oppn parties Economy In Doldrums, Stocks Bleed

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Economy In Doldrums, Stocks Bleed

By Ashwini Agarwal

The stocks are continuing to bleed, eroding investor wealth and confidence. Today, the Sensex went down by 470.14 points to 36,093.47, down 4219 points from its all-time high. The Nifty50 fell 11.5 percent from the record high touched in June, 2019 closing 135.90 points lower at 10,704.80. This is the lowest level since February 19, 2019. The market was in a consolidation phase for the last few weeks but the bears once again embraced it in a tight hug in the last couple of days.

Even as the government announces 'schemes' to revive the economy, the markets continue to show no-confidence in the measures. Foreign funds are liquidating their investments in Indian stocks at a rate that is alarming. The time for knee-jerk response is over, investors seem to be saying. But is anyone in the government listening? Probably not. For, although finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that she is working on it, one feels that the government is not attacking the root of the problem.

The government seems to have decided that this economic depression is cyclic. But most analysts feel that it is also structural in nature. Hence, structural reforms are required but there is nary a whisper from the North Block about any such measures. The GST regime needs to be simplified and the tax base broadened by plugging loopholes. It is also required that no sector is left exempted from GST, if not immediately then within a given time frame. Then, the government must take an immediate decision to sell Air India and BSNL to stop public money from being wasted. Divestment in PSUs must also be prioritized. Land and labour reforms, hanging fire since the first term of the NDA, cannot be postponed now if the dream of being a $ 5 trillion economy by 2024 is to be realized. Norms for public-private partnership in infrastructure projects must be announced forthwith and such projects must be fast-tracked. The government must boost domestic investment to spur consumption, without which the economy is not going to come out of this deep tunnel of despair and gloom.