Niti Aayog's New India vision

It's a grand vision that the Niti Aayog has drawn up for a “New India“ in which nearly everyone will have houses with toilets, two-wheelers or cars, power, ACs and digital connectivity by 2032.
The Vision 2031-32 document was unveiled by Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to the Governing Council, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “By 2031-32, we must transform India into a prosperous, healthy , secure, corruption-free, energy abundant, environmentally clean and globally influential nation,“ according to the presentation drawing inspiration from the PM's vision.

The presentation--India 2031-32: Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda--made before CMs also visualises a fully literate society with access to healthcare.It also calls for having a much larger and modern network of roads, railways, waterways and air connectivity and a clean India where citizens would have access to quality air and water.

Alphonsoes from Devgad, Sindhudurg get GI tag

The alphonsoes from Devgad and Sindhudurg have been given Geographical Indication tags. With this, the total number of GI tagged products in Maharashtra has risen to 25, the highest in the country.
A GI tag specifies the geographical location--like a town, a region, or a country--where the product is created. Devgad Taluka Mango Growers Cooperative Society ,which had filed for a GI tag in 2012, said that the process was a long one but they have finally got a verbal order from the GI registry .

DTMGCS comprises of close to 650 mango growers from Devgad. Every mango grower in Sindhudurg can use the GI tag now. Action can now be taken against those selling mangoes by falsely claiming that they are from mangoes Sindhudurg and Devgad.


Poverty Gap Index

Poverty has traditionally been measured by the number of people with income below the poverty line. But this doesn't tell us how far below that line the poor are. The poverty gap index adds up the shortfall of each poor person's income from the poverty line and divides the sum by the country's population to arrive at the mean shortfall

India's GDP to Grow 3-fold by 2030

India will be a Rs.469 lakh crore, or $7.2 trillion, economy by 2030, growing at an average rate of 8%, Niti Aayog, the government's premier think-tank, has projected as part of its 15-year vision document.

This would be a more than three-fold expansion from Rs.137 lakh crore, or $2.1 trillion, in 2015-16. The increase of Rs.332 lakh crore ($5.1 trillion) in 15 years compares with the addition of $8.1 trillion in China's GDP over the past 15 years.

India's economy grew by 7% in the third quarter of 2016-17 compared with 7.4% in the second quarter. The Central Statistics Office retained its projection of 7.1% growth in 2016-17, slowing from 7.6% in the previous financial year. The IMF estimated India's GDP growth at 7.2% for 2017-18.

The Aayog has already circulated a draft three-year action plan to all states as a roadmap that will help India achieve the government's 15-year vision, which it is currently preparing. The three-year action plan will replace the decades old five-year plans and are aimed at transforming the planning process in the country.

There were over 300 specific action points that had been identified, covering a whole gamut of sectors. The period of the action agenda coincided with the period of the 14th Finance Commission's award. The other six parts of the plan talk about all sectors, India's growth, connectivity, governance, social sectors and sustainability.

Drawing inspiration from the PM's vision, the idea is to transform India into a prosperous, highly educated, healthy, secure, corruption-free, energy abundant, environmentally clean and globally influential nation by 2031-32.

Since the government has done away with five-year plans from April 1, 2017, it is imperative the new action plan is put into place at the earliest to guide various central ministries, departments and states to achieve the goal of `Vision 2030' document.

The 12th Five-Year Plan, which was the last of its kind in the series, was terminated on March 31, 2017.

A Rate hike in the making?

It's not about an interest rate cut any more. Rather the question is when will the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raise rates? Minutes of the April 6 monetary policy committee meeting released last week showed that five of the six members, except Ravindra Dholakia, expressed concerns on inflation, citing varied reasons from higher house rent allowances, increase in taxes due to the new GST, volatile weather conditions due to a possible El Nino, firming global commodity prices and inflation from protein-rich items other than pulses.

Economists say that the minutes indicate that the central bank's the next move will be an increase in interest rate, possibly as early as next year.

March consumer inflation increased to 3.81% from 3.65% in February, but was well within RBI's 5% target for the fiscal year ended March 2017. However, the central bank's stated medium term target is to keep inflation at 4%. The RBI's own projection for the current fiscal year ending March 2018 is for inflation to rise to 4.5% in the first half and further to 5% in the second half.

Expectations also are that RBI's rate hike cycle could begin by an increase in the CRR as the central bank grapples with Rs.4 lakh crore of excess liquidity in the banking system currently .

On April 13, RBI announced the sale of  Rs.1 lakh crore of treasury bills to suck out excess liquidity from the banking system through the so-called market stabilisation scheme. This after it had raised its reverse repo rate, the rate at which banks park excess funds with it, by 25 basis points to 6%.

Bond yields have already moved higher anticipating a rate hike. From a low of 6.20% in December, the benchmark 10-year bond yield touched a high of 6.96%.

BIMSTEC snippets

The recent visits by Bangladesh Prime Minister, Nepalese President and upcoming trip of Sri Lankan PM to India this week have given momentum to the BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement, envisaged as a multil-modal regional connectivity initiative between seven BIMSTEC states after the proposed SAARC MVA could not be concluded due to Pakistan's intransigence.

The BIMSTEC MVA, that will be key to the outcome of the group's fourth Summit in 2017 to celebrate 20 years of creation of BIMSTEC, will have all multi-modal features connecting Sri Lanka which is linked to the rest of six members only through air or sea. As part of this goal, the grouping also hopes to put in place BIMSTEC Framework Agreement on Transit, Trans-shipment and Movement of Vehicular Traffic.

Intra-regional connectivity and BIMSTEC process were key elements that dominated the agenda of leaders of member states: Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka to India in quick successions.

Further, a recent study conducted by Jaipur headquarted think-tank CUTS International and BIMSTEC Secretariat-based in Dhaka suggested that tourism corridors can be effective precursors to business corridors since regional tourism can help attract investment vis-à-vis building confidence among the political constituencies in the region.


Activa is the highest selling two-wheeler

Reflecting the growing popularity of scooters in the Indian market, Honda Activa has overtaken Hero Splendor, India's No.1 motorcycle brand in terms of sales, to emerge as the largest selling two-wheeler in the last financial year. Although motorcycle sales were are roughly double that of scooters in 2016-17, the latter grew three times faster during the year...