New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the Union Budget for FY 2022 – 23 in the parliament on February 1. Ahead of the budget, industry experts share their expectations.
Promoting ease of doing business for MSMEs, optimizing the retail supply chain, and setting up a retail framework in form of the proposed National Retail Trade policy are some of the recommendations.
“MSMEs continue to be the backbone for economic growth. In a bid to boost local manufacturing and promote self-reliance, we could expect the budget to focus on the growth of small and medium enterprises as they can support the nation’s need to generate significant employment,” said Harsha Razdan, Partner and Head, Consumer Markets and Internet Business, KPMG in India.
“Enabling entrepreneurship is key and changes such as simplifying compliance procedures, easing working capital requirements, and encouraging investments can energize the sector tremendously, “ he added.
Resonating the thought, Porus Doctor, Partner and Consumer Industry leader, Deloitte India shared, “To promote cross-border ecommerce from India, and to enable SMEs to export their products seamlessly to consumers worldwide through the online platforms, the government should look at easing documentation and other rules for export and return of products. This will encourage global ecommerce from India and pave the way for a robust multi-channel retail ecosystem in the country.”
He further added, “For growth in the hybrid capabilities, it is important for the government to make budgetary allocations and implement policies to support retail growth in India, including a common regulatory framework for retail across the whole country.”
“National Retail Trade policy has been a longstanding demand of the retail industry which does the rounds every year. The retail sector expects the government to accelerate and implement the national retail trade policy to streamline the growth of all formats of retail trade and remove the distinction between e-commerce and physical retail,” said Doctor.
The proposed retail trade policy is in talks and as per reports, its draft is expected to be shared soon for public comments.
Recently, sharing Budget 2022 wishlist, Preet Dhupar, CFO of the Indian arm of furniture retailer, Ikea, said “We look forward to the roll-out of the National Retail policy, bring offline and online retail into a single policy framework, reduce the compliance and regulatory burden, give industry status to retail along with financial incentives to large scale projects.”
“The government has proposed to implement a national retail trade policy. We could expect the policy to look at digital inclusion, technology investments, and skill upgradation as key elements of retail growth and augmenting job opportunities,” said Razdan from KPMG in India, on National Retail Policy.
“However, implementation of the policy and its framework in the real spirit will be critical, ” he added.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday said that global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows showed a strong rebound in 2021, up 77% to an estimated $1.65 trillion, from $929 billion in 2020, surpassing their pre-Covid-19 level.
As per the report, flows to India were 26% lower, mainly because large merger and acquisition deals recorded in 2020 were not repeated.
As per the UNCTAD Investment Trends Monitor, the outlook for global FDI in 2022 is positive.
“The 2021 rebound growth rate is unlikely to be repeated. The underlying trend – net of conduit flows, one-off transactions and intra-firm financial flows –will remain relatively muted, as in 2021,” it said.
The Geneva-based organisation said that international project finance in infrastructure sectors will continue to provide growth momentum.
“The protracted duration of the health crisis with successive new waves of the pandemic continues to be a major downside risk. The pace of vaccinations, especially in developing countries, as well as the speed of implementation of infrastructure investment stimulus, remain important factors of uncertainty,” UNCTAD said.
Other important risks, including labour and supply chain bottlenecks, energy prices and inflationary pressures will also affect results, according to the agency.
Country mix China saw a record $179 billion of inflows – a 20% increase – driven by strong services FDI. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN resumed its role as an engine of growth for FDI in Asia and globally, with inflows up 35%and increases across most members.
Developed economies saw the biggest rise by far, with FDI reaching an estimated $777 billion in 2021 – three times the exceptionally low level in 2020, UNCTAD said.
FDI flows in developing economies increased by 30% to nearly $870 billion, with a growth acceleration in East and South-East Asia (+20%), a recovery to near pre-pandemic levels in Latin America and the Caribbean, and an uptick in West Asia. Inflows in Africa also rose.
After two years of the pandemic, 52 per cent of small businesses witnessed a positive impact on their business once economies began to reopen, said a survey by PayPal. The survey “MSME Digital Readiness Survey” stated that 29 per cent of the MSMEs found that the business environment in India became more favourable for online sales and for 31 per cent the cross-border opportunity was promising.
The survey further added that there’s been a shift in consumer behaviour induced by the lockdowns. It has paved way for purchasing from virtual stores. MSMEs have positively seen a 65 per cent increase in online buying from customers and close to 80 per cent shared that their consumers are more receptive to using different payments options.
The ease, accessibility and adoption of digital methods has led 51 per cent of MSMEs to see an increase in spending from existing customers while 46 per cent witnessed an increase in repeat purchases.
Going forward building an owned online presence is a key priority. Currently, 66 per cent of MSMEs use social media as an online selling channel, followed by marketplace (62 per cent), company owned platforms i.e. app (61 per cent), own ecommerce website (54 per cent) and third party ecommerce platforms (54 per cent).
Unlike third-party platforms, owned company channels typically provide business owners with more flexibility, control and freedom when selling online. With the change in consumer behaviour, businesses are also shifting their priority -intentions to adopt a company ecommerce website and company owned platforms to engage in online selling are highest at 29 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.
This is important for India’s MSMEs as 49 per cent of respondents express a keen interest in developing their own website or app. However, this independence does bring with it some concerns, most notably the availability of technical expertise. Over half of the respondents (56 per cent) who do not currently sell on their own channels cited a lack of technical knowledge as being the number one barrier.
Social media to be a key growth enabler for businesses; competition propelling adoption found the survey. Digital has been a key growth driver for Indian small businesses. Like Singapore and Hong Kong, social media is the most popular online selling channel. It has been noted that 26 per cent of those who are already selling on social media began to do so during the pandemic and 56 per cent of surveyed MSMEs saw it as a key driver for growth in the last 12-months.
Close to 100 per cent Indian MSMEs agree that cross border trade must be a business priority over the next year. Adoption of cross-border in India is high – 64 per cent of the merchants had adopted cross-border before the pandemic while 35 per cent did during the pandemic. Out of all, 86 per cent MSMEs selling globally claimed that they recorded growth in cross border trade during COVID-19. Much of this success can be attributed to the reopening of other economies and positive sentiment from global consumers. 94 per cent recognized that transcending borders results in growth and are making cross-border trade a business priority moving forward.
Digital payments and technology backed seamless check-out experience are a focus area says Indian MSMEs. More and more Indian MSMEs embrace digital, investment into their digital journey has become a key priority. 98 per cent of the surveyed businesses have expressed an interest to invest in more payment options. Of this, 95 per cent are looking to introduce newer ways of payment and 89 per cent are keen on optimizing card payments. This is followed by optimization of services to accept digital wallets like PayPal (70 per cent).
An emerging area of interest for small businesses is the check-out experience they provide to customers. Close to 40 per cent are planning to invest towards improving the checkout and payment process in order to increase sales. The key reasons to do so as stated by the small businesses is to accept payment from new digital sales channels (60 per cent), integrate loyalty schemes (57 per cent), expand new, local payment methods to sell cross border (56 per cent), amongst others.
With increased competition, businesses are ghting for a consumers share of wallets. 49 per cent of Indian MSMEs surveyed will invest in technology to oer a better customer experience. A seamless check-out experience will mean increased customer loyalty as well as the ability to expand their consumer base.
The survey was conducted between October and November 2021, and is based on responses by 250 business decision makers of India’s MSME segment, which are dened as having an annual turnover of INR 5 to less than 250 crore. The businesses show an average turnover of INR 123 crore and an average employee size of 386 persons. The sample endorses a mix of industry, mainly comprising the Services (36 per cent), Production (28 per cent) and Retail & Hospitality (16 per cent) sector.
India and UK formally launched talks last week for concluding FTA by early 2023. Richard Heald – Executive Chair, UK India Business Council in a wide ranging interview to ET said by making more investments, businesses in both countries stand to gain a lot. The UK is one of the world’s largest economies, home to many of the world’s greatest universities and research centers, and world class legal and regulatory institutions, Heald said, adding, FTA will enormously help to maximize that opportunity and make it easier for UK businesses to trade and invest there.
How do you see India as an investment destination? India today presents a great investment destination to any international business, thanks to its large economy, huge consumer market, and abundant skills and talent. What is even more exciting though is the potential. Economists predict it will be the world’s 3rd largest economy and 3rd largest consumer market by 2030. Strengths in manufacturing, digital and IT, and across the economy are increasingly evident and as such it is an extremely exciting place to be.
UK businesses are already deeply rooted in India, with 500-strong UK businesses operating in India, employing more than 400,000 people. Many of these businesses are looking to expand in India, and many UK businesses not yet invested are keen to do so when the time is right. That time is now as an FTA will enormously help to maximize that opportunity and make it easier for UK businesses to trade and invest there.
What are the top areas that UKIBC wants India and the UK to focus on? hat are some of the key recommendations from UK business? From extensive UKIBC consultations carried out last year across 20 roundtables and involving around 200 companies, it is clear that businesses in both countries, across all sectors, have high hopes for the FTA negotiations.
In particular, there are three mains recommendations that businesses would like:
1. Business want to see a reduction in taris, for example in food and drink and healthcare. 2. They want to see a greater alignment of standards and simplified customs procedures. 3. And businesses want to see alignment of data protection rules and IP practices, so as to realize the full potential of the India-UK partnership, particularly in the innovative, R&D-intensive sectors that will drive the partnership in the years and decades to come.
It was very welcoming to hear from Minister Shri Piyush Goyal at the launch on the importance that both Governments and businesses hold for data free ow, and use of data as a tool to expand digital space. That is absolutely right.
International supply chains are increasingly digital and, as such, the facilitation of digital trade, which can be achieved through alignment of data protection rules and an India-UK data adequacy agreement, is thus critical.
This is a trading agreement being negotiated in a completely different world to two years prior, with hundreds of millions of people around the world working from home in that time. Services like education, healthcare, shopping, and banking are increasingly done on digital platforms. So, it is more important than ever to create the frameworks that allow digital services to flourish.
A final point I would like to make here is that businesses are also interested in an interim, or early harvest deal. But they want this to be a building block to a comprehensive deal that will really transform the bilateral partnership, enabling the governments to hit their target of doubling trade to £50 billion by 2030.
This approach of reaching an “early harvest agreement” would: capitalize on the excellent momentum already created by the Governments; it would lock-in wins and deliver economic benefits on an ongoing basis; and it would build the trust, confidence and momentum that may be needed to overcome more difficult issues in the medium- and long-term.
It is notable that “Ease of Doing Business” has been featured as a prominent discussion area among the UK businesses. How do you see that improving in the future basis your discussions with DIT & GoI? Ease of doing business goes hand in hand with FTA type issues and remains a vital enabler of greater cooperation. As well as an attractive market as discussed in your previous question, business also needs regulatory certainty and a sound operating environment, namely “ease of doing business”. There are still challenges to overcome, as indeed there are in every country, but huge progress has been made in recent years, and I applaud the Government of India on the great work it has done to improve the ease of doing business to date. These reforms have received a positive reception from businesses and is key to attracting investors.
Moving forwards, in all our discussions with various Ministries and Departments in both Governments, officials reiterated their continued commitment to upholding the ease of doing business and have been willing to engage with businesses, listen to their feedback and take that forward for a win-win. The better the operating environment, the greater the level of investment, put simply.
Most recently, the UKIBC launched our 7th Annual Doing Business in India Report in December 2021 and presented it to both Governments. There, we describe the key challenges that businesses are facing and their reform priorities. It has been most welcome that DPIIT and others across the GoI have engaged so heartedly with us on this so the signs are positive, and we will continue to engage with both Governments in the future.
The rationale of having India-UK FTA. How does it help India in having FTA with the UK?
By making more investments, businesses in both countries stand to gain a lot. The UK is one of the world’s largest economies, home to many of the world’s greatest universities and research centers, and world-class legal and regulatory institutions. An Indian business interested in the UK could thus gain access to the UK’s world-class workforce, regulatory and legislative environment, and large market if it were to act upon its interest.
In particular, the UK remains a leading financial center. Expertise in the STEM areas is also a great opportunity for collaboration and partnerships in engineering, manufacturing, and infrastructure, both for industry and academia and research. Not only for economic development, but these areas will also be crucial for overcoming the great issues of our time such as climate change.
For consumers, a closer trading relationship will help to make more high-quality products available. There are many mutual benefits that both our countries will gain by working together.
India is forecast to grow at 6.5 per cent in fiscal year 2022, a decline from the 8.4 per cent GDP estimate in previous financial year, and while the country’s economic recovery is on a “solid path” amid rapid vaccination progress, coal shortages and high oil prices could put the brakes on economic activity in the near term, the UN said on Thursday.
The flagship United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2022 report, launched here, said that India’s GDP is forecast to grow at 6.5 per cent in fiscal year 2022, a contraction from the estimated growth of 8.4 per cent in fiscal year 2021.
Growth is projected to further slow down to 5.9 per cent in the financial year 2023, the report said.
On a calendar year basis, the report says that India’s GDP is projected to expand by 6.7 per cent in 2022 after a 9 per cent expansion in calendar year 2021, as base effects wane.
GDP growth for the country is forecast to slow down to 6.1 per cent in calendar year 2023, the report said.
“India’s economic recovery is on a solid path, amid rapid vaccination progress, less stringent social restrictions and still supportive fiscal and monetary stances,” the report said.
The report noted that for India, robust export growth and public investments underpin economic activity, but high oil prices and coal shortages could put the brakes on economic activity in the near term.
“It will remain crucial to encourage private investment to support inclusive growth beyond the recovery,” it added.
It added that while still vulnerable, India is in a better position to navigate financial turbulence compared to its situation during the “taper tantrum” episode after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
This is due to a stronger external position and measures to minimise risks to bank balance sheets. In the medium-term, scarring effects from higher public and private debt or permanent impacts on labour markets could reduce potential growth and prospects for poverty reduction.
In India, inflation is expected to decelerate throughout 2022, continuing a trend observed since the second half of 2021 when relatively restrained food prices compensated for higher oil prices.
A sudden and renewed rise in food inflation, however, due to unpredictable weather, broader supply disruptions and higher agricultural prices, could undermine food security, reduce real incomes and increase hunger across the region.
The report said that the global economic recovery is facing significant headwinds amid new waves of COVID-19 infections, persistent labour market challenges, lingering supply-chain challenges and rising inflationary pressures.
After expanding by 5.5 per cent in 2021, the global output is projected to grow by only 4.0 per cent in 2022 and 3.5 per cent in 2023.
“In this fragile and uneven period of global recovery, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2022 calls for better targeted and coordinated policy and financial measures at the national and international levels,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
“The time is now to close the inequality gaps within and among countries. If we work in solidarity – as one human family – we can make 2022 a true year of recovery for people and economies alike,” he said.
With the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 unleashing new waves of infections, the human and economic toll of the pandemic are projected to increase again.
“Without a coordinated and sustained global approach to contain COVID-19 that includes universal access to vaccines, the pandemic will continue to pose the greatest risk to an inclusive and sustainable recovery of the world economy,” Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said.
In India, a deadly wave of infection with the Delta variant stole 240,000 lives between April and June 2021 and disrupted economic recovery.
“Similar episodes could take place in the near term,” the report said.
It also noted the “important step” taken by India to commit to 50 per cent of its energy mix coming from renewable sources by 2030 and to reaching net-zero emissions by 2070.
India’s economy was expanding at a steady pace in November, a month that saw the omicron variant of coronavirus induce fresh concerns about risks to the recovery.
All eight high-frequency indicators tracked by Bloomberg News were steady last month, keeping the needle on a dial measuring the so-called ‘Animal Spirits’ unchanged at 5. The level was arrived at by using the three-month weighted average readings to smooth out volatility in the single-month scores.
But the pace of activity — based on indicators from demand for services to factory output — faces threats from rising cases of the omicron variant, first detected in South Africa toward the end of last month. While the Reserve Bank of India this month kept its full-year growth forecast steady at 9.5%, Governor Shaktikanta Das sounded caution, saying “it is too premature to gauge” the effects of the new strain at this stage.
There are no economy-crippling restrictions yet, but the capital New Delhi canceled all Christmas and New Year’s festivities and joined some other states in reimposing night curfew as cases ticked up. The federal government separately announced widening the vaccination drive to include most teenagers and providing booster shots to vulnerable sections.
Below are details of the dashboard. (For an alternative gauge of growth trends, follow Bloomberg Economics’ monthly GDP tracker — a weighted index of 11 indicators.)
Business Activity Activity in India’s dominant services sector expanded for the fourth consecutive month, while the manufacturing purchasing managers index climbed to 57.6 — the best showing since January, according to IHS Markit. That helped lift the composite index to the highest level in about a decade, with new orders also notching their top reading since February 2012.
Exports Exports grew 27% year-on-year in November, slower than the 43% pace seen in the previous month. Imports rose 57%, reflecting a surge in demand for gold, iron and steel, machinery and electronic goods as economic activity rebounds.
Consumer Activity Passenger car sales fell for a third straight month, as the global chip shortage hit production. That hiccup apart, RBI data showed demand for bank credit grew 7% in November from a year earlier, reflecting momentum in consumption trends. Liquidity conditions still showed a surplus last month, implying easy credit availability.
Industrial Activity Industrial production expanded 3.2% in October from a year earlier, a slower pace than during the first five months of the fiscal year as the favorable base effect wears off.
Output at infrastructure industries, which makes up 40% of the industrial production index, expanded 7.5% in October. Both data are published with a one-month lag.
The world economy is set to surpass $100 trillion for the first time in 2022, two years earlier than previously forecast, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Global gross domestic product will be lifted by the continued recovery from the pandemic, although if inflation persists it may be hard for policy makers to avoid tipping their economies back into recession, the London-based think tank said.
“The important issue for the 2020s is how the world economies cope with inflation,” said Douglas McWilliams, the CEBR’s deputy chairman. “We hope that a relatively modest adjustment to the tiller will bring the non-transitory elements under control. If not, then the world will need to brace itself for a recession in 2023 or 2024.”
The forecast is in line with estimates of the International Monetary Fund, which also predicts global GDP measured in dollars and in current prices will pass $100 trillion in 2022.
In its annual World Economic League Table, the CEBR also predicted:
China will overtake the U.S. in 2030, two years later than forecast a year ago India will regain sixth position from France next year and become third largest economy in 2031, a year later the previously predicted The U.K. is on track to be 16% larger than France in 2036 despite Brexit Germany will overtake the Japanese economy in 2033 Climate change will lower consumer spending by $2 trillion a year on average through 2036 as companies pass on the cost of decarbonizing investment.
The Indian economy “continues to forge ahead, emerging out of shackles of pandemic,” but the rise of the Omicron variant has emerged as the biggest risk factor, said the state of the economy report released with the December bulletin of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday.
The Indian economy bounced back strongly in the second quarter, as the gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed its pre-pandemic levels, and inflation broadly remained under the 6 per cent range, the upper band of the tolerance range of the RBI. The RBI’s medium-term target is to keep retail inflation at 4 per cent. In November, the retail inflation came at 4.91 per cent, but wholesale price index (WPI), which it no longer targets, came at a 12 year high of 14.23 per cent.
“A host of incoming high frequency indicators are looking upbeat and consumer confidence is gradually returning. Aggregate demand conditions point to sustained recovery, albeit, with some signs of sequential moderation,” the report said.
Farm sector is strong, while the “manufacturing and services record strong improvement on strengthening demand conditions and surge in new business,” the report said, adding high frequency indicators are also looking upbeat. The daily infections have tapered and the inoculation rate has gathered steam.
Consumer confidence is gradually returning, and the “overall outlook remains optimistic on the general economic situation, the employment scenario and household income.” RBI’s recent surveys show for the year ahead, consumers are buoyed by sentiments on income and employment.
Revenue collections under the goods and services tax (GST) in November was the second highest ever although e-way bill issuances moderated somewhat pointing to moderation in GST collections in the month ahead. On the other hand, toll collections remained resilient in November. Coal stock in power plants has risen to nine days, assuaging concerns on supply shortages.
While both international and domestic cargo freight normalised in November, and passenger traffic has been gathering steam during the festive season, “new travel guidelines coming in the wake of Omicron might derail the nascent growth,” the report said.
Expenditure by the centre and 18 states together during November-March 2021-22 is expected to grow by 27 per cent, assuming states meet their budgeted targets. Similarly, capital expenditure is expected to grow by 54 per cent in this period.
“The higher revenue expenditure growth, a proxy of government final consumption expenditure, is expected to support economic recovery, while robust capex could crowd in private investment and improve medium-term growth prospects,” the RBI noted.
“Going forward, the emergence of the Omicron strain has heightened the uncertainty in the global macroeconomic environment, accelerating risks to global trade with resumption of travel restrictions/ quarantine rules at major ports and airports,” the report said. This looming threat “calls for observing greater caution and readiness to respond swiftly.”
According to the RBI, the ongoing supply-side constraints are likely to keep input prices and freight rates at elevated levels and could act as a “drag on overall exports.”
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said India’s merchandise export is set to touch an all-time high of $400 billion during the current financial year, driven by sharp uptick in shipments. As per a preliminary trade data, India’s merchandise exports in April-November 2021 was at $262.46 billion, an increase of 50.71 per cent over $174.15 billion in the same period of the previous financial year.
“Our exports have consistently crossed $30 billion for the last eight months. We are now at about $262 billion of exports versus $290 billion in the 12 months of last year. So, by the ninth month, we would have crossed last year’s export, and we hope to do a record export of $400 billion,” Goyal said.
Speaking at the CII Partnership Summit 2021, he said India’s imports too are growing and thus providing opportunities to other countries to expand business and international trade with India.
Imports during April-November 2021, grew by 75.39 per cent to $384.44 billion.
“India on its part is showing sharp economic recovery and various indicators are pointing to a bounce back in our work in our industry, manufacturing sector, agriculture, technology and also shaping up of preparing a platform for a decade of huge growth,” he added.
Referring to COVID-19, Goyal said India tried its best to meet all international commitments and supported countries through supply of vaccines, medical supplies, and masks, among others.
He assured that India will continue to support friendly nations.
“… During the COVID period, we have focused our attention on our neighbourhood on our region to ensure that all our friendly countries get adequate medical supplies,” the minister said.
Highlighting that India has already administered about 1.3 billion doses to its citizens so far, Goyal stressed that India is ready to support every friendly country with vaccines, or medical supplies.
He also invited investments from other countries to India.
“India is shaping up for a decade of growth. I would like to invite the world to work with India in a spirit of partnership,” he said.
Goyal suggested focusing on six areas to build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient ecosystem to further promote partnership with other countries. The six areas include trade agreements, investments, and promoting ease of doing business.
India was the fastest growing major economy in the world during the second quarter of the current financial year.
However, not all growth rates were taken on a year-on-year basis as is the practice in India. Most advanced economies calculate it on a quarter-on-quarter basis. While India’s economy still has to recover compared to the pre-Covid economic activities at a reasonable rate, the story around the world is no different. For instance, commenting on China’s growth, Fu Linghui, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, said, “Since entering the third quarter, domestic and overseas risks and challenges have increased.”
Similarly, the world’s largest economy, the US, showed a growth rate of 2.1 per cent during the quarter against 6.3 per cent in the previous quarter. The UK recovery also slowed down to just 1.3 per cent during the quarter, compared to 5.5 per cent in the previous one. Japan’s economy shrank by three per cent during this period, compared to 1.5 per cent growth during April-June, 2021.