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‘RBI shouldn’t hike rate for fear of Budget stoking inflation’

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Reserve Bank of India RBI

New Delhi, Feb 4: The RBI should refrain from raising interest rates owing to concerns about inflation being stoked by the pro-farm sector proposals of the budget 2018-19, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday ahead of the central bank’s final bi-monthly monetary policy review of the fiscal slated for the next week.

Presenting the Union Budget for the next fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for notified kharif crops will be 1.5 times the input cost, and also stepped up total budgetary allocation for the sector for next fiscal by about 5 per cent.

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not over-react to the high yield pressures of the bond market, along with the government promising a substantial revision in the MSP for farmers, and refrain from going in for any hike in the benchmark policy lending rates when the Monetary Policy Committee meets on February 7,” Assocham said in a press release.

Jaitley also made a significant announcement of fiscal slippage with implications for pushing inflation, revising upwards the government’s fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 to 3.5 per cent of the GDP, or the equivalent of Rs 5.95 lakh crore. The higher target came in place of the 3.2 per cent — or Rs 5.46 lakh crore — for the current fiscal announced earlier.

“Yes, some of the macro indicators, including pegging of higher fiscal deficit of 3.3 per cent for FY’ 2019 and 3.5 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal, look difficult, but reaction of the bond market to the budget-related would ease out soon,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said.

With the RBI maintaining status quo on its key lending rate at 6 per cent over three previous policy reviews, citing concerns on the rising trajectory of inflation, Assocham said the concerns over MSP leading to increase in retail inflation were exaggerated for various reasons.

“In the first place, effectively, there is no MSP for the vegetables at the ground level. As for the Operation Green for onion and potato, the entire institutional mechanism would have to be worked out by the NITI Aayog along with the states,” the industry body said.

“Same is the situation with regard to the MSP for several other agri commodities where the NITI Aayog and the states would bear in mind the farmers’ interest, while the institutional mechanism would surely strike a balance between remuneration to the growers as also the impact on the retail prices,” the statement added.

With the Bombay Stock Exchange plummeting 840 points the day after the budget announcement, Assocham described it as “a healthy correction which was overdue” in the stock markets.

“It is time the RBI joined the initiative by ensuring that the growth which seems visible, should be encouraged by at least not revising the interest rates upward, if at all the present macro situation does not favour any reduction,” the statement added.

The continuing rise in food and fuel prices pushed India’s annual retail inflation rate over the five per cent mark in December, to 5.21 per cent, from 4.88 per cent in November.

IANS

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

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Tomato

New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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JioMeet takes on Zoom, can support up to 100 participants

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

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JioMeet

New Delhi, July 2 : Amid growing calls for ”Made in India” digital tools, Reliance Jio has launched a free video-conferencing application called JioMeet, taking on US-based Zoom platform.

According to the JioMeet description on Google Play Store, the application can be used for 1:1 video calls and hosting meetings with up to 100 participants with enterprise-grade host controls.

Other highlights include easy sign up with either mobile number or email ID, meeting in HD audio and video quality.

The application can be used for creating instant meetings to chat with friends and also to schedule a meeting in advance and share meeting details with invitees.

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

The application can be used on Android, Windows, iOS, Mac, SIP/H.323 systems.

JioMeet has already been downloaded for over 10,000 times from Google Play Store.

Each meeting is password protected and the host can enable a “Waiting Room” to ensure no participant joins without permission, JioMeet said.

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