The Asian Development Bank has lowered India’s FY20 growth estimate to 7 per cent from 7.2 per cent on the back, it says, of fiscal concerns. This is the second time it has revised its forecast, having lowered it to 7.2 per cent from 7.6 per cent in April, and it is a striking commentary on the government’s economic management just days after the Budget explored every option to raise revenues -- from taxing the super-rich and foreign portfolio investors, attempting to requisition the market regulator and banking regulator’s reserves, to announcing its intention to borrow overseas, and announcing an ambitious disinvestment programme. More worrying news is analysts’ consensus that Reliance Industries, India’s largest company by market capitalisation, is likely to reports its slowest growth in 15 quarters. Yet NITI Aayog chairman Rajiv Kumar sees Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget as “marking a paradigm shift in both the pace and nature of economic activity” and he explains why here. The 50th anniversary of bank nationalisation, the International Court of Justice verdict on Kulbhushan Jhadav and the origin of water conflicts are other subjects on the opinion pages today. Kanika Datta sums up the views
The first edit reviews the impact of half a century of nationalisation of the banking system and suggests that the 50th anniversary offers a good opportunity for the National Democratic Alliance to explore ways of reducing government shareholding in major banks so that the burden on the exchequer is lowered and the blocks to financial intermediation are removed. Read it here
Inter-state water conflicts have become endemic in modern India but the fault lies in the fact that water-sharing agreements ignore the basics of water science that dictate the interconnectedness of catchment areas and the rivers they feed. In India, says Mihir Shah, we encroach upon, damage, block or pollute the channels through which water flows into rivers. Read his explanation of water agreements and management techniques here.
The International Court of Justice ruling on Kulbhushan Jadhav comes as a huge relief for India but the widespread euphoria should not overshadow the hard fact that the Indian government’s challenges to secure his release have just begun. The second edit explains why here.