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Reluctance to lower prices a hurdle for growth

Indian currency

The economic value of cutting prices should not be underestimated. In March 2004, Procter & Gamble cut prices of Tide by 47% and Ariel by 28%, challenging Hindustan Lever’s pole position in this market. HLL responded in like and a furious battle ensued. How this ended is another story. What’s relevant is this: P&G’s volume growth did increase, but HLL’s growth did too, and so did its market share. Continue Reading →

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Why the RBI is in no hurry to cut interest rates (in charts)

Inflation and interest rates

The RBI is in no hurry to cut interest rates despite inflation trending low for several months now and there being no obvious immediate reason why it should move up sharply. Raghuram Rajan, the RBI governor, may have good reasons to be cautious though, considering what happened during the previous governor D. Subbarao’s tenure. He took charge as the governor in September 2008 and stayed on for 5 years. His tenure’s start coincided with the global financial crisis. The governor and the government joined hands with a monetary and fiscal stimulus to protect India’s economy and financial markets. Continue Reading →

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Rajasthan reforms labour laws, will other states follow?

The new Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan was first off the reform block. Its move to liberalise the state’s labour laws is targeted at attracting more investments by projecting an employer-friendly image. Of course, labour is just one of the factors for investing in a state, along with others such as ease of doing business and getting approvals, transparent policies and infrastructure.


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Market crash-Part II: the RBI and government should join hands

In the previous article, the main problems facing the government and the RBI were listed –a falling rupee, slowing growth and rising inflation. What is needed at this stage is confidence-building measures rather than the fear-inducing steps taken, such as the one imposing capital controls. Foreign investors have been caught on the wrong foot in many countries, where they were prevented from taking their dollars out. They need to be reassured that option is not on the table. Continue Reading →

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Supreme Court’s opinion on auction of natural resources is fair to all

Are auctions the only method for allocating natural resources was a question that was hanging fire since the Supreme Court’s verdict on the 2G scam was issued. The government, through a presidential reference, requested the Supreme Court to give its opinion on this issue, and a few other issues related to the 2G judgement. The SC’s opinion was critical, as it would set to rest any doubts about interpreting the judgement.

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Indian PSU banks turn contrarian by cutting interest rates

Some large public sector banks have begun cutting rates of fixed deposits and loans, despite no change in the Reserve Bank of India’s stance towards interest rates. The RBI has held that inflation is an overriding concern, and holding interest rates high may affect growth but will help in curbing inflation. So, what explains the action of public sector banks?

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