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RBI has downgraded India’s growth projection to 9.5% from 10.5%. World Bank projects it at 8.3%. Actually, it may be worse. This is at the backdrop of GDP growth of a negative 7.3%.

Last year, 29 lakh people lost their jobs. This year, another 17 lakh have already lost their jobs. Business Standard says 97% of Indian’s have become poorer. Financial Express says 50% of the manufacturing jobs are lost. The demand for work under the MGNREGA has gone up from 4.56 crore in 2011-12 to 8.19 crore in 2020-21. But only 5.88 crore are given work.

The confidence of people in this Govt has gone down drastically in every area like Economic situation, Employment, Price Level, Income and Spending. But Adani’s net worth has gone up by $16.2 billion and Ambani’s by $8.1 Billion. The Govt, Niti Aayog (Aniti Aayog) and BJP spokespersons put the blame on Covid-19. They carefully try to make people forget that the economy was already in a steep downfall even before the pandemic. It started with demonetisation followed by the ill-conceived GST and Policy of Privatisation, now commonly known as selling India. Already 15 stadiums in the country are put up on sale. Land of Container Corporation of India is going to be leased out for 35 years just for Rs 3500 crores.

Do we have no money? RBI has just transferred almost Rs.1 lakh crores to GOI. The tax increase on fuel has yielded Rs.1.8 lakh crores. We can borrow from RBI, and we can print notes. After all, Banks are having huge deposits but not lending. The average deposit growth is 10%, whereas the average advances have grown by only 5%.

RBI is also saying that consumer confidence is going down. Banks are only renewing existing loans with addition of interest. Some Mudra loans and loans to vendors are given. This is not adequate at all. Against 4 crore MSME enterprises hardly 40 lakhs got loan benefits which is also inadequate.

In spite of Public Sector Banks doing a yeomen services, disbursing direct benefit transfers, Insurance schemes, all Govt schemes and lost more than 1300 employees, NITI AAYOG is still talking of Privatisation which is going to lead to disaster.

The Supreme Court, the opposition parties and well-meaning opinion makers have forced the PM to come out with a Vaccination Policy. Even now, a 25% quota for the private sector could lead to the better off getting vaccine on time at the cost of the poor.

Even now the PM is not ready to give Vaccine Production to the 12 units including the Integrated Vaccine Complex, Chengelpattu, Tamil Nadu. We could have done far better. The PM uttered a lie in his speech saying, now we have become leader in Vaccine whereas we were the leaders in Vaccine before the Pandemic supplying Vaccine and Medicine to 150 countries in the world and covering 60% of Vaccine needs of the World.

In the last 7 years of NDA, the NPA has gone up to Rs.1143354 Cr out of which major component is large loans. The number of frauds has also gone up, mainly due to poor security in digital platforms.

What is needed now?

  1. Ask Banks to increase branches and staff and lend more to poor and lower middle class at concessional rate of Interest. Loans below Rs.5 lakh will make a lot of difference.
  2. Bear the Interest portion through interest subvention and reintroduce Interest subvention for Gold Loans.
  3. Allow restructuring of existing Loans where it is needed.  Except large loans above Rs.100 crores, all loans to be restructured case by case.
  4. Launch special long term loans for Health infrastructure, Housing, MSMEs, Youth, Women and Farmers.
  5. Announce that No Privatisation of Banks in near future and 5-day week for Bankers which will enthuse and energize them.
  6. Introduce Super Rich Tax.
  7. Reduce prices on Petrol, diesel & Gas helping people to spend on other things.
  8. Provide Rs.7500 to those who are not taxpayers per month for 6 months.
  9. Recruit more people in Govt, Public Sector undertakings and Banks.
  10. Above all, accept mistakes and dismantle Aniti Ayog and introduce a Development Council with well-meaning people as done in Tamilnadu by the new Chief Minister.

Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

Picture Courtesy: Insaniyat ka paigam/Facebook

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