“This government, from 2014, has kept reforms at the top of the agenda. It’s an ongoing process for us. Reform is a continuous process,” says Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister. “We are keen to move from the prosecution route to a more humane route,” she said about reports of possible harassment of business people through IT department or criminal prosecution in cases of non-compliance of Corporate Social Responsibility. Sitharaman held a press conference to put the spotlight on the economic slowdown, widely reported across industries such as consumer products and auto.

SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS

  • There is a global slowdown, in both developed markets and emerging markets.
  • India’s growth is higher than global growth of 3.2%
  • Continue to work on reforms, an agenda we have set already in our terms in the government
  • We are keen to move from the prosecution route to a more humane route (reference towards buzz that government is allegedly harassing industrialists)
  • Taxation wise she announced relief from enhanced surcharge for foreign and domestic investors. This is to boost capital in the economy. She said surcharge on short and long term capital gains tax would go.
  • Withdrawl of Angel Tax provisions for start-ups and their investors, says FM.
  • Aadhar-based KYC to be permitted for the opening of Demat account and making an investment in mutual funds.
  • All pending GST refunds due to MSMEs shall be paid within 30 days from today, says Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • Banks have decided to pass on rate cuts by RBI to borrowers; launched repo rate or external benchmark-linked loan products. Also promised that Home loans, working capital loans to be cheaper, says Sitharaman.

Also read: Here’s What Women Entrepreneurs Want From The Union Budget

Earlier today Shamika Ravi, research director of the think tank Brookings India, tweeted on India’s slowing economic growth.“Need major reforms, not mere tinkering,” she said. “Leaving economy to the finance ministry is like leaving the growth of a firm to its accounts department.” She insisted India needed a national growth strategy with time-bound goals”.

The economy has been the big headline these past few weeks. NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar said extraordinary steps were needed to deal with an unprecedented crisis in the financial sector.

The economy has been the big headline these past few weeks. NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar said extraordinary steps were needed to deal with an unprecedented crisis in the financial sector.

ECONOMY SIGNALS

  • GDP growth slips from a peak of 8.2 per cent in 2016-17 to 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19. The first quarter of 2019-20 is expected to dip further to 5.6 per cent.
  • Parle Products — the country’s largest biscuit maker — said it might lay off as many as 10,000 workers as the sharp decline in consumption demand
  • India’s auto dealers federation released the vehicles sales data for July 2019, which showed that on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the overall sales declined six percent

Also read: Here’s What Union Budget 2019 Has In Store For Women

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