Happy Diwali. During this fortnight, Bharatwasi celebrate the festival of lights. They pray to Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, in love and devotion for happiness and prosperity and pray for Her presence in the homes and work places with spirit to work with righteousness while having Narayan and Her in consciousness. Mother Lakshmi lives wherever Lord Vishnu, her spouse, is, and both of them reside in our consciousness. We worship Lord Ganesha who is the remover of all obstacles. He grants success, prosperity and happiness. He represents humility as He has a rat as His charioteer despite His bulky body. His mother Ma Durga has a lion, His father Lord Shiva a bull and His brother Lord Kartikeya a peacock as charioteers. All charioteers live amicably and perform their duties seriously. Lord Ganesha provides us with the lesson to respect our parents, as he is worshipped Sarvapratham (first) over all gods, goddesses, demi-gods and demi-goddesses. Utmost respect is given to parents by Lord Ganesha who had circled around His parents considering He would complete tours of all three universes (lokas).
What a unity in diversity! Nature provides diversity. We have to learn lessons from the family of Lord Shiva and live in harmony, with love and peace in the family. Unity is the strength of the family. Each member will have different fate, calibre, talent, spiritual strength and weakness. Lord Ganesha is worshiped globally to make an enterprise a success. Lord Kartikeya is worshipped as a destroyer of evil. He is the giver of strength, a symbol of non-attachment and love and unity of the family. Mother Lakshmi lives in the house of the pure and the righteous; those observing austerity and simplicity, engaging in the service of humanity, and are conscious of Lord Vishnu (Narayana). The mantra we chant is Om Namo Bhagwate Basudeo and Om Ma Laxmi Namo Namo. Mother Saraswati is expeller of ignorance, granter of wisdom, of power, talent, intuition, and the creative arts. All worship them irrespective of caste and religion. They are for all and each one is their child. Remember them not only in calamities but also in happiness and prosperity.
On October 2, homage was paid to Bapu Mahatma Gandhi on his birthday. He was an emissary of peace, truthfulness and social justice. He was a crusader of the independence of India through non-violence. Real homage would be to follow and imbibe his message of simplicity, austerity, truthfulness and faith and love in God.
Economy: Modi’s government is trying hard to boost the slow economy. Corporate tax rate cuts will not impact the fiscal deficit targets as government has other sources to make up for the shortfall.
Private investment is negligible. Bharat is in the grip of a debt crisis similar to the crisis of 2008. Businessmen, even large houses are in the spree of debt reduction. Almost all manufacturing sectors like steel, cement, auto, and tyres are having unutilised over-capacity burden with heavy debts. Corporate tax cut will not boost investment. Even little surplus will be used to reduce debts. No businessman is in the mood for expansion or new venture. Many have burnt their fingers due to large expansion resulting in over capacity and facing larger imports. Reliance Jio have borrowed heavily. Now they are also paying off debts. Other telecom companies have been in crisis due to Jio’s aggressive expansion strategy. Situation is worse than that of the crisis in 2008.
GDP’s estimate is revised to 6.1% for 2019-20 from 6.9%. BE has opined earlier that for inclusive and sustainable development and to boost the falling economic growth, authorities, politicians and judiciary have to take righteous and honest decisions without fear, believing in God who would conspire to help them in their honest decisions. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari advocated for quick decisions by the judiciary, banks and the governments along with immunity from retribution for bona-fide decisions which did not eventually click due to change of time, circumstances, global conditions and market. Nation should acknowledge their honest intentions to help the Nation to accelerate growth, create jobs, and combat poverty.
NBFCs: NBFCs fund is stuck in the real estates and home finance due to lack of demand resulting in default of by developers and home buyers. RBI Governor, Shakti Kanta Das has said that the RBI is monitoring NBFCs. Banks are also signing inter-creditors agreements and trying to restructure loans. It is trying its best to ensure that no systemically important NBFC fails. The value of assets of NBFCs is much more than liabilities. The value of assets is at the bottom, due to depressed market, less demand, unemployment and large-scale retrenchment of work forces. What is the use of pushing them to sickness, and then to threaten them? Preventive measures are required. Banks should lower simple rates of interest, not compound them and extend the working capital to pay debts. NBFCs should be allowed to access public deposits. Systemically important NBFCs should be ideally allowed to selectively merge or acquire private banks or themselves convert into banks, provided they conform to the ‘fit and proper’ guidelines laid out by RBI.
Crisis in this sector is not deep-rooted as rumoured or as has been perceived by some people. Out of over Rs. 20 lakh crore of finance by NBFCs, hardly Rs. 1 lakh crore would be stressed. Stress is mainly due to non-performance of many sectors.
GST: To boost the consumption, government should have 5%, 8%, and 10% GST rates. However, 28% GST can be on addiction causing goods like alcohol, tobacco, and cigarettes. GST rate on cement and building materials should not be more than 8%. It will help poor people to repair their houses and build houses in rural areas. Some essential items like medicines etc. should be exempted. It is expected that the revenue loss on account of reduction in rates will be made up as demand will pick up.
Stock Market: Market is concerned more on GDP growth, profitability and demand. RBI’s rate cut by 0.25 BPS (basis points) has not enthused the market.
Real Estate: There is USD 63 billion of stalled residential projects across the country. Developers who had invested their capital and borrowed funds seeing the boom in market about two years ago are unable to service their debts. This has caused a slowdown of banks, NBFCs and HFCs (Housing Finance Cos). Dewan Housing, Edelweiss Financial Services, Indiabulls Housing Finance are having the largest exposure in this sector. Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services also has exposure in this sector. Government needs to bear with this situation by giving moratorium for three years with simple rate of interest of 8%.
Power Sector: India is importing large quantities of coal despite having large reservoirs impacting for ex reserves, employment and GDP. Over Rs. 5 lakh crore investments in power plants have become stressed due to coal shortage. Some of the plants are in NCLT, some are producing at 15% to 20% PLF. It has been over fifteen years since a number of coal blocks of private sectors were cancelled by the judiciary following report of the CAG (Central Auditor General). Since then, coal blocks have not been given to private sector. Government is now planning to end the monopoly of domestic giant Coal India that accounts for over 80% of the output. Global players will also be invited for exploitation of coal. Government is planning to increase production of coal to 1149 MT by FY 2023 from 730 MT. This is expected to reduce coal import. Due to shortage of coal, 7500 megawatt power plants in Chhattisgarh are lying closed. Due to non-planned supply of coal in power sector, more than Rs. 40,000 crore is spent on transportation - a national waste of imported and indigenous resource!
Cover story: During the festival of lights and worship of Mother Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, Bharatwasi purchase silver coins or gold coins or jewelleries, silver or metal utensils or new clothes as token of wealth being bestowed on them by Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth on the first day of Diwali called Dhanteras – Dhana Trayodashi. Gold and silver are considered as auspicious metals. Festival season contributes business of Rs. 50,000 crore or more.
Online shopping is becoming popular due to several factors like standalone family, festival crowd, travel time and much more, fabulous discounts by Flipkart, Amazon, etc. These should not violate trade rules on retail.
Those who are engaged in wealth creation and generation of wealth righteously for the welfare of humanity and the planet are chosen by Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati and Lord Ganesh. They should remain on the path of righteousness and austerity.