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Nirmala Sitharaman press conference: Finance Minister touches on pain points plaguing economy

BusinessToday.In     August 23, 2019

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is addressing a press conference amid concerns over the on-going economic slowdown in the country. This development came after Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut India's GDP growth forecast for 2019 calendar year to 6.2 per cent from the previous estimation of 6.8 per cent. For 2020 calendar year, it reduced the estimate by a similar measure to 6.7 per cent.

There are concerns around the declining GDP growth too, which is a sign of worry for the government. The GDP growth has gone down from a peak of 8.2 per cent in 2016-17 to 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19. The first quarter of 2019-20 is expected to dip further to 5.6 per cent.

Though Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier declined to comment on the speculations of a stimulus package, she has been meeting industry representatives from auto, telecom, banking and financial, SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), among others, for the past several days to understand their concerns. Major demands of the slowdown-hit industries, especially automobile, FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), include a reduction in the GST (Goods and Services Tax) and the rollback of the super-rich tax for FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors).

Catch updates from FM Nirmala Sitharaman's press briefing on economic slowdown on BusinessToday.In:

6:19pm: The decision to revoke surcharge on domestic and foreign investors will be applicable from the current financial year; the necessary approvals will come in due time, says Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

6:13pm: Will soon come forth with measures to help homebuyers that the govt is working on, says the FM. Another set of announcements will be made next week, she added

6:11pm: Government will consider various measures, including a scrappage policy to boost demand, says the FM.

6:10pm: To boost demand, the ban on government departments to purchase vehicles for replacing will be lifted, announces FM Sitharaman.

6:09pm: Both EVs and ICVs will continue to be registered.

6:08pm: Additional 15 per cent, taking it to a total of 30 per cent, will be provided on all vehicles till March 2020, announces the FM in face of rising inventories.

6:07pm: BS-IV vehciles up to March 31, 2020 will remain operational till there entire period of registration, clarifies the FM.


6:05pm: Task force to ensure that infrastructure projects can be funded quickly in order to boost capital expenditure, says the FM.

6:02pm: Delayed payments from government, CPSEs for infrastructure work will be reviewed by Department of Expenditure and Cabinet Secretary will monitor it, says FM Sitharaman.

6:01pm: Aadhar-based KYC to be permitted for opening Demat accounts and for investing in mutual funds, says th FM.

6:00pm: Gvernment will discuss measures with the RBI to make domestic bonds market more conducive to investors and bond issuers and better ways for price discovery, says FM Sitharaman.

5:56pm: Amendments to MSME Act to go the Caninet to lay down one definition for MSMEs, says the FM.

5:54pm: Pending GST refunds to MSMEs to be cleared within the next 30 days, says FM Sitharaman.

5:53pm: Home and car loan EMIs to cost less, sayd the FM.

5:51pm: More liquidity for NBFCs, says FM Sitharaman.


5:46pm: FM Sitharaman announced one-time loan settlement through a check box approach to help MSMEs and retail borrowers. This will help with NPAs which are pending because no one wants to take a call.


5:44pm: Mandated return of loan documents within 15 days of loan closure to check harassment, says FM Sitharaman.

5:43pm: Banks have agreed to link their interest rates to repo rates, says FM.

5:41pm: Banks have decided to pass on any rate cuts through MCLR to all borrowers, says FM Sitharaman.

5:39pm: CBDT Chairman will head a dedicated cell to address tax issues of start-ups, says FM Sitharaman.

5:37pm: FM Sitharaman announces the much-awaited relief from enhanced surcharge on long-term and short-term capital gain. In other words, the surcharge on FPI goes, says FM Sitharaman.


5:35pm: All old tax notices to be addressed by October 1, or uploaded on the system again, to increase transparency, said the FM.

5:32pm: CSR violations will be treated as civil liability and not criminal offences, said the FM, on the point of 'respecting wealth creators'.


5:30pm: Angle that this government is going to harass people has been disproved, said the FM, pointing that 16 corporate offence sections have been moved to monetary penalty only.

5:27pm: Meeting with GSTN personnel on Sunday to understand where the glitches are that are hampering flow of refunds, said the FM.

5:26pm: Faceless scrutiny of I-T returns will happen from Vijayadashmi 2019, said FM Sitharaman.

5:23pm: Reforms remain high on our agenda, assures the Finance Minister.

5:22pm: We respect wealth creators, FM Sitharaman reiterated.

5:21pm: Advanced economies of the world are facing, not just India, said the Finance Minister. Growth in India is higher than these economies, she added.

5:19pm: Current projected global is 3.2 per cent, and is likely to be revised downwards, says FM Sitharaman. Moreover, many organisations have said that global demand will be weak, she added.

5:18pm: FM Sitharaman opens her address with a 32-slide presentation.

5:16pm: FM Sitharaman, MoS Anurag Thakur and senior Finance Ministry officials take their places. The press briefing is about to begin.

5:10pm: India Inc would be keenly following what the Finance Minister has to say about the economic slowdown and measures to remedy it. Auto, textile and several other sectors are suffering due to the prolonged slump in economic growth. On Thursday, right before Sitharaman's press conference, Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut India's GDP growth forecast for 2019 calendar year to 6.2 per cent from the previous estimation of 6.8 per cent. For 2020 calendar year, it reduced the estimate by a similar measure to 6.7 per cent.

5:05pm: FM Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to begin her press briefing on economic slowdown anytime now.

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