Grammy awards 2017

Grammy Awards ceremony was held on February 12, 2017. The CBS network broadcast the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.

James Corden hosted the ceremony for the first time. The “pre-telecast” ceremony (officially named The Premiere Ceremony) was held on the same day prior to the main event and was hosted by comedienne Margaret Cho.

The nominations were announced on December 6, 2016. Beyoncé acquired the most nominations with nine. Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West received eight nominations each while Chance the Rapper followed with seven nominations. Adele was the biggest winner of the night with five trophies, including Album of the Year for 25, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year for “Hello”. Adele also became the first artist in history to win all three general field awards in the same ceremony twice, previously winning all three categories in 2012. David Bowie and Greg Kurstin followed with four trophies. Chance the Rapper won for Best New Artist alongside two other awards.

The list of Grammy Award winners of 2017 are as follows:

Album of the year– 25 – Adele

Record of the year-Hello – Adele

Song of the year– Hello – Adele

Best rap album– Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book

Best urban contemporary album– Beyonce – Lemonade

Best country solo performance– My Church – Maren Morris

Best rock song-Blackstar – David Bowie

Best pop duo/group performance– Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots

Best new artist– Chance the Rapper

Best pop vocal album-Adele – 25

Best pop solo performance– Hello – Adele

Best R&B performance– Solange – Cranes In the Sky

Best R&B song- Maxwell – Lake By the Ocean

Best rap performance– Chance The Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz – No Problem

Best rap/sung performance– Drake – Hotline Bling

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EXPORTS (including re-exports)

Exports have been exhibiting positive growth for the last nine months. In continuation with growth indicated by exports since September 2016, exports during June 2017 have shown growth of 4.39 per cent in dollar terms valued at US$ 23562.62million as compared to US$ 22572.30 million during June,2016. In Rupee terms, during June 2017 exports were valued at Rs. 151844.56 crore as compared to Rs. 151904.56 crore during June,2016, registering a negative growth of 0.04 per cent.

During June 2017, Major commodity groups of export showing positive growth over the corresponding month of last year are Engineering Goods (14.78%), Petroleum Products (3.60%), Organic & Inorganic Chemicals (13.20%), Rice (27.29%) and Marine Products (24.27%).

Cumulative value of exports for the period April-June 2017-18 was US $72212.33million (Rs 465472.04 crore) as against US $65311.77 million (Rs 436960.98 crore) registering a positive growth of 10.57 per cent in Dollar terms and 6.52 per cent in Rupee terms over the same period last year.

Non-petroleum and Non Gems & Jewellery exports in June 2017 were valued at US$ 17480.56 million against US$ 16488.23 million in June 2016, an increase of 6.02 %. Non-petroleum and Non Gems and Jewellery exports during April -June 2017-18 were valued at US$ 52713.79 million as compared to US$ 48028.95 million for the corresponding period in 2016-17, an increase of 9.75%.


Imports during June 2017 were valued at US$ 36522.48 million (Rs 235361.85 crore) which was 19.01 per cent higher in Dollar terms and 13.96 per cent higher in Rupee terms over the level of imports valued at US$ 30688.54 million (Rs. 206524.39 crore) in June, 2016. Cumulative value of imports for the period April-June 2017-18 was US$ 112263.10 million (Rs. 723631.11crore) as against US$ 84545.78 million (Rs. 565754.29 crore) registering a positive growth of 32.78 per cent in Dollar terms and 27.91per cent in Rupee terms over the same period last year.

Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in June 2017 over the corresponding month of last year are Petroleum, Crude & products (12.04%), Electronic goods (24.22%), Pearls, precious & Semi-precious stones (86.31%) , Machinery, electrical & non-electrical (7.02%) and Gold(102.99%).


Oil imports during June, 2017 were valued at US$ 8125.51 million which was 12.04 percent higher than oil imports valued at US$ 7252.11 million in June 2016. Oil imports during April-June, 2017-18 were valued at US$ 23177.49 million which was 22.98 per cent higher than the oil imports of US$ 18846.62 million in the corresponding period last year.

In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent prices ($/bbl) have decreased by 3.28 % in June 2017 vis-à-vis June 2016 as per World Bank commodity price data (The pink sheet).

Non-oil imports during June, 2017 were estimated at US$ 28396.97 million which was 21.17 per cent higher than non-oil imports of US$ 23436.43 million in June, 2016. Non-oil imports during April-June 2017-18 were valued at US$ 89085.61 million which was 35.60 per cent higher than the level of such imports valued at US$ 65699.16 million in April-June, 2016-17.

  1. TRADE IN SERVICES (for May, 2017, as per the RBI Press Release dated 14th July, 2017)

EXPORTS (Receipts)

Exports during May 2017 were valued at US$ 13430 Million (Rs. 86522.51Crore) registering a positive growth of 4.08per cent in dollar terms as compared to negative growth of 8.99 per cent during April 2017 (as per RBI’s Press Release for the respective months).

IMPORTS (Payments)

Imports during May 2017 were valued at US$ 7,615 Million (Rs. 49059.49 Crore) registering a postive growth of 5.44 per cent in dollar terms as compared to negative growth of  -12.64 per cent during April 2017 (as per RBI’s Press Release for the respective months).


MERCHANDISE: The trade deficit for June 2017 was estimated at US$ 12959.86 million as against the deficit of US$ 8116.24 million during June 2016.

SERVICES: As per RBI’s Press Release dated 14th July 2017, the trade balance in Services (i.e. net export of Services) for May, 2017 was estimated at US$ 5,815 million.

OVERALL TRADE BALANCE: Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for April-June 2017-18 is estimated at US$ 28.6 billion as compared to US$ 8.0 billion during April-June 2016-17. (Services data pertains to April-May 2017-18 as May 2017 is the latest data available as per RBI’s Press Release dated 14th July 2017)

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After three years of repair and rebuilding, the Indian economy is in a better place than it was in 2014. It is prepared to deliver longer periods of higher rates of growth.

Yashwant Sinha’s recent article (‘I need to speak up now‘, IE, September 27) about the economy concludes more in hope, than on facts, that the economy is headed for a “hard landing”. He joins some others in a desperate attempt to build a narrative of a failing economy. This is wishful thinking because nothing is further from the truth.

  1. Chidambaram’s rush to embrace Sinha’s article is amusing and ironic because despite inheriting, by his own admission, a robust economy from the NDA 1 government in 2004, he presided over a spectacular destruction of the economy when UPA 2 was in office. Sinha himself has described Chidambaram as the FM who caused the GDP to decline. Perhaps Chidambaram too hopes, as Sushil Kumar Shinde had after the UPA’s scams: “The memory of the Indian public is short.” But those dark days of the UPA aren’t easily forgotten.

I have served with Sinha in the parliamentary committee on finance and so I wish his economic analysis was factual and not dictated by his antipathy to the government. He ignores how far the economy has come from the dark and dangerous days of 2014. The UPA had left behind a broken economy: Over 12 quarters of successive GDP decline, 24 quarters of rising inflation, a record Current Account Deficit of $400 billion, fiscal profligacy, declining capital formation, flight of foreign investors and scam-inspired plummeting of investor confidence, a banking system wrecked by years of politically-directed lending, a tenth of the jobs created by NDA 1, an economic model that created jobless growth, corrupt crony capitalism of the worst kind (written by Raghuram Rajan himself), a cash and high-denomination note dominant economy that was, in turn, inflating asset prices and a dysfunctional administration — this list can go on. The Indian economy in 2014 was on the brink, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The fact that the UPA was responsible for that cannot easily be erased from the public memory.

This government inherited such an economy and has steadily built it back over the last three years to one where the GDP has grown, per capita income has increased, foreign direct investments are at a historic high of almost $160 billion, foreign exchange reserves are at the record level of almost $400 billion, inflation has moderated, and government finances are following a roadmap of fiscal discipline after years of reckless profligacy. Decades of crony capitalism and piggy-banking on public sector banks have come to an end, a battle against corruption is underway, ease of making investments and doing business has increased and medium- to long-term investor confidence is high. This transformation of our economy into macro-economic solidity required calm and determined policy action. Challenges do remain in creating jobs but governments all over the world are facing disruptive changes in manufacturing – a sharp increase in automation and robotics has led to a reduction in jobs. For the economy to respond to such a deep — and permanent — transformation of the job market requires some more time and effort.

Sinha talks about “managing better” the petroleum windfall. That is vague. He should know the government has used the resources to fix the devastated balance sheets of the oil marketing companies that had been driven to the brink by the UPA, and to increase public spending in programmes, subsidies and infrastructure. Hindsight is always the best free-pass to score points. But that’s as appropriate as me saying the situation that required Sinha to ship gold (in the early 1990s) could have been “managed better”. I could say so but that would not be the right thing to do. The affliction of “I-can-do-better” is best avoided.

Stalled private investment is a big hurdle to higher growth; the problem is an inheritance from the UPA and remains unsolved in the past three years. At the heart of the problem is a broken government banking system, itself a product of reckless lending and building bad assets during the UPA with little or no oversight by the RBI as the banking regulator or the finance ministry. Indeed, Chidambaram first responded to NPAs when I raised the issue in Parliament in 2010. The NDA has tried to minimise taxpayer-funded bailouts of these banks. The RBI’s belated response with a flawed model of bad debt provisioning is exacerbating the NPA problem and so the problem has ballooned and the ability and the desire of the banks to lend has shrunk. When over 80 per cent of all credit is delivered by the public sector banks, this deadlock is the biggest hurdle to boosting private investment. Fixing this legacy of the UPA to the economy should be a priority for the government.

Demonetisation and GST have, expectedly, caused short-term disruptions. Introducing GST so soon after demonetisation has, perhaps, compounded the tax regime’s short-term impact. But the timing of GST was determined more by successive parliamentary sessions, where it was blocked.

The rush to come to a judgement about demonetisation ignores that an elaborate trail of deposits has been created to expose illegal deposits and networks. The criticism of GST is laughable given that its design was arrived at after a consensus with the Opposition in Parliament, state legislatures and in the GST council.

There is increased compliance with GST, both upstream with suppliers to companies and downstream in sales to consumers. If this holds true in the coming months when the dust settles, the GST slabs could be revised and simplified. GST can and will be an industry and consumer-friendly indirect taxation regime as was envisioned but give it time to evolve into that. The initial issues with GST have to do with the transition to a complex indirect taxation regime and to a tax administration system based on technology — both challenges in themselves. Dealing with these challenges in a compressed time-frame has caused predictable pain in the export sector, MSMEs and traders.

  • Truth and post truth
  • The commerce and industry ministry says India has now become the topmost attractive destination for foreign investment. India’s FDI inflows were reported at a record $60.1 billion in 2016-17 in May 2017 (The Hindustan Times, dated May 19, 2017). Foreign Direct Investment in India increased by $3.409 billion in July of 2017. Foreign Direct Investment in India averaged $ 1.253 billion on monthly basis from 1995 until 2017, reaching an all time high of $ 5.670 billion in February of 2008 and a record low of – $ 60 million in February of 2014.
  • Foreign Exchange Reserves in India decreased to $ 402.250 billion in September 29 from $ 402510 billion in the previous week. Foreign Exchange Reserves in India averaged $ 206.940 billion from 1998 until 2017, reaching an all time high of $ 402. 510 billion in September of 2017 and a record low of $ 29.048 billion in September of 1998.
  • External Debt in India increased to $ 485.8 billion in the second quarter of 2017 from $ 471.9 billion in the first quarter of 2017. External Debt in India averaged $ 260.3 billion from 1999 until 2017, reaching an all time high of $ 485.8 billion in the second quarter of 2017 and a record low of $ 96.4 billion in the third quarter of 2000.
  • India’s Total Exports expanded 10.3 % YoY in Aug 2017, compared with an increase of 3.9 % YoY in the previous month. India’s Total Exports Growth data is updated monthly, available from Apr 1991 to Aug 2017, with an average rate of 11.1 %. The data reached an all-time high of 63.0 % in Apr 2008 and a record low of -34.1 % in May 2009. In the latest reports, India’s Total Exports recorded $ 23.8 billion in Aug 2017. Total Imports recorded $ 35.5 billion in Aug 2017, which registered an increase of 21.0 % year on year. India’s Trade Balance recorded a deficit of $ 11.6 billion in Aug 2017.
  • From 1983 till 2011, Unemployment rates in India averaged 9 percent reaching an all-time high of 9.4 percent in December 2010 and a record low of 3.8 Percent in December 2011. Unemployment Rate in India decreased to 4.90 percent in 2013 from 5.20 percent in 2012. Unemployment Rate in India averaged 7.32 percent from 1983 until 2013, reaching an all time high of 9.40 percent in 2009 and a record low of 4.90 percent in 2013.

So, admittedly there has been moderation of the GDP in recent quarters. There is a legitimate request for intervention to support those impacted — during the transition. This must not be a knee-jerk response like the one by the UPA in 2008, which even Raghuram Rajan was critical of in later years because it caused inflation and fiscal challenges. This transition support could be about focussing on bank capitalisation, credit for housing, credit for MSMEs, exporters, stabilising GST and creating a permanent roadmap for public sector banks.

In 2014, Sinha had famously charged Chidambaram of committing fraud with his budgets. Politics, in this case, has created the unlikeliest of combines, where two people are bound only by their personal/political dislike of the present government. The truth is in stark variance from the picture the duo are trying to paint. Challenges remain but the current state of economy is a far cry from 2014. After three years of repair and rebuilding, the Indian economy is in a better place and is better prepared to deliver longer periods of higher rates of growth. There is space for honest discussion on the economy, about further reforms and transformation to make sure every citizen benefits but not political fake-point scoring.

Sinha is right that economies are destroyed much more easily than they are built. The UPA did that to what was left by the NDA 1 government, combining profligacy and corruption. With respect to him, Sinha is off the mark in his assessment of where we are today — perhaps a case of personal dislikes overcoming facts and reality. To Chidambaram, thank you for asking me to speak up, and yes, truth does prevail.

The writer is Member of Parliament, member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, and vice chairman, NDA Kerala.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power on a euphoric wave of promises to boost India’s economy, add millions of jobs and bring “good times” to the developing nation.
Three years later, India’s economic prospects look decidedly grimmer. India’s economic expansion has slowed to its lowest level in three years. Small businesses are struggling, or even shutting down, after overhauls of the nation’s currency and sales tax system. Modi’s own allies warn of a dire outlook, with some raising the specter of an economic depression.

While government ministers have urged patience, analysts and others in Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party are not so sanguine about the current trends. “A hard landing appears inevitable,” Yashwant Sinha, a BJP lawmaker and former finance minister, said in a stinging commentary Wednesday in the Indian Express newspaper. He accused the government of rushing through poorly planned economic reforms, which he said will hobble home-grown businesses for years to come.

“Private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums … exports have dwindled,” he said.

Another leading BJP lawmaker, Subramanian Swamy, said India was facing the possibility of a “major depression.” “The economy is in a tailspin. Yes, it can crash. We need to do a lot of good things to revive the economy. Even a tailspin can be made to steady. If nothing is done, we are heading for a major depression,” he said last week.

Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development scaled back its economic growth forecast for India to 6.7 percent for the 2018 fiscal year, down from 7.3 percent predicted earlier this year. Other organizations and banks have made similar downward revisions.

Economists have said the country needs to maintain 8 percent growth to add enough jobs for some 12 million young people joining the work force every year.

The warnings have been sobering for Modi, who appointed a new Economic Advisory Council this week to offer him advice independent of the finance ministry.

Economists said that may be too little, too late.

“The rot has set in. I don’t see how the Economic Advisory Committee will help,” said Biswajeet Dhar, an economist with New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. And “whether the government will act on that advice is yet to be seen.”

India has long been considered a darling market for investors, with high rates of growth and a 1.3 billion population that many companies are eager to reach. Just a year ago, the economy jumped 9.1 percent in the first quarter _ temporarily earning the title of world’s fastest growing economy_ and has rarely dipped below 6.5 percent since 2013.

till, Modi rose to popularity partly by hammering the previous government over alleged corruption scandals and poor economic performance.

His campaign slogan of “Achhe Din” _ Hindi for “Good Times” _ helped inspire a mass following across the nation, from university students to business leaders.

And for several months after his election in 2014, things looked good. Foreign investment increased with government moves to open up sectors, imports remained cheap thanks to globally depressed oil prices, and economic growth ticked along at rates above 7 percent.

By November 2016, the government was confident enough to launch the first of two massive economic reforms.

Without warning, Modi appeared on national television to inform citizens that most of their currency would be worthless in the morning, as the government declared 86 percent of all rupee notes would be replaced with newly designed bills.

The government said the move was aimed at cracking down on tax evasion, corruption and counterfeiting. But with most of the new bills not yet printed, ATMs ran dry for weeks as account holders stood for days in long lines at banks that gave out only limited withdrawals.

Many small, cash-reliant businesses including grocery stores and home-based workshops suffered huge losses or went under.

Just when things were returning to normal this year, Indian businesses were hit with a second upheaval on July 1 _ the replacement of a complex system of cascading federal and state taxes with a single Goods and Services Tax.

The government assured citizens the move would boost economic growth by simplifying the existing tax structure. And again, it was mostly small businesses that suffered the most, with many unable to comply with new, thrice-monthly tax filing requirements.

“A badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them,” said Sinha, the former finance minister.

Rural Indian villages and towns, where more than half of the country’s population relies on farming for their livelihoods, have fared even worse. Demonetization left many farmers, already among the poorest, unable to buy seeds and fertilizer for the sowing season. Their distress was compounded by two years of poor monsoon rains and drought.

Economists are most alarmed, however, by the slowdown in manufacturing and construction _ two sectors many had assumed would do well under a business-friendly government. Instead, both have seen a sharp rise in unemployment.

“Major employment creators were the small businesses. They are the ones who have been worst hit,” said economist Mihir Sharma of the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank.

Modi is likely to face increasing pressure on the economy as the next general elections in early 2019 approach. “Jobs shortages have the potential of impacting the next elections,” Sharma said.

“The government has taken some very important decisions,” said Cabinet minister Piyush Goyal, who long held the energy portfolio but now heads the Railways Ministry. “Difficulties and criticism will come. But we are confident, and we will stay the course.”

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