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BY K YATISH RAJAWAT
Growth has momentum and slowdown has inertia. The Indian GDP growth has fallen to 5 per cent in the April-June quarter, from 8 per cent. This slowdown can only be reversed if both short-term and long-term reforms are undertaken.
The fall in GDP growth is sudden and dramatic. Till now, while only businesses were talking about the slowdown, it is now a reality for the country. People worry about how bad things are and is this bottom or the beginning of a slowdown.
There is concern about the speed and nature of the government and industry’s response, and will these actions turnaround things immediately, or not.
These concerns and perceptions need answers as they affect consumer confidence and consumption. Acknowledging the problem is not a sign of weakness or acceptance of any blame. It’s a fact that leadership in the corporate sector has failed to recognize the major transition taking place in their sector that has affected consumer demand.
Sectoral collapse has happened because of poor business decisions in banking, real estate, construction and lately in non-banking finance companies (NBFCs)/housing finance companies (HFCs). Now all these sectors are looking for stimulus packages to bail them out from their mistakes.
Take the auto sector, for example. It did not prepare for shifts in consumer behaviour and market needs. They contribute almost 6 per cent to the GDP and offer employment to 37 million people and are clamouring for stimulus on behalf of their employees.
The stimulus has to be for both employees and corporates. The sector is asking stimulus to protect jobs, but it does not mean it will happen as they move to electric vehicles (EV).
EVs have a fraction of moving parts as compared to an internal combustion engine. The engine and drive line are two crucial components of the internal combustion engine that contribute 50 per cent of the auto component industries’ revenues. The move to EV will disrupt the supply chain of components at one end and maintenance and repair on the other. This needs specific incentives to upskill employees to maintain, repair or make electric vehicles.
Upskilling of mid-level workers is the core component of all sectoral stimulus packages. The disruption in industries is not cyclical or because of economic slowdown. There is a structural shift in many industries because of technology or shift in consumer preferences. Automation is affecting jobs in both manufacturing and services, which displacement is also affecting the consumption cycle.
The stimulus for auto companies has to promote investment. India needs an investment of $40 billion in batteries for EVs. Auto companies can get incentives for making this investment. They can be incentives to shift existing production lines to electric cars.
These are, however, palliative measures and will not turnaround the economy The bigger issue is revival of consumption demand.
The government has had discussions with several sections of business and economists over the last few weeks. It has plucked out all the prickly issues which created a negative perception and eroded trust. But if a tyre is losing air pressure removing nails from the road ahead will not stop the air from leaking.
Action has to inspire confidence among consumers to spend and for industry to invest. Removing taxation on foreign portfolio investor and other prickly issues is a hygiene factor. It shows the government is correcting mis-steps faster. Addressing it within a week, which the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did shows the speed of response.
This is important as it will bring back the confidence in the industry, investors and market. But the confidence to spend or even pay EMIs has to be restored.
It is equally important to set the right expectations for a return to normalcy or a turnaround in growth. The massive mandate this government received shows the expectation of the common man. Not setting the expectation right or distorting the timelines will not serve to inspire consumer confidence. People are pragmatic and patient if they understand the time it will take to come out of the current situation. They know there are no shortcuts out of slowdowns.
The current initiatives are either short-term measures or long-term reforms. The consolidation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) announced on August 30, falls into the latter category. It will not turnaround the banking sector, ease the credit flow or even improve the transmission of interest cuts — the three most important problems contributing to the slowdown. The consolidation will take time.
The consolidation of the PSBs is a structural reform much needed, long overdue and may reduce the recapitalisation requirements. The governance reforms will improve the process of supervision, hiring and compensation. It will not change the credit evaluation, disbursement and monitoring of loans, which is the core problem in PSBs.
The culture of poor evaluation of borrowers and lack of risk mitigation has contributed to the non-performing asset (NPA) mess in the PSBs. This culture cannot vanish overnight as it’s entrenched in processes and behaviour.
Banking leadership can use the disruption to overhaul the culture and build a new system and processes. If they get sucked into the merger and take their eyes off credit growth, customer retention, their merged entity will be weaker than the sum of the parts.
Both merger and governance reforms were important but are obviously not sufficient from the slowdown point of view.
To kick-start the consumption cycle money has to go into the common man’s pocket. This can happen by reducing income tax for the lowest slab, as recommended by the Direct Tax Code report. It can be done by making GST filing quarterly for MSMEs with less than Rs 10 crore turnover to ensure they survive the slowdown. The GST Council can look at reducing rate slabs and reduce the overall burden on corporates.
. Give auto sector incentives to invest and shift to electric vehicles
. Incentives to auto sector employees to upskill on electric vehicles
. Change GST collection to quarterly for companies below Rs 1 crore
. Reduce the GST slab rates
. Adopt the Direct Tax Code, cut income tax for the bottom slab
. Improve credit flow to both consumer and industry
. Reduce real interest rates by 135 basis points as cost of capital has to come down
. Change the credit culture in public sector banks
. Stimulus should drive investment, upskilling for displaced employees
. Factor market reforms, including bringing the cost of land down. (IANS)
By Ganesh Bhatt
Lawyers are facing great difficulty in keeping client details organised during the pandemic. | Unsplash
"It was then that I conceived the idea of creating an app to find a solution to this problem. I decided to use my knowledge of coding and build an app so that my father and other lawyers like him could also handle and share their documents easily. Through 'E-Attorney', they can also keep clients informed. I first created a prototype for this app, which had the facility for lawyers to sign-in, enter client details, and store basic case related information."
However, what started as a small coding project, grew into a passion project when Kanishkar won a competition held by WhiteHat Jr, an online learning platform for children, and was awarded a scholarship to develop the app. The scholarship money helped Kanishkar's parents transform 'E-Attorney' into a full-fledged child-driven enterprise. To take their kid's idea further, they formed a company called PRK Online Solutions and hired a professional tech team to improve the app, so that it could be developed from a prototype to a web application that could be used by lawyers across the country.
Kanishkar started his entrepreneurial journey by testing the app with five lawyers to ensure everything runs smoothly. Currently, he is focusing with his tech team to fix bugs and glitches. Since this application will store sensitive information related to legal matters, it will require a number of security measures.
A lawyer, K. Mohan K., who is testing this app, while talking about the experience, said: "I have been using this web app for a few days now. The private chat feature between the lawyer and the client is very useful. Its second advantage is that many searches can be done in it. Lawyers can keep track of their cases easily through this app." (IANS/ MBI)
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By- Nanci SEO
Now we're into 2022, the anticipation for a new racing season is hotting up even more.
By the time the world focuses its gaze on Ascot in mid-June, records will have been broken, and new winners will have been celebrated in the other meetings such as the Grand National. However, there's nothing quite like the Royal Ascot meeting and the historic Ascot Gold Cup race, which has been running since 1807. The race is the first leg of the triple crown of thoroughbred racing in the UK, making it one of the most important on the racing calendar.
The meeting is held at the course, which is just 28 miles west of London and only a few miles from the residence of the British Royal Family, Windsor Castle. It's also been an event that the monarchy of Britain has often visited and had a personal interest in. Not only has the Queen of England long been a visitor to the racing at Ascot but she's also had the honour of having a winner of her own at the meeting as noted by Town & Country. Will there be another Royal victory this year? Let's look at some of the favourites for the headline race, the Gold Cup.
The six-year-old gelding's pedigree means he's a real threat to all his other riders at Ascot this year. Trueshan has previous experience of winning the course; he won in 2020 at the British Champions Long Distance Cup, with his jockey Hollie Doyle commenting, 'he went through the ground like a tractor, he loved it.' Going into 2021, he was much fancied after looking strong in the lead up to the meeting but was pulled when his trainer Alan King deemed the ground to be too firm. He had a successful season, winning the Goodwood Cup and the Prix Du Cadran in France in October. So he's in fine fettle going into 2022, does that mean it's finally his year to taste Gold Cup success?
The Irish thoroughbred has become a name synonymous with Royal Ascot over the past few years with a record that's the envy of many a trainer, and this year, the target is to equal a record set by one of the greats of racing. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius has won three of the last four Gold Cups and is already second favourite in the Coral Gold Cup markets for a fourth. Four wins at the Gold Cup is a feat that has only been achieved once before by Yeats, a fellow Irish thoroughbred. Although last year wasn't to end with the record-equalling run he was aiming for; he's keen to be back this year as his owner, Bjorn Nielsen, says he can't wait: "He's as enthusiastic as ever, which is quite amazing."
Last year's winner of the Ascot Gold Cup is again in the frame for a win; last year, with veteran jockey Joe Fanning in charge, Subjectivist ran the perfect race, by first maintaining pace with the leading pack going into the final corner before striding majestically to a win, leaving the likes of Stradivarius in his wake, and adding to his win in the Dubai Gold Cup earlier in the year. Fanning wasn't surprised by the success as the four-year-old got on with the job at hand. "I just find he's a horse you don't complicate things with; if there's something in front, let him go," he said.
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article and includes some commercial links.)
Good Earth, released its first-ever limited-edition art prints in 2020, depicting flora and wildlife recovering their due place in nature.
Van Vaibhav is Good Earth's guiding concept. The brand has a profound passion for nature in all of its forms, and preserving the beauty of the forest is at the centre of everything. In keeping with this ethos, there is no better way to commemorate our 26th anniversary than by giving back to the environment.
The Dreamscape art print series celebrates the brand's birthday. Endangered and fragile creatures of wild paradise come alive with attention to their condition in India.
The artwork, titled 'Living on the Edge,' underlines the importance of getting a closer look at these wonderful creatures. While everything appears to be lovely and unconstrained, these endangered species are truly living on the verge of extinction.
The Dreamscape will be printed in 500 limited edition Poster prints, which will be available for purchase the brand's web store. All sales revenues - matched with an equal amount by Good Earth - will go towards the Wildlife Trust of India's aim to conserve and protect vulnerable and endangered species, as part of our ongoing relationship.
Google Earth's Founder Anita Lal spoke about the initiative, "Animals are so vulnerable, and their habitats are ever receding due to the pressure on land." |WikipediaWikipedia
Speaking about the initiative, Good Earth's Founder and Creative Director, Anita Lal, says, "Birthdays are milestones when we count our blessings and look ahead with hope for a better future for all. Animals are so vulnerable, and their habitats are ever receding due to the pressure on land and the many hazards that humankind creates on this planet. The Wildlife Trust of India, among many others, is working tirelessly to stem the decline in the numbers of our vulnerable animals. We want to contribute to this valiant effort in any way we can. Our hope is that the posters help create awareness and sensitise us and the younger generation to think more about ways to live sustainably.
Collaboration with English artist Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell's special illustrations are featured in the birthday dreamscape, a fitting collaboration given her enthusiasm for nature. The British artist created gorgeous drawings/illustrations of fragile, endangered, and critically endangered species for this exclusive print, which then travelled to our in-house design team's digital paradise.
The Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephant, Common Leopard, Markhor, Hangul, Himalayan Brown Bear, Whale Shark, Gharial, Indian Cheetah, Indian Pangolin, Asiatic Black Bear, Asian Wild Water Buffalo, Sarus Crane, and Anaimalai Flying Frog are among the species shown in the artwork.
(Keywords: Rebecca Campbell, Good Earth's Founder and Creative Director, Anita Lal, Good Earth)