Consumer spending declines for the first time in decades. Summer crops hit due to untimely rains. PM Modi pushes for more in direct tax collection.
Disconcerting: Consumer spending in India declined for the first time in more than four decades in 2017-18, cited a BS report, quoting a government survey, which has not been released yet.
As per the "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India" survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the average monthly spending by an individual fell to INR1,446 in 2017-18 from INR1,501 in 2011-12, down 3.7%.
Appalling: The survey found that rural Indians bought less of all food products barring milk and milk-related items. Consumers from all parts of the country - including urban areas - spent drastically less on essential food items such as oil, salt, sugar and spices, the article highlighted. ET Indicators
A Deluge: Summer-sown crops such as soybean, cotton, rice and vegetables have been damaged due to unexpected heavy rains in October and November.
Following robust monsoon rains, The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) had expected India soybean harvest to be more than 10 million tonnes. But heavy recent rains damaged the crop in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which account for more than 85% of India’s output, and forced the trade body to cut that estimate to below 9 million tonnes. Cotton bolls were damaged by late rains in Maharashtra and Gujarat, which account for over half of the country’s output. Cyclone Bulbul also soaked the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal last week, damaging rice crops in these key producing states. Reuters
Rest Only At The Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing tax officials to collect 17% more in direct taxes this year as the government seeks to shore up revenues amid a sharp economic slowdown.
Interestingly, the target has been maintained even though the government recently approved a massive cut in corporate taxes, which are a part of direct taxes.
Perhaps realising how unrealistic the goal is, and bogged down by the pressure, 22 top-level tax department officers have opted for voluntary retirement so far this year and around 34 did so in 2018. Reuters
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