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GDP to contract 4.5% in current FY due to impact of coronavirus: Centre agrees with IMF’s prediction

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Finance Ministry in a report on Monday said that as predicted by the International Monetary Fund, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will contract 4.5 per cent in the current fiscal year due to the impact of coronavirus.

The Finance Ministry’s economic report for June comes days after the government declared Unlock 2.0.

“The uncertainty caused by the absence of a vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic poses a serious challenge to the economy, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) said in its macroeconomic report.

The economic growth of pre-COVID times, as and when restored through fuller unlocking of the economy, will heavily lean on the reforms undertaken today to enhance its potential tomorrow, it added.

Even after the government had announced Unlock 2.0, the economy, which suffered a lot due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic resulting in lockdown, struggles to come back on the track.

The report further said that the Centre’s structural reforms and social welfare measures will help build green shoots in the economy.

Atmanirbhar Bharat stimulus package has accelerated the reforms at a time when the pandemic has led to fiscal constraints for the government and hampered public spending, it added.

The world is witnessing an unprecedented crisis since January 2020 with the highly contagious COVID-19 hitting major economies of the world in rapid succession, according to the report.

“Since its first outbreak in Wuhan, China, it has infected more than 200 countries with total number of confirmed cases exceeding one crore and the virus claiming more than five lakh lives,” it said.

The report also mentioned the domestic financial markets, and said that COVID-19’s impact on the economy is rapidly evolving, which is driving market volatility on a daily basis.

“With huge uncertainty around the pandemic stemming from the unknown, and the inability to plan for or know what’s next, such uncertainty is expected to adversely affect business climate and make firm delay their investment plans,” it said.

Amid the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in the month of May amid the lockdown had introduced an Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package for the struggling economy.

The package had several sub-packages for agriculture, MSMEs, migrant workers and farmers among others.

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Business

Consumers spared of hike; petrol, diesel prices unchanged on Thursday

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Consumers have been spared another increase in auto fuel prices with oil marketing companies (OMCs) deciding to keep petrol and diesel rates unchanged on Thursday.

This is second consecutive day of fuel price pause and follows slight softening in global oil market over demand concerns prime markets in Asia seeing rising cases of coronavirus.

With fuel prices spared of another increase, the price of petrol continues to remain at Wednesday’s level of Rs 92.85 a litre and diesel Rs 83.51 per litre in Delhi.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price remained static on Thursday but its actual retail prices varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

Before Thursday, OMC was revising fuel prices on every alternate day for last one week rather than undertaking changes on a daily basis as has been practised. Accordingly, Wednesday’s price hold came after there was an increase in prices on Tuesday. There was no price increase on Monday as well.

Also, on Sunday while petrol and diesel prices were raised by 24 and 27 paisa per litre respectively, there was no price revision on Saturday. Similarly, while fuel prices were raised on Friday, they remained unchanged in the previous day.

Under daily price revision, OMCs revise petrol and diesel prices every morning benchmarking retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. However, in a market where fuel prices need to be increased successively, alternate day price revision seems to be the flavour.

It is worth noting that with 10 price increase in May, the retail price of regular petrol has already reached over Rs 99 a litre in Mumbai. Petrol prices are already over Rs 100 per litre in several cities in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.

Petrol prices have increased by Rs 2.30 a litre Delhi in May in the 10 increases so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 2.78 per litre in capital this month.

IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post-state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices.

With global crude prices at around $ 67 a barrel mark (lower than $ 70 it touched last week), OMCs may keep a watch and freakin’ from any further increase in fuel prices for some time now.

source: The Statesman

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Sony expands E-mount lens lineup in India

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Sony India on Thursday unveiled the newest addition to its E-mount lens lineup with the introduction of the FE 14mm F1.8 GM -a compact, large-aperture, ultra-wide-angle lens.

Priced at Rs 162,990, the company said that it allows users to capture the world with new perspectives, especially when shooting landscapes, architecture, starry skies and interiors.

“The latest Sony lens from the G Master series, the FE 14mm F1.8 GM, offers extraordinary resolution, fast and quiet autofocus and is remarkably compact,” Mukesh Srivastava, Digital Imaging Head at Sony India, said in a statement.

“We are constantly innovating and working towards bringing technology that fulfils the needs of our customers so that they can realise their creative vision and deliver what they desire,” Srivastava added.

The new lens features a compact optical design, measuring just 83mm x 99.8mm and weighing just 460g (approx.), with advanced optical technology that delivers superb resolution and stunning contrast.

Users can render light point sources thanks to a maximum aperture of F1.8, making it possible to capture astrophotography or shoot in other low-light environments without having to use extremely slow shutter speeds.

When shooting in challenging lighting conditions, Sony’s original Nano AR Coating II technology maximises clarity by subduing flare and ghosting.

The new lens also features several advanced and versatile control options including, a focus hold button, a focus mode switch and a focus ring to ensure smooth, efficient operation in a wide range of shooting environments, the company said.

source: The Statesman

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NEFT transfers will not be operational on May 23. Here’s why

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said that due to NEFT system upgrade, this service will not be available from 00:01 hrs to 14:00 hours on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

“A technical upgrade of NEFT, targeted to enhance the performance and resilience, is scheduled after the close of business of May 22, 2021. Accordingly, NEFT service will not be available from 00:01 hrs to 14:00 hrs on Sunday, May 23, 2021. The RTGS system will continue to be operational as usual during this period,” the RBI tweeted today.

Member banks may inform their customers to plan their payment operations accordingly.

A similar technical upgrade for RTGS was completed on 18 April 2021.

NEFT is available 24X7 that happens in batches of half an hour. There is no maximum limit on the amount that one can transfer through NEFT, but different banks have various limits on the amount that can be transferred.

source: The Statesman

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