Indians are borrowing more but saving less, reveals RBI data

News Network
September 26, 2023


A dip in Indian households' net financial savings due to elevated debt threatens to choke major sources of funds for the government's capital investments, key for the nation to retain its mantle of the fastest-growing major economy, according to a report published by Bloomberg News. 

In its latest data, the Reserve Bank of India stated household financial assets, including bank deposits, cash, and equity investments, after deducting debt servicing and consumption, eased to 5.1% of gross domestic product in the fiscal year ended March from 7.2% in the previous year. 

This level is the lowest since the fiscal year ended March 2007 and will crimp resources for the rest of the economy, as per calculations done by IndusInd Bank Ltd.'s Chief Economist Gaurav Kapur. 

In absolute terms, net household financial savings added stood at ₹22.8 trillion in FY21 and it came down to ₹16.9 trillion in FY22 and to ₹13.75 trillion in FY23.

The report also stated that the Indian government depends on these savings to finance its capital investments in physical assets such as infrastructure, machinery, and equipment, Bloomberg reported. 

While savings increased for many households globally during the pandemic, most used up the resultant extra spending power as COVID-19 curbs ended.

Saugata Bhattacharya economist at Axis Bank Ltd said, "Household financial savings not keeping pace with growth is a matter of concern. Without adequate domestic savings, funding the needed investment will require large foreign capital, which is often volatile."

“The household sector is consuming by borrowing more. This happens when the income level stays stagnant but inflation creeps up. The recovery is not broad-based — while a section splurges on luxury goods, others are borrowing to stay afloat," said Rupa Rege Nitsure economist with L&T Finance Holdings Ltd. as quoted by Bloomberg. 

More than 300 million Indian households have seen debt levels increase following aggressive lending tactics by banks after the pandemic. The rise in financial liabilities with falling asset levels could be a sign of rising inequality. 

The finance ministry, meanwhile, sought to dispel worries expressed by economists about the declining trend of financial savings of households saying it signaled a shift in their investment preference for non-financial assets. 

Investments into financial instruments are often guided by factors like risk perception, financial literacy, and easy liquidity while purchases of physical assets like houses and gold are often based on the need for these assets, their potential for appreciation, and cultural factors.


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News Network
November 24,2023


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the UN climate talks in Dubai on December 1 and deliver a national statement highlighting India's climate action, sources said on Friday.

The prime minister will reach the UAE on November 30, deliver India's national statement during the United Nations' World Climate Action Summit on December 1 and return the same day, a source told PTI.

The World Climate Action Summit on December 1-2 will see heads of states and governments, leaders from civil society, business, youth, indigenous peoples' organizations, frontline communities, science and other sectors discussing actions and plans aimed at scaling climate action. 

Modi has been championing Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE movement), urging countries to adopt planet-friendly living practices and move away from deeply consumerist behaviours.

Recognising the criticality of this decade (2021-2030) for climate action, there's a call for rebalancing consumption patterns between the Global North and South.

Differences in historic emissions and contributions to global warming across nations are evident. For instance, while the US accounts for only 4 per cent of the current global population, it contributed 17 per cent of global emissions between 1850 and 2021. In contrast, India, representing 18 per cent of the world's population, has contributed only 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to date.

According to Oxfam International, a group of independent charitable organisations, the world's wealthiest 10 per cent were responsible for around half of global emissions in 2015. 

Modi had attended the Glasgow climate talks in 2021 and announced India's strategy to combat climate change.

In August last year, India updated nationally determined contributions or nation action plan to achieve the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, especially the target of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius.    

India's updated NDCs aim to reduce emissions intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav will also participate in high-level events and roundtables of the 28th session of the annual climate talks (COP28), including on finance for climate goals, emissions reduction, adaptation to climate impacts, and transitioning to a green economy with inclusivity.

COP28, scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, UAE, will see the conclusion of the first-ever 'global stocktake', a periodic review of collective progress to meet the Paris Agreement goals.  This assessment will shape forthcoming climate action plans or NDCs by 2025.

The climate conference may see hectic negotiations on how the fund meant to provide financial support to developing and poor countries for climate impacts should operate, and funding for adaptation. 

The global south would demand the global north to undertake rapid decarbonization and massively scale up finance and technology support to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Discontent among developing countries regarding unfulfilled promises of financial aid, particularly the yet-to-materialize $100 billion pledged by rich countries by 2020, is expected.

Some countries, especially the European Union, are expected to push for a global deal to phase out unabated fossil fuels at COP28.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of top climate scientists in the world. 

Global emissions need to drop 43 per cent below 2019 levels by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, caused largely by GHG emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

In October, Sultan Al Jaber, the president designate of COP28, urged nations to achieve a responsible phase-down of unabated fossil fuels and increase investments in clean energy. 

'Unabated' refers to fossil fuels burned without employing controversial carbon emission capture technologies, allowing for continued burning if countries utilize technologies to reduce resulting emissions.


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News Network
November 27,2023


The US military says Yemeni Armed Forces have fired two ballistic missiles in the direction of USS Mason, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, in the Gulf of Aden.

In a statement, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the destroyer was targeted early Monday morning local time after it aided the tanker ship Central Park that had been seized in the Gulf of Aden.

“The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately ten nautical miles from the ships,” the statement added.

“There was no damage or reported injuries from either vessel during this incident,” it claimed.

The Central Park was carrying phosphoric acid and had an international crew of 22, The Associated Press reported. It sent a distress signal prompting the US aircraft USS Mason to respond.

The tanker ship sails under the Liberian flag and is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer's Zodiac Group. 

Earlier this month, the Yemeni Armed Forces seized a vehicle transport ship also linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen.

They have threatened to attack Israeli ships in the waters off Yemen and launched drone and missile strikes targeting the occupied territories in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel waged a war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group conducted Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since the start of the aggression, the Tel Aviv regime has killed nearly 15,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and left vast swathes of the coastal enclave in ruins.

It has also imposed a “complete siege” on the coastal sliver, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.


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News Network
November 22,2023


Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said his decision to do justice to the disadvantaged communities, by accepting the report of the Socio-Economic and Education Survey, popularly known as the "caste census", is unwavering. His statement is seen as significant as the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes chairperson is expected to submit the report to the state government this month.

"I fully agree with our proud leader Rahul Gandhi's stand. I feel that the country's independence will be meaningful only when the caste census is conducted across the country and based on its report, "equal share for all - equal rights for all" is ensured," Siddaramaiah posted on 'X'.

"My decision to do justice to the disadvantaged communities, by accepting the report of the Economic, Social and Educational Survey conducted by our previous government, is unwavering," he said while commenting on Gandhi's statement regarding conducting caste census at the national level if the Congress forms the government at the Centre.

Raising the caste census pitch, describing it as an 'X-ray' of the country, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, while addressing an election rally in Udaipur, said the Congress will conduct caste census in Rajasthan if it comes to power and also do so at the national level if it's voted to office at the Centre.

With pressure mounting on his government, from a certain section, to make public the state's socio-economic and educational survey, following Bihar government releasing findings of its caste survey recently, Siddaramaiah had so far been maintaining that a decision will be taken once he receives the report -- which is expected later this month.

The then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2015 had commissioned the social-economic and educational survey, at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore in the state, the findings of which have not been made public yet.

The state Backward Classes Commission under its then chairperson H Kantharaj was tasked with preparing a caste census report.

However, with strong disapproval from two dominant communities -- Lingayats and Vokkaligas -- the survey report may turn out to be a political hot potato for the government, as it may set the stage for a confrontation, with Dalits and OBCs among others demanding for it to be made public.

Lingayats, led by All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, which is the apex body of Veerashaiva-Lingayats, have expressed disapproval about the survey calling it unscientific, and demanded conduct of a fresh survey; while Vokkaliga leaders at a meeting, which was also attended by Deputy CM D K Shivakumar and prominent seers from the community recently, passed a resolution urging the government to "reject" the caste census.

On the other hand, federations representing Dalits, tribals and other backward classes (OBC) have demanded that the findings of a caste census, kept under wraps, be made public.

Accusing both the dominant communities of trying to block the caste census from coming out, leaders of the Karnataka State Backward Castes Federation and the Karnataka Marginalised Communities Federation have threatened to hold agitations.

On his part, K Jayaprakash Hegde, the current chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, has already said he would submit the caste census report to the state government in November.

According to some analysts, successive governments have been shying away from releasing it as the findings of the survey are allegedly contrary to the "traditional perception" of the numerical strength of various castes in Karnataka, especially the dominant Lingayats and Vokkaligas, making it a political hot potato.

Political parties in the state have indulged in a blame game for not accepting the survey and not making it public.

Officials have also cited the then member-secretary of the State Commission for Backward Classes not signing the final report, as the technical hurdle that has hindered the release of the report earlier.

They said the caste census report is currently with the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, and once it submits it, the cabinet would take a call.


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