In July, Sitharaman said the government would inject 70,000 crore of capital into state-run banks, including Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank. In August, the government followed up by announcing the biggest-ever consolidation of banks it controls to spur lending. However, that’s done little to boost credit growth, which is at a three-year low and has weighed on profitability of banks, including State Bank of India.
The July Budget
gave bigger allocations for rural housing, roads and programmes that support small businesses producing cattle feed, measures that were seen buoying companies like Hindustan Unilever, ITC and Mahindra & Mahindra.
However, the slump in consumption has hit the rural sector hard. Unilever, the parent of Hindustan Unilever, cited India’s slowdown as a reason for its weaker growth outlook. Carmakers like Mahindra, which sells SUVs and tractors, have also suffered from declining vehicle sales. Godrej Agrovet, a local animal feed and edible oil producer, bucked the trend.
The government’s plan to consider further opening up foreign investment in aviation and forming an aircraft financing and leasing company remain incomplete, and carriers including SpiceJet, InterGlobe Aviation and TATA SIA Airlines are yet to see any real benefits. At the same time, the economic slowdown
has meant local air traffic has been growing at low single digits from double-digits previously.
A plan to provide piped water to households across the country by 2024 was seen benefiting companies such as Shakti Pumps India, Jain Irrigation Systems, Kirloskar Brothers, VA Tech Wabag and PI Industries. Given the long gestation period of the programme, any gains are yet to reflect in the stock prices of most of those companies.
Real estate & construction
The Budget outlined plans to build 19.5 million rural homes by 2022 and continue the government’s focus on road construction — steps that would help builders like Larsen & Toubro, Dilip Buildcon, IRB Infrastructure, GMR Infrastructure, Oberoi Realty, and DLF. But domestic orders continue to be affected by the slowdown.