Business & Economy News: Churning with Promise, Bracing for Headwinds

Key findings include a significant decrease in wage aspirations among young rural women, substantial job losses in the informal manufacturing sector, and projections of robust economic growth contingent on declining inflation and repo rates.

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The Indian economy continues to demonstrate resilience, with promising signs across various sectors. This Business & Economy News Report, prepared by the TICE NEWS team using various media reports and press releases, delves deeper into the latest updates in industry, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, healthcare, and external trade, providing a comprehensive analysis for  businesses and investors.


Rural Women's Wage Aspirations Decline: India Must Address Pandemic's Lingering Effects

A recent World Bank study reveals the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 25% decrease in young rural women's wage aspirations. This highlights the need for targeted policies to empower this segment of the workforce. However, the overall economic outlook remains optimistic. Ashima Goyal, an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee, suggests India could achieve an 8% growth rate if inflation continues to decline and the nominal repo rate decreases. The Reserve Bank of India's current projection of a 7.2% GDP growth for the fiscal year is a positive indicator.

The government's proactive measures are further bolstering economic stability. The prepayment of Rs 2.69 lakh crore in market loans by 2025, originally scheduled for March 2026, demonstrates fiscal prudence. Additionally, the GST Council's move to waive interest and penalties on tax demands for past fiscal years, with the condition of full payment by March 2025, aims to reduce tax litigation and ease business operations. 


Industry: Innovation, Strategic Collaborations, and Challenges

The Indian government's focus on innovation and growth within the industrial sector is evident in several developments.The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has introduced new safety standards for electric vehicles, paving the way for a more robust and reliable EV ecosystem. This aligns with the government's push for sustainable transportation solutions.

Informal Manufacturing Sector Loses 5.4 Million Jobs


However, a recent report by the National Statistical Office (NSO) paints a concerning picture. The data reveals a significant decline in the informal manufacturing sector, with a loss of around 5.4 million jobs and 1.8 million establishments between July 2015-June 2016 and October 2022-September 2023. This highlights the need for targeted policies to address the challenges faced by the informal sector, which is a vital source of employment for millions of Indians.

Chinese Investments in Indian Companies

On the investment front, there seems to be a cautious resumption of joint ventures between Indian and Chinese firms. The recent approval for Haier Appliances India to invest in AC component manufacturing highlights this trend. Additionally, the Steel Ministry's efforts to expedite visa approvals for Chinese experts involved in Production Linked Incentive (PLI) projects showcase a pragmatic approach to attracting foreign expertise in critical sectors.


Smartphone Sales Impacted by Weather and Elections

While smartphone sales might be impacted by seasonal factors like heatwaves and elections in the June quarter, the long-term outlook remains positive. The growing demand for 5G devices is expected to mitigate the slowdown and propel the industry forward. To further bolster India's industrial capabilities, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is collaborating with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to create large Indian accounting firms that can compete with the global "Big Four." This focus on domestic talent development will be crucial for sustained industrial growth.

Agriculture: Empowering Farmers and Addressing Challenges


The pre-budget recommendations for direct transfer of fertilizer subsidies to farmers and exemption of agricultural inputs from GST showcase the government's focus on farmer welfare and agricultural sustainability. These measures, if implemented, could streamline subsidy distribution and reduce input costs for farmers. However, irregularities in Nafed's onion procurement operations highlight the need for robust agricultural market regulations to ensure fair prices for farmers and avoid disruptions in the strategic buffer creation process.

Infrastructure Projects Cost Overrun

The Indian infrastructure sector is experiencing high demand, leading to a rise in office space rents across major cities. This reflects a vibrant economy with increased business activity. However, an official report reveals a significant challenge – cost overruns in infrastructure projects. With 458 projects facing a combined cost overrun of Rs 5.71 lakh crore, addressing project planning, execution efficiency, and resource allocation will be crucial for timely completion of critical infrastructure.


Energy and Healthcare: Securing Resources and Ensuring Affordability

The Ministry of Mines' launch of the fourth tranche of auctions for critical and strategic mineral blocks ensures the availability of essential raw materials for various industries. This initiative will likely strengthen India's manufacturing capabilities and reduce dependence on foreign imports.

The government's expansion of the committee tasked with reforming drug and medical device pricing demonstrates its commitment to balancing affordability and industry growth. The inclusion of civil rights activists and consumer representatives in the committee highlights a people-centric approach to healthcare policy.

External Trade: Expanding Horizons

India's proactive approach to international trade is evident in its ongoing negotiations with South Korea to upgrade their existing free trade agreement. This upgraded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has the potential to significantly boost bilateral trade relations. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade's (DGFT) collaboration with the Department of Revenue to establish e-commerce hubs is another noteworthy initiative. By streamlining export processes, this could significantly increase India's current e-commerce export figure of $2 billion. Additionally, the eased rules for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) regarding waste metal disposal will facilitate smoother operations for units involved in reconditioning and repair activities.

India's economic landscape in June 2024 presents a mix of challenges and opportunities. The government's proactive measures and focus on key sectors like manufacturing, infrastructure, and agriculture position the country for continued growth. As the global economic environment evolves