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India economy & business news in brief for May 24: Biocon MD Siddharth Mittal rules out impact of withdrawing Rs 2000 currency notes on industry

India’s 200-rupee currency notes (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Here are news in brief related to Indian economy and business for Wednesday, May 24, 2023:

There will be no impact of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to withdraw Rs 2000 currency notes from circulation on businesses and transactions in the pharma industry, said Siddharth Mittal, MD and CEO of Biocon and noted that there has been no panic reaction among people, ANI reported. Mittal told ANI in an interview that a large portion of retail sales in pharmacies happen through digital modes. “As an industry, quite honestly, I particularly don’t feel there would be any impact on businesses and transactions, including retails. A large portion of retail sales through pharmacies happens through digital modes (using UPI). Drug industry that way is insulated from financial pressures. Anyway, RBI also said the Rs 2000 will continue to be legal tender,” he said.

India is set to be the fastest-growing economy in the G20 grouping over the next few years, Moody’s Investors Service has said, with manufacturing and infrastructure sectors likely to provide an impetus, Moneycontrol reported. Investments, however, could face some push-back from “reform and policy barriers”. “In the Union Budget in February 2023 alone, the government allocated around $120 billion (£96.9 billion) toward various national infrastructure projects, including $30 billion (£24.2 billion) each toward railways and national highways,” Moody’s said in a report on Tuesday (23).

Uber Technologies is stepping up its efforts to go green in India by starting more electric vehicles (EVs), joining hands with fleet operators, boosting financing options and enabling its users to hire EVs while booking hides, Reuters reported. As part of the launch of Uber Green in June, it will add 25,000 electric cars on its platform in partnership with fleet providers such as Lithium, Everest and Moove, the company on Wednesday said. It will also roll out 10,000 electric two-wheelers in Delhi by next year along with Zypp Electric, another EV start-up.

India’s ministry of civil aviation has launched UDAN 5.1 to further enhance connectivity to remote areas of the country and achieve last-mile connectivity through helicopters, ANI reported. This follows four successful rounds of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) and with version 5.0 of the fifth round underway. The main features of the 5.1 include — an increase in the scope of operations for operators wherein the scheme will now allow routes where one of the origin or destination locations is in a priority area. Earlier both points had to be in priority areas.

India’s gross domestic product in the financial year 2022-23 could be more than the estimated seven per cent, said RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, ANI reported. “I will not be surprised if the GDP growth comes slightly above seven per cent,” said Das speaking at a Confederation of Indian Industry event here in New Delhi. He said this on the basis of strength in various macro fundamentals. In the Economic Survey document for 2022-23 released earlier this year, the forecast was that India may grow at seven per cent. The Economic Survey has projected a baseline GDP growth of 6.5 per cent in real terms for the next financial year 2023-24.

India has a strong foreign exchange reserve and the country is in a comfortable position to meet all the requirements even in any worst-case scenario in the next five-six years, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday, PTI reported. India’s forex kitty jumped $3.553 billion (£2.8 billion) to $599.529 billion (£484.4 billion) for the week ended May 12, according to RBI. The minister also said that the government efforts have helped in managing inflation and “I am happy that it has been respected and recognised by the RBI (as) they have also taken a pause on the interest rates during the last MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) meeting”.

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