oppn parties With Inflation in Check, Rate Cut Was Expected

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
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With Inflation in Check, Rate Cut Was Expected

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The interest rate cut by 25 basis points by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in its first such decision is not surprising. There were enough indications and indicators pointing to this. When Urijit Patel spoke to the media for the first time after taking over as the RBI chief a few days ago, it was evident that he was more amenable to a rate cut that his predecessor. People said he was dovish. But they forgot that since Patel was the one who had recommended a rate policy based on inflation, he could not abandon the same.

If the MCP that he heads could lower the rates it was only because inflation targets were under control. It was also because near term outlook was also positive. It seems that for now, the negative pressure of rising inflation is over. The government has done enough to cool the price of pulses and has taken long term corrective measures in this regard. Further, with above average rainfall in nearly 85 percent of the country, kharif crop is expected to be at record levels. This will ease farm prices and is expected to keep food inflation at bay.

Given this background, the unanimous decision of the MCP to cut the rates by 25 basis points to bring it to its lowest level in six years is neither a gamble nor a bold step. It is something that needed to be done and has been done by the six wise men in the MCP. It now remains to be seen whether the rate cut spurs domestic investment or not. Given that demand for goods and services is sluggish (although it is expected to be high in the festival months due to the twin effect of 7th Pay Commission handouts and payment of bonus in most parts of the country and thereafter will be driven by higher rural demand on the back of money in hands of farmers due to good crop) and exports are not picking up, the rate cut alone will not bring in investments.

It also remains to be seen whether floundering PSU banks pass on the advantage to the consumer, leading to a fall in EMIs. The RBI has asked them to do so immediately. But in the past, banks have been reluctant to do so. Another area of concern is increasing costs of other products and services in the household basket. Even if food and fuel remain inflation negative, the cost of education, healthcare and leisure is expected to continue rising. This may have an adverse effect on the net inflation rate. But since current inflation is in check and the near term outlook is not alarming, lowering interest rate was required to boost domestic investment. This now needs to be supplemented by the government in the form of other financial reforms that will make the economy competitive.