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economy | IST

Indianomics: Here's what experts make of measures announced by FM Sitharaman

Mini

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday unveiled a slew of measures to stimulate the economy.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday unveiled a slew of measures to stimulate the economy. The higher surcharge on foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) has gone. This is not an economy-boosting measure but chances are that you could see better stock market sentiment and therefore the wealth effect at least returning. The government stands to lose just Rs 1,500 crore due to this rollback.
The government will also release the entire Rs 70,000 crore to capitalise public sector banks (PSBs) at one go sometime soon. FM has also extracted a promise from banks that they will link their lending rates to the repo rate so that there is quicker transmission.
"As bankers, we take into account all the payments that come as part of the repayment of the term loans as well as the additional deposit flows and take into account the capital that is there with us to plan our growth. Now that this Rs 70,000 crore which will be distributed between the PSBs has been upfronted, we have that much of additional comfort to plan out and plan our loan book expansion. So, net-net I strongly believe that this is the right announcement at this time," said Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, MD & CEO of Syndicate Bank, in a discussion with CNBC-TV18.
On lending rates being linked to an external benchmark, Mahapatra said, "It will require a little bit of iteration going forward, the models have to be tweaked."
In a bid to boost motown sentiment, the FM has said that the higher vehicle registration fee that was announced will be postponed till June 2020. Also, 15 percent higher depreciation will be allowed for vehicles.
In order to ease the liquidity crunch, especially for MSMEs, the government has decided to speed up the GST refund process. All pending GST refunds shall be paid within 30 days and future refunds will be paid out in 60 days. She added that delayed payments from government and CPSEs will be monitored and released as soon as possible.
Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic advisor at State Bank of India, said, "The measures announced yesterday were very pragmatic and they were evenly balanced. They were across sectors trying to address specific bottlenecks that the sector is currently facing in terms of the MSME sector, in terms of the bank lending, in terms of banks recapitalisation and the auto sector. So, it is balanced and spread across sectors. So, it will definitely be a sentiment booster."
On GST refunds, MS Mani, Partner at Deloitte India, said, "GST refunds in 30 days and 60 days is a very big change because the fact that the government is reiterating its commitment to providing faster refunds at a point of time when GST collections have come under a bit of stress, to me is a very major and very bold announcement."
The FM also made it clear that this was only the first instalment of measures and more are on the anvil next week and the week after.