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Before returning to New Delhi recently after attending the annual IMF-World fall meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman provided an upbeat perspective on the Indian economy. She asserted that its fundamentals are strong and attributed the majority of the problems ailing the Indian economy to a global slowdown. In the same time period, the World Bank announced that India had jumped 14 spots from 77th to 63rd on its Ease of Doing Business ranking. Together, these indicators might suggest that it should be plain sailing for strong growth of the Indian economy going forward.
That’s not exactly the case. Growth will be more difficult than these pronouncements make it appear. Economists, both Indian and international, have pointed out that the nearly $3 trillion economy faces a number of problems. For example, the Reserve Bank of India and the International Monetary Fund, among other domestic and international groups, have cut the country’s growth projections — in part due to the decline in global growth but also because of other internal factors.
There is no doubt that much of the progress that was made in the Indian economy during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term is due to reforms and new initiatives. It is also unquestionable that additional reforms and corrective actions will be required to move the economy forward.
The results-producing economic reforms during the first term focused primarily on business and domestic welfare. On the welfare front, cooking gas connections for millions, assistance to farmers, and government-funded health care made a difference for citizens and at the ballot box for Modi. On the business side of the ledger, changes to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the Make in India campaign, and special incentives bolstered investor confidence and attracted a large amount of direct foreign investment.
Not all of the economic reforms produced the desired results. There is a general consensus among economists today that two of the biggest economic initiatives, the demonetization and the introduction of the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST), have not had the desired effects.
Demonetization, which removed nearly 86 per cent of the existing banknotes worth $210 billion from circulation, was initially seen as an audacious move to curtail the country’s shadow economy. But the cash shortage badly impacted several sectors, including manufacturing and agriculture.
The job market was also affected, with an estimated loss of 1.5 million jobs, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. This contributed, to India’s GDP growth rate at the macro level falling under 7 per cent for the first time since 2011.
The GST, which was introduced in the summer of 2017, replacing the existing taxes collected by the central and state governments, was seen as a necessary move to reform India’s tax regime. However, after an uneven rollout that resulted in a lot of confusion, GST has still not been fully embraced by small businesses and industries.
In addition to the unintended consequences of these initiatives, a third internal factor that has contributed to the less than satisfactory growth of the Indian economy over the past five quarters was a slowdown in reforms. It was widely reported that in the run-up to the general election, the government more or less stopped the reform process altogether.
As a result of all these factors and others, the Indian economy today is definitely sluggish. Consumption has slowed down three quarters in a row. The automotive industry, one of the fastest growing sectors for several years, has shrunk significantly in the past year. There have been poor performances in several other important sectors such as banking, manufacturing and real estate as well.
The IMF projects India to grow at 6.1 per cent this fiscal year. The Center for Monitoring Indian Economy makes an even lower prediction. It expects the economy to grow at 5.9 per cent, “the slowest growth in the last seven years.”
What is required to get the India economy to turn the corner and change the current narrative that it is stuttering? First and foremost, the Modi administration should recommit itself to and accelerate the economic reforms process. In this regard, Simeon Djankov, Director of Development Economics at the World Bank, said that to continue to improve on its ease of doing business ratings, India will need a “ï¿½fresh set of reforms.”
It appears that India has begun to relaunch the reforms process. In September, Finance Minister Sitharaman cut the corporate tax on profit from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, which was universally welcomed by businesses and investors in the country. Now, similar bold reforms are required in multiple areas in a sustained manner, including deregulation of sectors such as energy and increasing foreign investment caps in areas such as insurance, retail and defence.
Another key requirement for growing the economy is modernizing the country’s infrastructure. Roads and railroads in India, except in some pockets, require major upgrades. Recently, Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced that the country will spend about $1.4 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years. Taken together, both the corporate tax cut and the announcement of $1.4 trillion spending on infrastructure signal, that the government is serious about reforms. The government has also announced several stimulus measures. Additionally, the Reserve Bank of India has slashed the repurchase rate nearly half a dozen times this year.
There is much underway. But India is a huge economy and there is much that will need to be done in order to continue to move the needle dramatically over time.
The current quarter, which began in October, is pivotal. If the corporate tax cut and the stimulus measures have an impact, it will be reflected in the quarterly numbers, which will be available early next year. One hopes those numbers will be headed in the right direction. If they are, then progress will have to be sustained. If they are not, adjustments will have to be made.
State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar, who accompanied Finance Minister Sitharaman as part of the Indian delegation to the World Bank and IMF meeting, stated that Indian economy is in “transition” and opined that he thought India was “ï¿½at the bottom as far as growth is concerned.” By staying the course and updating the reform playbook that it had in its first term the Modi administration can prove his assessment to be correct. (IANS)
By Monika Manchanda
Eating fruits is one of the most satisfying ways to tackle sweet-tooth cravings while meeting your nutritional needs. Despite many studies and research on fruit consumption in diabetes, there are a lot of speculations on the right kind of fruit consumption and its relation to blood sugar levels.
Eating seasonal and locally available fruit has many health benefits ranging from reducing sugar and inflammation levels to fighting high blood pressure -- thanks to their abundant vitamins and mineral presence! They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C, E, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.
The fruits listed below are not just diabetic-friendly but are loaded with fiber and water content which can slow down the sugar spikes and sugar absorption rate. Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. Turns out there is a truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", after all!
Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. | Photo by Pierpaolo Riondato on Unsplash
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. They are high in fibers as well, and have been linked with lowering the risk of diabetes. Berries: Adding berries is one of the best ways to add a variety to your diabetes-friendly diet. You can choose from blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries because all of them are power-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers. Papaya is rich in natural oxidants, which makes it a perfect pick for people with diabetes. It reduces the chances of future cell damage.
Star fruit: This sweet and sour fruit is rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C. It also positively impacts anti-inflammatory processes and can help repair cell damage, and it has minimal fruit sugars as well. Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin E, K, and potassium, and they are low in fruit sugars as well, which makes it a perfect diabetic-friendly fruit.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. | Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash
Melons (Musk melon and watermelon): Powerful hydrating fruits like cantaloupe and melons are recommended for people with diabetes, and people with the risk of developing diabetes. Eat-in moderation for multiple nutritional benefits like fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, and C. Dragon fruit is full of dietary fibers, vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pear are nutrient-rich, and they are known to fight inflammation and improve digestion.? Studies also suggest that consuming pears along with a healthy diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Orange: This citrus fruit is full of fiber that helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, and its vitamin C component helps improve immunity levels.
Add fruit to your salads to enjoy their goodness with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes better and reduces sugar spikes . | Photo by Jo Sonn on Unsplash
Add fruit to your salads to enjoy their goodness with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes better and reduces sugar spikes . Add nuts like walnuts and almonds to complement your fruit snack. you can also add flaxseeds to balance the glycemic load in the body. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Diabetics, Apples, Star fruit, Pear, Melons, Kiwi fruit
By Nimerta C Sharan
Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations, here's what you can look forward to :
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Add To Cart
Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. | Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe. | Photo by Jean Vella on Unsplash
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. | Pixabay
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. | Photo by Souravi Sinha on Unsplash
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body and left her with "permanent stretch marks". For her role in the film, based on the life of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa, Kangana had to gain 20kg and undergo major physical transformation several times.
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema