oppn parties Downgrading By Moody's: Somewhat Pessimistic

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
The plot thickens in Rajasthan. Sachin Pilot removed as deputy chief minister and PCC chief. His loyalists dropped as ministers.
oppn parties
Downgrading By Moody's: Somewhat Pessimistic

By A Special Correspondent

With the Indian economy showing signs of a prolonged slowdown and with the government responding extremely slowly and with small measures, one cannot fault Moody's for downgrading India's rating from "stable" to "negative". But having said this, the fundamentals of the economy are quite strong in the medium term and beyond and this rating will have to be revised soon. The present state of the Indian economy must also be seen in the context of the slowdown being seen in all major economies of the world.

The slowdown in India is driven by a near absence of demand. It is not as if people are not earning. But the gloomy outlook has made them wary about the future and they are postponing buying decisions. This situation is not going to change until the government invests heavily in infrastructure to put money in the market. The cascading effect will benefit all sectors, lifting the sentiment. But the government simply does not have the money. Hence, it should divest in state-owned enterprises like the loss-making Air India and others and think of other methods of raising revenues.

The government has been taking steps to improve the ease of doing business. It has lowered corporate taxes to make them competitive with other countries.  Inflation is low, fiscal deficit has been kept in check and the current account deficit is not showing an alarming rise. These are positive factors. It has also taken major steps to revive the real estate sector by floating a fund to complete incomplete projects.

But the government has the mandate to push for structural reforms. It has been acting too slowly, often giving the impression of carrying out knee-jerk responses to crisis situations. This has to change. It has to bring the banking sector back in line, fix realistic charges for utilities like power to make the sector get better realizations and become viable. It has to work to create a market for debt instruments in India. It has to further cut red tape and make doing business easier. Structural reforms are the need of the hour. The government must not delay taking decisions in this regard.