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Inflation slips to 1-year low, industry grows 4.5 per cent

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New Delhi: Retail inflation has fallen to one-year low of 3.31 per cent in October giving enough leg room to the RBI to push sagging industrial growth by keeping interest rates stable.

According to Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, the country industrial production in Septem-ber grew at the slowest pace in the last four months at 4.5 per cent, due to poor performance of mining sector and lower offtake of capital goods.

This was a tad lower than an upwardly revised 4.7 per cent year-on-year increase in August.

 

The industrial production measured in terms of Index of Industrial Prod-uction (IIP) was 4.1 per cent in September 2017. The IIP was recorded at 6.9 per cent and 6.5 per cent in June and July this year, respectively. The previous low was recorded at 3.8 per cent in May this year

As there were expectations of RBI raising interest rates in strengthening US dollar, a lower inflation came as a welcome relief. Inflation and foreign investors have inverse relationship as a low inflation and high economic growth would result in a higher inflation-adjusted real return to them.

The inflation-based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.7 per cent in September 2018 and 3.58 per cent in October 2017. The retail inflation number is the lowest since September 2017 when it touched 3.28 per cent.

The rate of price rise in the food basket contracted by 0.86 per cent in October compared to 0.51 per cent rise in September, according to the Central Statistics Office data.

Vegetable prices declined by 8.06 per cent in October against a 4.15 per cent contraction in September. Inflation also slowed to 0.35 per cent in the fruit basket as against 1.12 per cent recorded a month ago.

The retail inflation also cooled in protein-rich items like cereals, eggs, milk and related products. However, inflation quickened to 8.55 per cent for the ‘fuel and light’ category against 8.47 per cent in the previous month.

Despite a slowdown in headline industrial growth number, 17 out of 23 industry groups in manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during September 2018 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The mining sector output growth decelerated to 0.2 per cent in September as against 7.6 per cent in the year-ago month. Similarly, capital goods output growth slowed to 5.8 per cent in the month under review from 8.7 per cent a year ago. However, the data showed that the manufacturing sector recorded a growth of 4.6 per cent in September, up from 3.8 per cent a year ago.

The electricity generation too improved to 8.2 per cent in the month from 3.4 per cent in September 2017. For April-September 2018, the IIP growth came in at 5.1 per cent. The factory output rise was 2.6 per cent in same period of the last fiscal.

As per use-based classification, the growth rates in September 2018 over September 2017 are 2.6 per cent in primary goods, 1.4 per cent in intermediate goods and 9.5 per cent in infrastructure/construction goods. The consumer durables and consumer non-durables have recorded growth of 5.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively.


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Business

Cabinet clears setting up of centralised GST appellate authority

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) under the goods and services tax that would decide on cases where there are divergent orders at the state level.

The setting up of a centralised AAAR would require amendments to the GST Acts. The centralised authority as an appellate body will only take up cases wherein the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) of two states have passed divergent orders.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state counterparts, in December decided to establish the centralised AAAR.

 

“The Cabinet has cleared the GST appellate authority,” a source said after the meeting of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In view of the confusion created by contradictory rulings given by different AARs on the same or similar issues, the industry had been demanding a centralised appellate authority that could reconcile the contradictory verdicts of different AARs.

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Urbanisation to be big driver of Indian economic growth: Kant

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Davos: Urbanisation will be a big driver of economic growth in India going forward, supported by favourable macroeconomic factors, accelerated infrastructure building and continuing reforms, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Speaking here at an event on sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, he also said the Indian economy may even exceed the IMF growth forecast of 7.5 per cent for the country.

Kant said IMF has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for India despite a gloomy outlook for the global economy and this itself is good, though there are expectations that this estimate would be surpassed. He said India is giving a big push to urbanisation with more than 100 smart cities being developed.

 

The country is also using technology in a big way to change the way business and governance is done, he added. Besides a massive infrastructure building is happening, bank credit flow has rebounded and macroeconomic factors like inflation and fiscal deficit are also being supportive, Kant said.

DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek noted that states are competing with each other to attract investments and all political parties have adopted the economic reform process. He listed various reform initiatives undertaken in India, including on areas like ease of doing business, FDI, manufacturing and taxation.

They were speaking at Institutional investors’ breakfast roundtable, organised by the industry chamber CII and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Other participants included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee and leaders from Indian and foreign companies.

On questions about some persisting issues in doing business including on tax and insolvency related issues, Abhishek said a lot of efforts have been put in to remove all bottlenecks and starting a business doesn’t take more than a day. Besides, special provisions have been made for startups and angel investors, he added.

Kant said efforts are also being made to remove all physical intervention and digitise the entire process of inter-ministerial and inter-department consultations to fast-track the decisions.

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India will surpass China, says Raghuram Rajan

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Davos: India will eventually surpass China in economic size and will be in a better position to create the infrastructure being promised by the Chinese side in South Asian countries, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said.

Addressing a session on Strategic Outlook for South Asia, Dr Rajan said that the Indian economy would continue to grow while growth rate is slowing down in China.

“Historically, India had a bigger role in the region but China has now grown much bigger than India and has presented itself as a counter-balance to India in the region,” Dr Rajan said at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019.

 

“India will become bigger than China eventually as China would slow down and India would continue to grow. So India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today. But this competition is good for the region and it will benefit for sure,” he said.

The comments assume significance with China working on a lot of infrastructure projects across the region. In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.59 trillion while China was the second large with a GDP of $12.23 trillion.

At the same session, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli cited collaboration with China as well as India as reasons for the economic growth.

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