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Indian Economy Review | December 2020


•  Rerating of economic recovery prospects 
•  Most agencies upgrade India growth estimates
•  Is India in a recession? Not really!
•  The other upsides of the Indian economy
•  A seven-pronged strategy from the RBI
•  Industrial output bounces back, but will it be sustained?
•  Retail inflation down, but no relief for RBI 
•  No cheer from exports, but industrial demand picks up
•  Direct tax collections recover smartly, but will miss target
•  Fresh momentum for Air India p

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Indian Economy Review | November 2020


•    In spite of recovery, growth set to elude India in 2020-21 
•    Govt finances show the stress, but they are getting better
•    Opening up banking to corporates raises hackles of experts
•    Extending PLI scheme to 10 sectors: A double-edged sword?
•    Stimulus III: Fiscal cost contained within Rs 1.2 trillion

In spite of recovery, growth set to elude India in 2020-21 
For two successive quarters, the Indian economy has shrunk and technically is in recession, but it

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Indian Economy Review | October 2020


•    Worrying signs in state finances
•    State Budgets shrinking with expenditure cuts
•    Stimulus II, but with negligible impact on the fisc
•    LTC measures may benefit 850,000 govt staffers
•    6 % rise in Central capex, but states may be worried
•    Confusion over GDP contraction estimates
•    Implications of near-zero growth
•    Nominal versus real may hold the key
•    Drawing comfort from higher inflation & growth
•    RBI bets on growth, ignores inflation wor

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Indian Economy Review | September 2020


•  Vodafone tax controversy back to haunt the Govt
•  No resolution of the tax case even after 13 years
•  What it actually means for Govt finances
•  A lot about investment sentiment and a political promise
•  The 2014 Budget and its treatment of the Vodafone tax
•  Future of bilateral investment treaties in limbo
•  Labour law reforms gain momentum
•  Freedom to hire and fire, no hike in payout
•  A liberalised regime for the contract labour system
•  A leg-up for gig economy worke

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Indian Economy Review | August 2020


  • Covid-19 has made growth challenges more complex, says RBI
  • No definitive growth forecast; post-pandemic recovery to be different
  • No hasty or disruptive withdrawal of regulatory easing
  • A long list of policy prescriptions for boosting the economy
  • Focus on global supply chains and free trade agreements
  • Shifting policy focus for agriculture and manufacturing
  • A four-pronged approach to address woes of the financial sector
  • GST compensation cess transfer to states comes to a halt
  • N
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Indian Economy Review | July 2020

H I G H L I G H T S 

  • Financial sector gets the Covid-19 jitters
  • RBI’s financial stress report raises NPA alarms
  • Challenges of moratorium, restructuring, capitalisation & funding
  • To extend moratorium or not to extend it beyond August
  • One-time loan restructuring and its implications for IBC
  • Demand for more bank capital; Govt finances to be under stress
  • Govt nudges banks to lend more, RBI Guv for non-banking funds
  • India toughens its stance on China with more policy action likely
  • After 18 years,
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Indian Economy Review | June 2020

H I G H L I G H T S 

  • Moody’s paints a gloomy picture  
  • S&P softens the Moody’s blow
  • Growth may recover, but indebtedness will rise
  • Different strokes from Moody’s and S&P
  • China story remains unscathed
  • Booster dose for Indian agriculture
  • Freeing up inter-state farm trading
  • Leg-up for contract farming, with pre-fixed farm prices
  • Breather from Essential Commodities Act for some crops
  • Lack of clarity may dilute agriculture reforms
  • A mixed picture on green shoots of economic recovery
  • Unemployment ra
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Indian Economy Review | May 2020

Surprises galore in the Modi package

The Narendra Modi government sprang a series of surprises on almost every commentator and critic, who had been wondering how it would meet its commitment of rolling out as large an economic package as Rs 20 lakh crore to counter the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the economy. On May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had underlined the need for building a self-reliant India and promised an economic package of over Rs 20 lakh crore. This was about 10 per cent of

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Indian Economy Review | April 2020

Making growth forecasts post-Covid becomes more difficult

How serious will be the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on India’s economic growth?  The range of estimates on India’s growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-21 is quite wide and, therefore, puzzling. It is difficult to state with certainty at this point in time which forecast is going to be closer to the final number on growth. But a quick review of the different estimates put out by different agencies will give an indication of

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Indian Economy Review | March 2020

Corona response; impact on the economy

What appeared very distant just two months ago became a danger signal next door within a few weeks and has now engulfed the whole nation as a full-blown crisis with an unprecedented impact on the country’s health and economy. On January 30, the first Coronavirus case was confirmed in India. By early March, it became a global pandemic and the Indian government advised caution to all its citizens, even though the spread was limited. In the second week of Marc

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Indian Economy Review | February 2020

Coronavirus impact: No signs of an improvement in economic outlook

The economic outlook showed no signs of any improvement in February. The impact of the outbreak of coronavirus, starting from Wuhan in the Hubei province of China and now threatening to engulf many other countries, will be felt not just in terms of the loss of lives (already estimated at over 2,770), but also in a slowdown in the global economy. There are estimates that the Chinese economy’s output growth may be shaved off by a

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  • The maths behind the headline fiscal deficit number
  • Extra-Budget borrowing up, raising both transparency and concern 
  • A big jump in disinvestment target, making execution the key
  • Banking on non-tax revenues again, but worrying drop in PSU dividends
  • Tax initiatives: Away from exemptions, but dividend tax for recipients
  • Concerns over defence, subsidies, tariffs and infrastructure spend



The Union Budget for 2020-21 was presented to Parliament on Febr

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Indian Economy Review | January 2020

Mixed signals for the financial sector; more resilient but NPAs may rise 

While many banks have begun reporting better financial performance (ICICI Bank declared a 158 per cent jump in its net profit for the third quarter of 2019-20, for instance), the overall prospects for India’s financial sector appear to be quite mixed. A quick assessment of the pluses and minuses of the Indian financial sector reveals that while a lot in terms of recovery has been achieved, maintaining  vigil against any fu

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India Economic Review | December 2019

Growth worries persist, but where are the green shoots?

Managers of the Indian economy so far have had no respite from worries over an economic slowdown. On November 29, the Central Statistics Office released the gross domestic product (GDP) numbers for July-September 2019, which placed growth at 4.5 per cent, a six-year low. Coming on top of consecutive deceleration in growth every quarter since January-December 2018, when it was estimated at 8.1 per cent, the latest GDP growth print suggested

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India Economic Review | November 2019

Privatisation gets a boost, but a few areas of concern

The Narendra Modi government has now sent out signals that it is not averse to the idea of privatisation in a few select cases. On November 20, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs took three important decisions. One, it approved privatisation of three state-controlled companies. The three companies, which would be privatised or whose management control would move to a new entity, are Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), S

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India Economic Review | October 2019

State of the Economy – A Dilemma

The month of October began with what looked like a reality check on the Indian economy. And that process was kicked off by none else than India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).  In its bi-monthly monetary policy review on October 4, the RBI cut the repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks and, therefore, signals the overall interest rate direction) yet another time by 25 basis points, taking the overall reduction dur

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India Economic Review | September 2019

Bold Moves, But Not Yet Out Of The Woods

The last few weeks have seen the Union government in firefighting mode.  As the signs of an economic slowdown became increasingly more evident, the Union finance ministry came out with a slew of measures – as many as four packages in as many weeks – in a bid to revive the Indian economy. A rough estimate puts the total impact of these measures at a little over Rs 1.6 lakh crore by way of revenues foregone and additional expenditure by the government.

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India Economic Review | August 2019

Industrial Growth Stumbles

India’s economic growth prospects did not look very bright this month. On August 9, the Central Statistics Office released the industrial growth numbers for June 2019. At 1.95 per cent, this was one of the lowest in recent months and a sharp deceleration over industrial growth in the previous two months - 4.32 per cent in April and 4.55 per cent in May. The industrial growth for the first quarter of the current financial year thus settled down at just 3.6 per cent, a s

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About the Author

A K Bhattacharya
Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre
Editorial Director, Business Standard

After a 10-year long stint with Financial Express from 1978-1988, in different capacities in the areas of news gathering and news management, A.K. Bhattacharya joined The Economic Times in 1988 and functioned as its Chief of Bureau from 1990 to 1993. In 1994, he became its Associate Editor. He joined The Pioneer as Executive Editor in September 1994, stabilised the newspaper before becoming its Editor in 1995. He joined Business Standard in 1996 as Editor, News Services. Was its Resident Editor in Mumbai from July 1996 to September 1997 and helped the newspaper launch its Mumbai edition. From October 1997 to May 1998, he functioned as National Editor leading the paper's news operations. As Managing Editor of Business Standard between June 1998 and April 2000 and as its Group Managing Editor between May 2000 and October 2011, he oversaw the newspaper's news operations and editorial administration. From November 2011 to July 2016, he was the Editor of Business Standard. Since August 2016, he has been the Editorial Director of Business Standard on a part-time basis. He has been writing a regular column - New Delhi Diary - commenting on government affairs, since 1990 - that appeared in The Economic Times, Pioneer and now in Business Standard. Since 1997, he has been writing another column - Raisina Hill - commenting on developments/issues concerning bureaucracy.