M.R. Subramani
M.R. Subramani

News Editor-cum-Commodities Editor who thinks there is always a lighter side to everything, from business to politics

M R Subramani

India: More trouble on the cards

M.R. Subramani | Updated on August 28, 2013 Published on August 28, 2013

The rupee is falling, stocks are crashing and trouble is brewing in West Asia. All these do not augur well for us as we could soon be spending more than what we earn.

A Tamil adage roughly translated says that you tend to get hurt in the same leg where you already carry an injury and bad luck continues to strike a family that is going through a crisis.

If our country can be considered a family, then we are not only going through a crisis but are set to be beaten to pulp. Things could have ganged up so badly, for us Indians.

First, the rupee’s plunge. It seems to find a new low every passing day. Second, the equities crash. No one seems to be hopeful of India Inc rebounding. Third, the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha. This has made the ruling party looking to tap votes rather than setting things right in the economy. And fourth, the Syrian crisis. It has cropped up at the wrong time for us that we are bound to suffer further.

Ah! There is one thing positive that will greet us when we reach the end of the tunnel. Wondering what? Well, you can be relieved that things cannot get worse than this over the next couple of years.

I don’t know why but more such adages come to my mind when we are discussing our country. There is a saying that for an enraged guy, the brain doesn’t work. Did our netas and babus forget to wear their thinking hat while trying to tackle the crisis? Looks so.

First, as if gold is the beginning and end of all problems, the Government cracked down on its imports by tightening norms and raising duty. Things have come to such a pass that today no one is thinking of importing gold, at least through legal channels.

A poll conducted two weeks ago at the gold meet in Jaipur (Rajasthan) showed that the majority of the traders expect at least 300 tonnes of gold to be smuggled into the country this year. Foreigners who have been watching developments in India wonder why the Government is so obsessed with discouraging gold.

Isn’t India doling out subsidies to supply power to farmers? Isn’t India importing coal despite having surplus reserves? Questions fly the way bees sting when you put a hand in their hive. Then, the Government said it will impose 36 per cent duty on import of big screen televisions that most Indians bring from abroad.

The difference in the price abroad and here in fact foots our airfare. So, that was sponsoring our trips abroad. No more of that sponsorship now. If you had gone to the airport and seen who is bringing in those big screen televisions, you would know that it is the poor and middle class people returning for vacations from their workplace abroad.

If you see the flights from Dubai and Singapore, you can find that most of the flyers return with a television set. The Government says it will earn a hefty duty from this as well as the levy on gold. Really? If I were a sensible father of a girl, my hottest choice today for a groom will be a guy working in Customs Department.

Surely, the Government has found a great way to ensure that they will have an extra income every day! The elections to the Lok Sabha early next year means, no one from abroad wants to invest in India.

Industrial honchos will tell you to expect investments only when elections are announced. And rumours that netas want more rupee for the greenback to spend for the elections are also seen behind the pounding of the Indian currency.

Finally, the crisis in Syria. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. It has compounded all our problems. The crisis that is tending to blow into an international conflict with the US, UK and France threatening to act against Damascus, commodities such as crude oil and gold are soaring. The rise in crude oil prices is a matter of concern. Already, we are paying the highest price for petrol in South Asia.

With the rise in crude oil prices and, of course, rupee crashing, we may have to pay more for our fuel, including cooking gas. Who knows, by the time we queue up to vote for Parliament elections, we could be paying Rs 100 for a litre of petrol! The point, however, is we could soon be spending more than what we earn. Troubled times ahead, folks.

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Published on August 28, 2013
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