Today, when almost every day, we’re hearing a lot of bad news about the global crisis and the declining Indian economy; but let me present three more to you.
1. The Central Ministry of Finance led by Nirmala Sitharaman has sent a recommendation to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to shut down the state-owned telecom operators BSNL and MTNL, which have provided telecom services for almost two decades and over three decades respectively. These companies gave Indians their first landline.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asked the government for the package of ₹76,000 crore for the revival of these companies, but the MOF has given this recommendation to shut down both of these companies. The Ministry justified saying that right now there is a financial crisis in the telecom sector, and no one is ready to invest and the lawyers like Harish Salve has blamed the Supreme Court and their decisions for the 2G spectrum for this; however, some are blaming the Jio company monopoly in the market.
Currently, BSNL has a liability of 14 thousand crores and it incurred loss of ₹31,287 crore in the financial year 2017-18. The company currently employs 1.76 lakh employees. By giving VRS, the number of employees will be 75 thousand in the next 5 years. If we talk about MTNL, it currently has 22 thousand employees, along with a loan of ₹19,000 crore. The company (MTNL) spends 90% of its income in paying salaries to its employees. In the next six years, about 16 thousand employees of the company will retire.
2. Another piece of bad news is that a recent report says India has slipped 10 places in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Index from 58 in 2018 to 68 in 2019; and we are the second worst-performing in the BRICS nations, Brazil being the worst-performing at the 71st rank.
But, there is good news as well and that is that the report also says that India ranks high on macroeconomic stability and market size achieving the 43rd rank and third rank respectively. The financial sector of India is relatively deep and stable with the 40th rank despite the high delinquency rate, reaching up to 10% of the loan portfolio.
3. The third news is not related to the economy but the railways. After starting Tejas now, there is a plan to privatise 150 trains and 50 railway stations, and this recommendation was made by Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Ayog to Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman of the Board of Railways. Before this move, the government was also planning to sell Hindustan Petroleum (HP) as well, which continues to be profitable. (The government of India has 53% stake in the petroleum industry of India.)
It is not wrong to say that right now we are going through a tough phase. Some old mistakes by the government, and moreover, the financial crisis in the world, and due to the fight between Iran and the US, we Indians have faced a lot and in the future we will have to face more. So, we should be ready for it!