Friday, February 27, 2015

Cyber Risks

Hyderabad City Police commissioner in a press conference recently revealed that the city police registered 21,035 cyber crime cases in 2014 as against 19,011 in 2013 and 18,744 in 2012. A near ten per cent rise in just two years is a cause for alarm. The rise is attributed to the large scale use of technology and mobile phones.

Social media contributed significantly with the uploading of fake woman profiles, online payment frauds, blackmailing, hacking, skimming, identity theft and data theft etc. The police are trying to use technology again to track and trace the criminals. Global trends are no different although it cannot be a solace.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Budget Discussion - 1

My response to the above article is as follows and can also be seen in the Livemint discussions: 

GDP in itself is a poor indicator. It escapes several areas of income in the aggregation that has become the springboard for black money. For instance, all the waste and scrap dealers till date in all the cities deal only in cash. Several jewelry merchants take only self cheques from their clients and not account payee cheques. Several doctors doing private practice do not ever, ever give any receipt for the consultancy. Several leading advocates are no exception. Like this many areas still escape our GDP. All the ratios depend upon such aggregation as GDP suffer credibility.

Second, India's prism of planned economic development rested on the tripod of politics, poverty and patronage. We have traveled a long way from the erstwhile socialistic pattern of society. But inequities still persist. 

Areas which are the essential domain of public expenditure - universal education, health, safe drinking water and good sanitation moved to private or public-private domain. It is time that the government looks at what are its key responsible areas and provide resources adequately with periodical monitoring mechanisms as part of the Budget.

All the laws impacting on state finances should be subject to Regulatory Impact Assessment annually and the relative Report should be presented to the first session of the Parliament for discussion and modification.

Once these are done, the fiscal responsibility budgetary management exercise becomes simpler. The country is currently in transformation phase and this is the right time to plug all the loopholes in the existing system of monetary and fiscal management. 

It is good to recall John Stuart Mill: "It must always have been seen more or less distinctly, by political economists that the increase in wealth is not boundless: that at the end of what they term the progressive state lies the stationary state.."

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Budget Hopes and Hypes

Fiscal balance
Union Budget 2014-15 was more on aspirations. It had to address the legacy issues. But 2015-16 Budget in the wake of series of policy announcements by the NDA government during the last nine months has promised to be progressive and inspirational. The recent statements of FM leave more expectations on this count.

Notwithstanding the hope of the World Bank President the dragging growth in farm and manufacturing sectors is still a matter of great concern and this led to pragmatic low pitch by the RBI at 5.5-5.7 percent growth at the end of this fiscal.

Inflation has come down but the fundamentals are still weak; gross domestic savings has not improved markedly; credit has not picked up. The domestic food and vegetable prices are yet to record the type of decline that would give confidence to the RBI to tame further the lending rates.

The 14th Finance Commission handed over its Report to the President. Once it is tabled in the Budget session, the new formula of dispensation of resources among the States and Union and between the States and the sub-states would lead the budget formulations.

Expectations on the Finance Minister:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ten Point Agenda for MSMEs in Brand India way

New Year leaves many in hope with the MSMEs no exception. Their share in GDP at around 8% currently has prospects of moving to 15% by 2020 according to a KPMG-CII Study in October 2014. Hopes are built on the double digit growth of a few manufacturing sectors by that time and the FDI interventions in defense, pharma and infrastructure sectors. Not so encouraging, however, is the decline in credit growth in the manufacturing sector from 13.7%  a year ago to 7.3% in December 2014.

The Government has no doubt infused some confidence building measures, like a few start-up Funds for SC entrepreneurs, revisiting the definition of the MSMEs and credit policies. Action seems to be far slower than announcements. Even earlier there were 32 Funds announced for the sector at different points of time that did not create the impact one would expect.

At least ten things need to be done by the Government if the MSMEs should move to building brand image for India and they will be all in any case, Make-in-India only.