Buoyant GST collections:
MoS Finance Anurag Thakur informed that GST collection has been above Rs 1 lakh crore for five months since October 2020. This is the first time GST was implemented in 2017.
On the economy, Thakur said there is a V-shaped recovery going on as trade is getting better. Even lag indicators like e-way bill data are pointing at increased activities. The country reported positive GDP growth in Q4 after two-quarters of contraction.
Increased economic activities have resulted in higher GST collection. Thakur also credited several supporting measures adopted by the government for that. It includes stimulus packages under Aatmanirbhar Bharat program, emergency credit line, and loan moratorium.
Shrinking middle class:
Middle class is always considered as the backbone of Indian economy. It is also a flag bearer of the country's social fabric. But, the pandemic has packed a fetal punch to this thriving community. Around 3.2 cr people have lost their middle-class status in India due to the pandemic-led downturn. Washington-based Pew Research Centre has highlighted this in its recent report.
India accounts for 60% of overall global contraction. Moreover, the pandemic has driven 7.5 crore Indians below the poverty line in 2020.
India is the land of two constrastic tales. While a large number of people have lost their wealth and livelihood, India is also home to a growing number of billionaires. It raises serious questions about growing income disparity in India.
When it comes to producing billionaires, India is right up there matching global peers. A Knight Frank report recently suggested that there are ~5,21,653 ultra-high net worth individuals globally. Out of that, India has 6,884 such individuals.
This number is expected to rise rapidly. India's billionaire count is expected to see a growth of 63% by 2025 as against the global average. Globally, the number of billionaires is expected to grow by 27% between 2020-2025.
Disillusioned with OPEC:
India has been long reliant on OPEC to cater to its need for crude. However, inconsistent policies and cartelization from OPEC have created constant disillusion. So much that, India is now constantly searching for alternatives to fulfill its energy requirements.
As per an ET report, India has asked its refiners to reduce their dependence on OPEC for crude supply. The process has picked up speed after OPEC+ extend production cuts in April.
India's stance is further boosted as Guyana began exporting crude in early 2020. Besides Guyana; Russia, North America, USA and Mexico have gained market share in meeting India's crude requirements.
Venezuela also used to be a major crude exporter to India until 2019. However, its share is constantly declining post the US imposed sanctions.