(Current Affairs) Economy & Energy | August : 2017


Inputs from academia sought by commerce ministry

  • Commerce Minister sought inputs from the academia on three topics — Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) review, the proposed revamp of manufacturing and industrial policies and India’s proposal at the WTO on services sector liberalisation.
  • Minister said she would like to receive inputs from the students and faculty as soon as possible on the FTP 2015-20 so that a comprehensively reviewed FTP can be released by September.
  • In the backdrop of the Centre working on a new manufacturing and industrial policy to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector in the country’s GDP to 25% by 2020 from the current level of about 16%
  • Minister said as the (global) Industrial Revolution 4.0 is happening, the country needs more research on this emerging area showing how Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) will impact India’s manufacturing and services.
  • It is learnt that India’s new manufacturing and industrial policies will bring manufacturing and services closer to ensure an increase in the contribution of services to manufacturing.
  • Since India is already a part of many ‘global value chains’, the two new policies will aim to make India a global manufacturing hub in items including textile, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
  • The Centre is working on these new policies to align the current manufacturing policy (of 2011) and the industrial policy (of 2009) with the Fourth Industrial Revolution that includes AI, robotics and IoT.
  • Referring to India’s proposal at the WTO on a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement for easing norms, including on movement of foreign professionals and skilled workers across borders for short-term work.
  • These include, among others, difficult business environment, infrastructural constraints, including peak power deficit, labour market limitations including a surfeit of labour legislation(s) and trade unionism as well as the difficulty in availing commercial bank credit particularly for small firms.

CAG report says Indradhanush scheme was not implemented in a manner envisaged

  • The Centre’s ‘Indradhanush’ scheme to recapitalise public sector banks (PSBs) based on their performance was not implemented in a manner envisaged, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
  • According to the CAG report tabled in Parliament, as per the scheme, a portion of the recapitalisation was to be based on the bank’ performance. However, this was not followed during disbursal of funds.
  • The CAG report said gross NPAs with PSBs had risen sharply in recent years, from Rs. 2.27 lakh crore as of March 31, 2014 to about Rs. 5.4 lakh crore at the end of March 2016.
  • The parameters used to determine whether banks required capital changed from year to year and in some years the rationale for capitalising banks was not even recorded.
  • The audit report said the scheme’s target of raising Rs. 1.1 lakh crore from the markets by 2018-19 was not likely to be met.
  • Audit also noticed that in some cases the rationale for distribution of GOI capital among different PSBs (Public Sector Banks) was not on record.
  • The report added that said some banks that did not qualify for additional capital as per the decided norms, were infused with capital, and in some cases, banks were infused with more capital than required.

Amazon India opens centre in Lucknow

  • Amazon India has announced its second Fulfilment Centre in Uttar Pradesh. Spread over about 50,000 sq.ft. with over 35,000 cubic feet of storage space, Amazon said the new centre would empower thousands of small and medium businesses to leverage the growth of the digital economy and reach a wider customer base.
  • With this, Amazon.in now has two fulfilment centres in Uttar Pradesh, offering close to 1,50,000 cubic feet of storage space to ensure faster delivery.

India-U.K. auto trade

  • Britain and India have the potential to expand post-Brexit trade in the auto sector, as exports of U.K.-made cars to India rose 8.3% in the first half of the year, while those of Indian-made cars to the U.K. almost doubled.
  • The 8.3% rise in sales of U.K. cars was driven by increased demand for British-made luxury cars, while the number of India-built cars rose by 48.6%.
  • Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said that there were many opportunities for growth in areas such as in the development of autonomous, connected vehicles, as well as in the Indian after-market segment.
  • The U.K. currently has a negligible part of that market in India, but have a lot of expertise and there are a lot of products that could be developed.
  • The SMMT has been pushing for interim arrangements that maintain access to the single market and customs union to avoid a cliff-edge situation.

Gold import duty to be reduced

  • The government is planing to bring down import duty on gold to 2% from 10% to make Indian jewellery competitive in the international market.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recommended to the finance ministry to drastically reduce the import duty, said Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • We have urged the Finance Ministry to reduce import duty on gold. The CAD position has substantially improved and now there is a case to look at it. We have recommended 2% duty.

Indian dairy industry:

  • The Indian dairy sector, providing livelihood to 15 crore farmers, would be severely hit if import duties on milk and milk products were eliminated under any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) including the Regional
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), according to the local dairy cooperative Amul.
  • Separately, farmers’ organisations have threatened to hold nationwide protests if the dairy sector is opened up under the RCEP the proposed mega-regional FTA involving 16 Asia Pacific nations including India or any other FTA including those proposed separately with Australia and New Zealand.
  • As against 15 crore dairy farmers in India, there were only 12,000 of them in New Zealand and 6,300 in Australia.
  • Currently, the duty on milk and milk products ranges from 40% to 60%, which gives the local industry enough protection to build its competitiveness.
  • However, if the duty is drastically reduced or eliminated under any FTA, the local industry would find it difficult to compete against producers, particularly from RCEP members like Australia and New Zealand which control more than 35% of the global dairy trade and in excess of 50% of the intra-RCEP trade.

Jio’s 4G handset:

  • Reliance Jio’s plan to introduce a cheap 4G handset will accelerate Internet adoption in India and is also likely to help reverse the recent decline in telecom industry’s revenue, according to Fitch Ratings.
  • The new telecom major is also likely to gain revenue market share as the new handset will attract first-time 4G users.
  • Jio’s 4G handset is likely to quickly replace 2G handsets in rural areas, where smartphones had previously been out of reach for many customers.
  • Growth will be driven by increased data consumption and a rise in average spending per user. The monthly tariff on Jio’s 4G phone of $2.3 is more than 50% above the current average revenue per rural user, most of which are on 2G phones and consume minimal data.
  • Reliance Jio’s higher monthly tariffs on the handset may limit the impact on the revenue market share of incumbents such as Bharti Airtel.
  • Incumbents might also see some benefits to the extent that Jio’s strategy increases adoption of 4G and helps develop India’s smartphone culture raising data usage and average spending across the market.

GST irks solar players

  • Ambiguity surrounding the Goods and Services Tax rate on various inputs is troubling the solar sector, with industry players also saying that their suppliers are not passing on the benefit arising out of input tax credits, leading to higher prices and eventually higher tariffs for customers.
  • While the government is saying that there is a 5% rate on solar components, the truth is that the weighted average rate comes at about 10%. Some items are taxed at 18%, and some at the lower 5%. Others, like inverters, are even taxed at 28%.
  • While the 5% tax rate specified by the GST Council for solar components has increased the cost of the projects, the ambiguity over the other inputs which are used for projects other than in the solar sector is creating confusion among solar developers.
  • Because GST is an end-use tax, the government cannot even discriminate between uses by saying that, say, an inverter used for solar purposes will be taxed this much, but for other purposes at a higher rate.The same is true for the other components as well.

Optimism is souring around small-cap stocks for some investors

  • Optimism is souring around small-cap stocks for some investors, with a host of factors conspiring to up-end gains that have taken them to record highs.
  • Small-caps, which led the market’s rally just after the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, are facing weak earnings forecasts, little progress on tax reform and recent outflows.
  • Investors had expected the administration of Republican Trump, with his promises of aggressive tax cuts and a healthier U.S. economy, would be a boon for small-caps, which tend to be more domestically focused.
  • Republicans so far have been unable to push through bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
  • That has raised doubts about the likelihood of any tax reform this year. Small-caps have higher effective tax rates — about 32% versus 26% for large-caps, a note from Nuveen Asset Management showed.
  • All three indexes hit record highs in recent sessions, just as the earnings reporting period was getting under way.
  • Analysts estimate earnings for S&P 600 companies fell 8.3% in the second quarter, dragged down by projected drops in consumer discretionary, energy and health care results, according to Thomson Reuters data.
  • The small-cap outlook is in contrast to expectations for another quarter of strong profit growth for the S&P 500 and a sharp year-over-year jump in large-cap energy.

Floor price for voice, data not ‘workable’, says TRAI

  • TRAI said that the industry had reached a consensus that fixing of floor price for voice and data services was not a “workable idea” at the moment, and the current regime of tariff forbearance would continue.
  • Last month, some telecom services providers, in a meeting with TRAI, had sought imposition of a floor price for both voice and data services.
  • The operators had argued that telcos offering below cost tariffs to consumers over a period of time might harm the industry and its financials. He added that no further discussion or meeting on the issue was planned.
  • Under forbearance regime, operators are allowed to fix their own tariffs on grounds that there is enough competition in the market.
  • TRAI chairman added that the consultation paper on introduction of 5G was “almost ready” and would be out soon.

RBI should reduce the risk weightage on assets with lower risk profiles

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should reduce the risk weightage on assets with lower risk profiles, according to Sundaram Finance Ltd.
  • Addressing the shareholders at the annual general body meeting, he said such a reduction was necessary to differentiate them from other classes of assets which carried inherently higher risks.
  • Assets such as commercial vehicles and cars carried lower lower risk profiles. In his view, the need for such an exercise assumed considerable urgency in the wake of rapidly narrowing regulatory gap between non-banking finance companies and banks.
  • With inter-state check posts becoming a thing of the past, the viability of truck operations was expected to improve. Ironically, though, this could lead to better utilisation and absorption of existing capacity, in turn leading to subdued demand in the near term.
  • Once the GST-related transition issues were resolved, he hoped the medium and heavy commercial vehicle offtake would see an upturn.

Telecom Department will meet operators and industry associations

  • The Telecom Department will meet operators and industry associations to brainstorm on the new telecom policy, according to industry sources.
  • The meeting is expected to be chaired by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan, and service providers as well as prominent industry bodies have been invited to place their ideas and inputs on the upcoming policy,.
  • Earier this month, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha had said that a National Telecom Policy was currently under formulation.
  • The policy will focus on areas such as Internet for all, next-generation technologies (like 5G and IoT), skills development, and security, among others.

Union Cabinet gave its nod to Inland Waterways Authority of India

  • The Union Cabinet gave its nod to Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for raising Rs. 660 crore in bonds for extra budgetary resources in 2017-18.
  • “The proceeds from the bonds will be utilised by IWAI for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) under National Waterways Act, 2016 (effective from 12.4.2016),” an official statement said.
  • Funds received through issue of bonds will be used exclusively for capital expenditure to improve infrastructure funding. The IWAI mayget Rs. 857 crore in loan from World Bank for its Jal Marg Vikas Project.

Sensex saw the biggest fall of the year

  • Retreating from its record high that it reached in the previous session, the BSE Sensex sank about 364 points to post its biggest single-day plunge in eight months, dragged by FMCG giant ITC whose shares fell almost 13% due to increased levies on cigarettes.
  • The NSE Nifty also declined about 89 points to slip below the psychological 9,900-mark.
  • Cigarette major ITC emerged as the worst performer after its stock dived 12.6% to Rs. 284.60 following the GST Council’s decision to raise the cess on cigarettes by 48.50 paise to 79.20 paise per stick.
  • Other cigarette stocks such as Godfrey Phillips and VST Industries also tanked by up to 7.83%.
  • Market sentiment was also impacted by mixed global cues as setbacks for a healthcare overhaul in the U.S. raised doubts over prospects for a range of reforms backed by President Donald Trump.

Sixteen Asia Pacific nations are discussing in detail norms on e-commerce

  • Sixteen Asia Pacific nations, including India, are understood to be discussing in detail norms on e-commerce as part of negotiations on the proposed mega Free Trade Agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Incidentally, technical level talks of the RCEP are being held from July 18 to 28 in Hyderabad.
  • India has been opposing binding norms on opening up the e-commerce sector at the level of RCEP as well as the global level (WTO) talks on grounds including that it (India) is yet to have a comprehensive national policy on the topic.
  • However, it is understood that many RCEP nations including Australia, Japan and China, are pushing for inclusion of a host of elements for ‘Terms Of Reference’ for RCEP negotiations concerning e-commerce.
  • This is with a view to have some binding commitments from the RCEP members on liberalising e-commerce and ensure that the final pact has a separate chapter on e-commerce.

Top mobile operators pitched for doubling the interconnection usage charge

  • Top mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel pitched for doubling the interconnection usage charge (IUC) while newer rival Reliance Jio has suggested a zero IUC regime at a workshop organised by regulator TRAI on the issue, according to sources.
  • These charges are payable by the operator whose subscriber makes a call to the operator whose subscriber receives the call thereby impacting the tariff.
  • The older operators and Reliance Jio had been at loggerheads over the issue for some time now.

Centre has given approval for three infrastructure proposals

  • With deficient infrastructure severely hurting the competitiveness of India’s exports, the Centre has given its approval for three proposals including one to establish an Integrated Cargo Terminal (ICT) at the Imphal International Airport.
  • The other applications that received the green signal were: modernisation of infrastructure facility in Karnataka for marine exports; and construction of a new ‘Standard Design Factory’ building at Cochin SEZ.
  • The EC on ‘Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)’ — in its first ever meeting that was held on June 9 — deferred on technical grounds an application to set up “the first dedicated facility” in India to test medical devices.
  • This is proposed to be established at the Andhra Pradesh Med Tech Zone in Visakhapatnam – with four separate facilities at a total cost of about Rs. 169 crore.
  • The Indian medical device market was worth about $4 billion in 2015 and exports of these items from India were close to $1 billion (in 2016).
  • The EC has, however, granted an in-principle nod for a proposal to establish a ‘Coastal Cashew Research and Development Foundation’ in Karnataka, for which the total cost estimated is Rs. 10 crore.
  • The cost of building the ICT at Imphal is Rs. 16.2 crore, of which the share of TIES is Rs. 12.96 crore and that of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) is Rs. 3.24 crore.
  • The AAI is learnt to have informed the EC that there was no cargo facility at the Imphal airport, and that the proposed ICT “would act as a hub for air cargo movement and air connectivity to South-East Asian countries.”
  • The TIES, which is being implemented from FY18 till FY20, has a budgetary allocation of Rs. 600 crore. The scheme’s annual outlay is Rs. 200 crore.
  • According to a March 2016 report on ‘Export Infrastructure in India’“deficient infrastructure and the manner in which infrastructure is being operated (in India) are the major obstacles to ensure competitiveness in manufacturing of goods and exports thereof.”
  • The report said Indian exports lose competitiveness on account of huge logistics costs. It noted that “the logistic cost in India is about 14% of the GDP whereas in advanced economies like the U.S. and the European Union, it is 8% and 10% of the GDP respectively.”
  • According to an ASSOCHAM-Resurgent India joint study, “India can save up to $50 billion if logistics costs are brought down from 14% to 9% of country’s GDP thereby making domestic goods more competitive in global markets.”
  • As per the Commerce Ministry, the objective of the TIES is to “enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure and first-mile and last-mile connectivity.”

Wholesale price inflation slowed to year low figure

  • Wholesale price inflation slowed to a 11-month low of 0.9% in June due to subdued food inflation and weak manufacturing prices, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce.
  • This comes at a time when retail inflation for June slowed to 1.54%, below the lower tolerance level set by the Reserve Bank of India. Growth in the Wholesale
  • Price Index slowed for the fourth consecutive month in June from the 5.51% registered in February.
  • While growth in the primary articles category in the WPI shrunk 3.86% in June, the food articles segment within this contracted 3.47%. The corresponding numbers for the previous month showed a contraction of 1.79% and 2.27% for the two segments.
  • The composite food index within the WPI, combining the values of food items in the primary articles category and manufactured food items, contracted 1.25% in June compared with a growth of 0.15% in the previous month.
  • Inflation in the manufactured products category came in at 2.27% in June, the slowest it has been since November 2016. The fuel and power saw a drastic easing of inflation to 5.28% in June from 11.7% in the previous month.

India and Bangladesh gave its approval for the Joint Interpretative Note

  • In a bid to boost bilateral investments between India and Bangladesh, the Cabinet gave its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between both the nations for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.
  • The JIN would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.
  • The JIN includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor, definition of investment, exclusion of taxation measures.
  • Fair and Equitable Treatment, National Treatment and Most Favoured Nation treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor-and a Contracting Party.
  • Joint Interpretative Statements, in general, play an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime.
  • With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals, the statement said, adding that such pro-active approach by States can foster a more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by arbitration tribunals.

Centre concerned with minuscule number of start-ups for tax breaks

  • The Centre is concerned about the minuscule number of start-ups becoming eligible for tax benefits under the Startup India programme
  • With just 39 start-ups qualifying for such concessions even 18 months after the flagship initiative was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • With the norms specifying that in order to obtain tax benefits, a start-up should be a private limited company or a limited liability partnership, few companies qualified for tax benefits in the initial period as there were not many corporate entities incorporated on or after that cut-off date.
  • The passage of time is mitigating this problem with several firms becoming eligible, said the official, who did not wish to be named.
  • The recent relaxation in norms that include doing away with the requirement of ‘letter of recommendation’ from an incubator/industry association for recognising a company as a start-up or for tax benefits will also help increase the number of start-ups that will qualify for tax benefits.

5 States and a UT formally adopted Government e-Marketplace

  • In a spirit of cooperative federalism, 5 States and a Union Territory (UT) on Tuesday formally adopted the Centre’s initiative called the Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
  • It aims to ensure that public procurement of goods and services in India worth more than Rs. 5 lakh crore annually is carried out through the online platform for transparency and to eliminate corruption.
  • The States and the UT that signed an MoU with the Centre include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Telangana, Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Four more, including Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Haryana, will ink such an MoU soon. They would have done so but for some technical issues, and more states/UTs are likely to adopt the GeM later.
  • This follows a call made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to all the Chief Ministers in April to ensure that priority is accorded to transparency in public procurement of goods and services.

PM asked States to learn from each others’ best practices

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked States to learn from each others’ best practices to overcome problems and challenges faced by them.
  • Addressing Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories, Mr. Modi stressed that improvement in “ease of doing business” would bring in greater investment in the States.
  • He said a team of young officers from across States should learn from best practices by visiting each State.
  • While top government officials, he said, had the vision and capabilities to overcome challenges, sharing of experience was very important. He urged the States to come out of silos and work cohesively.
  • Mr. Modi said that junior officers in States must spend adequate time in field visits so that they are aware first hand of ground realities.
  • The PM emphasised the importance of preserving institutional memory, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said. The PM also stressed maximum use of Aadhaar to improve governance.

Centre eases more norms to make doing business easier

  • In a move that is likely to boost mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the country, the Centre has done away with the thirty-day time period to submit before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) an application for pre-merger clearance.
  • The notification means that parties can make a CCI application at any time in course of an acquisition but cannot effect or close an acquisition before obtaining the CCI’s approval, according to the law firm Majmudar& Partners.
  • It will give parties the liberty and flexibility to decide at what stage they want to make the CCI filing, depending on the deal parameters and commercial terms, Majmudar& Partners said in a statement.
  • Besides, this will specifically benefit large, multi-jurisdiction transactions where parties may be burdened with regulatory requirements in several jurisdictions and, therefore, need more time to assess the Indian law implications and prepare a comprehensive CCI application.

Pick up in consumption to increase the growth rate

  • The aggregate topline of companies in key sectors, excluding banking, financial services and oil, is likely to have clocked about 7% growth in the first quarter of 2017-18, due to a pick-up in consumption, according to CRISIL Research.
  • In its ‘Q1 FY18 Results Outlook,’ CRISIL said the growth in these sectors was hemmed in by factors such as a rise in input costs, an appreciating rupee and output cuts ahead of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime rollout from July 1.
  • Commodity-linked sectors had been expected to do well, led by a robust increase in realisations in crude oil, steel and aluminium, and moderate growth in demand.
  • However, export-linked sectors such as IT and pharmaceuticals, which had consistently outperformed the domestic industry by recording double-digit growth, is expected to have slowed down to only 3%.
  • This follows strengthening of the rupee, a surge in protectionism across the globe and pricing pressure in the U.S.
  • It added that there could be demand and supply disruptions in the short term due to GST, though from a long-term perspective, the new regime will lead to efficiency gains and greater tax compliance.

Government clarifies conditions for branded items

  • The Ministry of Finance clarified that for the purposes of GST applicability, an item will be deemed to be ‘branded’ if it carries a brand name or trade name that is registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
  • The Ministry was trying to allay the confusion around the definition of a branded product, since several unbranded food items are exempt from GST while their branded variants fall in the 5% tax bracket.
  • Thus, unless the brand name or trade name is actually on the Register of Trade Marks and is in force under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, CGST rate of 5% will not be applicable on the supply of such goods,” the statement added.
  • The GST rate on the supply of food items, such as channa or paneer , natural honey, wheat, rice and other cereals, pulses, and the flour of cereals and pulses, is nil.
  • The rate on these items, when placed in a unit container and bearing a registered brand name, though, is 5%.

Firms registered under GST to be used to capture employment data

  • The Centre could use lakhs of firms registered under the new GST as the sample frame to capture employment data through a new Annual Survey of Enterprises, the task force to improve India’s data on jobs set up by PM has recommended.
  • The traditional Employment-Unemployment Surveys carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) every five years must be scrapped, the task force led by NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya is learnt to have recommended.
  • The last such survey was carried out in 2011-12 and the one due in 2016-17 was skipped.
  • Instead, a new periodic labour force survey (the first one has already begun this April) will be conducted annually to provide estimates of labour force, employment, unemployment, nature of employment and industry.
  • To get more frequent employment trends data, an urban module of this survey will be updated every quarter.
  • Apart from a new GST-backed Survey approach, the task force — constituted this May amidst criticism about the lack of adequate new jobs in the economy — has called for a fresh definition of formal employment to include any person who gets a Form 16 reflecting income tax deductions at source.
  • The task force has reasoned that the GST Network (GSTN) will include enterprises of all sizes in the goods and services sectors with turnover exceeding Rs. 20 lakh.
  • A subset of the GSTN database-backed surveys could be used to generate monthly or quarterly enterprise-based employment estimates, the task force pointed out.
  • For firms outside the GST net, the Panagariya-led task force has recommended separate annual surveys and an economic census every three years.

Government has allowed fertiliser companies to print revised MRP

  • The government has allowed fertiliser companies to print revised maximum retail price (MRP) by including the new GST rate on existing unsold stocks of about 10 lakh tonnes, with some riders.
  • The companies have been given three months till September to clear the unsold stocks by stamping or printing the new retail price.
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) on fertilisers was reduced to 5% from 12% in the interest of farmers. The lower GST will bring down retail prices.

Banks’ share in the flow of credit declined sharply to 38%

  • With banks increasingly ‘retrenching’ credit, mutual funds, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and capital markets have partly offset the corporate sector’s debt requirement.
  • But such alternative sources of funding cannot replace bank loans, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its biannual Financial Stability Report (FSR) released.
  • According to latest data, banks’ share in the flow of credit, which was about 50% in 2015-16, declined sharply to 38% in 2016-17.
  • RBI said the aggregate flow of resources to the commercial sector was not affected owing to a sharp increase in private placements of debt by non-financial entities and net issuance of commercial papers (CPs).
  • The report noted that during 2016-17, while deposit growth of scheduled commercial banks picked up, credit growth remained sluggish, putting pressure on net interest income (NII), particularly of the public sector banks (PSBs).
  • While profitability ratios of such banks showed a marginal increase, public sector banks continued to show a negative return on assets (RoA).
  • On asset quality, latest data showed that while gross NPAs of the banking sector had increased in March 2017 compared with September 2016, overall stress declined due to reduction in restructured standard advances.
  • Gross non-performing advances (GNPAs) ratio of all banks rose from 9.2% in September 2016 to 9.6% in March 2017. The net non-performing advances ratio of banks increased marginally from 5.4% in September 2016 to 5.5% in March 2017.
  • During the same period, the stressed advances ratio declined from 12.3% to 12% due to a fall in restructured standard advances.

India's infrastructure output grows at 3.6%

  • Infrastructure output grew 3.6% in May, higher than the 2.8% growth recorded in April on a year-on-year basis, official data released.
  • The growth in output of core industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — was lower than 5.2% registered in May last year.
  • Five of the eight industries, except coal, fertilisers and steel, witnessed a sequential improvement in growth.
  • The output of coal and fertilisers contracted by 3.3% and 6.5% in May respectively compared to the same month last year.
  • Cement output grew 1.8% after witnessing a continuous spell of contraction in the previous five months reflecting green shoots in the construction sector.
  • Electricity output registered a robust growth of 6.4% in May compared with 5.4% in April and 6.2% in May last year. The eight core industries constitute 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

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