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Is India facing a slowdown?
Wed, 18 Nov Pre-Open

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came in with a lot of promises in relation to reforms. People had a lot of expectations from the new government to deliver on the reforms front. However, the expectations are slowly fading away as the pace of reforms has not been encouraging.

Important reforms such as Goods and Service Tax (GST) and Land Acquisition Act are on hold due to the reluctance of the opposition. The evidence of the expectation fading away was seen in the recent 'Delhi' and 'Bihar' elections.

Reportedly, India's merchandise exports contracted for the eleventh consecutive month in October. The exports contracted by 17.5% from a year ago period. China's export fell at a much lesser pace as compared to that of India. China's exports fell by 6.9%. However, given the prevailing global economic scenario, a slowdown in the exports does not come as a surprise. During such times, the country relies on the domestic demand.

However, the data from the domestic front is also not encouraging. Non-oil and non-gold imports are the key gauge for reflecting the domestic and investment demand. The figure reported in October shows a trend of contraction in the domestic demand.

Further, data until September shows monthly imports of capital goods at around US$ 8.5 bn this fiscal year as compared with the US$ 9.5 bn in the second half of the previous fiscal years. This indeed does not suggest an improvement in the investment demand.

Further, India has a relatively stable currency as compared to other emerging economies. The currency of emerging economies has depreciated far more as compared to India in the recent times. This somewhere puts India in a weak spot when it comes to exports. The stronger rupee does hamper the competitiveness of Indian exports as compared to other countries. This also poses a threat to the much talked about initiative of the NDA government: 'Make in India'.

The government will have to come up with important reforms as soon as possible in order to kick-start the slowing economy. Further, important legislations such as GST and Land Acquisition will be the key things to watch out for going forward. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has done its bit by reducing the benchmark rate to give a boost to the economy. Now it's the governments turn to get the important reforms passed in the parliament.

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