The month of January was abuzz with dialogue and deliberation about what one should expect from the Budget. The who’s who of the banking and finance industry came out to opine on what was probably a historic Budget in its own right – one, because it was the first budget post India’s independence that included the Railway Budget, second, it was expected to incorporate demonetisation-induced changes and third, it was poised before the implementation of the crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Budget was a largely populist one, focusing on the middle and lower-middle class, women and local manufacturers, while India Inc. and the banking and finance industry derived no major benefits. The budget was touted as a largely ‘balanced’ one, refraining from providing a discernible push to the economy.
The sixth bi-monthly policy review was the second time bankers and markets predicted a rate cut, but the MPC maintained status quo, changing their stance from accommodative to neutral. The unchanged policy rates signaled the end of the central government’s rate-cut cycle. As far as liquidity in the system post demonetisation and the subsequent rate cuts by banks is concerned, this ‘wait-and-watch’ approach will work towards keeping inflationary trends in check.
For this month’s Policy Watch column, we have a new columnist, Pranjal Sharma, who is an economic analyst, advisor and writer. He explores the politics of Trump’s America and try to decipher whether the new-order brought in by Donald Trump will serve as an opportunity or challenge for India.
We continue with our usual sections on what’s happening within the banking industry in the country, people movements and upcoming events. We look forward to receiving your feedback and guidance on the newsletter.
Until then, enjoy your time at BankStreet!