Posts tagged ‘finance minister’


Modi Tells Nervous Business Leaders the Global Shakeup Is India’s Time to Shine – India Real Time – WSJ

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Indian business leaders to his official residence Tuesday to discuss how to bulwark the country as China’s slowdown continues to send shock waves through the global economy.

In the three-hour summit, executives and economists ran through a long-standing wish list that includes investing more in infrastructure, expediting government clearances and lowering capital costs. Some executives suggested an interest-rate cut was overdue from the central bank, and that domestic companies should be given more protection from inexpensive imports.

“We have to be cautious, while we take some bold steps on the economy to increase growth,” Rana Kapoor, chief executive of Yes Bank Ltd., told reporters after leaving the meeting. “At the same time, you have to make sure that India has a soft landing after the severe impact of the yuan devaluation.” There has been a jump in foreign direct investment in India this year. But the executives told Mr. Modi that local companies need to see long-delayed improvements in economic management before they can ramp up capital spending. “Domestic investment is at a standstill, and that’s largely because there is no demand,” said Jyotsna Suri, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Modi reiterated that the world-wide turbulence is an opportunity to highlight India’s resilient growth, vast domestic market and government policies geared toward promoting investment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

Source: Modi Tells Nervous Business Leaders the Global Shakeup Is India’s Time to Shine – India Real Time – WSJ


India issues fresh tax notice to Vodafone – report | Reuters

Tax authorities have issued a fresh notice to Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) seeking re-assessment of tax returns for assessment year 2009-2010, news channel ET Now reported on Saturday citing sources familiar with the development.

A man checks his mobile phone as he walks past a shop displaying the Vodafone logo on its shutter in Mumbai January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

The government in January said it would not appeal a regional court ruling in favour of Vodafone in a long-running dispute under which the taxmen had accused a unit of the British telecoms firm of under-pricing shares in a rights issue.

Vodafone has 30 days to respond to the fresh notice, the news channel’s report said. (

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in comments carried by Business Standard newspaper, said: “Barring a case that is pending under that law (Income Tax Act) or another case that has arisen now, I think we’ve put most issues to rest, as far as retrospective legislation is concerned.” (

via India issues fresh tax notice to Vodafone – report | Reuters.


Rural Electrification Corp share sale subscribed more than twice | Reuters

A sale of shares in state-run Rural Electrification Corp Ltd(RURL.NS) worth up to $250 million has been subscribed nearly two-and-a-half times, at an indicative price of over 316 rupees each, exchange data showed.

An employee from the electricity board works on newly installed overhead power cables in Allahabad December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

The share sale is part of New Delhi‘s plan to raise about $11.1 billion through asset sales during the current financial year ending March 2016. The asset sales are crucial to meet a fiscal deficit target of 3.9 percent of GDP for 2015/16 financial year.

The government has missed its divestment target for the past five years. A shortfall in receipts from stake sales and taxes has led to cuts in public spending of about $48 billion in the past three years, slowing economic recovery.

“Given the positive response and sentiment from both global and domestic investors there should be good appetite for quality issues if valuations are attractive,” said Navneet Munot, chief investment officer of SBI Funds Management.

Greater faith in the India’s political leadership and reform process should help government’s divestment drive, he added.

Overseas and domestic portfolio investor demand for REC’s shares exceeded supply, in a vote of confidence of recovery in power starved Asia’s third-largest economy.

via Rural Electrification Corp share sale subscribed more than twice | Reuters.


India in sweet spot of lower deficits, more growth – Economic Survey | Reuters

India can increase investment to drive economic growth without borrowing more, a key government report said on Friday, in an indication that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will stick to debt targets in his maiden full-year budget on Saturday.

Labourers work at the site of a monorail project in Mumbai February 27, 2015. REUTERS-Shailesh Andrade

The Economic Survey, the basis for Jaitley’s budget for the fiscal year starting April 1, forecast growth of 8.1 percent to 8.5 percent under new calculations that make India the world’s most dynamic big economy. The forecast marks an acceleration from growth of 7.4 percent in the current fiscal year.

“India has reached a sweet spot and … there is a scope for Big Bang reforms now,” the report said, adding the country was on course to hit double-digit growth rates.

Indian stocks rallied, with the benchmark Sensex gaining 1.7 percent, on hopes that Jaitley would deliver a business-friendly budget.

At first glance the growth outlook appears impressive. But it follows a big overhaul of India’s economic data, which previously showed the economy struggling to recover from its longest growth slowdown in a generation.

Other indicators of India’s economy are not as rosy as GDP data suggests. Earnings of the country’s top 100 companies shrank by 6 percent in the last quarter, private investment and consumer demand are weak and merchandise exports are falling.

The author of the report, economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, even said he was “puzzled” by the new GDP figures and played down suggestions that India’s $2 trillion economy was on a roll.

“India’s economy is still recovering, and not surging,” Subramanian told a news conference.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a landslide general election victory last May, capitalising on dissatisfaction among Indians over their economic lot and promising ‘better days’ of more jobs, investment and growth.

The report by Subramanian, a renowned development economist lured away from a Washington think tank by Modi, suggested the economy was now building momentum.

That, above all, reflects a near halving in international prices of oil, India’s biggest import.

As a result, the report predicts the current account deficit will be below 1 percent of GDP in 2015/16, a far cry from a figure of 4.7 percent in 2012/13 that preceded a currency crisis in India.

via India in sweet spot of lower deficits, more growth – Economic Survey | Reuters.


India to embark on rail investment splurge thanks to cheap oil | Reuters

India’s decrepit state-run train services stand to receive at least a 25 percent boost in investment to over $9 billion, funded solely by falling fuel costs, according to officials familiar with a railway budget set to be unveiled on Thursday.

A worker cleans a railway track at a railway station in Kolkata October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

The world’s fourth largest rail network could get even more if Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes it a priority, as China did during its rapid economic growth over the past two decades.

There are high hopes that his nine-month-old government will plough money into investment in infrastructure needed to haul the economy out of a rut when it presents its first annual federal budget on Saturday.

The separate rail budget – a relic of the country’s British colonial past – could show how far Modi’s India is prepared to drive investment in a vital transport sector.

“The fall in diesel prices and a pick-up in freight earnings have given us a golden chance to raise investments,” said one government official.

Falling oil prices have saved billions of dollars in subsidy spending across the economy, but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is under pressure to prevent the fiscal deficit from busting a target of 3.6 percent of gross domestic product.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, according to the officials, has factored in savings from

via India to embark on rail investment splurge thanks to cheap oil | Reuters.


India Passes China to Become World’s Fastest-Growing Economy – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Everyone from the World Bank to Goldman Sachs had predicted it wouldn’t happen for another two years but recent recalculations indicate that India has already dethroned China as the world’s fastest-growing big economy.

Late Monday, India’s statistics ministry surprised economists when it unveiled the new numbers for the growth of India’s gross domestic product. It ratcheted up India’s GDP growth figures using a new methodology that pegs expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy at 7.5% last quarter and 8.2% the quarter before that. Economists and the ministry, using the old methodology, had originally said growth was closer to 5.5% during those quarters.

While economists, investors and executives are still wondering how growth could have been so high during those quarters when other indicators suggested times were tough, the new official numbers mean that India outpaced China, taking the pole position as the fastest-growing major economy in the world.

India has been able to catch up because China’s growth has been slowing. The Middle Kingdom’s GDP expansion was 7.3% in both the third and fourth quarters of 2014. While there are smaller economies which may have had stronger growth, this puts India on top after decades driving in China’s slipstream.

Of course, China’s economy is still four times the size of India’s.

“There’s no comparison between these growth rates because of the size of the economy of China,” said Ashish Kumar, director general of the Central Statistics Office as he announced the new GDP growth numbers.  “If this kind of growth continues and China continues to perform at a lower level, then still it will take 20 to 30 years to catch up.”

Still, if it can keep up this pace at least India will be gaining some ground. More importantly, a return to high growth might mean India is following in China’s footsteps and entering a take-off phase.

The South Asian nation needs to revamp its economy to help create more manufacturing jobs and savings if it wants to become the next China, said Frederic Neumann, an economist at HSBC in a recent report.

“That’s a challenging transformation,” he said. “India may never quite match the rapid ascent of China, but even at a slightly slower speed it will start to make waves.”

via India Passes China to Become World’s Fastest-Growing Economy – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


Falling oil prices pull India’s budget out of the fire | Reuters

Falling oil prices have been a major windfall for India: Just weeks ago it faced failing to meet fiscal deficit targets, but can now expect a budget that not only hits its targets, but also provides extra cash to support reform.

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gestures during the session 'India's Next Decade' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

The coming budget for fiscal 2015/16 (April-March), which will be unveiled on Feb. 28, is widely seen as a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s ability to lead economic reform.

Fortunately for Modi, the economic climate has handed him a chance to pass that test with flying colours: Budget planners are optimistic that he will set Asia’s third-largest economy on a path for growth of 7 percent to 8 percent over the next two years.

“The situation is far better now than in December,” said one finance ministry official, who spoke to Reuters despite a ban on contact with the media in the secrecy-shrouded run-up to the presentation of the annual budget. “The budget will deliver on Modi’s promise of better days for the economy.”

The halving of global oil prices since mid-2014 has allowed the Modi government to raise diesel and petrol fuel taxes and cut diesel prices by 25-30 percent – a windfall gain for households as well as businesses, and dampening inflationary pressures in the economy.

via Falling oil prices pull India’s budget out of the fire | Reuters.


India wants to reduce subsidies to cut expenditure – Jaitley | Reuters

India wants to reduce its subsidy bill, estimated at near two percent of its gross domestic product, to cut down state expenditure and transfer funds to other sectors, the finance minister said.

“Subsidies for the poor will remain, but we intend to rationalise it,” Arun Jaitley said at an event in Davos on Thursday.

“Elimination of subsidies in India, where one-third of the people are still living in poverty conditions, is not possible, is not desirable.”

Jaitley will present his first full-year budget for 2015/16 fiscal year on Feb. 28.

via India wants to reduce subsidies to cut expenditure – Jaitley | Reuters.


India Raises $278 Million From Sale of Stake in Steel Authority – Businessweek

India said the sale of a stake in state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd. will fetch $278 million, the first step in a push for $9.5 billion from share sales to help narrow the nation’s budget deficit to a seven-year low.

The disposal of a 5 percent holding in Steel Authority of India is set to generate about 17.15 billion rupees ($278 million) and the offer was more than two times oversubscribed, the Finance Ministry said in a statement today.

“This will give a lot of confidence to the government to come out with disinvestment in other companies,” said R. K. Gupta, managing director at New Delhi-based Taurus Asset Management Co., which oversees $710 million.

via India Raises $278 Million From Sale of Stake in Steel Authority – Businessweek.


Property, manufacturing woes help trim China’s shadow banking | Reuters

A bid by China to rein in its “shadow banking” activity is producing results, thanks to slowing economic growth and tighter regulation.

One Chinese yuan coins are seen in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

But some success for a policy drive to curb risky lending is not all good news for Beijing, as smaller companies may face even bigger struggles to find funding. A cut in interest rates, announced by Beijing on Friday, is unlikely to help them much.

Shadow banking includes off-balance-sheet forms of bank finance plus lending by non-traditional institutions, all of which is less regulated than formal lending and thus considered riskier.

At the end of 2013, China had the world’s third-largest shadow banking sector, according to the Financial Stability Board, a task force set up by the G20 economies. It estimated that Chinese assets of “other financial intermediaries” than traditional ones were then just under $3 trillion.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the shadow banking portion of what China calls total social financing – a broad measure of liquidity in the economy – contracted for the first time on a quarterly basis since the 2008/09 financial crisis.

via Property, manufacturing woes help trim China’s shadow banking | Reuters.

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