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India clocked 10.08 per cent growth under Manmohan Singh, data shows

NEW DELHI, Aug 18: Indian economy clocked a 10.08 per cent growth rate in 2006-07 under the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the highest since liberalisation of the economy in 1991, according to an official data.

The highest ever growth rate since Independence was recorded at 10.2 per cent in 1988-89 when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister.

The back series data on GDP has been prepared by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics, constituted by the National Statistical Commission. The report has been released on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI).

The report compares growth rates between old series (2004-05) and new series based on 2011-12 prices.

As per the old series (2004-05), the expansion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices was 9.57 per cent during 2006-07, when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister. As per the new series (2011-12), the growth number stands revised at 10.08 per cent.

This is the highest growth rate recorded by the country after launch of the economic liberalisation programme launched by then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.

"The GDP backseries data is finally out. It proves that like-for-like, the economy under both UPA terms (10 year avg: 8.1%) outperformed the Modi Govt (Avg 7.3%), the Congress party said in a tweet.

"The UPA also delivered the ONLY instance of double digit annual growth in modern Indian history," it said.

The GDP numbers for the later years too have been revised upwards, according to the report.

The National Statistics Commission had set up the Committee to recommend suitable measures to strengthen systems and processes for collection, collation and dissemination of these statistics with possibility for improving timeliness.

India’s July trade deficit widens to more than five year high of $18.02 billion

NEW DELHI, Aug 14: India’s trade deficit widened to a more than five year high of $18.02 billion in July, the trade ministry said on Tuesday, driven largely by a surge in oil imports.

Though merchandise exports rose 14.32 percent year-on-year in July, the trade deficit widened as oil imports surged 57.41 percent to $12.35 billion.

In June, the trade deficit stood at $16.6 billion.

Merchandise exports last month rose to $25.77 billion from a year ago, while imports rose 28.81 percent to $43.79 billion, the ministry of commerce and industry said in a statement.

Forex reserves will cushion currency dive, say experts

NEW DELHI, Aug 14: The rupee on Tuesday fell to 70.09 to the dollar for the first time, a psychological mark, but bankers and economists said India had the means — mainly sufficient foreign exchange reserves — to ward off extreme volatility or a currency free fall.

The Turkish lira’s collapse starting Friday — the result of a US-Turkey trade spat — rippled across emerging markets, impacting India on Monday. A further knock on the rupee could spell economic troubles, economists said.

“Given the kind of exchange rate depreciation, it will have a dampening impact on the current account deficit (CAD), on imports and could lead to more borrowing. It’s alarming,” said NR Bhanumurthy, economist at state-run National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “There is no option but to increase the interest rate so that rupee becomes more attractive.”

A weak rupee toughens the RBI’s job of controlling inflation because it makes imports costlier. The RBI has already hiked rates twice in June. A depreciating rupee will worsen CAD, which results from the economy spending more foreign exchange abroad — mainly to buy imports — than it earns. India’s biggest import, in terms of value, is oil. This deficit is mainly financed by foreign exchange reserves. India current account deficit has widened from 0.1% in the beginning of fiscal 2017 to 1.9% in 2018.

Analysts said the RBI was in a position to thwart any rupee volatility given the country’s adequate foreign exchange reserves of slightly over $400 billion. Just like any other commodity , a currency strengthens, or becomes expensive, when there is more demand for it by investors. It weakens, or loses value against the dollar, when its demand falls, especially when investors sell off assets held in that currency.

India needn’t panic, said Gurbachan Singh, an independent economist and adjunct faculty at Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre. “The effect on rupee is more through sentiment, than through fundamentals,” Singh said, adding India’s market linkages with Turkey were negligible.

Typically, India’s central bank uses a “managed float” policy — allowing the rupee’s exchange rate to move up or down according to supply-demand conditions in the foreign exchange market. Yet, the RBI will intervene when needed — mainly by selling dollar from its reserves — to ensure the rupee does not stray too far.

“I’d say just allow (the rupee) to float in a managed way and let it depreciate up to a realistic point, which RBI has to work out,” said economist M Govinda Rao. DK Joshi, chief economist CRISIL Ltd, said policymakers at this stage can do little other than control the volatility.

India's Cosmos Bank loses $13.5 mln in cyber attack

MUMBAI, Aug 14: Cyber criminals hacked the systems of India’s Cosmos Bank and siphoned off nearly 944 million rupees ($13.5 million) through simultaneous withdrawals across 28 countries over the weekend, the bank has told police.

The co-operative bank said unidentified hackers stole customer information through a malware attack on its automated teller machine (ATM) server, withdrawing 805 million rupees in 14,849 transactions in just over two hours on August 11, mainly overseas.

Apart from the ATM withdrawals, the hackers transferred 139 million rupees to a Hong Kong-based company’s account by issuing three unauthorised transactions over the SWIFT global payments network, the bank said in a police complaint.

SWIFT, whose messaging system is used to transfer trillions of dollars a day, said it did not comment on individual cases.

Cosmos Bank, based in the western city of Pune, said in a press statement that its main banking software receives debit card payment requests via a “switching system” but it was bypassed in the attack.

“During the malware attack, a proxy switch was created and all the fraudulent payment approvals were passed by the proxy switching system,” the bank said.

The bank declined to reveal the countries, citing security risks.

Police said they were investigating the theft.

A police official, who declined to be named, said they had enlisted the help of experts to find out how authorised transactions were conducted simultaneously in various countries.

India’s City Union Bank Ltd reported in February that it had suffered three “fraudulent remittances” of nearly $2 million that had been pushed through the SWIFT financial platform.

In 2016, unknown hackers stole more than $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York. Investigators have made little progress in the case.

“While there is growing awareness to regularly update an organisation’s cyber preparedness and defence mechanisms, a large number of institutions wake up to this reality only post an incident which often leads to a loss of reputation and/or financial misappropriation,” said Nikhil Bedi, a partner with Deloitte India.




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