.

However, Russia is always open to any proposals and initiatives that lead to the strengthening of universal security including the prevention of a new arms race in the interests not only of Russia, but of the US and the whole world, Putin said.

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