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V-shaped recovery unlikely for Indian economy: Survey

The package focussed broadly on saving lives and on undertaking deep structural reforms, the report said.

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New Delhi, July 12 : India is unlikely to witness a sharp turnaround in its economic growth amid the pandemic as there has been limited fiscal support from the government so far, according to a survey of economists by FICCI.

FICCI”s recent Economic Outlook Survey has shown that economists feel majority of the steps taken by the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) address only the supply side constraints, while there have been no major moves to boost demand, which is the need of the hour.

The current round of the survey was conducted in the month of June 2020 and drew responses from leading economists representing industry, banking, and the financial services sector.

“Economists also stressed that India was unlikely to witness a sharp turnaround in economic growth given the limited fiscal support extended till now,” said the FICCI report.

The opinion of economists gain significance as many people including from the government and industry have time and again raised hope that India will see a “V-shaped” recovery.

The survey predicts a 4.5 per cent contraction in India’s GDP in the ongoing financial year.

The survey showed that participating economists were of the view that government measures in the stimulus 2.0, which is popularly called the ”Aatmanirbhar Bharat” economic package would take a long time for on-ground implementation and tangible results to be witnessed.

The package focussed broadly on saving lives and on undertaking deep structural reforms, the report said.

“They strongly felt that the package could provide more measures to boost demand conditions in the economy as reviving demand should currently hold greater importance. Therefore, a need for undertaking direct income transfers to the most vulnerable section of the population and unemployed poor was felt by a majority of the participants,” it said.

Economists were of the view that apart from pure cash transfers, the government could also consider GST reductions especially in the non essential goods segment which has the potential to drive demand. Furthermore, some sort of tax waivers could also be undertaken for low income groups.

Alongside, sector specific measures could also support recovery in a big way, the FICCI report said.

Sectors with high backward and forward linkages such as automobile, construction among others could be revived without incurring much fiscal strain, it said among other suggestions.

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India’s consumer price inflation rises as food prices soar

As per the data, the CPI YoY inflation rate for vegetables and pulses jumped by 11.29 per cent and 15.92 per cent, respectively, in July.

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New Delhi, Aug 14 : A substantial rise in food prices lifted India’s July retail inflation to 6.93 per cent from 6.23 per cent in June, official data showed on Thursday.

On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the CPI inflation more than doubled last month from 3.15 per cent recorded during July 2019.

The data furnished by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed that India’s consumer food price index during the month under review rose to 9.62 per cent from 8.72 per cent reported for June 2020.

CFPI readings measure the changes in retail prices of food products.

“As the various pandemic-related restrictions were gradually lifted and non- essential activities started resuming operations, availability of price data has also improved,” the NSO said.

“The NSO collected prices from 1,054 (95 per cent) urban markets and 1,089 (92 per cent) villages during the month of July 2020,” it said.

The data showed that CPI Urban rose to 6.84 per cent in July from 6.12 per cent in June. The CPI rural increased to 7.04 per cent last month from 6.34 p er cent in June.

The data assumes significance as the Reserve Bank of India, in its recent monetary policy review, maintained the key lending rates on account of rising retail inflation.

The central bank’s target for retail inflation is set within a band of +/-2 per cent.

As per the data, the CPI YoY inflation rate for vegetables and pulses jumped by 11.29 per cent and 15.92 per cent, respectively, in July.

Furthermore, meat and fish prices rose 18.81 per cent and eggs became dearer by 8.79 per cent.

In addition, the fuel and light category under CPI rose by 2.80 per cent.

“Clearly, the larger concern is the impact of consistently high food inflation on core inflation through cost push factors; the relatively high figure for transport and communication is a reflection of high tax driven fuel prices and increase in telecom tariffs,” said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuite Ratings & Research.

“We believe that inflationary concerns may lead to a delay in further rate cuts and can raise the risks of stagflation. It is also expected to have an adverse impact on bond yields in the near term and may trigger the higher use of liquidity and yield management tools to optimise the cost of government’s borrowings.”

According to Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist and Senior Director, Public Finance, India Ratings & Research: “Both industrial production and inflation trend suggests different monetary policy action.”

“Retail inflation breaching the MPC’s upper band of 6 per cent in seven out of last eight months makes task of the MPC difficult. India Ratings believes the MPC will watch inflation trajectory very carefully before taking a decision on further rate cuts.”

Brickwork ratings’ Chief Economic Advisor M. Govinda Rao said: “The spillovers of the hike in petrol prices are most likely to influence transportation costs adding to inflationary pressures going forward. We expect food inflation to soften in the coming months with easing supply constraints and better monsoon so far.”

“However, the core inflation at 5.5 per cent is a cause of concern, and it may remain at elevated levels as the demand picks up, but capacity utilisation does not increase commensurately.”

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PM Modi unveils ‘transparent taxation’, Rights’ Charter for taxpayers

The Income Tax department will adopt a ‘taxpayer charter’ which outlines rights and responsibilities of both tax officers and taxpayers.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the ‘transparent taxation’ platform, which brings into effect faceless assessment of taxpayers, and the Rights’ Charter for the taxpayers.

Also the Income Tax department will adopt a ‘taxpayer charter’ which outlines rights and responsibilities of both tax officers and taxpayers.

Launching the platform ‘Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest’, Modi said the department will start faceless appeals from September 25.

“Effort is to make tax system seamless, painless and faceless… Honest taxpayer plays an important role in nation development,” he said.

Asking people to pay taxes due to them, Modi said while it is the responsibility of tax officers to deal with taxpayers with dignity, people should also consider paying taxes as their responsibility.

Fundamental reforms were needed in Indian tax system, he said, adding India is among the nations with lowest corporate tax rates.

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Gold, silver prices now collapse after record run

Futures of silver, which surged to record levels after crossing Rs 70,000 per kilogram mark, have declined below the Rs 66,000 mark.

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Mumbai, Aug 12 : Futures of gold and silver which were touching new highs every other day lately have started to falter in line with international markets and traders booking profits.

The fall in gold prices, which is considered as a safe haven asset, has also been induced post Russia’s announcement that it has developed the first vaccine for novel coronavirus.

Gold futures slumped for the second straight day on Wednesday. Currently, the October contract of gold on the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX) is trading at Rs 51,672 per 10 gram, lower by Rs 257 or 0.49 per cent from its previous close.

It has, however, recovered from the day’s low of Rs 49,955 per 10 gram.

The slump was in line with the international spot prices where gold prices fell as US bond yields advanced and the dollar recovered.

Analysts, however, are of the view that the sentiments in the bullion market are still bullish and the yellow metal would soon be back on the upward trend.

Futures of silver, which surged to record levels after crossing Rs 70,000 per kilogram mark, have declined below the Rs 66,000 mark.

The September contract of silver is trading at Rs 65,758 per kg, lower by Rs 1,176, or 1.76 per cent from its previous close.

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