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MARKET WATCH 06 JULY, 2019

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

English rendering of PM’s reaction on Union Budget 2019-2020

I congratulate the first woman Finance Minister of the country Nirmala Sitharaman and her team for this citizen friendly, development friendly and future oriented Budget. This is a Budget that will enrich the country and make its people more empowered. The poor will get strength and the youth a better tomorrow from this Budget. The middle class will progress and the development pace will leapfrog because of this Budget. This Budget will simplify the tax system and modernize infrastructure. This Budget will strengthen industry and entrepreneurs. It will increase women’s participation in the development process of the country. This Budget will make the education sector better. It will help to reach the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and Space Research to the people. This Budget has reform for the financial world, ease of living for the ordinary citizens as also welfare for the villages and the poor. This is a green Budget wherein special emphasis has been given on environment, electric mobility and solar sector. In the last five years, the country has come out of an atmosphere of despair and is now brimming with expectation and self-confidence. The ordinary people used to struggle for their own rights like electricity, gas and roads and had to face many challenges like garbage, corruption and VIP culture. We have relentlessly strived to mitigate those and have succeeded too. Today people have a lot of aspirations and expectations. This Budget promises to fulfil them. This Budget is assuring that the direction is right, the process is right, the speed is right; so to achieve the objectives is certain. This is a Budget of expectations, faith and aspirations. This Budget will prove to be an important link in fulfilling the expectations of 21st century India and building a New India. This Budget will set the road map for implementing the decisions pertaining to the year 2022, i.e. 75 years of Independence. In the last five years our government has taken several steps to empower the poor, farmers, Scheduled Castes, oppressed and the down-trodden. In the next five years this empowerment will make them the powerhouse of development. This powerhouse will provide energy to the country to fulfil the dream of 5 trillion dollar economy. New schemes for structural reform in agricultural sector have been announced in this Budget. Transferring about 87 thousand crore rupees to the farmers through PMKISAN, the decision of opening more than 10 thousand Farmer Producer Organizations, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the fishermen or establishing National Warehousing Grid – all these will play an important role in doubling the income of the farmers by 2022. Water conservation is not possible without manpower. Water conservation is possible through people’s movement. This Budget has taken care of not only the present generation, but also the future generations. Like Swachh Bharat Mission, Har Ghar Jal Abhiyan will enable the country in addressing the water crisis. The decisions taken in this Budget will strengthen the foundation of the coming decade as also open the door of new possibilities for the youth. This Budget is a historic step towards making an India of your expectations, your dreams and your commitments. I am going to talk about it in details tomorrow in Kashi. Today I once again congratulate the Finance Minister and her team. My good wishes to all the citizens of India for the bright future.

Thank you very much.

Source: PIB

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Union Budget 2019: Smriti Irani Lauds PM Modi And Nirmala Sithraman For Union Budget, Calls It 'progressive, Pragmatic, Inclusive and Futuristic'

Union Minister for Women and Child development, and for textiles Smriti Irani has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the Union Budget presented in the Lok Sabha on July 5. Amethi MP Smriti Irani, who had defeated former Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the recent 2019 Lok Sabha elections, took to Twitter to express her hearty congratulations to the duo while applauding many aspects of the budget by calling it a progressive, pragmatic and inclusive budget which not only fulfills aspirations of the common man but also strives towards strengthening the Indian economy. In a second Tweet, she further extols the budget for its effort to work towards the empowerment of Women through the introduction of various schemes. She writes "#BudgetForNewIndia proposes measures to encourage and facilitate the role of women in India’s growth story" The Former Defence Minister, while presenting her maiden Budget, had proposed to expand Women SHG (Self-help group) interest subvention program proposed to all districts. She also emphasised on the availailbility of an Overdraft of Rs. 5,000 to every verified women SHG member having a Jan Dhan Bank Account and that one woman per SHG will be eligible for a loan up to Rs. 1 lakh under the MUDRA Scheme. The 2019 Union Budget also promised a shift in approach from women-centric-policy making to women-led initiatives and movements and the formation of a Committee proposed by the Government and private stakeholders for moving towards Gender budgeting. From connectivity to women's role in the economy to boosting of startups, the Union Budget for Modi 2.0 presented the Government's 360-degree view.

Source: Republic World

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Industry bodies all-praise for union budget

Various industry bodies Friday welcomed the union budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Seetharaman. The maiden budget of the current finance minister is a clear demonstration of the governments vision towards a developed and sustainable India which is forward-looking and visionary, convenor of taxation panel CII Coimbatore zone G Karthikeyan said. The focus and thrust is given to agriculture, MSME, infrastructure and start-up eco-system which would rejuvenate creation of jobs. The assurance that start-ups and their investors would not be subject to any tax scrutiny for value of their shares if they file requisite declaration is a big relief to start-up investors, Karthikeyan said. The proposed faceless e-assessment for the income tax assesses would provide transparency to the tax payers in addition to reduction of hassles, he said.However, the increase of petrol and diesel would increase overall cost of living, Kathikeyan said in a statement. Meanwhile, Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) welcomed the announcement regarding formation of a committee with government and private stakeholders to suggest action to move forward on women development. Increasing the participation of women in workforce is the top priority of the country. The percentage of Indian women in workforce is around 26 while in Vietnam it was 73 and in China 62, ITF convenor Prabhu Dhamodaran said in a release. Chairman of Southern India Mills Association P Nataraj welcomed the 10-point vision for the next decade intending to make the country achieve USD 5-trillion USD in a few years. In a press release, Nataraj welcomed the budget that has laid ambitious targets to address various important issues relating to connectivity, power, skill development. He appreciated the announcement of 'One Nation, One Grid' power sector tariff and structural reforms. The textile industry being the power-intensive industry and facing problem of stiff competition in the global market would get greatly benefited with the proposed reforms addressing the barriers like cross subsidy surcharges, undesirable duties on open access and captive power generation, he said. The announcement of four labour codes in place of multiple labour legislations is yet another welcoming feature in the budget, Nataraj said. However, he said the allocation of Rs 700 crore for Amended Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF) Scheme was much on the lower side as the total pending TUF subsidy under various TUF schemes amounts to around Rs 10,000 crores. He expressed hope that once the Ministry of Textiles conducts joint inspection and make the claims, adequate funds would be provided to enable the industry to mitigate the financial stress currently being faced. Out of Rs 17,822-crore allocated for TUF subsidy for the period 2017-2022, only around Rs 2,400 crore has been utilised, Nataraj said and appealed to the government to expedite the release of subsidy.

Source: Business Standard

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Budget 2019: Sitharaman bets on easier credit not fiscal boost for faster growth

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s first budget was unexciting and incremental, rather than radical, providing no fiscal boost to accelerate GDP growth to the 8% target for Modi government 2.0. It was protectionist and inward-looking, seeking to reduce import dependence rather than increasing exports. No wonder the Nifty crashed 135.60 points. The interim budget already had dramatic features like the PM-KISAN scheme, which provided Rs 6,000 annually to small and marginal farmers. It had also waived income tax for individuals earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum. So this budget was more a supplementary than a full budget. However, with the help of Rs 90,000 crore of excess capital to be transferred from the Reserve Bank of India, plus higher cesses on petrol and diesel, the fiscal deficit came down marginally to 3.3% of GDP. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had revealed last year that the official deficit figure was a fiction, cloaking off-budget borrowing. It remains to be seen whether the fiction will continue this year. Sitharaman pledged bank recapitalisation of Rs 70,000 crore, which should revive lending in a big way. This can boost growth through booming credit rather than loose fiscal policy. The FM says the recapitalisation may be spread over three years, not in one big bang. The Economic Survey on Thursday said that ‘dwarfs’ — companies with less than 100 employees even after 10 years of existence should lose their benefits to new startups. But Sitharaman seeks to help MSMEs in every way, including loans of up to Rs 1 crore within 59 minutes through a dedicated online portal, and faster clearance of government dues to suppliers. Remember, Snow White loved the seven dwarfs. A paradigm shift is the decision to move part of government borrowings to foreign markets. No details are available on the sums for this year or next five years. This could check interest rates in India, so bond markets soared on Friday. Excess liquidity in foreign markets has created negative bond rates in countries such as Germany, so there will never be a better time to borrow abroad cheaply, despite currency risks, to finance domestic investments. But capital spending in the budget goes up only 6%, half the nominal GDP growth rate, so this cannot be called an investment-led strategy. The budget assumes 12% nominal GDP growth, presumably 8% real growth and 4% inflation. But the Economic Survey had projected real GDP growth of only 7%. How has the rate gone up by 1% in one day? If one reduces nominal growth to 11%, many budgetary ratios will go haywire. Former FM Arun Jaitley had promised that India would become competitive vis-à-vis Asian peers in direct tax rates. That has not happened. The promised cut in corporate tax rates to 25% will apply only to companies with a turnover of up to Rs 400 crore, stranding the large companies that are the biggest exporters. Disinvestment Target Ambitious And while India is struggling to get down to the 25% rate, other Asian countries have reduced their effective corporate tax rates to below 20%, rendering us uncompetitive. Soaking the rich may be good socialism, but worsens India’s competitiveness in tax rates. New surcharges will raise the effective income tax rate by 3% and 7%, respectively, for the highest tax brackets above Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore. The expectation of higher tax revenues will be eroded by accelerating the flight of billionaires to low-tax countries such as Singapore and Dubai, a most undesirable but rising trend. For the second year in a row, import duties have been raised on a wide range of items — from vinyl flooring and tiles to cameras, optical fibre and books. The FM views this as promoting ‘Make in India’. But this is a vision of uncompetitive production behind high tariffs, not world-class competitive production. The Economic Survey said on Thursday that increasing exports were an essential condition for getting into a virtuous high-growth cycle, but the budget seeks import substitution — the very opposite philosophy that was followed in the first three decades after Independence with disastrous results. Nor is import substitution compatible with efforts to enter into free-trade agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), or with the European Union. The US has abolished preferential GSP tariffs for New Delhi in retaliation against India’s rising import barriers, so import substitution has become a tax on exports, a most unfortunate outcome. To attract more foreign portfolio investments, the FM will ask the Securities and Exchange Board of India to consider raising the minimum free float for listed companies from 25% to 35%. Logically, this should extend to public sector companies too. But they have been exempted for no good reason. To attract FII passive investment in exchange traded funds, the statutory limit for FII investment will be raised from 24% to the sectoral FDI investment limit. This will boost share prices but increase volatility risks as portfolio investment can be hot money. Noting that FDI had risen to $64.4 billion in 2018-19, the FM proposed further opening up of FDI in civil aviation and insurance. FDI of 100% will be allowed in insurance intermediaries. Also, local sourcing norms will be eased for single-brand retail. These are incremental rather than big-bang steps, but nevertheless welcome. Disinvestment aims to mop up Rs 1,05,000 crore, an exceedingly ambitious target. The FM says the whole list of PSUs cleared by the Cabinet for disinvestment will be sold. This includes the sale of brownfield government infrastructure assets worth Rs 24,000 crore. Management control will shift to private buyers, so this will be a form of privatisation. The FM said the government would consider bringing down its shareholding to below 51% in public sector enterprises. This is highly desirable, as it will free companies from the travails of the CVC, CBI and CAG. It could materially improve the share prices too. Startups have been given a boost. The angel tax on supposedly excess share valuation is going to be virtually abolished, ending an extraordinary irritant. The identity and source of funds by investors will be resolved by e-verification, to check laundering of black money through this route. Non banking financial companies (NBFCs) have also been given a lifeline. The government will provide credit guarantee to banks to purchase Rs 1 lakh crore worth of pooled assets of highly rated NBFCs. This will greatly ease the liquidity problems of the sector, and revive their lending to MSMEs. Regulation of NBFCs by the RBI will be strengthened simultaneously to check loose lending practices. Faceless income tax assessments should reduce corruption in tax offices, and promote compliance. Tax scrutiny will be on a completely random basis to check tax harassment. These are welcome steps.

Source: Economic Times

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Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget draws mixed response from industry in Gujarat

Sitharaman has proposed that housing finance sector be now regulated by Reserve Bank of India instead of the National Housing Bank, which is the regulatory authority at present. Even as Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday presented the Budget for 2019-20, tepid reactions trickled in from certain sections of the industries in the state. One of the aspects that Sitharaman stressed on was ‘affordable housing for all.’ The real estate industry did not seem enthused with the provision in Budget where the government provided an additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh for interest paid on loans for an affordable house that is valued up to Rs 45 lakh. Jaxay Shah, chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), said, “There was no need of putting a cap of Rs 45 lakh for availing additional interest deduction for home-buyers.” In response to Sitharaman’s announcement that reform measures shall be taken up to promote rental housing and a model tenancy law will be finalised and circulated to the states, Jaxay said, “From encouraging public-private partnership for providing land to formulation of rental policy – everything that we have been raising concerns about has been looked into…We will be able to see the benefits of regulation of housing finance companies (HFCs) by RBI only in the time to come.” Further, Sitharaman has proposed that housing finance sector be now regulated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) instead of the National Housing Bank (NHB), which is the regulatory authority at present. NHB is otherwise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBI. Nrupesh Shah, executive director of air-cooler company, Symphony Ltd, also expressed his disappointment with the Budget. “The Union Budget has missed the golden opportunity to boost job creation, (arrest) slowdown of economy and (boost) consumption,” said Nrupesh. West zone chairperson of the Confederation of Indian Industries, Piruz Khambatta voiced the same concern. “…(A) big expectation from the Budget was employment. Overall industry was expecting that the government would want more formal employments and give some concrete big ticket incentives for employment in this sector. However, it has not happened.” Khambatta believes the growth story lies in the consumption pick-up, which has been largely ignored in the Budget. “The Budget gives some benefits on GST on E.V. Vehicles but more importantly, food processing items, which are consumed by the common man, still stand at a phenomenally high GST rate of 18% in many cases. It would have been in the fitment of things and a further boost to agriculture and food processing economy if the GST council considered processed foods similar to affordable housing, electric vehicles (EVs), textiles and other essential items where the tax rates have been brought down to 5%…,” Khambatta added. There also remains ambivalence as to how effective the proposals tabled for NBFCs and real estate are and if it may prove to be fatal in the long-run. Sitharaman announced that proposals for strengthening the regulatory authority of RBI over non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) were to be placed in the Finance Bill. “Only nominal steps have been announced to tackle problems faced by the NBFC and real estate sectors. It will lead to major negatives, unless both sectors are brought back to normal health,” said Nrupesh. It was not only the money market that he feels would be affected negatively, but also the capital market. “Radical, transformative and specific measures to take economy to USD five trillion are missing,“ added Nrupesh. With the Budget proposing to rationalise export duty on raw and semi-finished leather to provide relief to the sector, Khambatta said that such proposals only makes the Make in India campaign tilted towards manufacturing as a substitute for import. While Sitharaman mentioned that the government is contemplating to permit 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in insurance intermediaries and is at a stage of examining suggestions of further opening up FDI in aviation, media (animation, AVGC) and insurance sectors in consultation with all stakeholders, Khambatta said, “…if it would have come sooner, it could have saved many airlines from grounding.” Even as Sitharaman assured that the government will bring in a New National Education Policy to change the higher education system, Nrupesh didn’t see much promise in it. “It will lead to semi-nationalisation of education institutes and will certainly not improve education quality,” he said. However, Manan Choksi, executive director at Udgam School for Children, sees promise in Sitharaman’s proposal of a social stock exchange under the ambit of SEBI wherein social enterprises and voluntary organisations can be registered. “The proposal is very interesting as it will be regulated by SEBI. Much of these funds will go to sectors like healthcare and education.” Khambatta, who is also chairman of Rasna, believes in the Study in India initiative, although overall, he believes the Budget missed out on meeting some crucial industry expectations. “Coming to the Prime Minister’s statement a week back on getting more investments by the corporate sector in agriculture and food processing, the sector was expecting some concrete benefits and changes in the regulations so that investments can take place in the first place but none of that has been forthcoming in the budget,” Khambatta said. Overall, what lacked were specifics in the blueprint. “Positive intentions expressed, but without specifics on spend on infrastructure, railway station modernisation and streamlining labour laws. Some initiatives to encourage start-ups and ease of income tax scrutiny assessments,” said Nrupesh. However, Achal Bakeri, chairman and managing director at Symphony Limited, said the Budget has broadly covered components that are favourable for corporates. “Tax relief to corporates comes as a much needed respite and is sure to create a better environment for businesses which will in turn lead to the growth and economic development of the country,” Bakeri said.

Source: Indian Express

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Budget focuses squarely on MSMEs through dedicated payments platform

The Budget has kept the focus squarely on micro, small and medium enterprises through the announcement of a dedicated payments platform for small businesses and major upgradation of schemes for the sector. Recognising that government payments to suppliers and contractors are a major source of cash flow to MSMEs, measures have been announced to eliminate delays in payment. A payments platform will be created for MSMEs to enable the e-filing and payment of bills. Under the Interest Subvention Scheme for MSMEs, the Budget allocated Rs 350 crore for FY20 for a 2 per cent interest subvention to all GST-registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans. Earlier, a scheme for disbursal of loans of up to Rs 1 crore within 59 minutes was launched for the sector through a dedicated online portal. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also clarified that customs policy will continue to promote and protect the sector. However, the sanctioned outlay for the MSME ministry saw only a marginal increase — to Rs 7,011 crore in 2019-20 from Rs 6,984.27 crore in the previous year. Yesterday, MSME minister Nitin Gadkari had announced the government’s plans to create an e-commerce platform on the lines of Amazon and Alibaba to sell products from MSMEs as also the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

Source: Business Standard

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Textile industry hails proposals

The textile industry here has welcomed the Union Budget proposals saying that it is growth oriented. According to the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil), the budget has emphasised on the development of inland waterways for cargo movement. It will bring down the cost of transport, especially for bulk products such as raw cotton. The Non-Banking Finance Companies had been assured of support which was a right step, said K.V. Srinivasan, chairman of the Council. Exporters accessed alternative sources of finance at a lower cost, he pointed out. The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry has said that increase in allocation for development of handloom, handicraft, wool, silk, jute and power loom sectors and additional funds for skilling will benefit the industry. P. Nataraj, chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association, has said the announcement of “One Nation One Grid” power sector tariff and structural reforms will be a boon to the textile industry, which is power intensive. Mr. Nataraj has also said that the initiatives taken on Ease of Doing Business and investments planned in infrastructure are welcome measures. The increase in the annual turnover threshold limit from ₹250 crore to ₹400 crore for Corporate Tax of 25 % will benefit several textile mills. According to the Indian Texpreneurs Federation convenor Prabhu Dhamodharan, the percentage of women workforce in the textile industry is less compared to the number in Vietnam or China. The budget has given priority to women empowerment. “Our industry can be part of the mission and contribute towards women development. We are keen to work with the government on this mission,” he said. The Apparel Export Promotion Council vice-chairman A. Sakthivel has pointed out that the budget focuses on developing the Indian economy to a $ 3 trillion economy this year. It gives importance to infrastructure development and encourages Foreign Direct Investment. However, some of the demands of the textile industry have not been met. Tiruppur Exporters’ Association president Raja Shanmugham has said it is a generic budget with no specific announcement for the textile sector. The pending amount for ROSL (Rebate of State Levies) scheme for Tiruppur alone is likely to be about ₹300 crore. There is no allocation for it in the budget. Though the proposals are not damaging, there are no incentives too. Further, the extension of 25 % Corporate Tax for companies that have up to ₹400 crore annual turnover is not available for proprietor firms.

Source: The Hindu

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View: Opening the gates for a foreign-funded India growth

There is a clear effort to improve capital market mechanisms to ensure that sluices are unclogged. Modi government 2.0’s first budget recognises a critical fact — domestic savings are inadequate to fund the 8%-plus real annual growth in GDP needed to take the economy to the $5 trillion target over the next five years. A lot more foreign savings need to be brought in more aggressively. The most important step in this direction is the decision to finally break the taboo against the sovereign government seeking funds abroad. This could be the clichéd gamechanger for Indian borrowers abroad. While GoI may actually borrow a small amount in line with its conservative external debt management practices there could be significant ‘externalities’. A sovereign bond issue would help set a clear benchmark for other external bond issuances and is likely to bring borrowing costs down across the board for Indian companies as well as increase the appetite for Indian debt paper. Efforts like the possibility of upping the investment limits in media and aviation, easing local sourcing norms for single-brand retailers, and the merger of the NRI-portfolio investment and the foreign portfolio investment route, all seem to be a part of a cohesive strategy to get foreigners to fund India’s growth. There is also a clear effort to improve capital market mechanisms to ensure that the sluices are unclogged. There is some effort to address some of the immediate growth bottlenecks. The Rs 70,000 crore bank recapitalisation for PSBs is certainly more than what most analysts expected. This, coupled with the credit guarantee scheme, could ease some of the credit constraints that both consumers and businesses are facing and revive demand. What are the problems with the budget? For one there is need for clarity on a number of 90,000 crore this fiscal year against the Rs 68,000 crore paid last year. One wonders if this contains the transfer of RBI’s surplus reserves on its balance sheet. The funding of the large banking recapitalisation programme needs to be explained better. While GoI is issuing recapitalisation bonds, the question is whether these bonds will make their way into the markets at all and potentially impact interest rates. Or will it merely be a balance sheet exercise in which bonds are swapped for equity on bank’s balance sheet without seeping into the financial markets at all? Very broadly, the numbers do add up to yield a fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP. The disinvestment estimates are a tad higher than in February’s interim budget. But a renewed emphasis on strategic sales, a tax-break on retail investments in exchange traded funds of PSUs and, perhaps, a little help at the last minute from the business of cross-holdings, the targets should be met. Solid growth in ‘non-tax’ receipts like disinvestments and dividends compensate for the rather sedate growth in tax collections of around 11% the budget assumes for 2019-20. Gross market borrowing target for GoI is Rs 7,10,000 crore that will go into the funding the fiscal gap. While it is high in absolute terms, it hasn’t exceeded the amount projected in the interim budget. Besides, that GoI seems to remain committed to fiscal consolidation, and is also seeking new (external) avenues to fund its deficit has triggered a rally in the bond markets. If external fund flows do jump on the bank of some of the new initiatives to invite foreign capital, domestic borrowing costs should remain low.

Source: Economic Times

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More foreign clothing brands may hit the shelves

Consumers may get a wider choice in international apparel brands with Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposing to ease local sourcing norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail. But the move, according to industry sources, could hurt the local manufacturers. “The mandatory requirement of local sourcing of items for foreign brands investing in India will further be reduced. While this is a boost to FDI, it is contradictory to the Make In India push. The Indian consumer will certainly benefit with more (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/more) international labels. However, it will hurt local manufacturers,” said Rahul Mehta, president and chairman, Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India (CMAI). While the Union Budget has a total provision of Rs 4,831.48 crore for textile sector, there were no major industry specific incentives announced. Traditional textile artisans and craftsmen will also benefit from the increased allocation for the development of handloom, handicraft, wool, silk, jute and powerloom sector. “The allocation has also been increased for skilling in textiles, which will benefit the industry in a longer run,” said Sanjay Jain, chairman, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI). “The budget allocation has gone down from Rs 6,943.26 crore in financial year 2018-19. We expected more allocation for technology upgradation fund (TUF) against the Rs 700-crore that has been announced because the obligations for the same run into a few thousand crores.,” added Jain. Certain indirect benefits that have been announced in the Union Budget could help boost consumption. “The 2% interest subvention for MSMEs for incremental and new loans along with the proposal to widen the turnover limit of Rs 250 crore to Rs 400 crore for lower rate of corporate tax at 25% may increase consumption,” said Mehta. Textile and apparel industry, which employs some 10 crore people in India, also expected more measures to safeguard domestic industry.

Source: Times of India

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Public spending for infrastructure to boost growth, put more money in people’s hands: Nirmala Sitharaman

India still is the fastest-growing economy globally. I would rather do everything that it takes to make sure that growth is sustained at that or even higher level, the FM said.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke to Swaminathan Aiyar and Nayantara Rai of ET Now.

Edited excerpts: Instead of borrowing domestically and raising interest rates, you are going to be borrowing abroad. Could you tell us how much are you going to borrow this year, how much in the next five years? A bit too early for me to get into the details of how much. We thought we can make a genuinely good attempt at tapping these resources... our external borrowing is rather minuscule so we wanted to make the two things come together so that the country can benefit. Rs 70,000 crore of bank capitalisation will help banks revive lending. What is the phasing? I would think it will be about three years but I would not be able to break it down now. You will get to know a bit later, during the parliamentary debates. I will be able to give you the figure for it. And similarly, we have also attended to the NBFC crisis. It is part of the same package? Yes, same thing… It is an issue of solvency for some, it is governance for some of the NBFCs, a third may suffer from the want of liquidity. We looked at what were the immediate things we had to do. One was for clearly making sure that the regulatory and resolutionary powers were in the right place. And that is the reason why in this finance bill we are moving it all to RBI and that is true of even the National Housing NSE -0.38 % Bankrelated powers. Similarly, we have given a window which can be opened by the RBI for which we are giving a 10% backstop arrangement. I hope those suffering for want of liquidity will be able to get it but for those who are not suffering from liquidity (squeeze) there is a positive message going that on that sector we have responded. The finance secretary during the press conference said Rs 90,000 crore, so it must be in that range. Do you think you have done enough to spur investments and growth? India still is the fastest-growing economy globally. I would rather do everything that it takes to make sure that growth is sustained at that or even higher level… The way in which we have approached the spurring of the growth matter is we are going to put more money in the hands of the people through the time-tested method which we have done in the last five years of investing and public spending for infrastructure. On the other (hand), through direct benefit transfer we are definitely moving to literally putting money in the hands of the last man in the queue. The fiscal deficit target has been narrowed. I am here to have complete compliance of the law. FRBM is a law, so I will obey it and the glide path is sacred for me. I have made sure that the fiscal deficit will go through the glide path and today we are at 3.3%. Which companies will be divested? Air India’s not part of the Rs 1.05-lakh crore divestment target? We will make sure that everything which has been given the CCEA approval (is divested) … Air India was separate.

Source: Economic Times

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View: Inclusive growth’s the goal, with fiscal prudence

With this budget, it is clear that the government has put an equal thrust on driving domestic consumption and private investment. The budget can be seen as an enhancement over the interim budget. The finance minister has skilfully balanced the current needs of a slowing economy with the medium-term goal of scaling up the Indian economy to a level of $5 trillion by 2024-25. The single largest feel-good (factor) obviously came from the headline of the budget arithmetic, with a reduction in FY20 fiscal deficit target to 3.3% of GDP from 3.4% announced in the interim budget. This along with unchanged gross market borrowings of the government (pegged at Rs 7.1 lakh crore) and the idea of tapping overseas markets for borrowings favourably tip the demand-supply balance for G-secs, validated by the softening seen in yields on 10-year Gsecs post the budget. Going more granular, the reliance on increased 1) custom duties on several items 2) excise duties on petroleum products 3) spectrum auction proceeds of Rs 50,500 crore along with 4) disinvestments and 5) dividends from RBI/financial institutions on the revenue side make room for the envisaged double-digit growth of 21% in spending. The demonstration of fiscal prudence was accompanied by according importance to reviving private investments, amidst the current slowdown in growth. As envisaged in the Economic Survey, the budget deploys a multi-pronged support structure to kick-start a virtuous cycle of investments via 1) reduction in corporate tax to 25% for 99.7% of companies 2) infusion of Rs 70,000 crore into public sector banks 3) one-time partial guarantee to high rated pooled assets of NBFCs 4) further relaxation of FDI in select sectors along with easing local sourcing norms in singlebrand retail and 4) eliminating the angel tax issue for startups This should in turn help job creation and augment incomes. Specifically, commitments towards hard infrastructure such as phase 2 of PMAY, phase 3 of PMGSY, industrial corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, UDAN scheme, PPP in railways, re-examining the UDAY scheme coupled with an envisaged revamped education policy, simplification of labour laws and the Ayushman Bharat scheme already in motion, should provide a wellrounded character to Indian economy’s impending growth. Combining the signals from the interim and full budget, one can infer that the government has put an equal thrust on domestic consumption and private investment, with growth recovery being a derivative of both. The combined focus on lending support to rural economy, along with MSMEs, affordable housing and ease of living sends an emphatic message that growth must also be inclusiv

Source: Economic Times

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Pak-Iran Joint Trade Committee is successfully concluded at Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan and Iran on Friday concluded of 8th Pak-Iran Joint Trade Committee (JCT ) to ink the areas of mutual understanding in the wake of 8th JTC for increasing the bilateral trade and economic ties. An Iranian delegation led by Minister for Industries, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani, called on Adviser to PM on Commerce, Textile, Industries amd Production, and Investment Razak Dawood, in the concluding session of 8th Pak-Iran Joint Trade Committee (JTC) to ink the areas of mutual understanding between both sides, said in press rlease isused by Ministry of Commerce here on Friday.

Source: Press Pakistan

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Pakistan, Iran agree to strengthen bilateral trade by removing bottlenecks

ISLAMABAD-- Pakistan and Iran have agreed to strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties and vowed to remove potential bottlenecks coming in the way, local media reported on Friday. The understanding came during the first session of the 8th Pakistan-Iran Joint Trade Committee, which was attended by an Iranian delegation, led by Minister of Industry, Mines and Business Reza Rahmani and Pakistani delegation led by Pakistani Prime Minister's Advisor on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday here. During the meeting, Pakistan urged the Iranian side to take appropriate measures to remove non-trade barriers so that real potential of bilateral trade could be actualized, suggesting removing various forms of taxation such as road and loads taxes on vehicles which are crossing the borders. The Iranian side pledged to address all the issues which were hampering bilateral trade on its part and assured a win-win situation for both sides. While recognizing the fact that Pakistan-Iran trade relations are not up to the mark, both sides reflected on ways and means to enter into barter trade deal. "To start barter trade, both countries should select a few items having competitive advantage," Dawood said, adding that in this regard, Pakistan can enhance export of wheat, sugar, rice and fruits to Iran. During the meeting, Iran also showed profound interest in import of 500,000 tons of rice from Pakistan and asked the Pakistani side to devise necessary mechanism for early shipment.

Source: Xinhua

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E-textiles market to reach over $2 billion

The market for e-textiles will reach over US$ 2 billion by 2029, according to the new version of the IDTechEx report E-textiles 2019-2029: Technologies, Markets and Players, which includes brand new data about e-textiles revenue. Many companies have existed for a long time in the industry by making the majority of their revenue from R&D or design contracts rather than necessarily from product revenue. The main forecast in the report focuses on specific product revenue across different sectors (including biometric monitoring, heating, lighting and other e-textiles), but for the first time, this report includes additional historic data and short-term estimates for the total revenues of companies working in the space. “Many of the companies in this emerging industry make the majority of their revenue on a project-by-project basis, with the component of consulting and R&D revenue often being more significant than just looking at products sold. In previous years, we have collated data to understand the volumes and revenues from product shipments in e-textiles,” said James Hayward, Principal Analyst at IDTechEx and lead author on the report. “In this edition, we expanded on this to include historic data on all revenue from e-textiles companies, as well as representation of the different industries and product types from each player. The result is not only a projection of future opportunity in the space but also a detailed study of the current and short-term scenario for the current players in the industry today.”

Long-term vision

Many companies continue to investigate this sector, fuelled by a clear long-term vision for the potential around e-textiles. Textile products have a ubiquity, which electronics companies can only dream of, the report says. Electronic products and their surrounding digital ecosystem which they fuel are the key products for the four largest companies in the world (by market capitalisation, as of 2019). The idea to combine the features of each, providing a comfortable, fashionable, customisable interface between humans and digital products, creating huge value in the process, is central to the “big picture” thinking of many speculative investors today. However, the industry remains a very long way from this eventuality. Many much more real challenges exist for e-textiles companies today, from optimising supply chain and manufacturing to validating product value in the mind of consumers, through to end of life management of the products once they are sold. Steps are being taken across these challenges, in investing to consolidate advanced manufacturing in house, pursuing medical approval routes for biometric monitoring after consumer routes have proven unfavourable, and by optimising materials with recycling or disposal in mind. These early steps are critical to establishing real short-term revenue, before developing towards the bigger picture ideas.

Comprehensive overview

E-textiles 2019-2029: Technologies, Markets and Players has been compiled by IDTechEx over six years of work. It is the most comprehensive overview of this emerging technology space, enabling readers to learn from the past, assess partners or competitors in the present, and plan for the future of this industry. The report contains an assessment of the entire e-textiles value chain today, from the materials and components, through to the products and markets, both currently being served and being targeted in the future. The report lists details of 200 companies, including primary research where IDTechEx analysts have met and interviewed over 100 of these players.

Source: Innovation in Textiles

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Din Group to invest $70 mn to open textile unit in Pak

Pakistan’s Din Group of Industries committed to invest $70 million in the Allama Iqbal Industrial City to set up a new textile unit there after it signed an agreement with the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company, whose chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq said the group will get a tax holiday and one-time import of machinery without levies. Din Group chief executive SM Tanveer said the industrial city’s prime location and availability of trained and skilled labour will be a big advantage, according to Pakistani media reports. (DS)

Source: Fibre2fashion

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Italy focuses on circular economy at G20

Last month, as part of the initiatives related to the G20 held in Japan, an Italian delegation from the MISE (Italian Ministry for Economic Development), led by Vice Minister Michele Geraci, participated in Tsukuba to the working sessions of the Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy, contributing, with all the members and auditors, to the final ministerial declaration on these subjects. The two-day meeting focused on Business and policy examples for Sustainable and inclusive Growth trough Trade and Investment. The objective of the initiative was to share information among countries and exchange views to promote trade and investments that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth. Italy presented five best practices, two of which are directly linked to RadiciGroup. A 100% nylon and consequently 100% recyclable jacket has been made of RadiciGroup Raditek Fine yarn, a high-tenacity polyamide yarn, which endows the fabric with high tear and abrasion resistance, while keeping it lightweight. The jacket can be recycled for plastics applications at the end of its life. The yarn was developed to resist UV radiation and is designed to maintain its performance characteristics unchanged over time. The gilet features fibreball insulation with siliconised Radilon staple fibre, another RadiciGroup product. The gilet is currently worn by all RadiciGroup Ski Club athletes. The future development of this kind of 100% nylon jackets is 40,000 items to be soon produced in cooperation with a major sports brand. Another project was carried out in partnership with Versalis (ENI) and Safitex, for the recycling of synthetic grass pitches. The list of participants included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Viet Nam, APT, ERIA, IMF, ITC, ITU, OECD, UNCTAD, World Bank, and WTO. “Ministers welcomed the progress made so far by the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity (GFSEC). The wide majority of members expressed their willingness to join an emerging consensus to recognise that further efforts are necessary to reduce excess steelmaking capacity and to call for the extension of the GFSEC’s duration beyond its current term and continuation of its work. A few members emphasised the importance of arriving at a full consensus as per G20 practice and stated that GFSEC has achieved its objective and should expire at the end of its current term,” the Chairs stated.

Source: Innovation in Textiles

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