Sri Lanka to enforce 9-hour curfew from 8 pm today

Colombo [Sri Lanka], May 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan federal government will enforce a curfew from 8 pm on Monday till 5 am Tuesday, local media reported on Monday.

This comes a day after Sri Lankan government  announced that more than 200 people were detained on different charges.

Srilankan Citizens continue to protest against the govt.

On Sunday, newly-appointed Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe stated he will certainly offer a complete description of the financial crisis faced by the island country on Monday.

Ranil was designated Head of state this week with a pledge to revitalize the debilitating Sri Lankan economic condition. He has actually invited opposition leader Sajith Premadasa as well as his party leaders to create a non-partisan federal government that exceeds conventional parliamentary politics and work for the country.

In a collection of tweets on Sunday, Wickremesinghe stated there is a great deal to be “done as well as undone” amidst the unprecedented recession in the country, which requires his federal government to focus on issues.
Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has actually been implicated of mismanaging the nation’s economic climate, designated 4 ministers to the cabinet after United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as country’s head of state on Thursday.

Xi asks Chinese officials to enter economic race with US

Washington [US]: Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed officials to ensure that the country’s economic growth outpaces that of the US this year.

The issue of the China-US competition has been raised in recent weeks in Xi’s meetings with senior officials in the economic and financial bloc, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the discussions.
This comes as investors are ditching China due to growing business risks, and rising interest rates elsewhere. China witnessed USD 17.5 billion worth of portfolio outflows last month, an all-time high, CNN reported citing the data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The US-based trade association said that this capital flight by overseas investors “unprecedented.”

Amid the growing economic insecurity, the Chinese leader said that ensuring stability and economic growth is extremely important, as the US is declining both politically and economically.

The relevant Chinese government agencies are discussing plans to accelerate the implementation of large construction projects, as well as to issue coupons for individuals, designed to stimulate consumer spending, WSJ’s sources said.

In the final quarter of 2021, the US economy outpaced China, growing 5.5 per cent year-on-year compared to China’s 4.0 per cent.

US President Joe Biden claimed that the American economy grew faster than the Chinese for the first time in 20 years. According to WSJ, this caused discontent among a number of senior Chinese officials.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slightly downgraded its forecast for economic growth in China to 4.4 per cent this year and to 5.1 per cent in 2023.

According to the IMF forecast, the zero-COVID strategy pursued in China entails an increase in restrictive measures that have a negative effect on China’s private consumption and overall economic growth.(ANI)


WTO downgrades forecast for global GDP growth in 2022 to 2.8pc

Geneva [Switzerland]: The World Trade Organization (WTO) has downgraded its forecast for global GDP growth in 2022 to 2.8% from the previously expected 4.1%, according to a fresh report released on Tuesday.

“World GDP at market exchange rates is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2022, down 1.3 percentage points from the previous forecast of 4.1%. Growth should pick up to 3.2% in 2023, close to the average rate of 3.0% between 2010 and 2019,” the report said.
The decline in the GDP of countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), excluding Ukraine, will be 7.9% this year, with regional imports expected to drop 12% as a result.

CIS exports, on the other hand, will not be affected by the crisis in Ukraine, the WTO said.

“Exports should grow by 4.9% as other countries continue to rely on Russian energy,” the report read.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian provocations. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow. (ANI/Sputnik)


Economy in Crisis: Sri Lanka to experience 10-hr daily power cuts

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Amid the financial crisis, Sri Lanka will be experiencing 10-hour daily power cuts from Wednesday, announced Public Utilities Commission of the island nation.

The Ceylon Electricity Board said in a statement that they were “compelled to take demand management measures due to inadequate power generation, as a result of fuel shortage and unavailability of generators,” reported Xinhua.
Sri Lanka has been facing power cuts since February due to dwindling electricity production in hydropower plants as well as diesel shortages that have crippled the operations of thermal power plants, the Commission said.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Tuesday announced that there will be a diesel shortage in the country on Wednesday and Thursday, reported Xinhua.

“We were unable to unload 37,500 tons of diesel shipment as planned on Tuesday. Therefore, we request the public not to queue up at filling stations for diesel on March 30 and 31,” CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe told the media.

Wijesinghe said the remaining stocks of diesel would be given to essential services.

Sri Lanka’s currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8.

Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance.

India provided more than USD 500 million in foreign currency swaps to strengthen Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves, taking the total up to USD 900 million. India also extended the repayment time frame for the USD 500 million debt of Sri Lanka under the Asian Clearance Arbitration.

More recently on March 17, Sri Lanka signed a USD 1 billion credit line deal with India for the procurement of food, medicines and other essential items during Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksha’s two-day visit to India.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday recommended a number of measures, including tax hikes, for macroeconomic stability in Sri Lanka and also to mitigate adverse impacts on the vulnerable and the poor.

The report recommended implementing a credible and coherent strategy to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while protecting vulnerable groups and reducing poverty through strengthened, well-targeted social safety nets.

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapakse is scheduled to travel to Washington in April in order to seek IMF assistance to deal with the country’s economic crisis. (ANI)


Aluminium industry contributing towards self reliant India

New Delhi [India] (ANI/ATK): Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), India’s iconic Aluminium producer has not only set new benchmarks in the field of production, productivity, research and development, quality et al but has also impacted the society in a positive manner through its various flagship projects.
These significant contributions of BALCO through its 56 years long developmental journey has led to the development of state and nation at large, thus, supporting India in its journey of becoming ‘AtmaNirbhar’. In its stride towards contributing in nation development, BALCO continued with the business operations by adhering to COVID safety protocols during the testing times of pandemic. Though the organization was also affected by the COVID induced worldwide economic challenges but the resilience of BALCO employees and its business partners drove the production process.
It can be affirmed that India is gradually waking up to the potential of its minerals and metals industry, which ensured that the wheels of the economy kept running, despite the ravages of the pandemic.
In fact, India’s mining GDP increased from INR 739.90 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 to INR 913.03 billion in the first quarter of 2021, as per data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI).
Talking about the importance of Aluminium industry and BALCO’s contribution, Abhijit Pati, CEO and Director, BALCO, says, “Aluminium is a metal of significant strategic importance to India, critical to almost all sectors of significance to modern life and essential to build a sustainable tomorrow. By virtue of its unusual properties like high strength-to-weight ratio, exceptional design flexibility, superior thermal & electrical properties, 100% recyclability over and over again, Aluminium’s demand in space exploration, aviation, electric vehicles, renewable energy production, electricity transmission, construction, consumer goods, and more, is only slated to increase. BALCO is playing a crucial role in introducing Aluminium as a potential alternative to other metals in various sectors such as in power transmission industry. BALCO has been an early adopter of smart technologies for heightened operational efficiencies, which further bolsters the culture of energy optimization, safety, and productivity that we have meticulously fostered across the organization. Our primary focus is delivering value of the highest standard to our stakeholders. We are constantly motivated towards improving our costs and our quality of production in each of our business through a culture of best practice benchmarking.”
India is a leading player in the global Aluminium industry with the second largest Aluminium production capacity of about 4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of which around 55 per cent is produced by Vedanta group constituting 15 per cent production by BALCO. Vedanta Group and BALCO has always worked towards strengthening research and development in accordance with market needs.
The highly advanced R&D capability has allowed the production of sophisticated alloys such as Primary Foundry Alloy and Cylinder-Head Alloy for the automotive industry, and AlSi3 for the steel industry for the very first time in India. Before Vedanta produced them indigenously, these alloys were being entirely imported into India. Vedanta also recently launched High-Speed Billets, a special billet variant with advanced metallurgical properties to significantly boost productivity of extruders.
BALCO is one of the major producers of wire rods in the country and also produces Primary Aluminium ingots that are re-melted to produce a variety of end products covering the entire spectrum of Aluminium applications using the state of art technology. BALCO is also equipped to deliver high quality rolled products in segments with application in automobiles, insulations, bus bars, power projects, electrical, packaging etc.
The global Aluminium consumption has been driven majorly by India and China having growth rate of approximately 10% till pre COVID times. Last decade has seen India’s consumption almost double from 2.2 million tons in FY-11 to about 4 million tons in FY-19.
India’s Aluminium demand is estimated to double again by the year 2025 with current resilient GDP growth rate driven by increasing urbanization and push for boosting domestic infrastructure, automotive, aviation, defence, and power sectors.
Talking about Chhattisgarh, the state is already in an advantageous position in terms of industrial development, the need of the hour is to undertake requisite policy measures to support the downstream Aluminium industries which will further create numerous employment opportunities.
Also supply of large scale processed Aluminium from Chhattisgarh to neighbouring states and worldwide will only lead to an escalation in the revenue figures.
This story is provided by ATK. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (Image source: Instagram)

Retail inflation rises to 5.59 per cent in December, highest in 6 months

New Delhi [India] (ANI): India’s retail inflation rose to a six-month high of 5.59 per cent in December 2021 as compared to 4.59 per cent recorded in the same month of 2020, the government data showed on Wednesday.
There has been a consistent rise in the inflationary pressure in the past six months. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation stood at 4.91 per cent in November 2021. The retail inflation is inching closer to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent.
Rise in retail prices was sharper in urban areas than the rural areas. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 5.83 per cent in urban while it stood at 5.36 per cent for rural during the month of December 2021, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Food prices rose sharply. Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) based inflation surged to 4.05 per cent in December 2021, sharply higher from 1.87 per cent recorded in the previous month. CFPI based inflation stood at 3.41 per cent in December 2020.
Urban retail food inflation surged to 5.08 per cent in December 2021 from 3.33 per cent in the previous month.
Rural retail food inflation jumped to 3.46 per cent in December 2021 from 1.09 per cent recorded in November 2021. (Image source: Unsplash)

Inflation, Omicron major risks to Indian economy: RBI

Mumbai [India]: Inflation and COVID-19 new variant Omicron pose major challenges to the Indian economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Wednesday.
In the Reserve Bank’s latest Systemic Risk Survey (SRS), all broad categories of risks to the financial system – global; macroeconomic; financial market; institutional; and general – were perceived as ‘medium’ in magnitude, but risks arising on account of global and financial markets were rated higher than the rest. “Commodity prices, domestic inflation, equity price volatility, asset quality deterioration, credit growth and cyber disruptions were rated as the major risks,” according to the 24th issue of the Financial Stability Report (FSR) released by the RBI.
The central bank noted that the global economic recovery has been losing momentum in the second half of 2021 in the face of resurfacing COVID-19 infections, the new variant Omicron, supply disruptions and bottlenecks, elevated inflationary levels and shifts in monetary policy stances and actions across advanced economies and emerging market economies.
On the domestic front, progress in vaccination has enabled the recovery to regain traction after the debilitating second wave of the pandemic, notwithstanding signs of slowing pace more recently; the corporate sector is gaining strength and bank credit growth is improving.
The Financial Stability Report (FSR) is published bi-annually and includes contributions from all the financial sector regulators. Accordingly, it reflects the collective assessment of the Sub Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC-SC) on risks to financial stability.

Globalisation is crucial to create a stronger Justice System: Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India

Sonipat (Haryana) [India]: Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India & Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, speaking at the valedictory session of the three-day Global Law Schools’ Summit on the theme “The Present and Future of Global Legal Education” said, “Globalisation in the last few decades has been accelerating exponentially largely due to the advancement in transportation, communication, technologies and various other reasons.
With the great benefit of globalisation also comes some global risks and very vital global challenges. Recently, all of us have witnessed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the largest price was paid in terms of lives. Therefore, it has also resulted in greater demands of global justice and a need for a better understanding of the implications of globalisation. In order to virtually recreate the world, not only do we need to strengthen our legal systems and innovate solutions that are balanced with empathy, but we will also need to come together to reimagine a global justice system. Globalisation in law and legal education has always been — and even in these times will be — very crucial to pave a path for a stronger justice system. With JGU being one of India’s institutions of eminence and JGLS being India’s number one law school as per the QS World University Rankings, the institution has indeed lived up to its commitment to increasing in building India’s global footprint.
With this summit seeing leaders from across 100 law schools from across the world, and representing divergent views and intellectual ideas, JGU has truly elevated the idea of being global, especially at a time when globalisation is crucial to the progress of the world around us. We need to redefine the way global education can contribute in bringing about a change in this world and we must use this gathering today as an opportunity to find our collective consciousness to re-assess the present and re-imagining the future of global education at large.”
The Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has organized a truly international, one-of-its-kind Global Law Schools’ Summit, bringing together 150+ thought leaders from 6 continents and 35+ countries over 21 Thematic Sessions, 8 Special Dialogues, 2 Colloquiums and 3 Keynote Addresses to discuss the present and future of Global Legal Education. The summit concluded with a Valedictory Address by Tushar Mehta, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and the Solicitor General of India. Dr Sasmit Patra, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, India delivered the Special Address.
In his Special Address, Dr Sasmit Patra said, “Sometimes we take democracy for granted. Whether it’s the Middle East, the Far East or South America, you find new definitions and dimensions of democracy, which basically hinges on who has more power, resources, demography, population, etc. Before we can think of democracy and strengthening the democracy, the idea of strengthening the citizen is paramount. Legal education has a huge role to play in terms of building those core values for budding young lawyers. It is important to remember the basic rules and fundamentals of studying law and that using law as a platform will help to provide information, strengthen citizen centric services, and help citizens to really rediscover their strengths to be able to ask the system questions and to get their rightful answers.”
Dr. Patra raised pertinent questions on whether the legal education is preparing students to ensure access to justice, public accountability, respect for democratic institutions and ensuring independence of the jury. “Legal education is surely strengthening the legal process. But is legal education truly helping us to strengthen democracy? Many a times, we find that democracy survives sustains, grows, and thrives when especially the citizens of a nation have access to the judicial system.”
In his welcome address, the Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and Dean of Jindal Global Law School Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said, “The onset of the pandemic from March 2020 was perhaps was one of the most unprecedented crises of our times. With an aim to envision the transformation of law schools, we held our first law summit last year. It was the starting point of an ongoing transformation at JGLS and we wanted to further strengthen our commitment to the change we want to see in the delivery of justice. Therefore, this 2nd edition of the summit is focused on importance of globalization in the way we evolve our legal education. We wanted to evaluate the kinds of resilience adopted by the law schools in the face of the pandemic and create dialogues. What began as a small idea has evolved into a global platform and we have witnessed overwhelming participation of more than 150 thought leaders across six continents and over 35 countries over the last three days. This has been our humble effort to have members of academia and industry come together on a single platform to shape and transform the future of law and legal education. We had 50 hours of live streaming with more than 3500 views across multiple time zones.”
The concluding remarks were made by Professor (Dr.) S.G. Sreejith, Executive Dean, Jindal Global Law School. “The idea of this conference was prompted by the many uncertainties faced by society over the last two decades. During this summit, we wanted to hear stories of resistance, response and resilience in the areas of legal education and the legal profession. The conference brought to us incredible stories in the language of theory, practice, experiences and experiments. From those stories, we understood the inescapability of phenomena which further informed us that we have the courage and competency to face those uncertainties. We have heard tales of redemption and reimagination in various branches of law, the struggle for the intellectual and cultural identities of law but still all our deliberations and collective self-expression ended on the note of hope.”
The Summit saw law experts, academics, vice-chancellors, deans and heads of law institutions from 35+ countries, to make this Conference a truly global experience. The conference witnessed the participation of speakers from Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, The Czech Republic, The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Turkey, Uruguay. The vote of thanks was given by Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU.

Pakistan revisits ties with Saudi Arabia to revive its crumbling economy

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan is trying to mend its ties with Saudi Arabia in order to get financial help to revive its crumbling economy.
While Pakistan has hailed its ‘brotherly’ relations with Saudi Arabia, it is evident that its new ‘brotherhood’ with Saudi Arabia comes at a time when Pakistan is on the brink of a financial crisis, according to the Times of Israel. “The Pakistani economy has been faltering, with an imminent balance of payment crisis and the country increasingly dependent on external debts to stay afloat. Given its inability to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for release of USD 1 billion,” wrote Sergio Restelli, an analyst for the Times of Israel.
Despite this, Saudi Arabia has pledged financial assistance package which includes about $ US 3 billion in deposits and $ 1.2 billion to USD 1.5 billion worth of oil supplies on deferred payments to bail Pakistan of its never-ending financial crisis.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia had demanded early repayment of a $3 billion loan to Pakistan and refused to renew a $3.2 billion oil credit facility considering Islamabad’s poorly performing economy.
Pakistan is desperate to get help from countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates compromising on its proclaimed strategic autonomy.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s financial assistance, Pakistan was to blame for the souring relationship with the Arab country as it clearly lacks geopolitical acumen, economic heft, and ideological leadership had been making attempts to create a substantial international bloc, according to the Times of Israel.
Further, Pakistan failed to note that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates share deep strategic and economic ties with India. Traditionally, India has been a more viable partner for the two countries. India’s total trade with Saudi Arabia has been over $ US33 billion which is better than Pakistan.
In contrast, Pakistan’s trade with Saudi Arabia has been around $ US 3.6 billion, a tenth.
Further, India-Saudi ties had been strengthened further with the signing of defence cooperation pact adding to Pakistan’s problem

India’s GDP shows remarkable recovery, grows at 8.4% in July-Sept 2021

New Delhi [India] : Showing signs of recovery during the second quarter following a record growth in the first quarter of financial year 2022, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 8.45 per cent during the July-September quarter, official data released on Tuesday showed.

The GDP growth in April-June quarter this fiscal stood at 20.1 per cent. The Indian economy had contracted by 24.4 per cent in April-June last year.

The gross domestic product (GDP) had contracted by 7.4 per cent in the corresponding July-September quarter of 2020-21, according to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO). GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in April-September 2021-22 (H1 2021-22) is estimated at Rs 68.11 lakh crore as against Rs 59.92 lakh crore during the corresponding period of previous year, showing a growth of 13.7 per cent in H1 2021-22 as against a contraction of 15.9 per cent during the same period last year, it stated. The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. China has recorded a growth of 4.9 per cent in the July-September period of 2021.

Taiwan and India explore partnership for Smart & Green India

New Delhi [India] : Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) launched the Taiwan Product Centre (TPC) in India with the aim to support its business ties and expand its market presence in India.
Apart from enabling business interaction with Indian companies, TPC has also scaled up its state-of-the-art products and technology offering across their Centres in Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. The pandemic-induced economic and social crisis has brought the two democracies, Taiwan and India closer through trade and economic ties. In fact, the trade relations between India and Taiwan have grown exponentially over the past five years majorly because both countries find close synergy to shift, transform and lead supply chains, be it ‘Make in India’ initiative, for Aatmanirbhar Bharat or the new south-bound policy in action for Taiwan. Taiwanese companies want to take advantage of this trade relation and business opportunities, for setting up operations in the country.
Speaking about Taiwan Product Centre, Welber Wang, Manager, Taipei World Trade Center – Mumbai said, “The pandemic period was a real testing time for economies and trade relations across the globe. We are happy that there is a rejuvenated and stronger bilateral connection between India and Taiwan. India is working towards creating a green economy, powered by clean energy and also becoming a global manufacturing hub. We are open to continuing our support and providing the required impetus to help both countries achieve their national goals.”
The TPC Product Centers display a wide array of products from reputed Taiwan companies and thus is a strategic avenue for consumers to experience the latest innovative offerings across various industrial segments, all under one roof. Some of the key companies include Acon Optics Communication Inc, Goldencrops Corporation, Labelmen International, all in TPC Chennai.WhileTPC Mumbai has Acewell International Co. Ltd, Advanced Connectek (a subsidiary of ACON group), and Magtech Magnetic. TPC Delhi has Bestak Self-Adhesives Inc., A-Tech System Co. Ltd, Rice Ear (LUFTQI), and Comeup Industries Inc.
These companies are optimistic about India because of the market diversity, large consumer base, and huge supply-demand in B2B space which will be supported by key initiatives like the 5G rollout, increasing internet penetration into smaller markets, and faster adoption of technology innovations like AI, ML and the industrial transformation from labor-intensive toward automation.
Taiwan is one of the leading business hubs in Asia and over the last decade, the island nation has become a powerhouse of technology and innovation.

India has set ambitious target of USD 400 billion exports for 2021-22, says Foreign Secretary

New Delhi [India]: Underlining goals of promoting the three Ts – Trade, Tourism and Technology, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday said that India has set an ambitious target of USD 400 billion of exports for the year 2021-22.
The Foreign Secretary made these remarks at the Annual Session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce held in Kolkata titled ‘Bharat@75: Empowering India: Today for Tomorrow’. Referring to the recent interaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Heads of Indian Missions abroad and with stakeholders in trade and commerce, Shringla said that the PM gave concrete directions on how work can be done to further the goal of promoting the three Ts – Trade, Tourism and Technology.
“An ambitious target of USD 400 billion of exports has been set up for the year 2021-22. The business of Indian diplomacy is, thus, business. We at the Ministry of External Affairs stand ready to help Indian businesses in any way we can,” Shringla said.
During his address, Shringla highlighted that the Indian economy has returned to the high growth path and India’s GDP grew by over 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2021-22.
Emphasising the recovering of India’s economic growth trajectory despite challenging times, the foreign secretary said, “That India would have a role in world affairs little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future.”
Noting India’s key role in world affairs, the foreign secretary said that the post-pandemic economy will differ significantly from the present one.

Indian economy has returned to high growth path, says Harsh Vardhan Shringla at Indian Chamber of Commerce meet

Kolkata [India]: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday highlighted that the Indian economy has returned to the high growth path and India’s GDP grew by over 20% in the first quarter of 2021-22.
The Foreign Secretary said this in his address at the Annual Session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce held in Kolkata titled ‘Bharat@75: Empowering India: Today for Tomorrow’. Shringla emphasized India’s economic growth trajectory despite challenging times.
“That India would have a role in world affairs would have been little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future,” the Foreign Secretary said
“That India would have a role in world affairs would have been little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future,” he added.
The Foreign Secretary emphasized that the post-pandemic economy that will differ significantly from the present one.
“These economic shifts are taking place in the midst of what has been described as “rebalancing.” Very high growth rates in Asian countries, including India, have moved the centre of economic gravity of the world towards Asia, ” the foreign secretary said.
“This has geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences. The Indo-Pacific region, which extends from the shores of America to the east coast of Africa, and includes the Indian Ocean region, is now a major focus of global attention. It generates almost 60 % of the world’s economic output. It also contributes 70% of global economic growth,”
The Foreign Secretary also highlighted India’s expanding role in the Indo-Pacific including its role as a net security provider in the region.

We can do much with India on cyber security, tech, digital economy, says Australian PM Morrison

Sydney [Australia]: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said that there is so much to do with India in the field of technology, adding that both the countries are already cooperating on cyber security, critical and emerging technologies, critical minerals, digital economy.
Speaking at Sydney Dialogue for “Deepening technology Partnership among Quad countries”, Scott Morrison informed that he will be speaking at the Bengaluru Tech Summit, India’s biggest technology summit today and will expand on some of the complementary initiatives with India. “There is much we can do with India in this area – some of which I have already touched on today, including as part of our Quad partnership,” he said at the inaugural Sydney Dialogue on emerging, critical and cyber technologies.
“As part of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India, our two countries are already cooperating — on cyber security, critical and emerging technologies, critical minerals, the digital economy, and so much more.”
He added, “I am also speaking at the Bengaluru Tech Summit today, which is India’s biggest technology summit. I will expand on some of the complementary initiatives with India at the Summit.”
Speaking further on Quad, Morrison said that Australia will also deepen its technology partnerships through the Quad.
“Together with India, Japan and the United States, Australia is working to harness our respective nations’ capabilities to enhance the resilience of Indo-Pacific supply chains and foster an open, accessible and secure technology ecosystem,” he said.
“At September’s first in-person Quad Leaders Meeting in Washington DC, we agreed to strengthen lines of effort across a number of very important areas, including, Technical standards, 5G deployment and diversification and detailed horizon scanning and mapping, with an immediate focus on supply chain security for semiconductors and their vital components, as well as exploring opportunities for cooperation on advanced bio-technologies,” he added.
He finally extended his wishes to those including Prime Minister Narendra Modi for participating in Sydney Dialogue, organised by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). PM Modi is expected to deliver a keynote address outlining India’s technology evolution and revolution, at the inaugural Sydney Dialogue on November 18.

India has potential to grow at reasonably high pace in post-pandemic scenario, says RBI Governor

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: India has the potential to grow at a reasonably high pace in the post-pandemic scenario, said Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday.
Addressing the SBI Banking and Economics Conclave 2021, the RBI Governor said that numerous high-frequency indicators suggest that economic recovery is now taking hold. “There are signs that consumption demand, triggered by the festive season, is making a strong comeback. This should encourage firms to expand capacity and boost employment and investment amidst congenial financial conditions,” said Das.
He noted that the recent cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel by the Central government and in value-added tax (VAT) by several state governments will augment the purchasing power of the people, which, in turn, he said, “will create space for additional consumption.”
“I firmly believe that India has the potential to grow at a reasonably high pace in the post-pandemic scenario,” said Das.
“Numerous high-frequency indicators suggest that economic recovery is now taking hold… While the economy is picking up, it is yet to cover a lot of ground before it gets broad-based and well-entrenched,” he said further.
The RBI governor added that with a scale of vaccination in India, “that is among the highest in the world,” the country is poised to lead the fight against COVID-19.

Indians studying abroad laid basis for strong ties across world: EAM Jaishankar

New Delhi [India] : Underscoring the role of education in the knowledge economy, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday said that quest for education has also been a powerful incentive for Indians to go abroad and it has laid the basis for the country’s strong ties across the world.
“The quest for education has also been a powerful incentive for Indians to go to other countries. More than a million Indian students study abroad and by doing so they have laid the basis for strong relationships across many geographies,” said EAM Jaishankar in a video conference while addressing “Diplomatic Conclave” on Higher Education organised by Chandigarh University. “This is complemented by a long tradition of foreign students studying in India – currently about 50,000 from 164 nations,” he added.
Jaishankar noted that the challenge today is to reimagine this two-way interaction and make it work better for the world as a whole. “In a sense, the issues are much bigger than education or the economy. It is reflecting a larger global rebalancing whose cultural and human resource aspects are very central,” he said.
“It is only when the exchanges of ideas, creativity and knowledge are more diversified, then we can strive for a multipolar and democratic world. As a civilizational state, India has a particular interest in ensuring that the future takes into account the best from the past,” the minister added.
Furthermore, Jaishankar said the nature of power is changing just as is the global architecture. “Countries will be increasingly defined by technology, innovation, ideas and talent. It should be their centrality that should be the subject of the greater discourse.”
Apart from EAM Jaishankar, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also spoke at the conclave.

China’s Economy: The Big Power Crunch

By Kshvid News Desk with inputs from agencies

Policy measures have been put in place to help generate equality, which has potentially led to issues as China’s factory outputs have been at their lowest since the start of the pandemic, and they GDP has grown 0.3% under what was forecast.

China has been long hailed as having the world’s largest economy (when measured in Purchasing Power Parity). In terms of GDP, it is on track to being the largest global economy in 2028, and currently ranks second in GDP, next to the USA. However, recently, a complex mix of changing policy, issues in property construction and power issues have led to larger issues for China’s economy. This has led to experts suggesting that China needs to change policies in order to create more liquidity in the interbank market, and to relax obtainment of credit and real estate policies in order to stimulate continued economic growth in the right direction at the same monumental rate.

Changing investments

There have been issues in recent months of the buying of luxury goods by Chinese expats, stretching to Europe, which has led to big brand house like LVMH (owner of 75 luxury brands including Dior, Givenchy, Celine, Moet & Chandon, Princess Yachets, Louis Vuitton etc) as well as powerhouse large brand Hermes, with both experiencing a 3%. As a background to this, Chinese citizens are allowed to take up to $50,000 out of the country annually, but many wealthier citizens would prefer to take more, for taxation purposes, and there has been a long, notorious history of this through money laundering practices. 

By the ruling communist party keeping this wealth within its borders, this has helped to bring the overall Chinese economy to where it is now, as wealthy citizens need to spend the majority of their wealth within China, however, this is likely to change. In June of this year, China made moves to loosen these restrictions on Chinese citizens being able to take money out of the country, through the introduction of a particular set of rules for investment: the ‘Wealth Connect’ programme.

These moves have generated a large amount of excitement, despite the numbers allowed for investment still being relatively low, as it speaks to a Chinese future that is more interested – and invested – in liberalisation as well as expansion. It is in stark contrast to previous restrictions placed by the Central bank on ‘dual currency’ which is the concept of Chinese citizens being able to use credit cards to make purchases in a different currency elsewhere.

It is estimated that Chinese households will have $46.3tn to invest in 2025, and that if 10% of households invested $50,000 internationally, this would mean that £2.4tn would be invested worldwide. Whether this level of international investment is ever likely to be seen, is uncertain, but unlikely due to the chaos that it would create within China’s own economy. Despite this, the Wealth Connect programme still portrays a powerful symbolic shift in China’s economy.


China has recently made policy moves to help tackle inequality, which has already had an impact on the private sector. China’s reputation regarding poor human rights is seemingly trying to be shaken up by China’s top leader, Mr. Xi Jinping, calling for changes in a ruling put out, by Communist Party Quishi, to help close the wealth disparities and allow for property acquisition by poorer families.

This new move to a greater sense of equality comes from Xi, who has also been known to quote a Confucian scholar from the 19th century when he said, “To destroy a country, you must first eradicate its history.” He feels that it is important that China stays close to the reasoning behind the revolution, and what sparked China to be the ‘red’ (synonymous with communism) country that it is today, which is tied to a one-size-fits-all approach to history, ensuring that a singular narrative is what must be rolled out, to keep a strong tie to ‘red’-focused feelings of nationalism, from the age of “toddlers”, according the Xi. 

The new steps made towards equality seem to be hailing back to the communist roots of Xi’s party, as well as trying to put forth a particular image of the party to its citizens, to stifle the dissent seen in Hong Kong in 2019. What keeps China’s economy powerful is deemed by Xi to be largely focussed around a united picture of the past, which helps to create a united future for China. This is achieved at any cost necessary, as is evident by the enslavement, forced sterilisation and torture of Uyghurs that are currently within ‘re-education’ camps in China.

The small shifts towards creating equality by China are quite deliberately limited to Han Chinese people (the majority of the population) who share the same values and ideas about China as the government. Research conducted by the BBC in 2020 showed that approximately 500,000 people were being forced into enslavement through cotton picking in Xinjiang, and that factories are being built within the so-called ‘re-education’ camps. Xi has been intent on keeping Xinjiang Chinese due to the oil-richness of the region and its ability to generated dramatic wealth.

Energy sector

China’s industrial sector has faced coal shortages in recent months as well as the need for more intention being put into changing the tremendous pollution and environmentally damaging practices. China recently came under scrutiny for not attending the COP26 summit this week, and has been advised by a UN report that immediate measures must be taken to change the current climate change disaster.

There were severe shortages in power in September and due to the heightened heights of global commodity prices, there has been a direct effect on the cost of raw materials. China has said, in the COP26 summit, that it will be ‘net zero’ by 2060. Net zero is when carbon emissions are reduced and offset by various measures.

The Shanxi region was also hit with flooding from torrential downpours this year, which spelt bad news for China as the region produces approximately 30% of China’s coal, leading to a significantly higher coal price which has led to many high-energy usage factories, such as steel factories, needing to close or reduce production.

The new policy measures put into place, that are set to affect everything from the property sector to education, are all aimed at long-term economic growth, and may be responsible for these recent issues, but Chinese economic dominance is unlikely to see lasting issues.

#china #economy #analysis #growth #policies #wealth

The Great Resignation

By Kshvid News Desk with inputs from agencies

The term “Great Resignation” refers to the widespread trend of a large number of workers quitting their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Quit is another name for it. The Great Resignation is typically discussed in terms of the US labour force, but the phenomenon is global.

In July 2021, 4 million Americans resigned from their jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Resignations peaked in April and have remained unusually high for several months, with 10.9 million available jobs at the end of July, a new high. In the face of such a tidal flood of resignations, how can employers keep their employees?

“We tend to ponder about death and contemplate whether we are content with our lives or whether we would like to make changes when we come into contact with life-threatening events,” said Anthony Klotz, a management professor at Texas A&M University who created the phrase “Great Resignation.”

“The pandemic caused [people] to take stock of their lives and allowed them to reimagine them,” says the author.

Several surveys have revealed that many others are still considering it. One survey, conducted by Morning Consult for Prudential in mid-September, revealed that 46% of full-time employed persons in the United States are actively looking for or considering a new job. Experts predict that the cultural shift dubbed the “Great Resignation,” will have a long-term impact on the workplace.

Some may have sought a professional break because of pandemic-related burnout, while others may have sought more purpose and meaning in their work, and still, others may have just desired a bigger salary or the ability to work remotely at least part of the time.

Understanding the origins of these alarming figures is the first step toward addressing them. We conducted an in-depth review of more than 9 million employee records from more than 4,000 firms to determine who has been driving this recent movement. Employees from a wide range of industries, functions, and degrees of expertise were included in this worldwide dataset, which found two key trends:

  • Resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees

Between 2020 and 2021, employees between the ages of 30 and 45 experienced the biggest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20%. While younger employees are more likely to leave, our research indicated that resignations among workers in the 20 to 25 age bracket fell over the last year (likely due to a combination of their greater financial uncertainty and reduced demand for entry-level workers). 

Employees in the 60 to 70 age group likewise resigned at lower rates than in 2020, while those in the 25 to 30 and 45+ age groups resigned at slightly greater rates than in 2020. (but not as significant an increase as that of the 30-45 group).

There are a few elements that may explain why these mid-level employees have accounted for the majority of the resignations. To begin with, the change to remote work has probably made companies believe that hiring people with less experience is riskier than usual, because new employees won’t receive in-person training and coaching. This would increase demand for mid-career employees, providing them more bargaining power when looking for new jobs.

It’s also plausible that many of these mid-level staff have been putting off moving out of their jobs owing to the pandemic’s uncertainty, indicating that the increase we’ve witnessed in recent months is the product of more than a year’s worth of resignations.

Of course, after months of high workloads, hiring freezes, and other pressures, many of these individuals may have simply hit a breaking point, forcing them to reconsider their work and life goals.

  • Resignations are highest in the tech and health care industries.

We also discovered significant disparities in turnover rates among organisations in other industries. While resignations in some industries, such as manufacturing and banking, have decreased marginally, 3.6 per cent more healthcare workers have left their employment than the previous year, and resignations in technology have grown by 4.5 per cent. Employees who worked in fields that had witnessed dramatic increases in demand as a result of the pandemic had higher resignation rates, which likely led to greater workloads and burnout.

Improving Retention Requires a Data-Driven Approach from Employers.

These patterns emphasise the significance of using data to determine not only how many employees are quitting, but who has the biggest turnover risk, why individuals are quitting, and what can be done to prevent it. Every organization’s details will vary, but three actions can assist any business better harness data to boost employee retention:

  • Quantify the problem

It’s vital to evaluate both the scope of the problem and its impact before you can figure out what’s causing your company’s turnover. To begin, use the following formula to get your retention rate:

Turnover Rate = Number of Separations per Year by Average Total Number of Employees

Similar formulae can be used to determine how much of your turnover is due to voluntary resignations versus layoffs or firings. This will assist you in gaining visibility into the source of your retention issue.

Next, figure out how resignations affect critical business KPIs. When individuals leave a business, the surviving teams are frequently left without crucial talents or resources, which has a detrimental impact on everything from work quality and completion time to bottom-line revenue. To acquire a whole picture of the costs of resignations, it’s critical to analyse how higher turnover connects with changes in other key variables.

For example, a trucking firm with which I worked discovered that a seemingly little increase in turnover owing to a nationwide driver shortage was costing them millions of dollars in hiring and training resources. Quantifying the problem aided leaders in gaining the necessary internal buy-in to solve it as well as making educated decisions about which types of retention initiatives would be most effective.

  • Identify the root causes

Once you’ve determined the extent of your retention issue, you’ll need to do a thorough data analysis to figure out what’s truly causing your employees to leave. Consider what circumstances may be causing increasing resignation rates. Metrics like remuneration, duration between promotions, pay raise size, tenure, performance, and training opportunities can all help you uncover trends and blind spots in your company. To better understand how work experiences and retention rates change across different employee populations, you can segment employees by categories such as location, function, and other demographics.

This analysis can help you determine not only which employees are most likely to depart, but also which individuals are most likely to be retained through focused interventions. After conducting thorough research, the trucking company discovered that drivers with less experience and a remote supervisor were considerably more likely to resign than those with greater experience and in-person support.

  • Create customised retention programmes

You can start creating highly personalised programmes geared at resolving the exact difficulties that your business struggles with now that you’ve discovered the fundamental reasons for turnover. If you notice that people of colour are departing your company at a higher rate than their white counterparts, a DEI-focused approach may be necessary. If you notice a strong link between time between promotions and high resignation rates, it may be time to reconsider your advancement practices.

Importantly, you may realise during this process that you are unable to make these kinds of data-driven decisions due to a lack of appropriate data infrastructure. Investing in an organised, user-friendly system for recording and evaluating the metrics that will guide your retention efforts is one higher-level intervention that may be required before you can begin any sort of targeted marketing.

It’s not easy to implement a data-driven retention plan, but it’s well worth the effort, especially in the current market. Even in the face of heavy competition from other employers, the trucking company I worked with experienced a 10% reduction in driver resignations after adopting a targeted retention campaign based on a careful study of key variables. You’ll be able to attract top people, minimise turnover expenses, and ultimately establish a more engaged and effective workforce with improved visibility into both the severity of your turnover problem and the core causes that drive it.

#great #resignation #economy #jobloss #unemployment #usa

How Pakistan’s economy is on a roller coaster ride

By Kshvid News Desk with inputs from agencies

Pakistan’s economy always faced ups and downs due to the competitive market and its relationship with neighboring countries. The major players in Pakistan’s economy are America, China, and India. Pakistan’s relationship with China is always friendly, and china always supports Pakistan in times of need. America’s relationship was always demanding “To Do More.” India is the country with whom Pakistan’s relation could be fruitful in terms of the economy because both are sister countries with many issues. Kashmir is at the top of the list. The rivalry between them is the primary cause of the lower GDP of these countries as most of the country’s budget is consumed by the Military. 

The start of Pakistan’s economy was under the supervision of Ayub Khan, who was also the first Militant Administrator of Pakistan. He presented a 10-year developmental Scheme for both agriculture and industrial units. Pakistan is an agricultural country, and most their economy mainly depends upon agriculture development. In the early days, Pakistan was rich in Jute, Rice, cotton, and Wheat production. Pakistan was considered as the Asian tiger, but then time played its turn, and Pakistan’s economy started declining because of political, social, and administrative issues. Zia’s five-year proposed five-year plan of the economy in which a target was set for the coming five years, and the government took essential steps to meet the target. The early day’s plans helped Pakistan’s economy to boast a bit, and development in different sectors was started. The plans were as follows. 1)Perspective plan 10 – 25 years, 2) Midterm plan 04 – 7 years, 3) Rolling plan 03 years, 4) Annual plans 01 years.

Pakistan’s economic performance outperforms many other developing countries, and the government has maintained a constant annual growth rate since independence. There have been several economic models in Pakistan’s history. Initially, Pakistan’s economy was based on private industry. Still, vital sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, and transportation were nationalized beginning in the early 1970s, making more changes during Zia ul-military Haq’s government in the 1980s. In particular, an “Islamic” economy was developed, which forbade Shariah (Muslim law) prohibited behaviors such as collecting interest on loans (rib) and imposed customary religious requirements such as zakat (tithe) and ushr (sacrifice) (land tax). Though many parts of the Islamic economy have survived (Overview, n.d.), the state began privatizing significant portions of the nationalized sector in the 1990s.

Following several economic restructuring measures, Pakistan’s economy is mixed, with state-owned companies accounting for a large percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy, primarily agricultural when it earned independence, has become considerably more varied. Agriculture, no longer the dominant industry, contribute to around one-fifth of GDP while manufacturing accounts for roughly one-sixth. Trade and services, which account for the majority of the economy, have grown dramatically. Economically, Pakistan is more like the middle-income countries of East and Southeast Asia than the impoverished countries of the Indian subcontinent. Years of war, political upheaval, and low levels of foreign direct investment have all hindered Pakistan’s economic development. In addition, 21% of the population is deemed destitute. Pakistan’s negative trade balance has increased its deficit and depleted reserves. Year after year, imports surpass exports, resulting in a negative trade balance. Part of the reason for the country’s reliance on imports is that the infrastructure and industries in the country are underdeveloped, making development unfeasible (TRADING ECONOMICS, n.d.). Many sectors in this area have been state-owned for many years, resulting in inefficiency and poor revenues.

With the pandemic, the government has prioritized regulating COVID-19 infection waves, launching a mass vaccination campaign, expanding its cash distribution program, and ensuring favorable monetary circumstances to aid economic development. When confronted with the fourth COVID-19 wave, the government implemented micro-lockdowns, which successfully limited viral propagation while enabling economic activity to continue, lowering economic damage. Vaccination rates have been rising, but they remain low. As of September 2021, just approximately 12% of the whole population had received the recommended vaccinations. The current account deficit fell from 1.7 percent of GDP in FY20 to 0.6 percent in FY21, as large remittance inflows offset a more significant trade deficit. Foreign direct investment fell after the issuance of US$2.5 billion in Eurobonds, although portfolio inflows increased. The surplus on the balance of payments was 1.9 percent of GDP in FY21, and the official foreign exchange reserves at the end of the year reached US$18.7 billion, the highest level since January 2017 and equivalent to 3.4 months of total imports. Consequently, the rupee rose 5.8 percent against the US dollar during the fiscal year, resulting in an effective exchange rate of 10.4 percent.

According to the report, Pakistan’s gross external finance need will be $23.6 billion in 2021-22 and $28 billion in 2022-23. Despite the International Monetary Fund’s extremely conservative expectations, progress has been made (IMF). Pakistani authorities appear to be making a last-ditch effort to obtain a staff-level agreement with the IMF to overcome the gap in external funding requirements. According to a recent World Bank research, Pakistan has reached the top ten countries with the most foreign loans. Using the International Debt Statistics 2022, News International previously reported a “significant discrepancy” in the pace at which foreign debt is incurred in various DSSI-eligible states, including the group’s largest debtor, Pakistan (Focus Economics, n.d.). According to a World Bank report, Pakistan’s foreign debt increased by 8%, while another one from June this year stated that the Imran government borrowed $442 million from the World Bank. And per recent reports the overall GDP of Pakistan is less than the CEO od Tesla Elon Musk, richest man in the world. According to reports, the entrepreneur is close to touching $300 billion net worth very soon, making him the first person to do so. 

Currently, his net worth is $292 billion. In drastic comparison, the GDP of Pakistan, which houses around 220 million people, is around $280 billion (at current market prices) in 2020-21, as per reports. This economical ups and downs are all part of Pakistan economy from 1947 till today.

#pakistan #economy #analysis #imrankhan #growth #recession

Pakistan: Sindh’s economy stagnant in comparison to Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Karachi [Pakistan]: Compared to Pakistan’s provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the economy of Sindh has remained stagnant and it has regressed in certain key sectors, such as public transport and provision of safe drinking water.
“No one can contest the widening development gap between Sindh and Punjab. The biggest province has its own set of problems, but there has been for sure an incremental pace of development irrespective of the government in power for the past 40 years. It can’t be an accident that most social indicators in Sindh are trailing those in Punjab,” said an observer who rued the removal of Hyderabad and Sukkur from the list of 10 biggest cities of Pakistan, reported Dawn. With such a sharp difference of opinion, where does one draw the line as a performance marker for Sindh?
Playing down the absence of credible data on the state of the provincial economy, officials blamed the federal government of Imran Khan, reported Dawn.
“With deep ethnic divisions in society, Sindh is not an easy province to govern. There are a host of factors holding Sindh back, but the federal government’s hostility and interference aggravate the situation. Besides, the slow and insufficient federal transfer of funds to Sindh disrupts the provincial government’s plans and projects,” a senior officer argued anonymously.
During the first three-and-a-half months of the ongoing fiscal, Sindh received about nine per cent less than the committed funds from the federal government, reported Dawn.
According to details, gleaned from the updated official documents available with Dawn, Sindh received Rs 230.1 billion till October 15 against the proportionate transfer target of Rs 253.6 billion, posting a shortfall of Rs 23.5 billion. In 2021-22 the federal government has committed to transfer Rs 869.6 billion to the province.
In the July-Sept quarter, Sindh spent Rs 234 billion of its annual budget of Rs 1.6 trillion. It spent Rs 191 billion of a total Rs 1.13 trillion on account of recurring expenditure, and Rs 43 billion of the Rs 516 billion annual development budget, reported Dawn.
Moreover, the observers and businessmen in urban Sindh, not particularly fond of the ruling party (Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah), were confused by the government’s handling of the health challenge.
“It is baffling that a team with the proven capability of managing natural calamities fails so miserably in fulfilling its basic responsibility of providing basic amenities to the people,” many of them argued.
In a private conversation a while back, Shah stressed that there was a huge scope to improve the quality of public service delivery and the accessibility of civic amenities. He simply smiled when asked what was stopping him, reported Dawn.

Erdogan vows to make Turkey one of world’s 10 largest economies

Ankara [Turkey]: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to make his country one of the world’s 10 largest economies as it celebrates the 98th anniversary of the republic’s creation on Friday.
“We are aspiring to make Turkey one of the world’s top 10 leading economies,” he wrote in the guest book during his visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency. Erdogan said Turkey had been making steady progress in foreign trade, employment, manufacturing and investment in the face of pandemic headwinds.
Turkey remains the 19th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal gross domestic product despite a severe economic slowdown and the slumping national currency, which lost over 20% of its value so far this year.

Afghanistan: The lost economy of the country survived

By Kshvid News Desk with inputs from agencies

Afghanistan is a country like all other countries in the world. But their recent history is not like the other countries in the world. Because they fought two wars and they didn’t have anyone from outside to directly control their economy. God was kind to them from the very beginning when the Soviets hit them in 1979 with all their power but they didn’t succeed. After 10 years of war, the Soviets ended on the losing side. Afghanistan’s economy was already broken but they started building from ashes. When Afghan’s economy started to crawl, the most horrific incident of human history happened. Two planes hit the world trade centre and America declared war on Afghanistan. America fought for 20 years against the Taliban and ended up running from Afghanistan.

Afghan government under the supervision of President Ashraf Ghani established good relations with neighboring countries and started making a high in GDP graph. America invested billions in construction and infrastructure of Afghanistan. According to some reports India invested 3 billion dollars in Afghanistan making it the biggest donor to the country. That investment was more into building and highway projects in Afghanistan. Then out of the blue CoronaVirus stopped the world. The overall world’s economy suffered through it. To overcome the losses tough decisions were made and USA decided to extract their Trop from Afghanistan. Extraction was so sudden that it turned the tables for Afghanistan.  Taliban started to takeover different cities and regions in Afghanistan making life tougher for common people. President Ghani flew from his own country along with the bags of money keeping not a single Penny left for Afghan People. Long stretches of brutality, shakiness and debasement have disabled Afghanistan’s economy, making it hard for organizations to thrive and keeping a large part of the population devastated.

The main component of the Afghan Economy is agriculture and agriculture is the main source of bread and butter for many Afghan families and Afghanistan’s largest export too. The opium production in Afghanistan covers 80% of world’s opium and heroin consumption according to the The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. This massive production of drugs helps the Afghanistan Economy into 7% of Afghan GDP. The mineral deposits of Afghanistan are also a game changer for them if someone pays heed to them. As the Afghanistan hills are more than rich in iron, copper, lithium and Gold. As we all know that lithium is the rare Earth material which plays a major role in production of electric vehicle battery production. Yet again the two decades of non stop war make it more difficult for any Country like China, Japan or even America to Invest and Setup the Extraction process. Lack of roads and poor infrastructure is the hurdle in Afghanistan’s economic Growth. As Afghanistan is the land of dry fruits and other medicinal herbs. Pakistan and India are two major actors whom Afghanistan export Dry fruits, Nuts and Medicinal Herbs. That’s the reason why both of these countries are more interested in Afghanistan’s economy and politics.

The imbalance in import of Oil, food, and Hardware from the other parts of the world shrink its economy. According to the recent reports of IMF, (GDP) was on course to bounce back and develop by 2.7% this year as trade and exchange continued after the Covid Pandemic. But the economic crisis is always there for the Afghan government and People as Two-third people of Afghanistan are forced to live under the poverty line due to the devastated economy of their country.

The future challenges for Afghanistan Government whether its Taliban or Democratic and People are more critical as they are now on their own. After the US army completed the withdrawal of their forces and the President flew away from the country more than 1lac people also left the country. The country lacks engineers and technical people, also the major minds behind the establishment and policy making. The Taliban are not trained to run a country, the logical argument is that they don’t have enough money to buy people to run the government for them, also they don’t have any plans for their own country’s future. So, what’s the point they are making after taking over the country? The aid from different world organizations and countries have been cut off. 

According to the official reports Afghanistan is no longer using resources from the IMF, the aid of $370 million was discontinued too.

Making the bad situation worse for the Afghan economy the 40% of their GDP was based on the different aids.  Cutting that 40% from their economy leaves them to break. The details of these aids and supplies are as follows which are frozen by different countries.

The 9.5billion dollars in foreign Reserves was frozen by America after the Taliban took over. Not only this Germany from nowhere suspended their aid of 300Million dollars, as mentioned above IMF also Suspended almost 400millions of dollars.

Keeping the long report short the Afghanistan Economy is now again at stake as it was at the start of this century. No foreign help, no political power in control, no future plans for the country and most importantly Taliban takeover. These all collectively make it worse for the Economy of the country which is on the verge of Chaos. But as per recent international meetings of Taliban we can assume that China may play its role and help Afghanistan to establish its economy as the Chinese Government Investing Billions in the region under One Belt One Road.

#afghanistan #economy #survival #taliban #usa

India to become USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25, says Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said India will become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and a USD 10 trillion by 2030.
While speaking at the Public Affairs of India (PAFI)’s 8th National Forum through video conference, Puri said, “I am confident that we are on our way to becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and a USD 10 trillion by 2030, from the USD 2.7 trillion to USD 2.8 trillion economy of today.” His optimism stemmed from the fact that the pandemic has led to a different set of growth drivers in the country like the revival of the health sector, exports, increase in the global manufacturing index–it is ranked second by Cushman and Wakefield. Other factors included increased economic activity, achieving renewable energy targets, the highest-ever foreign exchange reserves, and transformational initiatives like Gati Shakti.
Puri pointed out that the country’s petrol consumption has increased by 16 per cent and diesel consumption, by 10 per cent to 12 per cent higher from pre-COVID days.
“The stock market has risen by 250 per cent from the March 2020 lows to touch the 62,000 mark, which in itself was a major achievement,” the Union Minister said.
On Air India privatisation, the minister said that given the fact that both the bids were higher than the reserved price, only proved that Air India was a first rate asset.
The choice before the government, he argued was not between privatisation and non-privatisation, but between privatisation and closing the airline.
Explaining the reasons for the success of Air-India privatisation, the minister added that the government had learned from its past failures and considered it as a major achievement because the privatisation was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic when most of the aircraft had been grounded and the airline industry was suffering.
The reasons for such high energy prices, Puri clarified that same is because the supply curve had been kept below the demand curve by the crude producing countries and such high prices were undermining the global economic recovery and hurting the interests of both the developing and developing countries.
While refusing to disclose any details on the privatisation of oil major, Bharat Petroleum, the Minister assured the delegates that the process was proceeding well and was something that would be achieved in the near foreseeable future.
He said that the success of the Air India privatisation would help in future privatisation and asset monetisation.

Afghan delegation leaves for Moscow meeting; Political, economic issues expected to be top agenda

Kabul [Afghanistan]: An Afghan delegation led by the Deputy second Prime Minister of Islamic Emirate’s government left Kabul to attend the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday, said local media.
According to Tolo News, the delegation includes the acting foreign minister Amir Khan Mutaqi, among other ministers of the Taliban government. Political and economic issues, as well as humanitarian aid, are expected to be the main topics of discussion in Moscow, the Tolo News report said.
Countries like Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, India and the United States were invited to the meeting. However, the US would not attend the meeting, reported the Afghan news agency reported.
The US will not attend, and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion at the moment.
“The delegation has gone to Russia to make Afghanistan’s position clear,” the agency quoted Inaamullah Samangani as saying.
The acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi expressed hopes that the meeting would lead to recognition of the Islamic emirate by international countries, the Tolo News reported citing Mutaqi’s recent interview.
“Representatives of many countries will participate in the meeting, so the meeting is important for Afghanistan,” said Mutaqi.
At the same time, the US has made it clear that the country will not participate in the scheduled meeting.
“We will not participate in the Moscow talks. The Troika Plus has been an effective, constructive forum. We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we’re not in a position to take part this week,” US State Dept spokesperson Ned Price said.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Taliban’s upcoming visit to Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday said the official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion at the moment.
“Official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion for now,” Tolo News quoted Lavrov, adding, “Like most of other influential countries in the region, we are in contact with them. We are prodding them to fulfill the promises they made when they came to power.”
“We encourage them to live up to the promises they made when they came to power, including ensuring that the government is inclusive not only along the ethnic lines but also along the political lines so that the full range of political beliefs of the society is reflected in the government’s composition,” Sputnik said quoting Lavrov.
This comes after members of the Extended Troika format on Afghanistan met in Moscow on Tuesday and discussed common threats and humanitarian assistance to Kabul.

Infosys records 19.4 pc year-on-year growth

New Delhi [India]: Infosys has recorded a strong performance in second quarter of the financial year 2021-22 with a 19.4 per cent increase in the year-on-year growth and sequential growth accelerating to 6.3 per cent in constant currency.

According to a statement from Infosys, the growth was broad-based across geographies and segments with the largest geography, North America growing at 23 per cent and the largest segment, Financial Services growing at 20.5 per cent, year-on-year in constant currency.
Large deal momentum continued with Total Contract Value (TCV) of USD 2.15 billion in Q2. The operating margin for the quarter was resilient at 23.6 per cent. The Board has announced interim dividend of Rs 15 per share for FY22.

“Our stellar performance and robust growth outlook continue to demonstrate our strategic focus and the strength of our digital offerings. As we witness a strong market opportunity with global enterprises rapidly accelerating their digital journeys, our sustained investments in expanding capabilities, including the differentiated cloud play, Infosys CobaltTM, has uniquely positioned us to continue serving our clients effectively, gain market share and emerge as the preferred cloud and digital transformation partner in the market,” said Salil Parekh, CEO and MD, Infosys.

“Given this continued momentum we have further increased our revenue growth guidance to 16.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent,” he further said.

“In order to harness the full potential of the market opportunity, we are expanding our college graduates hiring program to ~45,000 for the year. Simultaneously, we continue to strengthen employee value proposition including health and wellness measures, reskilling programs, appropriate compensation interventions and enhanced career growth opportunities,” said Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer.

He further added, “With over 86 per cent of Infoscions in India having received at least one dose of ‘vaccination’, we are now preparing to embrace the hybrid work model. We have equipped employees with the resources they need to be productive, cyber-secure, stay connected, and maintain a work-life balance. Our talent strategy also factors in expanded hiring pools that include new communities and work locations,” he added.

Nilanjan Roy, the Chief Financial Officer said, “Our operating margins for Q2 were resilient; the impact of enhanced employee value proposition initiatives was offset by strong operating parameters, cost optimization and operating leverage. We will continue to invest in our employees to remain a preferred employer-of-choice and seamlessly fulfil client demand.”

“Cash generation remained robust. We have executed the capital allocation policy with the successful closure of share buyback and step up in interim dividend to Rs 15 per share,” he added. (ANI)

World Bank chief says GDP of many emerging economies to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022

Washington, DC [US]: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in many emerging economies will return to pre-pandemic levels next year, while per capita income level in will take longer to recover, World Bank President David R. Malpass said on Monday.

“GDP will return next year to pre-pandemic levels to many emerging and developing economies, but per capita income will take more time to reach 2019 levels. In many countries the recovery is even slower and full of complex challenges,” the financial institution’s president said during a World Bank event dedicated to post pandemic developing economies growth.
There was a rebound in 2021 for many emerging economies and developing countries in Europe and Central Asia, whose regional economy is expected to grow by 5.5% in 2021, exceeding projections according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s economic update.

Developing markets were hit by the economic shock of the pandemic, with some of them experiencing a significant downturn in their growth rates. However, emerging economies like China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which managed to contain the virus from mass spreading in the early stages of the pandemic, are recovering earlier and faster according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (ANI/Sputnik)

Major hub for India’s global economic engagement: ASEAN

New Delhi [India] :External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Thursday, ASEAN is one of the major hubs for India’s global economic engagement and New Delhi would like to re-visit the level of ambition that it has set for the partnership with the South East Asian bloc.
EAM Jaishankar during the INDO-ASEAN business summit noted that India’s ties with the ASEAN are rooted in history, geography and culture. “What has energised them in recent years is a growing awareness of the potential they hold for our mutual interests and development. As our cooperation grew in the course of the last 25 years, new facets and domains emerged for collaboration.”
The minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the backdrop for how most countries approach both their economic policies and have even shaped our way of life.
“From the prolonged crisis of the last two years, four areas have come into sharp focus for international business cooperation: resilient and reliable supply chains, health security, digital for development and green and sustainable recovery.”
Jaishankar stated that Covid-19 has brought out many insufficiency in the global health system. “Meaningful partnerships, sharing of advanced technologies, collaboration in vaccine and pharmaceutical production, capacity building and transparency in health information are all part of the answers. And in all of this, the role of businesses is critical.”
Crisis can often be the basis of creativity and our endeavour should be to come out of this stronger, the minister added.
Underscoring the strides made by India in the field of COVID-19 production, Jaishankar said, “Our global collaborations have enabled us to emerge as a major vaccine production centre for the world. In fact, we have also seen innovative methods of collaboration, including an initiative agreed upon by the Quad countries.”
He mentioned, Covid-19 has also given an additional impetus to the diversification of the global value chain that was already in progress. “India’s campaign for an Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India resonates with our quest to become a democratic and trustworthy partner for global industrial resiliency.”
Summing up his speech, the minister added, India’s economic recovery is impelled by reform in various areas including manufacturing, labour, agriculture, education, skills and of course, improving the ease of doing business.
“We aspire to be a more effective engine of growth and a part of reliable and resilient supply chains. International cooperation, especially among businesses, will be very much a key to the better world that we all seek. India and ASEAN can surely work together more closely to this end.”

India can curtail electricity costs to half, reach net zero before 2050 : Report

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : According to modelling by global technology company Wartsila and the Finnish Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, India can cut its overall cost of electricity in half and reach net zero before 2050 by developing a 100% renewable energy power system, .
To bring enormous environmental and economic benefits to India, the modelling clearly represents actionable pathway to achieve a net zero electricity system, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies: Increasing renewable energy from 25% today to 100% before 2050 cuts the cost of India’s electricity by 48%, from $88 USD per megawatt hour in 2020, to $46 USD in 2050.
A flexible 100% renewable system provides large levels of excess power that can address India’s rising energy dependency, forecast to double by 2030.
Increasing renewable energy could also generate major new revenues from hydrogen production, creating a technology market worth $39.8 billion USD.
The modelling makes a clear case for immediate action to accelerate the development of a 100% renewable energy system in India. By combining variable renewable power with energy storage and thermal balancing power plants capable of using carbon neutral sustainable fuels in the coming decade, India can dramatically cut its carbon emissions and halve the overall cost of its electricity.
Sandeep Sarin, Market Development Manager of India, Wartsila Energy, and co-author of the report, said, “This year, India will become the world’s fastest growing economy. Our modelling shows a path to a clean power system that will catalyse India’s transformation into a global clean energy powerhouse; lifting millions from poverty, creating new jobs, insulating the system from energy shocks and simultaneously playing a vital role in limiting global temperature rises to below 1.5°C. India has a mountain to climb in reconfiguring its energy system for net zero, but it’s certainly possible with technologies that are already available at scale. With the right vision and planning, India can leapfrog developed nations into a sustainable future, but we must act now, before it’s too late.”
Wartsila’s ‘Front-loading Net Zero’ report sets out clear steps for India to decarbonise its power system:
Set ambitious clean energy targets over longer-term time horizons to attract investors.
Increase climate regulation for companies, including mandating consumers and power producers to meet a certain percentage of their requirements from renewable sources.
Strengthen flexibility solutions, such as thermal balancing power plants and battery storage, that can raise the share of renewables.
Launch an incentive programme for production of electrolysers (as capital costs are responsible for 30% of the cost of green hydrogen) and create new demand centres equipped to cost-effectively develop and transport green hydrogen.
As well as showing a path to an affordable clean energy transformation, the modelling also demonstrates the major planning challenge to cleanly meet energy demand as India’s population rises to around 1.7 billion by 2050.
Power demand is estimated to increase by 340% by 2050 – from 1,345 TWh in 2020 to 5,921 TWh in 2050, with 1,023 GW of peak demand. The modelling confirms India can affordably meet this demand through renewable energy, aided by solar energy prices that are amongst the lowest in the world, averaging around $26 USD per MWh[1]
However, to serve this increased load through mid-day peaks and to charge energy storage resources such as batteries to offset intermittent renewable energy generation, the total system capacity must be scaled up to an unprecedented degree:
4,000 GW of installed capacity is needed for a 100% renewable system, a 10-fold increase on 2020.
New solar installations must rise by 885%, from 7 GW a year today, to 69 GW a year by 2035, rising to 79 GW a year between 2035 and 2050.
Solar would make up 76% (3,076 GW) of total capacity by 2050.
This would also be supported by a total wind capacity of around 410 GW by 2050, combined with hydro and carbon neutral gas.
Wartsila’s modelling shows that flexibility through energy storage is key to achieve the cost-optimal renewable baseload system – to shift generation when it is surplus, during the day, to times when renewables are not available, during evening or night-time. Thermal balancing power plants, backed by battery energy storage, must also be deployed to manage sudden surges in demand or drops in renewable generation.
To support a 100% renewable energy system in India:
Energy storage capacity must increase from almost zero to reach 99 TWh of storage capacity by 2050.
Storage output should cover 35% of India’s total demand by 2050, with 99% enabled by batteries.
187 GW of fast-start load-following gas engines are needed to provide rapid grid balancing.
The report provides a wake-up call to leaders on the need for a comprehensive energy transition plan, underpinned by a long-term plan to deploy massively increased amounts of renewables, phase out coal, and dramatically scale up energy storage and flexible power system solutions.
Anish De, Partner, Global Sector Head, Power & Utilities, KPMG National Head – Energy Natural Resources & Chemicals, KPMG in India, said, “India’s ambition and achievements on renewables are of an unparalleled scale. We have abundant resources for cheap and clean renewable energy – blessed with more than 300 sunny days a year – and our geography provides world-leading wind power. With some inventiveness, the right mix of new renewable generation and flexibility can replace coal and gas-fired power, creating a clean and more affordable system. This leaves a key question: is India better off committing itself wholeheartedly to a renewable energy future? From every angle, the answer is yes.”
Wartsila’s report also lays out the shifting role of gas power in India. The modelling shows that by 2050, thermal balancing power plants will have a relatively small, but crucial, back-up role, providing 1.1% of electricity generation. Thermal balancing power plants will play a crucial role in decarbonising the power system by shifting to carbon neutral, hydrogen-based sustainable fuels, such as synthetic methane, to generate electricity and help decarbonise the final 10% of India’s energy system. Wartsila engines are already capable of running on 25% hydrogen blends and the company expects to be capable of running 100% hydrogen by 2025 .
Hakan Agnevall, CEO and President of Wartsila, said, “Our modelling shows that it is viable for all energy systems to be fully decarbonised before 2050, and that accelerating the shift to renewable baseload, coupled with flexibility, will help economies to thrive. We have all of the technologies that we need to rapidly shift to net zero energy. The benefits of renewable-led systems are cumulative and self-reinforcing – the more we have, the greater the benefits – so it is vital that leaders and power producers come together now to front-load net zero this decade.”

As well as the deep dive modelling on these power systems, the report also features key insights from Wartsila modelling in other countries, including Australia, Chile and the UK.
Across these vastly different energy systems, the modelling shows that by deploying flexible capacity, from energy storage and thermal balancing power plants, countries can ‘level-up’ renewables to fulfil a baseload role.
Critically, these decarbonisation pathways do not increase the cost of electricity and can in fact cut costs, in comparison to today.
The report reveals that despite differing starting points, countries and sub-states have all the technologies that they need to rapidly shift to net zero energy systems.
The findings from the report will be presented by Sushil Purohit, President of Wartsila Energy, at the Economist Sustainability Week: Countdown to COP on Wednesday 6th October.
The modelling defined a cost-optimal energy system structure and operation mode for a given set of constraints in each region: power demand; available generation and storage and balancing technologies; financial and technical assumptions; and limits on installed capacity for all applied technologies.
The model is based on linear optimisation and performed on an hourly resolution for entire years. The costs of the entire system are calculated as the sum of the annualised capital expenditures including the cost of capital, operational expenditures (including ramping costs), fuel costs and the cost of GHG emissions for all available technologies.
For further details, see the report Methodology. All Wartsila releases are available at .

Banking Sector shows high discrepancy trends in Q2-21

Mumbai (Maharashtra)/ Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: The Banking sector showed a high discrepancy percentage at 17 percent, double the industry average of 8.7 percent in Q2-21 as per the Trends Report released by First Advantage – a leading background screening company in India.
Sectors like Banking, BPO, Engineering & Infra, Financial Services, FMCG, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Pharma, and Telecom display discrepancy percentages way above the industry average of 8.7 percent in Q2-21. Both Employment and Address Component (Check level) have contributed to the high discrepancy percentages in these industries. Alternate modes of verification in the Address component, is a good example of how First Advantage- not only identified but moved swiftly from the standard modes of verification to alternate modes. In Q2-21, 44 out of every 100 Address verifications – were conducted through the alternate modes of verification.
“In the current digital workplace, significance of background verification of a candidate, a vendor or a partner has become crucial to safeguard from any potential risk. As companies compete for the best talent available in the marketplace, it is important to get insights that will help you ‘Onboard Faster. Hire Smarter’,” apprised Amit Singh, Head – Commercial, First Advantage India.
The case level inflow has shown a monumental and historic rise in the second quarter of 2021 – furthermore holding good the theory of recruitment and background screening trends coinciding with the pre-Covid cyclical trends of the job markets. The second quarter of 2021 has shown an increase of 25 percent in volumes as compared to the first quarter.
“With our digital initiatives driven by modern technology and alternate screening solutions, we have transformed our processes to adapt with the changing environmental and economic conditions. Our focus, as always, has been to enhance customer onboarding experiences, reduce delivery cycle timelines and provide improved quality performance,” adds Singh.

GST affected economy: Digvijay Singh

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India]: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Sunday said that the way Goods and Services Tax (GST) was structured and implemented by the Central government affected the economy of our country.
In a press conference in Ahmedabad, he said, “The way Goods and Services Tax (GST) was structured and implemented by the Central government affected the economy of our country.” He added, “According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data in September 2016, there was 17.8 lakh crore currency in the market. According to RBI data, today this currency has increased to 27 lakh crores. It is not being clarified how this nine lakh crore currency came into our market.”
He said, “From then till today, if digital transactions were more, then the cash liquidity in the market should have been less. Corruption, black money and terrorism should have ended, the fake currency should have ended but it did not happen. Today when banks have liquidity crunch, where has it gone?”
The leader said, “As per reports, Amazon paid legal fees of Rs 8,546 crore, following its dispute with Future group. Who did the company pay the fees to? It is being said that corruption has been done. We demand a committee headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to investigate this matter.”
He further slammed the Centre and said that Prime Minister wants to end the medium and small scale businessmen and tries to establish a multi-national capitalist country. This shows the ideological differences between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress.

India going through remarkable transformation of its economy, says Australian PM

Canberra [Australia]: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that India is going through a remarkable transformation of its economy while talking about the partnership between the two countries on new energy economy.
While speaking during an online briefing with Indian media, he said, “The ability to take up technology at a scale that is commercial is the key to successfully transitioning to the new energy economy. And India understands that. And India is going through a remarkable transformation of its own economy and looking to actually transition its own energy economy into the future.” Recently, in the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, both Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Morrison agreed on a number of initiatives, including the agreement to go forward with a low emissions technology partnership.
Australia’s approach to the new energy economy is transitioning to net zero over the next 30 years. With the vision to ensure technologies enable economies to continue to grow and develop and create jobs and make things, PM Morrison said, “But, to do that in a way that is patient, which is sensible, which is practical, and so, working together on technologies, I think, is one of the, one of the key partnerships that you can have to ensure that both of our countries are able to go through this transition period. But, more than that, demonstrate that this is how you do it, that this isn’t just about setting targets and doing these things. It’s the how that matters.”
He said that such technology is not only for advanced economies, but is supposed for the whole world. He also said that at the Quad meeting last week, there is a great deal of enthusiasm all around the world regarding the new energy economy.
“I have no doubt, for trying to move our economies into this, this new energy economy, to move it into an economy that understands the impacts of carbon emissions,” added Morrison.
He said that zero-carbon energy technologies can be achieved and that is what both prime ministers discussed at the Quad meeting.
“That’s what the Prime Minister and I are very committed to achieving, a practical energy technology partnership that enables zero-carbon energy technologies and even sub-zero carbon technologies and transition technologies, that actually enable us all to get there, and we actually can achieve this. This can be done. It’s been done many, many times in world history,” said Morrison.
He further reiterated that both he and PM Modi share a passion on the practical when it comes to transitioning both economies.
“And the low emissions technology partnership will particularly look at ultra low cost solar and hydrogen supply chains linking into India. And we see that as a big opportunity for both countries,” said Australian PM.
Australia has long been an energy exporter to India. Morrison said that this will continue, adding that in addition to that, a whole new line will open up.
“Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership further, is becoming more ambitious, and our trade ministers will be meeting, I understand next week. We have both tasked our ministers to be ambitious about where we can get to. And I think we will be able to get a lot further in a bilateral sense with India and Australia together. And the Prime Minister and I share that objective,” said Morrison.
Talking about challenges to get the right deal, he said, “We want the right deal for both countries. And, so we will continue to be patient about it and take the gains where we can take them and see this as a road that we are on and we will just keep adding and adding and adding I think to the strength of that Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that we’re seeking.”

Employment in 9 select sectors stood at 3.08 cr in Q1 of FY22: Centre

New Delhi [India]: Employment in nine select sectors, including construction, manufacturing and IT/BPO, stood at 3.08 crore in the April-June quarter, as per a report by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Union Labour and Employment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Monday released the report of the first quarter of the Quarterly Employment Survey for April to June 2021. The AQEES has been taken up by the Labour Bureau to provide frequent (quarterly) updates about the employment and related variables of establishments, in both organised and unorganised segments of nine selected sectors. These sectors altogether account for a majority of the total employment in the non-farm establishments. These nine selected sectors are Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education, Health, Accommodation and Restaurant, IT/ BPO and Financial Services, read the release by Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Announcing the results, Yadav said, the estimated total employment in the nine selected sectors from the first round of QES is three crores and 8 lakhs approximately against a total of 2.37 crores in these sectors taken collectively, as reported in the Sixth Economic Census (2013-14) reflecting a growth rate of 29 per cent.
“Of the total employment estimated in the selected nine sectors, Manufacturing accounts for nearly 41 per cent followed by Education with 22 per cent, and Health 8 per cent. Trade as well as and IT/BPO each engaged 7 per cent of the total estimated number of workers,” the Union Minister further informed.
Yadav mentioned that data on all aspects of labour is crucial. “Evidence-based policymaking and statistics based execution is the major focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, emphasised the Labour Minister saying that such scientifically collected data with purity and integrity that can be cross-examined will be immensely beneficial towards achieving targeted and last-mile delivery of government programmes and schemes.

Jio welcomes Centre’s reforms to strengthen Indian telecom sector

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Welcoming the reforms and relief package announced by the Government of India on Wednesday, Jio said timely step will help in strengthening India’s telecom sector.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved nine structural reforms and five process reforms in the telecom sector. In an official statement, the company said reforms announced by the government will accelerate the realisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India vision and enable India’s transformation into the world’s leading digital society.
“Jio’s mission is to bring the fruits of the digital revolution to 1.35 billion Indians. Guided by this mission, we have ensured that Indians have the highest quality and the highest quantity data access anywhere in the world, at the most affordable prices. The government’s telecom sector reforms will encourage us to bring newer and greater benefits to our customers,” the company said.
Announcing the reform, the government said these are expected to protect and generate employment opportunities, promote healthy competition, protect the interests of consumers, infuse liquidity, encourage investment and reduce the regulatory burden on Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
Commenting on the occasion, Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, thanked Prime Minister for this bold initiative and said, “Telecom sector is one of the prime movers of the economy and the key enabler for making India a Digital Society, I welcome the Government of India’s announcement of reforms and relief measures that will enable the industry to achieve the goals of Digital India.”
The company added that it looks forward to working with the Government of India and other industry players in reaching all the goals and milestones of the Digital India vision, “so that we can collectively make every sector of the economy productive and enhance the Ease of Living for every Indian.”

India climbs one position up in YoY home price appreciation globally: Knight Frank

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: India moved up one spot up in the global home price index to 54th rank in the quarter ended June as against Q2 2020, according to the latest price index by Knight Frank released on Tuesday.
This was due to continued resilience shown by the residential segment amid global outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. On a Q-o-Q comparative, India climbed up one spot in Q2 2021 as compared to Q1 2021, said the report.
The Knight Frank Global House Price Index report tracks the movement of mainstream residential prices across 55 countries and territories worldwide. It tracks nominal prices in local currency.
The report said Turkey (29.2 per cent) continues to lead the annual rankings but its rate of growth is slowing down. Australia at 16.4 per cent recorded its highest rate of annual price growth since 2003.
A breakdown by developed and developing economies shows a more nuanced picture with developed markets outperforming by some margin.
Overall, 18 countries in Q2 2021 have reported double-digit growth, while India and Spain were the only countries to register an annual decline in home prices.
However, this is the lowest proportion of markets registering a decline in prices since the Global House Price Index started in 2008.
Concerning six-month (Q4 2020 to Q2 2021) and three-month changes (Q1 2021 to Q2 2021), mainstream residential prices in India witnessed a growth of 0.9 per cent and minus 0.5 per cent respectively.
“India’s mainstream residential prices have largely remained stable with negative bias despite recovery being impacted due to the second wave,” said Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director at Knight Frank India.
“Moving forward with the downward trajectory in Covid-19 cases and mass inoculation drive, the sector is expected to make a healthy recovery with demand for homes only expected to increase in the coming quarter,” he said.
The report said the index is rising at its fastest rate since Q1 2005. Pandemic-induced housing boom continues with prices rising by 9.2 per cent on average across 55 countries and territories in the year to June this year.

Elevated inflation can be a drag on overall economic recovery: India Ratings and Research

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has said that salaried and wages earners will be a drag on overall economic recovery in medium term due to tepid recovery of household consumption.
An environment of pandemic-led uncertainty and elevated inflation can impact the level of spending, and hence the overall demand, it said. Stable corporate performance amid second Covid wave during 1Q FY22 has raised optimism for a faster-than-expected recovery. However, the pressure on top line has largely been mitigated by a reduction in overhead costs, especially labour cost to maintain a healthy bottom-line.
Ind-Ra’s analysis of 2,036 corporates suggests that the number of companies posted losses in 1Q FY22 has been lower than in 1Q FY21. Out of the 2,036 entities, 523 entities posted losses in 1Q FY22 compared to 986 entities in 1Q FY21.
This has largely driven by limited the restriction imposed on business activities. Corporates too have learned and implemented various measures to combat this kind of situation.
Although the overall trend is encouraging, it is not broad based. While the top three buckets have limited number of entities making losses, the last two buckets (501 to 1,000 and 1,001 to 2,036 entities) have 23 per cent and 33 per cent loss-making entities respectively.
This is compared to around 50 per cent entities in both the buckets in 1Q FY21, reflecting the ongoing pressure on smaller entities.
Nonetheless, the overall corporate performance has been reasonably encouraging and can continue to be so with some moderation in margin and cash flows.
While the resilience of corporates is encouraging, said Ind-Ra, the adverse effect of pressure on employee cost is a cause for concern. This could be a result of job-loss or salary cut or both.
Nearly 50 per cent entities out of out of 2,036 corporates had quarterly negative growth in labour costs in 1Q FY22 compared to 4Q FY21.
Although there is some seasonality in employee cost, it is also true 1Q is always a better quarter than 4Q owing to the disbursement of various performance-based payments linked to the previous fiscal.
Ind-Ra said the more alarming fact is that the trend has been on a downward for the last few years, which is visible in the yearly wage growth data in the last three years.
Resuscitating wages will be critical for a revival of overall economy and capex cycle which has been languishing even before the Covid-19 outbreak, it added.

BRICS is influential voice for emerging economies: PM Modi

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the BRICS has witnessed several achievements in the past one-and-a-half decades and is an influential voice for emerging economies of the world.
In his opening remarks at the 13th BRICS Summit, the Prime Minister also said the BRICS platform has been useful for focussing attention on the priorities of the developing countries. “It is a matter of great pleasure for me and India to chair this summit for the 15th anniversary of the summit. India has received full cooperation from all BRICS partners during its chairmanship. I am deeply grateful to all of you for this. The BRICS platform has witnessed several achievements in one and half decades,” he said.
“Today we are an influential voice for emerging economies of the world. This platform has also been useful for focussing attention on the priories of the developing nations as well,” he added.
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit is being chaired by Prime Minister in a virtual format. The theme for the Summit is ‘BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus’.
Referring to the theme, the Prime Minister said the member countries need to ensure that BRICS yields more results in the next 15 years.
“We will have to ensure that BRICS yields more results in 15 years. The theme that has been chosen by India for its chairship, reflects this priority,” he said.
Brazil President Jair Bolsanaro, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping also attended the meeting.
This is the second time PM Modi has chaired the BRICS Summit. Earlier, he had chaired the Goa Summit in 2016. The Indian Chairship of BRICS this year coincides with the 15th anniversary of BRICS, as reflected in the theme for the summit.

Developers unanimous about growth in the residential segment to peak in 2023

Gurugram (Haryana) [India]: Leading realty players in Gurugram are optimistic that the growth in the Indian residential segment will peak in 2023, as outlined in the recent ANAROCK report.
A revival in consumer sentiment, accelerating digitisation and initiatives by developers will play a pivotal role in shaping the growth trajectory. The report predicts housing sales to be more than 3 lakh units and new launches to increase by 2.62 lakh units in 2023. “Amidst the pandemic, people are spending most of their time indoors, which has provided a fillip to the demand for spacious homes with state-of-the-art amenities for a superior experience. The rebounding of sales towards the end of 2020 indicates the resilience of the luxury segment as the sophistication benchmarks remain the same for elite homebuyers.
Amidst the vaccination rollout, the residential segment is seeing growth and better sales. Bolstered by policy push and growing realisation about the significance of homes, the residential segment is poised towards a higher growth trajectory in the coming months,” Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M.
The widening of the inoculation drive and economic stability prospects augur well for quick rebounding of the residential sector by the end of this year.
“The tapering of COVID-19 cases and upswing in economic activity has rekindled hopes of a swift recovery. The pandemic has reaffirmed the significance of homeownership that is set to rise against the backdrop of low-interest rates, conducive policies and initiatives by real estate players. The upcoming festive season, auspicious for buying a new home, is also expected to give a major push to sales. Overall, we foresee a robust residential demand for the remaining year,” Ashish Sarin, CEO, Alpha Corp.
Overall, 2021 will witness better performance in residential real estate as opposed to 2020. Nevertheless, sales are expected to be lower than in 2019 – the recent peak year. This is due to the second wave derailing the sector, albeit temporarily, between April and June.
Going forward, the demand is expected to remain buoyant in the wake of stable interest rates, increased hiring in the job market and various initiatives by the government to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on real estate.
NCR is expected to account for 18% of sales and 15% of new launches. A combination of factors such as strategic connectivity, the rapid pace of infrastructural developments and employment prospects have made NCR a sought-after real estate hub. COVID-19 has reaffirmed the significance of owing spacious homes amid verdant greenery to maintain harmony with Nature. Subsequently, peripheries of cities such as New Gurgaon have emerged as realty hotspots. In a testimony to the green shoots of recovery, sales of residential units in NCR increased by 24 per cent year-on-year to 9,016 units during the first six months of 2021, according to a recent PropTiger report.
“The residential segment has witnessed an uptick in demand following the decline of the second wave of coronavirus. We foresee this momentum to sustain due to the regaining pace of business activities and revival of sentiment that will pave the way for growth by the end of this year. The initiatives by developers and conducive policy measures augur well for the residential demand to remain buoyant for the next 2-3 years. Going forward, location, amenities and superior lifestyle experience will be primary factors influencing a customer’s decision to buy a home,” said Ashok Kapur, Chairman, Krisumi Corporation.
“Nevertheless, COVID-19 has proved to be an inflexion point for the sector, reaffirming the significance of homeownership against rental properties. The work from home has emerged as the dominant undercurrent for shaping homebuyers’ preferences. It has invariably prompted the rethinking of existing configurations in homes to accommodate a distinct workspace. Anticipating this trend at the beginning of 2021, we, at Krisumi, launched a new asset class 2BHK Plus Personal workspace in our flagship project, Krisumi Waterfall Residences, Gurugram. These residences are suited for the ‘work from home (WFH) lifestyle for Indians working with multinational corporations and expatriates,” he added.
The Haryana government has undertaken a series of initiatives to propel the sector. Furthermore, proposed large-scale projects such as Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) and industrial sub-cities along the Kundli Manesar Palwal (KMP) Expressway will further accelerate real estate growth in the region and lead to a multiplier effect on the local economy.
“Flanked by Delhi – the national capital on one side and Manesar on the other, Gurugram’s strategic location has made it a residential hub. It enjoys connectivity to prominent landmarks such as Indira Gandhi International Airport and New Delhi Railway Station. It has also witnessed tremendous up-gradation in infrastructure and today houses renowned companies, retail spaces, entertainment and recreation options. Upcoming developments such as ISBT and the Gurgaon-Faridabad metro rail link will further bolster connectivity and spur real estate growth in the region,” Rahul Singla, Director, Mapsko Group, concludes.

Indian economy will reach pre-Covid levels by December, says Sanjeev Sanyal

New Delhi [India]: Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, on Friday said that the Indian economy would reach pre-Covid levels by the third quarter of October to December this year. His remarks came as the government data released on August 31 showed that India’s GDP grew by 20.1 per cent in the April to June quarter (Q1 FY22) as compared to the contraction of 24.4 per cent in Q1 FY21.
Speaking to ANI, Sanyal said, “We are seeing demand coming back quite strongly, we can see that not only domestic demand but exports are doing particularly well. We have seen 45 per cent year on year growth in August in merchandise exports and services exports are doing quite well. Indian economy will reach pre-COVID-19 levels by the third quarter of October to December 2021.”
“Not only merchandise exports, but the foreign direct investment also continues to be at record levels so again there is momentum in the economy.”
“We will be able to hit pre COVID level by the October to December quarter, assuming obviously we do not get hit very major shock from a third wave or some such thing. I think if there is no major shock, then we are on stream for having double-digit growth not just this year but even in next year, because there’s a lot of momentum in the economy,” he said.
Referring to the current GDP number, he said, “We saw 20.1 per cent, year on year GDP growth in the quarter of April to June. Now of course it is a very strong number, but no doubt it has been. It is based on a lower base, and there is a base effect because, in the same period in 2020, we were under lockdown.”
Commenting on the rally in stock markets, the Principal Economic Advisor said he cannot comment on the stock market because that goes up and down but the capital markets are strong which is a good sign.
“It means that both domestic and foreign investors are beginning to appreciate the major reforms we have done in many years. You could not justify these levels of the capital market but for the fact that people have expectations that many of the reforms from GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, labour laws. Opening up of a whole array of sectors from, removal of restrictions on the BPO sector, the new drone policy — all of these are creating an open, easy place to do business. And I think it is been appreciated by investors,” he said.
Talking about the sectors that need to be looked after, he said that the government is concerned about the sectors which have been affected by continuous restrictions particularly travel tourism and entertainment.
Responding to a question on former Finance Minister P Chidambaram against Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), Sanyal said, “I do not wish to get into political debates about this, the economics of this is very clear. The government owns a large number of assets, if it is possible for it to monetise them and raise resources so that we can invest in new infrastructure or provide support to the vulnerable sections of the economy or society, then what is wrong with that?”
“I do not think there is too much of an economic debate at all. There are many lands in Mumbai and Kolkata that are derelict and not being used. Why should not we reuse this land and monetise them and leverage them in various to new users? So, I do not think anybody can make any meaningful economic argument against efficient use of resources, political arguments of course can carry on.”

Infrastructure must for booming economic activity, says Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi [India]: Emphasising the importance of infrastructure for improving the revenue base of the government, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that well-developed infrastructure would play an important role in fulfilling the vision of India in becoming the Five Trillion Dollar economy in the next five years.
Gadkari was addressing the 29th Annual General Meeting of the American Chambers of Commerce in India on the theme ‘infrastructure propelling India in the global supply chain’ through a video conference. “The bilateral trade between India and US has grown from USD 16 Billion USD to USD149 Billion in the last two decades and is projected to reach more than USD 500 Billion by 2025. The scope of technology transfer, innovation and research and development between India and the US must be further explored,” the Union Minister said.
“Infrastructure development plays an important role in fulfilling the vision of India in becoming the Five Trillion Dollar economy in the next five years. The government is investing 1.4 Trillion Dollars in infrastructure development through National Infrastructure Pipeline (NMP) and soon going to launch the national master plan of Prime Minister Gatishakti Scheme of more than 100 lakh crores Rupees for holistic and integrated infrastructure development in the country,” he said.
The Minister further informed that India has about six million km of road network which is the second largest road network in the world.
“The road infrastructure plays an important role in the Indian economy as 70 per cent of the goods and nearly 90 per cent of the passenger traffic uses the road network to commute. Upkeep and expansion of this network are critical not only from the supply chain perspective but also for the largest share of goods and passenger traffic that uses it.”
Gadkari said to catalyze a long term investment into infrastructure, the Government is in a process of setting up a new development finance institution DFR. The institution is being set up on a capital base of Rs 20,000 Crore and will have a lending target of Rs 5 Lakh crores in three years.
“We are ready to adopt the world’s best technology without compromising quality, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Our focus is on time-bound, qualitative, cost-effective and sustainable world-class infra development in this country,” he added.

91% of Indians plan to shop as optimism rides high for festive season: Trade Desk

New Delhi [India]: After an arduous year with the pandemic, consumers in India are gearing up to celebrate the festive season and making new purchases during the upcoming shopping sales for Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas.
A survey conducted by global advertising leader Trade Desk and YouGov called The Festive Season Pulse 2021 found that 91 per cent of Indian consumers are planning a purchase during the upcoming festive season and six in 10 are interested in learning about new brands during festive season sales. The survey outlines consumer sentiments and behaviours toward India’s festive season sales and the channels that marketers can leverage on the open internet to maximise the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
The festive period is important to Indian shoppers, and the research provides a positive outlook for marketers. Nearly three in five Indians are excited about the upcoming festive season sales with nine in 10 planning to make a purchase during this time.
The survey also reveals that 82 per cent of respondents shopped online at least once a month in the past six months, and nearly one in four made online purchases several times a week or more often.
Tejinder Gill, General Manager of Trade Desk in India, said marketers are going beyond search and social media, and leveraging omnichannel strategies on the open internet to reach their target audience.
“The Festive Season Pulse 2021 affirms that the open internet is a powerful bridge to reach new customers and the upcoming festive season is an opportune time for marketers to capture consumer curiosity and test the efficacy of the open internet,” he said.
According to the research, Indians tend to be ‘brand switchers’ as more than half (53 per cent) are neutral or indifferent to the brands that they purchase.
In addition, six in 10 Indians are interested to learn about new brands during the festive season with women more likely to be interested than men (68 per cent versus 58 per cent).
This also indicates that women are more open to ads during the festive season sales and gives reasons for marketers to target women well in advance for festive sales as opposed to targeting men, who may have pre-decided needs for their shopping.
The fieldwork for Trade Desk and YouGov online survey was undertaken between August 3 to 10. The figures are representative of all Indian adults (aged 18+) in urban areas nationally.

“Yet to recover fully from decline”: Chidambaram

New Delhi [India]: Soon after, government data released today showed that India’s GDP grew by 20.1 per cent in the April to June quarter (Q1 FY22) as compared to contraction of 24.4 per cent in Q1 FY21, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the data signifies that in the first quarter of this year, the country has not fully recovered from the decline of last year.”
“Before we ‘celebrate’ the 20.1 per cent GDP growth in Q1 (April-June) of 2021-22, please pause to consider the following. This ‘growth’ is on a low, actually negative, base of (-) 24.4 per cent in Q1 of 2020-21,” tweeted the Congress leader. Chidambaram further said that this data signifies “in the first quarter of this year, we have not fully recovered from the decline of last year.”
“We are still below the GDP level in the first quarter of the pre-pandemic year 2019-20. We have still some distance to go before the economy can be said to have achieved the pre-pandemic level,” he said.
Earlier today, the National Statistical Office (NSO) stated that “a growth of 20.1 per cent as compared to contraction of 24.4 per cent in Q1 2020-21.”
“GDP at constant (2011-12) prices in Q1 of 2021-22 is estimated at Rs 32.38 lakh crore as against Rs 26.95 lakh crore in Q1 of 2020-21, marking a growth of 20.1 per cent as compared to contraction of 24.4 per cent in Q1 2020-21,” said NSO.
Quarterly GVA at basic price at constant (2011-12) prices for Q1 of 2021-22 is estimated at Rs 30.48 lakh crore as against Rs 25.66 lakh crore in Q1 of 2020-21, showing a growth of 18.8 per cent.
GDP at current prices in the year Q1 2021-22 is estimated at Rs 51.23 lakh crore as against Rs 38.89 lakh crore in Q1 2020-21, showing a growth of 31.7 per cent as compared to contraction of 22.3 per cent in Q1 2020-21.
GVA at basic price at current prices in Q1 2021-22 is estimated at Rs 46.2 lakh crore as against Rs 36.53 lakh crore in Q1 2020-21, showing a growth of 26.5 per cent.

‘Govt policies, demonetisation push economy downhill’

New Delhi, Aug 14: Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Friday held that government’s policies was the main reason for declining the economic growth trajectory in the country and alleged that “demonetisation” was a disastrous decision to demonetise the currency which completely failed to achieve even a single of its avowed objectives”.
Holding a press conference here in New Delhi, Sinha said in 2013, before this government took office, the annual growth rate of the Indian economy was 6.39 percent and rising in US Dollar terms.
“After the Modi government assumed office the growth rate touched a high of 8.26 per cent in 2016 and since then it has been downhill, all the way with growth rate declining to 6.53 percent in 2017, 4.04 percent in 2019 and finally to 7.96 percent in the Covid year of 2020,” he alleged.
Saying India was in the grip of stagflation, Mr. Sinha said, 2020 was a Covid year and demand was depressed and it is baffling therefore that in a year like that inflation recorded such a jump. In July this year, it stood at 5.6 percent.
Questioning, the government on employment, the Former Finance Minister said, “unemployment was in excess of 5 per cent and rose to a new high in the absence of adequate measures to deal with this issue especially relating to migrant workers as a result of the pandemic. It went up to 7.11 per cent in 2020, which is really a cause of concern for us,” he said.
Accusing the government of not passing the benefits of moderating international crude oil prices to the consumers, he said ,”In FY 2021 alone petrol prices were hiked 76 times and diesel prices 73 times. This nothing but daylight robbery on an unsuspecting populace,” Sinha said.

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Informal Economy

New Delhi [India]: The sheer scale of joblessness that prevails in our country is the most defining impact of the pandemic induced lockdown.
ActionAid Association’s first round of the National Survey of Informal Workers conducted in May 2020, reveals that 78 per cent of the informal workforce had lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown, with 90 per cent urban unemployment and 72 per cent rural unemployment. As lockdown restrictions were lifted, many could resume their livelihoods but unemployment and underemployment remained high. ActionAid’s second round of survey covering 16,961 informal workers across 28 states and UTs, conducted during August and September 2020, revealed that 48 per cent of informal sector workers remained without a livelihood while 42 per cent were working far lesser hours per week as compared to pre-lockdown levels.
Rural unemployment stood at 53 per cent and urban unemployment was 36 per cent but underemployment rates were more than 39 per cent and 50 per cent in rural and urban areas respectively. The ActionAid studies also revealed that recovery was highly dependent on the sector and type of work with construction activities being the slowest to recover and agricultural activities the fastest.
There has also been a considerable shift from construction and regular manufacturing activities to agriculture and home-based production.
Livelihood loss led to consumption loss and indebtedness. As per the ActionAid studies, only 63 per cent of the respondents had reported having at least two meals per day during April-May 2020. Although this increased to 81 per cent during August-September 2020, food sufficiency levels remained low even then. During April-May 2020, food insufficiency was 82 per cent among informal workers and 68 per cent during August-September 2020.
The continued lack of income and absence of dependable savings forced many informal workers to incur debt in order to meet basic household expenses. Thirty-nine per cent of them incurred debt during April-May 2020 while 57 per cent incurred debt during the period from June to August 2020.
The inability of formal debt sources like banks and co-operatives to cater to poorer households stands out. Informal networks like friends, relatives, neighbours catered to 62 per cent of respondents and private money lenders catered to 31 per cent of respondents. The major purpose of a loan was to meet expenses on food and healthcare.
ActionAid’s second round of survey reported that access to public primary healthcare was dependent on a person’s status of work with 90 per cent of employed respondents, 75 per cent of underemployed respondents and 68 per cent of unemployed respondents being able to access healthcare facilities when required. This is because although public primary healthcare is free, associated charges like transportation or medicine costs reduce the opportunity of people without proper income to access these necessary facilities.
Riding on the back of such distress, the second wave of COVID has hit informal workers even harder. With savings eroded, debts already incurred, workers have again lost jobs or partial jobs that they had regained in the early months of 2021 and have incurred greater expenses on health, eroding almost fully their slender capacities to cope.
The full impact of the second wave on the lives of informal workers families will be clearer in the coming months through surveys conducted by Government and NGOs, including our own forthcoming one. What is clear is a dire and urgent need for a strong recovery package for the 50 crore working people of Indiaensuring consumption security, which can be achieved through enhanced public employment guarantee programmes like MG-NREGS, continued direct cash transfers to poorer households and the rapid implementation of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ policy. Right to Work, as a fundamental right would be a needed advance in the right direction.

Unemployment is at the Highest level since Independence

By News Desk with inputs from agencies

The sheer scale of joblessness that prevails in our country is the most defining impact of the pandemic induced lockdown.

ActionAid Association’s first round of the National Survey of Informal Workers conducted in May 2020, reveals that 78 per cent of the informal workforce had lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown, with 90 per cent urban unemployment and 72 per cent rural unemployment.
As lockdown restrictions were lifted, many could resume their livelihoods but unemployment and underemployment remained high. ActionAid’s second round of survey covering 16,961 informal workers across 28 states and UTs, conducted during August and September 2020, revealed that 48 per cent of informal sector workers remained without a livelihood while 42 per cent were working far lesser hours per week as compared to pre-lockdown levels.

Rural unemployment stood at 53 per cent and urban unemployment was 36 per cent but underemployment rates were more than 39 per cent and 50 per cent in rural and urban areas respectively. The ActionAid studies also revealed that recovery was highly dependent on the sector and type of work with construction activities being the slowest to recover and agricultural activities the fastest.

There has also been a considerable shift from construction and regular manufacturing activities to agriculture and home-based production.

Livelihood loss led to consumption loss and indebtedness. As per the ActionAid studies, only 63 per cent of the respondents had reported having at least two meals per day during April-May 2020. Although this increased to 81 per cent during August-September 2020, food sufficiency levels remained low even then. During April-May 2020, food insufficiency was 82 per cent among informal workers and 68 per cent during August-September 2020.

The continued lack of income and absence of dependable savings forced many informal workers to incur debt in order to meet basic household expenses. Thirty-nine per cent of them incurred debt during April-May 2020 while 57 per cent incurred debt during the period from June to August 2020.

The inability of formal debt sources like banks and co-operatives to cater to poorer households stands out. Informal networks like friends, relatives, neighbours catered to 62 per cent respondents and private money lenders catered to 31 per cent respondents. The major purpose of a loan was to meet expenses on food and healthcare.

ActionAid’s second round of survey reported that access to public primary healthcare was dependent on a person’s status of work with 90 per cent of employed respondents, 75 per cent underemployed respondents and 68 per cent unemployed respondents being able to access healthcare facilities when required. This is because although public primary healthcare is free, associated charges like transportation or medicine costs reduce the opportunity of people without proper income to access these necessary facilities.

Riding on the back of such distress, the second wave of COVID has hit informal workers even harder. With savings eroded, debts already incurred, workers have again lost jobs or partial jobs that they had regained in the early months of 2021 and have incurred greater expenses on health, eroding almost fully their slender capacities to cope.

The full impact of the second wave on the lives of informal workers families will be clearer in the coming months through surveys conducted by Government and NGOs, including our own forthcoming one.What is clear is a dire and urgent need for a strong recovery package for the 50 crore working peoples of Indiaensuring consumption security, which can be achieved through enhanced public employment guarantee programmes like MG-NREGS, continued direct cash transfers to poorer households and the rapid implementation of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ policy. Right to Work, as a fundamental right would be a needed advance in the right direction.

By News Desk with inputs from agencies

IT services industry to accelerate by 9 to 12 pc in FY22, says ICRA

New Delhi [India]: The USD revenue growth of sample IT services companies are expected to be 9 to 12 per cent in FY2022, driven by robust demand for digital technologies resulting in higher awards of contracts, according to investment information agency ICRA.
Further, the growth will be supported by the pent up demand of FY2021 which was lower due to the initial impact of Covid-19. For FY2023, the rating agency estimates the growth to be 6 to 9 per cent. In Q1 FY2022, the ICRA sample of eight companies recorded revenue growth of 18.1 per cent in rupee terms and 16.2 per cent in USD terms, primarily led by the low base of last year (Covid-19 impact) and acceleration of digital outsourcing deals amid the pandemic.
The rupee appreciated by 2.8 per cent vis-a-vis the US dollar on a Y-o-Y basis which negatively impacted the revenue growth of IT services companies in rupee terms in Q1 FY2022.
In FY2021, the sample of 13 companies witnessed a Y-o-Y growth of 5.9 per cent in revenues in rupee terms and 0.6 per cent in US dollar terms impacted by the pandemic.
In FY2021, the rupee depreciated by approximately 4.7 per cent / 7.7 per cent / 9.8 per cent Y-o-Y vis-a-vis the USD/GBP/Euro respectively which supported the growth in rupee terms.
Gaurav Jain, Vice President and Sector Head at ICRA, said IT services companies have managed to overcome supply-led challenges through uninterrupted delivery of IT services through the work-from-home model.
“As a silver lining, the pandemic is accelerating the secular trends of core modernisation, usage of collaborative technologies and cloud migration as companies shift to digital business models to pursue work-from home model, which will benefit the IT services companies.”
In H1 CY2021 (January to June), traditional sourcing witnessed an annual contract value of USD15.2 billion, up by 15 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis owing to accelerated demand for digital technologies.
Enterprises have shifted to virtual models that have pushed the acceleration of digital outsourcing deals. Further, risks related to H-1B visas issuances have slightly abated with the election of the new US administration in February.

Second wave to fray apparel retail growth, profitability, says Crisil Research

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Temporary store closures, restricted mobility and curtailed discretionary spending due to the second wave of Covid-19 infections are set to pull down revenue growth of the organised apparel retail sector to 15 to 20 per cent this fiscal, according to Crisil Research.
Earlier, it had expected a fall of 30 to 35 per cent. And this revenue growth will be on a low base of last fiscal, which saw a decline of 35 to 40 per cent.
Slower recovery in revenue will mean the operating margin of apparel retailers will remain moderate at 4 to 5 per cent for this fiscal compared with the earlier expectations of 7 to 8 per cent.

Retailers may have to take recourse to additional debt to plug near-term cash-flow mismatches which could impact their credit quality. Crisil-rated apparel retailers are expected to be better placed due to strengthened balance sheets supported by equity raise of Rs 2,000 crore made last fiscal.

This is based on an analysis of 60 Crisil-rated apparel retailers which account for a third of the sector revenue.
It assumes staggered easing of localised restrictions and reopening of stores, leading to demand recovery from the second quarter of this fiscal as the impact of the second wave abates and the vaccination drive gathers pace.

Localised restrictions starting from the second half of April resulted in pan-India average retail mobility (footfalls to retail stores) falling sharply to 36 per cent of the pre-pandemic level in May compared with 77 per cent in February.
Temporary store closures and constrained mobility have sharply impacted sales of apparel retailers in the first two months of this fiscal, though reopening from June is likely to ignite a gradual recovery.

Anuj Sethi, Senior Director at Crisil Ratings, said revenue this fiscal will only be 70 to 75 per cent of the pre-pandemic level (60 per cent in fiscal 2021).
“Unlike the first wave that had a higher impact in tier-1 cities, the second wave has spread in tier-2 and 3 cities and rural areas as well, resulting in a similar impact on departmental and value fashion retailers.”

Amid this sharp impact on offline sales, acceleration in online shopping has been a saving grace and bodes well for retailers with omnichannel presence. The share of e-retail sales will likely rise to 8 to 9 per cent this fiscal compared with the pre-pandemic level of 4 to 5 per cent.

To clear inventory and attract footfalls, retailers may offer higher discounts, especially during the initial months of reopening of stores, and this could impact profitability.
However, renegotiation of rental arrangements and trimming of employee cost — which together account for 20 per cent of revenue — will help keep operating margin at 4 to 5 per cent this fiscal, a slight improvement over 3 to 4 per cent last fiscal but much below the pre-pandemic level of 9 per cent.

Last fiscal, retailers strengthened their balance sheets through equity infusions of Rs 2,000 crore, which reduced overall debt for Crisil-rated apparel retailers by 30 per cent.

E-way Bill Generation Shows Pick Up In Economic Recovery

E-way bill generation for goods transportation has gathered pace in July, indicating a graded pick-up in economic recovery, as the impact of the second Covid wave wanes. In the first 11 days of July, the average daily e-way bill generation stood at 19.24 lakh, 5.6% higher than the average for June and 49% higher than the May-level.

Between July 1 and 11, as many as 2.12 crore e-way bills were generated. Higher e-way bill generation will reflect in goods and service tax (GST) revenues.

Gross GST collections, after remaining above the Rs 1-lakh-crore mark for eight months in a row, came in at Rs 92,849 crore in June (May transactions), reflecting the blow to the economy from a localized lockdown.

Thanks to the reduction in Covid-19 cases and easing of the lockdowns, e-way bills generation by businesses rose to 5.5 crore in June, from 3.99 crore in May, indicating a smart recovery of trade and business. About 5.9 crore e-way bills were generated in April.

With the impact of the second Covid wave waning and vaccination drive making progress, some parts of the economy are expected to look up from July.

In recent months, the government’s GST revenue has been robust, thanks to steps taken to curb evasion, increased compliance and also a shift of business away from the informal sector. A nascent economic recovery that appears to have been quickly disrupted by the pandemic’s second surge, also helped.

Favorable Monsoon Likely To Boost Farm Output And Maintain Crop Costs In Check

Inflation pressures build up in India as wholesale inflation (WPI) has been rising for five months. The impact can be seen on surging commodity prices for a few months now. While RBI is expected to look through supply-driven inflation surge along with supply-side measures taken by the government, Barclays in its recent monsoon report has noted that monsoon can also help balance this impounding pressure on prices for the medium term. “A favorable monsoon that boosts farm output could help to keep price pressures in check,” Barclays stated.

However, many areas are witnessing a monsoon dry spell as the rainfall remains subdued. According to the report, the rainfall received for the last 20 days has been below normal. Monsoon rains are expected to pick up during the second week of July and remain in a normal range for the rest of the month, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted. As of now, the overall rainfall is 8 per cent below the normal range.

As a result of the dry spell, the impact can be seen of sowing of kharif crops. “The progress of monsoon during July-August is critical, as it has a significant bearing on sowing and crop yields for the year,” Barclays added. But with the monsoon being delayed, many farmers are delaying sowing of the kharif (summer) crop this season. The state governments have also urged the farmers to do so, the report said.

Pushpendra Singh, President- Kisan Shakti Sangh also told FE online that delay in monsoon has impacted the sowing of crops this year. The area sown through as of now is at 50 crore hectares whereas more than 56 crore hectares have been used for sowing last year by this time. While the farmers have been hopeful on monsoon recovery, by mid-July, there has not been much rainfall in northern parts of the country. For areas where rain remains scarce, Singh said farmers will have to use groundwater as a resource which will further stress their input cost and profitability. To be sure, the monsoon is also critical for water reservoir storage levels.

Barclays noted as of July 7, storage in 130 key reservoirs stood at 31 per cent of total capacity. “This amounts to 93% of the available capacity in the year-earlier period and 126% of the 10-year average for this point in the season.” Meanwhile, sowing trends for cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds remain weak with a decline of 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 10 per cent year-on-year decline in sowing, respectively.

Economy Showing Signs Of Revival Due To Rapid Vaccination: Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry on Friday said the economy has started showing signs of revival from the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of targeted fiscal relief, monetary policy and a rapid vaccination drive.

“The broad-based economic relief package, extended to mitigate the second wave, amounted to Rs 6.29 lakh crore. RBI continues with its efforts to calm the nerves of the market and revive sectors with both backward and forward linkages and multiplier effects on growth,” the ministry said in its monthly economic review.

To stimulate the economy and ease the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman last month announced eight economic measures amounting to Rs 6.29 lakh crore to provide relief to individuals as well as businesses in the country.

Apart from eight relief measures announced in health and other worst affected sectors, Sitharaman announced a stimulus package for the tourism industry, which included five lakh tourist visas to be issued free of charge, once the government resumes issuance. The total financial implication of the scheme will be Rs 100 crore.

Resilient tax collections of the central government in the first two months of FY 2020-21 and sustained momentum in capital expenditure, particularly in the road and rail sector, the report said, augurs well for continued economic recovery driven by capital expenditures.

The report further added that the recently announced economic relief package was “expected to further oil the wheels of the Capex cycle via implementation of the PLI scheme and streamlining of processes for PPP Projects and Asset Monetisation”.

Consumption sentiment is expected to pick up with further enhancement of employment support under Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ANBRY), targeted support to the urban poor through the credit guarantee scheme for on-lending by micro-finance institutions and wider Bharat-Net digitisation coverage, the economic review for June said.

Free food-grain and enhanced fertiliser subsidies under the package along with continued MGNREGA implementation, on the other hand, would serve as a cushion for rural demand in the coming quarters, it said.

“Maintaining a rapid pace on vaccination and quickly bridging health care infrastructure gaps across both urban and rural areas would emerge as the most sustainable stimulus for durable recovery of the Indian economy,” the report added.

Going forward, it said, further expansion of vaccination and strict adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour will be a critical safeguard against the emergence of a possible third wave.

On high food prices, the report said, healthy monsoon coverage, gradually rising Kharif sowing and unlocking of states is expected to ease food, and thereby headline inflation.

However, it said, risks due to global demand-led recovery in commodity prices and input cost pressures remain.

About global economic growth, it said this has continued its upward trajectory in June 2021.

Falling COVID-19 infections and accelerating vaccinations consolidated US recovery and renewed growth prospects in the Euro Area, it said, adding global trade remained buoyant with an uptick in global commercial flight and port activity, which portends well for Indian exports.

However, it said, the resurgence of delta variant infections, firming inflationary pressures, unequal access to vaccination and burgeoning debt levels continue to lend substantial uncertainty to the global economic outlook.

MSMEs Experience A Dent In Their Financial Performance; Large Corporates Gain From Low Rates

The operating profitability of companies rose in the pandemic year 2020-21, reversing the prior two-year trend of falling profits, even as the impact on profitability and debt repayment capacity has been varied depending upon the size of the firms. Large firms made good use of low-interest rates, wage costs and raw materials last year to boost operating profits. While large corporates strengthened their balance sheet, MSMEs experienced a dent in their financial performance.

In the three quarters of 2020-21 combined, the corporate sector’s revenues and expenditure declined by 11.6 per cent and 15.2 per cent, respectively, while operational profit (earnings before interest and taxes or EBIT) increased by 7 per cent year-on-year, as per a recent assessment by the Reserve Bank of India. The impact of Covid-19 has been varied for firms of different sizes/nature of operations.

“Evidence from both advanced and emerging economies show that smaller-sized firms are relatively more vulnerable to extended periods of lockdown. Larger firms may have found it easier to cut costs compared to smaller firms during the lockdown. In India, although the interest coverage ratio (ICR) deteriorated for firms of all size categories in 2020-21, small firms appear to have been affected more by the lockdown in Q1:2020-21,” the RBI noted in its analysis on firm profitability and debt servicing capacity.

Both small and large firms, however, improved their debt serviceability ratios in Q3 to levels that are higher than the pre-pandemic period. The rise in profits and a sharp decline in borrowing costs led to recovery in their interest coverage ratio. Industry-wise sectors which depend on discretionary spending by consumers were impacted more (such as hotels, recreation services, gems and jewellery). Sectors that were excluded from the lockdown (such as food and utilities) experienced a relatively lower deterioration in interest coverage ratio in Q1 FY21.

After the sharp fall in sales and profitability in Q1 FY21 following the nationwide lockdown last year, companies continued with their cost-cutting strategies in the following quarters. Falling interest rates, low wage and other input costs, alongside recovery in sales, enabled corporate India to straighten operating profits and balance sheets in the following quarters during the previous financial year.

In Q1 FY21, average revenue from sales contracted by 32 per cent for a sample of 2,536 listed firms. Firms resorted to aggressive cost-cutting measures, enabling them to lower their total expenditure by 34 per cent. Profits nosedived, endangering their debt-servicing capacity. Indian corporates, however, adjusted quickly to the altered business environment. As sales recovered in Q2 FY21, cost-cutting continued as the preferred path to regain efficiency and return to profitability, the RBI said.

While revenue contraction moderated to 5.3 per cent, total expenditure contracted by 12.5 per cent, enabling net operating profit to rise by 33.4 per cent in Q2. However, in Q3, revenue increased by 2.0 per cent and expenditure increased by 0.3 per cent that led to further increase in profits by 35.6 per cent. Rising profitability in the third and fourth quarters helped in improving the firms’ debt servicing capacity.

Government Brings The Department Of Public Enterprises (DPE) Under The Finance Ministry

As part of the divestment strategy for the financial sector, the government has decided to go for a mega initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and residual stake sale in IDBI Bank during the financial year beginning April.

The government has brought the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) under the Finance Ministry in a bid to facilitate its ambitious disinvestment program. Earlier, DPE was part of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

“Ministry of Finance (Vitta Mantralaya), after the sub-heading (v) Department of Financial Services (Vittiya Sewayen Vibhag), following sub-heading shall be inserted, namely:- (vi) Department of Public Enterprises (Lok Udyam Vibhag)” as per the Cabinet Secretariat notification dated July 6, 2021.

The gazette notification issued said these rules may be called the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Three Hundred and Sixty-First Amendment Rules, 2021. “They shall come into force at once,” the notification said. With the addition, this will be the sixth department under the Finance Ministry.

The rejig comes ahead of Cabinet expansion slated later in the day. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget 2021-22 had announced a big-ticket privatization agenda, including privatization of two public sector banks and one general insurance company.

As part of the divestment strategy for the financial sector, the government has decided to go for a mega initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and residual stake sale in IDBI Bank during the financial year beginning April. The government has budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions during 2021-22.

GST Collection For The Month Of June Fell Below Rs 1 Trillion For The First Time

Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections for the month of June fell below Rs 1 trillion for the first time in months, government data released on Tuesday showed.

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of June is at Rs 92,849 crore. The collection dropped below Rs 1 trillion marks after posting above the mark for eight months in a row. GST collections moderated to an eight-month low of Rs 1.02 trillion in May.

The revenues for the month of June 2021 are 2 percent higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year.

The figures include GST collection from domestic transactions between June 5 to July 5 since taxpayers were given various relief measures in the form of waiver/reduction in interest on delayed return filing for 15 days for the return filing month June for the taxpayers with the aggregate turnover up to Rs 5 crore in the wake of covid pandemic second wave.

The GST collection for June is related to the business transactions made during May. During May, in most of the States, UTs were under either complete or partial lockdown due to Covid. The e-way bill data for the month of May 2021 shows that during the month, 39.9 million e-way bills were generated as compared to 59 million in the month of April, down by more than 30 percent.

However, with a reduction in caseload and easing of lockdowns, the e-way bills generated during June is 55 million which indicates recovery of trade and business, the ministry of finance said.

The daily average generation of e-way bills for the first two weeks of April 2021 was 2 million, which came down to 1.6 million in the last week of April 2021 and further to 1.2 million in the two weeks between to May 9-22. Thereafter, the average generation of e-way bills has been increasing and has reached again to 2 million levels since the week beginning June 20. Therefore, it is expected that while the GST revenues have dipped during the month of June, the revenues will see an increase again from July 2021 onwards.

Of the total collections, CGST is Rs 16,424 crore, SGST is Rs 20,397, IGST is Rs 49,079 crore (including Rs 25,762 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 6,949 crore (including Rs 809 crore collected on import of goods).

India’s Services Sector Activities Contracted Further In June Due To Covid Crisis

India’s services sector activities contracted further in June as the intensification of the COVID-19 crisis and reintroduction of containment measures restricted demand, a monthly survey said on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index fell from 46.4 in May to 41.2 in June, as new work intakes and output contracted at the fastest rates since July 2020, which prompted companies to reduce employment again.

Subdued demand conditions resulted in a second successive monthly drop in new business received by services firms. The pace of contraction was sharp and the quickest since July 2020, the survey said.

In Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below 50 denotes contraction.

“Given the current COVID-19 situation in India, it was expected that the service sector would take a hit. PMI data for June showed quicker declines in new business, output and employment that were sharp, but much softer than those recorded in the first lockdown,” said Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit.

According to Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday, India saw a single-day rise of 39,796 new COVID infections, which took the tally of cases to 3,05,85,229, while the death toll climbed to 4,02,728 with 723 more fatalities.

The international demand for Indian services deteriorated further in June, with new export orders falling for the 16th consecutive month.

Meanwhile, the overall level of business sentiment was down for the third month in a row in June, reaching its lowest mark since last August. The COVID-19 pandemic was the main factor seen as a threat to the outlook among survey participants.

“Uncertainty about the path of the pandemic restricted business confidence among services firms, who were generally neutral in their forecasts for output in the year ahead. The overall level of sentiment slipped to a ten-month low,” Lima said.

Lima further noted that “with India expanding its vaccine options and the government announcing ambitious plans to immunize the entire adult population by the end of the year, it is hoped that the pandemic can be brought under control and a sustainable economic recovery can begin”.

Private sector companies in India noted a second successive monthly decline in business activity during June as market conditions remained challenging due to the escalation of the pandemic.

The Composite PMI Output Index, which measures combined services and manufacturing output, fell from 48.1 in May to 43.1 in June, signalling the sharpest rate of reduction since July 2020.

Meanwhile, rising prices of edible oils and protein-rich items pushed the retail inflation to a six-month high of 6.3 percent in May, breaching the comfort level of the Reserve Bank and thus rendering a reduction in interest rates a difficult proposition in the near term.

CERC Allows BSES To Exit Power Purchase Deal With NTPC

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has allowed BSES to walk out of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the NTPC Ltd’s Dadri-I thermal power plant, in a first-of-its-kind order that will help Delhi’s largest power discom save at least Rs 35 crore per month.

The order can be a potential trigger for more such petitions from discoms demanding that they be allowed to exit PPAs that are no longer beneficial or necessary, yet affecting the bottom line of the companies. BSES hailed the order as “landmark that will help in lowering the power tariff, thus benefiting the 45 lakh consumers of the company in Delhi”.

The discom had moved the CERC to restrain the NTPC from invoking any penalty for walking out of the contract in November, 2020. The contract was signed in June 2007, and was later extended through a supplementary agreement (SPPA) in March, 2012. The SPPA extended the validity of the contract “till the end of life of respective generating station considered in tariff orders or Regulations issued by Commission or Government of India allocations, whichever is later.” While exiting the contract unilaterally in 2020, the BSES had invoked Regulation 17 (1) of the 2019 Tariff Regulations drawn up by the CERC for the power sector. Under the clause, the beneficiaries of a PPA, in this case the BSES, enjoy the “first right of refusal” to purchase power from generation stations that have completed 25 years from the commercial operation date.

The Dadri-I plant was commissioned on December 1, 1995. However, the NTPC disputed the BSES’ move, saying it violated Regulation 17 of the 2019 Tariff Regulations. “There cannot be a unilateral change to an existing PPA at the instance of one party, when the other party is not agreeable to the same,” the NTPC said.

In its petition, the BSES, which supplies power to Delhi through its subsidiaries BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, said continuation of the PPA was putting a burden on the tariff of the consumers, especially since no power was being drawn from the station. “Even though the petitioners (BSES) have duly exercised their first right of refusal under Regulation 17(2) of the 2019 Tariff Regulations, the consumers of the Petitioners are making payments of approximately Rs. 35 crore per month,” it said.

Incidentally, on March 22, the Ministry of Power had issued guidelines enabling discoms to either continue or exit from PPAs after completion of the term of PPA beyond 25 years, which the CERC order also mentions.

The CERC turned down the NTPC’s contention that BSES cannot selectively apply Regulation 17 in respect of Dadri-I generating station, while continuing to avail power from Singrauli and Rihand generating stations, both of which have also completed 25 years of initial useful life. The CERC said, “A plain reading of Regulation 17 reveals that it is in no way mandatory to invoke such provisions in respect of all of the generating stations which have completed 25 years of operation from CoD.”

The Commission said it disagrees with NTPC’s interpretation of Regulation 17, adding it concurs with BSES’ views that Dadri plant completed 25 years on November 30, 2020, hence the discom is within its rights to exercise the first right of refusal and exit the deal. It asked the discom to approach the Power Ministry seeking deallocation of its share from Dadri-I plant.

India’s Manufacturing Sector Activities Contracts In June; First Time In 11 Months: Survey

India’s manufacturing sector activities contracted for the first time in 11 months in June as rise in coronavirus cases and strict containment measures adversely impacted demand as well as resulted in job losses, a monthly survey said on July 1.

The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined to 48.1 in June from 50.8 in May.

The index fell below the critical 50.0 mark for the first time since July 2020. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion while a score below 50 denotes contraction.

The latest reading highlighted renewed contractions in factory orders, production, exports and quantities of purchases. Moreover, with business optimism fading over the month, job shedding continued, the survey said.

COVID-19 restrictions also curtailed international demand for Indian goods and new export orders decreased for the first time in ten months.

“The intensification of the COVID-19 crisis in India had a detrimental impact on the manufacturing economy. Growth of new orders, production, exports and input purchasing was interrupted in June as containment measures aimed at bringing the pandemic under control restrained demand,” Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, said.

Ms. Lima, however, noted that in all cases, rates of contraction were softer than during the first lockdown.

Business confidence was dampened in June by uncertainty over when the pandemic can be brought under control. Companies were at their least optimistic for almost a year. “As a result of subdued optimism, jobs were shed again in June,” Ms. Lima said.

On the price front, input costs increased further in June, with firms reporting higher prices for chemicals, electronic components, energy, metals and plastics.

Additional cost burdens were again transferred on to clients, with goods producers hiking their fees for the tenth straight month, the survey said.

“Out of the three broad areas of the manufacturing sector monitored by the survey, capital goods was the worst affected area in June. Output here declined at a steep rate due to a sharp fall in sales.

“The sector also saw the fastest contraction in buying levels and was the only to post job shedding,” Ms. Lima said.

Digital India completes six years: PM Modi interacts with beneficiaries

The digital India initiative was launched with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with beneficiaries of the Digital India programme on Thursday, as the flagship initiative of the government completes six years, according to an official statement.

The digital India initiative was launched with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

The programme, to be held on July 1, will start with the opening remarks of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“The program will then see a presentation of a video on key achievements of the Digital India, which will lead to an interactive session of Prime Minister with the beneficiaries of various schemes of Digital India, moderated by Shri Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT said in the statement.

The programme was launched on July 1, 2015, by the Prime Minister.

“It’s going to be a very interactive and informative session wherein the PM will speak with the beneficiaries of Digital India from across the country. It’s a proud moment for us as the guidance and support we have got from the Prime Minister is unparalleled,” Digital India Corporation MD and CEO Abhishek Singh said.

All the interactions and addresses will be done virtually at the event, which will be also telecasted live on social media platforms Facebook and YouTube channel of Digital India.

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