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Next quarters may see negative growth too, recession on: Chidambaram

The Congress leader alleged that as far as the formal economy is concerned, the government has done nothing to bring back the jobs that were lost or to create new jobs.

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New Delhi: With the RBI predicting the quarterly economic growth rate is expected to decline by 8.6 per cent, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Thursday said that remaining quarters of the fiscal may record “negative growth” and that for the first time since data was recorded methodically, the Indian economy has gone into a recession, as defined by economists.

Addressing a press conference, the former Finance Minister said: “There is nothing to be pleased about these rates. These rates mean that we are still unable to catch up with even the tepid growth rates recorded in 2019-20. I am afraid the remaining quarters of 2020-21 will also record negative growth rates.”

Chidambaram said that since these rates are calculated y-o-y, it must be remembered that in Q1 of 2019-20, the growth rate was 5.2 per cent and in Q1 of 2020-21, it was (-)23.9 per cent. Similarly, in Q2 of 2019-2O, the growth rate was 4.4 per cent and in Q2 of 2020-21, it is expected to be (-) 8.6 per cent.

“It is therefore surprising that the Finance Minister should quote the RBI as predicting that the economy will register a positive growth rate in the third quarter. Nearly one and a half months of the third quarter are already over and there are no signs that the growth rate will turn positive in the third quarter,” he said.

The Congress leader said that his party has repeatedly emphasised the steps that need to be taken to revive the economy, and that as farmers must get fair and remunerative prices for their produce as only a small fraction get MSP and the very poor are outside the formal economy.

“There are millions who have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Unless money is put in their hands, they will not be able to contribute to the revival of demand and the consequent revival of the economy. It is absolutely necessary that a scheme like NYAY must be implemented,” Chidambaram said

The Congress leader alleged that as far as the formal economy is concerned, the government has done nothing to bring back the jobs that were lost or to create new jobs.

Noting that the unemployment rate on November 11 stood at 6.4 per cent, he said that it is feared that state governments will cut their capital expenditure by nearly Rs 2.7 lakh crore. “That is about one-half of the budgeted capital expenditure by the states. The Centre is starving the state governments of funds and doling out measly sums of money.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too, citing RBI data, attacked the government.

“India has entered into recession for the first time in history. Mr Modi’s actions have turned India’s strength into its weakness,” he said in a tweet.

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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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