Global Uncertainty Poses A Challenge To The Growth Of India’s Economy: RBI

On October 4, 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Monetary Policy Report (MPR) expressed concerns over the global and domestic macroeconomic activities and its effect on Indian economic growth. In the press conference held on the same day, chaired by RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, has announced different monetary policy measures in getting the India economy on its path as projected in the previous monetary policy reports, with due changes.

The Slow Down In The Indian Economy

The MPR, in its first chapter, Macroeconomic Outlook, explains that the slowdown in the economy started in 2018-2019 and has further extended to the first half of 2019-2020 due to some of the reasons as follows:

  1. Weak private consumption and investment.
  2. Low domestic demand conditions.
  3. A slowdown in agriculture and allied activities.
  4. The initial delay and deficiency in the south-west moon.
  5. The high inflation on food and fuel has softened across major goods and services.

Due to these reasons, the RBI has cut down the forecast digits of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 6.1% from 6.9% in 2019-2020 and to 7.0% from 7.2% in 2020-2021. The forecasts of the GDP growth rates can be seen in Table 1 and 2.

Table 1: Earlier Forecast Of The Real GDP Growth Rate During 2019-2020 And 2020-2021

Source: Survey of Professional Forecasters on Macroeconomic Indicators – Results of the 59th Round, RBI

Table 2: Present Forecast Of The Real GDP Growth Rate During 2019-2020 And 2020-2021

Source: Monetary Policy Report – October 2019, RBI

RBI Monetary Policy Measures

According to the fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20, A Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of RBI, the repo rate has been reduced from 5.40% to 5.15%, that is, 25 basis points (bps) cut. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) reduced to 4.90% from 5.15%, and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 5.40%. The detailed picture of the monetary policy measures in terms of repo rates and reverse repo rates can be seen in charts 1 and 2.

Chart 1: Bi-Monthly Repo Rates During 2018 And 2019

Source: RBI Bi-Monthly Statements from 2018 to 2019

Chart 2: Bi-Monthly Reverse Repo Rates During 2018 And 2019

Source: RBI Bi-Monthly Statements from 2018 to 2019

The decision to make these policy measures comes with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 4% within a band of +/- 2% while supporting growth. The underlying reasons for this decision come after the assessment of two economies, that is, firstly, the global economy and secondly, the domestic economy.

The Global Economy

  • A weakening of global economic activities.
  • Heightened uncertainty emanating from trade and geopolitical tensions.
  • A slowdown in the industrial production of advanced economies (the US, Europe, and Japan).
  • Reduction in the manufacturing activities, the lowest in a decade, and slow down in hiring rates by the private sector.
  • The macroeconomic performance of major emerging market economies has slowed down and can affect retail sales and industrial production growth (Chinese, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa).
  • Crude oil prices disruptions due to geopolitical conflicts.
  • Protectionist policies across the globe have been worsening the global growth process.
  • The US-China Trade War.
  • Worsening of bond yields due to the European Central Bank’s cut in the deposit rate.

The Domestic Economy

  • A slowdown in the Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) to an 18-quarter low.
  • On the supply side, the Gross Value Added (GVA) growth decelerated to 4.9% in Q1: 2019-2020, pulled down by the manufacturing growth.
  • Growth in the services sector was stalled by the construction sector.
  • The initial delay in the onset of the south-west monsoon.
  • Industrial activity, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), weakened in July 2019.
  • The contraction of production of capital goods and consumer durables.
  • The rise of food inflation and fuel prices into deflation
  • In Q2, merchandise exports remained weak in July and August 2019, caused by lower shipments of engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery and cotton yarn.


The RBI, in its MPR, said that the “intensification of global uncertainty around US-China trade tensions, a hard Brexit, and geopolitical tensions are key downside risks to the baseline growth path.”

The next meeting of the MPC of RBI is scheduled to be held from December 3 to 5, 2019.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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