Friday, September 30, 2011

Cabinet clears new mining bill

The Union Cabinet has today approved a new bill for mining in the country, in which the miners will have to share 26% of their profits.

The new bill which will have be presented in parliament for its approval, proposes that the coal companies must share 26% of their profits with the local folks. Other mining companies will have to share an amount equal to their royalties.

The proposal will help local communities implement ambitious development plans which could change the face of rural India like never done before, that is if the government can come up with an effective anti-corruption bill.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rupee declines against the US Dollar

Trading currently at Rs 49.76 per dollar, the rupee has declined significantly over the recent months to its 28 month low.

RBI Governor D. Subbarao has said that the movement of the rupee has nothing to do with fundamentals the Indian economy. He added that the rupee declined due to the fall in confidence in the global markets. He said that the Reserve Bank of India will intervene only there is volatility or potential disruption to macroeconomic situation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rural and urban poverty lines - 781 and 965 respectively

A rural person needs Rs 765 per month while his urban counterpart requires Rs. 965 per month to live.

An affidavit to this effect was filed by Planning Commission in the Supreme Court in which it defined the poverty line at June 2011 price levels. It has said... the poverty line at June 2011 price level can be placed provisionally at Rs 965 per capita per month in urban areas and Rs.781 per capita per month in rural areas.

The affidavit by Planning Commission was filed in response to an order by a division bench of the Supreme Court requiring it to revise the norms of per capita amount looking at the price index of May 2011 or any subsequent dates.

Ban on Onion Export Lifted

The government of India, on 20-Sept-2011 bowed down before the protesting farmers in Maharashtra and lifted the ban that it had imposed on the export of onions.

The ban had been imposed on 9-Sept-2011 in a move to help curb the soaring prices of onions in the Indian market. The move faced stiff resistance from the farmers in Nashik and neighboring regions of Maharashtra.

The political impact of the roll-back on the already fragile credibility of the UPA-government is another issue, but on the economic front experts believe that the prices of onion could head north-ward in the immediate future, adding to the common man's inflationary worries.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Impact of Credit

Even as stock markets in India began giving indications of stabilization, IMF has bowled another googly.

IMF has raised an alarm over the debt situation in Europe and lowered growth projections for the 17-nation Eurozone to 1.6% in 2011 and 1.1% in 2012, from its earlier predictions.

The old saying in India - चितनी चादर उतना पैर पसारो (spread your feet depending on the amount of space available), in other words spend only what you can afford.  Taking loan to buy luxuries is the sure-shot recipe for disaster. US has experienced it, now the Europe is going through the same experience.

Excessive loan leads to non-repayment - causing either the borrower or the lender to suffer.

We can only hope that the Indian government takes note and exercises caution with its policy of targeting growth on borrowed money.

Friday, September 16, 2011

RBI hikes interest rates - Will it fight corruption

The "most popular inflation" control mechanism of the Government of India has been deployed once again. The decision of the 12th successive rate hike was announced by RBI on Friday 16-Sept-2011.

In line with common expectation - RBI has announced an interest rate hike of 0.25% (25 basis points). After today's rate hike the repo rate has become 8.25% while the reverse repo rate has become 7.25%.

Lets hope this works, because the government has lost a lot of credibility in recent times on several fronts including - combating corruption, good governance and internal security. If inflation does not come down quickly, it faces the risk of losing public sympathy even on the financial front.

Financial stability of the common has been compromised drastically in the past few months. The government can give as many excuses as it wants, but the common man is seriously and directly effected by inflation and the failure of the government (even if for reasons beyond its control) could easily effect the vote appeal of the ruling coalition in the forthcoming elections.

Fuel for inflation - Petrol becomes dearer

Adding to the woes of the common people, the price of petrol has been raised by more than Rs. 3 per liter from today - 16-Sept-2011.

The common man is surely in for a big financial beating for the forthcoming festival season, because this increase in fuel cost will ensure that the prices of other commodities also head northward.

Let us see what rest of the day has in store...

RBI is expected to announce a interest rate hike.
eGOM is expected to announce a hike in LPG prices.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inflation on the rise - is interest hike the proper tool to tackle it

Inflation in India refuses to let go. The wholesale price index for the month of August rose 9.78% compared 9.22% for the previous month.

The measures taken by the government to curb the rising prices do not seem to be working. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised interest rates 11 times in 18 months and the current rise in inflation is pointing to one more interest hike in the coming days. So much so, Indian Industry has begun to show signs of suffering from the effect of the interest rate hikes.

Some experts argue that the route of interest hike by RBI is not working because possibly liquidity if not the cause of this inflation.

Here are some  reasons that have come forward in our discussions...
  • a rise in the trend of unfair trade practices used to secure disproportionate and unreasonably high levels of profit.
    • The issue is more than evident in the pharmaceutical industry where medicines that leave the factory for Rs. 2 to 3 carry the MRP tag of more than Rs. 30-40.
    • Simple nuts and bolts for bikes and cars that manufacture for a few paise are sold to the consumers for fabulous prices.
    Where are the days when a decent profit of 10% to 15% was considered adequate? Can this not be controlled or should this not be controlled?
  • improper implementation of government policies and schemes... There is a clear lack of coordination between different government departments and the way the departments work within themselves.
    for eg -
    • The government announces a ban to export of onion and the agriculture minister goes public that he is not party to the decision.
    • Foodgrains are rotting kept in the open - the government does not have enough capacity to store them properly, yet people are hungry - even the Supreme Court has voiced its opinion in this matter.
  • oversupply leads to inflation - The quantity of medicines that expire is increasing year-on-year, because some of the manufacturers seem to think that they can produce the entire spectrum and conquer the entire market. This is just not possible - so what happens - the medicines expire on the shelves within the distribution chain at the cost of the manufacturer. The manufacturer is forced to compensate for the loss incurred in this by increasing the prices of the regularly selling products - that's inflation.
  • Crude used to be available in the range of 20-30 dollars for a long time - surely the cost of extracting crude from mother earth has not gone up as much as the price it is selling for - is this much profiteering justified?
  • Last but not the least - corruption. Corruption has made so much in roads in our day-to-day activities that it has become one of the major contributors to the runaway inflation. An event like the Commonwealth Games should have ideally required a few crores to organize, but thanks to the corrupt organizers have siphoned off thousands of crores of tax-money and probably stashed it off in some Swiss Account. Now the government will have to raise taxes which will in turn send prices north.
There are many such reasons for the inflation that the common man faces, the experts need to examine these and take proper steps before things go out of hand.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Inflation remains a major concern in the Indian economic scenario. The Government has been under constant pressure for its failure to control prices of food and other items.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) figures for primary and food articles released today, peg food inflation at 9.55% for the period that ended on 27-Aug-2011, while the inflation of primary articles stands at 13.34%.

Talking to reports in New Delhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that food prices were expected to fluctuate during the forth-coming festive season after which he said there will be a moderating influence.

So, as far as the common man is concerned, the minister has acknowledged that there is no relief round the corner.