Finance Ministry's Growing Clout
The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and the Finance Ministry have been merged by the government. With this, DPE has become the sixth department under the Finance Ministry.
Currently, five departments - Economic Affairs, Revenue, Expenditure, Investment and Public Asset Management and Financial Services - fall under the Ministry of Finance.
Many companies under DPE are sick and lined up for disinvestment. DPE's merger is expected to give the finance ministry better control over state-owned firms and bring synergy to its divestment program. The government has set a divestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for the financial year 2022.
Indemnity for Moderna?
After a long wait, Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine shots could soon be launched in India.
The launch has been delayed due to the differences over the indemnity clause. As per the emerging reports, the government is likely to provide indemnity protection to Moderna, paving the way for the launch of its vaccine in India.
The indemnity clause would grant protection to Moderna against any legal liability in case of medical complications after taking its jab. Granting legal protection to Moderna will clear the way for importing about 70 lakh doses donated by the US government.
Shattered Consumer Confidence
The pace of economic recovery is slower than expectations post-second COVID-19 wave. At the same time, recovery in consumer confidence also remains depressed. RBI's consumer confidence index had hit a record low in May, falling to 48.5 from 53.1 in March. It shrunk further by 1.5% in June.
Pent-up demand post-second COVID-19 wave has been muted in comparison to the first wave. And the public is preferring savings overspending. It is duly reflected in the rising deposits with banks while credit growth has been muted.
Muted consumer demand is also reflected by the contraction of manufacturing and services PMI in June. And, GST collections have been modest for May-June. Retail auto sales picked up in June on a lower base of last year but remains significantly lower to the pre-COVID levels.