oppn parties RBI and the State of the Economy

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.
oppn parties
RBI and the State of the Economy

By admin

About the Author

Sunil Garodia By our team of in-house writers.
No sooner had Raghuram Rajan cut repo rates by 25 basis points did the stock market go into a downward spiral, shedding 650 points â€" its biggest fall in a month. The market had expected a 50 basis point cut. But was the fall really due to the cut not measuring up to Dalal Street expectations or did the pent up frustration of many factors found a trigger in the RBI announcement? Did the market really expect RBI to go whole hog despite negative domestic and international signals?

These questions do not lend themselves to easy answers. The markets have seen companies report bad to atrocious Q4 results leading to a depressive mood. They have seen solid companies like Tata Steel skip dividend this year. They have seen banks putting out balance sheets where staggering amounts of loans have no chance of recovery. They have seen oil prices firming up. They have seen reduction in demand for white goods. They have read about delayed and weak monsoons. So how did they expect Rajan to go along with their expectations?

What Rajan has done is to follow the middle path. In line with decreased inflation, he has already cut rates three times this year. Now, as he has said, it is upon the government to say how it will tackle a poor monsoon before further rate cuts can be decided upon. This is prudent policy. For, poor monsoons will bring rising food prices in their wake and the first priority will then be to contain inflation. Also, if some states resort to the populist measure of writing off farm loans given the drought like conditions likely to emerge, the equation will change further.

As it is, despite the rate cuts, new investments are not being made as companies are wary of the overall economic scenario. The investments already made in several big ticket projects have bogged down bank balance sheets. For all practical purposes, they are dead investments until the government becomes proactive and boots out the current promoters of such projects. It has become a recurring racket to go into big projects with inflated project cost, garner huge loans from banks, take out as much as one can through various mechanisms (like over invoicing of project inputs, raw materials etc and other subterfuges) and make the project sick. Then, ask for more loans. The government should put a stop to this once and for all.

Rate cuts will serve no purpose in the current scenario. For, it is not likely that the banks will pass on the benefit to the customers, saddled as they are with bad loans and decreasing profitability. There might be relief in high profile sectors such as housing loans, but overall lending rates, especially for industry, are likely to remain the same. There are no good quality borrowers and the banks are wary of lending to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Hence, RBI’s paring of growth estimates for the current year is also correct. A lot now depends on how the rain gods bless the parched fields.