09.11.2018

The Indian papers have welcomed the stimulus announced by Prime Minister Modi to the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector. This is indeed a laudable move by the government as the MSMEs play a vital role in our economy. Dailies have discussed the Democratic Party emerging as the winner in the US House of Representatives and the Republican Party has captured the US Senate. The US midterm elections have thrown up a mixed bag! Internet is growing phenomenally in India despite a global downslide, say the Indian press.

THE HINDU in an editorial writes in the run-up to the general election next year, the Centre has announced an important credit stimulus package for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Among the many sops doled out under the new scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised the sanction of business loans of up to ₹ 1 crore within a time frame of 59 minutes, in order to encourage faster credit flow to MSMEs. These companies will also receive an interest subvention of 2% under the scheme and support from public sector units, which will now be mandated to make at least 25% of their overall purchases from MSMEs. It is worth noting that MSMEs account for 30% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). The government would be looking at the scheme as a tool to improve credit flow and the pace of job creation in the economy. A study by officials of the Reserve Bank of India in August 2018 had shown that growth in credit flow to MSMEs had recovered after the April-June quarter.

THE TIMES OF INDIA in an editorial BLUE RUNS INTO RED says the much anticipated US midterm polls threw up mixed results as Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives but Republicans extended their majority in the Senate. With the Democratic blue wave running into a Republican red wall, both sides can claim victory. With control of the House, Democrats finally are in a position to challenge President Donald Trump and his political agenda. But the blue gains in the House were less than hoped for in midterm polls. And Democrats’ loss of ground in the Senate – again unusual for the opposition party in midterms – means the Trump camp can claim it has come out on top.The results are unlikely to shift Trump’s foreign policy. However, Democrats can now put serious roadblocks to Trump’s domestic agenda. Plus, House Democrats can expand congressional scrutiny over the President.

THE INDIAN EXPRESS in an editorial AGAINST THE CURRENT observes a new report from Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation has found that while the growth rate of Internet access dips worldwide, India has escaped the slide because of slashed prices. This means cheaper access to cat videos, among other attractive things. This is clearly the product of healthy market competition, but the report also attributes it to growth in infrastructure, good policymaking and the role played by TRAI, which has created an open-access system to measure quality of service. India has actually had an advantage over the developed countries because it had less legacy systems to write off and could tap directly into the mobile internet boom. Competition, led by the disruptive entry of some private players, ensured that access prices fell while transparent measurements assured maintenance of quality. Voice, however, has been a different story, with call drops becoming a regular nemesis. An analysis of affordable internet growth would not factor that in.

Script: Kaushik Roy, Air: News Analyst