Economy
Fitch says 'stable' India to grow at 7.5 percent
Maintaining a stable outlook for India, ratings agency Fitch on Monday said the country's economy will grow by 7.5 percent in the current fiscal that will stand out globally, but warned that its business environment would remain weak despite improvements.
 
It has also forecast an 8 percent growth rate for India in 2016-17.
 
The agency said a "BBB-" rating, the lowest in the investment grade, along with a stable outlook and a strong medium-term growth prospect and favourable external finances, will balance out with high government debt, weak structurals and a difficult, but improving, business environment.
 
"Translation of structural reforms into improved indicators and higher real GDP (gross domestic product) growth depends on actual implementation. India's sovereign ratings continue to be constrained by limited improvement in its fiscal position," Fitch said.
 
It said even as the government continues to steadily roll out its structural reform agenda, like in liberalising the foreign equity regime, it is also facing difficulty in garnering support in the upper house of parliament for big-ticket steps, like goods and services tax regime.
 
"India's relatively weak business environment and standards of governance are gradually improving as a result of the pursued reforms, but obstacles faced by investors, including infrastructure bottlenecks, have not been reduced overnight," it said.
 
The agency said while India's sovereign ratings continued to be constrained by the limited fiscal space of the government, the 23.6-percent salary hike recommended by the 7th Pay Commission has raised doubts about the feasibility of the medium-term consolidation path.
 
On inflation, it said, India's 7.9-percent average in annual price rise over the past five years was much higher than the 3.3-percent level among the peers with the same rating. But the changes in the retail inflation profile strengthened India's sovereign credit profile.
 
Furthermore, the global ratings agency pointed out that India is not immune to external shocks, but seems less vulnerable than many of its peers due to narrow current-account deficit and a build-up of reserves.
 
"The external balances are also likely to be strengthened by a continued rise in FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows driven by strong reform and growth momentum," Fitch said.
 
Besides strong FDI inflows, Fitch said, India is less vulnerable than many peers to a potential slowdown in China. The country has a more domestically based economy and it is not part of the Asian supply chain.
 
However, Fitch cautioned over the ability of the public sector banks to internally generate capital to make a smooth transition towards 'Basel III' levels by 2019-2020. 
 
"It remains to be seen if the government's planned capital infusion of Rs.700 billion into the public sector banks will be adequate in light of supervisory norms and weak equity valuations," the ratings agency said.
 
In addition, it elaborated that the Indian economy is less developed on a number of metrics than its peers like low ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Parliament panel suggests integration of CVC, CBI with Lokpal
A parliamentary panel on Monday recommended integration of the CVC and the CBI with the institution of Lokpal.
 
"Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be fully integrated with the Lokpal and the institution of anti-corruption watchdog be architecturally created vertically with the Lokpal at the apex level and CVC and anti- corruption wing of CBI fully integrated with it and working under its control," the recommendation said.
 
The suggestion was made by the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice in its 77th report on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
 
The committee, which submitted its report to parliament, was of the view that the post of director of enquiry in the CVC can be utilised by the Lokpal.
 
"Director of Enquiry available in the CVC would serve as the director of enquiry of Lokpal and there is no need for the creation of a separate post of director of enquiry in the Lokpal," the panel headed by E.M.S. Natchiappan said in one of its recommendations.
 
The committee also recommended that the post of director of prosecution should be upgraded to the level of a secretary with a fixed tenure.
 
It favoured the existing provisions for the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants, recommending that a public servant should furnish declaration of assets and liabilities of his or her dependents, including spouse, children, father and mother.
 
The committee recommended that the secretary to the Lokpal should be of the rank and status of the secretary to the government of India so that he is not influenced by his seniors or colleagues from the civil services and is able to function independently.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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SC declines to hear PIL for uniform civil code, warns petitioner
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a public interest petition seeking direction to parliament for enacting a uniform civil code to end alleged discrimination being faced by Muslim women, telling the petitioner to approach parliament and not waste the court's time.
 
A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi said that it is for parliament to take a call on the issue and it was not in the realm of the apex court to issue a direction (to parliament) on this.
 
Chief Justice Thakur, in a disapproving note, told senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the petitioner, that if such petitions were filed without regard to the law, the court will come down very heavily.
 
Pointing out that the legal position on the issue was "very well settled", the court told the petitioner advocate he was "wasting the court's time".
 
"You are wasting our time", the bench said..
 
The petitioner was advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also the spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Delhi unit.
 
The court asked why none of those who are being allegedly discriminated against have come forward for redressal. "Why it is that none of the people from the community have not come," asked Chief Justice Thakur.
 
If an aggrieved woman comes to the court, we may still consider examining it, the court said questioning the locus of the petitioner to raise the issue.
 
Asking Upadhyay to approach parliament for such a legislation, the bench said: "What you cannot do directly you are trying to do it indirectly?"
 
The petitioner had sought direction to the government take steps for the enactment of the Uniform Civil Code in fulfilment of its obligation under the Directive Principles of the State Policy in the constitution. Article 44, under the principles says "The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India." 
 
The petition had contended that a uniform civil code was a sign of modern progressive nation, which will show that India has moved away from religion, race, caste and sex discrimination.
 
Contending that at present "what we have right now in India is selective secularism, which means that in some areas, we are secular and in others", the petitioner said: "While our economic growth has been the highest in the world, our social growth has not happened at all. In fact it might be right to say that socially and culturally we have degraded to a point where we are neither modern nor traditional."
 
Upadhyay in his PIL said that the uniform civil code meant that all the citizens have to follow the same civil laws irrespective whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, or Sikhs.
 
It said that uniform civil code did not limit the freedom to follow their respective religions but it just mean that every person shall be treated equally, which Upadhyay described "as real secularism".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

1 year ago

The SC is right in refusing to intervene in an area which ought to be addressed by the political executive (GoI) and the parliament. But, it is also true that the Uniform Civil Code ought to have been prepared and adopted alongside the Constitution of India in 1950 or earlier. It is impossible to have political consensus on the UCC with secularism having different connotations for different political parties.

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