Twenty Trillion Tango

    The awe for some with the number Rs 20 Trillion is not surprising, when you see that the total market-cap of listed shares in BSE stood at ₹121 Trillion at Tuesday’s closing. The amount maybe bigger than the GDP of many smaller countries, including Pakistan.

    Aatma Nirbhar Bharat: The message is loud and clear. The novel coronavirus pandemic ran riot not just on the economies of the world but in every single walk of life since the “Great Lockdown”. The quick response by the Indian Government has certainly done a lot of good in terms of containment of the virus spread, and but for the super-spreaders, we would have been much better off. No pundit has been bang on in his prescience, either about the economy or about how the virus will spread or how the social behaviour will change.

    The Twenty Trillion Rupee headline cannot be called a “stimulus package”. The Prime Minister has given a broad blueprint, a framework of his Government’s economic policy, he graciously let the Finance Ministry come up with the details for which we all will have to wait. Many naysayers have already jumped the gun. The question about how to fund this, what he said, what he did not and started branding it as jumla for the bhakts to celebrate. Not unexpected, though. The politics of hate and the paid media will have to stand up and boo. They are certainly doing so.

    The formula that is proposed is aimed at hitting the restart button for the economy. Maybe, the pandemic outbreak came at the right time to create disruption in the decaying world trade practises where the strong and mighty usurped power to fleece the weak. A new world order is in the offing and it is a great time for all of us to look at innovative methods to emerge stronger. The philosophy of Bharath was never to rule the world, but has always been looked upon by others as a “Vishwa Guru”. We need to tidy up our stable and ward away the evil influences of “ism” from far and wide which corrupted our minds, systems and practises.

    There is “shock and awe” for some but inspiration and innovation for the others. The impact of the speech is so very high that none is unaffected. They find solace in finding fault with banks parking funds with RBI and loudly claim that it is to claim the interest arbitrage! What a sick view of the market. They are not unaware of the fact that during lockdown and the uncertainties about the future, business will never approach anyone for money, let alone banks. The banks will lend and you have to wait for the process to start.

    “Targeted Long-Term Repo Operations, the banks used to deposit Rs 2.86 lakh crore a day with the RBI. After the RBI created these additional liquidity windows, the banks began to deposit, on average, Rs 7 lakh crore with the RBI under its reverse repo window,” lamented an analyst in his piece in a “leading” daily specialising in economics and finance news. Such rants are not because of ignorance but out of intolerance. When the production has become standstill, the market will never borrow! Elementary! Could not help saying this when the entire country is inspired by the vision and the strategy put forward by PM Narendra Modi in his 8.00 pm speech yesterday.

    PM Narendra Modi, the creative disruptor, is at it again. NDA–II was about trying to woo the foreign investments, keeping reliance on the bureaucratic advisory he received from his trusted aides.

    I am entitled for my views, and I feel that the has come out with a clear and focussed plan. The man is known to work with a target. The single most important point that he raised is Self-Reliant Bharat – Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. We have been talking about Swadeshi since the latter part of the 19th Century. The trigger for the struggle against the foreign rule certainly got a shot in the arm with this movement. Mahatma Gandhi brought out a blueprint for his brand of swadeshi rooted on ancestral religion, indigenous institutions and distributed production – broadly presenting the triangle with the ancestral religion as a firm base, the political and administrative system and the economy forming the other two sides of the Triangle. (Religion, you need not become uneasy – the reference is not about one’s faith here). The Swadeshi 1.0 it was and it culminated in the independence of Bharat.

    PM Narendra Modi, the creative disruptor, is at it again. NDA–II was about trying to woo the foreign investments, keeping reliance on the bureaucratic advisory he received from his trusted aides. Probably a mistake that was committed because of his successful experiment of it in Gujarat the state which rose from ashes (after devastating earthquakes) to become a model of development for the entire nation, if not the world. We cannot complain. One size does not fit all, not even for all Indian States most of which are bigger than many countries. This crisis did throw up an opportunity, and yes, PM Modi is in a position to grab it with both hands.

    The awe for some with the number Twenty Trillion Rupee is not surprising, when you see that the total market-cap of listed shares in BSE stood at ₹121 Trillion at Tuesday’s closing. The amount maybe bigger than the GDP of many smaller countries, including Pakistan. This is one huge pile of cash and we need to have a plan to spend it too. Spending is an art too.

    The PM was addressing a nation which started losing its confidence, if Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) survey is to be trusted. Its website states “Households see a pall of gloom over the long run as well. Only 3 per cent of the households surveyed during the first fortnight of April believed that business conditions would improve in the coming five years while around 45 per cent believed that business conditions would worsen.” The speech made in this background is   certainly a morale booster for the citizens. Maybe not for those who get paid to write against the interest of ones own country.

    The compassion is the words of the leader is laudable. He assured the less fortunate thus “our friends on the streets, street hawkers, daily wage workers, migrant labourers, fisherman, etc. It is time for us to do our bit for them. The stimulus has special provisions for them.” The reassurance is great relief to all those who are suffering due to the Chinese Virus.

    Exhorting all 130 crore Indians to use this crisis as an opportunity to redefine ourselves and become self-stainable. The message is loud and clear. The Government from its side has a clear vision and probably a well-drafted policy will follow. It is for each one of us to perform. Learning from the past, Modi Sarkar may not give out doles to the freeloaders. The infrastructure and the logistics will be the domain in which the Government will focus and the MSME will have to churn out quality products for our own consumption and also for the others. it would be foolish to glamor from cheap imports blaming the quality of the local products. We need to raise the bar and perform.

    Let us be vocal, yes for the local. The era of cheap imports is passé. For the economy to grow, we will have to reduce the $20 Billion bill that we foot to foreign companies for using their name. We have to create our own brand, scream at the top of our voice about it and prod the manufacturers to make it better than the best.

    Maybe by the time you read this, our FM might have already given the details of the Twenty Trillion Rupee Plan, or a substantial portion of it. Remember, it takes “two to tango”, here it is the Government and the People.