Dear Mem­ber,

Assocham Bulletin - - ASSOCHAM -

ASSOCHAM has ap­proached to its 98th Foun­da­tion Day and mov­ing a step ahead to cel­e­brate our cen­te­nary in the year 2020. On be­half of ASSOCHAM, I thank all the stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the Govern­ment, bu­reau­crats & all our beloved mem­bers for their whole hearted sup­port to help the Cham­ber achieve this mile­stone.

After a pe­riod of slow­down in the econ­omy, In­dia is re­claim­ing its place as a growth leader, as rec­og­nized by In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMP). The sun is shining on the global econ­omy and cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive in­vest­ment and con­sumer de­mand are ris­ing. With strong con­sump­tion and in­vest­ment, ris­ing ex­ports, and steady cap­i­tal in­flows, the out­look for Asian re­gion re­mains bright. Re­cently, World Bank had also pro­jected In­dia's growth rate in 2018 at 7.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent in the next two years. In­dia is es­ti­mated to have grown at 6.7 per cent in 2017 de­spite ini­tial set­backs from de­mon­e­ti­za­tion and the Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST), ac­cord­ing to the 2018 Global Eco­nom­ics Prospect re­leased by the World Bank re­cently. Ac­cord­ing to World Bank, China grew at 6.8 per cent in 2017, 0.1 per cent more than that of In­dia, while in 2018, its growth rate is pro­jected at 6.4 per cent and in the next two years, the coun­try's growth rate will drop marginally to 6.3 and 6.2 per cent, re­spec­tively.

Ac­cord­ing to Cen­tral Sta­tis­tics Of­fice (CSO), In­dia's eco­nomic growth is ex­pected to slow to a four-year low of 6.5 per cent in the 2017-18 fis­cal, the low­est un­der the Modi-led govern­ment, mainly due to poor per­for­mance of agri­cul­ture and manufacturing sec­tors.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Shri Arun [ait­ley will present In­dia's first post-GST and the cur­rent govern­ment's last full Bud­get on Fe­bru­ary 1. This will be his 5th Bud­get in a row. Only pro­pos­als for changes in di­rect taxes, both per­sonal in­come tax and cor­po­rate tax, be­sides cus­toms duty, are likely to be pre­sented in the Bud­get along with new schemes and pro­grammes of the govern­ment. ASSOCHAM has sub­mit­ted their pro­pos­als and we are ex­pect­ing that the bud­get will fo­cus on Cor­po­rate Tax, In­fras­truc­ture, Agri­cul­ture, Manufacturing to pro­mote 'Make in In­dia', Dig­i­tal econ­omy, Credit off­take & Start-ups.

In­dia's whole­sale price in­fla­tion cooled to 3.58% in De­cem­ber led by a softer rise in food in­fla­tion, of­fi­cial data showed re­cently. WPI had risen 3.93% in Novem­ber and 2.1% in De­cem­ber last year. As per the data re­leased, in­fla­tion in food ar­ti­cles slowed to 4.72% in De­cem­ber from 6.06% in Novem­ber. Last week, the re­tail in­fla­tion for the month of De­cem­ber had come at a 17-month high of 5.21 per cent, up from 4.88 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous month. The rate of in­fla­tion based on WPI Food In­dex con­sist­ing of 'Food Ar­ti­cles' from Pri­mary Ar­ti­cles group and 'Food Prod­uct' from Man­u­fac­tured Prod­ucts group de­creased from 4.1% in Novem­ber to 2.91% in De­cem­ber. Veg­eta­bles in­fla­tion wit­nessed some soft­en­ing at 56.46% in De­cem­ber as against 59.8% in the pre­vi­ous month. How­ever, onions wit­nessed a whop­ping 197.05% rise in in­fla­tion.

The com­merce min­istry is work­ing on new schemes for the next For­eign Trade Pol­icy (FTP), to be re­leased in 2019-20, with a view to boost ex­ports, The min­istry has asked all the com­mod­ity boards and the con­cerned min­istries to iden­tify those 'sup­port' struc­tures, which are com­pli­ant to global trade rules. The min­istry has re­cently re­leased the mid-term re­view of the cur­rent for­eign trade pol­icy. He five-year for­eign trade pol­icy pro­vides guide­lines for en­hanc­ing ex­ports with the over­all ob­jec­tive of push­ing eco­nomic growth and gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment.

ASSOCHAM is com­mit­ted to keep work­ing closely with the govern­ment in line with the gen­uine de­mand of the in­dus­try to make poli­cies, con­ducive for the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

Wish you all a very happy Lohri, Pon­gal, Bihu & Makar Sankranti.

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