印度经济陷入低谷 增长率落至三年最低

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年10月4日 作者:美国之音帕斯里恰(Anjana Pasricha)

一个印度新德里的市场
一个印度新德里的市场
A usually buzzing market in New Delhi wears a deserted look even though it is India's main festive season.

26岁的帕什卡·辛格三个月前从北部的阿坎德邦到新德里找工作,此前他在村子里挣扎度日,到处找零活干。

这位高中辍学生什么活都愿意干,厨师、当保安、办公室跑腿。但是,他不仅没能保住工作,迄今连一次面试都没有。

失望的辛格不知道他在亲戚家还能待多久,他说:“没有工作是最大的忧虑”。

总理莫迪2014年上台时承诺为该国庞大的年轻人口创造就业,辛格这样的年轻人因此受到鼓舞。印度赢得世界增长速度最快经济体的牌子后,这种乐观情绪大涨。

但是印度经济急剧放缓,在新德里这样吸引外来劳工的超大城市里,留下成千上万的人在那里挣扎谋生。

今年四至六月的这个季度,印度经济增长率为5.7%,增速为三年来最缓慢的。

黯淡的数字敲起警钟,人们担心印度重返高增长的道路可能会很艰难。

孟买的评级机构“克里斯尔”的首席经济学家D·K·乔施说:“有理由担心的是,经济放缓的速度远远超出大部分人的预期”。

经济放缓引发批评人士指责莫迪政府经济管理不善。

人们主要关注打乱了去年经济的两项措施。批评人士抨击政府在去年11月为清除假币而实施的货币兑换政策,他们认为,此举在货币严重短缺的情况下使企业业务放缓,对依靠现金的经济造成不必要的冲击。

今年七月,印度落实了推迟已久但广受欢迎的一项税务改革,就是为清理复杂的税务体系、方便商业往来的所谓货物和服务税。

但是很多人担心,落实过程中的缺陷和多重税率,给疲于应对新系统的企业制造混乱。

经济学家指出,数月内接踵而至的货币更换和货物服务税,事实上使去年已经开始减速的经济各领域进一步急剧放缓。

在印度一年此时通常最为拥挤的首都市场,这种影响显而易见。目前是印度主要的假日季节,消费者开支最高。但是店主们因顾客不轻易解开自己的荷包而失望。

平日熙熙攘攘的新德里高尚区市场,如今一片萧条。专门销售高端手机的店主曼努·塔尔瓦,一直在想办法能够做成一笔买卖。印度被认为是全球智能手机市场发展最快的国家,在那里任何一种新机器,都是求新欲渴这一代人的宠儿。

塔尔瓦说:“看看市面,根本不像是过‘排灯节,市场不景气。移动电话、各类配件,这些都是人们曾经为之疯狂的东西,如今,iPHONE8 已经推出,但是卖不动”。

政府表示,正在寻找重振经济的方法。有报道说,政府正在考虑斥资数十亿美元,刺激投资的增长。

被视为有利于企业的改革派领导人莫迪总理最近宣布成立了一个五人组成的经济问题咨询小组。

挑战的核心是需要在每年约有一千万人进入劳动大军的国家创造就业。莫迪曾希望推动制造业为低技能劳工创造就业,但是莫迪吸引外国投资的“印度造”旗舰计划,迄今成果并不显著。经济放缓意味着就业在多个领域甚至正在流失。

经济学家乔施说:“中国大力推进制造业,我们在许多东亚国家经济体也观察到的类似情况,但是这些并非是印度的现实,达到那样的水平需要许多方面的努力“。

有官员乐观表示,目前的放缓只是过渡性的,不过经济学家警告说,恢复将是逐步的。

这就意味着,帕什卡尔·辛格找到工作,店主塔尔瓦希望市场恢复的愿望可能不会很快实现。

India’s Economy Hits Bump, Grows at Slowest Pace in 3 Years

After several years of struggling to make a living doing odd jobs in and around his village, 26-year-old Pushkar Singh came to New Delhi from the northern Uttarakhand state three months ago to hunt for a job.

The high school dropout is willing to do anything — cook, work as a security guard, a peon in an office. But not only has he failed to secure a job, he has not even got an interview so far.

“It’s a huge worry, not having work,” said a despondent Singh as he wondered how long he can continue staying with his relatives.

The hopes of young people like Singh had been fueled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of creating millions of jobs for the country’s huge young population when he took power in 2014. Optimism rose after India won the tag of the world’s fastest growing economy.

But the Indian economy has hit a sharp slowdown, leaving tens of thousands of people struggling to find work in mega cities like New Delhi, which are magnets for migrant labor.

The economy clocked a growth rate of 5.7 percent in the April to June quarter, its most sluggish pace in three years.

The bleak number has set alarm bells ringing and raised fears that India could struggle to return to a high growth path.

“It is a cause for concern, the economy has slowed down much more than most had expected,” said D.K. Joshi, Chief Economist at rating agency Crisil in Mumbai.

Reasons for the slowdown

The slowdown has prompted critics to accuse Modi’s government of economic mismanagement.

Most attention has turned to two major measures that have disrupted the economy in the last year. Critics have slammed the government for imposing a currency change last November to flush out illegal cash, saying it slowed down businesses amid massive currency shortages and gave an unnecessary shock to a cash dependent economy.

In July, India implemented a long overdue and widely welcomed tax reform — a goods and services tax (GST) meant to clean up a complex tax regime and make it easier to do business.

But many worry that faulty implementation and multiple tax rates have created confusion for businesses struggling with the new system.

Economists point out that the currency change and GST, coming within months of each other, have made the slowdown sharper and deeper for virtually all sectors of the economy, which had already started losing pace last year.

“You can see the market, it does not look like Diwali, the market is so down. Mobiles, accessories, people were crazy about it. As of now, iPhone 8 has launched, but there is no market,” said Talwar.

The government says it is looking for ways to rev up the economy — according to reports, it is considering spending billions of dollars to give investment a push.

Prime Minister Modi, seen as a business-friendly, reformist leader, recently announced the formation of a five-member panel to advise him on economic issues.

At the heart of the challenge is the need for jobs in a country where about 10 million enter the workforce every year. Modi had hoped to give manufacturing a push to create jobs for low-skill labor, but a flagship “Make in India’ program he launched to woo foreign investors has yet to show significant results. And a slowing economy means that jobs are even being lost in several sectors.

“To think of an overall manufacturing push of the kind China gave, or many East Asian economies that we observed in those economies, that does not seem to be a reality in India. There is a lot of ground to cover to reach that level,” said economist Joshi.

Officials are striking an optimistic note, calling the slowdown transitory, but economists warn recovery will be gradual.

That means Pushkar Singh’s hunt for a job and shop owner Manu Talwar’s hopes of the market picking up may not happen anytime soon.