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FM Briefs on Infra Projects Worth Rs 102 L Crore in Next 5 Years

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, 31 December, briefed the media about government's infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore, to be realised over the next five years.

  • November retail inflation has hit a three-year high of 5.54 percent
  • October IIP contracyed by 3.4 percent
  • The cuts in corporate tax announced by the government earlier this month will cost the state exchequer Rs 1.45 lakh crore

Infra Projects Worth Rs 102 Lakh Crore in Pipeline

Addressing a press conference, FM Sitharaman on Tuesday, briefed on infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore over the next five years.

She said the projects would be spread across 22 ministries and 18 states and Union Territories.

FDI Inflows at Record Levels in First Half of 2019-20: CEA

Briefing the media on Friday, CEA K Subramanian said India has witnessed record FDI inflows worth US$ 35 billion in the first half of 2019-20 as against US$ 31 billion during the same period last year.

Dues Around Rs 61,000 Crore Cleared in Two Months: CEA

Briefing the media on steps taken to boost the economy, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian on Friday, 13 December said that that dues close to Rs 61,000 crore have been cleared by the government and PSUs in the last two months.

Cabinet Approves Huge Import of Onions

Cabinet approves import of 1.2 lakh tonnes of onion to ease domestic supplies and prices.

Two-Year Moratorium for Telecom Companies on Spectrum Payment

The Cabinet on Wednesday announced a two-year moratorium to under-stress telecom companies for spectrum payment. Deferred payments will be made by telecom companies without increase in time period and will be spread over the remaining installments.

Cabinet Approves Strategic Disinvestment of BPCL

Cabinet approves strategic disinvestment in BPCL along with transfer of management control, excluding stake in Numaligarh Refinery.

Numaligarh Refinery will be carved out of BPCL before privatisation and will be taken over by another public sector company.

Shipping Corporation, Container Corporation of India, THDCIL and Northeastern Electric Power Corporation will also undergo disinvestment.

Rahul Gandhi Attacks Govt on Unemployment Rate

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday tweeted CMIE's latest unemployment data to attack the government on unemployment rate, calling it 'a monument dedicated to incompetence'.

Fund to Provide Debt Financing to Stalled Projects

Detailing on the modalities of the fund, FM Sitharaman said the fund will be used to provide priority debt financing for completion of stalled affordable, middle-income housing projects.

Housing projects that are NPA or in NCLT can also be funded, she said.

4.58 Lakh Housing Units Stuck: FM Sitharaman

Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 4.58 lakh housing units in 1,600 projects are stuck across the country.

Rs 25,000 Crore Fund for Real Estate Sector

The government on Wednesday announced formation of a Rs 25,000 crore Alternative Investment Fund to boost the real estate sector.

Of the declared amount, government will pump in Rs 10,000 crore while the rest of the amount will be made available by SBI and LIC, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said addressing a press conference.

Economic Slowdown: Congress to Hold Protest Across India in Nov

Congress will hold a protest across the country from the first week of November, against the central government over the economic situation, ANI reported.

Banking Services Partially Affected Due to Strike by Employees

Banking services remained affected in Mumbai on Tuesday, 22 October, as employees of state-run banks went on a nation-wide one day strike to protest against the government's mega-merger plan, according to PTI.

In August, the government announced a plan to merge ten public sector lenders into four to create fewer and stronger global-sized banks.

"Already the government has effected the merger of associate banks with SBI and Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda, and in this process around three thousand bank branches have been closed. If this (of 10 banks) merger takes place may be another two thousand bank branches will be closed," All India Banks Employees Association (AIBEA) said.

The union said the government is merging banks to serve the interests of big businesses who have looted these banks in the form of non-payment of loans.

Hoping for a Trade Deal With US Soon: FM Sitharaman

Addressing a press conference in Washington on Friday, 18 October, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said there has been narrowing of trade differences between India and the US and she is hoping that the two countries be able to enter into a trade deal soon.

"I hope to have an agreement sooner. Obviously narrowing (of difference) is happening," she told a group of Indian reporters

Govt is Obsessed With Blaming Opponents: Manmohan Singh

Speaking at Speaking at an interaction session in Mumbai, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government is obsessed with blaming the opponents and hence not able to find solution to the problems affecting the economy.

His comments come a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Indian public sector banks had the "worst phase" under the former PM and former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.

"The government needs to understand the ailment first before looking for diagnosis," he further said.

Go Back to Time-Tested Measures to Fix Economy: Manmohan Singh

Addressing an interaction session with industry repesentatives and common people, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government needs to go back to time-tested measures to fix the slowdown in economy.

Important for India to Keep Fiscal Deficit in Check: IMF Chief Economist

It is important for India to keep fiscal deficit in check, even though its revenue projections look optimistic, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Gita Gopinath has said.

As against India's real growth rate of 6.8 per cent in 2018, the IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook, released on Tuesday, projected the country's growth rate at 6.1 per cent in 2019 and noted that the Indian economy is expected to pick up at 7 per cent in 2020.

In India's case, there has been a negative impact on growth that has come from financial vulnerabilities and the nonbank financial sector, and the impact on consumer borrowing and borrowing of small and medium enterprises, Gopinath said.

Banks Disbursed Loans Worth Rs 81,700 Crore During Loan Mela: FM

Addressing a press conference after a meeting with CEOs of public sector banks, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said banks have disbursed loans worth Rs 81,700 crore during the loan mela held between 1-9 October. She said another such outreach programme will be held between 21-25 October.

Big Corporates Owe Rs 40,000 Crore to MSMEs

Addressing the press conference Sitharaman said that the ministry has the list of companies which stated that they owe MSMEs nearly Rs 40,000 Crores.

"Corporate Affairs Secretary and Banking Secretary will ensure that the data, in desegregated form, is given to these banks," she said.

Moody's Cuts India GDP Growth Forecast to 5.8% for FY'20

Moody's Investors Service on Thursday, 10 October, slashed its 2019-20 GDP growth forecast for India to 5.8 percent from 6.2 percent earlier, saying the economy was experiencing a pronounced slowdown which is partly related to long-lasting factors.

The projection is lower than 6.1 percent that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had forecast just last week.

Firms Staying Closed 10 Days a Month Due to Recession, Govt Doing Nothing: Priyanka

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday accused the government of doing nothing to improve the country's economy even as various companies have resorted to staying shut for several days every month due to lack of work.

She took to Twitter to attack the government over the country's low economic growth.

"Companies are being shut down for 10 days in a month due to recession as there is no work. But the BJP government has deliberately closed its agenda for improving the economy," said Priyanka Gandhi in a tweet in Hindi.

"The economy is in real bad shape and the government is shying away from finding a solution to improve it," she added.

She also attached with her Tweet a news report which said companies are being shut down for 10 days in a month due to recession and bad economy in the country.

Ashok Leyland Declares Non-Working Days Across the Country

In a filing to the exchanges, leading heavy vehicle maker Ashok Leyland has said that the company's plants at various locations will be observing non-working days ranging from 2-15 days during the month of October.

Suppressing Criticism is a Sure Fire Recipe for Policy Mistakes: Raghuram Rajan

Suppressing criticism is a "sure fire recipe" for policy mistakes, cautioned former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan in a hard-hitting blog arguing that people in authority should tolerate criticism.

Rajan also said it is only criticism that prompts government to take period policy course correction.

"If every critic gets a phone call from a government functionary asking them to back off, or gets targeted by the ruling party's troll army, many will tone down their criticism. The government will then live in a pleasant make-believe environment, until the harsh truth can no longer be denied," Rajan said while recalling the achievements of noted jurist and doyen of liberalism in India Nani Palkhivala.

People in the authority, he emphasised, have to tolerate criticism.

Current Account Deficit Narrows to 2.3% of GDP

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said that the current account deficit has narrowed to 2 percent of GDP or at $14.3 billion in Q1 from 2.3 percent.

Central Trade Unions Announce Nationwide Strike on 8 January

Central trade unions on Monday gave a call for a nationwide general strike on January 8 against government's alleged failure to respond to demands of workers.

As many as 10 central unions announced the strike in national open mass convention of workers, as per a joint statement issued by them.

"The central government not only failed to respond to the genuine demands of the working people, but continued its brazen aggression against the rights of workers, in the interest of their corporate masters. Bipartism and tripartism is given a go-by. Labour laws are being sought to be overhauled in favour of the employers' class," the statement said.

Core Sector Output Declines by 0.5% in August

The eight core industries in August recorded a 0.5 per cent decline in output of coal, crude oil, natural gas, cement, and electricity, according to a government data released on Monday.

The eight core sector industries - coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity - had expanded by 4.7 per cent in August last year.

Coal, crude oil, natural gas, cement, and electricity recorded a negative growth of 8.6 per cent, 5.4 per cent , 3.9 per cent, 4.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, in August, according to the data of the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

However, fertiliser and steel production grew by 2.9 per cent, and 5 per cent, respectively during the month under review.

During April-August, growth in the eight core industries grew by 2.4 per cent from 5.7 per cent in the year-ago period.

Sundaram Clayton Shuts Production on 1 Oct

Chennai-based TVS group firm Sundaram Clayton on Monday, 30 September, declared 1 October as non-working day for the company's major plants due to business slowdown across sectors.

34 PSUs Already Spent Rs 48,077 Cr Till Aug: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the media, said, “34 central PSUs have already spent Rs 48,077 crores till August; Rs 50,159 crore to be spent by December 2019 and another Rs 54,700 crore in Q4.”

FM to Meet PSUs on Saturday

Briefing the media, FM Sitharaman said she will have a separate meeting with different agencies of public sector undertakings (PSUs) on Saturday.

MSME, Service Provider Dues to be Cleared: FM

Following a meeting with several ministries, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said all the pending payments to MSMEs and service providers will be cleared soon.

All ministries and PSUs will clear non-litigated dues, she also said.

Most Banks to Follow Repo Rate-Linked Lending: Uday Kotak

After a meeting between the finance minister and private bankers, Kotak Mahindra Bank MD Uday Kotak said that most banks are willing to follow external benchmark based lending from 1 October.

FM Sitharaman Reacts on Auto Sector Slowdown

Speaking to the media, FM Sitharaman said that private lenders have suggested that while slowdown in connercial vehicle sale is cyclical, the slump in passenger vehicle sales is a sentimental issue.

Banks to Engage in Outreach Programmes: Finance Secy

Briefing the media after the meeting, Finance Secretary said that private banks will engage in outreach programmes across 400 districts in the country in the lead up to the festive season.

No Liquidity Crunch in the System: FM Sitharaman

Following a meeting with private lenders and other financial institutions, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that there is no lackof liquidity in the system.

Goa Cong Chief Calls Sitharaman 'Clueless' FM

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar has hit out at Nirmala Sitharaman stating that the "fautly policies and management" of the economy by "clueless" Union Finance Minister has resulted in roller coaster ride for various sectors and resulted in sharp decline in GDP, reported ANI.

Fadnavis Calls Corporate Tax Rate Cut 'Historic' Step

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hailed the Union government's decision to slash the corporate tax rates as a historic step for boosting economic growth.

Rob the Poor, Reward the Rich: Owaisi on Corporate Tax Cuts

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at the Centre's move to slash corporate tax, wondering whether it was the working people or industrialists who were in need of relief in times of “economic crisis.”

He also asked, “Why is there no ‘stimulus package’ for working families, including reduction in tax rates?”

'Panic Reaction': Congress on Nirmala Sitharaman's Corporate Tax Cut

Hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement regarding the corporate tax cut, the Congress on Friday lashed out at the Modi government over the state of the economy.

“The latest announcement by BJP government slashing corporate tax worth Rs 1,45,000 crore a year is another panic reaction to tide over choppy Sensex index instead of laying down sound economic vision and fiscal policy for the country,” said a statement by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

''HowdyModi' Has Driven India Into Economic Mess': Rahul Gandhi

Taking to Twitter on Friday, after Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of a corporate tax cut, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for driving India into an “economic mess”.

Referring to Modi’s event in Houston, he said, “At + 1.4 Lakh Crore Rs. the Houston event is the world's most expensive event, ever!”

Step to Cut Corporate Tax Historic: PM Modi

Hailing the finance minister's decision to cut corporate tax, PM Modi tweeted saying that the decision is "historic" and that it will attract private investment and create more jobs.

Rupee Rallies 66 Paise to 70.68 Against US Dollar

The rupee extended the morning gains and rallied 66 paise to 70.68 against the US dollar on Friday after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several measures to promote investment and growth.

In a major relief to foreign portfolio investors, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said Super-rich tax will not apply on capital gains arising from sale of any security including derivatives in hands of FPIs.

The government on Friday also slashed effective corporate tax to 25.17 per cent inclusive of all cess and surcharges for domestic companies.

Sensex Gains Above 1,900 Points

Markets cheer FM's announcements as Sensex hits intra-day high of 38,006.14 , gaining more than 1,900 points. The broader Nifty index also gained more than 4 percent to go past the 11,000-mark.

Tax Slashes to Cost Govt Rs 1.45 Lakh Crore

The cuts in corporate tax announced by the government will cost the state exchequer Rs 1.45 lakh crore per annum, the finance minister said.

Govt Rolls Back Tax Surcharge On Capital Gains On Sale Of Securities

In order to stabilise flow of funds in capital markets, increased surcharge in this year's budget shall not apply on capital gains made through sale of equity share in companies liable for STT in the hands of individual, AOP, Sitharaman said.

Enhanced surcharge to not apply to not apply to capital gains arising on sale of any security including derivatives in the hands of FPIs.

Companies Will not Have to Pay Minimum Alternative Tax

Domestic companies and new domestic manufacturing companies have now been exempted from Minimum Alternative Tax

New Domestic Manufacturing Companies to Pay 15% Corporate Tax

Any new domestic manufacturing company incorporated after 1 October, 2019 has option to pay 15 percent tax. This is also applicable to companies which don’t avail any exemptions.

Effective tax rate for these cos will be 17.01 percent including of surcharge and cesses.

Govt Slashes Corporate Tax on Domestic Companies

The government on Thursday slashed the corporate tax on domestic companies to 22 percent, provided they do not avail any other exemptions or incentives. Effective tax for these companies rate will be 25.17 percent inclusive of all surcharge and cesses

Room for More Rate Cuts as Inflation Under Check, Says RBI Governor

After surprising everyone with four successive rate cuts this year, Reserve Bank governor Shaktikanta Das Thursday said "there is more room" to do so given the growth deceleration and stable inflation that is likely to stay below target for a year or so, reported PTI.

However, the governor was quick to add that there is little fiscal space for the government to unveil any counter-cyclical measures to boost the sagging growth and the only way to revive the growth engine is to front-load the budgeted capex, hinting that only an easy money policy can help salvage the situation.

Banks to Hold Public Meets With NBFCs in 400 Districts to Give Credit: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said public sector banks will hold meetings with NBFCs and retail borrowers in 400 districts beginning next week to provide credit to borrowers, including homebuyers and farmers, reported PTI.

The public meetings will be held in two tranches. The first will be held between Tuesday (September 24) and September 29 in 200 districts and another 200 districts will be covered between October 10 and 15, the minister said.

She said the idea is to ensure maximum credit disbursal during the festive season. Diwali, which falls in October this year, is considered as the biggest shopping season of the country.

During the public meetings, credit will be provided for retail, agriculture, MSME and housing sector, among others.

The minister also announced that banks have been asked not to declare any stressed MSME loan as non-performing assets (NPA) till March 31, 2020.

‘No Stressed MSME Loan to Be Declared NPA Till March 2020’: FM

The government on Thursday asked banks not to declare any stressed loan account of MSMEs as NPA till March 2020 and work on recasting their debt, reported PTI.

At a press conference after meeting PSU bank heads, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said there already exists a circular from the Reserve Bank that provides for stressed loan accounts of MSMEs not being declared non-performing assets (NPAs).

She said banks have been asked to follow that circular and not declare any stressed MSME loan as NPA till March 2020 and look at recasting their debt.

This would help the MSME sector, she said.

Also, banks have identified some NBFCs that they can lend to so that liquidity and credit is made available to those seeking money, she said.

'Have Been Working On Economic Measures,' Says Sitharaman to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rebutted Biocon chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw as she wondered why the ban on e-cigarettes, approved on Wednesday by the cabinet, had not been announced by the Health Minister.

Confidence of Investors Shaken but Modi Govt Refuses to Acknowledge Truth: Priyanka

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday attacked the government over the state of the economy, saying the confidence of investors is "shaken" but the Modi dispensation is refusing to acknowledge the truth.

"By showing glitter, saying 5 trillion, 5 trillion, everyday or by doing media's headline management, economy cannot be improved. Investors do not come by sponsoring events abroad," Priyanka Gandhi said in an apparent dig at Prime Minister Modi's upcoming diaspora event in Houston.

The confidence of investors is "shaken" and the foundation of economic investment has "cracked", she said in a tweet in Hindi with the hashtag 'BJP bad for business'.

"But the BJP government is refusing to acknowledge this truth. This slowdown is a speed breaker in the direction of becoming an economic superpower. Without improving this situation, all other razzmatazz is useless," Priyanka Gandhi said in another tweet.

No Slowdown in Automobile Sector, Claims Traders Body CAIT

Traders body CAIT on Tuesday said there is no slowdown in the domestic automobile sector and the industry is making hue and cry only to get a package from the government.

The auto industry has been attributing the sales downturn to several factors like high GST (Goods and Services Tax) rates, farm distress, stagnant wages and liquidity constraints.

"There is no slowdown in the domestic automobile sector. They are saying this to get a package from the government," Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.

'FM's Press Conference Was Disappointing': Congress Reacts

Addressing the media on Saturday, Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma reportedly said, “Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharman) just concluded a press conference. It was disappointing. Looking at India’s economic situation, it was expected that governments will take steps to resuscitate economy, increase investments, create jobs, address issue of exports, etc.”

Asserting that the country’s economy is “in shambles”, Sharma said that the government is not working towards improving a “grave situation”.

Measures Announced to Boost Housing, Facilitate Homebuyers

The government on Saturday also announced a Rs 10,000 crore special window to provide last-mile funding for completion of ongoing housing projects which are not NPAs or facing bankruptcy proceedings under NCLT.

Announcing the measure, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will contribute Rs 10,000 crore for the special window and roughly the same amount is expected from outside investors, reported PTI.

FDI Inflows Are Robust As of Now: FM Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows are robust as of now and there is a sign of revival, amid slowdown concerns. “Forex reserves (Foreign Exchange reserves) have gone up, particularly in August end.”

"“External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) guidelines will be relaxed to facilitate financing homebuyers who are eligible under the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana). This is an addition to the existing norms for ECB for affordable housing.”" - Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

India to Hold Mega Shopping Festivals Like One in Dubai to Boost Exports: FM Sitharaman

During her press conference on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will cut the turnaround time in ports and airports via use of technology. She also said that India will be holding annual mega shopping festivals like the Dubai Shopping Festival to boost exports.

"“Mega shopping festivals will be held across the country in four destinations, by March 2020. It is a greater push for people to make contacts and connections.”" - Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

FM Sitharaman Announces Sops for Exports

While announcing sops for exports, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the scheme of Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP), which is a new scheme, shall completely replace all Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) from 1 January 2020.

“Rs 50,000 crore revenue will be foregone with the introduction of Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products,” she was quoted as saying.

She also said that there will be a fully automated electronic refund route for input tax credits in GST.

"“Export Credit Guarantee Corp (EGC) will expand scope of export credit insurance scheme; incentive to cost Rs 1,700 crore per annum… Rs 36,000 crore to Rs 68,000 crore of credit will be available for exports after priority sector lending tag.”" - Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Inflation Under Control, Clear Sign of Revival of Industrial Production: FM Sitharaman

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, 14 September, amid concerns of an economic slowdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Inflation is under control and there is a clear sign of revival of industrial production.”

While announcing the third tranche of stimulus measures for the economy, Sitharaman also claimed that measures are being taken to improve credit outflow from banks. She said that the transmission of interest rate cuts is being effected by the banks.

Sitharaman to Make 'Important Announcements' Shortly

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference on Saturday, 14 September, where she will make “announce important decisions” of the government.

Sitharaman's Press Conference Stands Cancelled

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference on Saturday, 14 September, where she was scheduled to make “announce important decisions” of the government stands cancelled, reported ANI.

FM Sitharaman to Make 'Important Announcements' Tomorrow

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference on Saturday, 14 September, to announce important decisions of the government, reported ANI.

Bank Unions to Go on Strike Against Bank Mergers

Four Bank Officers' Trade Union Organisations have proposed to go on a continuous strike from midnight of 25 September to midnight of 27 September and on an indefinite strike from second week of November 2019, against the mergers and amalgamations in banking sector.

India’s Economic Growth Much Weaker Than Expected: IMF Spokesperson

Commenting on India's growth rate, Gerry Rice, IMF spokesperson on Thursday said, "We’ll have fresh numbers coming up but recent economic growth in India is much weaker than expected,mainly due to corporate&environmental regulatory uncertainty".

He termed "lingering weakness in some non-Bank financial companies" as the reason and said that the "risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside".

Bank Employees to Stage Dharna on 20 Sep Against Merger Move

United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella body of nine bank employees unions, are staging dharna on 20 September, outside Parliament to oppose the government's recent mega public sector banks merger plan.

Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced to merge 10 public sector banks into four with a view to creating fewer and stronger global-sized lenders with robust balance sheets.

"We oppose the merger of 10 PSBs into four banks, as announced by the Finance Minister Sitharaman, and have decided to hold a dharna before Parliament on September 20," UFBU said.

The UFBU will also submit a memorandum to the finance minister.

'Economy Going From Bad to Worse,' Says Manmohan Singh

Poor, Middle Class Worst Hit: Chidambaram Questions Govt Over Economic Slowdown

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is in judicial custody under the CBI, for money laundering charges, on Wednesday, 11 September expressed his concern about the economy.

In a tweet, Chidambaram said that he is amazed at the capacity of the poor to distinguish between justice and injustice. He said that the poor and the middle class are the worst affected from the economic slowdown, further questioning the government as to where is the plan out of the economic decline.

"“Lower incomes, fewer jobs, less trade and lower investment affect the poor and the middle class. Where is the plan to get the country out of this decline and gloom?”" - P Chidambaram

Auto Industry Affected by Several Factors, Says Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press conference on Tuesday, 10 September, on the ‘bold’ decisions made by Modi government 2.0 in its first 100 days.

She said the automotive industry “had its good times two years ago” and that several external factors have led to its slowdown including the BS-VI movement, the hiked registration fee and the mindset of millennials, who “prefer to take Ola, Uber and the metro.”

'Sword Hanging on Livelihoods of Lakhs of Indians': Priyanka

Hitting out at the Modi government, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said the economy is falling into a "deep abyss" of recession and asked when will the dispensation "open its eyes", reported PTI.

“The economy is falling into a deep abyss of recession. The sword is hanging on the livelihood of lakhs of Indians,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

The decline in the auto sector and the truck sector is a sign of negative growth in production-transportation and the declining confidence of the market, she said.

When will the government open its eyes, the Congress general secretary asked.

Ashok Leyland to Observe Non-Working Days in 5 Plants Amid Slowdown

Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland, on Monday 9 September, said that it will observe non-working days in five of its plants.

The company said it will observe a total of 59 non-working days in its following plants:

  • Ennore
  • Hosur
  • Alwar
  • Bhandara
  • Pantnagar

Leyland’s decision comes after Maruti Suzuki also observed similar days on 7 September and 9 September.

Maruti Asks Auto Component Industry to Produce Electronics, Key Parts in India to Cut Imports

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Friday asked the components makers to start manufacturing vehicle electronics and certain key parts in India in order to cut imports of such articles.

The local manufacturing of such parts would not only help Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), but also support the government's Make in India initiative, MSI MD and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said while speaking at the ACMA annual convention here.

"I have a challenge and an invitation to offer to you (components industry). The MSI car is over 90 per cent local, component-wise. But some key parts and electronics are areas where we still need to import. But we want to Make-in-India," Ayukawa said.

Auto Players Should Also Take up GST Rate Cut Demand with State FMs: MoS Finance

Amid clamour from the auto industry for a GST rate cut, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Friday asked players in the sector to also take up the matter with state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council, and assured all support from the Centre.

Automobile and component manufacturers have been seeking GST cut on automobiles to 18 per cent from 28 per cent to help the sector come out of a prolonged slump that has resulted in job losses.

"You are aware that any rate cut on GST needs to be approved first by the fitment committee then by the GST Council. I request all of you to also reach out to the state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council," Thakur said while speaking here at the annual convention of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association.

Govt to Provide All Possible Support to Crisis-Hit Auto Industry: Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday, 5 September assured the crisis-hit automobile industry of all possible support from the government, including taking up the demand of GST reduction with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Reiterating that the government would help the industry, the road transport and highways minister also said his ministry would give out 68 road projects worth up to Rs 5 lakh crore in the next three months to help generate demand for commercial vehicles.

With the impending price increase of vehicles and the upcoming of BS VI norms deadline, "it is your (industry's) demand that there should be reduction in tax of petrol and diesel vehicles. Your suggestions are good. I will take your message to the finance minister," Gadkari said at annual SIAM convention here.

Even if it (GST) is reduced for some time, it will help, he added.

RBI Mandates Banks to Link Retail, MSME Loans to External Benchmarks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday, 4 September, issued a circular making it mandatory for banks to link all new personal, retail and MSME loans to an external benchmark.

The circular will be effective from 1 October.

The loans are to be linked to any of the following four benchmarks listed in the circular:

  • Reserve Bank of India policy repo rate
  • Government of India 3-months Treasury Bill yield published by the Financial Benchmarks India
  • Government of India 6-months Treasury Bill yield published by the FBIL
  • Any other benchmark market interest rate published by the FBIL

India’s Services Sector Activity Eases in August: PMI

The country's services sector activity growth eased in August as new business inflows rose at a slower pace; following which job creation and output expansion moderated, a monthly survey showed on Wednesday, 4 September, PTI reported.

The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index declined from 53.8 in July to 52.4 in August, pointing to a slower rate of increase in output.

"The weaker PMI readings for India's service sector match the trend noted in the manufacturing industry, bringing unwelcome news of a cooling economy halfway through the second quarter of fiscal year 2019-20," said Pollyanna de Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit.

The IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), released earlier this week, fell to 51.4 in August, its lowest mark since May 2018, from 52.5 in July, as most survey indicators fell since July to signal a widespread loss of momentum.

Maruti to Close Gurugram, Manesar Manufacturing Units for 2 Days

Maruti Suzuki India Limited has decided to shut down the passenger vehicle manufacturing operations of Gurugram Plant and Manesar Plant in Haryana for two days, on 7 and 9 September, ANI reported.

Both days will be observed as no production days.

Merger Woes: Bank Officers Associations to Meet in Delhi on 5 September

Opposing the merger of banks, officers associations of various banks will meet in the national capital on September 5 to chalk out the future course of action, a top official of All India Andhra Bank Officers Association said here on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week announced the merger of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank with Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank with Canara Bank, while Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will merge with Union Bank of India.

Govt & LIC to Infuse More Funds in IDBI Bank

Govt and LIC to infuse Rs 9,000 cr in IDBI Bank, including Rs 4,557 cr by govt as one-time re-capitalisation, said I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Telling a Lie Hundred Times Does Not Turn Into a Truth: Priyanka

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday, 3 September, attacked the government over the state of the economy and said it should now admit that there is a "historic slowdown" and move towards resolving it.

She said the slowdown was for everyone to see and asked till when will the government run by "managing headlines".

"Telling a lie a hundred times does not turn it into truth. The BJP government should accept that there is a historic slowdown in the economy and they should move towards taking measures to resolve it," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

'Economic Slowdown Usual During 'Saawan-Bhado'': Sushil Modi

Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi on Sunday, 1 September, said that some opposition parties were trying to create panic in the country over what he claimed to be a recurring "cyclic" slowdown in the economy during months of "saawan-bhado".

The Bihar deputy chief minister added there was no reason to worry about the slowdown as the Central government had taken appropriate measures to control it.

No One Will Lose Their Job Due to Bank Merger: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Sunday, 1 September, said that no one will be removed from their job following the bank mergers.

Responding to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s criticism that the government should consult “sane voices” on Indian economy, Sitharaman said that she will “take his statement” on it.

“Is Dr Manmohan Singh saying that 'instead of indulging in political vendetta they should consult sane voices?' Has he said that? All right, thank you, I will take his statement on it. That is my answer.”

On whether the government is taking measures to combat the situation, she said:

“I'm meeting industries and taking their inputs, suggestions on what they would want and expect from the government, I'm responding to them. I have already done this twice. I will do it more numbers of times.”

'Mismanagement by Modi Govt Resulted in Slowdown': Former PM on India's Economy

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday, 1 September, said that the state of economy currently is “deeply worrying”. He also said that India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but “mismanagement” by the Narendra Modi-led government has resulted in a slowdown.

“The state of economy today is deeply worrying. Last quarter's GDP growth rate of 5% signals that were in midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has potential to grow at a much faster rate, but all round mismanagement by Modi government has resulted in this slowdown,” he said.

He further added “It is particularly distressing that the manufacturing sector's growth is tottering at 0.6%. This makes it very clear that our economy has not yet recovered from the man-made blunders of demonetisation and a hastily implemented GST.”

Will Consider All Suggestions to Increase Capital Space of Defence Ministry: Finance Commission

The 15th Finance Commission on Friday said it will consider suggestions to increase the overall capital space of the Ministry of Defence and thus help it enhance the country's defence preparedness, PTI reported.

A meeting in this regard was held between the commission's chairman NK Singh and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, an official release said.

In July, a notification was brought out by the Ministry of Finance following an order made by the President of India.

By this order, the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the commission was amended.

Congress Questions if Growth Rate is Even Lower

The Congress party on Friday responded to the slump in GDP by raising questions on whether the growth rate is even lower.

Bank Staff to Protest Against Mega Bank Merger Move

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella body of nine banking sector trade unions, has called for demonstrations across the country on Saturday to protest against the mega bank merger plan announced by the government on Friday.

Govt Taking Pro-Active Steps on Economy: CEA

Speaking to the media after the release of GDP numbers, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said, “We are alive to the imperatives of achieving the target of $5 trillion economy as well as the need to handle these short term situations. Government has been taking pro-active steps and they reflect in recent announcements made by finance minister.”

'Have to Wait and Watch': CEA on Whether Target of 7% Growth Rate Can be Achieved

Addressing the media after the release of GDP data for the first quarter of 2019-20, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said “we will have to wait and watch”, when asked if the target of 7 percent growth can be achieved this financial year.

Bank of India and Central Bank of India Remain Separate Entities

Bank of India and Central Bank of India to continue as public sector banks and will not undergo merger.

Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank to be Merged

Canara Bank to merge with Syndicate Bank to create fourth largest public sector bank with a business of Rs 15.20 lakh crore, Sitharaman announced.

Indian Bank, Allahabad Bank to Be Merged

Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank and they will be the seventh largest Public Sector Bank with business of Rs 8.08 lakh crores, the finance minister announced.

Union Bank, Andhra Bank, Corporation Bank to be Merged

Union Bank, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will be merged, Sitharaman said.

PNB, Oriental, United Banks to be Merged: FM

Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will be merged into one bank, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said. The merged entity will have a business of Rs 17.95 lakh crore across 11,437 branches.

Gross NPAs of PSBs Has Reduced

FM Sitharaman on Friday said that the gross Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) has come down from Rs 8.65 lakh crore in December 2018 to Rs 7.90 lakh crore presently.

Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme for NBFCs Executed

FM Sitharaman says that partial credit guarantee scheme for NBFCs has been executed under which Rs 3,300 crore of liquidity support has been given and Rs 30,000 crore is in pipeline.

Eight PSBs Have Launched Repo Rate-Linked Loans

Addressing the media, FM Sitharaman says that following last week’s announcement of repo-rate linked loans, eight public sector banks have rolled out such products.

Govt Planning PSB Merger: Report

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has readied its mega plan for merging multiple set of public sector banks (PSB) and is set to make an announcement anytime soon, reported Business Standard.

The department of financial services in the finance ministry has called a meeting with chief executives of ten public sector banks, which are seen as top contenders for merger, on Friday.

The banks invited for consultations on Friday are: Union Bank of India, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, United Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, United Bank, Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank and Andhra Bank.

FM Sitharaman to Address Media Shortly

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address the media shortly at the National Media Center in Delhi. Last week too, the minister held a press conference announcing a slew of measures.

RBI Annual Report Flags NBFC Concern

RBI’s annual report suggests that credit flow from NBFCs to commercial sector has dipped 20 percent as an aftermath of the IL&FS crisis.

RBI Contingency Fund Dips

According to RBI’s annual report for the financial year 2018-19, the central bank’s contingency fund has come down to Rs 1.96 lakh crore in FY19 from Rs 2.32 lakh crore in FY18.

Govt Relaxes FDI Rules for Single Brand Retail

The Cabinet on Wednesday relaxed the FDI rules for single brand retail and expanded definition of 30 percent domestic sourcing, Commerce minister Piyush Goyal said, PTI reported.

100 percent FDI under automatic route in coal mining and associated infrastructure will be allowed, Goyal reportedly said.

'Attempt to Sabotage RBI's Credibility': Veerappa Moily on RBI Transfer to Govt

Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said the release of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government by RBI “against all norms and probity of financial process is condemnable”.

“This is an attempt to sabotage the credibility of an apex financial institution,” he wrote in a tweet.

India Ratings Cut GDP Forecast to 6.7% for FY-20

India Ratings on Wednesday, 28 August, lowered the country's growth forecast to six-year low of 6.7 percent for the current fiscal from an earlier estimate of 7.3 percent on account of slowdown in consumption and moderation in industrial growth among other factors.

This would be the third consecutive year of subdued growth, India Ratings principal economist Sunil Kumar Sinha told news agency PTI in New Delhi.

Even on quarterly basis, he said, April-June is expected to be the fifth consecutive quarter of declining GDP growth at 5.7 percent.

Gold Nears Rs 40,000, Silver Soars to Rs 2,110

Resuming its record-setting streak, gold prices jumped Rs 300 on Wednesday to a fresh all-time high of Rs 39,970 per 10 gm, according to the All India Sarafa Association, on higher demand from local jewellers and the yellow metal's appeal as safe-haven amid global economic concerns, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, silver skyrocketed Rs 2,110 to Rs 48,850 per kg, helped by a positive trend overseas and a strong demand from industrial units and coin makers. In the US market, the white metal was trading 0.61 percent up at USD 18.38 an ounce.

India's Crude Steel Output Rises 1.7% to 9.2 MT in July: Report

India's crude steel output increased by 1.7 percent to 9.215 million tonne in July 2019, according to World Steel Association's report.

The country had produced 9.059 MT of crude steel during the same month a year ago, the global steel industry body said in its latest report.

Global steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the association stood at 156.697 MT in July 2019, registering 1.7 percent increase over 154.009 MT in July last year, the report said.

Govt Indulging in Media Management in Name of Finding Solution to Slowdown: Priyanka

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday, 25 August, slammed the BJP government in a tweet, saying that instead of finding a solution, it was instead "indulging in media management". She said the government needs to “make the situation clear”.

She urged the Centre to take meaningful steps such as encouraging new investments.

Delhi Govt Will Cooperate With Centre to Overcome Recession: Delhi CM

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that he has absolute faith that the central government will take strict measures to tackle the economic recession, reported news agency ANI.

"“Reports in media of economic recession is a matter of grave concern. I have absolute faith that the central government will take strict measures on it. Whatever steps are taken by Centre, Delhi Govt will co-operate to overcome the recession.”" - Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister 

FM Announcement Augurs Well for Domestic Demand: SBI Chairman

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar on Friday said that the announcements made by Finance Minister Sitharaman will act as major enablers for continuing to support growth.

“SBI has already started benchmarking its loans to repo & now other banks are likely to follow suit. This augurs well for domestic demand. The surcharge removal on FPIs and domestic investors will soothe the markets,” he said.

'No Mention of Job Creation': Cong Attacks Sitharaman

Reacting to the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, Congress tweeted that she did not mention anything about job loss.

The party also criticised Sitharaman for comparing India’s growth rate with that of US and China.

Both EVs and Liquid Fuel-Driven Vehicles to Operate

FM Sitharaman clarifies that both electric vehicles and petrol and diesel-driven vehicles will continue to be registered.

Read all the automobile sector-related announcements here.

More Announcements to Be Made Soon: FM

FM Sitharaman says that more announcements related to economy will be made next week. She also hinted that issues of homebuyers will be addressed soon.

BS-IV Vehicles Purchased Till March '20 to Remain Operational

FM clarifies that all BS-IV vehicles purchased till March 2020 will remain operational till their entire period of registration.

Govt Infuses Rs 70,000 Crore Into PSBs

Sitharaman announces infusion of rs 70,000 crore into public sector banks to enable release of Rs 5 lakh crore liquidity in the market.

NBFCs Permitted to Use Bank KYCs

Sitharaman says that NBFCs are now allowed to use Aadhaar-linked bank KYCs to avoid repeated processes.

GST Refunds to be Cleared Within 30 Days

FM Sitharaman says all GST refunds of MSMEs that are stuck since the implementation of the new tax regime will be cleared within the next 30 days.

Banks to Launch Repo Rate-Linked Loans: FM

FM Sitharaman says that EMI for housing loans, vehicle and other retail loans will now be directly linked to interest rates.

Banks to Effect Timely Rate Cuts: FM

Sitharaman says banks have decided to pass on rate cuts through MCLR reduction to benefit borrowers.

FM Announces Removal of Angel Tax

Finance Minister Sitharaman announces withdrawal of angel tax for registered start-ups.

Govt Withdraws FPI Surcharge

Finance Minister Sitharaman announces withdrawal of heavy surcharge arising from transfer equity shares.

CSR Violations Won't Be Criminal Offence: FM

Addressing the media, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says that CSR violations on part of companies would not be treated as criminal offence.

Reform is a Continuous Process: FM

FM Sitharaman says economic reform is a continuous process and the government is still maintaining the momentum.

India Still Ahead of the Global Average: Sitharaman

Addressing the media, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says India’s growth rate is still better than the global average.

Moody’s Lowers India's GDP Growth Forecast

Ratings agency Moody’s has lowered India's GDP growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.8 percent for 2019.

FM Sitharaman to Address Media

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference at the National Media Center in Delhi on Friday, 23 August, amid reports of economic slowdown across sectors.

Govt's Advisors Have Acknowledged Slowdown: Rahul Gandhi

Reacting on Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar’s admission that the financial situation is facing crisis, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Friday saying that the government’s own advisors have acknowledged the slowdown.

Nobody Had Faced This Sort of Situation in the Last 70 Years: Niti Aayog Vice Chairman

Government think tank Niti Aayog on Thursday made a case for extraordinary steps to deal with the unprecedented stress in the financial sector which has resulted in an economic slowdown in the country.

The government needs to take steps which eliminate apprehension from the minds of private sector players and encourage them to step up investments, Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said.

Terming the stress in the financial sector as unprecedented, he said nobody had faced this sort of situation in the last 70 years where entire financial system was under threat.

We are Facing Structural Slowdown: Shamika Ravi

Shamika Ravi, member of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council on Thursday, warned about the state of the economy, saying the country was facing a structural slowdown.

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