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Prepare for attack: Chidambaram warns after IMF

NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Former finance minister P Chidambaram has a word of caution for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its India-born chief economist Gita Gopinath after the agency slashed India’s growth forecast.

The agency had on Monday lowered India’s economic growth estimate for the current fiscal to 4.8% and listed the country’s much lower-than-expected GDP numbers as the single biggest drag on its global growth forecast for two years.

The senior Congress leader pointed out to Gita Gopinath’s previous lowdown of the Centre’s demonetisation move as he launched his latest critique of the government.

“IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath was one of the first to denounce demonetisation,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning.

“I suppose we must prepare ourselves for an attack by government ministers on the IMF and Dr Gita Gopinath,” the senior Congress leader said.

The country’s growth is estimated at 4.8% in 2019, projected to improve to 5.8% in 2020 and 6.5% in 2021 (1.2 and 0.9 percentage point lower than in the October World Economic Outlook), supported by the monetary and fiscal stimulus as well as subdued oil prices, IMF had said.

2019 refers to the fiscal year 2019-20. IMF had pegged India’s economic growth at 6.1% for 2019 in October last year.

“Reality check from IMF. Growth in 2019-20 will be BELOW 5 per cent at 4.8 per cent,” Chidambaram, who is being probed for charges of corruption and money laundering, tweeted on Tuesday.

“Even the 4.8 per cent is after some window dressing. I will not be surprised if it goes even lower,” he added.

Gita Gopinath had said growth in India slowed sharply “owing to stress in the non-bank financial sector and weak rural income growth”.

She had, however, said the growth momentum should improve next year due to factors like the positive impact of corporate tax rate reduction.

India’s economy grew just 4.5% in July-September 2019 period—the weakest pace in nearly six years.

The government has been taking various measures to bolster growth.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will present her second budget on February 1, is expected to increase infrastructure spending and boost rural expenditure to revive growth.

India's exports decline for fifth straight month in December

NEW DELHI, Jan 15: India's merchandise exports shrank 1.8% in December, falling for the fifth straight month, while the trade deficit narrowed to $11.25 billion from a year ago, helped by lower oil imports, the Trade Ministry said in a statement said on Wednesday.

Merchandise exports fell to $27.36 billion in December compared with a year earlier, while imports were down 8.83% to $38.61 billion, the data showed.

India's trade deficit stood at $14.49 billion in December 2018, the statement said.

Imports declined by 8.83% $38.61 billion, bringing down the trade deficit to $11.25 billion during the month under review.

The trade deficit during December 2018 was $14.49 billion.

Oil imports contracted by 0.83 per cent to $10.69 billion, while gold imports dipped by about 4% to $2.46 billion.

During April-December 2019-20, exports slipped 1.96$% to $239.29 billion, imports declined by 8.9% to $357.39 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $118.10 billion.

Cyrus Mistry says not interested in getting back into Tata group in any capacity

MUMBAI, Jan 5: Cyrus Mistry on Sunday said he has “no interest in getting back into Tata Sons in any capacity”, days after being reinstated as the group’s executive chairman. Mistry said he was humbled by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order which recognised the “prejudicial conduct of Mr Tata.”

“I am humbled by the NCLAT order, which after review of the enormous material on record, recognized the illegal manner in which I was removed and the oppressive and prejudicial conduct of Mr. Tata and other Trustees,” said Mistry.

The NCLAT restored Cyrus Mistry as the Executive Chairman of Tata Sons on December 18. Mistry was sacked from the group three years ago. The Tribunal, in its order, said Ratan Tata’s actions against Mistry were oppressive and the appointment of a new chairman was illegal.

The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the NCLAT judgment in favour of Mistry.

Mistry on Sunday evening said that he has taken the decision in the overall interest of the Tata group, whose interests are “far more important than those of any individual”.

“To dispel the misinformation campaign being conducted, I intend to make it clear that despite the NCLAT order in my favour, I will not be pursuing the executive chairmanship of Tata Sons or directorship of TCS, Tata Teleservices, Tata Industries. I will, however, vigorously pursue all options to protect our rights as a minority shareholder including a seat on the board,” he said.

Ratan Tata had also moved the apex court on Friday in his personal capacity challenging the tribunal’s December 18 judgment. Tata alleged that Mistry was reluctant to disassociate himself from his family business even after he became the chairman of Tata Sons leading to conflict of interest.

Court allows banks to sell Vijay Mallya’s UBHL shares

MUMBAI, Jan 2: A special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday granted a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) the rights of United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL), owned by fugitive economic offender (FEO) Vijay Mallya. This means the bank can sell off UBHL’s shares and recover their dues.

However, after Mallya’s lawyers sought a stay on the order’s execution on the grounds that they need time to approach the Bombay high court (HC), the PMLA court stayed the execution till January 18. In the meantime, Mallya is likely to challenge the order before the HC.

Mallya and others, including top officials of IDBI Bank, are accused under PMLA in a ₹9,000-crore money-laundering fraud.

After Mallya was declared FEO on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) plea, his and his family members’ properties were attached by the latter. The SBI-led consortium of banks had then approached the special PMLA court, seeking the rights of Mallya’s properties and shares, approximately worth ₹6,203 crore. However, the PMLA court on Wednesday gave the banks the right of only UBHL shares, and not Mallya’s entire property. The special court is yet to begin hearing on confiscation of properties that prosecution agencies have listed as that of Mallya’s.





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