NEWS IN BRIEF
The Indian Finance Minister has balanced the need for fiscal prudence with the imperatives of pushing consumption and demand with a renewed focus on spending big on infrastructure and healthcare – without unduly burdening the economy with new taxes.
The economy is projected to contract 7.7% in the current fiscal year, although the government forecasts growth of 11% for the coming fiscal year, after a massive COVID-19 vaccination drive and a rebound in consumer demand and investments.
Gains in ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank after quarterly earnings lifted the Nifty Bank index 8.3% to an all-time closing high.
To facilitate this infrastructure building spree, the Finance Minister announced a $2.75-billion outlay to capitalise a new development finance institution (DFI). That would build up a lending portfolio of about $70 billion within the next three years.
IS MULTILATERALISM A MISTAKE?
Disinvestment targets seem to be more realistic while a certain amount of scrutiny needs to be paid to inflation and the only way out is speedy growth for the country.