JNU has been targetted once again. While ABVP students are in the gaze again for violence, the Left has been voted back in. Meanwhile, the 50th anniversary of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) will be celebrated with conferences and cultural programmes. The JNUTA, a year ago, made its list of faculty organisers who will plan the events. It is interesting that Nirmala Sitharaman, alumni of JNU and a former member of the Free Thinkers, an obsolete party from the mid 1970s, has gone all out to betray constitutional values upholding the statutes of the university.
The goods and services tax (GST) has completed one year of its implementation. Introduced as one the biggest tax reforms of the country, GST subsumed various indirect taxes and it was aimed to streamline the indirect taxation structure of India. But in the last one year, GST has seen numerous tweaks by way of notifications, circulars and various clarifications by the government. One of the major challenges faced by GST stakeholders and businesses alike was on the technology front.
It is a question bothering everyone – why is India unable to defend the rupee despite having $400 billion in foreign exchange reserves? More than that, to alleviate the crisis, why have government measures – a poor mish-mash incidentally – failed to attract capital flows? Simply, because they have been under-whelming and middling. The absence of a meaningful plan or intervention seems to have spooked not just the currency market, but created mayhem in the equity and bond market as well.
Aconcerned prime minister Narendra Modi is working on fixing what is completely broke. Modi has begun a Kashmir outreach by meeting eminent Kashmiris who are clued in to the ground realities in the Valley. After four years of innumerable flip-flops in which the alienated youth of Kashmir virtually revolted against the failed experiment of the ‘agenda for alliance’ between the Hindu Right of India and the Kashmiri Right of J&K, the plug was pulled on the coalition that set the Valley back by many years.
Given the relative calm in the dollar/rupee situation between 2014 and 2017, the current rupee depreciation feels painfully sharp. Yet, we are not in an uncontrolled dollar/rupee free-fall, irrespective of what news headlines might suggest. Unlike 2013, RBI still has ample currency reserves to be in control – for now.
The infrastructure sector is one of the key foundations for the growth of the Indian economy. Time-bound completion of infrastructure projects is crucial for India’s overall progress and development. Unfortunately, there are several issues afflicting the sector, which have led to sluggish growth of the sector and discouraged investment. Coupled with sector-specific issues, another impediment, which has hitherto been affecting the growth of the infrastructure sector, is the ease of doing business and enforceability of contracts.
In a world where transactions are increasingly being done online, the government of India has visibly pushed for digital or online transactions to become the norm. But there is also a recognition that the traditional norms of how business is conducted and regulated cannot be applied and indeed, needs to be significantly revised to apply to companies with only a virtual presence in India.
Most political parties have started preparing for the 2019 general election. Telangana has gone one step further and has dissolved the assembly to facilitate elections. I would like to stress that the manifestos of parties for the 2019 election should contain a commitment for moving from food security to nutrition security. The Food Security Act of 2013 already makes a commitment in this regard. To those in charge of preparing poll manifestos, I would like to explain how to achieve the transition from food to nutrition security.
Oil has been on a recovery mode since it tumbled to a low of $27.10 a barrel in mid-January 2016. Expectations of upbeat global demand and concerns over supply lifted oil prices and now it is trading firm, with the ICE Brent futures trading within $70-$80 a barrel range since April. The commodity stayed largely insulated and continued edging higher even after worries about the trade standoff between the US and China gripped the market. In domestic market, it is hovering near its four-year highs on gains in the overseas market along with weak domestic currency.
The Indian rupee has depreciated to 72 per dollar and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is kind of holding on here. Indian 10-year bond yield has reached 8.10 per cent, signifying a possible rate hike in coming months. Question is what next for the dollar-rupee tango. Lets look at primary factors that are at play for the dollar/rupee movement.