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Last updated: 06 Aug, 2019  

Up.Down.Arrow.9.Thmb.jpg Growth slowdown

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Bikky Khosla | 05 Aug, 2019

Discussions abound these days on the Indian economy losing its steam. With a sizeable number of indicators of the consumer economy flashing red, the concern seems to have reasonable grounds. Sales of passenger vehicles, tractors and two-wheelers are in the red; the NBFC sector is in deep trouble; the fast-moving consumer goods sector is in a slow lane … we can, no doubt, sum up this situation as slowdown in growth, and the question is whether this slowdown is temporary in nature or not.

The situation has been severe in the auto sector for the last 12 months. In the first quarter, passenger vehicle sales fell 18.4 percent, and monthly passenger vehicle sales in June fell by the biggest margin in 18 years. A report by Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations adds that around two lakh jobs have been cut across automobile dealerships in India in the last three months. It is also feared that the auto parts industry could be forced to slash a fifth of its 5 million workforce if the slowdown continues.

This weak demand situation may worsen further with slowdown in the NBFC sector, with the RBI cracking the whip on it in the aftermath of the IL&FS crisis. Similarly, the latest earning figures of our FMCG majors also reflect consumption slowdown spreading fast across the sector. Some key industry players have logged single digit growth numbers in the last quarter, raising a big question whether or not rural income support and MSP hikes will be enough to mitigate the impact of a deficient monsoon.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reviewed the performance of banks on Monday in a meeting with top bankers. This meeting was the first of a series of meetings that the Ministry of Finance is convening to discuss current economic issues with key stakeholders, including some of the industry sectors -- MSMEs, auto, real estate, home-buyers, financial market, etc. -- whose health has been affected in recent months. This is a welcome step. The current economic condition demands that the government urgently comes out with all possible measures to mend the economy.

I invite your opinions.

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