Mumbai :Terming the “10 per cent depreciation” in the rupee in the last few weeks as a “temporary phenomenon”, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the government will stick to the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent for this financial year despite all pain points such as rupee depreciation and rising oil prices. He also said that the government will soon announce import curbs on several non-essential items.
“Come what may, oil situation, rupee or whatever the fiscal deficit will not be allowed to slip from 3.3 per cent, or better as we go along. I think all the pain points, all the issues which were earlier thought of as something unknown, whether it’s the MSP (minimum support price), all these have now been factored into…this assessment makes us completely confident to say that we will stick to the fiscal deficit target,” he said.
Garg further said that rupee depreciation is a temporary phenomenon. “There are always implications of the dollar and rupee exchange rates…this 10 per cent depreciation in last few weeks that is a temporary phenomenon,” he said at an event organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce here.
To a question about when the government intends to impose import curb on non-essential goods, he replied, “very soon.” Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the government’s decision to relax norms for raising overseas borrowing and impose restrictions on the non-essential imports as part of efforts to check rising current account deficit (CAD) and a falling rupee. India’s current account deficit deteriorated to 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2017-18 from 0.6 per cent in the previous year. The trade deficit expanded to $80.4 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year from $67.3 billion in the year-ago period.
The rupee has logged year-to-date losses of more than 13 per cent against the strengthening US dollar. It has dropped close to 6 per cent since August. The Economic Affairs Secretary also explained that since the dependence of 50 per cent of India’s populace is on agriculture, it needs a transition and therefore, required policy steps. The government has announced various schemes including Ujjwala Yojana, health protection and rural electrification with the intention to bring change in rural India, he said.
Besides, he said, the government has drawn up a programme for increasing the export of agricultural products from $30 billion to $100 billion. “India’s agri exports potential is as high as $100 billion against a current export of $30 billion. To realise this potential, export of agri commodities will be liberalised,” Jaitley had said while presenting the Budget 2018-19 in February. Meanwhile, the rupee on Wednesday rebounded 61 paise, notching up its best single-day gain since March 2017 to close at 72.37 against the dollar.
RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das
New Delhi: The head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said he would take the steps necessary to maintain financial stability in the country and help create favourable conditions for growth.
India’s economy has grown because of measures such as the nationwide goods and services tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code that prevents wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets, Shaktikanta Das said in his address to an investor roundtable.
The country’s growth story is backed by its strong domestic fundamentals, he said, citing lower inflation.
Annual retail inflation rate dropped to an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December, strengthening the views of some economists that the central bank could ease monetary policy next month.
India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks.
The country also needs to watch out for any sudden turbulence in the gloal financial market, Das said.
Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud
Chennai:The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors — Sanjiv Sharan and K.Veera Brahmaji Rao — for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.
The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges.
“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
“Perhaps for the first time, the Centra has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government-owned banks — Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors — are governed only by the contract of appointment.
“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.
According to the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.
After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.
According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.
“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.
According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.
“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.
In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani
Mumbai: Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against ‘data colonisation’, specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Ambani said India now needs a new movement against data colonisation.
“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he said Gandhinagar at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
Stressing that, in this new world, data is the new wealth, Ambani said, “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations.”
He further said, “For India to succeed in this data driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India. In other words, give Indian wealth back to every Indian.”
Stating that the “entire world has come to recognise” Modi “as a man of action”, Ambani said, “Honorable Prime Minister, am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your digital India mission.”
Later in the day, countering Ambani’s call, Governor – Commonwealth of Kentucky, Matthew Griswold, asked Modi “to think in the opposite” in order to realise the tremendous opportunity that lies in Indo-US partnership.
“Honorable prime minister you have been asked from this stage to think about limiting the amount of competition, limiting the exchange of ideas, information and goods. I would encourage you to think in the opposite,” he said.
While stating that it is important to put the people of India first, Griswold said, “It is also important to put their opportunity and our opportunity as citizens of the world to trade with one another and exchange ideas because iron sharpens iron.”
The greatest possibility comes from the exchange of these idea, he added.
“If we can cut the regulations, cut the bureaucracy, cut the red tape, the opportunity is enormous between our nations,” he added that India is now the 10th largest trading partner for the US and “climbing quickly”.
“The opportunity before us between India and the United States is incredible, but responsibility falls on each of one us, those of us in elected positions, those of you in the industry, those of you who represent various constituencies, we have much work to do…we must do this, ” Griswold said.