News India Times – that’s all you need to know India News India Times December 10, 2021 18 India Grows Fastest Among Major Economies, Omicron Risks Seen -NEW DELHI I ndia grew at the fastest pace of any major economy in the July-September quarter but economists said disrup- tions from the emerging Omicron coronavirus variant risked slowing the recovery, especially given India’s low vac- cination rates. Asia’s third-largest economy has rebounded strongly from last year’s deep pandemic-induced slump, boosted by vaccinations and stronger government spending, economists said. But new CO- VID-19 variants, a global slowdown and rising manufacturing prices all pose risks to growth. Gross domestic product expanded 8.4% in the September quarter from a year earlier, statistics ministry data showed on Tuesday, in line with 8.4% growth predict- ed in a Reuters poll and compared with a 20.1% expansion in the previous quarter. “Data clearly shows that corporate income and profit are above the pre- pandemic level,” K.V. Subramanian, chief economist at the finance ministry told reporters after the data release. He said double-digit growth was expected in the current fiscal year, which ends in April 2022, with growth of 6.5% to 7% predicted for the following fiscal year. The International Monetary Fund has forecast 2021 economic growth of 9.5% in India compared to a forecast for China of 8%. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) mon- etary policy committee meets on Dec. 6-8. With households increasingly worried about inflation, policymakers are expect- ed to speed up measures to suck up excess liquidity before normalising interest rates. “With growth revival and sticky core inflation, we expect RBI to undertake phased withdrawal of liquidity and start raising the policy rates soon,” said Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities, Mumbai. Consumer spending – the main driver of the economy – rose 8.6% from a year earlier in July-September following 19.3% growth in previous quarter, Tuesday’s data showed. Manufacturing expanded 5.5% and farm output rose 4.5% during the three months to September, which bolstered the recovery as lower interest rates lifted consumer spending and investments. Investments rose 11% compared with growth of 55.3% in the previous quarter, while state spending jumped 8.7% after contracting nearly 5% in the April-June period. RISKS TO GROWTH Modi has rolled back three farm laws aimed at cutting subsidies and attracting investments while putting planned labor reforms on hold as his party faces growing criticism over rising distress among work- ers during the pandemic. Rising prices and falling rural wages risk denting consumer demand, analysts say. Real rural wages have contracted 3% so far in the current fiscal year, according to estimates, leading to declines in two- wheeler and tractor sales. Supply bottlenecks including chip shortages have also hit production of vehicles and other electronic goods. The emergence of the Omicron coro- navirus variant has led health authori- ties to tighten testing at Indian airports while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a review of plans to ease travel curbs. Private economists said the new CO- VID-19 variant could dampen hopes of recovery in tourism and other services, as only around 32% of the population has been fully vaccinated. “We need to watch out for any risks from the Omicron COVID variant and any escalation in supply disruptions due to stricter lockdowns across the globe,” said Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC Bank. - Reuters By Manoj Kumar and Aftab Ahmed IAICC Widens India Outreach, Launches Western Regional Headquarters In Mumbai I ndian American International Chamber of Com- merce (IAICC) officials headed by the CEO of IAICC, KV Kumar recently met with key Indian Government leaders, corporate officials, and US diplomats in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru in India, to discuss a number of critical issues that could benefit India and the United States. In New Delhi, a delegation comprising of Kumar, and the IAICC India Chairman, Anil Agarwal met with the Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, and discussed aspects of the development of transpor- tation and highways sectors in the US and India. The delegation also met with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Om Birla, Chairman of External Affairs Committee P.P. Chaudhary, and the Chief Protocol Officer of the Ministry of External Affairs, Nagesh Singh, and discussed strate- gies to enhance US-India relations in addition to working with other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. IAICC also launched itsWestern Regional Headquar- ters at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai. Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO of BSE & Chair- man, IAICC Corporate Advisory Board inaugurated the headquarters and delivered the keynote speech at the BSE Boardroom. Kumar, Malav Dani, Chairman of the IAICCWestern Regional Headquarters, Chirag Puru- shotham, IAICC Executive Board Member & Chairman, IAICC South India Chapter, Harold Brayman from the US Consulate in Mumbai, Saurabh Shah, President of Indo- American Chamber of Commerce, and other business leaders were present during the launch. At the launch ceremony, Kumar thanked Chauhan and the BSE for the opportunity and expressed optimism that the launch will benefit India and the US. During his keynote address, Chauhan said that the two countries will re-establish the importance of democracy together. According to him, the next 30 years will be crucial from a wealth creation perspective for India and the rest of the world – for prosperity across society. “The people-to- people interactions are fundamental to our relationship, and opening Chambers like IAICC will only improve the interactions and collaborations between these two coun- tries,” he urged. Dani said that inaugurating the headquarters marks a momentous step forward in bringing the two nations, on a path of collaboration and cooperation. Dani felt that integrating the two cultures to create a more sustainable future for citizens of both countries would be well ap- preciated. “During my recent trip to India, IAICC officials and I met several important people in India. I have also invited them for the IAICC’s 30th anniversary celebrations next year. IAICC has been playing an important role in promoting trade relations between India and the US for nearly three decades. The launch of the IAICCWestern Regional Headquarters and our outreach in India is a key step towards continuing IAICC’s sincere commitment in furthering India-US relations,” Kumar told News India Times. In Bangalore, a delegation comprising of Kumar, and Purushotham called on the Governor of Karnataka, Ta- warchand Gehlot at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru, to brief on IAICC’s activities. The Governor appreciated IAICC’s good work, pledged his support, and wished success for the Chamber’s future activities. Later, the delegation met with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chair of Biocon, and briefed her about IAICC and its activities at her office in Bengaluru. After touring the Biocon facility in Bangalore, Kumar described it as the one of the best maintained state-of-the-art-facility he had ever seen. In New Delhi, Kumar met with Aileen Nandi, Minister/ Counselor for Commercial Affairs, and Thomas Carnegie, Minister/Counselor, Economics, Trade & Information Technology Policy from the US Embassy, and discussed US India trade and strategic relationships. During the meeting they agreed to work together to enhance the relationship between the two countries. Kumar was also interviewed by Doordarshan, Na- tional News Channel of India, where he spoke about a wide range of important issues relating to India and the US. During the interview, he touched upon many areas including trade, defense, exchange of technology in transportation & highways, artificial Intelligence, small businesses, effects of the pandemic and its impact on women and minority owned businesses, increasing influ- ence of the Indian diaspora in the US and so on. IAICC also partnered with The All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and TheWorld Trade Center (WTC), Mumbai and signed MoUs withWTC, and AIAI. About the MoUs, Kumar, observed, “IAICC is proud about this special partnership. We look forward to further our rela- tions through mutual exchange of trade delegations and by encouraging business cooperation among Small and Medium Enterprise members.” Photos: IAICC From Left, IAICC CEO, KV Kumar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Om Birla, and IAICC India Chairman, Anil Agarwal in New Delhi. IAICC CEO, KV Kumar with the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi. By T.Vishnudatta Jayaraman