Wednesday, December 15, 2021

India in Crisis: Unemployment and Hunger Persist After Waves of COVID

India lost 6.8 million salaried jobs and 3.5 million entrepreneurs in November alone. Many among the unemployed can no longer afford to buy food, causing a significant spike in hunger. The country's economy is finding it hard to recover from COVID waves and lockdowns, according to data from multiple sources. At the same time, the Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier.  This raises the following questions: Has India had jobless growth? Or its GDP figures are fudged? If the Indian economy fails to deliver for the common man, will Prime Minister Narendra Modi step up his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim rhetoric to maintain his popularity among Hindus?


Labor Participation Rate in India. Source: CMIE


Unemployment Crisis:

India lost 6.8 million salaried jobs and its labor participation rate (LPR) slipped from 40.41% to  40.15% in November, 2021, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).  In addition to the loss of salaried jobs, the number of entrepreneurs in India declined by 3.5 million. India's labor participation rate of 40.15% is lower than Pakistan's 48%.   Here's an except of the latest CMIE report:

"India’s LPR is much lower than global levels. According to the World Bank, the modelled ILO estimate for the world in 2020 was 58.6 per cent (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS). The same model places India’s LPR at 46 per cent. India is a large country and its low LPR drags down the world LPR as well. Implicitly, most other countries have a much higher LPR than the world average. According to the World Bank’s modelled ILO estimates, there are only 17 countries worse than India on LPR. Most of these are middle-eastern countries. These are countries such as Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Senegal and Lebanon. Some of these countries are oil-rich and others are unfortunately mired in civil strife. India neither has the privileges of oil-rich countries nor the civil disturbances that could keep the LPR low. Yet, it suffers an LPR that is as low as seen in these countries".

Labor Participation Rates in India and Pakistan. Source: World Bank/ILO





Labor Participation Rates for Selected Nations. Source: World Bank/ILO

Youth  unemployment for ages15-24 in India is 24.9%, the highest in South Asia region. It is 14.8% in Bangladesh 14.8% and 9.2% in Pakistan, according to the International Labor Organization and the World Bank.  

Youth Unemployment in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Source: ILO, WB


In spite of the headline GDP growth figures highlighted by the Indian and world media, the fact is that it has been jobless growth. The labor participation rate (LPR) in India has been falling for more than a decade. The LPR in India has been below Pakistan's for several years, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

Indian GDP Sectoral Contribution Trend. Source: Ashoka Mody 

Even before the COVID19 pandemic, India's labor participation rate was around 43%, lower than its neighbors'. Now it has slipped further to about 40%. Meanwhile, the Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier.  This raises the following questions: Has India had jobless growth? Or its GDP figures are fudged?  If the Indian economy fails to deliver for the common man, will Prime Minister Narendra Modi step up his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim rhetoric to maintain his popularity among Hindus?

Indian Employment Trends By Sector. Source: CMIE Via Business Standard


Hunger Crisis:
'
India ranks 94th among 107 nations ranked by World Hunger Index in 2020. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. The COVID19 pandemic has worsened India's hunger and malnutrition. Tens of thousands of Indian children were forced to go to sleep on an empty stomach as the daily wage workers lost their livelihood and Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the South Asian nationPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan opted for "smart lockdown" that reduced the impact on daily wage earners. China, the place where COVID19 virus first emerged, is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger. 

World Hunger Rankings 2020. Source: World Hunger Index Report


India Among Worst Hit: 

India has a 17.3% child wasting rate, the worst in the South Asia region. Child stunting is also extremely high across South Asia. “Data from 1991 through 2014 for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty,” the World Hunger Report said. China, the place where COVID19 virus first emerged, is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger. 

Hunger and malnutrition are worsening in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in low-income communities or those already stricken by continued conflict. 

India has performed particularly poorly because of one of the world's strictest lockdowns imposed by Prime Minister Modi to contain the spread of the virus. 

Hanke Annual Misery Index: 

Pakistanis are less miserable than Indians in the economic sphere, according to the Hanke Annual Misery Index (HAMI) published in early 2021 by Professor Steve Hanke. With India ranked 49th worst and Pakistan ranked 39th worst, both countries find themselves among the most miserable third of the 156 nations ranked. Hanke teaches Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Hanke explains it as follows: "In the economic sphere, misery tends to flow from high inflation, steep borrowing costs, and unemployment. The surefire way to mitigate that misery is through economic growth. All else being equal, happiness tends to blossom when growth is strong, inflation and interest rates are low, and jobs are plentiful". Several key global indices, including misery index, happiness index, hunger index, food affordability index, labor force participation rate,  ILO’s minimum wage data, all show that people in Pakistan are better off than their counterparts in India.   

Pakistan's Real GDP: 

Vehicles and home appliance ownership data analyzed by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business Leadership suggests that the officially reported GDP significantly understates Pakistan's actual GDP.  Indeed, many economists believe that Pakistan’s economy is at least double the size that is officially reported in the government's Economic Surveys. The GDP has not been rebased in more than a decade. It was last rebased in 2005-6 while India’s was rebased in 2011 and Bangladesh’s in 2013. Just rebasing the Pakistani economy will result in at least 50% increase in official GDP.  A research paper by economists Ali Kemal and Ahmad Waqar Qasim of PIDE (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics) estimated in 2012 that the Pakistani economy’s size then was around $400 billion. All they did was look at the consumption data to reach their conclusion. They used the data reported in regular PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurements) surveys on actual living standards. They found that a huge chunk of the country's economy is undocumented. 

Pakistan's service sector which contributes more than 50% of the country's GDP is mostly cash-based and least documented. There is a lot of currency in circulation. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the currency in circulation has increased to Rs. 7.4 trillion by the end of the financial year 2020-21, up from Rs 6.7 trillion in the last financial year,  a double-digit growth of 10.4% year-on-year.   Currency in circulation (CIC), as percent of M2 money supply and currency-to-deposit ratio, has been increasing over the last few years.  The CIC/M2 ratio is now close to 30%. The average CIC/M2 ratio in FY18-21 was measured at 28%, up from 22% in FY10-15. This 1.2 trillion rupee increase could have generated undocumented GDP of Rs 3.1 trillion at the historic velocity of 2.6, according to a report in The Business Recorder. In comparison to Bangladesh (CIC/M2 at 13%), Pakistan’s cash economy is double the size. Even a casual observer can see that the living standards in Pakistan are higher than those in Bangladesh and India. 

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159 comments:

Rana said...

A more detailed unemployment data for India:

https://unemploymentinindia.cmie.com/


Regarding hunger and food insecurity, the problem is not related to the food production in India but something much more shameful.

"One, the number of poor with incomes less than $2 per day has more than doubled in the last one year. The World Bank estimates that this number has gone up by 75 million owing to the pandemic induced recession. Naturally, the poor have stopped consuming the more expensive food, which is relatively richer in nutrients. This is likely to further exacerbate the undernutrition crisis in India. The abundance of food in the market is not sufficient to eradicate hunger unless people have the required purchasing power.

Second, the Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research suggests that only 44% of the total allocated funds to the Integrated Child Development Services, whose mandate includes providing nutritional meals to children under six, were utilised in 2018-’19.

Furthermore, out of the total funds allocated for the Mid Day Meal Scheme for children in 2018-’19, only 14 states in India utilised the funds entirely. Based on the findings of the economist, Jean Drรฉze, this issue takes another turn. His estimates, which take inflation into account, show that the allocation of the Mid Day Meal Scheme has reduced by a staggering 32.3% between 2014 and 2021.

The Public Distribution System has proven to be a lifeline for millions of people since the lockdown in 2020 but there are concerns that are still prevalent regarding its national coverage. As per the National Food Security Act, 67% of the total population should be included in the Public Distribution System.

When we apply this to the population today, at least 90 crore people should be covered. The reality, however, is that only 80 crore people are included, which is just 59% of the total population in India. The data also suggests that 5.1 crore people are getting limited coverage and 40 crore people are left out entirely from the Public Distribution System.

Food insecurity remains an alarming issue due to such entitlement failures in India. While the government has rejected the findings of the Global Hunger Index as “unscientific”, we cannot ignore the dismal ground realities."

Source: https://scroll.in/article/1008089/why-does-india-struggle-to-battle-hunger

Syed Ali said...

India is reporting fake GDP growth for many years. India had highest unemployment rate in 42 years just before pandemic but India was reporting 8% GDP. Which is impossible. Similarly now India lost 6.8M jobs in Nov. Only, there is no way India has 8.5% GDP growth

samir sardana said...

The Doom of Indian LPR and number of entrepreneurs,has a simple fundamental reason.

Demo + GST + COVID has destroyed the SME and Unorganised sector

Hence,the REAL EMPLOYMENT IS DEAD,as REAL ENTERPRISE is dead.

REAL EMPLOYMENT.is the jobs in the SME,and the Unorganised sector.

REAL ENTERPRISE,is in the SME and the Unorganised sector,as large companies are Chaiwala's stooges or cronies or financers,in monopoly businesses,protected by High custom tarriffs and Technical Barries to Trade.These are the "Panwari" Banias,Marwaris,Jains and Gujaratis.

GDP and GST is growing - as the REMAINING FORMAL SMEs,ARE ALSO BEING KILLED,and their businesses are shifting,to the large corporates.Exports have PEAKED,AS OMICRON HAS HIT THE EU,AND MANY MORE,ARE ON THE WAY.

So from hereon GST and GDP will stagnate or decline,more so as the GDP growth was infra led,and all the infra inputs,came from large corporates.INFRA IS END POINT OF GST CHAIN - SO THERE IS NO GST OFFSET - AND SO,THE GOI GAINS BY PRINTING CASH,TO STIMULATE THE INFRA - AND THUS,SHOWS HIGHER GST.

Hence,the entire superstructure of Chaiwala is BOGUS.Banks are bankrupt,and it is the heart,which pumps the oxygenated blood.RBI can keep printing the Blood - but the punping mechanism is dead - and the body is,as good as dead.

RBI and Banks have inflated the property and stock market - as large amounts of loans and consumer credit,is secured on these 2 assets,which are completely bogus.When these collapse - banks collapse,and then,industry collapses and India dies - and Chaiwala is back to selling Chai in Gujarat.

That time has come,and this noble deed,was done by a Virus.

The Indians do not understand,that right from the time of the Scythians.Sakyas,Sakas,the biggest evil and enemy of the Indian nation,and the lower classes of Indians are the Panwari Banias - and they are ruling the Nation today - in the hot seat !

A - AGARWAL

B - BAJAJ

C - CHORDIA

D - DALMIA

E - EMAMI

G - GUPTA MEESHTAN BHANDAR

J - JAIN

K - KANORIA ..

L - LAKHOTIA

M - MODI

Thus,doom is inevitable.dindooohindoo

Riaz Haq said...

Aakar Patel
@Aakar__Patel
weird - both bhakt & hater looking at same data, same performance. no dispute on gdp growth decline, shrunken workforce, zero growth since 2014 on sales of cars, 2 wheelers, residential properties. 60% population surviving on free grain

yet one side believes modi has performed

https://twitter.com/Aakar__Patel/status/1473534330454507522?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Jobs #crisis: urban unemployment at 9.1%, highest in 4 months. 29.3% Haryana tops in #unemployment, followed by #Kashmir 21.4%, #Rajasthan 20.4%, #Bihar 14.8%, Himachal Pradesh 13.6%, Tripura 13.4%, Goa 12.7% & Jharkhand 11.2%. #Modi #economy https://www.dailypioneer.com:443/2021/india/urban-unemployment-9-1---highest-in-4-mths.html

The urban unemployment rate stood at 9.1 per cent as on December 18 which is the highest since August. The all India unemployment rate recorded 7.6 per cent as on December 17 which is also high as compared to 7 per cent in November. The rural unemployment rate stood at 6.9 per cent as compared to 6.44 per cent in November. Unemployment is going to be a major poll issue in the upcoming assembly polls in five states.

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which tracks the labour market with proprietary tools, showed that with 29.3 per cent Haryana is in the top among the states and union territories in unemployment, followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 21.4 per cent and Rajasthan with 20.4 per cent. Bihar ( 14.8 per cent), Himachal Pradesh ( 13.6 per cent), Tripura ( 13.4 per cent), Goa ( 12.7 per cent) and Jharkhand ( 11.2 per cent) are among those states having double digit unemployment in December. The unemployment rate in Delhi is recorded at 9.3 per cent.

The data showed the unemployment rate declined from 7.8 per cent in October to 7 per cent in November; the employment rate rose by a whisker from 37.28 per cent to 37.34 per cent. This translated into employment increasing by 1.4 million, from 400.8 million to 402.1 million in November 2021.

India's unemployment rate at the national level stood at 7.75 per cent in October, 6.86 per cent in September, 8.32 per cent in August, 6.96 per cent in July, 9.17 per cent in June and 11.84 per cent in May. The Urban unemployment rate stood at 7.38 per cent in October, 8.62 per cent in September, 9.78 per cent in August, 8.32 per cent in July, 10.08 per cent in June and 14.72 per cent in May. The rural unemployment rate stood at 7.91 per cent in October, 6.06 per cent in September, 7.64 per cent in August, 6.34 per cent in July, 8.75 per cent in June and 10.55 per cent in May.

According to the CMIE, the data in November showed the labour participation rate (LPR) has slipped. It fell from 40.41 per cent in October to 40.15 per cent in November. This is the second consecutive month of a fall in the LPR. Cumulatively, the LPR has fallen by 0.51 percentage points over October and November 2021. This makes it a significant fall in the LPR compared to average changes seen in other months if we exclude the months of economic shock such as the lockdown.

As per the CMIE, the creation of additional jobs pushed up India’s employment rate to 37.87% in September as compared to 37.15% in August. Further, the employment rate in rural India jumped by 0.85 percentage points to 39.53% in September as against 38.68% in August while that in urban India grew to 34.62% compared with 34.15% in August. Of the 8.5 million additional people employed in September, 6.5 million or 76.5% of the total employment generation was in rural India,” CMIE stated in its weekly labour market analysis early this month.

Riaz Haq said...

World #Inequality report 2022 says #India is one of the world' most unequal countries, with rising #poverty & an affluent elite. Govt policies have had a negative impact on the #poor while making the #rich even richer. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #Hindutva https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/12/23/1065267029/a-coconut-seller-and-a-day-laborer-reflect-on-life-in-astoundingly-unequal-india?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

If growth had been distributed more equally since the 1990s, there would be less poverty today and more middle-class families, says Chancel. In order to generate prosperity for the bottom 50% of the population, public investments are key — equal access to basic services such as quality education, transport and health, says Chancel. "This is still lacking in India."


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According to the World Food Program, a quarter of the world's undernourished people live in India. And despite steady economic growth and per capita income having tripled in recent years, the WFP notes that minimum dietary intake fell.
-----------
It's almost as if there are two countries in India: a very small, very rich country (the country of prosperous Indian urban centers) and a very large, poor country, says Lucas Chancel, lead author of the report and co-director of the World Inequality Lab. "For a long time, it has been said that the richer the rich part of the country, the better for the rest," he says.


The coconut seller Pachavarnam hasn't felt that, though. And experts like Chancel acknowledge that this is an outlook that's left many families vulnerable.

A coconut vendor says she's 'terrified of the future'
Panchavarnam, who goes by one name, has sold tender coconuts on the streets of Madurai for the last 40 years and remembers a time when the bustling residential neighborhood where she now sells her wares used to be a forest. Today, it's filled with signs of development. There's a highway close by. Busy streets brim over with traffic. In the last decade, apartment complexes, department stores and schools have sprung up around her.

For the 50-year-old, however, little has changed.

She still works 12 hours a day. It's a job she's been doing since the age of 9 helping her dad. That's when she first learned how to hold a sickle to slice into the thick, fibrous coconut. She and her husband begin their workday at 5 a.m., when she buys the coconuts from a wholesale market to fill their rented cart.

She may sell her coconuts at a higher price than she did ten years ago, but her family's daily living expenses and rental for her cart have increased too. Inflation has skyrocketed. But even though her profit may be wafer thin, she's grateful she can at least work.

"During the lockdown, we suffered a lot," she says. "It struck me then how little we had saved. For the first time, I was terrified of the future. What would happen to me and my family if we could no longer work?"

Panchavarnam is one of India's many informal workers, an estimated 485 million people — which according to a 2014 survey by the government of India's Labour Bureau is roughly 50% of the national workforce. Some reports estimate that their numbers are far higher — almost 80% of the workforce. While Panchavarnam is self-employed, other informal workers are hired by companies. But their situation isn't necessarily any easier.

A female construction worker's dusty burden
Selvi, 37, is a construction worker in Chennai, a city in Southern India, who earns Rs 350 ($4.60) a day, carrying heavy loads of cement, bricks and gravel. She winds a thick cloth turban style over her head and places her loads directly on it.


https://wir2022.wid.world/www-site/uploads/2021/12/Summary_WorldInequalityReport2022_English.pdf

Salah Mohid said...

https://tribune.com.pk/article/46637/do-pakistans-leaders-care-more-about-extravagant-weddings-than-the-well-being-of-their-own-citizens

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Stalled Rise
How the State Has Stifled Growth
By Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman
January/February 2022

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/india/2021-12-14/indias-stalled-rise


As growth slowed, other indicators of social and economic progress deteriorated. Continuing a long-term decline, female participation in the labor force reached its lowest level since Indian independence in 1948. The country’s already small manufacturing sector shrank to just 13 percent of overall GDP. After decades of improvement, progress on child health goals, such as reducing stunting, diarrhea, and acute respiratory illnesses, stalled.

And then came COVID-19, bringing with it extraordinary economic and human devastation. As the pandemic spread in 2020, the economy withered, shrinking by more than seven percent, the worst performance among major developing countries. Reversing a long-term downward trend, poverty increased substantially. And although large enterprises weathered the shock, small and medium-sized businesses were ravaged, adding to difficulties they already faced following the government’s 2016 demonetization, when 86 percent of the currency was declared invalid overnight, and the 2017 introduction of a complex goods and services tax, or GST, a value-added tax that has hit smaller companies especially hard. Perhaps the most telling statistic, for an economy with an aspiring, upwardly mobile middle class, came from the automobile industry: the number of cars sold in 2020 was the same as in 2012.

--------

Adding to a decade of stagnation, the ravages of COVID-19 have had a severe effect on Indians’ economic outlook. In June 2021, the central bank’s consumer confidence index fell to a record low, with 75 percent of those surveyed saying they believed that economic conditions had deteriorated, the worst assessment in the history of the survey.

Riaz Haq said...

Manufacturing employment nearly half of what it was five years ago
Manufacturing accounts for nearly 17% of India's GDP, but the sector has seen employment decline sharply in last 5 years - from employing 51 million Indians in 2016-17 to reach 27.3 million in 2020-21

https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/ceda-cmie-bulletin-manufacturing-employment-halves-in-five-years-121050601086_1.html


With the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic battering India at present, the Indian economic outlook looks bleak for the second year in a row. In 2020-21, India’s real GDP growth is estimated to be minus 8 per cent. This would also put pressure on India’s employment numbers. In previous bulletins, we have analysed the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on employment, individual and household incomes and expenditures in 2020.

In this CEDA-CMIE Bulletin, we try to take a longer-term view of sector-wise employment in India. We base this on CMIE’s monthly time-series of employment by industry going back to the year 2016. For this bulletin, we have focused on seven sectors – agriculture, mines, manufacturing, real estate and construction, financial services, non-financial services, and public administrative services. These sectors make up for 99 per cent of total employment in the country.

In figure 2 and 3 (below), we look at four sectors. These are agriculture, financial services, non-financial services, and public administrative services. Non-financial services exclude public administrative services and defense services. Together, these accounted for 69 per cent of total employment in 2016-17 and 78 per cent in 2020-21.

The agriculture sector employed 145.6 million people in 2016-17. This increased by 4 per cent to reach 151.8 million in 2020-21. While it constituted 36 per cent of all employment in 2016-17, the figure rose to 40 per cent in 2020-21, underlining the sector’s importance for the Indian economy. Employment in agriculture has been on the rise over the last two years with year-on-year (YoY) growth rates of 1.7 per cent in 2019-20 and 4.1 per cent in 2020-21.

119.7 million Indians were employed in the non-financial services in 2016-17 (excluding those in public administrative services and defense services) (Figure 3). This number rose by 6.7 per cent to reach 127.7 million in 2020-21. The financial services sector employed 5.3 million people in 2016-17 and this grew by 9 per cent to 5.8 million in 2020-21.

Public administrative services employed 9.8 million people in 2016-17 but it decreased by 19 per cent to 7.9 million in 2020-21.

In figure 4, we look at employment in manufacturing, real estate & construction, and mining sectors. Together these sectors accounted for 30 per cent of all employment in 2016-17 which came down to 21 per cent in 2020-21.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 17 per cent of India’s GDP but the sector has seen employment decline sharply in the last 5 years. From employing 51 million Indians in 2016-17, employment in the sector declined by 46 per cent to reach 27.3 million in 2020-21. This indicates the severity of the employment crisis in India predating the pandemic.

On a YoY basis, it employed 32 per cent fewer people in 2020-21 over 2019-20. It had seen a growth of 1 per cent (YoY) in 2019-20. This has happened despite the Indian government’s push to improve manufacturing in the country with the ‘Make in India’ project. Under the project, India sought to create an additional 100 million manufacturing jobs in India by 2022 and to increase manufacturing’s contribution to GDP to 20 per cent by 2025.

Instead of increasing employment in the sector, we have seen a sharp decline over the last 5 years. When we look closely at industries that make the manufacturing sector, we find that this is a secular decline in employment across all sub-sectors, except chemical industries.

All sub-sectors within manufacturing registered a longer-term decline.

Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "India in Crisis: Unemployment and Hunger Persist After Waves of COVID":

Kaushik Basu
@kaushikcbasu
Latest cross-country labor force participation data. How did India get here? It has some of the world's best entrepreneurs, talented administrators & skilled workers. It is important not to be in data denial. Policy needs to be corrected & re-directed to the commoner's welfare.

https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1474938472867766280?s=20

----------------

Labor Force Participation Rates:


India 46%

Pakistan 50%

Bangladesh 56%


https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/sl.tlf.cact.zs

Riaz Haq said...

The NMP is hardly the panacea for growth in India


https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-nmp-is-hardly-the-panacea-for-growth-in-india/article37956016.ece


As the Government has also shown, there are out-of-the-box policy initiatives to revamp public sector businesses

The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) envisages an aggregate monetisation potential of ₹6-lakh crore through the leasing of core assets of the Central government in sectors such as roads, railways, power, oil and gas pipelines, telecom, civil aviation, shipping ports and waterways, mining, food and public distribution, coal, housing and urban affairs, and stadiums and sports complexes, to name some sectors, over a four-year period (FY2022 to FY2025). But the point is that it only underscores the need for policy makers to investigate the key reasons and processes which led to once profit-making public sector assets becoming inefficient and sick businesses.

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Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Wednesday slammed the Central government over National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) by saying that the new scheme will create monopoly and duopoly in the economy.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/nmp-will-create-monopoly-duopoly-in-our-economy-says-sachin-pilot-121090200108_1.html


Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Pilot questioned the government's decision to "lease core strategic assets of the country to private entities".


"The government said that NMP will get revenue of Rs 6 lakh crores for the next four years. The money that they will raise, will it go to fulfil the Rs 5.5 lakh crores deficit that we are running today or is it there to boost revenue," he stated.

"There is already a problem of unemployment in our country. When private entities take over the assets like railways, telecom and aviation, they will certainly lay off more people to make profits, which means more unemployment," he added.

Pilot further said that handing over important assets of the country to a handful of people will create a monopoly and duopoly in the economy.

The Congress MLA asserted that the NMP poses serious questions on the country's integrity and security. "I want to ask what stops the international funds to make an investment and take a stake in these important assets," he stated.

"There are many countries that forbid Chinese entities to bid for telecom tower or fibre optical cable. I want to question the government what safeguards have been placed in NMP to stop inappropriate entities from bidding for our core strategic assets," he added.

Pilot called the government's decision regarding NMP as 'unilateral' that happened without any discussion with trade unions, stakeholders or the Opposition. He further questioned the transparency of the whole process and how it is going to benefit people.

"Will the money raised be used to double farmers' income or to give Rs 15 lakhs to every Indian citizen as promised by the government? Or will it be used to make a building complex or in some vanity project," he questioned.

Riaz Haq said...

By Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Laureate Economist


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/23/opinion/culture/holiday-feasting-rich-poor.html

There’s a long tradition among social thinkers and policymakers of treating workers as walking, talking machines that turn calories into work and work into commodities that get sold on the market. Under capitalism, food is important because it provides fuel to the work force. In this line of thinking, enjoyment of food is at best a distraction and often a dangerous invitation to indolence.

The scolding American lawmakers who want to forbid the use of food stamps to purchase junk food are part of a long lineage that goes back to the Victorian workhouses, which made sure that the food was never inviting enough to encourage sloth. It is the continuing obsession with treating working-class people as efficient machines for turning nutrients into output that explains why so many governments insist on giving bags of grain to the poor instead of money that they might waste. This infantilizes the poor and, except in very special circumstances, it does nothing to improve nutrition.

The pleasure of eating, to say nothing of cooking, has no place in this narrative. And the idea that if working people knew what was good for them, they’d simply seek out more food as fuel is a woefully limited view of the eating experience of most of the world. As anybody who has been poor or has spent time with poor people knows, eating something special is a source of great excitement.

As it is for everyone. Standing at the end of this very dark and disappointing year, almost two years into a pandemic, we all need the joy of a feast — whether actual or metaphorical.


Every village has its feast days and its special festal foods. Somewhere goats will be slaughtered, somewhere ceremonial coconuts cracked. Perhaps fresh dates will be piled on special plates that come out once a year. Maybe mothers will pop sweetened balls of rice into the mouths of their children.

Friends and relatives will come over to help roast an entire camel for Eid; to share scoops of feijoada, that wonderful Brazilian stew of beans simmered with off-cuts, from pig’s ears to cow’s tongue; to pinch the dumplings for the Lunar New Year; to fold the delicate edges of sweet coconut-stuffed Maharashtrian karanji, to be fried under the watchful eye of the matriarch. The feast’s inspiration might be religious, but it could as well be a wedding, a birth, a funeral or a harvest.

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This feasting season, that momentary joy is likely to feel especially essential. Most of us have had reasons to worry — about ourselves, about our children and parents, about where the world is headed. This year many lost friends and relatives, jobs and businesses. Many spent months working in Zoom-land, languishing even as they counted themselves lucky to be employed.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #economy growing fast but problems remain: November inflation 14.23%. #Fuel and #energy prices rose nearly 40% last month. Urban #unemployment – most of the better-paying jobs are in cities – has been moving up since September and is now above 9%. https://aje.io/ytyan4

That will not be easy, say experts. The pandemic has devastated India’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which contribute 30 percent of the nation’s GDP as well as half of the country’s exports and represent 95 percent of its manufacturing units.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Parliament in December that a survey it had conducted suggested that 9 percent of all MSMEs had shut down because of COVID-19. And that might be just the tip of the iceberg. In May, another survey of more than 6,000 MSMEs and startups found that 59 percent were planning to shut shop, scale down or sell before the end of 2021.


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Baldev Kumar threw his head back and laughed at the mention of India’s resurgent GDP growth. The country’s economy clocked an 8.4-percent uptick between July and September compared with the same period last year. India’s Home Minister Amit Shah has boasted that the country might emerge as the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2022.

Kumar could not care less.

As far as he was concerned, the crumpled receipt in his hand told a different story: The tomatoes, onions and okra he had just bought cost nearly twice as much as they did in early November. The 47-year-old mechanic had lost his job at the start of the pandemic. The auto parts store he then joined shut shop earlier this year. Now working at a car showroom in the Bengaluru neighbourhood of Domlur, he is worried he might soon be laid off as auto sales remain low across India.

He has put plans for his daughter’s wedding on hold, unsure whether he can foot the bill. He used to take a bus to work. Now he walks the five-kilometre (three-mile) distance to save a few rupees. “I don’t know which India that’s in,” he said, referring to the GDP figures. “The India I live in is struggling.”

Kumar wasn’t exaggerating – even if Shah’s prognosis turns out to be correct.

Asia’s third-largest economy is indeed growing again, and faster than most major nations. Its stock market indices, such as the Sensex and Nifty, are at levels that are significantly higher than at the start of 2021 – despite a stumble in recent weeks. But many economists are warning that these indicators, while welcome, mask a worrying challenge – some describe it as a crisis – that India confronts as it enters 2022.

November saw inflation rise by 14.23 percent, building on a pattern of double-digit increases that have hit India for several months now. Fuel and energy prices rose nearly 40 percent last month. Urban unemployment – most of the better-paying jobs are in cities – has been moving up since September and is now above 9 percent, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think-tank. “Inflation hits the poor the most,” said Jayati Ghosh, a leading development economist at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

All of this is impacting demand: Government data shows that private consumption between April and September of 2021 was 7.7 percent lower than in 2019-2020. The economic recovery from the pandemic has so far been driven by demand from well-to-do sections of Indian society, said Sabyasachi Kar, who holds the RBI Chair at the Institute of Economic Growth. “The real challenge will start in 2022,” he told Al Jazeera. “We’ll need demand from poorer sections of society to also pick up in order to sustain growth.”


Riaz Haq said...

#India's year 2021 ended with worse #unemployment rate than it began. The year 2021 is closing with an unemployment rate of 8.01% in Dec vs 6.52% in January, according to @_CMIE. It's worsened even before #COVID19 #OmicronVarient appeared. #Modi #BJP https://www.thenorthlines.com/year-ends-with-worse-unemployment-rate-than-it-began-with/


The year 2021 is closing with an unemployment rate of 8.01 per cent in India as against 6.52 per cent in January. It is a great cause of frustration. In January, unemployment rate in the urban area was 8.09 per cent which was up on December 30 at 9.26 per cent, and for rural areas it was up at 7.44 per cent as against only 5.81 per cent. It all indicates a great labour market distortion despite a trend in the economic recovery in both urban and rural areas.



Unemployment has worsened at a time when a new Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire both in India and several other countries, enforcing lockdowns and containment measures. There is great uncertainty in the labour market, and nobody knows what will happen next, chiefly because Omicron overrides immunity from vaccination. The year 2022 is thus opening with a gloom scenario, as against 2021 which had begun with a hope after a miraculous development of vaccines and rollout from January 16. It was hoped that market conditions would improve enabling unemployed to get employment.

Unemployment rate in December 2020 was 9.06 per cent. For urban areas it was even higher at 9.15 per cent. At that time the urban unemployment rate was 8.84. All India unemployment rate then began improving with the opening of almost all sectors of economy. By March it fell to 6.50 per cent which is the lowest for this year, with urban unemployment at 7.27 per cent and rural unemployment at 6.15 per cent. However, it was worse than the unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in the beginning of 2018, which was at 45 years high for the country.

The situation had started worsening sharply from November 2016 after Modi’s demonetisation order which forced cores of business and industrial establishments, especially MSMEs to close. Millions others struggled to survive due to shortage of cash, and millions more cut their production up to 75 per cent. Crores of people lost their jobs and by the beginning of 2018, unemployment in India was 45 year high. Unemployed were thus hit hardest in the Modi rule, which the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic made even worse. Lockdown order of March 24, 2020 put brake on the whole economy to a grinding halt, which began to open from June 1, 2020 in phased manner.

The country was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 in April, which necessitated further lockdowns and containment measures. Labour market suddenly deteriorated and the gains of the last three months were reversed. Unemployment rate rose to 7.97 per cent from 6.50 per cent just a month ago. Both the urban and rural areas were adversely affected and the unemployment rate rose to 9.78 and 7.13 per cent respectively.



May proved to be worst with the rise in the ferocity of the second wave. Markets were shut down and millions of establishments closed. Unemployment rate shot up to 11.84 per cent which is highest for the current year. Unemployment in the urban areas became even worse at 14.72 per cent while in the urban areas it was 10.55 per cent.

Riaz Haq said...

#BulliBai takes its name from a slur against #Muslim women. It was filled with profiles of dozens who were purportedly for sale. Most were #Indian, and some were high-profile figures, such as the #Pakistani #Nobel laureate #Malala Yousafzai. #Islamophobia https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/04/india-online-auction-muslim-women/

Quratulain Rehbar, a journalist in India, found a profile of herself on a website on Saturday. The page was unauthorized, labeled her as up for “auction” and invited people to bid to own her.

The fake auction website Bulli Bai, which takes its name from a slur against Muslim women, was filled with profiles of dozens who were purportedly for sale. Most were Indian, and some were high-profile figures, such as the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Many were also opponents of Hindu nationalism who have publicly criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in India.

The website, which was built on the popular U.S.-based coding platform GitHub, was no longer accessible Tuesday, after a burst of online outrage against its misogyny and racism. A GitHub spokesman said in an email that it had suspended a user account that violated its policies on harassment, discrimination and the incitement of violence.


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The auction sites exemplify the “extreme xenophobia and misogyny used by Hindu nationalists to foster ascendancy,” said Angana Chatterji, an anthropologist specializing in Indian politics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Police in Mumbai have detained a man in connection with Bulli Bai, said Satej D. Patil, a junior minister in Maharashtra state, which is governed by a coalition including the Congress Party that sits in opposition to the BJP at the national level. He said a “large group of people who intend to disrupt … communal harmony” could be behind the website.

The operators of the fake auction websites aren’t known, but they appear to be part of a “decentralized apparatus of attacks, trolling and vilification of Muslim women,” said Gilles Verniers, a politics expert at Ashoka University in India. He added attacks on Muslims were often downplayed or tolerated by Indian leaders, many of whom are BJP members.

Riaz Haq said...

India will likely get old before it gets rich
By Mihir Sharma

https://www.livemint.com/economy/india-seems-likely-to-grow-old-before-it-can-become-wealthy-11639673192633.html

By the middle of this century, India will have 1.6 billion people. That’s when the country’s population will finally start to decline, ending up at perhaps a billion by 2100. While that is still around 250 million more people than China will have then, every time India’s population is projected, its peak seems to come earlier and crest lower. While India will be a young country for decades yet, it is ageing faster than expected. The latest round of India’s massive National Family Health Survey (NFHS) underscores the point. The average Indian woman is now likely to have only two children. That’s below the “replacement rate" of 2.1, at which the population would exactly replace itself over generations.
A few decades ago, this would have been considered miraculous in a country dismissed as a Malthusian nightmare. As modern health care became increasingly available after independence in 1947, population growth exploded—rising from 1.26% annually in the 1940s to 2% in the 1960s. Twenty years after independence, the demographer Sripati Chandrashekhar became India’s health minister and warned that “the greatest obstacle in the path of overall economic development is the alarming rate of population growth." The India in which I grew up was plastered with the inverted red triangle of the government’s family planning campaign.

As it turned out, increasing prosperity, decreases in infant mortality and—crucially—female education and empowerment achieved more than government propaganda ever could. In urban India, the fertility rate is now 1.6, according to the NFHS, equivalent to that of the US.

This is good news. But unalloyed good news is rare in India and this is no exception. The unexpected speed of the demographic transition has forced India to confront a new problem.

China-watchers have long debated whether that country will grow old before it gets rich. India now has to answer that same question, with far fewer resources at its disposal.

Draconian though China’s one-child policy was, those born under it received unprecedented attention from their families: Average education levels rose sharply, as did the quality of their nutrition. In India, by contrast, the NFHS shows that not only is child malnutrition high, it is not improving fast enough. In fact, in the five years after 2015-16, acute undernourishment actually worsened for children in most parts of India.

Meanwhile, India’s education system is clearly failing. Indian companies are already reporting a shortage of skilled manpower. That isn’t because schools aren’t turning out enough graduates. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reports the unemployment rate for college graduates is 19.3%, almost three times higher than the national average. Universities just aren’t producing the kind of workers that companies feel they can employ. In some large-scale surveys, employers have said that less than half the college graduates entering the workforce have the cutting-edge skills they need or the ability to pick them up in the workplace.

Moreover, too few of these young people are trying to get into the workplace at all. Two-thirds of working-age Chinese are currently either employed or looking for a job, according to the International Labour Organization; at the beginning of the country’s high-growth spurt in the early 2000s, this labour force participation rate hit 80%. (The global average is close to 60%.) In India, by contrast, CMIE estimates that the country’s LPR stands at a mere 43% and that the pandemic has “lowered the LPR structurally" to 40%. One big reason: Just one in five Indian women work, which the World Bank has argued is linked to the social stigma of holding jobs outside the home.

Riaz Haq said...

Global Hunger Index 2021 reflects India’s reality where hunger accentuated post Covid-19: Oxfam India
India slipped to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th, and is behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/global-hunger-index-2021-india-reality-hunger-accentuated-covid-19-oxfam-india-7580110/

India’s Global Hunger Index 2021 ranking at 101st position “unfortunately” reflects the reality of the country where hunger has accentuated since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, Oxfam India said.

India slipped to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th, and is behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Reacting sharply to the report, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had said it was “shocking” to find that the Global Hunger Report 2021 has lowered the rank of India on the basis of FAO estimate on proportion of undernourished population, which is found to be “devoid of ground reality and facts and suffers from serious methodological issues”.

Oxfam India said the GHI data which states that India dropped to the hunger-level ranks by seven spots to the 101st spot “unfortunately reflects the reality of the country where hunger accentuated since the Covid-19 pandemic.

This trend of undernutrition in India is unfortunately not new, and is actually based on the government’s own National Family Health Survey (NHFS) data.

The data shows that between 2015 and 2019, a large number of Indian states actually ended up reversing the gains made on child nutrition parameters.

This loss of nutrition should be of concern because it has intergenerational effects, to put it simply – the latest data shows that in several parts of India, children born between 2015 and 2019 are more malnourished than the previous generation, said Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India.

The Union budget this year discussed India’s POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) scheme with increased allocations to POSHAN 2.0.

However, the POSHAN Abhiyaan launched in 2017 to improve nutrition among children, pregnant women and lactating mothers, has languished due to poor funding resulting from clever clubbing with other schemes within the health-budget and even worse implementation.

Only 0.57 per cent of the current budget has been allocated towards funding the actual POSHAN scheme and the amount for child nutrition dropped by a whopping 18.5 per cent compared to 2020-21, Oxfam India said in a statement.

“There are massive negative consequences to not arresting high levels of malnutrition. In India, both our adult population and children are at risk. For instance, the BMI of a quarter of our (teenage and middle aged) women is below the standard global norm, more than half of our women suffer from anaemia.

A quarter of our (teenage and middle-aged) men also show signs of iron and calcium deficiencies as per the latest round of NHFS data, said Varna Sri Raman, Lead, Research and Knowledge Building at Oxfam India.

The GHI report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India “alarming”.

Riaz Haq said...

‘It’s a total disaster’: #Omicron lays waste to #India’s huge #weddingseason. Distraught couples face prospect of cutting guest lists from more than 600 people down to just 20 after #coronavirus variant took hold. #COVID19 #pandemic #economy https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/18/its-a-total-disaster-omicron-lays-waste-to-indias-huge-wedding-season

India has enjoyed a halcyon period since June. As late as November, the capital of 20 million people was recording a mere 35-45 fresh infections a day. But with Omicron fuelling a sudden surge the government has re-imposed restrictions. India is recording around 258,000 cases daily nationally, with New Delhi recording 18,286 cases on Sunday.

Sahiba Puri, of XO Catering by Design in Delhi, understands the need for the restrictions but has no idea what to do with the cooks who have flown in from different parts of India for a pre-wedding function at the weekend.

“The bride’s family wanted to treat guests to all kinds of regional cuisines so these cooks have come and have bought so many of the ingredients. Where do they go? They are paying rent for where they are staying and other expenses,” says Puri.

With the industry staring at yet another disaster, Mishra and others plan to ask the government to relax the 20-guest rule. The Confederation of All India Traders has also written to the government asking for a relaxation.

However, given the current explosion in cases, any relaxation is unlikely. Wedding card printer Arnav Gupta says: “Everyone is so haunted by the brutal second wave that no politician is going to take any chances.”

Vashisht has decided she cannot uninvite 630 guests. She has no choice but to postpone, but planning a later date is proving impossible too. “Who knows when this wave will end? It’s only just got going. Do I tentatively look at a date in March? April? May? I mean, who knows? This limbo is killing me.”

Riaz Haq said...

Has India lost its demographic sweet spot?
N Madhavan| Updated On: Jan 20, 2022

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/has-india-lost-its-demographic-sweet-spot/article64926406.ece

Acclaimed author and investor Ruchir Sharma, while delivering the 40th Palkhivala Memorial Lecture earlier this week, called upon Indian economists to shed their “anchoring bias” and stop talking about 8-9 per cent GDP growth which is difficult to achieve.

He blamed four trends for his view. India, he said, has lost its demographic sweet spot. The country’s working age population growth rate which was more than 2 per cent till 2010 has dropped to 1.5 per cent. He quoted his research to say that 75 per cent of the countries with economic growth of 6 per cent or more had a working age population growth in excess of 2 per cent. Most developed nations slowed down as their working age population dropped. The current population growth rate in India is not conducive for high economic growth, he warned.

Pandemic and indebtedness
The challenges created by declining demography is further accentuated by declining productivity (these two factors are the major drivers of economic growth). He argues that all the recent technological innovations have been more on the consumer experience side and they have not resulted in increasing productivity. The pandemic, he added, has pushed nations deeper into debt.

The amount of debt in the world today is 4X the size of the global economy with 25 countries having a debt/GDP ratio in excess of 300 per cent. India’s level of debt (170 per cent of GDP), while lower compared to other nations, is high when one considers its per capita income. High debt cuts productivity and smothers growth, he said.

The final trend that forced him to come out with this stark prognosis for the Indian economy is de-globalisation. Post world War-II, there was intense globalisation where flow of trade, people and capital exploded. Countries that were growing their economy in excess of 6 per cent registered exports growth of 20 per cent or more. After the global financial crisis, protectionism has increased. This has caused trade in goods and services to plateau. Capital flows have also dropped. Without strong exports, high growth rates are not possible for any country, including India.

Growth reset
He concluded by saying that for India any economic growth in excess of 5 per cent should be a great achievement. If what he says comes true, India’s ambition of becoming a higher middle income country like China (for that it needs to grow its per capita income at 8.8 per cent for the next 10 years) or a developed nation like US (it needs to grow at a rapid pace for many decades) will not happen.

The country will not be able to pull its poor out of poverty and significantly increase its per capita income which is currently a little less than $2,000 (China’s, in comparison, is in excess of $12,000).

But has Ruchir Sharma extrapolated what a slowing population growth did to developed nations to India without considering its uniqueness? That appears to be the case. While it is true that India’s total fertility rate fell to 2.0 per cent -- below the replacement rate of 2.1 per cent -- in the recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), the population (according to a paper prepared by C Rangarajan, former RBI Governor, and JK Satia, Prof Emeritus, Indian Institute of Public Health) will continue to grow and will peak at 165 crore only around 2050.

The paper attributes this to population momentum arising out of a larger number of people entering reproductive age group of 15-49 compared to those leaving it. So reduction in working age population is not going to be sharp and immediate.

Riaz Haq said...

No labour shortage
Also, India is not a labour scarce country. The US saw its labour rates rise rather sharply when population growth slowed. It was forced to outsource production to China to remain competitive. While there is a mis-match between availability of labour and nature of the available jobs, India is not short of hands. This problem can be resolved, in the short run, through re-skilling programmes and in the long run through adequate investment in the education sector.

Unlike developed economies, India also has a large headroom for improvement -– be it labour participation (a large proportion of women are still outside the labour force), labour productivity (existing people can be pushed to produce a lot more), infrastructure efficiency and adoption of technology.

At the same time, the government should not ignore what Sharma is saying. It should act now and doing so will help the country to be better prepared to tackle the challenges demographic changes will bring about tomorrow.

Need for skills upgrade
There is an urgent need to map skill requirements of the future and ensure that the education system is tuned to deliver them. Mere large scale investment in education, though needed, will not be enough. Similarly, a conscious strategy needs to be devised on use of technology in a manner that it adds value and improves productivity without causing significant job losses.

The government should also eschew protectionist tendencies that has gripped the world. It should be flexible and strike preferential trade deals that are overall beneficial to India. Exports may not be as critical for India as it is for countries like China or Japan and it is unlikely to become so in the future as its economy will continue to be powered by domestic consumption. Still, exports have their benefits. It contributes to economic growth, funds imports, improves efficiency and helps to keep the current account deficit in check. Strong exports growth is a pre-requisite for a fast paced economic growth.

There is also a need for a single-minded focus on economic growth. The government should avoid all distractions, domestic or foreign, in order to achieve this. China did just that till its economy reached a significant size. It is different story that it is throwing its weight around in geo-politics today.

A growth focussed prudent economic policy will ensure that India’s investment rate which has fallen significantly since 2007-08 will bounce back. Once that happens, high growth rate will return and India will be in a position to take advantage of the demographic dividend before it is too late.

Riaz Haq said...

India's economy has some bright spots, a number of very dark stains: Raghuram RajanRajan said that one way to expand budgetary resources is through asset sales, including parts of government enterprises and surplus government land

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/indias-economy-has-some-bright-spots-a-number-of-very-dark-stains-raghuram-rajan-1073755.html


The Indian economy has "some bright spots and a number of very dark stains" and the government should target its spending "carefully" so that there are no huge deficits, noted economist and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Sunday. Known for his frank views, Rajan also said the government needs to do more to prevent a K-shaped recovery of the economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Generally, a K-shaped recovery will reflect a situation where technology and large capital firms recover at a far faster rate than small businesses and industries that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. "My greater worry about the economy is the scarring to the middle class, the small and medium sector, and our children's minds, all of which will come into play after an initial rebound due to pent up demand. One symptom of all this is weak consumption growth, especially for mass consumption goods," Rajan told PTI in an e-mail interview.


Rajan, currently a Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, noted that as always, the economy has some bright spots and a number of very dark stains. "The bright spots are the health of large firms, the roaring business the IT and IT-enabled sectors are doing, including the emergence of unicorns in a number of areas, and the strength of some parts of the financial sector," he said. On the other hand, "dark stains" are the extent of unemployment and low buying power, especially amongst the lower middle-class, the financial stress small and medium-sized firms are experiencing, "including the very tepid credit growth, and the tragic state of our schooling". Rajan opined that Omicron is a setback, both medically and in terms of economic activity but cautioned the government on the possibility of a K-shaped economic recovery. "We need to do more to prevent a K shaped recovery, as well as a possible lowering of our medium-term growth potential," he said.

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Regarding the rising inflationary trends, Rajan said inflation is a concern in every country, and it would be hard for India to be an exception. According to him, announcing a credible target for the country's consolidated debt over the next five years coupled with the setting up of an independent fiscal council to opine on the quality of the budget would be very useful steps. "If these moves are seen as credible, the debt markets may be willing to accept a higher temporary deficit," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #jobs crisis exasperates its youth. #Economic growth is producing fewer jobs than it used to, and disheartened jobseekers instead take menial roles or look to move overseas. #BJP #economy #Modi #unemployment https://news.yahoo.com/off-canada-indias-jobs-crisis-052922928.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr via @YahooNews

RAJPURA, India (Reuters) - Srijan Upadhyay supplied fried snacks to small eateries and roadside stalls in the poor eastern Indian state of Bihar before COVID-19 lockdowns forced most of his customers to close down, many without paying what they owed him.

With his business crippled, the 31-year-old IT undergraduate this month travelled to Rajpura town in Punjab state to meet with consultants who promised him a work visa for Canada. He brought along his neighbour who also wants a Canadian visa because his commerce degree has not helped him get a job.

"There are not enough jobs for us here, and whenever government vacancies come up, we hear of cheating, leaking of test papers," Upadhyay said, waiting in the lounge of Blue Line consultants. "I am sure we will get a job in Canada, whatever it is initially."

India's unemployment is estimated to have exceeded the global rate in five of the last six years, data from Mumbai-based the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and International Labour Organization show, due to an economic slowdown that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

Having peaked at 23.5% in April 2020, India's joblessness rate dropped to 7.9% last month, according to CMIE.

The rate in Canada fell to a multi-month-low of 5.9% in December, while the OECD group of mostly rich countries reported a sixth straight month of decline in October, with countries including the United States suffering labour shortages as economic activity picks up.

Graphic: Unemployment Rate- https://graphics.reuters.com/INDIA-UNEMPLOYMENT/INDIA/zjvqknbzxvx/chart.png

What's worse for India, its economic growth is producing fewer jobs than it used to, and as disheartened jobseekers instead take menial roles or look to move overseas, the country's already low rate of workforce participation - those aged 15 and above in work or looking for it - is falling.

"The situation is worse than what the unemployment rate shows," CMIE Managing Director Mahesh Vyas told Reuters. "The unemployment rate only measures the proportion who do not find jobs of those who are actively seeking jobs. The problem is the proportion seeking jobs itself is shrinking."

Graphic: Labour participation rate (LPR)- https://graphics.reuters.com/INDIA-UNEMPLOYMENT/INDIA-UNEMPLOYMENT/jnvwejnnlvw/chart.png


Critics say such hopelessness among India's youth is one of the biggest failures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who first came to power in 2014 with his as yet unfulfilled promise of creating millions of jobs.

It also risks India wasting its demographic advantage of having more than two-thirds of its 1.35 billion people of working age https://data.oecd.org/pop/working-age-population.htm.

The ministries of labour and finance did not respond to requests for comment. The labour ministry's career website had more than 13 million active jobseekers as of last month, with only 220,000 vacancies.

The ministry told parliament in December that "employment generation coupled with improving employability is the priority of the government", highlighting its focus on small businesses.

Modi's rivals are now trying to tap into the crisis ahead of elections in five states, including Punjab and most populous Uttar Pradesh, in February and March.

"Because of a lack of employment opportunities here, every kid looks at Canada. Parents hope to somehow send their kids to Canada," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Admi Party is a front-runner in Punjab elections, told a recent public function there.

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Schools Stay Closed, and Hopes Fade for a Lost Generation Amid #COVID19. Children have forgotten the alphabet or what classrooms look like. Others have dropped out of school entirely, scrounging for work and unlikely to ever resume their studies. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/world/asia/india-schools.html?smid=tw-share

For years, India has been counting on its vast pool of young people as a wellspring of future growth, a “demographic dividend,” as many liked to put it. Now, after two years of the coronavirus pandemic, it is looking more like a lost generation, crushing the middle-class dreams of families looking for better opportunities for their children.

Hundreds of millions of students across India have received little to no in-person instruction with schools intermittently shut down since the start of the pandemic. As pandemic restrictions are lifted, then reimposed, schools are often the first places to close and the last to reopen.

Mahesh Davar, a farmhand in central India, is pained to see his young sons working beside him. He and his wife toiled in the fields to send their boys, now 12 and 14, to school, hoping it would secure them better jobs and easier lives.

Their education effectively ended almost two years ago, when schools shifted online; the family lacked the money for internet access. Around the globe, more than 120 million children have faced the same situation, according to the United Nations.

“Poor people like us fight every day to keep the stove burning,” Mr. Davar said. “Tell me how and where we will afford the money for mobile phones?”

Until the pandemic, India was pulling millions of people out of poverty, pinning its hopes of greater economic growth on education. That building block for the future is now eroding, threatening to upend India’s hard-fought progress and condemn another generation to manual, off-the-books labor.

“In India, the numbers are mind-numbing,” said Poonam Mattreja, head of the Population Foundation, an advocacy group in New Delhi. “Gender and other inequalities are widening, and we’ll have much more of a development deficit in the years to come.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Jobs Crisis: At least 10 million applicants were hoping to get the roughly 40,000 jobs. Jobless mob set fire to #Indian #Railway trains. #RailwaysProtest #BJP #Modi #Bihar #UP #Hindutva #Islamophobia #unemployed #Unemployment https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/protests-over-railway-jobs-are-a-grim-reminder-of-the-state-of-india-s-job-market-101643308438421.html


The protests over problems with recruitment for railway jobs in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, may well be India’s first large-scale unemployment riots. The protests have taken place across a large number of places in these two states. News reports suggest that at least 10 million applicants were hoping to get the roughly 40,000 jobs which were on offer. The politics on the protests notwithstanding – opposition parties have attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over both the issue and police’s handling of it – they ought to be treated as a bellwether for the socio-economic unrest which India’s job markets can generate. Here are four charts which put this in perspective.

India has among the worst labour market outcomes for young people

An international comparison of some of India’s peers and neighbours using World Bank data shows that India has among the worst labour market outcomes for the young (the 15-24-year-old population). This can be seen in persistence of high youth unemployment rates despite a very low labour force participation rate (LPFR) among this cohort. LPFR is defined as the share of economically active population – either working or looking for a job – in the given age group. This number was just 27.1% for the 15-24-year-old population in India, which is significantly lower than other countries. Despite such a low LFPR, youth unemployment rate is among the highest in India. Unemployment rate is defined as the share of unemployed persons in the labour force. A time-series analysis shows that things have become worse on this front in India in the last 15 years.


Riaz Haq said...

A stark statistic: the income of 1/5th of India‘s population has plunged a staggering 53% in the last 5 years. While the wealth of top 100 Indians has soared to Rs 57 lakh crores.

https://youtu.be/xPIPejVpvjY


4.6 crore Indians have slipped into extreme poverty.

What does such inequity say about India? And is the government doing enough to design a pathway out of it?

Provocative. Animated. Incensed. Economist RATHIN ROY — former member of PM’s economic advisory council, and managing director of ODI — lays bare the faultlines in the economy, the Budget, and the principles & priorities driving India’s economic thinking.

“For the first time in India’s independent history, there is no professional mid or long term economic plan,” says he.

So what would he do if he was in the driving seat?

------------

#India’s #economic distress threatens #BJP’s dominance in state elections. India suffered a 7.3% economic contraction in the first year of the #pandemic, with tens of millions of people falling out of the #middleclass and into #poverty. | Financial Times

https://www.ft.com/content/8b5056d3-141b-491d-a715-e810f53fe40e

Riaz Haq said...

State of
Global Hiring
Report 2021

https://f.hubspotusercontent30.net/hubfs/19498232/State%20of%20hiring%20report%202021/State%20of%20Hiring%20Report%202021.pdf

Salaries are rising fastest in 
 Mexico (57%), Canada (38%), 
 Pakistan (27%), and Argentina (21%) 
 for jobs in marketing, sales, and product.

India 8%, Philippines 7% & Russia 4%

----------------

Top three countries where people hired through Deel were located:

1.Philippines 2. India 3. Pakistan

---------------

Top 3 roles hired through deel:

1. Software engineer 2. Virtual assistant 3. Custom Support Executive


------

State of Global Hiring
Report 2021


Global hiring has never been more popular
between pandemic-related office closures,
fierce talent competition, and a bevy of online
tools enabling collaboration and reducing
hiring complications. But where is it popular,
and for what roles? What countries are hiring
more than ever, and from where? What’s
happening to wages as demand increases?

Using data pulled from more than 100,000 work contracts from 

over 150 countries, along with 500,000 third-party data points, 

a new report from global hiring and payroll company Deel gives a
breakdown of what’s happening within the global job landscape.
Trends are tracked over six months—from July 2021 through December 2021.

Riaz Haq said...

#Unemployment Crisis in #Modi's #India: This burning train is a symbol of the anger of India's out-of-work youth. #Indian #economy has slowed down since 2010. Consequently, the pace of #job creation has been on a steady decline since 2011. #BJP #Hindutva https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/03/16/1084139074/this-burning-train-is-a-symbol-of-the-anger-of-indias-out-of-work-youth?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

This high unemployment rate among the college educated has caused what the World Economic Forum calls "widespread youth disillusionment," claiming it's a threat to India's economic stability – and is part of a growing crisis in India's job market. Those who work in the so-called "informal sector" – jobs in construction or agricultural labor with no guarantee of work or a wage from day-to-day, have long had difficulty supporting themselves and their families. And now, even education is no longer a guarantee of a job. Many educated workers complain of a lack of job security, employment benefits and salaries that often fail to meet minimum wage requirements.



--------------

Indian economy has slowed down since 2010, according to former chief economic adviser to the Government of India Arvind Subramanian. Consequently, the pace of job creation has been on a steady decline since 2011.

In 2014, India elected the Hindu nationalist leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi, who promised to create 100 million jobs by 2022. His administration launched campaigns like Make In India, Startup India and Skill India, intended to encourage investment across sectors and aimed at both those with education degrees and workers in the informal sector.

But there was a massive impact on employment opportunities after Modi's announcement in November 2016 that he was taking 86% of India's paper money out of circulation — part of a demonetization policy that aimed to tamp corruption. According to a 2019 study by scholars at Azim Premji University, 5 million people lost jobs due to major shocks to the economy from this policy.

Then came the pandemic. Less than five years after demonetization, COVID-19 struck, adversely affecting most sectors of the economy and pushing up the rate of unemployment up to 20% in June 2020. Since then, the rate has dropped to around 8% for India overall, which still means a massive number of unemployed in a population of 1.4 billion.

Sarvesh Dhobi has moved about 1,000 miles east from his hometown in Surat to study in a coaching center in Prayagraj. He'd like to land a job in media and communications – but is not hopeful. "We are traditionally launderers, my father has a laundry business," he says. "I might have to go back home and lend a hand in that."

And Gautam notes that there are unforeseen consequences to being one of India's many unemployed young people.

"My family pressures me to get married, but who will marry an unemployed man?" he asks.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's 2022 #GDP Growth Cut to 4.6% Due to #Ukraine War. India will face restraints on several fronts: #energy access & prices, primary commodity bottlenecks, reflexes from #trade sanctions, #food #inflation, tightening policies & financial instability.
https://thewire.in/economy/indias-2022-gdp-growth-downgraded-to-4-6-due-to-ukraine-war-un-report


United Nations: India’s projected economic growth for 2022 has been downgraded by over 2% to 4.6% by the United Nations, a decrease attributed to the ongoing war in Ukraine, with New Delhi expected to face restraints on energy access and prices, reflexes from trade sanctions, food inflation, tightening policies and financial instability, according to a UN report released on Thursday.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report downgraded its global economic growth projection for 2022 to 2.6% from 3.6% due to shocks from the Ukraine war and changes in macroeconomic policies that put developing countries particularly at risk.

The report said while Russia will experience a deep recession this year, significant slowdowns in growth are expected in parts of Western Europe and Central, South and South-East Asia.

India was forecast to grow at 6.7% in 2022 and this projection has been downgraded to 4.6% by UNCTAD.

The report said as some of the other economies in South and Western Asia may gain some benefits from fast growth of demand and prices of energy, they will be hampered by the adversities in primary commodity markets, especially food inflation, and will be further hit by inherent financial instabilities.



India in particular will face restraints on several fronts: energy access and prices, primary commodity bottlenecks, reflexes from trade sanctions, food inflation, tightening policies and financial instability, it said.

The report has downgraded the GDP growth of the US from 3% to 2.4%. China will also see growth decrease to 4.8% from 5.7%. The report projects a deep recession for Russia, with growth decelerating from 2.3% to -7.3%.

The report said the Russian economy faces stringent external constraints imposed by the sanctions.

While Russia is still exporting oil and gas, and will therefore see compensating increases of revenue due to high prices, sanctions severely limit the use of foreign exchange earnings for the purchase of imports or debt servicing.

Russia will experience severe shortages of a wide range of imported goods, high inflation and a substantially devalued currency. While the state will likely act to cushion the shock and limit unemployment and the fall of household incomes, its capacity is limited.

Trade with China and some other partners will continue, but they will not be able to provide substitutes for the wide range of imported goods that the Russian Federation currently cannot access. Assuming the sanctions remain in place through 2022, even if the fighting in Ukraine ends, Russia will experience a severe recession, it said.

The report noted that a number of developing country central banks also engaged in quantitative easing: active purchasing of bonds in the open market.

A small number of developing country central banks engaged in private sector bond purchases, but public bond buying was more widespread: the central banks of India, Thailand, Colombia and South Africa, among others, engaged in public bond purchases.

In the global monetary hierarchy, the place of a national currency today is determined less by the size of its domestic production base than by the size of its domestic financial sector.

The currencies of Brazil, Russia, India and China account for no more than 3.5% of the $6.6 trillion daily turnover in the forex markets, a ratio barely one-tenth of the United States dollar’s 44%, it said.

UNCTAD said the ongoing war in Ukraine is likely to reinforce the monetary tightening trend in advanced countries following similar moves that began in late 2021 in several developing countries due to inflationary pressures, with expenditure cuts also anticipated in upcoming budgets.

Riaz Haq said...

A 2-day nationwide strike in #India called by hundreds of thousands of workers to protest #Modi gov't #economic policies has spared no corner of India. supporters are blocking roads, train tracks & public transportation absent from streets. #privatization https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/28/world/asia/india-modi-general-strike.html?smid=tw-share


The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a strong pitch for the privatization of some state-owned assets that it characterizes as underperforming. Government-backed financial institutions are protesting a federal move to privatize them and also protesting a bill that is expected to reduce the minimum government holding in public sector banks from 51 percent down to 26 percent.

With bank unions joining the strike, the State Bank of India, a government institution, warned its customers that banking services were likely to be affected Monday and Tuesday.

--------

As Indian authorities raced to roll out contingency plans to deal with the strike, the country’s federal power ministry directed all publicly run electricity companies to be on high alert to ensure that hospitals, defense installations and railways continue to be supplied with power.

The shutdown, which began early Monday, was called by dozens of labor unions representing workers from both public and private sectors. Union leaders said the protests were aimed at a variety of government policies that they said harmed workers, farmers and Indians in general. They also said they were demanding an immediate scrapping of a new labor law that allows contract work, gives employers greater leeway in setting wages and increases working hours.

“The present government is anti-workers and against poor people,” said Arthanari Soundararajan, an opposition politician from Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state of Tamil Nadu.

----------


“They are selling railways, airports, ports, oil industry and gas refineries and our power transmission sector, there is nothing left,” Mr. Saxena said. “Whatever our forefathers have built in this country is being now sold to big corporate and private entrepreneurs.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s economy created 5.5 million jobs during the past three years –on an average 1.84 million jobs a year, which is far higher than yearly average of creation of new jobs during the 2008-18 decade, reveals findings of Labour Force Survey (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).


https://tribune.com.pk/story/2350416/employment-boom-in-last-3-years


In terms of sector, the share of agriculture sector in total employment went down from 38.5% from three years ago to 37.4%. But the share of the industrial sector increased from 23.7% to 25.4%. The services sector share in employment also decreased from nearly 38% to 37.2%.

In absolute terms, during the past three years about 2.5 million jobs were created in the industrial sector compared with 2.1 million created during the five-year PML-N tenure. Another 1.4 million jobs were created in the agriculture sector and 1.7 million in the services sector. During the PML-N tenure around 4.3 million jobs had been created in the services sector.

-------

the Sindh province remained an exception where unemployment rate significantly went down to just 3.9% in three years as the unemployment rate increased in all other three provinces –the highest one recorded at 8.8% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the last fiscal year, according to Labour Force Survey 2020-21.

The national unemployment rate stood at 6.3% at the end of the last fiscal year, which is better than the preceding year but higher than 5.8% recorded at the end of the PML-N tenure, according to the survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The Planning Ministry and the PBS have not yet officially released the survey.

The survey findings were endorsed on Wednesday by a technical committee, comprising official and independent experts, according to the officials of the Ministry of Planning and Development. The PBS covered 6,808 enumeration blocks and 99,904 households for the survey purposes.

The findings showed that the number of employed people increased to 67.3 million by June 2021 –up from 61.7 million at the end of the PML-N tenure.

However, the official unemployment rate that in June 2018 was 5.8% went up to 6.3% at the end of the third year of the PTI rule. The unemployment rate was the lowest in Sindh at 3.9% that is ruled by the Pakistan Peoples Party but it was highest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 8.8%, followed by 6.8% in Punjab –the two provinces governed by the ruling party.


A key reason for an overall low unemployment rate of 6.3% was inclusion of contributing family workers in the definition of the employed people whose share in total employment was above one-fifth. The share of employers remained unchanged at 1.4% in three years. The employees also went down from 42.4% to 42% in three years but own-account workers' share went up to 35.5%, according to the survey.

During 2018-23, on an average 1.84 million jobs a year were created –far better than the yearly average recorded during the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and the PPP governments, according to the survey’s findings.

During the five year of the PPP (2008-13), about 6.9 million jobs had been created with a yearly average of 1.4 million. Compared to this, during the PML-N 2013-18’s tenure, about 5.7 million jobs had been created with an average of 1.14 million a year.

The average economic growth rate during the PML-N five years rule was significantly higher than the average growth rate during the PTI tenure. For the first time in the past 70 years, the country had also witnessed 1% contraction in the Gross Domestic Product during the fiscal year 2019-20 when the world was struck by the global pandemic.

The survey findings revealed that the sectoral contributions in job creation were uneven and the majority of the new jobs had been created in the industrial sector.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to create 10 million jobs during his government tenure and the creation of 5.5 million jobs suggested that the economy might generate a total 9 million jobs by 2023 at the current rate.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #Citibank left #India. Some experts have blamed Indian #banking’s bad-loan crisis. Citi, which has been present in India for over a century, is not the first foreign bank to exit or scale down operations. #Modi #economy #BJP #Hindutva https://qz.com/india/2148597/ via @qzindia

Almost immediately after Citigroup’s announced its decision last year, FirstRand Bank, too, followed suit. South Africa‘s second-largest bank has $118 billion in assets in India.

Barclays, HSBC and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, too, have downsized due to high capital requirements and costs.

Foreign banks have been struggling due to increased competition from domestic players, differences in compliance guidelines, and poor asset quality issues, among other reasons.

Some experts have blamed Indian banking’s bad-loan crisis.


“We believe our capital, investment dollars, and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia,” Citigroup’s global CEO Jane Fraser had said last year.

In 2013, RBI had announced guidelines for foreign banks, asking them to either operate through branch presence or set up wholly-owned subsidiaries to be treated at par with Indian banks. While the business models of some banks did not allow the subsidiary route, only a few got licences to open fresh branches.

Some have survived, though.

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Electricity Crisis Worst Since Oct 2021: Many northern states suffered hours-long power outages in October, when a crippling #coal shortage caused the worst electricity deficit in nearly five years. #EnergyCrisis #BJP #Modi #economy #unemployment https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/indias-march-electricity-shortage-worst-since-coal-crisis-in-october-101648747688690.html

The western state of Gujarat, one of the country's most industrialized, has ordered a staggered shutdown of "non-continuous process" industries in key cities next week, according to a government note reviewed by Reuters.


India's electricity shortage from March 1 to March 30 was its worst since October, a Reuters analysis of government data shows.

A surge in power demand in March has forced India to cut coal supplies to the non-power sector and put on hold plans for some fuel auctions for utilities without supply deals due to a slump in inventories.

Many northern states suffered hours-long power outages in October, when a crippling coal shortage caused the worst electricity deficit in nearly five years.

Shortages in the eastern state of Jharkhand and Uttarakhand in the north surpassed those of October, the latest data showed.

The western state of Gujarat, one of the country's most industrialised, has ordered a staggered shutdown of "non-continuous process" industries in key cities next week, according to a government note reviewed by Reuters.

A Gujarat energy department official said the move was due to power shortages and to facilitate continuous power supply to farmers, adding a similar strategy was last used in 2010. He declined to comment on how long the staggered shutdown will be in place.

The official declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The southern state of Andhra Pradesh and the tourist resort state of Goa, which registered marginal shortages in October, suffered deficits several times larger in March.

The deficit in March was 574 million kilowatt-hours, a measure that multiplies power level by duration, a Reuters analysis of data from federal grid regulator POSOCO showed.

That amounted to 0.5% of overall demand for the period, or half the deficit of 1% in October.

The northern states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab and the eastern state of Bihar, some parts of which suffered widespread outages in October, accounted for most of the deficit in March, but shortfalls were lower, the data showed.

Riaz Haq said...

India's jobless rate falls to 7.6% in March from 8.1% a month earlier: CMIE
Unemployment rate in the country is decreasing with the economy slowly returning to normal, according to CMIE data.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-s-unemployment-rate-falls-to-7-6-in-march-from-8-10-in-feb-cmie-122040300533_1.html


Haryana's unemployment rate the highest in India, shows analysis
India's unemployment rate falls to 6.57%, lowest since March 2021: CMIE
Households have not recovered
Employment and the government
Unemployment falls in UP, on the rise in Punjab and Goa, shows data


Unemployment rate in the country is decreasing with the economy slowly returning to normal, according to CMIE data.

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy's monthly time series data revealed that the overall unemployment rate in India was 8.10 per cent in February 2022, which fell to 7.6 per cent in March.


On April 2, the ratio further dropped to 7.5 per cent, with urban unemployment rate at 8.5 per cent and rural at 7.1 per cent.

Retired professor of economics at Indian Statistical Institute Abhirup Sarkar said that though the overall unemployment rate is falling, it is still high for a "poor" country like India.

The decrease in the ratio shows that the economy is getting back on track after being hit by COVID-19 for two years, he said.

"But still, this unemployment rate is high for India which is a poor country. Poor people, particularly in rural areas, cannot afford to remain unemployed, for which they are taking up any job which comes in their way," Sarkar said.

According to the data, Haryana recorded the highest unemployment rate in March at 26.7 per cent, followed by Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir at 25 per cent each, Bihar at 14.4 per cent, Tripura at 14.1 per cent and West Bengal at 5.6 per cent.

In April 2021, the overall unemployment rate was 7.97 per cent and shot up to 11.84 per cent in May last year.

Karnataka and Gujarat registered the least unemployment rate at 1.8.per cent each in March, 2022.

Riaz Haq said...

The unemployment rate fell in March 2022 to 7.6 per cent from 8.1 per cent in February. The good news on the labour markets front in March 2022 stops here. All the other data point to worsening labour market conditions in March 2022.



https://www.cmie.com/kommon/bin/sr.php?kall=warticle&dt=20220411125651&msec=416





The labour participation rate (LPR) fell to 39.5 per cent in March 2022. This was lower than the 39.9 per cent participation rate recorded in February. It is also lower than during the second wave of Covid-19 in April-June 2021. The lowest the labour participation rate had fallen to in the second wave was in June 2021 when it fell to 39.6 per cent. The average LPR during April-June 2021 was 40 per cent. March 2022, with no Covid-19 wave and with much lesser restrictions on mobility, has reported a worse LPR of 39.5 per cent.

The labour force shrunk by 3.8 million during March 2022 to 428 million. This is the lowest labour force in eight months, i.e. since July 2021. Employment shrunk by 1.4 million to 396 million in March 2022, which was the lowest level since June 2021. The count of the unemployed fell by 2.4 million in March 2022. This is what caused the fall in the unemployment rate. But, the fall in the absolute count of unemployed or the unemployment rate is not because more people got employed. We have already noted that employment actually fell in March, by a substantial 1.4 million.

What the labour market statistics of March 2022 show is India’s biggest sign of economic distress. Millions left the labour markets they stopped even looking for employment, possibly too disappointed with their failure to get a job and under the belief that there were no jobs available.

This is not the first time that India has seen a fall in the labour force in a month wherein both its constituents the employed and the unemployed have fallen simultaneously. Some of this phenomenon occurring during a month could be a reflection of short-term labour market variations, or even sampling variations. What stands out this time is that the labour force and both its constituents shrunk during a larger period of the quarter of March 2022. This is for the first time in over three years, i.e. since the quarter of June 2018 that we have seen such a decline in the labour force.

The decline in the LPR reflects the inadequacy of the growth in employment opportunities. This is because LPR compares the labour force with the working age population. The working age population continues to grow and if job opportunities do not grow in tandem, then the LPR falls. But, a decline in the labour force in absolute terms reflects a shrinkage in employment opportunities in absolute terms.

The matter gets worse when we dwell into the source of fall in employment.The composition of the 1.4 million fall in employment in March 2022 reveals a much bigger problem on the employment front. Non-agricultural jobs fell by a whopping 16.7 million. This was offset by a 15.3 million increase in employment in agriculture. Such a large increase in employment in agriculture is likely a seasonal demand for workers preparing for the rabi harvest. But, March is a tad too early for the rabi harvest. It is possible that a significant portion of the increase in employment in agriculture in March was disguised unemployment.

The fall in non-agricultural jobs in March is large and therefore worrisome.

Industrial jobs fell by 7.6 million in March 2022. The manufacturing sector shed 4.1 million jobs, the construction sector shed 2.9 million and mines shed 1.1 million jobs. Utilities saw a small increase. Manufacturing industries that reported a fall in jobs were the large organised sectors cement and metals.

Riaz Haq said...

RSS stresses on 'Bharat-centric' job models to tackle unemployment
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has called for "Bharat-centric" models of employment generation to strengthen the economy and achieve sustainable and holistic development

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/rss-stresses-on-bharat-centric-job-models-to-tackle-unemployment-122031400447_1.html

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has called for "Bharat-centric" models of employment generation to strengthen the economy and achieve sustainable and holistic development.

In the wake of several youth in the country facing unemployment, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), the top decision-making body of the RSS, passed a resolution on Sunday to promote work opportunities to make the country self-reliant.


In the resolution, the ABPS said it wishes to emphasise that the entire society has to play a proactive role in harnessing work opportunities to mitigate the overall employment challenge.

"As we have experienced the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic on employment and livelihood, we have also witnessed opening up of new opportunities of which some sections of the society have taken benefit," it said.

The ABPS is of the opinion that thrust is to be given to "Bharatiya economic model" that is human-centric, labour intensive, eco-friendly and lays stress on decentralisation and equitable distribution of benefits and augments village economy, micro scale, small scale and agro-based industries, the resolution said.

"The ABPS calls upon citizens to work on Bharat-centric models of employment generation to strengthen the economy and achieve sustainable and holistic development," it said.

The three-day meeting of the ABPS concluded at Pirana on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Sunday.

According to the resolution, the areas like rural employability, unorganised sector employment, jobs to women and their overall participation in the economy need to be boosted. Efforts are essential to adapt new technologies and soft skills appropriate to the societal conditions, it said.

"Our manufacturing sector, that has high employment potential, requires to be bolstered, which can also lessen our dependence on imports," it said.

The resolution also said that an environment conducive of encouraging entrepreneurship should be created by educating and counselling people, especially youth, so that they can come out of the mentality of seeking jobs only.

Similar entrepreneurial spirit also needs to be fostered among women, village folk and people from remote and tribal areas, it said.

"The ABPS feels that we, as a society, look for innovative ways to address the challenges of fast changing global economic and technological scenario. Opportunities of employment and entrepreneurship with emerging digital economy and export possibilities should be keenly explored," the RSS resolution said.

"We should engage ourselves in manpower training both pre and on job, research and technology innovations, motivation for start ups and green technology ventures," it said.

Riaz Haq said...

Medium Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) have always been the backbone of an economy in general and secondary sector in particular. For a capital scarce developing country like India, SMEs are considered as panacea for several economic woes like unemployment, poverty, income inequalities and regional imbalances.

https://www.mbarendezvous.com/more/msme-indian-economy/

The MSME Development act classifies manufacturing units into medium, small and micro enterprises depending upon the investment made in plant and machinery. Any enterprise with investment in plant and machinery of up to INR 50 million is considered as medium enterprise while those having investment between INR1.0 million to INR2.5 million is a small enterprise and one with less than INR1.0 million is a micro enterprise. In service sector, any enterprise with the investment limit of INR1.0 million, between INR 1.0-20 million and of upto INR 50 million is called as micro, small and medium enterprise respectively.

The MSMEs have played a great role in ensuring the socialistic goals like equality of income and balance regional development as envisaged by the planners soon after the independence. With the meagre investment in comparison to the various large scale private and public enterprises, the MSMEs are found to be more efficient providing more employment opportunities at relatively lower cost. The employment intensity of MSMEs is estimated to be four times greater than that of large enterprises. Currently, around 36 million SMEs are generating 80 million employment opportunities, contributing 8% of the GDP, 45% of total manufacturing output and 40% of the total exports from the country. MSMEs account for more than 80% of the total industrial enterprises in India creating more than 8000 value added products.

The most important contribution of SMEs in India is promoting the balanced economic development. The trickle down effects of large enterprises is very limited in contrast to small industries where fruits of percolation of economic growth are more visible. While the large enterprises largely created the islands of prosperity in the ocean of poverty, small enterprises have succeeded in fulfilling the socialistic goals of providing equitable growth. It had also helped in industrialization of rural and backward areas, thereby, reducing regional imbalances, assuring more equitable distribution of national income.Urban area with around 857,000 enterprises accounted for 54.77% of the total working enterprises in Registered MSME sector whereas in rural areas around 707,000 enterprises (45.23% of the working enterprises) are located. Small industries also help the large in industries by supplying them ancillary products.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Is Stalling the #WHO's Efforts to Make Global #Covid #Death Toll Public. Over a third of the additional 9 million deaths are estimated to have occurred in India, where the government of PM #Modi has stood by its own count of about 520,000. #BJP
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/health/global-covid-deaths-who-india.html?smid=tw-share

An ambitious effort by the World Health Organization to calculate the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has found that vastly more people died than previously believed — a total of about 15 million by the end of 2021, more than double the official total of six million reported by countries individually.

But the release of the staggering estimate — the result of more than a year of research and analysis by experts around the world and the most comprehensive look at the lethality of the pandemic to date — has been delayed for months because of objections from India, which disputes the calculation of how many of its citizens died and has tried to keep it from becoming public.

More than a third of the additional nine million deaths are estimated to have occurred in India, where the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stood by its own count of about 520,000. The W.H.O. will show the country’s toll is at least four million, according to people familiar with the numbers who were not authorized to disclose them, which would give India the highest tally in the world, they said. The Times was unable to learn the estimates for other countries.

The W.H.O. calculation combined national data on reported deaths with new information from localities and household surveys, and with statistical models that aim to account for deaths that were missed. Most of the difference in the new global estimate represents previously uncounted deaths, the bulk of which were directly from Covid; the new number also includes indirect deaths, like those of people unable to access care for other ailments because of the pandemic.

The delay in releasing the figures is significant because the global data is essential for understanding how the pandemic has played out and what steps could mitigate a similar crisis in the future. It has created turmoil in the normally staid world of health statistics — a feud cloaked in anodyne language is playing out at the United Nations Statistical Commission, the world body that gathers health data, spurred by India’s refusal to cooperate.

“It’s important for global accounting and the moral obligation to those who have died, but also important very practically. If there are subsequent waves, then really understanding the death total is key to knowing if vaccination campaigns are working,” said Dr. Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research in Toronto and a member of the expert working group supporting the W.H.O.’s excess death calculation. “And it’s important for accountability.”

To try to take the true measure of the pandemic’s impact, the W.H.O. assembled a collection of specialists including demographers, public health experts, statisticians and data scientists. The Technical Advisory Group, as it is known, has been collaborating across countries to try to piece together the most complete accounting of the pandemic dead.

The Times spoke with more than 10 people familiar with the data. The W.H.O. had planned to make the numbers public in January but the release has continually been pushed back.

Recently, a few members of the group warned the W.H.O. that if the organization did not release the figures, the experts would do so themselves, three people familiar with the matter said.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s extreme #heatwave is thwarting #Modi’s plan to “feed the world”. India is experiencing relentless heat waves for the 2nd month in a row. This has now begun to wilt the country’s #agriculture sector, especially #wheat production. #ClimateEmergency https://qz.com/india/2160187/indias-heat-wave-will-impact-modis-wheat-export-plans/

India has been experiencing relentless heat waves for the second month in a row. This has now begun to wilt the country’s agriculture sector, especially wheat production.

A low yield, coupled with rising food inflation, would force the government to prioritise domestic consumption over exports, potentially tripping up prime minister Narendra Modi’s recent offer to help feed the world.

Riaz Haq said...

CMIE: #India's #unemployment rate jumped to 7.83% in April from 7.60% in March. #Urban #jobless rate soared to 9.22% from 8.28% in March. #Modi #BJP #economy #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-s-unemployment-rate-rose-to-7-83-in-april-shows-cmie-data-122050201088_1.html

The unemployment rate in the country grew to 7.83 per cent in April from 7.60 per cent in March, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data.

The unemployment rate in urban areas was higher at 9.22 per cent compared to 8.28 per cent in March, the data released on Monday showed.




In the rural area, the unemployment rate was at 7.18 per cent in April compared to 7.29 per cent in the previous month.

Unemployment rate was the highest in Haryana at 34.5 per cent followed by Rajasthan at 28.8 per cent, Bihar 21.1 per cent and Jammu and Kashmir 15.6 per cent, the data showed.


CMIE managing director Mahesh Vyas told PTI that it is important to note that the labour force participation rate and the employment rate also increased in April.

"This is a good development," Vyas said.

The employment rate rose from 36.46 per cent to 37.05 per cent in April, he added.

Riaz Haq said...

“Make in India” has failed, replaced by a government that never admits defeat with a call for “self-reliance.” Now, exactly 30 years after India turned away from central planning and liberated the private sector, the government is again handing out subsidies and licenses while putting up tariff walls


https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/why-india-s-new-industrial-policy-is-doomed-to-fail-at-the-cost-billions-121071600093_1.html


One of Narendra Modi’s first promises when elected India’s prime minister in 2014 was to revive the country’s manufacturing sector. India had been de-industrializing since the early part of the century and policy makers correctly argued that only mass manufacturing could create enough jobs for a workforce growing by a million young people a month.

In his first major speech as prime minister, Modi invited the world to help: “I want to appeal all the people world over [sic], ‘Come, make in India,’ ‘Come, manufacture in India.’ Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here.”




The “Make in India” slogan quickly developed into a full-fledged government program, complete with a snazzy symbol — a striding lion made out of meshed gears. Government officials spoke at length about increasing foreign direct investment and improving the business climate to attract multinational companies. Careful targeting of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business indicators raised the country 79 positions in the five years after Modi took office.


And, after all that, in 2019 the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP stood at a 20-year low. Most foreign investment has poured into service sectors such as retail, software and telecommunications. “Make in India” has failed, replaced by a government that never admits defeat with a call for “self-reliance.”

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The government’s defenders point out that its investor-friendly reforms weren’t answered; nobody came to “Make in India.” And, they ask, hasn’t China profited handsomely from subsidizing its own manufacturing sector?

Such arguments miss the point. Modi’s manufacturing push never went much further than gaming the World Bank’s indicators. No investor believes structural reforms, particularly to the legal system, have gone deep enough. India has a large workforce but too few skilled workers. To top it all off, the rupee is overvalued. Rather than work at solving these interconnected and complex problems, politicians in New Delhi have decided to paper over them with taxpayer money.

Perhaps picking winners has worked for China. What Indians know for certain is that it did not work here after decades of trying. Sure, public investment in sectors of vital strategic importance — electricity storage, perhaps, or cutting-edge pharma — is defensible. But when you start throwing money at every sector that you wish had developed on its own, then all you’re announcing to the world is that you’re out of ideas.

India’s haphazard foray into industrial policy is going to fail, just as “Make in India” did. And it’s likely to cost the country billions along the way.

Riaz Haq said...

Problems Facing Indian Economy
25 February 2022 by Tejvan Pettinger

https://www.economicshelp.org/india-2/problems-indian-economy/

Since 1991, the Indian economy has pursued free market liberalisation, greater openness in trade and increase investment in infrastructure. This helped the Indian economy to achieve a rapid rate of economic growth and economic development. However, the economy still faces various problems and challenges, such as corruption, lack of infrastructure, poverty in rural areas and poor tax collection rates.

1. Unemployment

Despite rapid economic growth, unemployment is still an issue in both rural and urban areas. The fast rate of economic growth has left unskilled workers behind, and they have struggled to find work in growing industries. In 2017, the official unemployment rate was just below 5%. However, a report by the OECD found over 30% of people aged 15-29 in India are not in employment, education or training (NEETs). Livemint reported on March 6, 2017. WIth, little if any government welfare support for the unemployed, it leads to dire poverty.

2. Poor educational standards

Although India has benefited from a high % of English speakers, (important for call centre industry) there is still high levels of illiteracy amongst the population. It is worse in rural areas and amongst women. Over 50% of Indian women are illiterate. This limits economic development and a more skilled workforce.

3. Poor Infrastructure

Many Indians lack basic amenities lack access to running water. Indian public services are creaking under the strain of bureaucracy and inefficiency. Over 40% of Indian fruit rots before it reaches the market; this is one example of the supply constraints and inefficiency’s facing the Indian economy.

4. Balance of Payments deterioration.

Although India has built up large amounts of foreign currency reserves, the high rates of economic growth have been at the cost of a persistent current account deficit. In late 2012, the current account reached a peak of 6% of GDP. Since then there has been an improvement in the current account. But, the Indian economy has seen imports growth faster than exports. This means India needs to attract capital flows to finance the deficit. Also, the large deficit caused the depreciation in the Rupee between 2012 and 2014. Whilst the deficit remains, there is always the fear of a further devaluation in the Rupee. There is a need to rebalance the economy and improve the competitiveness of exports.

5. High levels of private debt

Buoyed by a property boom the amount of lending in India has grown by 30% in the past year. However, there are concerns about the risk of such loans. If they are dependent on rising property prices it could be problematic. Furthermore, if inflation increases further it may force the RBI to increase interest rates. If interest rates rise substantially it will leave those indebted facing rising interest payments and potentially reducing consumer spending in the future

6. Inequality has risen rather than decreased.

It is hoped that economic growth would help drag the Indian poor above the poverty line. However, so far economic growth has been highly uneven benefiting the skilled and wealthy disproportionately. Many of India’s rural poor are yet to receive any tangible benefit from India’s economic growth. More than 78 million homes do not have electricity. 33% (268million) of the population live on less than $1 per day. Furthermore with the spread of television in Indian villages the poor are increasingly aware of the disparity between rich and poor. (3)

7. Large Budget Deficit

India has one of the largest budget deficits in the developing world. Excluding subsidies, it amounts to nearly 8% of GDP. Although it is fallen a little in the past year. It still allows little scope for increasing investment in public services like health and education.

Riaz Haq said...

The Indian economy is being rewired. The opportunity is immense And so are the stakes

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/05/13/the-indian-economy-is-being-rewired-the-opportunity-is-immense

Who deserves the credit? Chance has played a big role: India did not create the Sino-American split or the cloud, but benefits from both. So has the steady accumulation of piecemeal reform over many governments. The digital-identity scheme and new national tax system were dreamed up a decade or more ago.

Mr Modi’s government has also got a lot right. It has backed the tech stack and direct welfare, and persevered with the painful task of shrinking the informal economy. It has found pragmatic fixes. Central-government purchases of solar power have kick-started renewables. Financial reforms have made it easier to float young firms and bankrupt bad ones. Mr Modi’s electoral prowess provides economic continuity. Even the opposition expects him to be in power well after the election in 2024.

The danger is that over the next decade this dominance hardens into autocracy. One risk is the bjp’s abhorrent hostility towards Muslims, which it uses to rally its political base. Companies tend to shrug this off, judging that Mr Modi can keep tensions under control and that capital flight will be limited. Yet violence and deteriorating human rights could lead to stigma that impairs India’s access to Western markets. The bjp’s desire for religious and linguistic conformity in a huge, diverse country could be destabilising. Were the party to impose Hindi as the national language, secessionist pressures would grow in some wealthy states that pay much of the taxes.

The quality of decision-making could also deteriorate. Prickly and vindictive, the government has co-opted the bureaucracy to bully the press and the courts. A botched decision to abolish bank notes in 2016 showed Mr Modi’s impulsive side. A strongman lacking checks and balances can eventually endanger not just demo cracy, but also the economy: think of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, whose bizarre views on inflation have caused a currency crisis. And, given the bjp’s ambivalence towards foreign capital, the campaign for national renewal risks regressing into protectionism. The party loves blank cheques from Silicon Valley but is wary of foreign firms competing in India. Today’s targeted subsidies could degenerate into autarky and cronyism—the tendencies that have long held India back.

Seizing the moment
For India to grow at 7% or 8% for years to come would be momentous. It would lift huge numbers of people out of poverty. It would generate a vast new market and manufacturing base for global business, and it would change the global balance of power by creating a bigger counterweight to China in Asia. Fate, inheritance and pragmatic decisions have created a new opportunity in the next decade. It is India’s and Mr Modi’s to squander. ■

Riaz Haq said...

Research article
Open Access
Published: 29 May 2020
A comparison of the Indian diet with the EAT-Lancet reference diet
Manika Sharma, Avinash Kishore, Devesh Roy & Kuhu Joshi

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-08951-8

The average calorie intake/person/day in both rural (2214 kcal) and urban (2169 kcal) India is less than the reference diet (Table 1). In both rural and urban areas, people in rich households (top deciles of monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE)) consume more than 3000 kcal/day i.e. 20% more than the reference diet. Their calorie intake/person/day is almost twice as high as their poorest counterparts (households in the bottom MPCE deciles) who consume only 1645 kcals/person/day (Table 1).



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The average daily calorie consumption in India is below the recommended 2503 kcal/capita/day across all groups compared, except for the richest 5% of the population. Calorie share of whole grains is significantly higher than the EAT-Lancet recommendations while those of fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat, fish and eggs are significantly lower. The share of calories from protein sources is only 6–8% in India compared to 29% in the reference diet. The imbalance is highest for the households in the lowest decile of consumption expenditure, but even the richest households in India do not consume adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and non-cereal proteins in their diets. An average Indian household consumes more calories from processed foods than fruits.

------------------

The EAT-Lancet reference diet is made up of 8 food groups - whole grains, tubers and starchy vegetables, fruits, other vegetables, dairy foods, protein sources, added fats, and added sugars. Caloric intake (kcal/day) limits for each food group are given and add up to a 2500 kcal daily diet [7]. We compare the proportional calorie (daily per capita) shares of the food groups in the reference diet with similar food groups in Indian Diets.

Riaz Haq said...

Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21

By Riaz Riazuddin former deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.


https://www.dawn.com/news/1659441/consumption-habits-inflation

As households move to upper-income brackets, the share of spending on food consumption falls. This is known as Engel’s law. Empirical proof of this relationship is visible in the falling share of food from about 48pc in 2001-02 for the average household. This is an obvious indication that the real incomes of households have risen steadily since then, and inflation has not eaten up the entire rise in nominal incomes. Inflation seldom outpaces the rise in nominal incomes.

Coming back to eating habits, our main food spending is on milk. Of the total spending on food, about 25pc was spent on milk (fresh, packed and dry) in 2018-19, up from nearly 17pc in 2001-01. This is a good sign as milk is the most nourishing of all food items. This behaviour (largest spending on milk) holds worldwide. The direct consumption of milk by our households was about seven kilograms per month, or 84kg per year. Total milk consumption per capita is much higher because we also eat ice cream, halwa, jalebi, gulab jamun and whatnot bought from the market. The milk used in them is consumed indirectly. Our total per person per year consumption of milk was 168kg in 2018-19. This has risen from about 150kg in 2000-01. It was 107kg in 1949-50 showing considerable improvement since then.

Since milk is the single largest contributor in expenditure, its contribution to inflation should be very high. Thanks to milk price behaviour, it is seldom in the news as opposed to sugar and wheat, whose price trend, besides hurting the poor is also exploited for gaining political mileage. According to PBS, milk prices have risen from Rs82.50 per litre in October 2018 to Rs104.32 in October 2021. This is a three-year rise of 26.4pc, or per annum rise of 8.1pc. Another blessing related to milk is that the year-to-year variation in its prices is much lower than that of other food items. The three-year rise in CPI is about 30pc, or an average of 9.7pc per year till last month. Clearly, milk prices have contributed to containing inflation to a single digit during this period.

Next to milk is wheat and atta which constitute about 11.2pc of the monthly food expenditure — less than half of milk. Wheat and atta are our staple food and their direct consumption by the average household is 7kg per capita (84kg per capita per year). As we also eat naan from the tandoors, bread from bakeries etc, our indirect consumption of wheat and atta is 41kg per capita. Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21. The per capita per day protein intake in grams increased from 63 to 67 to about 75 during these years. Does this indicate better health? To answer this, let us look at how we devour ghee and sugar. Also remember that each person requires a minimum of 2,100 calories and 60g of protein per day.

Undoubtedly, ghee, cooking oil and sugar have a special place in our culture. We are familiar with Urdu idioms mentioning ghee and shakkar. Two relate to our eating habits. We greet good news by saying ‘Aap kay munh may ghee shakkar’, which literally means that may your mouth be filled with ghee and sugar. We envy the fortune of others by saying ‘Panchon oonglian ghee mei’ (all five fingers immersed in ghee, or having the best of both worlds). These sayings reflect not only our eating trends, but also the inflation burden of the rising prices of these three items — ghee, cooking oil and sugar. Recall any wedding dinner. Ghee is floating in our plates.

Riaz Haq said...

Research article
Open Access
Published: 29 May 2020
A comparison of the Indian diet with the EAT-Lancet reference diet
Manika Sharma, Avinash Kishore, Devesh Roy & Kuhu Joshi

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-08951-8

The average calorie intake/person/day in both rural (2214 kcal) and urban (2169 kcal) India is less than the reference diet (Table 1). In both rural and urban areas, people in rich households (top deciles of monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE)) consume more than 3000 kcal/day i.e. 20% more than the reference diet. Their calorie intake/person/day is almost twice as high as their poorest counterparts (households in the bottom MPCE deciles) who consume only 1645 kcals/person/day (Table 1).



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The average daily calorie consumption in India is below the recommended 2503 kcal/capita/day across all groups compared, except for the richest 5% of the population. Calorie share of whole grains is significantly higher than the EAT-Lancet recommendations while those of fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat, fish and eggs are significantly lower. The share of calories from protein sources is only 6–8% in India compared to 29% in the reference diet. The imbalance is highest for the households in the lowest decile of consumption expenditure, but even the richest households in India do not consume adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and non-cereal proteins in their diets. An average Indian household consumes more calories from processed foods than fruits.

------------------

The EAT-Lancet reference diet is made up of 8 food groups - whole grains, tubers and starchy vegetables, fruits, other vegetables, dairy foods, protein sources, added fats, and added sugars. Caloric intake (kcal/day) limits for each food group are given and add up to a 2500 kcal daily diet [7]. We compare the proportional calorie (daily per capita) shares of the food groups in the reference diet with similar food groups in Indian Diets.

Riaz Haq said...

Comparative performance: Global Hunger Index


https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/persistence-food-insecurity-malnutrition?utm_source=twitter

India has been performing poorly in global rankings of hunger. It ranks 101st out of 116 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021......

The Global Hunger Report 2021 gives comparable GHI scores for four separate years between 2000 and 2021. 2 Table 1 compares the GHI for India with four countries: all ranking better than India currently but with GHI scores close to or worse than India’s in 2000. This shows the relatively slow improvement in India. Cambodia which in 2000 had a GHI of 41.1, higher than India’s 38.8, managed by 2021 to reduce its score to 17, while India could lower it to only 27.5. During this period Cambodia moved from the ‘Alarming’ to the ‘Moderate’ category, while India moved from ‘Alarming’ to ‘Serious’.

When the GHI was released a few months back, India put out an official press note claiming that the index used flawed methodology and was not a true reflection of hunger in the country. The main official objections were two-fold. First, that the GHI was based on a phone survey conducted on a small sample and therefore not representative of the true picture in the country. This was not true. The authors of the report clarified that anyone who read the report could see that the data used were not from any phone survey, but, rather, based on official indicators from government or UN sources.

The second objection, which representatives of the NITI Ayog and others have written about, is that while the GHI is called a ‘hunger’ index, it actually measures malnutrition. This is nothing but engaging in semantics while trying to distract attention from the more substantial issues. As explained by the Global Hunger Report, “Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as the consumption of too few calories to provide the minimum amount of dietary energy that each individual requires to live a healthy and productive life, given that person’s sex, age, stature, and physical activity level.” The GHI includes measures of population undernourishment, childhood stunting, childhood wasting and child mortality and tries to capture it in a broader sense of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Hunger in India
Measuring hunger has been deeply controversial in India and globally, but the most common way in which it is done is by looking at adequacy of food consumption in calorie terms. Some analysis based on the data from the 2017–18 NSS consumption expenditure survey, as available in a leaked report (and analysed in the The India Forum), showed that mean consumption expenditure, as well as the mean consumption expenditure on food, declined between 2011–12 and 2017–18. These declines in average per capita consumption expenditures on food most likely reflect an increase in hunger amongst the poor (Subramanian, 2019). A decline in real food consumption expenditure also indicates an increase in poverty.

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As can be seen in Figure 2, while the undernourishment in India showed a secular decline from around 2005 onwards, the last few years have shown a reversal of this trend. Both as a proportion and in absolute numbers, there has been an increase in the prevalence of undernutrition after 2016. The prevalence of undernutrition, taken as a three-year moving average, was 13.8% for 2016–18, going up to 14% in 2017–19, and 15.3% in 2018–20. This data does not take into account the pandemic years, which based on all indications can be expected to have been worse.

Riaz Haq said...

‘Diet of Average Indian Lacks Protein, Fruit, Vegetables’
On average, the Indian total calorie intake is approximately 2,200 kcals per person per day, 12 per cent lower than the EAT-Lancet reference diet's recommended level.

https://www.india.com/lifestyle/diet-of-average-indian-lacks-protein-fruit-vegetables-4066766/

Compared to an influential diet for promoting human and planetary health, the diets of average Indians are considered unhealthy comprising excess consumption of cereals, but not enough consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables, said a new study.Also Read - Autistic Pride Day 2020: Diet Rules For Kids With Autism

The findings by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) broadly apply across all states and income levels, underlining the challenges many Indians face in obtaining healthy diets. Also Read - Vitamin K Rich Food: Include These Items in Your Daily Diet to Avoid Uncontrolled Bleeding

“The EAT-Lancet diet is not a silver bullet for the myriad nutrition and environmental challenges food systems currently present, but it does provide a useful guide for evaluating how healthy and sustainable Indian diets are,” said the lead author of the research article, A4NH Program Manager Manika Sharma. Also Read - Experiencing Hair Fall? Include These Super-foods in Your Daily Diet ASAP

“At least on the nutrition front we find Indian diets to be well below optimal.”

The EAT-Lancet reference diet, published by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, implies that transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food wastage is critical to feed a future population of 10 billion a healthy diet within planetary boundaries.

While the EAT-Lancet reference diet recommends eating large shares of plant-based foods and little to no processed meat and starchy vegetables, the research demonstrates that incomes and preferences in India are driving drastically different patterns of consumption.

Riaz Haq said...

Why is India's economy looking so bleak?

https://qz.com/india/2170008/why-is-indias-economy-looking-so-bleak/

https://vigourtimes.com/why-is-indias-economy-looking-so-bleak-quartz-india/

This economic strife also begets the question, why doesn’t it translate into protests, electoral punishment? Why aren’t people voting out governments when they feel the pressure of rising costs, no jobs, and less and less ability to spend?

Difficult conditions
One, this does not have a singular unified impact. In the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, many roving reporters thrust their mikes into the faces of people. What do you worry about, what is a concern, they were asked? “Mehengai,” the rising cost of living, the interviewees would respond. Prices of cooking oils like mustard oil and sunflower oil had risen, gas cylinder prices were up, jobs were scarce and running a household was an uphill struggle. India’s overall unemployment rate rose to 7.83% in April, up from 7.6% in March.

Yet, it did not impact voting choices and the ruling state government was elected back with a clear majority. It is because my inflation is not your inflation. My household cost pressures are not yours. I have a job, but you don’t. Cost rise is too fluid and wide a challenge to cement together an entire population into making a political choice borne of it.

There is also the insulation that welfare schemes have created for the very poor. Food schemes, cash transfers, and some workdays through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee, which assures rural families of 100 days of work a year. The slice left vulnerable and besieged is India’s large and diverse middle class that is now feeling the pain. Households that own a motorcycle and dream of a small car, households that want to move from their one-bedroom rented accommodation, to a two-bedroom home of their own.

The rise of political marketing
Two, we now have a changed polity. With close to 500 million users, India has the most WhatsApp users. All of whom have been nursed with consistent messaging around political agenda. If the last 10 years have seen economic missteps, they have equally been marked by the rise of marketing in politics. More than Rs6,500 crore was spent on elections by 18 political parties between 2015 and 2020. Of this, political parties spent more than Rs3,400 crore or 52.3% on publicity alone.

The Bharatiya Janata Party spent 56% (over Rs3,600 crore) of the total election outlay by all 18 parties in the five years and Congress spent 21.41% (over Rs1,400 crore). In the last five years, the BJP has spent 54.87% (over Rs2,000 crore) of their total election expenditure on “advertisements and publicity” compared to 7.2% (Rs260 crore) on marches, rallies, and other campaigns. The Congress, in the five-year period, has spent 40.08% (Rs 560 crore) of the total election expenditure on election-related publicity.

Does all this matter? Higher public expenditure on publicity and advertising in an election year is a major factor for a state government to retain power, In a May 2021 State Bank of India report titled “State Elections: How Women are Shaping India’s Destiny,” Soumya Kanti Ghosh. the Group Chief Economic Adviser, writes that in most of the states, on an average in order to be re-elected, incumbent governments make huge spends in an election year.

Riaz Haq said...

As the wealthy converge on Davos to discuss the world’s problems, a case for taxing the rich

Harsh Mander and Prabhat Patnaik discuss funding universal social and economic rights, not just a universal basic income, in a time of widening inequalities.

https://scroll.in/article/1024582/as-the-wealthy-converge-on-davos-to-discuss-the-worlds-problems-a-case-for-taxing-the-rich


For instance, you look at per capita food intake. The proportion of people [consuming] below 2,200 calories per day in rural India, which is supposed to be the benchmark for poverty, in 1993-’94 was about 58%. You look at 2011, it was 68%. In urban India, corresponding, it was 57% and 65%.


What has happened now is that education and healthcare are much more expensive, none of which gets captured in the consumer price index. As a result, people are forced to spend so much on these that they actually skimp on buying food.


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Mander: I was struck by the latest World Development Report. It is perhaps the first major admission by the Bretton Woods set of institutions [World Bank and International Monetary Fund] that we may not be able to produce jobs, that jobless growth is actually not an aberration, but is almost written into the nature of [the] neoliberal model. But the solution that they want to give is universal basic income.

Prabhat Patnaik: Exactly. However, suppose everybody gets a certain amount of money, but with no school or government hospital within their radius. In that case, the idea of simply handing you money just does not help. It is very important that actual essential services and commodities must be made available to everybody, including work opportunities. And this is what the welfare state actually promised you.

Harsh Mander: Suppose I have a child with disabilities, I have many more economic needs than someone who does not. So a basic income and top-up idea is also blind to those questions.

My next question is with the conversation about universal social rights, which rights are we speaking about?

Prabhat Patnaik: Well, you can think in terms of a very wide range of rights. In my writings, I have essentially been talking about five economic rights. But I am not sticking to just those five, and neither am I saying that these five should take priority over other kinds of rights.

Harsh Mander: And these five are: employment, healthcare, school education, pensions, and food and nutrition.

Prabhat Patnaik: That’s right. So I am talking about just these five because I made some calculations based on them.

Mander: Just looking at the politics in India today, I think we are passing through such a difficult moment. There was a cartoon I saw the other day where there is a curfew outside and a man trapped inside. He is begging to get out. He is the economic crisis. Today, we see a different face of the economic crisis. A crisis in which if I do not have work or all my social rights, at least I am becoming a part of a “powerful Hindu nation”.

Elsewhere in the world, we are seeing the rise of political leaders very similar to the one we have elected. So, do you even feel that the conversations around universal social rights are going to emerge?

Patnaik: I think the Hindu Right has hijacked the political discourse. In some sense, we have to recapture the political discourse around the question of the improvement of the economy and the living of the people.

Mander: This has been a fascinating discussion. But the last question I have for you is about the critique on the idea of utopia since it is not feasible and we don’t have the money. As an economist, you have done your calculations. Obviously, we will have to reorganise how we spend the existing public resources. But how would we be actually able to raise the kind of resources that we require for the idea of universal social rights, even if we stay with just the five you spoke about?

Riaz Haq said...

Earning Rs 25,000 monthly puts one in India's top 10%: Inequality report
Salaried employees who file income taxes are relatively better off, says study that recommends an urban employment scheme.


https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/earning-rs-25-000-monthly-puts-one-in-india-s-top-10-inequality-report-122051901283_1.html

An Indian making Rs 3 lakh a year would be placed in the top 10 per cent of the country’s wage earners. The data is part of The State of Inequality in India report prepared by the India arm of a global competitiveness initiative, the Institute for Competitiveness.

Bibek Debroy, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister released it on Wednesday. The report recommended a scheme for the urban jobless and universal basic income as means to reduce inequality. The nature of one's work may make a difference to income shows a closer look at the numbers in ...

--------------------

If You Earn Rs 25,000 Per Month, You're Among India's Top 10% Income Earners

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/if-you-earn-rs-25000-per-month-you-are-among-indias-top-10-income-earners-570330.html

The State of Inequality in India report prepared by the India arm of a global competitiveness initiative, the Institute for Competitiveness, sheds light on the state of gross inequality in the country. Ninety per cent of Indians do not earn even Rs 25,000 per month.

This highlights the failure of the trickle-down approach to economic growth.


Bibek Debroy, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister released it on Wednesday.


The report gives a comprehensive overview of the state of inequality in the country by looking at various indicators like income profile, labour market dynamics, health, education, and household amenities.

The report mooted an urban jobs scheme and universal basic income as a means to reduce inequality in the country.

Gaping income disparity
Extrapolation of the income data from Periodic Labour Force Survey 2019-20 has shown that a monthly salary of Rs 25,000 is already amongst the top 10% of total incomes earned, pointing towards some levels of income disparity, the report said.

It further highlighted that the average monthly salary of regular salaried, wage earners in July-September 2019 amounted to Rs 13,912 for rural males and Rs 19,194 for urban males. Employed females in rural parts earned Rs 12,090 in the same period while females in urban India earned an average Rs 15,031.

India’s income profile is outlined by a growing disparity between those who lie on the top end of the earning pyramid and those on the bottom, highlighting the failure of the trickle-down approach to economic growth.

Top 1% earn nearly thrice as much as the bottom 10%
According to the Annual Report of the PLFS 2019- 20, the annual cumulative wages came to be around Rs 18,69,91,00,000, out of which the top 1 per cent earned nearly Rs 1,27,48,00,000, and the bottom 10 per cent accounted for Rs 32,10,00,000 indicating that the top 1 per cent earns almost thrice as much as the bottom 10 per cent.


Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of the pyramid held approximately 22% of the total income earned across the three-time periods. The growth rate of the bottom 50% has been at 3.9% from 2017-18 to 2019-20, while the top 10% has grown by 8.1%.

“This highlights the disparity between the income groups and the disproportionate rate of growth among these tiers. Additionally, the top 1% grew by almost 15% between 2017- 18 to 2019-20, whereas the bottom 10% registered a close to 1% fall,” the report highlighted.

In terms of workforce share, nearly 15 per cent of the entire workforce earns less than Rs 50,000 (less than Rs 5,000 a month), in both years, exacerbating the experiences of poverty and economic inequality.


The PLFS also reported no and negative income, indicating that several households have no disposable income or their debts exceed their incomes.


Riaz Haq said...

#India #currency in circulation up 9.9% to over ₹31 lakh crore in FY22. Share of ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes together rose to 87.1% of total value of banknotes in circulation, despite #Modi's #DigitalIndia and #fintech. #Demonetization #BJP https://www.fortuneindia.com/macro/currency-in-circulation-up-99-to-over-31-lakh-cr-in-fy22-rbi/108369

The value and volume of banknotes in circulation increased by 9.9% and 5%, respectively, at ₹31,05,721 crore and 13.05 lakh, respectively, the Reserve Bank of India's annual report for 2021-22 shows. Comparatively, the increase in currency in circulation (both value and volume terms) was 16.8% and 7.2%, respectively, during 2020-21.

The rise in banknotes in circulation, despite the government's push for digital India and various reforms in the banking and fintech industry, has been attributed to "the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, which induced renewed restrictions on movement in various parts of the country”.

The RBI supplies banknotes in denominations of ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500 and ₹2,000, while coins comprise 50 paise and ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10 and ₹20 denominations.The share of ₹500 banknotes, both in value and volume, increased during 2021-22 as compared to the previous year. However, the ₹2,000 banknote share continued to dip in both value and volume.In value terms, the share of these banknotes together accounted for 87.1% of the total value of banknotes in circulation as of March 31, 2022, against 85.7% on March 31, 2021.In volume terms, ₹500 notes constituted the highest share at 34.9%, followed by ₹10 denomination at 21.3% of the total currency in circulation as of March 31, 2022.The total value of coins in circulation rose 4.1% to ₹27,970 crore in 2021-22, while its volume grew 1.3% to 12,46,298.As of March 31, 2022, the coins of ₹1, ₹2 and ₹5 together constituted 83.5% of the total volume of coins in circulation, while in value terms, these denominations accounted for 75.8%.The currency issuance (both banknotes and coins) and its management are performed by the RBI through its issue offices, currency chests and small coin depots spread across the country.As of March 31, 2022, the State Bank of India accounted for the highest share of 53.6% in the currency chests network. The indent of banknotes was lower by 1.8% in 2021-22 than that of a year ago. The supply of banknotes was also marginally lower by 0.4% during the said year than the previous year.During 2021-22, the indent and supply of coins saw a huge drop at 73.3% and 73%, respectively, from the previous year.The RBI data shows that the year 2021-22 saw an 88.4% rise in the disposal of soiled banknotes as compared to the previous year at 1,878.01 crore pieces vs 997.02 crore pieces during the previous year.During the fiscal year 2021-22, of the total fake currency notes detected in the banking sector, 6.9% were detected at the RBI and 93.1% by other banks.Compared to the previous year, there was an increase of 16.4 per cent, 16.5 per cent, 11.7 per cent, 101.9 per cent and 54.6 per cent in the counterfeit notes detected in the denominations of ₹10, ₹20, ₹200, ₹500 (new design) and ₹2,000, respectively.Overall, the RBI spent ₹4,984.8 crore on security printing from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, against ₹4,012.1 crore in the previous year (July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021).

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistanis are eating more and healthier foods, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22. Per capita average daily calorie intake in Pakistan has jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to it is the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which soared from 53.6 Kg to 68.3 Kg. Under former Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan succeeded in achieving these nutritional improvements in spite of surging global food prices amid the Covid19 pandemic.

https://www.southasiainvestor.com/2022/06/economic-survey-pakistanis-consuming.html

Riaz Haq said...

The diet of an average Indian typically lacks essential nutritional food articles like fruits, vegetables, legumes


https://www.livemint.com/news/71-indians-can-t-afford-a-healthy-meal-millions-die-every-year-due-to-poor-diet-report-11654248984960.html

The majority of Indians cannot afford a healthy meal and millions die every year due to diseases that are directly linked to poor diet, a recent survey showed. Noting that the diet of an average Indian typically lacks essential nutritional food articles like fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc., the report said, “a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income."

A recent report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down to Earth magazine said, “Seventy-one percent of Indians cannot afford a healthy diet. The global average is 42 percent."

The diet of an average Indian typically lacks fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. The consumption of fish, dairy and red meat is within target, the report also said the Global Nutrition Report, 2021.

Referring to the diseases that are attributable to poor diet, the survey mentioned respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancer, strokes and coronary heart disease.

Why majority of Indians can't afford a healthy meal?
As per the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income.

Adults above the aged 20 and above consume only 35.8g of fruit per day as against the recommended 200g and 168.7g of vegetables every day as against the minimum 300g that is advised.

Similarly, they consume just 24.9g per day (25% of target) of legumes and 3.2g (13% of target) of nuts per day.

"Despite some progress, diets are not getting healthier. Additionally, they are making increasing demands on the environment, even as unacceptable levels of malnutrition persist in the country," the report said

Riaz Haq said...

90% of Women in India Are Shut Out of the Workforce
A small fraction of women in India had formal employment before the pandemic. Covid made it so much worse.

By Ronojoy Mazumdar and Archana Chaudhary
June 1, 2022, 5:01 PM PDT

https://www.tbsnews.net/bloomberg-special/90-women-india-are-shut-out-workforce-431950

For years, Sanchuri Bhuniya fought her parents' pleas to settle down. She wanted to travel and earn money — not become a housewife.

So in 2019, Bhuniya snuck out of her isolated village in eastern India. She took a train hundreds of miles south to the city of Bengaluru and found work in a garment factory earning $120 a month. The job liberated her. "I ran away," she said. "That's the only way I was able to go."

That life of financial freedom ended abruptly with the arrival of Covid-19. In 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a nationwide lockdown to curb infections, shutting almost all businesses. Within a few weeks, more than 100 million Indians lost their jobs, including Bhuniya, who was forced to return to her village and never found another stable employer.

As the world climbs out of the pandemic, economists warn of a troubling data point: Failing to restore jobs for women — who have been less likely than men to return to the workforce — could shave trillions of dollars off global economic growth. The forecast is particularly bleak in developing countries like India, where female labor force participation fell so steeply that it's now in the same league as war-torn Yemen.

This week's episode of The Pay Check podcast explores how the coronavirus accelerated an already worrying trend in the world's second-most populous country. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of working women in India dropped from 26% to 19%, according to data compiled by the World Bank. As infections surged, a bad situation turned dire: Economists in Mumbai estimate that female employment plummeted to 9% by 2022.

This is disastrous news for India's economy, which had started slowing before the pandemic. Modi has prioritized job creation, pressing the country to strive for amrit kaal, a golden era of growth. But his administration has made little progress in improving prospects for working women. That's especially true in rural areas, where more than two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people live, conservative mores reign and jobs have been evaporating for years. Despite the nation's rapid economic expansion, women have struggled to make the transition to working in urban centers.

Closing the employment gap between men and women — a whopping 58 percentage points — could expand India's GDP by close to a third by 2050. That equates to nearly $6 trillion in constant US dollar terms, according to a recent analysis from Bloomberg Economics. Doing nothing threatens to derail the country on its quest to become a competitive producer for global markets. Though women in India represent 48% of the population, they contribute only around 17% of GDP compared to 40% in China.

India is an extreme illustration of a global phenomenon. Across the world, women were more likely than men to lose jobs during the pandemic, and their recovery has been slower. Policy changes that address gender disparities and boost the number of working women — improved access to education, child care, or flexible work arrangements, for example — would help add about $20 trillion to global GDP by 2050, according to Bloomberg Economics.

For workers like Bhuniya, 23, the pandemic had heavy consequences. After losing her job, she struggled to afford food in Bengaluru and eventually returned to her remote village, Patrapali, in the state of Odisha. Bhuniya doesn't think she'll have another opportunity to leave. She no longer earns a steady income, but her family worries about her safety as a single woman living in a distant city.

Riaz Haq said...

https://www.tbsnews.net/bloomberg-special/90-women-india-are-shut-out-workforce-431950

"If I run away again, my mother will curse me," said Bhuniya. "Now, there's nothing left. My account is empty and there's little work in the village."

The story echoes across India. During the pandemic, Rosa Abraham, an economics professor at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, tracked more than 20,000 people as they navigated the labor market. She found that after the first lockdown, women were several times more likely to lose their jobs than men and far less likely to recover work after restrictions lifted.

Pandemic Impact on Employment
How India's Covid lockdowns affected employment for men and women


Increased domestic duties, lack of childcare options after school shutdowns, and a surge in marriages — which often confine women's autonomy in India — help explain the difference in outcome.

"When men are faced with this kind of a huge economic shock, then they have a fallback option," Abraham said. "They can navigate to different kinds of work. But for women, there is no such fallback option. They can't negotiate the labor market as effectively as men do."

Dreams of freedom or a well-paid office job were replaced with what she called "distress-led employment," essentially unpaid work on a family farm or taking care of the home. Prior to the pandemic, Indian women already performed about 10 times more care work than men, around three times the global average.

"It is the unfortunate situation that the decision to work is often not in the hands of the woman herself," Abraham said.

The decline in workforce participation is partly about culture. As Indians became wealthier, families that could afford to keep women at home did so, thinking it conferred social status. On the other extreme, those at the lowest rungs of society are still seen as potential earners. But they tend to work menial or unpaid jobs far from the formal economy. In the official statistics, their labor is not counted.

In many villages, patriarchal values remain ironclad, and a stigma against girls persists. Though illegal, sex-selective abortions are still common. Akhina Hansraj, senior program manager at Akshara Centre, a Mumbai-based organization that advocates for gender equity, said Indian men often think "it's not very manly if their wife contributes to the family income."

"They want to create this dependency," Hansraj said. "People believe if women get educated, they might work and become financially independent and then they may not obey and respect the family."

Marriage is a sticking point in India, where most weddings are still arranged. After the first lockdown, in 2020, the country's leading matrimony websites reported a spike in new registrations. In some states, marriages among children and young adults — many of them illegal under Indian law — jumped by 80%, according to government data.

Madhu Sharma, a Hindi teacher at the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, a girls' school in the northern town of Anupshahr, said she might intervene in three child marriages a year. During the pandemic, when the campus closed, the number increased three to four times.

"Before Covid, children were always in touch with their teachers and also with me," she said. "After Covid, when the children had to stay at home, keeping in contact with them became a big challenge."

Financial considerations often tipped the scales in favor of marriage. Social distancing and warnings against large gatherings meant parents could hold small, less-expensive ceremonies at home, rather than the multi-day celebrations that are common even in the poorest pockets of society. During the direst stretches of the pandemic, some families married off daughters because they couldn't afford to feed another mouth.


Riaz Haq said...

https://www.tbsnews.net/bloomberg-special/90-women-india-are-shut-out-workforce-431950

For Sharma's students, getting married before finishing school can change the trajectory of their lives. In India, when a woman marries, she typically moves in with her husband and in-laws. That can make it difficult to leave secluded villages where policing of choices is common and employment opportunities are scarce.

"We try to educate our students," Sharma said. "We explain to them that if they study, they will be in a good spot. If they don't, we describe what their position will be like. 'The rest is up to you,' we tell them. You live life the way you want to create it."

In 2015, Modi started a campaign called "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao," which roughly means "Save Our Daughters, Teach Our Daughters." It's an initiative aimed at keeping girls in school and reducing sex-selective abortion. The government has also tried to eradicate child marriage. Last year, Modi's administration passed a proposal to raise the legal marriage age for women from 18 to 21, which is what it is for men.

But in many villages, national laws are distant abstractions. Local customs are still set and enforced by local panchayats, essentially a group of elders, almost all men. And while Modi's campaign to educate India's daughters received lots of publicity, recent government audits found that much of the initiative's funds remained unspent.

Even in urban metropolises, where literacy rates are far higher and jobs are more abundant, the pressure on women is overwhelming.

Anjali Gupta, who lives in Mumbai, said she was barely hanging on. First, the coronavirus lockdowns devastated her family's small grocery store, forcing them to exhaust their savings to survive. Then her parents started pushing Gupta and her three sisters to get married, fearing that they would be left destitute without husbands.

Gupta tried to reason with them. She had already spent about $1,300 studying for a master's degree in pharmaceuticals and nutrition. She was training with a homeopathic doctor. She wanted a career. "I explained that my situation is different, my generation is different," Gupta said.

But after an uncle died from the coronavirus, Gupta's father pleaded with her to drop out of school, a prospect that induced migraines and endless arguments. Her parents started bringing prospective grooms home. Gupta worries the inertia will eventually overpower her.

"It shouldn't be this way," she said. "I want to do and learn more. I'm only 22."

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's female labor participation rate of 21.4% (LFS 20290-21) is higher than India's 16.1% (Reuters report)


----------------

Pakistan Labor Force Survey 2020-21



Refined Activity (Participation) Rate (%)

Pakistan Total 44.9 Male 67.9 Female 21.4

Rural 48.6 Male 69.1 Female 28.0

Urban Male 65.9 Female 10.0

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India's female labour participation rate falls to 16.1% as pandemic hits jobs

According to World Bank estimates, India has one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. Less than a third of women – defined in the report as 15 or older – are working or actively looking for a job.

The female labour participation rate in India had fallen to 20.3% in 2019 from more than 26% in 2005, according to World Bank estimates, compared with 30.5% in neighbouring Bangladesh and 33.7% in Sri Lanka.

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indias-female-labour-participation-rate-falls-161-pandemic-hits-jobs-2021-08-03/#:~:text=The%20female%20labour%20participation%20rate,and%2033.7%25%20in%20Sri%20Lanka.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Economy Is Growing Quickly. Why Can’t It Produce Enough Jobs?
The disconnect is a result of India’s uneven growth, powered and enjoyed by the country’s upper strata.

By Emily Schmall and Sameer Yasir

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/13/business/economy/india-economy-jobs.html

Among the job seekers despairing over the lack of opportunities is Sweety Sinha, who lives in Haryana, a northern state where unemployment was a staggering 34.5 percent in April.

As a child, Ms. Sinha liked to pretend to be a teacher, standing in front of her village classroom with fake eyeglasses and a wooden baton, to fellow students’ great amusement.

Her ambition came true years later when she got a job teaching math at a private school. But the coronavirus upended her dreams, as the Indian economy contracted 7.3 percent in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Within months of starting, she and several other teachers were laid off because so many students had dropped out.

Ms. Sinha, 30, is again in the market for a job. In November, she joined thousands of applicants vying for much-coveted work in the government. She has also traveled across Haryana seeking jobs, but turned them down because of the meager pay — less than $400 a month.

“Sometimes, during nights, I really get scared: What if I am not able to get anything?” she said. “All of my friends are suffering because of unemployment.”
---------

The struggles of working-class Indians, and the millions of unemployed, may eventually cause a drag on growth, economists say.
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NEW DELHI — On paper, India’s economy has had a banner year. Exports are at record highs. Profits of publicly traded companies have doubled. A vibrant middle class, built over the past few decades, is now shelling out so much on movie tickets, cars, real estate and vacations that economists call it post-pandemic “revenge spending.”

Yet even as India is projected to have the fastest growth of any major economy this year, the rosy headline figures do not reflect reality for hundreds of millions of Indians. The growth is still not translating into enough jobs for the waves of educated young people who enter the labor force each year. A far larger number of Indians eke out a living in the informal sector, and they have been battered in recent months by high inflation, especially in food prices.

The disconnect is a result of India’s uneven growth, which is powered by the voracious consumption of the country’s upper strata but whose benefits often do not extend beyond the urban middle class. The pandemic has magnified the divide, throwing tens of millions of Indians into extreme poverty while the number of Indian billionaires has surged, according to Oxfam.

The concentration of wealth is in part a product of the growth-at-all-costs ambitions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promised when he was re-elected in 2019 to double the size of India’s economy by 2024, lifting the country into the $5 trillion-or-more club alongside the United States, China and Japan.

The government reported late last month that the economy had expanded 8.7 percent in the last year, to $3.3 trillion. But with domestic investment lackluster, and government hiring slowing, India has turned to subsidized fuel, food and housing for the poorest to address the widespread joblessness. Free grains now reach two-thirds of the country’s more than 1.3 billion people.

Those handouts, by some calculations, have pushed inequality in India to its lowest level in decades. Still, critics of the Indian government say that subsidies cannot be used forever to paper over inadequate job creation. This is especially true as tens of millions of Indians — new college graduates, farmers looking to leave the fields and women taking on work — are expected to seek to flood the nonfarm work force in the coming years.

“There is a historical disconnect in the Indian growth story, where growth essentially happens without a corresponding increase in employment,” said Mahesh Vyas, the chief executive of the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a data research firm.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Economy Is Growing Quickly. Why Can’t It Produce Enough Jobs?
The disconnect is a result of India’s uneven growth, powered and enjoyed by the country’s upper strata.

By Emily Schmall and Sameer Yasir

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/13/business/economy/india-economy-jobs.html



But for Indian politicians, a high unemployment rate “is not a showstopper,” said Mr. Vyas, the economist, adding that they were far more concerned with inflation, which affects all voters.

India’s reserve bank and finance ministry have tried to tackle inflation, which is battering many countries because of pandemic-related supply chain problems and the war in Ukraine, by restricting exports of wheat and sugar, raising interest rates and cutting taxes on fuel.

The bank, after raising borrowing rates in May for the first time in two years, increased them again on Wednesday, to 4.9 percent. As it did so, it forecast that inflation would reach 6.7 percent over the next three quarters.

Reserve bank officials have also employed an array of fiscal and monetary tactics to continue supporting growth, which cooled in the first quarter of 2022, falling to 4.1 percent. Household consumption, a major driver of India’s economy, has dropped in the last few months.

“We are committed to containing inflation,” said the bank’s governor, Shaktikanta Das. “At the same time, we have to keep in mind the requirements of growth. It can’t be a situation where the operation is successful and the patient is dead.”

While the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve in the United States have said their countries need to accept lower growth rates because of high commodity prices, India’s reserve bank is not in that camp, said Priyanka Kishore, an analyst at Oxford Economics. “Growth matters a lot for India,” she said. “There’s a political agenda.”

The ban on food exports is a sharp turnabout for Mr. Modi. In response to Russia’s blockade on Ukrainian ports, which has led to a global shortage of grains, he had said in April that Indian farmers could help feed the world. Instead, with the global wheat shortfalls driving up prices, the Indian government imposed an export ban to keep domestic prices low.

Temporary interventions like these are easier than addressing the fundamental problem of large-scale unemployment.

“You have wheat in your godowns and you can ship it out to households and get instant gratification,” Mr. Vyas said, referring to storage facilities, “whereas trying certain policies for employment is far more protracted and intangible.”

Those policies, analysts say, could include greater efforts to build up India’s underdeveloped manufacturing sector. They also say that India should ease regulations that often make it difficult to do business, as well as reducing tariffs so manufacturers have an easier time securing components not made in India.

Exports have been a source of strength for the Indian economy, and the rupee has depreciated by about 4 percent against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year, which would normally boost exports.

But inflation in the United States and war in Europe have started to affect sales for Indian-made clothes, said Raja M. Shanmugam, the president of a trade association in Tiruppur, a textile hub in the state of Tamil Nadu.

“All the input cost is increasing. Even earlier this industry worked on wafer-thin margins, but now we are working on loss,” he said. “So a situation which is normally a happy situation for the exporters is not so anymore.”

The struggles of working-class Indians, and the millions of unemployed, may eventually cause a drag on growth, economists say.

Zia Ullah, who drives an auto-rickshaw in Tumakuru, an industrial city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, said his income was still only about a quarter of what it was before the pandemic.

The $20 he used to earn daily was enough to cover household expenses for his family of five, and school fees for his three children.

“Customers are preferring to walk,” he said. “No one seems to have money these days to take an auto.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India's emerging twin #deficit problem: Rising fiscal deficit & growing trade deficit. If unchecked, both deficits could cause a serious #economic crisis, including Balance of Payments crisis. #poverty #unemployment #hunger #Modi #BJP https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/everyday-explainers/indias-emerging-twin-deficit-problem-explained-7982895/ via @IndianExpress

In its latest ‘Monthly Economic Review’, the Ministry of Finance has painted an overall optimistic picture of the state of the domestic economy. “The World is looking at a distinct possibility of widespread stagflation. India, however, is at low risk of stagflation, owing to its prudent stabilization policies,” it states.

The economic growth outlook is likely to be affected by several factors owing to the trade disruptions, export bans and the resulting surge in global commodity prices —all of which will continue to stoke inflation — as long as the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists and global supply chains remain unrepaired. “However, the momentum of economic activities sustained in the first two months of the current financial year augurs well for India continuing to be the quickest growing economy among major countries in 2022-23,” states the Finance Ministry report.

But, given the uncertainties, the report highlights two key areas of concern for the Indian economy: the fiscal deficit and the current account deficit (or CAD).

The report states that “as government revenues take a hit following cuts in excise duties on diesel and petrol, an upside risk to the budgeted level of gross fiscal deficit has emerged”.

The fiscal deficit is essentially the amount of money that the government has to borrow in any year to fill the gap between its expenditures and revenues. Higher levels of fiscal deficit typically imply the government eats into the pool of investible funds in the market which could have been used by the private sector for its own investment needs. At a time when the government is trying its best to kick-start and sustain a private sector investment cycle, borrowing more than what it budgeted will be counter-productive.

The report underscores the need to trim revenue expenditure (or the money government spends just to meet its daily needs). “Rationalizing non-capex expenditure has thus become critical, not only for protecting growth supportive capex but also for avoiding fiscal slippages,” it states. “Capex” or capital expenditure essentially refers to money spent towards creating productive assets such as roads, buildings, ports etc. Capex has a much bigger multiplier effect on the overall GDP growth than revenue expenditure.

Current account deficit

The current account essentially refers to two specific sub-parts:

* Import and Export of goods — this is the “trade account”.

* Import and export of services — this is called the “invisibles account”.

If a country imports more goods (everything from cars to phones to machinery to food grains etc) than it exports, it is said to have a trade account deficit. A deficit implies that more money is going out of the country than coming in via the trade of physical goods. Similarly, the same country could be earning a surplus on the invisibles account — that is, it could be exporting more services than importing.

If, however, the net effect of a trade account and the invisibles account is a deficit, then it is called a current account deficit or CAD. A widening CAD tends to weaken the domestic currency because a CAD implies more dollars (or foreign currencies) are being demanded than rupees.

The Ministry’s worry is that costlier imports such as crude oil and other commodities will not only widen the CAD but also put downward pressure on the rupee. A weaker rupee will, in turn, make future imports costlier. There is one more reason why the rupee may weaken. If, in response to higher interest rates in the western economies especially the US, foreign portfolio investors (FPI) continue to pull out money from the Indian markets, that too will hurt the rupee and further increase CAD.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Fintech Reckoning Arrives
Regulators are cracking down on financial technology firms—many backed by foreign capital—that were flourishing in the gray areas

https://www.wsj.com/articles/indias-fintech-reckoning-arrives-11655906616

After a period of unbridled growth, India’s fintech industry faces a regulatory reckoning.

Things may not get as bad as they did in India’s rival China—but investors should still proceed with extreme caution until the dust settles.

On Monday, India’s central bank banned the loading of so-called prepaid payment instruments (PPIs)—essentially prepaid purchasing cards—using credit lines, jeopardizing several fintech buy-now-pay-later business models. Players such as Slice and Uni Cards—which are funded by Tiger Global, Accel, General Catalyst and Insight Partners—are likely to be affected.

Fintech players have issued hundreds of thousands of such cards with the aid of PPI licenses, and then loaded them using credit lines from banks and nonbanking financial institutions, according to brokerage Macquarie. These new-age credit cards—essentially a way to make an end run around strict credit card regulations—were targeted toward younger Indians, many of whom don’t have a long credit history.

Monday’s move indicates that the Reserve Bank of India is solidly against such a rent-a-license model where fintech startups tie up with banks and nonbanking financial institutions to sell products—a common practice in India.

In the past 18 months, the country’s financial technology sector—which has become systemically important to India—has absorbed about $14 billion of investment capital, according to data shared by Tracxn. The top global venture-capital firms have exposure—including Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, AngelList, Accel and LetsVenture.

The RBI has in fact been advocating for tighter regulations for months: Earlier in 2022 it said it had formed a new fintech department. Monday’s circular is probably the beginning of a wider crackdown on fintech. And protecting vulnerable borrowers at a time of high inflation, tight liquidity and slowing growth is high on the RBI’s agenda. Companies in good standing with the regulator will likely emerge in better shape.

In the coming months, the Bank will likely introduce formal rules for India’s loosely regulated digital-lending ecosystem, including collection practices, data privacy, disclosures and capital-adequacy requirements. Fintech lending companies doubled disbursements in the financial year ending in March 2022 to a total of $2.3 billion, according to a report by the Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE). Needless to say, all this will probably weigh on profitability.

Amid India’s tech IPO boom, shares of India’s top fintech company Paytm continue to languish. This is due not only to the lack of a sustainable and profitable business model but also to the RBI’s scrutiny. Several of Paytm’s peers will now appear likely to face much more scrutiny, too.

As investors in Chinese fintech recently discovered, once your industry gets on the bad side of regulators—even if a given company isn’t an initial target—things can go downhill fast. Investors would be wise to steer clear of any Indian fintech firms which have been bending the rules until there is more clarity on how far this crackdown will run.

Riaz Haq said...

India Can’t Be a Superpower If It Can’t Create Jobs
The country’s military can serve as a tool to project power or a scheme to generate employment, but it’s going to be very difficult to do both.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-06-30/modi-s-attempt-to-reform-indian-army-backfires-for-lack-of-jobs

India’s attempt to reform military recruitment — which has set off political convulsions that show no signs of abating — once again shows that its aspirations to superpower status are no match for a below-par economy.

India’s military — particularly its army — is antiquated in organization and manpower-heavy. After some ill-advised, populist and expensive tinkering with pensions early in its tenure, the government found it was spending all its military budget on personnel, leaving very little for modernization or for hardware.

Meanwhile, for more than two decades, its own strategists have been calling for a leaner and younger army. The average Indian soldier is 32 or 33, making its army one of the oldest in the world.

And so, after two years in which the army suspended its typical annual enlistment of 60,000 young men on 20-year contracts, the government announced it was shifting to a tour-of-duty type system in which new recruits will be taken on for four years and then sent off with a handsome and tax-free discharge bonus of $15,000.

This has set off a firestorm of protest. Literally, in some cases, as angry would-be army recruits set trains — a very visible symbol of the central government even the most remote parts of India — alight.

The problem is that, for many young men in the most economically disadvantaged parts of India, the army is their only hope of a career ‑ or, for that matter, of getting married, given that years of sex-selective abortions have caused the gender ratio in those parts of India to skew heavily male. These men — or boys, since they’re mostly teenagers — have spent years running and practicing drills in hopes of getting selected.

Before the new recruitment system was announced, a typical applicant told a reporter for the Print: “If I don’t get a job in the army, my chances of living with dignity in my society are very low. My chances of marrying go down. People will mock me at every function.” Those who do return to their villages after their 20 years of service, on the other hand, tend to be respected and wind up in positions of local leadership.

It’s telling that the protests, and the anger, have largely been limited to the poorest parts of India, where other employment opportunities are scarce. The government has tried to emphasize the $15,000 payout the four-year men will receive and claimed that army training will make them more attractive on the job market. That argument holds less sway in areas where there’s little prospect of finding a good job today or four years from now.

The government has done itself no favors by obscuring its real motivations. Everyone knows this is about reducing the amount the military spends on salaries and creating an army that is younger and more agile technologically. At the same time, the government won’t reveal its plans for military transformation. Forget about detailing how much money the program would save; we don’t even know for certain how many people are currently employed by India’s military. For some reason, that’s treated as a state secret. (It’s estimated to be around 1.4 million, about half as many again as in China.)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is generally credited with having an instinctive understanding of what voters want. Yet it’s astounding how often his government designs policies in secret that then elicit a furious public reaction. While military reform was inevitable and overdue, surely it could have been discussed in public so that at least the current generation of aspirants would have known better than to run kilometers a day to get themselves in shape.

Riaz Haq said...

India Can’t Be a Superpower If It Can’t Create Jobs
The country’s military can serve as a tool to project power or a scheme to generate employment, but it’s going to be very difficult to do both.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-06-30/modi-s-attempt-to-reform-indian-army-backfires-for-lack-of-jobs


As with farmer-led protests last year, there’s a chance the government will be forced to retreat in the face of this unwavering hostility in areas that remain politically powerful, if economically weak.

A reversal would carry its own costs, however. In an aspiring superpower the military should be an instrument designed to project power, ensure domestic security and respond to emerging threats. What India is learning is that, given its failure to create jobs, its army must also remain something of an employment generation scheme. If the country wants to play a bigger role in its region and in the world, it will first need to fix its economy.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #manufacturing activity hits 9-month low in June 2022. S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 53.9 in June from 54.6 in May, the weakest pace of growth since last September. #unemployment #jobs #Modi #BJP #economy https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-s-manufacturing-sector-activity-eases-to-9-month-low-in-june-122070200036_1.html

India’s manufacturing sector activity eased to a nine-month low in June as growth of total sales and production moderated amid intense price pressures, a monthly survey said on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 53.9 in June from 54.6 in May, the weakest pace of growth since last September.



The June PMI data pointed to an improvement in overall operating conditions for the twelfth straight month. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion while a score below 50 denotes contraction.

“The Indian manufacturing industry ended the first quarter of fiscal year 2022/23 on a solid footing, displaying encouraging resilience on the face of acute price pressures, rising interest rates, rupee depreciation and a challenging geopolitical landscape,” said Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Factory orders and production rose for the twelfth straight month in June, but in both cases the rates of expansion eased to nine-month lows. Increases were commonly attributed to stronger client demand, although some survey participants indicated that growth was restricted by acute inflationary pressures, the survey said.

According to the survey, monitored firms reported increase for a wide range of inputs — including chemicals, electronics, energy, metals and textiles — which they partly passed on to clients in the form of higher selling prices.

Lima further said there was a broad-based slowdown in growth across a number of measures such as factory orders, production, exports, input buying and employment as clients and businesses restricted spending amid elevated inflation.

According to the survey, inflation concerns continued to dampen business confidence, with sentiment slipping to a 27-month low. Elsewhere, input delivery times shortened for the first time since the onset of Covid-19.

“Fewer than 4 per cent of panellists forecast output growth in the year ahead, while the vast majority (95 per cent) expect no change from present levels. Inflation was the main concern among goods producers,” the survey said.

On the job front, employment rose for the fourth successive month, albeit at a slight pace that was broadly in line with those seen over this period.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its financial stability report released on Thursday said persistently high inflation globally is to stay longer than anticipated as the ongoing war and sanctions take a toll on economies, threatening a further slowdown to global trade volumes.

The global economic outlook is clouded by the ongoing war in Europe and the pace of monetary policy tightening by central banks in response to mounting inflationary pressures, the RBI report said.

Riaz Haq said...

Foreign #investors flee #India, putting pressure on #Indian #currency. #Modi government raises #import taxes on #gold to preserve #forex reserves, support #INR, amid rising #inflation and twin current account and fiscal deficits. #BJP #Hindutva #economy
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-the-worlds-sixth-biggest-economy-feels-heat-from-em-investor-exodus/articleshow/92608992.cms

Investors reeling from the brutal emerging markets selloff over the past six months again fled the rupee as India’s currency hit new lows, prompting the government to curb gold imports and oil exports to arrest a widening deficit.

The government raised import taxes on gold, while increasing levies on exports of gasoline and diesel in an attempt to control a fast-widening current account gap. The moves sent Reliance Industries Ltd NSE -7.20 %. and other energy exporters tumbling, bringing down the benchmark index by as much as 1.7%. The rupee fell again.

The actions underscore how emerging economies, specially with twin current account and fiscal deficits, are increasingly facing pressures on their currencies as forceful rate hikes by the Federal Reserve accentuate outflows. Despite having the world’s fourth-biggest reserve pile, the rupee has hit a succession of record lows in recent weeks. The Indonesian rupiah, the other high-yielder in Asia, fell to its lowest in two years on Friday.

Policy makers in many emerging markets face stark choices as they battle soaring inflation and capital flight as the Fed tightens policy: raise rates and risk hurting growth, spend reserves that took years to build to defend currencies, or simply step away and let the market run its course.

New Delhi’s move also underscores the economic challenges faced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as inflation in the world’s sixth-largest economy accelerates and external finances worsen. The central bank has been battling to slow the currency’s decline, and runaway rupee depreciation will worsen price pressures, and may spur more rate hikes that weigh on growth.

The measures “aim to reduce the impending pressure on the current account deficit and thus the currency,” said Madhavi Arora, lead economist at Emkay Global Financial Services. “Complementary policy efforts from both fiscal and monetary side essentially reflects the looming pain on the balance of payments deficit this year.”

While the Reserve Bank of India has been seeking to smooth out the rupee’s 6% decline this year, banks have reported dollar shortages as investors and companies rushed to swap the rupee for other assets or to pay for imports. The latest measures were spurred by a sudden surge of gold imports in May and June, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

The government raised the import duty on gold to 12.5%, reversing a cut last year. The higher taxes on shipments of gasoline and diesel sent shares of Reliance Industries, a key exporter, down by as much as 8.9%.

India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer and local futures rose as much as 3% in Mumbai, the biggest intraday jump in almost four months, due to the higher import costs.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that India is seeking to discourage gold imports as it helps preserve foreign exchange. She added “extraordinary times” require such measures including the imposition of a windfall tax on fuel exports.
“The challenges are emanating from the same source, which is higher commodity prices,” said Rahul Bajoria, senior economist, Barclays Bank Plc. “India can neither find supply onshore nor we will be able to cut back the consumption of oil. That makes the whole situation a lot more unpredictable both in terms of how this plays out and how long this continues for.”

For the broader fuel market, a drop in Indian exports could further tighten global markets that are grappling with reduced supply from Russia and rising post-pandemic demand.

Riaz Haq said...

Sonam Srivastava of Wright Research sees slowdown in IT, infra, but bets on auto, FMCG


https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/markets/daily-voice-sonam-srivastava-of-wright-research-sees-slowdown-in-it-infra-but-bets-on-auto-fmcg-8771691.html


The mood in the market has improved in the last couple of weeks, but this could be a short-term rebound. We did see a slight easing in European inflation. While the recession in the west is more of a reality, many expect the pain to be over sooner. Nevertheless, we cannot rule out another correction.

Sonam Srivastava, founder of Wright Research, expects some early signs of a slowdown in the quarterly earnings from next week with margin pressure intensifying in IT and infrastructure. She, however, is bullish on auto and FMCG companies.

The recent tax hike on oil exports is a harsh step by the government, but it is warranted by their commitment to controlling the excessive inflationary pressures the economy is facing. "It might impact ONGC and Oil India earnings for FY23 by 36 percent and 24 percent, so we could see more pain in these scrips in the medium term," she shares in an interview to Moneycontrol.

Q: Do you think the consistent consolidation and possibility of another round of major market correction can spoil the mood of domestic institutional investors and retail investors?

A: The mood in the market has improved in the last couple of weeks, but this could be a short-term rebound. We did see a slight easing in European inflation. While the recession in the west is more of a reality, many expect the pain to be over sooner. Nevertheless, we cannot rule out another correction.

I believe that while a minority of new investors will get discouraged and quit, the equity market has gained a large set of sticky long-term investors in the past few years who will continue to support the market.


Q: Any themes that you are buying aggressively?

A: We are excited about the rising consumer demand and reopening themes. We expect FMCG to keep reaping the benefit of good monsoons and easing crude prices. On the other hand, hotels, multiplexes and travel stocks also look attractive.

Auto has been a powerful theme in the last few months, but we are cautiously optimistic given that there has already been a strong rally. IT, which has corrected massively, has started to look exciting, and we are picking some stocks in this basket.

We are also excited about the new India stocks gaining from the government production linked incentive (PLI) schemes, which we expect to outperform as soon as the switch happens towards growth.

Q: Do you think the market has made the final bottom by hitting lows in June and waiting for a trigger to see a sharp move?

A: It is tough to say we have reached the bottom. Many in the market are calling for the worst time to be over, but you can never confidently say that, given the type of uncertainty we have seen in the last year. The Fed rate hikes are priced in, and we are now just waiting for positive triggers like the easing of inflation or the end of the conflict in Ukraine.

A triangular pattern formation on the charts and the price movement in the subsequent few trading sessions will be essential and confirm either a positive breakout or a negative trend.


Q: Is there any possibility of another round of correction in the metal sector/stocks before any bottom formation?

A: Metal prices are increasingly governed by the Chinese economy, which has started showing signs of recovery after a long time. If the recovery in China persists, we could see some strength in the Metal prices at rock bottom right now.

A sustained long-term recovery in meal prices will only come after the current global environment calms down and focus shifts to infrastructure spending.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Hit By Emerging Market #Investor #Exodus As #India #Rupee Tumbles. Investors reeling from the brutal emerging markets selloff over the past six months again fled the rupee as India's currency hit new lows. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #economy https://www.ndtv.com/business/indian-economy-hit-by-selloff-in-emerging-markets-as-rupee-slumps-3124850

Investors reeling from the brutal emerging markets selloff over the past six months again fled the rupee as India's currency hit new lows, prompting the government to curb gold imports and oil exports to arrest a widening deficit.
The government raised import taxes on gold, while increasing levies on exports of gasoline and diesel in an attempt to control a fast-widening current account gap. The moves sent Reliance Industries Ltd. and other energy exporters tumbling, bringing down the benchmark index by as much as 1.7%. The rupee fell again.

The actions underscore how emerging economies, specially with twin current account and fiscal deficits, are increasingly facing pressures on their currencies as forceful rate hikes by the Federal Reserve accentuate outflows. Despite having the world's fourth-biggest reserve pile, the rupee has hit a succession of record lows in recent weeks. The Indonesian rupiah, the other high-yielder in Asia, fell to its lowest in two years on Friday.

Policy makers in many emerging markets face stark choices as they battle soaring inflation and capital flight as the Fed tightens policy: raise rates and risk hurting growth, spend reserves that took years to build to defend currencies, or simply step away and let the market run its course.


New Delhi's move also underscores the economic challenges faced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government as inflation in the world's sixth-largest economy accelerates and external finances worsen. The central bank has been battling to slow the currency's decline, and runaway rupee depreciation will worsen price pressures, and may spur more rate hikes that weigh on growth.

The measures “aim to reduce the impending pressure on the current account deficit and thus the currency,” said Madhavi Arora, lead economist at Emkay Global Financial Services. “Complementary policy efforts from both fiscal and monetary side essentially reflects the looming pain on the balance of payments deficit this year.”

While the Reserve Bank of India has been seeking to smooth out the rupee's 6% decline this year, banks have reported dollar shortages as investors and companies rushed to swap the rupee for other assets or to pay for imports. The latest measures were spurred by a sudden surge of gold imports in May and June, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

Commodity Pressures

The government raised the import duty on gold to 12.5%, reversing a cut last year. The higher taxes on shipments of gasoline and diesel sent shares of Reliance Industries, a key exporter, down by as much as 8.9%.

India is the world's second-biggest gold consumer and local futures rose as much as 3% in Mumbai, the biggest intraday jump in almost four months, due to the higher import costs.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that India is seeking to discourage gold imports as it helps preserve foreign exchange. She added “extraordinary times” require such measures including the imposition of a windfall tax on fuel exports.

“The challenges are emanating from the same source, which is higher commodity prices,” said Rahul Bajoria, senior economist, Barclays Bank Plc. “India can neither find supply onshore nor we will be able to cut back the consumption of oil. That makes the whole situation a lot more unpredictable both in terms of how this plays out and how long this continues for.”

For the broader fuel market, a drop in Indian exports could further tighten global markets that are grappling with reduced supply from Russia and rising post-pandemic demand.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #RBI Gov R. Rajan: Turning #Muslims Into "2nd Class Citizens" Will Divide #India. Warning against majoritarianism, he cited #SriLanka as an example of what happens when politicians try to deflect a job crisis by targeting minorities. #Modi #Islamophobia https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/turning-minority-into-2nd-class-citizens-will-divide-india-raghuram-rajan-3209792

Citing the strident protests against the Centre's 'Agniveer' military recruitment scheme, Mr Rajan said it suggested how hungry the youths were for jobs.

"Just a while ago you saw 12.5 million applicants for 35,000 railway jobs. It is particularly worrisome when India has a scarcity of jobs even when so many women are not working outside their homes. India's female labour force participation is among the lowest in G-20 at 20.3 percent as in 2019," he pointed out.

Talking about the "vision of growth" of the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said it centres around the term 'atmanirbhar' or self-reliance.

"Now, to the extent it emphasizes better connectivity, better logistics, better roads and devotes more resources to it, in some way this (atmanirbhar vision) seems the continuation of the past reformed decades. And that's good," he said.

But, the former RBI governor said, in many ways a look at what 'atmanirbhar' is trying to achieve takes one back to an early and failed past where the focus was on physical capital and not human capital, on protection and subsidies and not on liberalization, on choosing favourites to win rather than letting the most capable succeed.

Asserting that there was a misplaced sense of priorities, Mr Rajan said the nation was not spending enough on education, with tragic consequences.

"Many (children) not having been to school for two years are dropping out. Their human capital, which is their and our most important asset in the coming years, is something we are neglecting. We are failing them by not devoting enough resources to remedial education," Mr Rajan said.

Riaz Haq said...

Kaushik Basu
@kaushikcbasu
IMF's just-released World Economic Outlook shows, over 3 years, 2020-2, India's annual growth is 2.9%, behind China (4.5%) & low-income country average (3.1%). This is not where India was; its economy has enough strength. This is the price of divisive politics & erosion of trust.

https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1552926615662985216?s=20&t=VXI6HwUCK9o_mKUrecMonA

Riaz Haq said...

India is experiencing a job market crisis. Applicants for preferred jobs outnumber vacancies by numbers that make the process a lottery. The qualifications of applicants for many jobs far exceed the skills or knowledge required. Attempts to influence or rig the appointments process to monetise scarcity are common. And the response to perceived malpractice or suspect policy shifts can be violent, as recently seen in the case of appointments to the railways and the military.

https://frontline.thehindu.com/columns/economic-perspectives-the-jobs-crisis-is-real-on-india-unemployment-crisis/article65672480.ece

The argument that the same crisis afflicts most market economies, including many developed ones, mitigates for some people the disquiet the crisis should evoke. What is missed is that the nature and intensity of the jobs crisis is not similar across the board. India seems especially hard hit. What is more, a rather expansive definition of what constitutes employment and the varying definitions adopted by different sources make the picture fuzzy and lead to an underestimation of the problem.

Disturbing ‘facts’
The stylised “facts” the available data yield are, however, disturbing enough. Despite questions regarding method and coverage, the National Statistical Organisation’s annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is the best source of information on employment and unemployment trends. According to the latest report, 7.5 per cent of the labour force was unemployed in 2020-21 (July to June), even when a person is defined as employed if he/she worked for at least one hour on at least one day during the seven days preceding the date of survey (current weekly status).

Riaz Haq said...

India Jobs Crisis

https://frontline.thehindu.com/columns/economic-perspectives-the-jobs-crisis-is-real-on-india-unemployment-crisis/article65672480.ece

With about 40 per cent of India’s 1.41 billion population in the labour force, this implies that about 42 million people who were available for work were not employed. If computed on a usual status basis (or based on the activity of a person for a relatively long time in the 365 days preceding the date of survey), the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent. That amounts to around 25 million unemployed on a usual status basis. Around 21 million of these unemployed people were in the 15-29 years age group. The crisis is not of absent jobs in general but of employment among the youth in particular. A youthful population swells the number in the age group where people are capable of and wanting to work. But they find it difficult to get into the workforce.

The PLFS is the more recent version of the government’s effort to track the employment and unemployment situation in the country. Before 2017-18, the official statistical system undertook detailed surveys of the employment situation once in five years. On the grounds that an annual assessment was needed for effective policymaking, which has been a complete failure when it comes to employment generation, the government has carried out the PLF surveys since 2017-18. They yield quarterly and annual estimates. Annual estimates are as of now available for the four years ending 2020-21. Since results from these surveys can be compared, the government has taken credit for the apparent rise in employment over these four years when the labour force participation rate rose from 35.9 to 39.2 per cent and the unemployment rate declined from 8.9 to 7.5 per cent on a current weekly status basis. The corresponding figures for usual status employment were labour force participation rates of 36.9 per cent to 41.6 per cent and unemployment rates of 6.1 and 4.2 per cent. The aggregate figures do seem to point to an improvement, however marginal, on the employment front.

This improvement may seem surprising because of the well-recognised adverse employment generation consequences of India’s development path and the policy moves that have made a bad situation worse. Among the many features of the development path that determined employment outcomes, three in particular are worth noting. The first is that the non-agricultural sector has proved incapable of absorbing, at least in decent jobs, the multitudes that have had to move out of agriculture because it could no longer serve as the sink for a growing volume of the unemployed.

Riaz Haq said...

India Jobs Crisis

https://frontline.thehindu.com/columns/economic-perspectives-the-jobs-crisis-is-real-on-india-unemployment-crisis/article65672480.ece

The second is that manufacturing growth has been so disappointing that the structural transition away from agriculture to manufacturing in terms of shares in total GDP and employment, expected in the early stages of development, has remained incomplete in India. The slow growth of manufacturing meant that the much-needed shift in employment and worker distribution away from low-productivity agriculture to high-productivity manufacturing, which could ensure decent non-agricultural employment, did not occur.

And finally, although construction and services proved to be the much-needed outlets for India’s excess labour force, they proved inadequate to the task of making up for the shortfall in manufacturing. This is especially so because the more dynamic, modern services (including software and information technology–enabled services) have been characterised by a revenue growth that is much faster than employment growth, resulting in lagging employment generation even in India’s high-growth years led by a services boom. Workers must settle wherever jobs are available, irrespective of pay and the conditions of work.

One consequence of these trends is that “regular” and “formal” employment—or employment that is based on a formal contract, offers a degree of security of tenure, includes paid leave, and is associated with some form of social protection—is more the exception than the rule. In 2020-21, only 21 per cent of those employed were in regular employment. Another 23 per cent were engaged as casual labourers. The remaining 56 per cent were “self-employed”. For most of these workers, being at work does not mean being employed for most of the days or hours a person is available for work. A range of indicators captures the poor quality of even the employment afforded to most workers. Around 64 per cent of regular workers had no written job contract, 48 per cent were not eligible for paid leave, and 54 per cent were not eligible for any social protection. Regular male workers in all occupational categories, who are paid much more than female workers, earned on average between Rs.18,238 and Rs.19,103 over 30 days in 2020-21, or around Rs.608-637 a day.

Riaz Haq said...

There is little to celebrate for #IndiaAt75. #India’s #economy is in #crisis and has been since long before the beginning of the #COVID19 pandemic but #Modi gov't has run a successful marketing campaign that has struck a chord with citizens.https://aje.io/sczqr3 via @AJEnglish


By Somdeep Sen
Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Roskilde University

Indeed, on the eve of the first COVID-19 lockdown India’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth was the lowest it has been since 1975-76. Exports and investments were also on a downward trend.

As was the case the world over, the Indian economy witnessed a sharp downturn during the pandemic. GDP growth declined by 23.9 percent and, in 2020-21, the GDP shrank by 7.3 percent. The effect of this downturn was felt most severely by the country’s poorest. In 2021, a study by the Pew Research Center showed that the number of people in India living on $2 or less a day increased by 75 million due to the recession during the pandemic. This increase accounted for 60 percent of the “global increase in poverty”. The study also found that the size of the Indian middle class shrunk by 32 million in 2020. This also accounted for 60 percent of the “global retreat” from the middle class.

At present, India’s economy now seems to be somewhat on the mend. Nonetheless, the current spike in global energy and food prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a significant effect on post-pandemic economic recovery. Food and beverage inflation has been eating the already squeezed household budgets of the poor and middle class. In June 2022, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent – a 0.7 percent increase from May. In the 20-24 age group, the unemployment rate was at 43.7 percent. The Indian rupee has also been losing value against the dollar and this will have a detrimental effect on import-heavy sectors.

National policymaking has not been a testament to good governance either. This was all the more evident during the pandemic. While India was classified as a country at “high risk” of a devastating COVID-19 outbreak soon after the virus was first identified in China, the government has been slow in putting in place preventive measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global public health emergency on January 30, 2020. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first statement on the pandemic, in the form of a tweet did not come until March 3. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched its COVID-19 awareness campaign on March 6. Until then, the only public health advice on the matter was coming from the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy). And the AYUSH advisory on COVID included little more than a list of ayurvedic and homoeopathic preventive measures and remedies.


Eventually, a national lockdown – with only four-hour notice – was announced on March 24. The way the world’s biggest lockdown was instituted itself was a testament to bad governance and misplaced political priorities. The four hours’ notice was meant to represent resolute leadership in the face of a global crisis. However, with little information on whether there would be access to vital commodities during the lockdown, panicked citizens ignored all social distancing guidelines and rushed to the stores to stock up on essentials just before locking down to prevent transmission.

Riaz Haq said...

There is little to celebrate for #IndiaAt75. #India’s #economy is in #crisis and has been since long before the beginning of the #COVID19 pandemic but #Modi gov't has run a successful marketing campaign that has struck a chord with citizens.https://aje.io/sczqr3 via @AJEnglish


By Somdeep Sen
Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Roskilde University


The second wave of the pandemic devastated India in March 2021. The tragic outcome, however, was not entirely unexpected. Access to reliable and affordable healthcare is scarce in India. The public healthcare system is weak and lacks the resources to contend with a global pandemic. The largely unregulated private healthcare providers are also unreliable and costly. Private and public hospitals ran out of beds very quickly with the surge of infections. Without a national oxygen supply coordination system, oxygen producers were also unable to meet the needs of areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, India could have still limited the impact of the second wave on its population, if only its government took the threat seriously and followed sensible policies. In a bid to boost his image, and against the advice of experts, Modi had already declared victory over the pandemic in January that year. The vaccination drive was also slow, as the government had failed to secure enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use – this, despite India being the largest producer of vaccines and generic drugs. Not long before the onset of the second wave, Modi approved a large religious festival in the ancient city of Haridwar in the state of Uttarakhand. The Kumbh Mela went ahead without following any social distancing precautions and is now considered the world’s largest super-spreader event. The surge in infections in March and April can also be blamed on the Modi government’s decision to allow assembly elections at the height of the pandemic despite ample warning that they would speed up transmission.

Islamophobia as public policy
On its 75th birthday, democracy also appears to be in decline in India. The human rights of minority groups are under constant attack, and Islamophobia has become a public policy in the country. Indeed, lynchings, Islamophobic misinformation campaigns and cultural intimidation are an everyday facet of the lives of Indian Muslims.

In 2019, for example, the Parliament of India passed the Islamophobic Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). CAA granted a fast track to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, undermining “constitutional equality” by inserting religion as a qualifier for citizenship. The government brutally suppressed the protests against the act, branding them “anti-national”. Anti-CAA activists were arrested and denied bail using India’s draconian anti-terror law.

Also in 2019, the BJP government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s special status in the Indian constitution. The move not only fulfilled the longstanding Hindu nationalist promise to ensure that Indian-administered Kashmir is (at least constitutionally) an integral part of territorial India, it also established a new pathway to Hinduise the state. Furthermore, in order to curb protests against the revocation of its special status and autonomy, the government introduced a communication blackout and shut down cable TV, internet and phone lines for several months across the territory.

Riaz Haq said...

There is little to celebrate for #IndiaAt75. #India’s #economy is in #crisis and has been since long before the beginning of the #COVID19 pandemic but #Modi gov't has run a successful marketing campaign that has struck a chord with citizens.https://aje.io/sczqr3 via @AJEnglish


By Somdeep Sen
Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Roskilde University


Beyond its efforts to intimidate and subdue India’s Muslims, the government has also been engaged in a wider campaign to silence all dissenting voices. In 2021, for example, it was revealed that Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to surveil opposition politicians, journalists, and activists in India.

Modi and his government have also spearheaded a crackdown on human rights organisations. In 2020, Amnesty International had to shut down its operations in India after its bank accounts were frozen and office premises raided. While the government insisted that Amnesty had violated regulations for receiving donations from abroad, the NGO itself – just like most of the international community – interpreted it as a response to its criticism of India’s human rights record.

In recent years, the government also prevented several activists and journalists critical of its policies from travelling abroad. Many government critics have also been spied on, arrested on terror-related charges, and then held without trial. Police have been accused of planting incriminating evidence on the computers of activists and arresting them on bogus charges.

As a result of all this, India went down eight places compared with 2019 and ranked 150 among 180 nations in Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 Press Freedom Index. It also scored just 66 out of 100 in this year’s Freedom House Democracy Index and has been placed in the category of “partially free”.

Admittedly, as this “report card” demonstrates, there is not much for India to celebrate on its 75th birthday. If the country wants to have something real to celebrate at its next milestone birthday in 2047, it needs to start acknowledging its many failings and working towards building a more free, equal and democratic society and state.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian Prime Minister Narendra #Modi boldly declared that his country was ready to “feed the world” after #Russia’s invasion of #Ukraine. Less than four months later, #India wants to import #wheat. #food #inflation #hunger #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-21/india-may-import-wheat-in-blow-to-modi-s-vision-of-feeding-world

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1561361966572007425?s=20&t=aP8smyOXTw3VU4JTj7m0rw

Indications that a bumper wheat harvest wasn’t going to eventuate prompted the government to restrict exports in mid-May. State reserves have declined in August to the lowest level for the month in 14 years, according to Food Corp. of India, while consumer wheat inflation is running at close to 12%.

Indications that a bumper wheat harvest wasn’t going to eventuate prompted the government to restrict exports in mid-May. State reserves have declined in August to the lowest level for the month in 14 years, according to Food Corp. of India, while consumer wheat inflation is running at close to 12%.

The finance ministry didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesperson for the food and commerce ministries declined to comment. The food department on Sunday said in a Twitter post there was no “plan to import wheat” and the country has sufficient stocks to meet its requirements.

“Given a lot of the war risk premium has come off from global wheat prices, India can look at augmenting its domestic wheat supply via more imports,” said Sonal Varma, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “However, since domestic wholesale wheat prices are lower than global prices, a reduction in import duties will also be essential to make it a viable option.”

Wheat spiked to near $14 a bushel in Chicago in early March as the war in Europe threatened a major source of global exports. Prices have now given up all of those gains as supply fears ease. They’re back below $8, alleviating some of the pressure on developing economies struggling to feed their people.

Despite being the world’s second-biggest wheat grower, India has never been a major exporter. It also never imported much, with overseas purchases at about 0.02% of production annually. The country was pretty much self-sufficient.



Authorities now expect the 2021-22 harvest to come in at around 107 million tons, down from a February estimate of 111 million. That may still be too optimistic as traders and flour millers forecast 98 million to 102 million tons.



Government purchases of wheat for the country’s food aid program, the world’s largest, are expected to be less than half of levels last year, according to the food ministry. That prompted authorities to distribute more rice in some states, and also to restrict exports of wheat flour and other products.



Consumer wheat inflation has held above 9% year-on-year since April and surged to 11.7% in July. Wholesale prices were up even more, by 13.6% in July, official data show. That’s creating a headache for the central bank, which is trying to bring overall inflation, currently near 7%, back under its 6% target.

Wheat is India’s biggest winter crop, with planting happening in October and November and harvesting in March and April. There are also concerns about its rice production, which could be the next challenge for global food supply.

“Cereal inflation is a concern on the back of lower paddy sowing,” said Sameer Narang, an economist at ICICI Bank in Mumbai. The rising cereal prices are likely to continue for a while, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

India Hunger Index Controversy:


Noted columnists in India have also commented on how a faulty metric, which is based on four measures or indicators (none of which actually measure hunger) is creating a flawed narrative against India9,10. Prominent researchers have commented that the GHI exaggerates the measure of hunger, lacks statistical vigour10, has a problem of multiple counts11,12, and gives higher representation to under-five children. The measurement of hunger is complex and should not be oversimplified, as in the GHI13. Therefore, the use of alternative approaches should be considered to evaluate hunger14,15. In view of these issues, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, constituted in 2019 an Expert Committee to review the indicators used in the GHI. The deliberations of this Committee are presented here, and it is argued that the four indicators used in the GHI, [undernourishment, stunting, wasting and child mortality (CM)] do not measure hunger per se, as these are not the manifestations of hunger alone.

Go to:
About the GHI
The GHI is a weighted average derived from four indicators1. These are (i) the PUN, or proportion of the population that is undernourished, calculated as the proportion of the population that has an energy intake less than the FAO Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement (MDER) of 1800 calories/capita/day1; (ii) CWA, or the prevalence of wasting in children under five years old, estimated as the percentage of children aged 0-59 months, whose weight for height is below minus two standard deviations (-2SD) from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards1; (iii) CST, or the prevalence of stunting in children under five years old, estimated as the percentage of children, aged 0-59 months, whose height for age is below -2SD from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards; and (iv) CM, or the proportion of children dying before the age of five, estimated as the proportion of child deaths between birth and five years of age, generally expressed per 1000 live births. As per the justification mentioned in the GHI report1 for using these indicators, the PUN indicator captures the nutrition situation of the entire population while the other indicators are specific to under-five children (CWA, CST and CM) in which the adverse effects assume greater importance. The inclusion of both wasting and stunting (CWA and CST) is intended to allow the GHI to consider both acute and chronic undernutrition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9131786/

Mayraj F. said...

https://theprint.in/opinion/not-just-global-hunger-index-indias-own-govt-data-worrying/760232/

Not just Global Hunger Index, India’s own govt data shows how worried we should be
The Modi government has questioned the methodology of the Global Hunger Index. But undernutrition is one of the leading factors of child mortality in India. https://theprint.in/opinion/not-just-global-hunger-index-indias-own-govt-data-worrying/760232/

Riaz Haq said...

Not just Global Hunger Index, India’s own govt data shows how worried we should be

The Modi government has questioned the methodology of the Global Hunger Index. But undernutrition is one of the leading factors of child mortality in India.


https://theprint.in/opinion/not-just-global-hunger-index-indias-own-govt-data-worrying/760232/





The Global Hunger Index 2021 is basically about undernutrition. It provides us an opportunity to introspect on why India’s performance is not as good as what our economic growth should have ensured. Rather than doing that, the Narendra Modi government has chosen to question the methodology of one particular indicator used in the report to assess the level of undernourishment. It is true that at its core, the Hunger Index is primarily an indicator of child undernutrition and mortality. While it does estimate the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU), its weightage in the index is only one third. The other three components of the index relate to the percentage of children under five years who show wasting, stunting, and child mortality (percentage of children who die before reaching five years of age). Dipa Sinha has explained the methodology of index in this article in The Hindu.


India collects its own data on health and nutrition that is widely considered to be credible and extremely useful. The fifth round of the National Family Health Survey was conducted in 2019-20 and its findings were released in December 2020. However, data for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh was not included in the first phase so the all-India performance is not yet known. The survey found that the progress is worse than expected, and stunting, reflective of chronic malnutrition, has increased in 11 out of the 17 states surveyed. Wasting, indicative of acute malnutrition, has also increased in 13 of these 17 states. Such malnourished children are more vulnerable to illness and disease. The percentage of underweight children has gone up in 11 of the 17 states. In Bihar and Gujarat, 40 per cent of children under the age of five, were underweight.

Undernutrition is one of the leading risk factors for child mortality in India, accounting for 68.2 per cent of total under-five deaths (10.4 lakh) in 2017. Children with severe undernutrition are at high risk of dying from diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malaria.



https://theprint.in/opinion/not-just-global-hunger-index-indias-own-govt-data-worrying/760232/

Riaz Haq said...

Releasing targets for curbing malnutrition in the country, specifically among children, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said in a written statement tabled in Rajya Sabha said that it aims at reducing stunting and under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) among children under 6 years by 2% per annum.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/over-35-5-kids-stunted-govt-releases-target-to-curb-malnutrition-8055777/

The (Indian) ministry stated that it aims to reduce low birth weight by 2% per annum, and anaemia among children between six and 59 months, as well as women and adolescent girls from 15 to 49 years, by 3% per annum.

According to findings of the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), nutrition indicators for children under 5 have improved over NFHS-4 (2015-16).

Stunting (in India) has reduced from 38.4% to 35.5%, wasting from 21.0% to 19.3% and underweight prevalence is down from 35.8% to 32.1%, according to the data. Women (15-49 years) whose BMI is below normal has reduced from 22.9% in NFHS-4 to 18.7% in NFHS-5. Despite the decrease, nutrition experts have said that India has one of the highest burdens of malnutrition in the world.


According to data released on Wednesday, Meghalaya has the highest number of stunted children (46.5%), followed by Bihar (42.9%). Assam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have stunted children higher than the national average of 35.5%.

Puducherry and Sikkim have the lowest percentage of stunted children, data shows.

Explained |India’s role in UN Peacekeeping Missions over the years
Maharashtra has 25.6% wasted children (weight for height) — the highest — followed by Gujarat (25.1%).

Assam, Bihar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Karnataka and West Bengal have a higher percentage of wasted children than the national average of 19.3%.

Bihar has the highest number of underweight children (41%), followed by Gujarat (39.7%), and Jharkhand at (39.4%).

Assam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have a higher percentage of underweight children than the national average of 32.1%.

The NFHS-5 data shows that Jharkhand has the highest percentage of women, between 15 and 49 years, who have a below-normal Body Mass Index (BMI), a value derived from mass and height of a person, and an indicator of under-nutrition. More than 26% Jharkhand women have below-normal BMI, the national average being 18.5%.

Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha also have high percentages of undernourished women.

The Supplementary Nutrition Programme under Anganwadi Services and POSHAN Abhiyaan have been converged to form the ‘Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0’ (Mission Poshan 2.0), which seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Riaz Haq said...

A comparison of international and national references to measure the prevalence of stunting in Pakistani school-age girls
Rizwan Qaisar & 
Asima Karim 


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-09511-3





Epidemiology of stunting in < 5 years old is well characterized; however, its prevalence in adolescence is inconsistent in different geographical locations. We estimated the prevalence of stunting in schoolgirls of Punjab, Pakistan, to standardize local references according to international and national references. In this population-wide cross-sectional study, 10,050 schoolgirls aged 8–16 years from 12 different districts of northern, central, and southern Punjab were analyzed. The prevalence of stunting was calculated by applying Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) height-for-age references and the local reference for the study population. We used Cohen’s kappa statistics to analyze the agreement of our data with reference values, and chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Marked overestimation of the prevalence of stunting was observed (22.72% and 17.49% according to CDC and WHO, respectively) in comparison to local reference (4.94%). According to CDC and WHO references, there was an increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with higher age; however, data was comparable across all the age groups when local references were applied. We recommend that the prevalence of stunting in school-age girls should be determined by applying local height references rather than international ones to plan health strategies and treatments in the local population.



--------

The mean age of 10,050 schoolgirls included in this study was 12.7 ± 2.29 years (Mean ± SD). The overall prevalence of stunting in the study population using two international references is described in Fig. 1A. Overall, the percentage of girls with normal height in different age groups under study was quite similar (77.28% and 82.51%, respectively). The prevalence of stunted girls in our study cohort was 22.72% and 17.49%, according to CDC and WHO, respectively. The prevalence of stunting was similar for younger girls (8, 9 years) according to CDC and WHO, higher among girls of 10–12 years according to WHO compared to CDC and highest among girls of 13–16 years of age according to CDC compared to WHO reference (Table 1, Fig. 1A). When we applied the local height-for-age cut-offs obtained from our study population, a significantly higher percentage of the girls had standard height (95.06%, p ˂ 0.05, Table 1). The overall prevalence of stunting was markedly lower (4.94%, p ˂ 0.05, Fig. 1A) in all age groups when using the local reference, compared to CDC and WHO references. However, among 8-year-old girls, the prevalence of stunting was comparable to all the three references applied. A notable finding was the increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with increasing age when CDC and WHO references were applied. However, no such trend was observed when the local cut-offs were applied (Fig. 1A). We compared the height values obtained from our cumulative study cohort with CDC and WHO references and used kappa correlation to assess the degrees of agreement between these references and local references. There was poor agreement between the local reference in comparison with CDC and WHO (ฮบ = 0.163, 0.325 respectively) references.

Riaz Haq said...

A comparison of international and national references to measure the prevalence of stunting in Pakistani school-age girls
Rizwan Qaisar & 
Asima Karim 


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-09511-3





Epidemiology of stunting in < 5 years old is well characterized; however, its prevalence in adolescence is inconsistent in different geographical locations. We estimated the prevalence of stunting in schoolgirls of Punjab, Pakistan, to standardize local references according to international and national references. In this population-wide cross-sectional study, 10,050 schoolgirls aged 8–16 years from 12 different districts of northern, central, and southern Punjab were analyzed. The prevalence of stunting was calculated by applying Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) height-for-age references and the local reference for the study population. We used Cohen’s kappa statistics to analyze the agreement of our data with reference values, and chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Marked overestimation of the prevalence of stunting was observed (22.72% and 17.49% according to CDC and WHO, respectively) in comparison to local reference (4.94%). According to CDC and WHO references, there was an increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with higher age; however, data was comparable across all the age groups when local references were applied. We recommend that the prevalence of stunting in school-age girls should be determined by applying local height references rather than international ones to plan health strategies and treatments in the local population.



--------

The mean age of 10,050 schoolgirls included in this study was 12.7 ± 2.29 years (Mean ± SD). The overall prevalence of stunting in the study population using two international references is described in Fig. 1A. Overall, the percentage of girls with normal height in different age groups under study was quite similar (77.28% and 82.51%, respectively). The prevalence of stunted girls in our study cohort was 22.72% and 17.49%, according to CDC and WHO, respectively. The prevalence of stunting was similar for younger girls (8, 9 years) according to CDC and WHO, higher among girls of 10–12 years according to WHO compared to CDC and highest among girls of 13–16 years of age according to CDC compared to WHO reference (Table 1, Fig. 1A). When we applied the local height-for-age cut-offs obtained from our study population, a significantly higher percentage of the girls had standard height (95.06%, p ˂ 0.05, Table 1). The overall prevalence of stunting was markedly lower (4.94%, p ˂ 0.05, Fig. 1A) in all age groups when using the local reference, compared to CDC and WHO references. However, among 8-year-old girls, the prevalence of stunting was comparable to all the three references applied. A notable finding was the increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with increasing age when CDC and WHO references were applied. However, no such trend was observed when the local cut-offs were applied (Fig. 1A). We compared the height values obtained from our cumulative study cohort with CDC and WHO references and used kappa correlation to assess the degrees of agreement between these references and local references. There was poor agreement between the local reference in comparison with CDC and WHO (ฮบ = 0.163, 0.325 respectively) references.

Riaz Haq said...

‘Diet of Average Indian Lacks Protein, Fruit, Vegetables’
On average, the Indian total calorie intake is approximately 2,200 kcals per person per day, 12 per cent lower than the EAT-Lancet reference diet's recommended level.

https://www.india.com/lifestyle/diet-of-average-indian-lacks-protein-fruit-vegetables-4066766/

Compared to an influential diet for promoting human and planetary health, the diets of average Indians are considered unhealthy comprising excess consumption of cereals, but not enough consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables, said a new study.Also Read - Autistic Pride Day 2020: Diet Rules For Kids With Autism

The findings by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) broadly apply across all states and income levels, underlining the challenges many Indians face in obtaining healthy diets.

“The EAT-Lancet diet is not a silver bullet for the myriad nutrition and environmental challenges food systems currently present, but it does provide a useful guide for evaluating how healthy and sustainable Indian diets are,” said the lead author of the research article, A4NH Program Manager Manika Sharma. Also Read - Experiencing Hair Fall? Include These Super-foods in Your Daily Diet ASAP

“At least on the nutrition front we find Indian diets to be well below optimal.”

The EAT-Lancet reference diet, published by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, implies that transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food wastage is critical to feed a future population of 10 billion a healthy diet within planetary boundaries.

While the EAT-Lancet reference diet recommends eating large shares of plant-based foods and little to no processed meat and starchy vegetables, the research demonstrates that incomes and preferences in India are driving drastically different patterns of consumption.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's status as world's fastest growing major #economy to be short-lived. It will decelerate to 4.5% in October-December 2022.The nation is grappling with persistently high #unemployment and #inflation - Reuters poll. #Modi #Hindutva https://finance.yahoo.com/news/indias-status-worlds-fastest-growing-021110721.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr via @YahooFinance

By Arsh Tushar Mogre


BENGALURU (Reuters) - India likely recorded strong double-digit economic growth in the last quarter but economists polled by Reuters expected the pace to more than halve this quarter and slow further toward the end of the year as interest rates rise.

Asia's third-largest economy is grappling with persistently high unemployment and inflation, which has been running above the top of the Reserve Bank of India's tolerance band all year and is set to do so for the rest of 2022.

Growth this quarter is predicted to slow sharply to an annual 6.2% from a median forecast of 15.2% in Q2, supported mainly by statistical comparisons with a year ago rather than new momentum, before decelerating further to 4.5% in October-December.

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The median expectation for 2022 growth was 7.2%, according to an Aug. 22-26 Reuters poll, but economists said that the solid growth rate masks how rapidly the economy was expected to slow in coming months.

"Even as India remains the fastest-growing major economy, domestic consumption will perhaps not be strong enough to drive growth further as unemployment remains high and real wages are at a record low level," said Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale.

"By supporting growth through investment, the government has only fired on one engine while forgetting about the impetus which domestic consumption provides. This is why India's growth is still below its pre-pandemic trend."

The economy has not grown fast enough to accommodate some 12 million people joining the labour force each year.

Meanwhile the RBI, a relative laggard in the global tightening cycle, is set to raise its key repo rate by another 60 basis points by the end of March to try to bring inflation within the tolerance limit. [ECILT/IN]

That follows three interest rate rises this year totalling 140 basis points, and would take the repo rate to 6.00% by end-Q1 2023.

While the central bank's mandated target band is 2%-6%, inflation was expected to average 6.9% and 6.2% this quarter and next, respectively, before falling just below the top end of the range to 5.8% in Q1 2023. That is roughly in line with the central bank's projection.

"Despite signs of a cool-off in price pressures ... it is premature to go easy on the inflation fight given considerable uncertainties from geopolitical risks and hard landing risks in major economies," said Radhika Rao, senior economist at DBS.

The economy is also enduring inflation pressure from a weak rupee, which for months has been trading close to 80 to the U.S. dollar, a level the central bank has been defending in currency markets by selling dollar reserves.

The latest Reuters poll also showed India's current account deficit swelling to 3.1% of gross domestic product this year, the highest in at least a decade, which may put further pressure on the currency.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi says bhajans (#Hindu religious songs) will cure #malnutrition. Over 35% of #Indian children are stunted, 19.3% wasted & 32.5% underweight.
BJP rule has seen undernourished population increase from 14.9% to 15.5% of population https://science.thewire.in/health/narendra-modi-malnutrition-bhajan/ via @TheWireScience


In the 92nd episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said conducting bhajans can be part of the solutions to reducing malnutrition.
Cultural and traditional practices are not harmful. But it is in bad faith to make them part of habits that sideline tested and approved solutions to crucial welfare issues.
The statement also distracts from the fact that in Modi’s time as prime minister, India has come to account for a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide

There is much evidence in the public domain that says the availability, accessibility and affordability of good-quality food is crucial to improve the nutritional and health status of India’s people. There is nothing, however, about bhajans.

Many scholars and scientists have often criticised Prime Minister Modi for his irrational claims on many occasions. Reminiscent of his “taali, thali and Diwali” campaign as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining strength, Modi’s comment on bhajans only distracts from the dire importance of effective public health measures – even as the rate of improvement of some important indicators have slid in his time at the helm.

Cultural and traditional practices are not harmful. But it is in bad faith to make them part of habits that sideline tested and approved solutions to crucial welfare issues.

In his monologue, Modi narrated a story of how people of a community in Madhya Pradesh each contribute a small quantity of grains, using which a meal is prepared for everyone one day a week. However, he shifted the focus at this point to devotional music in bhajan–kirtans – organised under the ‘Mera Bachha’ campaign – instead of dwelling on the role of Indigenous food cultures. This is counterproductive.

More malnourished children

India’s National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) and Comprehensive National Nutrition Surveys have documented the high prevalence of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency among India’s children, adolescents and women. The recently published NFHS-5 results reported a high prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweightedness among children younger than five years and that they have declined only marginally in the last five years.

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A public-health approach to malnutrition requires us to pay attention to a large variety of socioeconomic conditions. In this regard, while many of Prime Minister Modi’s other comments in his monologue are well-taken, especially about public participation, neither the need for context-specific interventions nor for evidence-based policies are served by misplaced allusions to bhajans and kirtans.

Riaz Haq said...

Ritesh Kumar Singh
@RiteshEconomist
We shouldn't get carried away by 13.5% #GDPgrowth in Q1 FY2022/23.
Q1FY2020/21: INR 35.5 trillion
Q1FY2022/23: INR 36.85 trillion
The increase in 3 years: INR 1.35 trillion or 3.9% in 3 years.
#economy #India #IndiaAt75
@EconomicTimes

https://twitter.com/RiteshEconomist/status/1564989770966523905?s=20&t=Xfj8WjDj-wkroo8JTkhBxQ

--------

Q1 GDP growth misses estimates despite low base; govt spending subdued
13.5% expansion in June QTR despite low base; GVA at basic prices up 12.7%

https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/q1-gdp-growth-misses-estimates-despite-low-base-govt-spending-subdued-122083101151_1.html

Keeping the two pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 out, Q1 real GDP in 2022-23 is only 3.8 per cent higher than in the equivalent quarter of 2019-20. Gross value added (GVA) at basic prices grew at 12.7 per cent in the June quarter while nominal GDP was up 26.7 per cent, reflecting elevated inflationary pressures in the economy.

Growth in private final consumption expenditure, or private spending, grew at a robust 25.9 per cent with pent-up demand kicking in as consumers felt confident to spend. Government spending, however, grew only 1.3 per cent, signalling that both the Central and state governments kept their expenditure in check during the quarter.

Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), which represents investment demand in the economy, grew at a robust 20.1 per cent. However, compared to the pre-pandemic period of FY20, GFCF grew only 6.7 per cent.

On the supply side, manufacturing grew by a disappointing 4.8 per cent. Despite 25.7 per cent growth in trade, hotel, transport services, the sector, with the highest contribution to GDP, is still 15.5 per cent below the pre-pandemic level of the equivalent quarter in FY20.

The labour-intensive construction sector grew 16.8 per cent but it is barely above the pre-pandemic level, growing 1.2 per cent.

Madhavi Arora, lead economist, Emkay Global Financial Services, said. “We maintain growth may remain at 7 per cent for the year, albeit with downside risks. Going ahead, even as recovery in domestic economic activity is yet to be broad-based, global drags in the form of still elevated prices, shrinking corporate profitability, demand-curbing monetary policies and diminishing global growth prospects weigh on the growth outlook.”

Nikhil Gupta, chief economist of Motilal Oswal, said assuming no change in projections by the RBI for the rest of the year, the first-quarter data suggested the central bank’s FY23 growth forecast would be revised to 6.7 per cent from 7.2 per cent.

The RBI expected 16.2 per cent growth in Q1, with 6.2, 4.1, and 4 per cent growth in the subsequent quarters.

Aurodeep Nandi, India economist and vice-president at Nomura, said even if one were to discount the low base, this marked a stellar rise in sequential momentum with post-pandemic tailwinds lifting GDP growth in the June quarter.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Is Urban India Hungry For Nutrition

http://bwhealthcareworld.businessworld.in/article/Why-Is-Urban-India-Hungry-For-Nutrition/01-09-2022-444698/

More than two billion people globally suffer from ‘hidden hunger’, simply put, micronutrient deficiencies. Protein, calcium, iron, zinc and essential vitamins such as Vit D, Vit B12 that the body requires to function

For the longest time, hunger has been associated with the poor. Malnutrition is a term, we are all used to by now, especially in developing nations. However, the sound of ‘urban hunger’ may ring an unfamiliar bell in most ears. The urbanites or city dwellers are known for access and affordability yet there is a growing hunger for nutrition being cited in research today.

As per the comprehensive National Nutrition survey (CNNS 2016-2018) conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the percentage of the population with iron deficiency has been reported to be highest at 27 per cent in the richest sector for both 5-9 and 10-19 years of Indian children and adolescents. Same is the case with Folate, Vit D, Vit B12, and Zinc deficiency.

More than two billion people globally suffer from ‘hidden hunger’, simply put, micronutrient deficiencies. Protein, calcium, iron, zinc and essential vitamins such as Vit D, Vit B12 that the body requires to function. To put it in a closer-home perspective, it could be 7 out of 10 Indians. India has recorded a triple burden of malnutrition with 189 million suffering from undernutrition, 135 million impacted by over nutrition and a whopping 700 million lacking some form of micronutrient deficiency.

Despite being highlighted as one the most cost-effective investments for human development, progress on addressing micronutrient deficiencies or mind has not shown an upward trend in recent years.

Hidden hunger does not allow children to reach their growth potential. 22 per cent of children and adolescents remain affected by stunting or low height for age and 24 per cent by wasting or low weight for height. The key micronutrient gap is not only a problem of the poor but also a big problem for middle and rich households; the problem deteriorates as kids grow older. This is also one of the reasons for instances of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension is on the rise among adolescents.

India is a predominantly cereal-consuming nation and lacks a balanced diet. Keep in mind that Indian meals are big but not balanced, with big gaps in nutrient density. Fussy eating in younger children and unhealthy eating habits in older children are fueling gaps in nutrient intake, leading to poor nutritional status and early onset of NCDs.

Some more facts or key nutrition concerns cited by national data sets:

5 vital micronutrient deficiencies reported in both urban and rural children between 1-

19 years

One in 2 adolescents suffer from at least 2/5 micronutrient deficiencies – (Iron,

Folate, B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Zinc)

Protein intake, especially in terms of quality, is still a big concern. Diets are

predominantly carbohydrate centric and lack diversity from dairy, pulses etc.

Bioavailability especially of minerals like iron, zinc is poor from a plant-based diet

Consumption of animal-based foods- milk, meat, eggs still low in the country leading

to poor nutritional status in nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 etc.

Also, there is increased consumption of salt and sugar in the country along with junk foods or packaged foods, or outside food. Data shows increased consumption of 119 per cent more salt than the WHO recommendation and 180 per cent more sugar than the prescribed limit. The world of nutrition is still greek to Indian consumers which hinders their purchase choices.

The impact of this unsolved burden of malnutrition is huge. It leads to loss of productivity, illness, and increased healthcare costs, even may prove to be fatal with a loss of a minimum of 1 per cent of India’s GDP, approximately Rs.160K cr.

Riaz Haq said...

Food Sources
Meats, poultry, and seafood are richest in heme iron. Fortified grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables contain non-heme iron. In the U.S. many breads, cereals, and infant formulas are fortified with iron.

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iron/#:~:text=Food%20Sources,formulas%20are%20fortified%20with%20iron.


Iron is an important mineral that helps maintain healthy blood. A lack of iron is called iron-deficiency anemia, which affects about 4-5 million Americans yearly. [1] It is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, causing extreme fatigue and lightheadedness. It affects all ages, with children, women who are pregnant or menstruating, and people receiving kidney dialysis among those at highest risk for this condition.

Iron is a major component of hemoglobin, a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of the body. Without enough iron, there aren’t enough red blood cells to transport oxygen, which leads to fatigue. Iron is also part of myoglobin, a protein that carries and stores oxygen specifically in muscle tissues. Iron is important for healthy brain development and growth in children, and for the normal production and function of various cells and hormones.

Iron from food comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme is found only in animal flesh like meat, poultry, and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens. Non-heme iron is also found in animal flesh (as animals consume plant foods with non-heme iron) and fortified foods.

Iron is stored in the body as ferritin (in the liver, spleen, muscle tissue, and bone marrow) and is delivered throughout the body by transferrin (a protein in blood that binds to iron). A doctor may sometimes check blood levels of these two components if anemia is suspected.

--------

Sources of heme iron:
Oysters, clams, mussels
Beef or chicken liver
Organ meats
Canned sardines
Beef
Poultry
Canned light tuna
Sources of non-heme iron:
Fortified breakfast cereals
Beans
Dark chocolate (at least 45%)
Lentils
Spinach
Potato with skin
Nuts, seeds
Enriched rice or bread

Riaz Haq said...

Kaushik Basu
@kaushikcbasu
India’s unemployment rate in August shot up to 8.3%. This is the highest in 12 months, according to CMIE data. This is causing extra hardship because it is happening amidst high inflation. This is where we need to focus all policy attention.

https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1565898149415321603?s=20&t=j5lmShMm_PAikFk2kK1JhQ

--------------

https://unemploymentinindia.cmie.com/

-----------------

India's unemployment rate surged to a one-year high of 8.3 per cent in August as employment sequentially fell by 2 million to 394.6 million, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

During July, the unemployment rate was at 6.8 per cent and the employment was 397 million, the CMIE data added.

"The urban unemployment rate is usually higher at about 8 per cent than the rural unemployment rate, which is usually around 7 per cent. In August the urban unemployment rate shot up to 9.6 per cent and rural unemployment rate also increased to 7.7 per cent," CMIE managing director Mahesh Vyas told PTI.

Vyas further stated that erratic rainfall affected sowing activities and this is one of the reasons for the increase in unemployment in rural India.

The unemployment rate in rural India rose from 6.1 per cent in July to 7.7 per cent in August. More importantly, the employment rate fell from 37.6 per cent to 37.3 per cent.

"Going forward, the rural unemployment rate may come down as delayed monsoon will increase agricultural activities towards the end of the monsoon season. However, it is not clear how the urban unemployment rate will play out in the coming months. Currently, it is quite elevated," Vyas added.

During August, the unemployment was the highest in Haryana at 37.3 per cent followed by Jammu and Kashmir at 32.8 per cent, Rajasthan at 31.4 per cent, Jharkhand at 17.3 per cent and Tripura at 16.3 per cent, according to the data.

While the unemployment was the lowest in Chhattisgarh at 0.4 per cent followed by Meghalaya at 2 per cent, Maharashtra at 2.2 per cent and Gujarat and Odisha at 2.6 per cent each, the data showed.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-s-unemployment-rate-zooms-to-1-year-high-of-8-3-in-aug-cmie-122090101152_1.html

Riaz Haq said...

Protests in #India over rising #food and #fuel bills, as #unemployment soars. Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra #Modi of allowing food and fuel prices to rocket by up to 175%. #BJP #Hindutva #economy #Islamophobia #hunger https://news.sky.com/story/protests-in-india-over-rising-food-and-fuel-bills-as-unemployment-soars-12689781

Mr Gandhi suggested the price of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and essential food items including wheat have rocketed between 45% and 175% since Mr Modi took control eight years ago in 2014.

The politician - whose father, Rajiv, was a former prime minister of India - addressed crowds at a rally in Ramlila Maidan, traditionally used to hold religious festivals and events, in capital New Delhi on Sunday.

He told his 21.4million Twitter followers: "Congress party unites the country. Only Congress can bring the country on the path of progress.


"We will go straight to the public and tell them the truth, whatever is in their heart, they will understand."

Earlier, he had tweeted: "Today, people have to think ten times before buying what they need.

Riaz Haq said...

Kaushik Basu
@kaushikcbasu
Over 2020-22 India's annual GDP growth is 0.43%. This places India in the middle of the world's growth table. What's worrying is that a decade ago India was in the top 3. Also youth unemployment at 28.3% is the highest in decades. So the growth that's happening is all at the top.

https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1571866854800461826?s=20&t=P-URklHraQMDwSq2jQguuQ

Riaz Haq said...

India's Economic Situation 'Bleak'; We Know the Issue but Not the Solution: Pronab Sen
In an interview with Karan Thapar, the country's former chief statistician said that India will miss the RBI's target of 7.2% growth for this financial year and that it'll come around 6-6.5%. (real growth going forward will be around 4%)

Pranab Sen: Demonetization and COVID lockdown dried up the informal credit and killed a large percentage of small and medium enterprises.

https://thewire.in/video/watch-indias-economic-situation-bleak-we-know-the-issue-but-not-the-solution-pronab-sen

https://youtu.be/p3avEIThSN8

In an interview where he paints a bleak and disturbing picture of the state of the economy, India’s former chief statistician professor Pronab Sen has said that we can identify the problems that are retarding growth but we don’t know how to tackle them.

Worse, professor Sen says he is not sure if the government has diagnosed the problems because it has not spoken about them and its silence can be variously interpreted. Consequently, he says that India will miss the RBI’s target of 7.2% growth for this financial year and that it will growth will only come in somewhere around 6-6.5%.

However, he points out, in real terms growth will actually be just 4% which, he adds, is at least 2.5% below the growth India needs to create jobs for its population. This means, professor Sen points out, we can boast of being the fastest growing economy but it’s equally true that we are considerably falling short of the rate of growth we need (6.57%) to create sufficient jobs for our people which, in turn, will boost consumption and spending and create incentives for investment.

In these circumstances, professor Sen said that first quarter growth of FY23 at 13.5% is clearly disappointing.

In a 42-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, professor Sen, who is currently the country director of the International Growth Centre, identified two critical areas where the Indian economy faces serious problems about which we are not sure what we should do.

The first is the MSME sector which, he added, has undoubtedly shrunk in size over the last two years. The problem is not a question of encouraging and helping existing MSMEs so much as creating the environment for new MSMEs to emerge. The specific problem is that the informal credit line on which they depend has dried up and we don’t know how to revive that credit line. The government does not have a clear way of doing so.

And, the problem afflicting MSMEs, professor Sen says, is the reason why manufacturing has only grown year-on-year by 4.8% and why joblessness and unemployment are an increasing concern. Most jobs are created by MSMEs or the wider unorganised sector and that seems to have stopped or, at least, is not happening in sufficient measure.

The second problem professor Sen identified is the critical services sector of trade, hotel, transport, communication and broadcasting services, which represent 30.5% of employment but is still 15.5% below pre-pandemic levels. Once again, he said we don’t know what we need to do to boost this sector back to pre-pandemic levels. He pointed out that many MSMEs work in this sector and its future is, therefore, directly linked to MSMEs.

Professor Sen also pointed out that the global situation will not be of much help to India. Interest rates are likely to remain high and exports, which have been a support to the economy until recently, will face problems in markets like Europe and America and, therefore, fail to provide the boost to growth they have previously given. However, he believes oil prices could come down.

He believes India is clearly locked into a K-shaped recovery and the arms of the K are moving further and further apart.

Whilst scoffing at commentators and newspapers that have called for broad-based reforms, without identifying what they would be, professor Sen said that the key reform needed would be credit lines that would service MSMEs and provide funds for new MSMEs to start up.

Riaz Haq said...

Ian Hall
@DrIanHall
"India's economic growth is expected to decline to 5.7 per cent this year from 8.2 per cent in 2021...India's GDP will further decelerate to 4.7 per cent growth in 2023."
https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/oct/03/indias-gdp-growth-to-decline-to-57-percent-in-2022-us-and-china-alsoon-a-decline-unctad-2504567.html

https://twitter.com/DrIanHall/status/1577052582769758208?s=20&t=rlpNffJGmQKEQ1ihuTkuqw

"India experienced an expansion of 8.2 per cent in 2021, the strongest among G20 countries. As supply chain disruptions eased, rising domestic demand turned the current account surplus into a deficit, and growth decelerated," the report said.

It noted that the Production-Linked Incentive Scheme introduced by the government is incentivising corporate investment, but "rising import bills for fossil energy are deepening the trade deficit and eroding the import coverage capacity of foreign exchange reserves."

As economic activity is hampered by higher financing costs and weaker public expenditures, GDP growth is projected to decelerate to 5.7 per cent in 2022," it explained.

"Going forward, the government has announced plans to increase capital expenditure, especially in the rail and road sector, but in a weakening global economy, policymakers will be under pressure to reduce fiscal imbalances, and this may lead to falling expenditures elsewhere. Under these conditions, the economy is expected to decelerate to 4.7 per cent growth in 2023," the report forecasted.

UNCTAD said it expects the South Asia region to expand at a pace of 4.9 per cent in 2022, as inflation increases on the back of high energy prices, exacerbating balance of payment constraints and forcing several governments (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,) to restrict energy consumption.

Moreover, the limited and delayed progress in relaxing vaccine-related intellectual property (IP) rights continues to leave the region vulnerable to future outbreaks.

For 2023, UNCTAD expects the region's growth rate to decelerate slightly to 4.1 per cent, it noted.

Various developments in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including the US ban on oil imports from Russia, and prohibition of shipping insurance for Russian oil exports, have exerted more pressure on oil markets, it said.

However, the release of 180 million barrels from the United States' strategic petroleum reserves as well as the readiness of both China and India to receive Russian oil exports – proved sufficient to ensure that global oil supplies did not tighten further, it said.

The report noted that after a rapid but uneven recovery in 2021, the world economy is in the midst of "cascading and multiplying" crises, with incomes still below 2019 levels in many major economies.

UNCTAD projects that the US economy will grow at 1.9 per cent in 2022, a decline from 5.7 per cent in 2021, and will further slow down to 0.9 per cent in 2023.

Meanwhile, China's economic growth is projected to be 3.9 per cent in 2022, a decline from 8.1 per cent in 2021, and a 5.3 per cent growth next year.

Riaz Haq said...


"India's economic growth is expected to decline to 5.7 per cent this year from 8.2 per cent in 2021...India's GDP will further decelerate to 4.7 per cent growth in 2023."
https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/oct/03/indias-gdp-growth-to-decline-to-57-percent-in-2022-us-and-china-alsoon-a-decline-unctad-2504567.html

https://twitter.com/DrIanHall/status/1577052582769758208?s=20&t=rlpNffJGmQKEQ1ihuTkuqw


The report added that the share of commodities in China's and Egypt's imports is 38 per cent, and more than 50 per cent of India's imports are (primary) commodities including food and fuel.

As a result, higher commodity prices have a strong impact on domestic prices via imports.

Recent estimates covering the past five decades suggest a 50 per cent increase in oil prices (approximately the increase in 2021) is associated with an increase in inflation of between 3.5 and 4.4 percentage points, with a lag of about two years.

These findings suggest that in emerging economies, as in advanced economies, a considerable part of the inflation experienced in 2021-2022 has been caused by higher commodity (oil) prices, it said.

It added that in the wake of the pandemic, higher spending on social protection and lower revenues from taxation led to higher public budget deficits in some emerging economies.

Government deficits in 2020 (2021) ranged from 4.5 per cent (4.2 per cent) of GDP in Mexico to 12.8 per cent (11.3 per cent) of GDP in India.

Riaz Haq said...

“The poverty in the country is standing like a demon in front of us. It is important that we slay this demon. That 20 crore people are still below poverty line is a figure that should make us very sad. As many as 23 crore people have less than Rs 375 income per day. There are four crore unemployed people in the country. The labour force survey says we have an unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent,” said Dattatreya Hosabale. Also Read - 23 Crore Indians Pushed Below Poverty Line Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Says Study

https://www.india.com/business/23-cr-people-with-income-less-than-rs-375-day-rss-gen-secy-raises-poverty-unemployment-alarm-5665302/

He also spoke about the rising levels of economic inequality that the country is witnessing today. Acknowledging that India is among the top six economies of the world, he said top 1 per cent holds 1/5th (20 per cent) of the nation’s income. He added that 50 per cent of the country’s population has only 13 per cent of the country’s income. Hosabale went on to quote United Nations’ observations on the poverty and development in India. Also Read - Today Will be Your Last Working Day With Uber: Ride-hailing Firm Lays Off Nearly 3,700 Employees Via Zoom

“A large part of the country still does not have access to clean water and nutritious food. Civil strife and the poor level of education are also a reason for poverty. That is why a New Education Policy has been ushered in. Even climate change is a reason for poverty. And at places the inefficiency of the government is a reason for poverty.”


In his speech, Hosabale also stressed on the importance of creating an entrepreneurship-friendly environment apart from the need to carry skill-training from the urban to rural India.

“During Covid, we learnt that there is a possibility of generating jobs at the rural level according to local needs and using local talent. That is why the Swavalambi Bharat Abhiyan was launched. We don’t just need all-India level schemes, but also local schemes. It can be done in the field of agriculture, skill development, marketing etc. We can revive cottage industry. Similarly, in the field of medicine, a lot of Ayurvedic medicines can be manufactured at the local level. We need to find people interested in self-employment and entrepreneurship,” Hosabale said.

Riaz Haq said...

Kaushik Basu
@kaushikcbasu
India’s doing very poorly in terms of job creation. I’m not sure why but my conjecture is: An economy’s biggest driver is the investment rate. This has fallen sharply in India from 39.3% in 2009 to 30.7% in 2019 (GOI data). Why are people not investing? That’s the next question.

https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1577481003865722881?s=20&t=f13DDu_1zLulaOPKP4qwog

Riaz Haq said...

In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, Pakistan ranks 99th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 26.1, Pakistan has a level of hunger that is serious.

https://www.globalhungerindex.org/pakistan.html

In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 29.1, India has a level of hunger that is serious.

https://www.globalhungerindex.org/india.html

-------------------

India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.


https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-ranks-107-out-of-121-countries-on-global-hunger-index/article66010797.ece


India ranks 107th among 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index, in which it fares worse than all countries in South Asia barring war-torn Afghanistan.

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators — undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality. Countries are divided into five categories of hunger on the basis of their score, which are ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ and ‘extremely alarming’.



Based on the values of the four indicators, a GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

India’s score of 29.1 places it in the ‘serious’ category. India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.



Seventeen countries, including China, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.

India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population.

Prevalence of undernourishment, which is a measure of the proportion of the population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake, has also risen in the country from 14.6% in 2018-2020 to 16.3% in 2019-2021. This translates into 224.3 million people in India considered undernourished.

But India has shown improvement in child stunting, which has declined from 38.7% to 35.5% between 2014 and 2022, as well as child mortality which has also dropped from 4.6% to 3.3% in the same comparative period. On the whole, India has shown a slight worsening with its GHI score increasing from 28.2 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2022. Though the GHI is an annual report, the rankings are not comparable across different years. The GHI score for 2022 can only be compared with scores for 2000, 2007 and 2014..



Globally, progress against hunger has largely stagnated in recent years. The 2022 GHI score for the world is considered “moderate”, but at 18.2 in 2022 is only a slight improvement from 19.1 in 2014. This is due to overlapping crises such as conflict, climate change, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine war, which has increased global food, fuel and fertiliser prices and is expected to "worsen hunger in 2023 and beyond."



The prevalence of undernourishment, one of the four indicators, shows that the share of people who lack regular access to sufficient calories is increasing and that 828 million people were undernourished globally in 2021.

There are 44 countries that currently have “serious” or “alarming” hunger levels and “without a major shift, neither the world as a whole nor approximately 46 countries are projected to achieve even low hunger as measured by the GHI by 2030,” notes the report.



Riaz Haq said...

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday said the strong recovery in South Asia is expected to take a breather with India's economy expanding at 6.8% in FY23, revised down by 1.4 percentage points since the April 2022 World Economic Outlook, due to a weaker-than-expected recovery in the second quarter and subdued external demand.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/imf-on-india-slow-recovery-dull-external-demand-to-mark-fy23/articleshow/95130011.cms

A further slowdown of India's growth to 6.1% is expected in FY24 as external demand and a tightening in monetary and financial conditions weigh
on growth, the IMF said in its Regional Economic Outlook.

Noting that there have been "significant" portfolio outflows from Asia so far this year, it said at a regional level the scale of the outflows from Asian emerging markets is comparable to previous episodes such as the 2013 taper tantrum and the 2020 onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While strong outflow pressures have been focused on a handful of economies such as India, it said that recent data point to outflows having stabilised and partially reversed. "In the countries facing the most volatility in net portfolio flows, these seem predominantly driven by equity instead of debt flows (India, Thailand). These flows and the differentiation of equity prices have responded to changes in growth expectations," the IMF said.

As per the report, several Asian emerging market and developing economies have seen a decumulation of their international reserves-between 3-10% of their holdings in the first half of 2022 in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand-especially during periods of intense external financial shocks.

Most economies in Asia and Pacific, including Australia and India, are consolidating fiscal policy alongside monetary policy following substantial support during the pandemic, according to the outlook.

On the Russia-Ukraine war, it said the rise in crude oil, natural gas, coal and agricultural commodity prices in the first half of 2022 has been a negative terms-of-trade shock for most of the region and placed strain on the external accounts of large net importers in India.

The IMF also said India would need to spend 6.2% of gross domestic product each year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, and these resource requirements are compounded by less ess favourable debt dynamics.

Crypto currency
On crypto currency, the IMF said policy response should include investments to modernize digital payment systems-including cross-border integration-and the eventual issuance of central bank digital currencies.

India introduced a 30% tax on income derived from crypto trading and is currently developing a regulatory framework like many countries in the region.

"An important aspect of the policy response should include investments to modernize digital payment systems-including cross-border integration-and the eventual issuance of central bank digital currencies, which could offer consumers many of the benefits of crypto without the risks," it said.

The pandemic has accelerated digitalization around the world, including in many Asian emerging markets and developing economies, and e-commerce revenues have increased, with particularly rapid expansion in some emerging markets such as India and Indonesia.


Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #rupee marks biggest monthly losing streak since 1985, its slide for this year is nearly 11% against #USD. #India's currency has declined in each of the 10 months this year to notch its biggest losing streak in almost 4 decades. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/indian-rupee-marks-biggest-monthly-105914779.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr via @YahooFinance

The Indian rupee has declined in each of the ten months this year to notch its biggest losing streak in almost four decades as the U.S. Federal Reserve's hawkish stance on monetary policy catapulted the dollar to two-decade highs.

The dollar index is up 16% this year, having scaled 114.8-levels last month to trade near its 2002 peak. Its ascent has pressured currencies globally, especially ones in emerging Asian markets.

The Indian rupee fell 1.8% against the dollar in October, taking its slide for the year to nearly 11%.

Surging oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and weakness in the Chinese yuan have only piled on more pressure on the rupee and helped send it to a record low of 83.29 per dollar earlier this month.

The rupee's losses have been deeper in the past two months, with market participants reckoning that the Reserve Bank of India let the currency slide after having helped hold it at the 79-80 levels for a long time.

Almost all traders and economists expect there will be no let-up in the pressure on the rupee for the rest of the year as the Fed stays on its aggressive rate-hike path after making fighting inflation its priority.

"This week, the Fed's upcoming meeting would be crucial for the rupee outlook. It could come under pressure in case Fed indicates aggressive tightening path in the future," HDFC Bank economists wrote in a note.

"Broadly, 81.80 to 82.00 seems a strong support zone for the USD/INR pair. As long as it trades above this convincingly, one can expect a U-turn towards 82.80 to 83.00 levels," said Amit Pabari, managing director at consultancy firm CR Forex Advisors.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s entrenched north-south divide is growing as its population changes, with serious social and political consequences

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi
Mon 14 Nov 2022 01.30 EST


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/14/india-faces-deepening-demographic-divide-as-it-prepares-to-overtake-china-as-the-worlds-most-populous-country

The cry of a baby born in India one day next year will herald a watershed moment for the country, when the scales tip and India overtakes China as the world’s most populous nation.

Yet the story of India’s population boom is really two stories. In the north, led by just two states, the population is still rising. In the richer south, numbers are stabilising and in some areas declining. The deepening divisions between these regions mean the government must eventually grapple with a unique problem: the consequences of a baby boom and an ageing population, all inside one nation.

India is currently home to more than 1.39 billion people – four times that of the US and more than 20 times the UK – while 1.41bn live in China. But with 86,000 babies born in India every day, and 49,400 in China, India is on course to take the lead in 2023 and hit 1.65 billion people by 2060.

On 15 November the world’s population will reach a total of 8 billion people. Between now and 2050, over half of the projected increase in the global population will happen in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Republic of Tanzania – and India.

The growth will place huge pressure on India’s resources, economic stability and society, and the repercussions will reach far beyond its borders. As a country on the forefront of the climate crisis, already grappling with extreme weather events 80% of the year, diminishing resources such as water could become decisive factors in what India’s future population looks like.

One country, two stories
Fears of “population explosion” in India – where development caves in beneath the weight of an uncontrollably expanding population and the country’s resources are overrun, leaving millions to starve – have abounded for over a century.

Post independence, India’s population grew at a significant pace; between 1947 and 1997, it went from 350 million to 1 billion. But since the 1980s, various initiatives worked to convince families, particularly those from poorer and marginalised backgrounds who tend to have the most children, of the benefits of family planning. As a result, India’s fertility rate began to fall faster than any of the doomsday “explosion” scenarios had predicted.

A small family is now the norm in India, and with the annual population growth rate less than 1%, fears of population-driven collapse are no longer seen as realistic. In the 1950s, a woman in India would give birth to an average of over six children; today the national average is just over two and still continuing to fall.

Nonetheless, the curbs on population growth have not been uniform across India, and India’s entrenched north-south divide has played out significantly in demographics, with ongoing social and political consequences.

For the next decade, one-third of India’s population increase will come from just two northern states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar, the only state in India where women still typically have more than three children, is not expected to hit population stability – 2.1 children per woman – until 2039. Kerala, India’s most educated, progressive state, hit that figure in 1998.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s entrenched north-south divide is growing as its population changes, with serious social and political consequences

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi
Mon 14 Nov 2022 01.30 EST


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/14/india-faces-deepening-demographic-divide-as-it-prepares-to-overtake-china-as-the-worlds-most-populous-country

In Bihar’s poverty stricken area of Kishanganj, which has one of the highest rates of fertility in India, women said they had only recently begun to learn about the benefits of a having fewer children.

The urge to have sons, who in parts of India are still considered much more desirable than daughters, remained a key motivator for women in the village. Surta Devi, 36, said she had six children in order to make sure she had two sons to “carry on our lineage”.

“It was only after I gave birth to all my children that doctors told me about family planning,” said Devi.

Phullo Devi, 55, an illiterate labourer who had six children before she opted for sterilisation, said she wished she had done things differently. “If I had less children, I would have been able to raise them better and been able to educate them,” she said.

But Devi said things were slowly changing in the village. “Now health workers campaign house-to-house and make people aware about contraception and condoms. I absolutely want my sons and daughters to have less children so they don’t have to live in poverty,” she said.


The ‘youth bulge’
A particular demographic challenge, widespread across India but particularly concentrated in poorer northern states, is that of the “youth bulge”. The median age of an Indian is 29 and the country is grappling with a vast, ambitious and increasingly restless young population, the majority of whom are unskilled, and for whom there are not enough schools, universities, training programmes and most of all, not enough jobs. Across India, youth unemployment is 23% and only one in four graduates are employed. While female literacy is growing, only 25% of women in India participate in the workforce.

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In Uttar Pradesh, where the median age is 20, there are over 3.4 million unemployed young people. Earlier this year, riots broke out in Bihar after more than twelve million people applied for 35,000 positions in the Indian Railways.

Vishu Yadav, 25, from Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh, has a masters degree, an education diploma and passed a teacher eligibility test, but is unemployed, with teaching jobs scarce and over a million people now applying for officer positions in the state civil service. “It’s a depressing, hopeless situation. I am eligible to become a teacher but I can not secure a position. There are too many young people with qualifications and not enough jobs,” he said.

Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of Population Foundation India, said there was still time for this young population to work to India’s benefit.

“India has a fantastic window of opportunity but it will only be there for approximately the next two decades,” said Muttreja. “We have the capacity to tap into the potential of the youth population but we need to invest in adolescent education, health and sexual health right away if we want to reap the benefits.

“Otherwise, our demographic dividend could turn into a demographic disaster.”

Muttreja said India’s youth risk fuelling population growth unless contraception and family planning services are improved, describing the situation as “woefully inadequate”.

Female sterilisation is still the most widely used contraceptive method in India, and that’s mostly by older married women. Of India’s tiny health budget, only 6% is put aside for family planning, and just 0.4% of that is invested in temporary methods such as the contraceptive pill or condoms.

“Currently we have almost 360 million young people, the majority of whom are at a reproductive age, and that number is only going to increase over the next few decades,” Muttreja said.

Riaz Haq said...

India will become the world’s most populous country in 2023
China is now suffering from a demographic slump

https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2022/11/14/india-will-become-the-worlds-most-populous-country-in-2023?fbclid=IwAR2OTr5fDF1RfNbxMdAvsaOWr-g4cd8_P25_d0E8WV1zwii2qe_VMCepQ6w


China has been the world’s most populous country for hundreds of years. In 1750 it had an estimated 225m people, more than a quarter of the world’s total. India, not then a politically unified country, had roughly 200m, which ranked it second. In 2023 it will seize the crown. The un guesses that India’s population will surpass that of China on April 14th. India’s population on the following day is projected to be 1,425,775,850.

The crown itself has little value, but it is a signal of things that matter. That India does not have a permanent seat on the un Security Council while China does will come to seem more anomalous. Although China’s economy is nearly six times larger, India’s growing population will help it catch up. India is expected to provide more than a sixth of the increase of the world’s population of working age (15-64) between now and 2050.

China’s population, by contrast, is poised for a steep decline. The number of Chinese of working age peaked a decade ago. By 2050 the country’s median age will be 51, 12 years higher than now. An older China will have to work harder to maintain its political and economic clout.

Both countries took draconian measures in the 20th century to limit the growth of their populations. A famine in 1959-61 caused by China’s “great leap forward” was a big factor in persuading the Communist Party of the need to rein in population growth. A decade later China launched a “later, longer, fewer” campaign—later marriages, longer gaps between children and fewer of them. That had a bigger effect than the more famous one-child policy, introduced in 1980, says Tim Dyson, a British demographer. The decline in fertility, from more than six babies per woman in the late 1960s to fewer than three by the late 1970s, was the swiftest in history for any big population, he says.

It paid dividends. China’s economic miracle was in part the result of the rising ratio of working-age adults to children and oldsters from the 1970s to the early 2000s. With fewer mouths to feed, parents could invest more in each child than they otherwise would have. But having more parents than children, an advantage when the children are young, is a drawback as the parents age. The country will now pay a price as the economic-boomer generation retires and becomes dependent on the smaller generation following behind it.

India’s attempt to reduce fertility was less successful. It was the first country to introduce family planning on a national scale in the 1950s. Mass-sterilisation campaigns, encouraged by Western donors, grew and were implemented more forcefully during the state of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, the prime minister, in 1975-77. Under the direction of her son Sanjay, the government forced men into vasectomy camps on pain of having their salaries docked or losing their jobs. Policemen nabbed poor men for sterilisation from railway stations. Around 2,000 men died from bungled procedures.

Riaz Haq said...

India will become the world’s most populous country in 2023
China is now suffering from a demographic slump

https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2022/11/14/india-will-become-the-worlds-most-populous-country-in-2023?fbclid=IwAR2OTr5fDF1RfNbxMdAvsaOWr-g4cd8_P25_d0E8WV1zwii2qe_VMCepQ6w


Forced sterilisations ended after Indira Gandhi lost an election. Though brutal, the campaign was not thorough enough to cause a dramatic drop in India’s birth rate. India’s fertility has dropped, but by less, and more slowly than China’s. With a median age of 28 and a growing working-age population, India now has a chance to reap its own demographic dividend. Its economy recently displaced Britain’s as the world’s fifth-biggest and will rank third by 2029, predicts State Bank of India. But India’s prosperity depends on the productivity of its youthful people, which is not as high as in China. Fewer than half of adult Indians are in the workforce, compared with two-thirds in China. Chinese aged 25 and older have on average 1.5 years more schooling than Indians of the same age.

That will not spare China from suffering the consequences of the demographic slump it engineered. The government ended the one-child policy in 2016 and removed all restrictions on family size in 2021. But birth rates have kept falling. China’s zero-covid policy has made young adults even more reluctant to bear children. The government faces resistance to its plans to raise the average retirement age, which at 54 is among the lowest in the world. The main pension fund may run out of money by 2035. Yet perhaps most painful for China will be the emergence of India as a superpower on its doorstep.

Riaz Haq said...

India's growth to slow in 2023 on fading reopening impact-Goldman Sachs

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indias-growth-slow-2023-fading-reopening-impact-goldman-sachs-2022-11-21/

Goldman Sachs expects India's economic growth to slow to 5.9% next year, from an estimated 6.9% growth in 2022, as the boost from the post-COVID reopening fades and monetary tightening weighs on domestic demand.

"We expect growth to be a tale of two halves in 2023, with a slowdown in the first half (due to dwindling reopening effects)," Santanu Sengupta, India economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a note on Sunday.

India's growth in the seven months since March 2022, which Goldman Sachs considers the post-COVID reopening, was faster than most other emerging markets in the first seven months after they reopened, the U.S. investment bank said.

"In the second half, we expect growth to re-accelerate as global growth recovers, the net export drag declines, and the investment cycle picks up," Sengupta said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), last week, pegged the domestic growth rate at 7% for 2022-23.

Sengupta expects the government to continue its focus on capital spending and sees signs of the nascent investment recovery continuing, with conducive conditions helping the economy pick up in the second half.

Goldman Sachs expects headline inflation to drop to 6.1% in 2023, from 6.8% in 2022, saying government intervention was likely to cap food prices and that core goods inflation had probably peaked.

"But upside risks to services inflation are likely to keep core inflation sticky around 6% year-on-year," Sengupta added.

Goldman expects the RBI to hike the repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) in December 2022 and by 35 bps in February, taking the repo rate to 6.75%. The forecast is more hawkish than the market consensus of 6.50%.

On India's external position, Sengupta reckons the worst is over, with the dollar likely near the peak. He expects the current account deficit to remain wide due to weak exports, but said growth capital may continue to chase India.

Sengupta pegs the USD/INR INR=IN at 84, 83, and 82 over 3-, 6- and 12-month horizons, respectively, compared with 81.88 currently.

Riaz Haq said...

From Times of India:


The decline in India’s rankings on a number of global opinion-based indices are due to "cherry-picking of certain media reports" and are primarily based on the opinions of a group of unknown “experts”, a recent study has concluded.
A new working paper titled "Why India does poorly on global perception indices" found that while such indices cannot be ignored as "mere opinions" since they feed into World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGI), there needs to be a closer inspection on the methodology used to arrive at the data.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/indias-declining-rank-in-global-indices-due-to-serious-problems-in-methodology-analysis/articleshow/95692106.cms

The findings were published by Sanjeev Sanyal, member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Aakanksha Arora, deputy director of (EAC to PM).

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three o ..

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three
opinion-based indices: Freedom in the World index, EIU
Democracy index and Variety of Democracy.
They drew four broad conclusions from the study:
1) Lack of transparency: The indices were primarily based on
the opinions of a tiny group of unknown “experts”.

2) Subjectivity: The questions used were subjective and
worded in a way that is impossible to answer objectively
even for a country.

3) Omission of important questions: Key questions which
are pertinent to a measure of democracy, like “Is the head of
state democratically elected?”, were not asked.

4) Ambiguous questions: Certain questions used by these
indices were not an appropriate measure of democracy
across all countries.

Here's a look at the three indices examined by the study:
Freedom in the World Index

India’s score on the US-based Freedom in the World Index —
an annual global report on political rights and civil liberties
— has consistently declined post 2018.

It's score on civil liberties was flat at 42 till 2018 but dropped
sharply to 33 by 2022. It's political rights score dropped from
35 to 33. Thus, India’s total score dropped to 66 which places
India in the “partially free” category – the same status it had
during the Emergency.

The study found that only two previous instances where
India was considered as Partially Free was during the time of
Emergency and then during 1991-96 which were years of
economic liberalisation.

"Clearly this is arbitrary. What did the years of Emergency,
which was a period of obvious political repression,
suspended elections, official censoring of the press, jailing of
opponents without charge, banned labour strikes etc, have
in common with period of economic liberalisation and of
today," the study asked.
It concluded that the index "cherry-picked" some media
reports and issues to make the judgement.
The authors further found that in Freedom House's latest
report of 2022, India’s score of the Freedom in the World
Index is 66 and it is in category "Partially Free".
"Cross country comparisons point towards the arbitrariness
in the way scoring is done. There are some examples of
countries which have scores higher than India which seem
clearly unusual. Northern Cyprus is considered as a free
territory with a score of 77 (in 2022 report). It is ironical as
North Cyprus is not even recognised by United Nations as a
country. It is recognised only by Turkey," the authors noted.
Economist Intelligence Unit
In the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index,
published the research and consulting arm of the firm that
publishes the Economist magazine, India is placed in the
category of “Flawed Democracy”.
Its rank deteriorated sharply from 27 in 2014 to 53 in 2020
and then improved a bit to 46 in 2021. The decline in rank
has been on account of decline in scores primarily in the
categories of civil liberties and political culture.
The authors found that list of questions used to determine
the outcome was "quite subjective", making objective

Riaz Haq said...

India needs to jump-start manufacturing. Here’s how to do it.
By Dhiraj Nayyar

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/11/24/modi-india-economy-boost-manufacturing/

If the Indian economy has an Achilles’ heel, it is the country’s manufacturing sector. Despite rapid economic growth since pro-market reforms began in 1991, the share of manufacturing in India’s gross domestic product has remained stubbornly low, at about 15 percent. (In China, it has been about 30 percent in recent years.) Indian growth has been driven by services, most famously in information technology.

The lack of a large, competitive manufacturing sector has consequences. One statistic more than any other captures the consequence of an underdeveloped manufacturing sector: Just over 40 percent of India’s total workforce is still employed in agriculture and allied activities that account for only 18 percent of GDP. Unlike advanced economies, India does not have an unemployment problem; instead, it struggles with underemployment. In the absence of significant social security, people cannot afford to go without jobs, so they are forced to content themselves with low-productivity, low-wage jobs in farming. Services have not been able to absorb this excess low-skill workforce. In fact, they have not done so in any country that has become rich.

Now that three decades of rapid growth have raised the expectations of the population, there are increasing calls for high-quality jobs. Ironically, China might lend a helping hand. Beijing’s strict “zero covid” policy is severely disrupting global supply chains. The recent shortage of iPhone supplies is just the most prominent example. China now poses a bigger risk to supply chains than at any point during its rise as the factory of the world over the past three decades. Xi Jinping’s consolidation of unchallenged control at last month’s Chinese Communist Party congress marks a firm break with the moderate era initiated by Deng Xiaoping. The deepening authoritarianism in Beijing translates into great unpredictability in the actions of the world’s second-largest economy. The world looks on with growing concern.

The problems don’t end there. Many critical supply chains outside China, for example, are in the neighboring East Asian region, where China has outsize influence. Over 80 percent of leading-edge technology semiconductors are manufactured in just two locations: Taiwan and South Korea, both of which face permanent threats in the form of China and North Korea.

The United States seems to have recognized the risks. Last month, the Biden administration announced what is in effect a “tech war” on China by banning the export of semiconductor chips as well as the technology and equipment used to manufacture them. U.S. allies that have access to similar know-how might follow suit. Given that the Trump administration also cracked down on trade with China, it is fair to assume there is now a bipartisan consensus in the United States on the need to contain Beijing and diversify critical supply chains.

Riaz Haq said...

India needs to jump-start manufacturing. Here’s how to do it.
By Dhiraj Nayyar

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/11/24/modi-india-economy-boost-manufacturing/

India is notorious for missing geopolitical opportunities — but this time might be different. In contrast to his predecessors, who mostly hailed from the agricultural heartland of North India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes from the western coastal state of Gujarat, which has long given priority to manufacturing. In Gujarat, manufacturing contributes 30 percent to the state’s GDP, a level comparable to China’s.

Having served as chief minister of Gujarat for nearly 13 years before he became prime minister, Modi is acutely aware of what manufacturing needs to thrive. Since he became prime minister in 2014, Modi has tried to make life easier for businesses by cutting regulations and incentivizing bureaucrats to speed up approval processes. Now, in his second term in office, he is going further by embracing industrial policy.

India’s long history of failed state intervention has made politicians wary of industrial policy. Yet in recent years, as manufacturing continues to lag, Modi has opted to intervene. His production-linked incentives program is designed to reward domestic and foreign-owned firms across 13 chosen sectors, from automobiles to pharma to advanced batteries. The aim is to ensure global competitiveness by achieving greater scale in production. The program is set to distribute about $25 billion to industry over four years.

The second intervention is his program for manufacturing semiconductor and display factories, which offers up to $10 billion in the form of capital subsidy to potential investors. (Disclosure: My company, Vedanta, has applied for subsidies from this program as part of its investment in a semiconductor and display manufacturing joint venture with Taiwan’s Foxconn.) Interestingly, the subsidy program was announced before Congress passed its Chips and Science Act this year.

Modi’s embrace of industrial policy is a gamble — but it might be India’s best hope. Subsidies on their own won’t be enough. Success depends on whether the Indian manufacturing sector can prove its ability to compete in global markets. That will likely require a whole host of other structural reforms — a huge challenge in India’s noisy democracy, where a multitude of vested interests complicates the withdrawal of protections and unproductive subsidies. This will require all of Modi’s considerable political skills (and perhaps a third term in office starting in 2024).

But the country’s manufacturers have no time to waste. Right now, firms exiting China are looking for other options. India needs to do everything to ensure it is the first choice.

Riaz Haq said...

Aakar Patel
@Aakar__Patel
manufacturing share of gdp has fallen after launch of make in india

a report by ashoka ceda’s ankur bhardwaj showed jobs in manufacturing in india had halved after 2017

the beauty of new india is that popularity is dissociated from performance/governance

https://twitter.com/Aakar__Patel/status/1596395004733202432?s=20&t=3-beXIpJ3EYu8_wlmKkSlQ

---------------

CEDA-CMIE Bulletin No 4: May 2021

With the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic battering India at present, the Indian economic outlook looks bleak for the second year in a row. In 2020-21, India’s real GDP growth is estimated to be minus 8%. This would also put pressure on India’s employment numbers. In previous bulletins, we have analyzed the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on employment, individual and household incomesand expenditures in 2020.

In this CEDA-CMIE Bulletin, we try to take a longer-term view of sector-wise employment in India. We base this on CMIE’s monthly time-series of employment by industry going back to the year 2016. For this bulletin, we have focused on seven sectors, viz. agriculture, mines, manufacturing, real estate and construction, financial services, non-financial services, and public administrative services. These sectors make up for 99% of total employment in the country.

https://ceda.ashoka.edu.in/ceda-cmie-bulletin-manufacturing-employment-halves-in-5-years/

Virginia Raines said...

How Modi Led India Into a COVID Catastrophe - World News
https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/2021-04-27/ty-article-opinion/.highlight/how-modi-led-india-into-a-covid-catastrophe/0000017f-df12-db5a-a57f-df7aed4a0000
Apr 27, 2021 — Narendra Modi's attempts to censor the news and massage death rates can’t hide his failure to prepare India for its disastrous second COVID wave. Indians are dying, and so is the prime minister's 'strongman' image


India's Covid crisis delivers a blow to brand Modi - BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56970569
May 8, 2021 — Back in 2002, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in riots that erupted in Gujarat state after 60 Hindus were killed in a train fire.


India's excess deaths during pandemic up to 4.9 mln, study ...
https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indias-30093-new-covid-19-cases-are-lowest-daily-figure-4-mths-2021-07-20/
Jul 20, 2021 — July 20 (Reuters) - India's excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic could be as high as 4.9 million, a new study shows, providing further ...


The India Fix: Job riots in UP-Bihar bring home the urgency of India's unemployment crisis
https://scroll.in/article/1016276/the-india-fix-job-riots-in-up-bihar-bring-home-the-urgency-of-indias-unemployment-crisis
Jan 31, 2022 — These job riots are an urgent wake up sign for India's politicians.


Burning Trains Reveal Wrath of Millions Without Jobs in India
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-07-07/burning-trains-show-modi-s-failure-to-fix-india-s-grim-jobs-crisis
Jul 7, 2022 — Violent protests by the unemployed turn the spotlight on Modi's campaign pledge to create millions of jobs.


At 75, India seeks way forward in big but job-scarce economy
https://apnews.com/article/technology-india-economy-ca599ec7f67e2c89bd2c87b4cc3ec7dd
Aug 10, 2022 — NEW DELHI (AP) — As India’s economy grew, the hum of factories turned the sleepy, dusty village of Manesar into a booming industrial hub, cranking out everything from cars and sinks to smartphones and tablets. But jobs have run scarce over the years, prompting more and more workers to line up along the road for work, desperate to earn money.


Role Of Agriculture In Indian Economy 2022 - Know All Facts
https://pasandhai.in/role-of-agriculture-in-indian-economy/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20latest%20data,it%20contributed%2047.6%25%20of%20GDP.
Due to the large population of India being associated with agriculture, many jobs come out of it. Talking about the employment generated from agriculture in India, according to the data of 2022, 41.49% people get employment from agriculture.


India Rural Population 1960-2022 | MacroTrends
https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/IND/india/rural-population
India rural population for 2021 was 900,239,774, a 0.25% increase from 2020.


India GDP sector-wise 2021 - StatisticsTimes.com
https://statisticstimes.com/economy/country/india-gdp-sectorwise.php

Riaz Haq said...

The situation for India’s more than 260 million agricultural workers is dire. Nearly 30 people in the farming sector die by suicide daily, according to the most recent figures available, typically due to overwhelming debt. Indeed in 2020, more than 10,000 people in the agricultural sector ended their own lives, according to government data.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/17/opinions/india-farmer-suicide-agriculture-reform-kaur/index.html#:~:text=The%20situation%20for%20India's%20more,typically%20due%20to%20overwhelming%20debt.

India’s economic backbone – its farmers and their families – is in collapse. They face crushing pressures: insurmountable debt, environmental degradation, and extreme rates of cancer linked to exposure to pesticides.

Riaz Haq said...

In mid-April, India is forecast to surpass China as the world's most populous country.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-63957562

It could, for example, strengthen India's claim of getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, which has five permanent members, including China.

India is a founding member of the UN and has always insisted that its claim to a permanent seat is just. "I think you have certain claims on things [by being the country with largest population]," says John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The way India's demography is changing is also significant, according to KS James of the Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Sciences.

Despite drawbacks, India deserves some credit for managing a "healthy demographic transition" by using family planning in a democracy which was both poor and largely uneducated, says Mr James. "Most countries did this after they had achieved higher literacy and living standards."

More good news. One in five people below 25 years in the world is from India and 47% of Indians are below the age of 25. Two-thirds of Indians were born after India liberalised its economy in the early 1990s. This group of young Indians have some unique characteristics, says Shruti Rajagopalan, an economist, in a new paper. "This generation of young Indians will be the largest consumer and labour source in the knowledge and network goods economy. Indians will be the largest pool of global talent," she says.

India needs to create enough jobs for its young working age population to reap a demographic dividend. But only 40% of of India's working-age population works or wants to work, according to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

More women would need jobs as they spend less time in their working age giving birth and looking after children. The picture here is bleaker: only 10% of working-age women were participating in the labour force in October, according to CMIE, compared with 69% in China.

Then there's migration. Some 200 million Indians have migrated within the country - between states and districts - and their numbers are bound to grow. Most are workers who leave villages for cities to find work. "Our cities will grow as migration increases because of lack of jobs and low wages in villages. Can they provide migrants a reasonable living standard? Otherwise, we will end up with more slums and disease," says S Irudaya Rajan, a migration expert at Kerala's International Institute of Migration and Development.

Demographers say India also needs to stop child marriages, prevent early marriages and properly register births and deaths. A skewed sex ratio at birth - meaning more boys are born than girls - remains a worry. Political rhetoric about "population control" appears to be targeted at Muslims, the country's largest minority when, in reality, "gaps in childbearing between India's religious groups are generally much smaller than they used to be", according to a study from Pew Research Center.

And then there's the ageing of India
Demographers say the ageing of India receives little attention.

In 1947, India's median age was 21. A paltry 5% of people were above the age of 60. Today, the median age is over 28, and more than 10% of Indians are over 60 years. Southern states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu achieved replacement levels at least 20 years ago.

"As the working-age population declines, supporting an older population will become a growing burden on the government's resources," says Rukmini S, author of Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India.

"Family structures will have to be recast and elderly persons living alone will become an increasing source of concern," she says.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian economy grew 8.7% in last fiscal year to surpass pre-Covid levels, IMF says
Growth expected to moderate to 6.8% in current year amid tighter financial conditions

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/economy/2022/12/23/indian-economy-grew-87-in-last-fiscal-year-to-surpass-pre-covid-levels-imf-says/

India’s real gross domestic product grew by 8.7 per cent in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, boosting its total output above pre-coronavirus levels despite global macroeconomic headwinds, the International Monetary Fund has said.

India, Asia's third-largest economy and the world's fifth largest, rebounded from the deep pandemic-induced downturn on the back of fiscal measures to address high prices and monetary policy tightening to address elevated inflation, the Washington-based lender said in a report on Friday.

“Economic headwinds include inflation pressures, tighter global financial conditions, the fallout from the war in Ukraine and associated sanctions on Russia, and significantly slower growth in China and advanced economies,” the fund said.

“Growth has continued this fiscal year, supported by a recovery in the labour market and increasing credit to the private sector.”

In October, the IMF cut its global economic growth forecast for next year, amid the Ukraine conflict, broadening inflation pressures and a slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

The fund maintained its global economic estimate for this year at 3.2 per cent but downgraded next year's forecast to 2.7 per cent — 0.2 percentage points lower than its July forecast.

There is a 25 per cent probability that growth could fall below 2 per cent next year, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report at the time.

Global economic growth in 2023 is expected to be as weak as in 2009 during the financial crisis as a result of the Ukraine conflict and its impact on the world economy, according to the Institute of International Finance.

Economic growth in India is expected to moderate, reflecting the less favourable outlook and tighter financial conditions, the IMF said.

Real GDP is projected to grow at 6.8 per cent for the current financial year to the end of March, and by 6.1 per cent in 2023-2024 fiscal year, according to the fund's estimates.

Reflecting broad-based price pressures, inflation in India is forecast at 6.9 per cent in the 2022-2023 fiscal year and expected to moderate only gradually over the next year.

Rising inflation can further dampen domestic demand and affect vulnerable groups, according to the fund.

India’s current account deficit is expected to increase to 3.5 per cent of GDP in the 2022-2023 fiscal year as a result of both higher commodity prices and strengthening import demand, the lender said.

“A sharp global growth slowdown in the near term would affect India through trade and financial channels,” it said.

“Intensifying spillovers from the war in Ukraine can cause disruptions in the global food and energy markets, with significant impact on India. Over the medium term, reduced international co-operation can further disrupt trade and increase financial markets’ volatility.”

However, the successful introduction of wide-ranging reforms or greater-than-expected dividends from the advances in digitalisation could increase India’s medium-term growth potential, the IMF said.

Additional monetary tightening should be carefully calibrated and communicated, it said.

“The exchange rate should act as the main shock absorber, with intervention limited to address disorderly market conditions,” the report said.

The IMF also recommended that India’s financial sector policies should continue to support the exit of non-viable companies and encourage banks to build capital buffers and recognise problem loans.

Reforms to strengthen governance and reduce the government’s footprint are needed to support strong medium-term growth, it said.

The lender also highlighted the need for structural reforms to promote resilient, green and inclusive growth.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Railways: The #job-seekers tricked into counting #trains. The men believed they were training for a job with the Indian Railways. #Employment #SCAM https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-64093555

Police in India's capital Delhi are investigating a complaint about a job fraud in which around 28 men were tricked into counting trains for days.

The men believed they were training for a job with the Indian Railways.

A former army official, who said he unknowingly put the men in contact with the alleged scammers, alerted the police about the fraud.

The victims paid between 200,000 rupees ($2,400; £2,000) and 2.4m rupees each to get the job, local media reported.

The Delhi police's economic offences wing started investigating the alleged scam in November but the news became public only last week.

The men, who are from the southern Tamil Nadu state, were asked to stand at different platforms of the main railway station in Delhi for eight hours every day for about a month. There, they counted the trains that passed through the station every day, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

The men were promised they would be hired as ticket examiners, traffic assistants or clerks in the railways, one of India's largest employers.

One of the victims told The Indian Express newspaper that he had been looking for ways to support his family after the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We went to Delhi for training - all we had to do was count trains. We were sceptical of the activity, but the accused was a good friend of our neighbour. I feel ashamed now," he said.

Subbuswamy, the former army man who filed the complaint with the police, told PTI that he had been helping young men from his hometown in Tamil Nadu Virudhunagar district find jobs "without any monetary interest" for himself.

He said he met a person called Sivaraman who claimed to have connections with lawmakers and ministers and offered to find government jobs for the unemployed men.

He then put Subbuswamy and the victims in touch with another man, who even took the candidates for fake medical examinations. The man later stopped answering phone calls from them.

Some of the victims said they borrowed money to pay the scammers.

Scams for government jobs are often reported in India, where millions of young people are desperate for stable, secure employment. In March 2021, police in the southern Hyderabad city said they had arrested two men believed to have tricked around a hundred candidates who thought they were being hired by the railways.

Riaz Haq said...

India's Unemployment Rate For December Is 8.3%, A 16-Month High: Report

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/indias-unemployment-rate-for-december-is-8-3-a-16-month-high-report-3654644

Mahesh Vyas, managing director of CMIE, said this is "not as bad as it may seem" as it came on top of a healthy increase in the labour participation rate

India's unemployment rate rose to 8.3 per cent in December, the highest in 16 months, from 8 per cent in the previous month, data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed today.
The urban unemployment rate rose to 10.09 per cent in December from 8.96 per cent in the previous month, while rural unemployment rate slipped to 7.44 per cent from 7.55 per cent, the data showed.

Mahesh Vyas, managing director of the CMIE, said the rise in the unemployment rate was "not as bad as it may seem" as it came on top of a healthy increase in the labour participation rate, which shot up to 40.48 per cent in December, the highest in 12 months.

"Most importantly, the employment rate has increased in December to 37.1 per cent, which again is the highest since January 2022," he told Reuters.

Containing high inflation and creating jobs for millions of young people entering the job market remain the biggest challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration ahead of national elections in 2024.

The main opposition Congress launched a march in September from the Kanyakumari to Srinagar to mobilise public opinion on issues such as high prices, unemployment and what it says are the "divisive politics" of the BJP.

"India needs to move from a single focus on GDP growth to growth with employment, skilling of youth and creating production capacities with export prospects," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the 3,500-km march on foot, told reporters yesterday.

The unemployment rate had declined to 7.2 per cent in the July-September quarter compared to 7.6 per cent in the previous quarter, according to separate quarterly data compiled by National Statistical Office (NSO) and released in November.

In December, the unemployment rate rose to 37.4 per cent in Haryana, followed by 28.5 per cent in Rajasthan and 20.8 per cent in Delhi, CMIE data showed.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's numerous #jobs #scams show the depth of its #unemployment crisis. Just one such ring has reportedly conned at least 50,000 people since 2020, making it one of India’s biggest job frauds in recent times. #Modi #BJP #economy https://finance.yahoo.com/news/indias-numerous-jobs-scams-show-105500472.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr via @YahooFinance

India’s latest organised job scam episode has affected people in the Indian states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Odisha. They were duped of crores of rupees after being promised jobs, reports said.

“The scam was being run by a group of tech-savvy engineers from Uttar Pradesh with the help of some expert website developers. This core group was assisted by around 50 call center employees. These employees were paid 15,000 rupees ($181) per month and were from Jamalpur and Aligarh localities of Uttar Pradesh,” according to Jai Narayan Pankaj, a senior Odisha police officer.

Candidates paid up to Rs70,000 for training and other orientation programmes, including Rs3,000 in registration fees. However, the training never happened, Pankaj said.

In another incident unearthed in December, around 30 people were tricked into counting the arrival and departure of trains at the New Delhi Railway Station for a month, BBC reported. They were told this was part of their training for the positions of travel ticket examiner, traffic assistant, and clerk. Each of the duped candidates had paid up between Rs2 lakh and Rs24 lakh for the coveted Indian Railways job.

Scammers are not limited to operating within India’s borders either. Some work through agents even in Dubai and Bangkok. Aspirants are sometimes persuaded to move to countries like Thailand. Many are taken illegally to Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia where they are held captive and forced into cybercrime.

India is just not creating enough jobs
In September and October, India added over 8.5 million jobs in the formal sector. However, that was not enough, considering the number of applicants, along with fresh graduates, exceeded the number of available jobs.

In December, India’s unemployment rate rose to 8.3%, the highest in 16 months, data from the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed.

datawrapper-chart-z6nHe

Worsening this is the global inflationary pressure and fears of an impending recession, sparking layoffs in recent months. This is besides the enduring effects of the pandemic years.

“One of the alarming possibilities for India...is the fact that our additions to the labour workforce are likely to slow down as it happened in China or in Europe and other developed economies,” TeamLease Services co-founder Rituparna Chakraborty told The Indian Express newspaper.

A study by CMIE and the Centre of Economic Data and Analysis of Ashoka University showed that over 12.5 million people aged 15-29 years not only lost jobs in 2020 but also stopped looking for new ones.

The number of farm jobs, meanwhile, increased during this time but that only underscored the economy’s weakness, the study found.

Riaz Haq said...

The year 2023 marks a historic turning point for Asia's demography: For the first time in the modern era, India is projected to surpass China as the most populous country.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Asia-Insight/Old-Japan-young-India-and-the-risks-of-a-world-of-8bn-people

Besides China (1.426 billion) and India (1.417 billion), five other Asian countries had over 100 million people as of 2022, the U.N. figures show. Indonesia had 276 million, Pakistan's population was at 236 million, Bangladesh counted 171 million, Japan had 124 million and the Philippines had 116 million. Vietnam, with 98 million, is expected to join the club soon.

------------
Even though economists expect India's gross domestic product to grow around 7% in 2023 -- the highest among major economies -- and although the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, India continues to face high unemployment rates of around 8%, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a local private researcher. That shows the country is not creating enough jobs to support the growing population.

---------

Kumagai also said that India's growing demand for food could be felt beyond its borders.

"The challenge for India concerning food is that the production of agricultural products is easily affected by the weather," he said. "On the other hand, domestic demand is increasing rapidly. As such, when production is low, domestic supply is prioritized, which eventually may lead to restrictions on exports, just as India restricted wheat exports in 2022, which could cause food problems in other countries as well."
--------

While the South Asian nation's growing and youthful population spells opportunities for development, it also creates layers of challenges, from poverty reduction to education. Experts say soaring demand for food could affect India's trade with other countries, while the World Bank recently estimated that India will need to invest $840 billion into urban infrastructure over the next 15 years to support its swelling citizenry.

"This is likely to put additional pressure on the already stretched urban infrastructure and services of Indian cities -- with more demand for clean drinking water, reliable power supply, efficient and safe road transport amongst others," the bank's report said.

India's dilemmas are only part of a complex and diverging Asian population picture -- split between young, growing countries and aging, declining ones. Humanity's latest milestone turns a spotlight on this gap and the problems on both sides of it.

---

Reaching a world of 8 billion people signals significant improvements in public health that have increased life expectancy, the U.N. said. But it also pointed out, "The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline."

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Asia. The region has young countries with a median age in the 20s, such as India (27.9 years old), Pakistan (20.4) and the Philippines (24.7), as well as old economies with median ages in the 40s, including Japan (48.7) and South Korea (43.9). The gap between the young and the old has gradually widened over the past decades.

While India faces a lack of jobs and infrastructure to support its growing population, Japan faces a serious reduction in births, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which its government says is a "critical situation." Either way, the population trends are increasingly impacting economies and societies.

Even though economists expect India's gross domestic product to grow around 7% in 2023 -- the highest among major economies -- and although the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, India continues to face high unemployment rates of around 8%, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a local private researcher. That shows the country is not creating enough jobs to support the growing population.


Riaz Haq said...

The year 2023 marks a historic turning point for Asia's demography: For the first time in the modern era, India is projected to surpass China as the most populous country.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Asia-Insight/Old-Japan-young-India-and-the-risks-of-a-world-of-8bn-people

Besides China (1.426 billion) and India (1.417 billion), five other Asian countries had over 100 million people as of 2022, the U.N. figures show. Indonesia had 276 million, Pakistan's population was at 236 million, Bangladesh counted 171 million, Japan had 124 million and the Philippines had 116 million. Vietnam, with 98 million, is expected to join the club soon.

------------
Even though economists expect India's gross domestic product to grow around 7% in 2023 -- the highest among major economies -- and although the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, India continues to face high unemployment rates of around 8%, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a local private researcher. That shows the country is not creating enough jobs to support the growing population.

---------

Kumagai also said that India's growing demand for food could be felt beyond its borders.

"The challenge for India concerning food is that the production of agricultural products is easily affected by the weather," he said. "On the other hand, domestic demand is increasing rapidly. As such, when production is low, domestic supply is prioritized, which eventually may lead to restrictions on exports, just as India restricted wheat exports in 2022, which could cause food problems in other countries as well."
--------

While the South Asian nation's growing and youthful population spells opportunities for development, it also creates layers of challenges, from poverty reduction to education. Experts say soaring demand for food could affect India's trade with other countries, while the World Bank recently estimated that India will need to invest $840 billion into urban infrastructure over the next 15 years to support its swelling citizenry.

"This is likely to put additional pressure on the already stretched urban infrastructure and services of Indian cities -- with more demand for clean drinking water, reliable power supply, efficient and safe road transport amongst others," the bank's report said.

India's dilemmas are only part of a complex and diverging Asian population picture -- split between young, growing countries and aging, declining ones. Humanity's latest milestone turns a spotlight on this gap and the problems on both sides of it.

---

Reaching a world of 8 billion people signals significant improvements in public health that have increased life expectancy, the U.N. said. But it also pointed out, "The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline."

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Asia. The region has young countries with a median age in the 20s, such as India (27.9 years old), Pakistan (20.4) and the Philippines (24.7), as well as old economies with median ages in the 40s, including Japan (48.7) and South Korea (43.9). The gap between the young and the old has gradually widened over the past decades.

While India faces a lack of jobs and infrastructure to support its growing population, Japan faces a serious reduction in births, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which its government says is a "critical situation." Either way, the population trends are increasingly impacting economies and societies.

Even though economists expect India's gross domestic product to grow around 7% in 2023 -- the highest among major economies -- and although the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, India continues to face high unemployment rates of around 8%, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, a local private researcher. That shows the country is not creating enough jobs to support the growing population.


Riaz Haq said...

Concern grows in Modi's India over hunger deaths, food aid, and data gaps

https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2022/12/19/India-hunger-starvation-data-malnutrition

The government is accused of failing to log starvation deaths, while the safety net isn’t catching all it should.
The government hasn’t logged a single death from starvation since 2016, but Mrinalini Paul, who works with the Right to Food and Work Network (RTFWN), a local NGO, said it’s clear Sardar’s death should have been recorded as one, as should many others.
The Sardar family was eligible for 35 kilos of rice and grain monthly from a government-run aid programme but had been approved for just two kilos because they lacked the right ID documents, according to Paul. “They had been without even these minimal benefits for six months,” she told The New Humanitarian.

Sunil Agarwala, the district magistrate of Jhargram, refuted the allegations, telling The Hindu newspaper they were "baseless", while insisting that Sardar’s death “was due to illness, TB, and other reasons”.

According to the World Health Organization, undernutrition is a key driver of TB, while malnutrition also makes TB therapy less effective and raises the risk of TB-related death.

The recently published Medical Certification Cause of Death (MCCD), 2020 report found that fewer than a quarter of the 81,15,882 registered deaths in India that year had known causes. Hunger activists are alarmed that a country with 1.4 billion people can only verify the causes of 22.5% of its documented fatalities.

Swati Narayan, assistant professor at the School for Public Health and Human Development at O.P. Jindal Global University, told The New Humanitarian that medical workers are unlikely to catch if the cause of death is starvation given how post-mortems are typically carried out.

She said it was crucial to also consider the person's socioeconomic position and the condition of their body, including the weight of their organs, visceral fat, and diseases brought on by a weaker immune system and malnutrition.

“The post-mortem reports are not an accurate reflection of hunger or starvation deaths in the country,” Narayan said. “Oral autopsies are much better at determining if the cause of death was hunger.”

Worsening hunger and the fight for a stronger safety net
Question marks around Sardar’s death and others like it – a similar case involving three “hunger deaths” in the same family went before the high court last month in Jharkhand, which borders West Bengal to the east – come amid signs of growing food insecurity in India.

The 2022 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 107 out of 121 nations, six places lower than its previous ranking, and below the likes of Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

While India remains in the “serious” category rather than “alarming” or “very alarming”, it recorded the highest percentage (19.3%) of any country of children under five who are “wasting”, meaning they’re below average weight for their height.

The pandemic made hunger worse, but income losses and rising debt continued to drive it up long after the worst of the health crisis had passed. A survey by the Right to Food Campaign in late 2021/early 2022 found that nearly 80% of respondents faced food insecurity, and almost half had run out of food the previous month.

However, the hunger problems also pre-date COVID. India’s last National Family Health Survey, which used data from 2019, found that stunting – a sign of chronic malnutrition – had risen in 11 out of the 17 states. In 13 states, wasting had also increased.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s economy is growing at the fastest pace of any major country, fueled by corporate earnings and middle-class consumption of the sorts of goods these companies (delivery companies) are rushing to deliver.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/04/business/india-delivery-apps.html


But there has been no commensurate growth in steady jobs in India’s deeply unequal society. That has left the legions of working poor who toil as delivery drivers to serve a middle class that they have fewer and fewer hopes of ever entering.

Millions have been pushed into gig work as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has moved to privatize public entities and cut red tape, enacting a series of changes to labor regulations that have diluted protections for workers.

The number of gig workers is projected to reach 23.5 million in 2030, nearly triple the number in 2020, according to a June report by Niti Aayog, a government research agency.

With India’s public sector shrinking, the informal sector now accounts for more than nine out of 10 jobs, International Labor Organization data show. Such jobs, without guaranteed health insurance, social security or pensions, range from the treacherous — construction work without hard hats or other protective gear, or assembly-line labor in illegal firetrap factories — to the merely miserable.

Work as a delivery driver can seem a better alternative. Delivery app companies dangle offers of 45,000 rupees per month, or more than $540, in targeted ads on social media, about double the country’s median income.

But drivers say they rarely earn anything close. What they do get is constant hounding by customers and automated calls from the companies to go faster. The algorithms that assign orders, they say, reward drivers with high ratings, which are based on the speed and number of past deliveries. Drivers say delays — regardless of the reason — can mean a reduction in assignments or even a suspension, pressure that sometimes pushes drivers to put themselves in danger.

Mr. Niralwar joins other delivery app drivers every evening as they mill about in a dusty, unpaved parking area in Hyderabad. They chat between orders, lifting pant legs to compare motorcycle injuries.

Ankit Bhatt, 33, moved to Hyderabad four years ago so that his wife could take a job at a call center. Without a college degree, he had more limited employment options: low-paying retail or informal manual labor.

Ready to begin his evening shift for Swiggy Instamart, Mr. Bhatt tried to log in but found that his ID had been temporarily blocked — punishment, he said, for failing to deliver an order after his motorcycle clutch had given out.

“You could be sick, you could have an accident, your bike could have mechanical issues. You will be penalized for that,” Mr. Bhatt said.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Does #Modi Not Want #India's #Census2021? Would it Expose #BJP's Lies About Progress in Open Defecation, Village #Electrification, #Poverty, #Hunger?? https://www.economist.com/asia/2023/01/05/postponing-indias-census-is-terrible-for-the-country

Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such. And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data.

----------

Three years ago India’s government was scheduled to pose its citizens a long list of basic but important questions. How many people live in your house? What is it made of? Do you have a toilet? A car? An internet connection? The answers would refresh data from the country’s previous census in 2011, which, given India’s rapid development, were wildly out of date. Because of India’s covid-19 lockdown, however, the questions were never asked.

Almost three years later, and though India has officially left the pandemic behind, there has been no attempt to reschedule the decennial census. It may not happen until after parliamentary elections in 2024, or at all. Opposition politicians and development experts smell a rat.

----------

For a while policymakers can tide themselves over with estimates, but eventually these need to be corrected with accurate numbers. “Right now we’re relying on data from the 2011 census, but we know our results will be off by a lot because things have changed so much since then,” says Pronab Sen, a former chairman of the National Statistical Commission who works on the household-consumption survey. And bad data lead to bad policy. A study in 2020 estimated that some 100m people may have missed out on food aid to which they were entitled because the distribution system uses decade-old numbers.

Similarly, it is important to know how many children live in an area before building schools and hiring teachers. The educational misfiring caused by the absence of such knowledge is particularly acute in fast-growing cities such as Delhi or Bangalore, says Narayanan Unni, who is advising the government on the census. “We basically don’t know how many people live in these places now, so proper planning for public services is really hard.”

The home ministry, which is in charge of the census, continues to blame its postponement on the pandemic, most recently in response to a parliamentary question on December 13th. It said the delay would continue “until further orders”, giving no time-frame for a resumption of data-gathering. Many statisticians and social scientists are mystified by this explanation: it is over a year since India resumed holding elections and other big political events.

Riaz Haq said...

The Squeeze on India’s Spenders Is Yet to Lift
Analysis by Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-squeeze-onindias-spenders-is-yetto-lift/2023/01/22/064843c8-9aa3-11ed-93e0-38551e88239c_story.html


Manufacturing of wants is hard anywhere for marketers, but the challenge is bigger when the bottom half of the population takes home only 13% of national income. While India’s rapid economic growth since the 1990s has undoubtedly expanded the spending capacity of its 1.4 billion people, acute and rising inequality — among the worst in the world — makes for a notoriously budget-conscious median consumer. Companies can take nothing for granted: For Unilever’s local Indian unit, a late winter crimped sales of skin-care products last quarter.

Still, the maker of Dove body wash and Surf detergent managed to eke out an overall 5% increase in sales volume from a year earlier, lifting net income to 25.1 billion rupees ($309 million), slightly better than expected. That was achieved by price cuts — passing along the benefit of lower palm-oil costs to soap buyers — and a step up in promotion and advertising. Still, not all players have the market leader’s financial chops. Investors who look closely at Hindustan Unilever Ltd.’s earnings for a pulse on India’s consumer demand will note with dismay the slide in industry-wide volumes for cleaning liquids, personal care items and food, the categories in which the firm competes.

This isn’t new. Consumer demand in India has been moderating since August 2021. Village households, many of which had to liquidate their gold holdings and other assets to treat Covid-19 patients during that summer’s lethal delta outbreak, were not in a mood to spend even after the surge in deaths and hospitalization ebbed.

Then, as major economies began to open up and crude oil and other commodities began to get pricier, firms like Unilever responded to the squeeze by reducing how much they put in a pack. Their idea was to hold on to psychologically crucial “magic price points” — such as five or 10 rupees — in the hope that customers will replenish more often. But when inflation accelerated after the start of the war in Ukraine, there was no option except to shatter the illusion of affordability by raising prices. Volumes flat-lined in the March quarter.

“The worst of inflation is behind us,” Sanjiv Mehta, the chief executive officer, said in a statement after last week’s earnings report. That seems to be the case indeed. India’s aggregate price index rose a slower-than-expected 5.7% in December, the third straight month of cooling. That’s why perhaps instead of pushing four 100-gram bars of Lux soap for 140 rupees, Unilever is charging 156 rupees for five, according to the Business Standard. In offering an 11% price cut by bulking up pack sizes, the company is betting that most households’ budget can now accommodate an extra outlay of 16 rupees.

It’s a reasonable gamble. A bumper wheat harvest is expected this spring. Rural India, which employs two out of three workers, found jobs for a disproportionately larger share of new entrants to the labor force in November and December, according to Mahesh Vyas of CMIE, a private firm that fills in for reliable official jobs data. “Most of the additional employment is happening in rural India and not in the towns,” he says.

And that may well put the spotlight next year on faltering spending in cities. The tech industry is wobbling globally. In India, too, startups are firing employees in large numbers; some former darlings of venture capital, such as online test-prep and education firms, are becoming irrelevant now that Covid-19 restrictions on physical classes have ended.

Meanwhile, India’s software-exports industry — a large employer in metropolises — has become wary of hiring because of slowing global growth. “The pain in urban consumption seems to be showing up,” JM Financial analysts Richard Liu and others wrote last week after Asian Paints Ltd.’s earnings.

Riaz Haq said...

Two-wheeler volumes drop to FY 10/12 levels. Huge drop in entry level Motorcycle sales indicate pain in rural/semi-urban areas. Experts say at least 50% capacity lying idle at two-wheeler factories.
Point to deeply worrying economic realities.


#India 2-Wheeler Sales Volume Declines to 2012 Level: 12.2 Million in 2022. Capacity utilization down to 50%. #Modi #MakeInIndia #Manufacturing #Unempolyment #economy https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/auto/bikes/two-wheeler-market-set-back-by-decade/articleshow/97265718.cms



https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/auto/bikes/two-wheeler-market-set-back-by-decade/articleshow/97265718.cms

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1619198354780733441?s=20&t=d3h_DKx1k036mIzWLp4Aig

Riaz Haq said...

#India, soon world's most populous nation, doesn't know how many people it has. Critics of PM #Modi have accused his gov’t of delaying the census to hide data on politically sensitive issues, such as #unemployment, ahead of national #elections due in 2024.

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-soon-worlds-most-populous-nation-doesnt-know-how-many-people-it-has-2023-02-15/

Experts say the delay in updating data like employment, housing, literacy levels, migration patterns and infant mortality, which are captured by the census, affects social and economic planning and policy making in the huge Asian economy.

Calling census data "indispensable", Rachna Sharma, a fellow at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said studies like the consumption expenditure survey and the periodic labour force survey are estimations based on information from the census.

"In the absence of latest census data, the estimations are based on data that is one decade old and is likely to provide estimates that are far from reality," Sharma said.

A senior official at the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said census data from 2011, when the count was last conducted, was being used for projections and estimates required to assess government spending.

A spokesman for the ministry said its role was limited to providing the best possible projections and could not comment on the census process. The Prime Minister's Office did not respond to requests for comment



Two other government officials, one from the federal home (interior) ministry and another from the office of the Registrar General of India, said the delay was largely due to the government's decision to fine-tune the census process and make it foolproof with the help of technology.

The home ministry official said the software that will be used to gather census data on a mobile phone app has to be synchronised with existing identity databases, including the national identity card, called Aadhaar, which was taking time.

The office of the Registrar General of India, which is responsible for the census, did not respond to a request for comment.

The main opposition Congress party and critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have accused the government of delaying the census to hide data on politically sensitive issues, such as unemployment, ahead of national elections due in 2024.

"This government has often displayed its open rivalry with data," said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. "On important matters like employment, Covid deaths etc., we have seen how the Modi government has preferred to cloak critical data.”

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesperson, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, dismissed the criticism.

"I want to know on what basis they are saying this. Which is the social parameter on which our performance in nine years is worse than their 65 years?" he said, referring to the Congress party's years in power.

TEACHERS' TRAVAILS
The United Nations has projected India's population could touch 1,425,775,850 on April 14, overtaking China on that day.

The 2011 census had put India's population at 1.21 billion, meaning the country has added 210 million, or almost the number of people in Brazil, to its population in 12 years.

India's census is conducted by about 330,000 government school teachers who first go door-to-door listing all houses across the country and then return to them with a second list of questions.

They ask more than two dozen questions each time in 16 languages in the two phases that will be spread over 11 months, according to the plan made for 2021.

The numbers will be tabulated and final data made public months later. The entire exercise was estimated to cost 87.5 billion rupees ($1.05 billion) in 2019.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s economic activity cooled off at the start of the year as higher borrowing costs tempered demand at home and abroad, signaling more pain ahead as the global economy slows down.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-02-19/india-s-economic-activity-cools-in-january-amid-slowdown-fears#xj4y7vzkg

The needle on a dial measuring so-called animal spirits moved left and was back where it was for six straight months before showing momentum in December. Falling exports and a slack in manufacturing and services drove the weakness in business activity, offsetting improvement in consumption drivers reflected by tax collections and job growth, according to eight high-frequency indicators tracked by Bloomberg.

Domestic recovery, that has been driving momentum so far, is getting wobbly. The Reserve Bank of India, which has raised borrowing costs six times since May to 6.50 per cent, is seen increasing interest rates again in its April review amid inflation topping estimates and further tightening by global central banks.

Bloomberg’s animal spirits barometer uses a three-month weighted average to smooth out volatility in single-month readings:

Business Activity
Purchasing managers’ surveys indicated activity in both manufacturing and services slacked in January. Output and new orders grew at softer paces, and dragged the composite index lower from an 11-year high in December.

“Although manufacturers received new orders from international markets, the increase was slight at best and moderated considerably to a ten-month low,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Exports
Exports fell 6.58 per cent in January from a year ago to US$32.9 billion (S$43.9 billion), data released by the Trade Ministry showed, indicating lower demand for goods abroad. Imports dropped 3.63 per cent from a year earlier and that pushed the trade gap to the lowest in a year, fueling hopes of a significantly narrower current account deficit.

The sharp fall in imports reflects the moderation in discretionary demand in the goods sector and the decline in commodity prices, said Garima Kapoor, economist at Elara Capital.

Consumer Activity
Liquidity in the banking system tightened, but credit growth picked up again, rising 16.33% in January, from 14.87 per cent in December, Reserve Bank of India data show.

Goods and services tax collections, which help measure consumption in the economy, rose 10.5 per cent from a year earlier to 1.56 trillion rupees – a feat achieved only once before in the history of the levy introduced in 2017. New vehicle registrations surged 14 per cent in the month, with passenger vehicle sales growing 22 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations.

Market Sentiment
Electricity consumption, a widely used proxy to gauge demand in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, held steady, with the peak requirement last month rising to 173 gigawatt from 171 gigawatt in December due to increased heating requirements. India’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.14 per cent, from a 16-month high of 8.30 per cent a month ago, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. BLOOMBERG

Riaz Haq said...

"India is Broken" writes Princeton Economist Ashoka Modi. Says #Indians, mostly illiterate and poor, hunger for freedom and prosperity but their politicians from #Nehru to #Modi have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. #BJP https://www.wsj.com/articles/india-is-broken-review-the-difficult-future-for-a-giant-3f65612d?st=l40ilxogdhokc9y via @WSJBooks

Ashoka Mody, who was for many years a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the sort of quietly efficient global technocrat who retires to a professorship at a prestigious school—in his case, Princeton. Yet he’s different from his faceless ilk of briefcase-bearers in one astonishing way: 13 years ago, an attempt was made on his life. The alleged assailant, thought to have been passed over for a job at the IMF by Mr. Mody, shot him in the jaw outside his house in Maryland.

He recovered with remarkable verve, his intellectual drive intact. Yet a mood of gloom and pessimism is unmistakable in “India Is Broken.” Today, 75 years after independence from Britain, Mr. Mody believes that India’s democracy and economy are in a state of profound malfunction. The book’s tale, he writes, “is one of continuous erosion of social norms and decay of political accountability.” You might add that it is also a tale of an audacious political experiment on the brink of failure.

India started its post-independence journey, says Mr. Mody, as “an improbable democracy” whose citizens, mostly illiterate and poor, hungered for freedom and prosperity. Generations of Indian politicians—from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister, to Narendra Modi, the present one—have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. India’s democracy no longer protects fundamental rights and freedoms in a nation over which “a blanket of violence” has fallen. A belief in “equality, tolerance and shared progress” has disappeared. And the country’s collapse isn’t just political and economic; it’s also moral and spiritual.

------------

A notable weakness in Mr. Mody’s analysis is his denial that the economic policies of Nehru and his successors were socialist. He writes of Nehru’s “alleged socialist legacy” and adds that it is a “mistake to identify central planning or big government as socialism.” Socialism, he insists, “means the creation of equal opportunity for all,” which India’s policy makers weren’t doing. Ergo, India wasn’t socialist.

If these protestations are almost laughable, Mr. Mody’s solution also invites some derision. Hope for India, he says, lies in making it a “true democracy.” And how can that be done? “We must move to an equilibrium in which everyone expects others to be honest.” This “honest equilibrium,” he says, will promote enough trust for Indians to work together “in the long-haul tasks of creating public goods and advancing sustainable development” and awakening “civic consciousness.” Mr. Mody, it is clear, has a dream. It is naรฏve, and it is corny. India, alas, will continue to be “broken” for many years to come.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex Central Bank Chief Raghu Rajan: 'India dangerously close to Hindu rate of growth'. #Hindu rate of growth is a term describing low #Indian economic growth rates from the 1950s to the 1980s, which averaged around 4%. #Modi #BJP #economy #Hindutva
https://www.deccanherald.com/business/economy-business/india-dangerously-close-to-hindu-rate-of-growth-says-raghuram-rajan-1197442.html

Sounding a note of caution, former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that India is "dangerously close" to the Hindu rate of growth in view of subdued private sector investment, high interest rates and slowing global growth.

Rajan said that sequential slowdown in the quarterly growth, as revealed by the latest estimate of national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) last month, was worrying. Hindu rate of growth is a term describing low Indian economic growth rates from the 1950s to the 1980s, which averaged around 4 per cent. The term was coined by Raj Krishna, an Indian economist, in 1978 to describe the slow growth.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter (October-December) of the current fiscal slowed to 4.4 per cent from 6.3 per cent in the second quarter (July-September) and 13.2 per cent in the first quarter (April-June).


The growth in the third quarter of the previous financial year was 5.2 per cent. "Of course, the optimists will point to the upward revisions in past GDP numbers, but I am worried about the sequential slowdown. With the private sector unwilling to invest, the RBI still hiking rates, and global growth likely to slow later in the year, I am not sure where we find additional growth momentum," Rajan said in an email interview to PTI.

Recently, Chief Economic Advisor V Anantha Nageswaran had attributed the subdued quarterly growth to the upward revision of estimates of national income for the past years. The key question is what Indian growth will be in fiscal 2023-24, Rajan said, adding "I am worried that earlier we would be lucky if we hit 5 per cent growth. The latest October-December Indian GDP numbers (4.4 per cent on year ago and 1 per cent relative to the previous quarter) suggest slowing growth from the heady numbers in the first half of the year. "My fears were not misplaced. The RBI projects an even lower 4.2 per cent for the last quarter of this fiscal. At this point, the average annual growth of the October-December quarter relative to the to the similar pre-pandemic quarter 3 years ago is 3.7 per cent. "This is dangerously close to our old Hindu rate of growth! We must do better." The government, he said, was doing its bit on infrastructure investment but its manufacturing thrust is yet to pay dividends. The bright spot is services, he said, adding "it seems less central to government efforts." On a query regarding the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, Rajan said any scheme in which the government pours money will create jobs and any scheme which elevates tariffs on output while offering bonuses for final units produced in India will create production in India, and exports. "A sensible evaluation would ask how many jobs are being created and at what price per job. By the government's own statistics, 15 per cent of the proposed investment has come in but only 3 per cent of the predicted jobs have been created. This does not sound like success, at least not yet," Rajan said.

Furthermore, even if the scheme fully meets the government's expectations over the next few years, it will create only 0.6 crore jobs, a small dent in the jobs India needs over the same period, the former RBI Governor said. "Similarly, government spokespersons point to the rise in cell phone exports as evidence that the scheme is working. But if we are subsidising every cell phone that is exported, this is an obvious outcome.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex Central Bank Chief Raghu Rajan: 'India dangerously close to Hindu rate of growth'. #Hindu rate of growth is a term describing low #Indian economic growth rates from the 1950s to the 1980s, which averaged around 4%. #Modi #BJP #economy #Hindutva
https://www.deccanherald.com/business/economy-business/india-dangerously-close-to-hindu-rate-of-growth-says-raghuram-rajan-1197442.html

Furthermore, even if the scheme fully meets the government's expectations over the next few years, it will create only 0.6 crore jobs, a small dent in the jobs India needs over the same period, the former RBI Governor said. "Similarly, government spokespersons point to the rise in cell phone exports as evidence that the scheme is working. But if we are subsidising every cell phone that is exported, this is an obvious outcome.

The key question is how much value added is done in India. It turns (out to be) very little so far," he said. Rajan said cell phone parts imports have also gone up, so net exports in the cell phone sector, the relevant measure that no one in government talks about, is pretty much where it was when the scheme started. "Except, we have also spent money on subsidies. Foxconn just announced a big factory to produce parts but they have been saying they will invest for a long time. I think we need a lot more evidence before celebrating the success of the PLI scheme," he said.

Currently, Rajan is the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He further said the most developed economies of the world are largely service economies, so you can be a large economy without a large presence in manufacturing.

"Services do not just account for the majority of our unicorns, services can also provide a lot of semi-skilled jobs in construction, transport, tourism, retail, and hospitality. So let us not deride service jobs – indeed while the fraction of manufacturing jobs has stagnated in India, services have absorbed the exodus from agriculture." "We need to work on both manufacturing and services to create the jobs we need, and fortunately, many of the inputs both (services and manufacturing) need schooling, skilling...," he said.

On what measures the government should take to improve oversight of private family companies to address worries after the Hindenburg allegations on Adani Group, Rajan said: "I don't think the issue is of more oversight over private companies". The issue is of reducing non-transparent links between government and business, and of letting, indeed encouraging, regulators do their job, he said. "Why has SEBI not yet got to the bottom of the ownership of those Mauritius funds which have been holding and trading Adani stock? Does it need help from the investigative agencies?," Rajan wondered.

Adani group has been under severe pressure since the US short-seller Hindenburg Research on January 24, accused it of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, allegations that the conglomerate has denied as "malicious", "baseless" and a "calculated attack on India".

Riaz Haq said...

Both Russia and Ukraine reported higher levels of happiness in the latest report despite the escalation of the conflict between the two countries since February 2022. According to the index, Russia’s ranking improved from 80 in 2022 to 70 this year, while Ukraine’s ranking improved from 98 to 92. The 2022 report was based on data from 2019 to 2021.

John Helliwell, one of the authors of the World Happiness Report, said that benevolence, especially acts of kindness towards strangers, increased dramatically in 2021 and remained high in 2022, CNN reported.

“Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Hype over #India’s #economic boom is dangerous myth masking real problems. It’s built on a disingenuous numbers game.
No silver bullet that will fix weak job creation, a small, uncompetitive #manufacturing sector & gov’t schemes fattening corporate profits

https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3215379/hype-over-indias-economic-boom-dangerous-myth-masking-real-problems

by Ashoka Mody

Indian elites are giddy about their country’s economic prospects, and that optimism is mirrored abroad. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that India’s GDP will increase by 6.1 per cent this year and 6.8 per cent next year, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Other international commentators have offered even more effusive forecasts, declaring the arrival of an Indian decade or even an Indian century.
In fact, India is barrelling down a perilous path. All the cheerleading is based on a disingenuous numbers game. More so than other economies, India’s yo-yoed in the three calendar years from 2020 to 2022, falling sharply twice with the emergence of Covid-19 and then bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. Its annualised growth rate over these three years was 3.5 per cent, about the same as in the year preceding the pandemic.
Forecasts of higher future growth rates are extrapolating from the latest pandemic rebound. Yet, even with pandemic-related constraints largely in the past, the economy slowed in the second half of 2022, and that weakness has persisted this year. Describing India as a booming economy is wishful thinking clothed in bad economics.
Worse, the hype is masking a problem that has grown in the 75 years since independence: anaemic job creation. In the next decade, India will need hundreds of millions more jobs to employ those who are of working age and seeking work. This challenge is virtually insurmountable considering that the economy failed to add any net new jobs in the past decade, when 7 million to 9 million new jobseekers entered the market each year.
This demographic pressure often boils over, fuelling protests and episodic violence. In 2019, 12.5 million people applied for 35,000 job openings in the Indian railways – one job for every 357 applicants. In January 2022, railway authorities announced they were not ready to make the job offers. The applicants went on a rampage, burning train cars and vandalising railway stations.

With urban jobs scarce, tens of millions of workers returned during the pandemic to eking out meagre livelihoods in agriculture, and many have remained there. India’s already-distressed agriculture sector now employs 45 per cent of the country’s workforce.

Farming families suffer from stubbornly high underemployment, with many members sharing limited work on plots rendered steadily smaller through generational subdivision. The epidemic of farmer suicides persists. To those anxiously seeking support from rural employment-guarantee programmes, the government unconscionably delays wage payments, triggering protests.
For far too many Indians, the economy is broken. The problem lies in the country’s small and uncompetitive manufacturing sector.

Riaz Haq said...

India is Broken

https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3215379/hype-over-indias-economic-boom-dangerous-myth-masking-real-problems

by Ashoka Mody

Since the liberalising reforms of the mid-1980s, the manufacturing sector’s share of GDP has fallen slightly to about 14 per cent, compared to 27 per cent in China and 25 per cent in Vietnam. India commands less than a 2 per cent global share of manufactured exports, and as its economy slowed in the second half of 2022, the manufacturing sector contracted further.
Yet it is through exports of labour-intensive manufactured products that Taiwan, South Korea, China and now Vietnam came to employ vast numbers of their people. India, with its 1.4 billion people, exports about the same value of manufactured goods as Vietnam does with 100 million people.
Those who believe that India stands at the cusp of greatness usually focus on two recent developments. First, Apple contractors have made initial investments to assemble high-end iPhones in India, leading to speculation that a broader move away from China by manufacturers will benefit India despite the country’s considerable quality-control and logistical problems.

while such an outcome is possible, academic analysis and media reports are discouraging. Economist Gordon H. Hanson says Chinese manufacturers will move labour-intensive manufacturing from the country’s expensive coastal hubs to its less-developed interior, where production costs are lower.
Moreover, investors moving out of China have gone mainly to Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia, which like China are members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. India has eschewed membership in this trade bloc because its manufacturers fear they will be unable to compete once other member states gain easier access to the Indian market.
As for US producers pulling away from China, most are “near-shoring” their operations to Mexico and Central America. Altogether, while some investment from this churn could flow to India, the fact remains that inward foreign investment fell year on year in 2022.

The second source of hope is the Indian government’s Production-Linked Incentive Schemes, which were introduced in early 2021 to offer financial rewards for production and jobs in sectors deemed to be of strategic value. Unfortunately, as former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram G. Rajan and his co-authors warn, these schemes are likely to end up merely fattening corporate profits like previous sops to manufacturers.
India’s run with start-up unicorns is also fading. The sector’s recent boomrelied on cheap funding and a surge of online purchases by a small number of customers during the pandemic. But most start-ups have dim prospects for achieving profitability in the foreseeable future. Purchases by the small customer base have slowed and funds are drying up.
Looking past the illusion created by India’s rebound from the pandemic, the country’s economic prognosis appears bleak. Rather than indulge in wishful thinking and gimmicky industrial incentives, policymakers should aim to power economic development through investments in human capital and by bringing more women into the workforce.
India’s broken state has repeatedly avoided confronting long-term challenges and now, instead of overcoming fundamental development deficits, officials are seeking silver bullets. Stoking hype about an imminent Indian century will merely perpetuate the deficits, helping neither India nor the rest of the world.
Ashoka Mody, visiting professor of international economic policy at Princeton University, is the author of India is Broken: A People Betrayed, Independence to Today. Copyright: Project Syndicate

Riaz Haq said...

Analysis: India's surging services exports may shield economy from external risks

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indias-surging-services-exports-may-shield-economy-external-risks-2023-04-03/

IT services still accounted for 45% of India's total services exports in April-December.

Professional and management consulting grew the fastest - at a 29% compounded annual growth rate over the last three years, as per estimates by economists at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets.

The recent growth in services exports has been largely powered by global capability centres, which have started to offer global clients a range of high-end and critical solutions such as accounting and legal support.

----------------
This, together with a drop in merchandise trade deficit, resulted in the current account deficit shrinking more than expected to $18.2 billion, or 2.2% of GDP.


---------------

A surge in India's services exports, which hit a record high in the October-December quarter, is expected to shield the economy from external risks as a slowing global economy will likely weigh on the country's merchandise exports.

Service exports are no longer being driven by IT services alone but also by more lucrative offerings such as consulting and research and development, analysts and economists told Reuters.

India's services exports rose 24.5% on year in October-December 2022, hitting a record $83.4 billion during the quarter, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday showed.

The services surplus, which deducts any imports in the category, also rose 39.21% to a record $38.7 billion.

This, together with a drop in merchandise trade deficit, resulted in the current account deficit shrinking more than expected to $18.2 billion, or 2.2% of GDP.

"We expect services exports to grow to over $375 billion by March 2024, as compared to $320-350 billion for the year ending March 2023," said Sunil Talati, chairman of the Services Export Promotion Council.

Services exports will likely surpass goods exports by March 2025, he said.

October-December merchandise exports stood at $105.6 billion, according to latest RBI data.

------------

As a result, such exports will hold up better compared to goods exports in the face of a weakening global economy, analysts said.

Over the last two to three years, there has been a rapid growth in global capability centres, said Sangeeta Gupta, chief strategy officer at software industry lobby group Nasscom.

Nasscom estimates that India is home to over 45% of such global capability centres in the world.

According to Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, such centres started off providing support functions, but they have now moved up the ladder to tech enablement, business operations, capability development, and even R&D and business development.

While U.S. companies were the first movers in India, a lot of companies from Europe, Australia and Asia are also exploring stepping up their operations, Nasscom's Gupta said.

An acceleration in digitalisation after the Covid crisis and a lack of adequate tech talent in some of these countries are key factors, she added.

Sectors such as tourism, education, financial services and health also contributed to India's higher service exports.

Riaz Haq said...

Adani’s business empire may or may not turn out to be the largest con in corporate history. But far greater dangers to civic morality, let alone democracy and global peace, are posed by those peddling the gigantic hoax of Modi’s India. Pankaj Mishra


https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n08/pankaj-mishra/the-big-con


Modi has counted on sympathetic journalists and financial speculators in the West to cast a seductive veil over his version of political economy, environmental activism and history. ‘I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region,’ Roger Cohen of the New York Times wrote in 2019 after Modi annulled the special constitutional status of India’s only Muslim-majority state and imposed a months-long curfew. The CEO of McKinsey recently said that we may be living in ‘India’s century’. Praising Modi for ‘implementing policies that have modernised India and supported its growth’, the economist and investor Nouriel Roubini described the country as a ‘vibrant democracy’. But it is becoming harder to evade the bleak reality that, despoiled by a venal, inept and tyrannical regime, ‘India is broken’ – the title of a disturbing new book by the economic historian Ashoka Mody.

The number of Indians who sleep hungry rose from 190 million in 2018 to 350 million in 2022, and malnutrition and malnourishment killed nearly two-thirds of the children who died under the age of five last year. At the same time, Modi’s cronies have flourished. The Economist estimates that the share of billionaire wealth in India derived from cronyism has risen from 29 per cent to 43 per cent in six years. According to a recent Oxfam report, India’s richest 1 per cent owned more than 40.5 per cent of its total wealth in 2021 – a statistic that the notorious oligarchies of Russia and Latin America never came close to matching. The new Indian plutocracy owes its swift ascent to Modi, and he has audaciously clarified the quid pro quo. Under the ‘electoral bond’ scheme he introduced in 2017, any business or special interest group can give unlimited sums of money to his party while keeping the transaction hidden from public scrutiny.

Modi also ensures his hegemony by forging a public sphere in which sycophancy is rewarded and dissent harshly punished. Adani last year took over NDTV, a television news channel that had displayed a rare immunity to hate speech, fake news and conspiracy theories. Human Rights Watch has detailed a broad onslaught on democratic rights: ‘the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government used abusive and discriminatory policies to repress Muslims and other minorities’ and ‘arrested activists, journalists and other critics of the government on politically motivated criminal charges, including of terrorism’. Last month, as the BJP’s official spokesperson denounced the BBC as ‘the most corrupt organisation in the world’, tax officials launched a sixty-hour raid on the broadcaster’s Indian offices in apparent retaliation for a two-part documentary on Modi’s role in anti-Muslim violence.

Also last month, the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was expelled from parliament to put a stop to his persistent questions about Modi’s relationship with Adani. Such actions are at last provoking closer international scrutiny of what Modi calls the ‘mother of democracy’, though they haven’t come as a shock to those who have long known about Modi’s lifelong allegiance to Rashtriya​ Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation that was explicitly inspired by European fascist movements and culpable in the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Prof. Ashoka Mody Believes India is Broken | Princeton International

https://international.princeton.edu/news/why-prof-ashoka-mody-believes-india-broken


I have long felt that that upbeat story is completely divorced from the lived reality of the vast majority of Indians. I wanted to write a book about that lived reality, about jobs, education, healthcare, the cities Indians live in, the justice system they encounter, the air they breathe, the water they drink. And when you look at India through that lens of that reality, the progress is halting at best and far removed from the aspirations of people and what might have been. India is broken in the sense that for hundreds of millions of Indians, jobs are hard to get, and education and health care are poor. The justice system is coercive and brutal. The air quality remains extraordinarily poor. The rivers are dying. And it's not clear that things are going to get better. Underlying that brokenness, social norms and public accountability have eroded to a point where India seems to be in a catch-22: Unaccountable politicians do not impose accountability on themselves; therefore, no one has an incentive to impose accountability for policy priorities that might benefit large numbers of people. The elite are happy in their gated first-world communities. They shrug their shoulders and say, “What exactly is the problem?”

———

Prof Ashoka Mody interviewed by Barkha Dutt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8SEmML71KQ

Riaz Haq said...

As India’s population soars above all, fewer women have jobs

https://news.yahoo.com/india-population-soars-above-fewer-042021160.html


The women’s employment rate peaked at 35% in 2004 and fell to around 25% in 2022, according to calculations based off official data, said Rosa Abraham, an economist at Azim Premji University. But official figures count as employed people who report as little as one hour of work outside the home in the previous week.

A national jobs crisis is one reason for the gap, experts say, but entrenched cultural beliefs that see women as the primary caregivers and stigmatize them working outside the home, as in Singh's case, is another.

The Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE), which uses a more restrictive definition of employment, found that only 10% of working age Indian women in 2022 were either employed or looking for jobs. This means there are only 39 million women employed in the workforce compared to 361 million men.

Just a few decades ago, things seemed to be on a different track.

When Singh became a social worker in 2004, India was still riding high from historic reforms in the 1990s. New industries and new opportunities were born seemingly overnight, sparking millions to leave their villages and move to cities like Mumbai in search of better jobs.

It felt life-changing. “I didn’t have a college degree, so I never thought it would be possible for someone like me to get a job in an office,” she said.

Even then, leaving home to work was an uphill fight for many women. Sunita Sutar, who was in school in 2004, said that women in her village of Shirsawadi in Maharashtra state were usually married off at 18, beginning lives that revolved around their husbands’ homes. Neighbors mocked her parents for investing in her education, saying it wouldn’t matter after marriage.

Sutar bucked the trend. In 2013, she became the first person in her village of nearly 2,000 people to earn an engineering degree.

“I knew that if I studied, only then would I become something -- otherwise, I’d be like the rest, married off and stuck in the village,” Sutar said.

Today, she lives and works in Mumbai as an auditor for the Indian Defense Department, a government job coveted by many Indians for its security, prestige and benefits.

In one way, she was part of a trend: Indian women have gained better access to education since her youth, and are now nearly at parity with men. But for most women, education hasn’t led to jobs. Even as more women have begun graduating from school, joblessness has swelled.

“The working age population continues to grow but employment hasn’t kept up, which means the proportion of people with jobs will only decline,” said Mahesh Vyas, director at CMIE, adding there’s been a severe slowdown in good quality jobs in the last decade. “This also keeps women out of the workforce as they or their families may see more benefit in taking care of the home or children, instead of toiling in low-paid work.”

And even when jobs are available, social pressures can keep women away.

In her home village in Uttar Pradesh state, Chauhan hardly ever saw women working outside the home. But when she came to Mumbai in 2006, she saw women swarm public spaces, Chauhan said, serving food in cafes, cutting hair or painting nails in salons, selling tickets for the local trains, or boarding the trains themselves, crammed into packed compartments as they rushed to work. It was motivating to see what was possible, she said.

“When I started working and leaving the house, my family used to say I must be working as a prostitute,” said Lalmani Chauhan, a social worker.

One reason she was able to hold onto her job was because it became a lifeline when an accident left her husband bedridden and unable to work, Chauhan said.

Abraham said there is growing recognition among policymakers that the retreat of women from the workforce is a huge problem, but it has not been met with direct fixes like more childcare facilities or transportation safety.

Riaz Haq said...

Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-04-17/india-s-worthless-college-degrees-undercut-world-s-fastest-growing-major-economy#xj4y7vzkg

Business is booming in India’s $117 billion education industry and new colleges are popping up at breakneck speed. Yet thousands of young Indians are finding themselves graduating with limited or no skills, undercutting the economy at a pivotal moment of growth.

Desperate to get ahead, some of these young people are paying for two or three degrees in the hopes of finally landing a job. They are drawn to colleges popping up inside small apartment buildings or inside shops in marketplaces. Highways are lined with billboards for institutions promising job placements.

Around the world, students are increasingly considering the return on degree versus cost. Higher education has often sparked controversy globally, including in the US, where for-profit institutions have faced government scrutiny. Yet the complexities of education in India are clearly visible.

It has the world’s largest population by some estimates, and the government regularly highlights the benefits of having more young people than any other country. According to a study by talent assessment firm Wheebox, half of all graduates in India are unemployed in the future due to problems in the education system.

Many businesses say they have difficulty recruiting because of the mixed quality of education. This has kept unemployment at a high level of over 7%, even though India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. Education is also becoming a big issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he tries to attract foreign manufacturers and investors from China. Modi vowed to create lakhs of jobs in his campaign speeches, and the issue is likely to be hotly debated in the 2024 national elections.

“We face a challenge in hiring as the specific skill sets required by the industry are not readily available in the market,” said Yashwinder Patial, Director, Human Resources, MG Motor India.

The complications of the country’s education boom are visible in cities like Bhopal, a metropolis of about 2.6 million in central India. Huge hoardings of private colleges are ubiquitous, promising degrees and jobs to young people. One such advertisement said, “Regular classes and better placements: We need to say more.”

It is difficult to resist such promises for millions of young men and women dreaming of a better life in India’s dismal job scenario. Higher degrees, once accessible only to the wealthy, hold a special hold for young people from middle- and low-income families in India. Students interviewed by Bloomberg cited a variety of reasons for investing in more education, ranging from attempting to boost their social status to improving their marriage prospects to applying for government jobs, for which applicants are required to pay. Degree certificate is required.

Twenty-five-year-old Tanmay Mandal, a Bhopal resident, paid $4,000 for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He was convinced that a degree was a path to a good job and a better lifestyle. He was not bothered by the high fees for his family, whose monthly income is only $420. Despite the cost, Mandal says he learned almost nothing about construction from teachers who appeared to have insufficient training themselves. He could not answer technical questions in job interview and is unemployed for the last three years.

Mandal said, ‘I wish I had studied in a better college.’ “Many of my friends are also sitting idle without jobs,” Mandal said. He still hasn’t given up. Even though he did not find his final degree useful, he wants to avoid the stigma of being unemployed and sitting idle. So, he has signed up for a master’s degree in another private institution as he believes that more degrees can at least raise his social status.

Riaz Haq said...

Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-04-17/india-s-worthless-college-degrees-undercut-world-s-fastest-growing-major-economy#xj4y7vzkg


There is a bustling market place in the heart of Bhopal with training institutes for civil services, engineering and management. The students said that they had enrolled for these courses to upgrade their skills and boost their career opportunities after regular degree, as they did not get jobs of their choice.

A Bhopal educational institution in particular hit the headlines in recent years because it was involved in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of India. In 2019, the Supreme Court barred the Bhopal-based RKDF Medical College Hospital and Research Center from admitting new students for two years for allegedly using fake patients to meet the requirements of the medical college. The college initially argued in court that the patients were genuine, but later apologized after an investigative panel found that the alleged patients were not in fact sick.

“We have noticed a disturbing trend of some medical colleges in projecting bogus faculty and patients to obtain permission for admission of students,” the court said in its judgement. The medical college did not respond to a request for comment.

The Medical School is part of the RKDF Group, a well-known name in Central India with a wide network of colleges in fields ranging from Engineering to Medicine and Management. The group faced another controversy last year. In May last year, police in the southern city of Hyderabad arrested the vice-chancellor of the RKDF group’s Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan University as well as his predecessor for their alleged involvement in awarding fake degrees. Still, a flood of students could be seen in many RKDF institutes in Bhopal. One branch had posters of their “bright stars”—students who got jobs after graduation.

SRK University and RKDF University of RKDF Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment. On its website, the group says that it provides quality education by imparting teaching and practical skills while striving to provide robust infrastructure and facilities.

Elsewhere in Bhopal, another college was functioning in a small residential building. One of the students who studied there said that it was easy to secure admission and get a degree without attending classes.

India’s education industry is projected to reach $225 billion by 2025 from $117 billion in 2020, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, a government trust. This is still very small compared to the US education industry, where spending is estimated to exceed $1 trillion. In India, public spending on education has remained stagnant at around 2.9% of GDP, well short of the 6% target set in the government’s new education policy.

The problems at the colleges have spread across the country, with a range of institutions in different states under official scrutiny. In some parts of India, students have gone on hunger strike to protest against the lack of teachers and facilities in their institutions. In January, charges were filed against the Himachal Pradesh-based Manav Bharti University and its promoters for allegedly selling fake degrees, according to a press release from the Enforcement Directorate. Manav Bharati University did not respond to a request for comment.

While institutes promote campus placements for students, many are not able to deliver on this promise. In 2017, an institute in the eastern state of Odisha offered fake job offers during campus placements, prompting students to protest.

Anil Swaroop, former secretary of school education, estimated in a 2018 article that of the 16,000 colleges offering bachelor’s qualifications for teachers, a sizeable number exist only in name.

Riaz Haq said...

Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-04-17/india-s-worthless-college-degrees-undercut-world-s-fastest-growing-major-economy#xj4y7vzkg



Anil Swaroop, former secretary of school education, estimated in a 2018 article that of the 16,000 colleges offering bachelor’s qualifications for teachers, a sizeable number exist only in name.

“To call such so-called degrees useless would be an understatement,” said Anil Sadgopal, former dean of education at Delhi University and former member of the Central Advisory Board of Education that guides the federal government. “When lakhs of youth become unemployed every year, the whole society becomes unstable.”

All this is a challenge for big business. A study by HR firm SHL found that only 3.8% of engineers have the skills needed to be employed in software-related jobs in start-ups.

“The experience everyone has in the IT industry is that graduates need training,” said Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and board member of Infosys Ltd. and co-founder of private equity firm Aarin Capital. Pai, one of the Manipal Education and Medical Group companies, “trains a lot of people for banking. They are not job ready, they need to be trained.”

Even though companies are looking to recruit in areas such as electric vehicle manufacturing, artificial intelligence and human-machine interfaces, smaller Indian universities still teach older material such as the basics of the internal combustion engine, Patial said. “There’s a gap between what the industry is seeing and the curriculum they’ve gone through.”

India has regulatory bodies and professional councils to regulate its educational institutions. While the government has announced plans for a single agency to replace all existing regulators, it is still at the planning stage. The Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.

The Modi administration is also trying to address the shortcomings of the education sector in its new education policy of 2020, committed to improving the quality of its institutions. It has also started the process of allowing leading foreign universities to set up campuses in the country and award degrees.

Meanwhile, finding work remains a challenge for this generation. According to the World Bank, unemployment is a ticking time bomb as nearly a third of the country’s youth are not working, studying or undergoing training. Some are getting involved in crime and violence. Last year, angry youths facing bleak job prospects blocked rail traffic and highways, even setting some trains on fire.

Pankaj Tiwari, 28, says he paid Rs 100,000 for a master’s degree in digital communication because he wanted a job and a higher status in society. It was a huge outlay for his family, which has an annual income of Rs 400,000. Though his college had promised campus placements, no company turned up and he is still unemployed after four years.

“Had I gotten some training and skills in college, I might have been in a different situation. Now I feel like I wasted my time.’ “I have obtained certificates only on paper, but they are of no use.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India's now most populous! In 1990 India & #China had about the same per capita annual income of $350. China’s is now 6X as large as India’s: $12,550 to $2,250. On #Modi’s watch India now lags farther. Can India now reap the #demographic dividend? @WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-india-cash-in-on-its-growing-population-aging-family-growth-decline-demographics-manufaturing-modi-beijing-af54b4a7

For the first time since the mid-18th century, China isn’t the world’s most populous nation. According to United Nations projections, India claims that mantle this month as its population touches 1.425 billion.

Many in the West would like India to catch up economically with China and emerge as a powerful democratic counterweight in Asia. But for this dream to become reality, India must do a better job of educating its people and industrializing its economy.

--------
Not long ago, educated Indians largely considered the country’s burgeoning population a liability, not an asset. But many now argue that India’s young population gives it an edge over China that will persist for decades. China’s population has already begun to decline. The United Nations projects India’s to peak at 1.7 billion in 2064.

------
To a large extent, optimism about India hinges on the idea of a “demographic dividend.” The theory, Mr. Eberstadt explains, is that this is a once-in-history chance for a population to move swiftly from short life expectancy and big families to long life expectancy and small families. In India, the labor force is growing more rapidly than the total population, which could translate into higher savings and investment rates and more rapid economic growth. South Korea and Taiwan are examples of Asian countries that swiftly made this transition from poor to rich.

Before India can dream of emulating their success, or China’s, it must acknowledge the size of the challenges it faces. Only about three-fourths of India’s population is literate, a level that China surpassed about 40 years ago. According to Mr. Eberstadt, this makes India the only country in history to have a vast pool of college graduates living amid hundreds of millions of working-age people who have never been to school. Moreover, over the past three decades regional disparities have widened. Kerala in the south has human-development indicators akin to Brazil. Bihar in the north looks worse than Cambodia.

Or take female labor-force participation, another measure of economic development. In China it’s more than 60%—roughly the same as in the U.S. and other wealthy countries. In India it has declined from 28% in 1990 to 23% in 2021. More than two-thirds of Chinese live in cities, which tends to boost productivity. India remains overwhelmingly rural—only about a third of the population lives in cities.

Industrialization also matters. Apart from a few resource-rich countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all rich nations have successfully moved large numbers of people from farms to factories as they developed. Despite Mr. Modi’s calls to “Make in India,” manufacturing as a percentage of Indian gross domestic product declined from 16% in 2011 to 14% in 2021. As a proportion of employment, India’s industrialization peaked in 2002. Almost half of the Indian workforce makes subsistence livings on small family farms, compared with only about 25% of Chinese and 1% of Americans. In 2019, amid persistent protests, Mr. Modi rolled back ambitious agricultural reforms that would have helped modernize farms.


On the upside, India has massive room for improvement. If the country gets everything right it could grow robustly for decades. But to catch up it will need to redress many of its failures. “The critical thing to remember,” Mr. Eberstadt says, “is that demographic dividends don’t always get cashed.”

Riaz Haq said...

India: What the smartphone market tells us about its economy - BBC News


https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65491090

According to research firm the International Data Corporation (IDC), 31m smartphones were shipped in India during the first three months of this year.

That was 16% lower than in the same period of 2022 and the lowest first-quarter shipments in four years.

IDC highlighted that the sluggish demand came amid an uncertain economic outlook and as stockpiles of handsets remain high.

It also said that India's overall smartphone market will be flat this year after three quarters in a row of falling sales.

At the same time some analysts have pointed to the growing trend of "premiumisation" - when wealthier consumers move towards more expensive products.

"The premium segment's share almost doubled" in the first three months of this year compared to a year ago, according to Prachir Singh from technology market research firm Counterpoint.

However, as brands like Apple and Samsung benefit from this trend, demand for cheaper handsets made by companies like China's Xiaomi and Realme has been hit by the tough economic environment.

That end of the market is suffering as users take longer to upgrade their handsets, experts say.

The stark contrast between Apple's fortunes and the shrinking market for cheaper devices also reflects an uneven post-pandemic recovery in Asia's third largest economy.

"The K-shaped recovery is not allowing the consumption demand to become broad-based nor helping the wage growth especially of the population belonging to the lower half of the income pyramid," India Ratings and Research said.

"As a result, while there is visible demand for high-end automobiles, mobile phones and other luxury items, demand for items of mass consumption is still subdued," it added.

For example, sales of entry-level scooters were down by almost 20% in April this year, compared to the same month in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

This indicates that lower income customers "were are still hesitant to upgrade," according Manish Raj Singhania, the president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations.

It also reflects the on-going problems in India's rural economy, which have been worsened by extreme weather events.

Lack of demand in rural areas has also been driving the decline in the consumer goods, like snacks and fizzy drinks, where growth has dropped to single figures after a year and a half of double-digit increases.

Household spending on goods and services, which had grown 20% year on year in March 2022, has also slowed sharply this year.

That came as India's consumers have been squeezed by rising interest rates and stubbornly high inflation.

Overall, the country's economic growth slowed to 4.1% for the first three months of 2023, the lowest growth for a year, official figures show.

Riaz Haq said...

Unemployment in India


https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/27/economy/india-economic-miracle-issues-youth-intl-hnk-dst

High #Unemployment in #India: While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022. #Modi #BJP #economy #poverty #hunger Hindutva #Islamophobia


Too few jobs, too many workers and ‘no plan B’: The time bomb hidden in India’s ‘economic miracle’

Sunil Kumar knows all about working hard to achieve a dream. The 28-year-old from India’s Haryana state already has two degrees – a bachelor’s and a master’s – and is working on a third, all with a view to landing a well-paid job in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

“I studied so that I can be successful in life,” he said. “When you work hard, you should be able to get a job.”

Kumar does now have a job, but it’s not the one he studied for – and definitely not the one he dreamed about.

He has spent the past five years sweeping the floors of a school in his village, a full-time job he supplements with a less lucrative side hustle tutoring younger students. All told, he makes about $85 a month.

It’s not much, he concedes, especially as he needs to support two aging parents and a sister, but it is all he has. Ideally, he says, he’d work as a teacher and put his degrees to use. Instead, “I have to do manual labor just to be able to feed myself.”

Kumar’s situation is not unusual, but a predicament faced by millions of other young Indians. Youth unemployment in the country is climbing sharply, a development that risks undermining the new darling of the world economy at the very moment it was expected to really take off.

India’s newfound status as the world’s most populous nation had prompted hopes of a youthful new engine for the global economy just as China’s population begins to dwindle and age. Unlike China’s, India’s working age population is young, growing, and projected to hit a billion over the next decade – a vast pool of labor and consumption that one Biden administration official has called an “economic miracle.”

But for young Indians like Kumar, there’s a flip side to this so-called miracle: too few jobs and too much competition.

In contrast to China, where economists fear there won’t be enough workers to support the growing number of elderly, in India the concern is there aren’t enough jobs to support the growing number of workers.

While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an independent think tank headquartered in Mumbai, which publishes job data more regularly than the Indian government.

Some analysts have described the situation to CNN as a “time bomb”, warning of the potential for social unrest unless more employment can be created.

Kumar, like others in his position, knows all too well the frustrations that can build when work is scarce.

“I get very angry that I don’t have a successful job despite my qualifications and education,” he said. “I blame the government for this. It should give work to its people.”

The bad news for people like Kumar, and the Indian government, is that experts warn the problem will only get worse as the population grows and competition for jobs gets even tougher.

Kaushik Basu, an economics professor at Cornell University and former chief economic adviser for the Indian government, described India’s youth unemployment rate as “shockingly high.”

It’s been “climbing slowly for a long time, say for about 15 years it’s been on a slow climb but over the past seven, eight years it’s been a sharp climb,” he said.

“If that category of people do not find enough employment,” Basu added, “then what was meant to be an opportunity, the bulge in that demographic dividend, could become a huge challenge and problem for India.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #economy grew 6.1% in the fourth quarter, but the #unemployment rate also jumped to 8.1% in April, the fourth consecutive month of higher #jobless rates. #Jobs #Modi #BJP
https://www.wsj.com/articles/indias-gdp-grows-6-1-amid-strong-domestic-demand-2edd9ef4?st=fq39w5xk9xdj9d7 via @WSJ

India’s economy grew 6.1% in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year, as domestic demand for goods and services picked up and consumer confidence, while still lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic, continued to strengthen.

The South Asian country also reported gross-domestic-product growth for the full fiscal year of 7.2% compared with the previous year. India’s central bank in April raised its growth forecast for the current fiscal year to 6.5% from 6.4%.

Authorities have been working to combat elevated food prices that have increased costs for households around the world since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Inflation eased in the January-to-March quarter to between 5.5% and 6.5%, after hitting 7.8% in April 2022.

“Domestic demand in India is doing better than the rest of the world,” said Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities in Mumbai. The reason, he said, was improved income growth and higher consumer spending.

Hajra said that since India, unlike other major economies, didn’t implement large-scale fiscal stimulus programs during the pandemic, it has avoided the negative impact from the withdrawal of those programs.

Many economists predict that India will continue to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but creating jobs for its millions of unemployed people remains a major challenge.

The unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% in April, the fourth consecutive month of higher jobless rates, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think tank in Mumbai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to expand manufacturing jobs as global supply chains shift and companies diversify out of China.

“Its growth story will be determined on how well it can create such opportunities,” Hajra said.

Kavita Lama, who runs two salons in New Delhi, said her business has faced many shocks in recent years. Covid restrictions in 2020 and 2021 severely hit her income. Even after the pandemic waned and curbs eased, many customers held back on spending amid rising inflation and financial insecurity.

Now, clients are back, said Lama. She has raised prices for services like hair cuts, hair coloring and manicures three times in the past two months, she said.

“They don’t want to save anymore,” she said. “They are ready to spend more even if the services are getting costlier.”

A monthly survey by India’s central bank shows consumer confidence has improved. In March, 75% of those surveyed said they had boosted their spending, compared with 64.1% in the same month a year earlier.

Sales of vehicles, which is a key indicator of consumer demand, have also grown. India’s total passenger-vehicle sales volume grew 17% in January, 11% in February and 4.7% in March from the same period a year ago, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Riaz Haq said...

JP Morgan on Indian IT sector: Shares of most IT services companies were under pressure on Wednesday after foreign brokerage JP Morgan reiterated its negative stance on the entire IT services universe. The brokerage said it expects every IT firm to disappoint the street in Q1 and H2FY24. Further, it has placed Infosys, TCS, and Mphasis on 'Negative Catalyst Watch', as reported by Zee Business.


https://www.zeebiz.com/markets/stocks/news-jp-morgan-indian-it-sector-infosys-tcs-mphasis-lti-mindtree-persistent-systems-us-recession-239897

The brokerage has maintained an 'underweight' rating on Infosys with a target price of Rs 1,150. On TCS, too, JP Morgan is underweight and has set the target price at Rs 2,700. As regards Mphasis, the target price is set at Rs 1,550. That's an 18 per cent decline from the previous close of Rs 1,898. Moreover, it has downgraded Persistent Systems to underweight from neutral and cut the target to Rs 4,100 from Rs 4,200 earlier. The brokerage said it finds the stock expensive given slowing growth in a tough macro environment.

The brokerage mentioned that EPAM recently cut its guidance from +3% growth in CY23 to -2% and the cuts were led by a cut in discretionary digital engineering spending. Persistent Systems has the highest exposure to discretionary spending at 83 per cent as compared to peers' 40-75 per cent. Further, it has maintained an underweight stance on Tech Mahindra, but the target price has been raised to Rs 950 from Rs 900 earlier.

At the time of writing this news, the S&P BSE Information Technology index was trading nearly half a per cent lower at 29,087.66 levels. KPIT Tech was the biggest loser on the index (down nearly 5 per cent). Persistent Systems was next on the list with a 2.62 per cent loss. Cigniti, Ramco Systems, LTI Mindtree, and Mastek were also among the losers. However, the stocks trimmed their losses later. At close, the IT index stood at 29,174.47, down 0.17 per cent.

Nirmal Bang Securities is also cautious about the sector. In its latest report, the brokerage said it continues to remain cautious on the IT sector with an 'underweight' (UW) stance and "will wait for better valuations or evidence that the worst is behind us. Only capitulation by the US consumer would, in our view, signal that we are close to the end of the current cycle of pain."

The brokerage further said, "Management commentary/data points across global IT services players and cloud/SaaS players in the June 2023 quarter-to-date (QTD) as well as from the recent meetings we have had in Bengaluru with a few Tier-1 players suggest that the June 2023 quarter is likely to be weak for Tier-1 players as has been widely expected. The situation for Tier-2 players will be much more company-specific."

Riaz Haq said...

Blow for TCS! Transamerica Life Insurance cuts short $2 billion contract with Indian IT giant


https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/corporate/story/blow-for-tcs-transamerica-life-insurance-cuts-short-2-billion-contract-with-indian-it-giant-385873-2023-06-16

The deal between TCS and Transamerica Insurance was signed in January 2018, as per a release by the IT services company. The deal ensured that TCS earned at least $200 million in annual revenue.

India’s largest IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has confirmed that its 10-year deal with Transamerica Life Insurance Company, which was signed in 2017, has been ended before completion due to the current macro-economic environment. The 10-year deal was worth $ 2 billion.

The company said in a statement, “Considering the current macro environment and respective business priorities, Transamerica and TCS have mutually agreed to end the administration arrangement for Transamerica life insurance, annuities and supplemental health insurance, and other employee benefit products.”

The deal between TCS and Transamerica Insurance was signed in January 2018, as per a release by the IT services company. The deal ensured that TCS earned at least $200 million in annual revenue. The release from January 2018 also highlighted that TCS was signed to simplify the service of more than 10 million policies into a single integrated modern platform.

“Transamerica and TCS will work together to ensure a smooth transition of the administration of these products to a new servicing model, which we expect to take approximately 30 months,” they added.

For the financial year 2022-23, TCS has reported a 14.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in consolidated net profit. The profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 stood at Rs 11,392 crore.

The consolidated revenue from operations of the IT company came in at Rs 59,162 crore, up 16.9 per cent, from Rs 50,591 crore YoY. In the December quarter of FY23, it stood at Rs 58,229 crore.

The revenue rose 10.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in constant currency (cc) terms. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) stood at Rs 14,488 crore with EBIT margin contracting 0.5 per cent YoY to 24.5 per cent. Net margin came in at 19.3 per cent.

This development comes as the IT services company's new CEO, K Krithivasan, started his term on June 1.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody


And economic inequalities now had become much wider. With exquisite timing, on April 22, four weeks into the lockdown, Vogue India invited its readers into another Mumbai world, the twenty-seven-story Mumbai home of Mukesh Ambani, India’s reigning business tycoon and one of the world’s richest people. The Ambani home, located eleven kilometers (seven miles) away from cramped Dharavi, has ceilings so high that the structure is tall as an average sixty-story building. It is equipped with three helipads, a theater that can accommodate eighty guests, a spa, and a garage for 168 vehicles. The “sun-kissed living area” offers a “breathtaking view of the sea.”11

In the India of 2020, the Hindu-Muslim divide and egregious economic inequalities were reverberating echoes of Bengal in the 1940s. And disconcertingly, despite decades of economic progress, the echoes also sounded in the economic desperation of the reverse trek from the city to the village. The ongoing reverse trek revealed the continued risk of sudden income loss, health catastrophe, and the loss of even woeful living spaces: it revealed an India that was broken for hundreds of millions of Indians.12 This book is my attempt to explain why India, for so many, is broken.

Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (p. 5). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody


And economic inequalities now had become much wider. With exquisite timing, on April 22, four weeks into the lockdown, Vogue India invited its readers into another Mumbai world, the twenty-seven-story Mumbai home of Mukesh Ambani, India’s reigning business tycoon and one of the world’s richest people. The Ambani home, located eleven kilometers (seven miles) away from cramped Dharavi, has ceilings so high that the structure is tall as an average sixty-story building. It is equipped with three helipads, a theater that can accommodate eighty guests, a spa, and a garage for 168 vehicles. The “sun-kissed living area” offers a “breathtaking view of the sea.”11

In the India of 2020, the Hindu-Muslim divide and egregious economic inequalities were reverberating echoes of Bengal in the 1940s. And disconcertingly, despite decades of economic progress, the echoes also sounded in the economic desperation of the reverse trek from the city to the village. The ongoing reverse trek revealed the continued risk of sudden income loss, health catastrophe, and the loss of even woeful living spaces: it revealed an India that was broken for hundreds of millions of Indians.12 This book is my attempt to explain why India, for so many, is broken.

Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (p. 5). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody


The grim reality is that, to employ all working-age Indians, the economy needs to create 200 million jobs over the next decade, an impossible order after the past decade of declining employment numbers.1 Right from independence, the Indian economy produced too few jobs. For more than 80 percent of Indians, the informal sector employment became the safety net, where workers idled for long stretches, earning below- or barely-above-poverty wages. Demonetization in 2016, a poorly executed goods and services tax in 2017, and COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 struck hammer blows on the informal sector while creating no new options. Indeed, technology accelerated job destruction, especially in retail and wholesale trade. More Indians just stopped looking for work.

Set against this bleakness, many pundits and leaders look back to celebrate and draw hope from India’s high GDP growth rates of the 1990s and 2000s. That celebrated celebrated growth, however, was an outcome of unusually buoyant world trade, rampant natural resource use, and a domestic finance-construction bubble. Even as wealthy Indians accumulated astonishing riches, job creation remained weak. The most severe forms of poverty came down, but still afflicted over 20 percent of Indians; another 40 percent lived precariously, ever at risk of falling back into a dire existence. The median Indian lived in that vulnerable zone—and, looking through a government-induced data fog, still lives there.

The unchanging problem through the post-independence years has been the lack of public goods for shared progress: education, health delivery, functioning cities, clean air and water, and a responsive and fair judiciary. Along with scarcity of jobs, the absence or poor quality of public goods makes the lived reality of vast numbers


Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (pp. 398-399). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody


The Indian GDP growth story was nearly over. In its 2018 annual report on India, the IMF confirmed that the demonetization and GST implementation shocks had taken a significant toll on the Indian economy. Non-performing loans of banks (loans that were not being repaid on time) had risen from about 4 percent of all loans in late 2014, when RBI governor Rajan first rang the alarm bells, to about 9 percent in 2017. For government-owned banks, almost 12 percent of all loans in 2017 were non-performing (Figure 21.3). The government had done little to discipline big companies for not repaying their debts. Instead, the government once again used scarce taxpayer money to refill the hole that the defaults left in the capital of the banks they owned. These bank recapitalizations added up to about $13 billion in the fiscal year 2017–2018, with similarly large amounts anticipated in each of the next two years. Choked with bad loans, major government-owned banks drastically slowed their lending. The industrial sector, saddled with debt, virtually stopped borrowing. Although GDP growth remained mysteriously high—above a 7 percent annual rate—corporate investment was evaporating.32


Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (pp. 343-344). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/06/23/modi-india-economy-success-story/

While campaigning for the U.S. presidency, Joe Biden sharply criticized the Modi government’s human rights record, writing how two of its landmark laws are “inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy.” Today, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads a country that is suddenly at the center of U.S. strategy in Asia. And Biden has changed his tune, inviting the prime minister to a state visit this week.

It’s widely understood that when U.S. elites refer to India having a functional free press, judiciary, and democracy, they are either dishonest or in denial about how the country’s political system has developed under Modi. But the same is true when they praise India’s economy. The U.S. government seems to be operating under the assumption that Modi’s India can sustain the country as it decouples from Chinese manufacturing. There is little reason to believe that is true.

Modi’s “Gujarat model” shot him to the prime ministry in 2014. As chief minister in Gujarat, he had led a developmentalist state: midwifing new industries, repairing bureaucracies, and making huge electricity and infrastructure investments. The state’s growth rate boomed as subsidies were given to politically connected conglomerates and to state-owned players.

But the model has failed when extended to the national stage. While Modi has succeeded in selling himself to his constituents and the world as India’s great modernizer, builder, and attractor of capital, the country’s growth under Modi has flagged. Heaps of praise from foreign India watchers might lead one to think otherwise. India’s boosters point to Modi’s “Make in India” 2014 electoral pledge to boost manufacturing to 25 percent of Indian GDP and his government’s all-in bet on capital investments in airports, along with roads and rail—11 percent of its 2023 budget—to create a larger internal market.

Riaz Haq said...

Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/06/23/modi-india-economy-success-story/

Though Modi promised to add 100 million manufacturing jobs, India actually lost 24 million of those jobs between 2017 and 2021. COVID-19 was only the last straw: 11 million jobs had already been lost before the pandemic hit, as state banks cloggedwith nonperforming assets followed by a shadow bank crisis led to a crunch in construction. In India, more people are out of work now than in 2011. Job prospects in cities are so dismal that agriculture now employs a greater share of workers than it did 5 years ago. In 2019, 12.5 million people applied for 35,000 railway jobs.

The failure to add manufacturing jobs is especially stark when India is compared with similar economies in Vietnam and Bangladesh. Both nations doubled their share of manufacturing employment between 2000 and 2020, while India’s share barely rose 2 percent. Now, Vietnam exports approximately the same value in manufactured goods with its 100 million people as does India with its 1.4 billion.

As for Modi’s bet on logistics and transport, it has largely failed to inspire domestic investment. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has pleadedwith Indian capitalists to invest in India, saying, “I want to hear from India Inc: what’s stopping you when countries and industries abroad think this is the place to be now?” Instead, they tend to offshore their profits and show a preference for financial assets.


Indian capitalists blame lack of demand for their refusal to invest. Modi’s crony capitalism has produced a massive upward distribution of wealth while failing to generate a middle-class consumer base large enough to entice investors to expand. Every index of private consumption of India’s vast working and middle class—sales of fast-moving consumer goods, two-wheelers, entry-level cars, even rail travel—has stagnated over the last decade, as Vivek Kaul has documented.

As the Economist reported, private investment in 2019-20 was only 22 percent of GDP, down from 31 percent in 2010-11. Investors also privately admitted to fearing Modi’s unstable and capricious use of tax authorities, which his government uses to punish political foes.

This is a development model that privileges huge, politically connected Indian incumbents—foreign firms have to seek partnerships with them to succeed. And contrary to its image of global economic openness, the government has also hikedtariffs on various goods—including goods from the United States, as highlighted by arguments over Harley Davidson during the courtship between Modi and the Trump administration.

Pollution also shortens life expectancy for 248 million residents of northern India by an estimated eight years. Cleaning up pollution reduces morbidity and increases people’s productivity, making it a vital investment in economic growth. In 2019, the Modi government declared a so-called war on pollution but allocated a scant $42 million to the effort. Modi simply will not take steps employed in countries around the world to fight pollution by taking on powerful opponents. In contrast, China’s war on pollution, launched in 2014, has significantly cleaned up its air. The Indian government has even gone so far as to label environmental activists in Greta Thunberg’s Fridays For Future organization as terrorists, arresting them under India’s draconian sedition laws.

Institutionalized sexism also severely hampersIndian economic growth. Female employment rates (ranging from formal work to self-employment to informal labor) have been dropping for over three decades, with only 7 out of 100 urban women now employed, placing the nation behind even Saudi Arabia in terms of female labor participation. The Modi government’s low funding of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2023 further hurts working women; conversely, boosting rural employment and creating urban employment guarantee schemes would be an easy growth (and electoral) win.

Riaz Haq said...

Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/06/23/modi-india-economy-success-story/

Modi’s deft use of direct benefit programs—such as the installation of toilets in homes, electricity hookups, and distribution of cooking gas—has certainly improved his citizen’s lives. While these programs do little to redistribute wealth or change India’s economic trajectory, the tangibility of these home-based benefits has redounded to Modi’s personal popularity and helps to explain his slight electoral edge with women.

But these programs, together with Modi’s Hindu nationalist stunts—such as the construction of a massive Hindu temple on the remains of an ancient mosque, which was destroyed by Hindu nationalist mobs in 1992—also help to distract his supporters from his government’s myriad failures. This combination of institutionalized anti-minority violence, authoritarian crackdowns on free press and critics, youth unemployment, and soaring inequality, is explosive in Modi’s India.

Modi’s Gujarat model of using capital-intensive infrastructure as a primary engine for growth has derailed—even for Gujarat. India is now stuck in a jobless growth trap that prioritizes capital but generates low labor participation and low human capital. As the economist R. Nagaraj concludes, “Never in the past seven decades has India witnessed such an economic reversal, and the gravity of the problem is perhaps yet to sink into the minds of policymakers and the public.”

Riaz Haq said...

Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate) - Pakistan, India | Data


Bangladesh 54%

Pakistan 54%

India 74%

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.EMP.VULN.ZS?locations=PK-IN-BD


------------

Sandeep Manudhane
@sandeep_PT
Why the size of the economy means little
a simple analysis

1) We are often told that India is now a $3.5 trillion economy. It is growing fast too. Hence, we must be happy with this growth in size as it is the most visible sign of right direction. This is the Quantity is Good argument.

2) We are told that such growth can happen only if policies are right, and all engines of the GDP - consumption, exports, investment, govt. consumption - are doing their job well. We tend to believe it.

3) We are also told that unless GDP grows, how can Indians (on average) grow? Proof is given to us in the form of 'rising per capita incomes' of India. And we celebrate "India racing past the UK" in GDP terms, ignoring that the average Indian today is 20 times poorer than the average Britisher.

4) All this reasoning sounds sensible, logical, credible, and utterly worth reiterating. So we tend to think - good, GDP size on the whole matters the most.

5) Wrong. This is not how it works in real life.

6) It is wrong due to three major reasons
(a) Distribution effect
(b) Concentration of power effect
(c) Inter-generational wealth and income effect

7) First comes the distribution effect. Since 1991, the indisputable fact recorded by economists is that "rich have gotten richer, and poor steadily stagnant or poorer". Thomas Piketty recorded it so well he's almost never spoken in New India now! Thus, we have a super-rich tiny elite of 2-3% at the top, and a vast ocean of stagnant-income 70-80% down below. And this is not changing at all. Do not be fooled by rising nominal per capita figures - factor in inflation and boom! And remember - per capita is an average figure, and it conceals the concentration.

8) Second is the Concentration of power effect. RBI ex-deputy governor Viral Acharya wrote that just 5 big industrial groups - Tata, Birlas, Adanis, Ambanis, Mittals - now disproportionately own the economic assets of India, and directly contribute to inflation dynamics (via their pricing power). This concentration is rising dangerously each year for some time now, and all government policies are designed to push it even higher. Hence, a rising GDP size means they corner more and more and more of the incremental annual output. The per capita rises, but somehow magically people don't experience it in 'steadily improving lives'.

9) Third is the Inter-generational wealth and income effect. Ever wondered why more than 90% of India is working in unstructured, informal jobs, with near-zero social security? Ever wondered why rich families smoothly pass on 100% of their assets across generations while paying zero taxes? Ever wondered how taxes paid by the rich as a per cent of their incomes are not as high as those paid by you and me (normal citizens)? India has no inheritance tax, but has a hugely corporate-friendly tax regime with many policies tailor-made to augment their wealth. Trickle down is impossible in this system. But that was the spiel sold to us in 1991, and later, each year! There is no incentive for giant corporates (and rich folks) to generate more formal jobs, as an ocean of underpaid slaves is ready to slog their entire lives for them. Add to that automation, and now, AI systems!

SUMMARY
Sadly, as India's GDP grows in size, it means little for the masses because trickle-down is near zero. That is because new formal jobs aren't being generated at scale at all (which in itself is a big topic for analysis).
So, our Quantity of GDP is different from Quality of GDP.


https://twitter.com/sandeep_PT/status/1675421203152896001?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

Income of poorest fifth plunged 53% in 5 yrs; those at top surged | India News,The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/income-of-poorest-fifth-plunged-53-in-5-yrs-those-at-top-surged-7738426/

In a trend unprecedented since economic liberalisation, the annual income of the poorest 20% of Indian households, constantly rising since 1995, plunged 53% in the pandemic year 2020-21 from their levels in 2015-16. In the same five-year period, the richest 20% saw their annual household income grow 39% reflecting the sharp contrast Covid’s economic impact has had on the bottom of the pyramid and the top.


---------------


A new survey, which highlights the economic impact of the pandemic on Indian households, found that the income of the poorest 20 percent of the country declined by 53 percent in 2020-21 from that in 2015-16.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/poor-in-india-lose-half-their-income-in-last-5-years-rich-got-richer-survey#read-more

The survey, conducted by the People's Research on India's Consumer Economy (PRICE), a Mumbai-based think tank, also shows that in contrast, the same period saw the annual household income of the richest 20 percent grow by 39 percent.

Conducted between April and October 2021, the survey covered 20,000 households in the first stage, and 42,000 households in the second stage. It spanned over 120 towns and 800 villages in 100 districts.



Income Erosion in All Households Except the Rich Ones
The survey indicated that while the poorest 20 percent households witnessed an income erosion of 53 percent, the lower-middle-class saw a 39-percent decline in household income. The income of the middle-class, meanwhile, reduced by 9 percent.

However, the upper-middle-class and richest households saw their incomes rise by 7 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
The survey also showed that the richest households, on an average, accumulated more income per household as well as pooled income in the past five years than any other five-year period since liberalisation.

While the richest 20 percent accounted for 50.2 percent of the total household income in 1995, the survey shows that their share jumped to 56.3 percent in 2021. In contrast, the share of the poorest 20 percent dropped from 5.9 percent to 3.3 percent in the same period.



While 90 percent of the poorest 20 percent in 2016 lived in rural India, the figure dropped to 70 percent in 2021. In urban areas as well, the share of the poorest 20 percent households went from 10 percent in 2016 to 30 percent in 2021.

"The data reflects that casual labourers, petty traders, household workers, among others, in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities got hit the most by the pandemic. During the survey, we also noticed that while in rural areas, people in the lower middle income category (Q2) moved to the middle income category (Q3), in the urban areas, the shift has been downwards, from Q3 to Q2. In fact, the rise in poverty level of the urban poor has pulled down the household income of the entire category," reported The Indian Express, quoting Rajesh Shukla, MD and CEO of PRICE.

Most Middle-Class Breadwinners Are Illiterate or Have Primary Schooling
The survey further shows that while a majority of the breadwinners in 'Rich India' (top 20 percent) have completed high-school education (60 percent, of which 40 percent are graduates and above), nearly half of 'Middle India' (60 percent) only have primary education.

As for the bottom 20 percent, 86 percent are either illiterate or just have primary education. Only 6 percent are graduates and above.

(With inputs from The Indian Express, ICE360 2021 Survey.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Riaz Haq said...

In the absence of real data, India's stats are all being manufactured by BJP to win elections.



Postponing India’s census is terrible for the country

But it may suit Narendra Modi just fine



https://www.economist.com/asia/2023/01/05/postponing-indias-census-is-terrible-for-the-country





Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such. And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data.



----------



Three years ago India’s government was scheduled to pose its citizens a long list of basic but important questions. How many people live in your house? What is it made of? Do you have a toilet? A car? An internet connection? The answers would refresh data from the country’s previous census in 2011, which, given India’s rapid development, were wildly out of date. Because of India’s covid-19 lockdown, however, the questions were never asked.



Almost three years later, and though India has officially left the pandemic behind, there has been no attempt to reschedule the decennial census. It may not happen until after parliamentary elections in 2024, or at all. Opposition politicians and development experts smell a rat.



----------



For a while policymakers can tide themselves over with estimates, but eventually these need to be corrected with accurate numbers. “Right now we’re relying on data from the 2011 census, but we know our results will be off by a lot because things have changed so much since then,” says Pronab Sen, a former chairman of the National Statistical Commission who works on the household-consumption survey. And bad data lead to bad policy. A study in 2020 estimated that some 100m people may have missed out on food aid to which they were entitled because the distribution system uses decade-old numbers.



Similarly, it is important to know how many children live in an area before building schools and hiring teachers. The educational misfiring caused by the absence of such knowledge is particularly acute in fast-growing cities such as Delhi or Bangalore, says Narayanan Unni, who is advising the government on the census. “We basically don’t know how many people live in these places now, so proper planning for public services is really hard.”



The home ministry, which is in charge of the census, continues to blame its postponement on the pandemic, most recently in response to a parliamentary question on December 13th. It said the delay would continue “until further orders”, giving no time-frame for a resumption of data-gathering. Many statisticians and social scientists are mystified by this explanation: it is over a year since India resumed holding elections and other big political events.

Riaz Haq said...

One-tenth of India's population escaped poverty in 5 years - government report
By Manoj Kumar

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/one-tenth-indias-population-escaped-poverty-5-years-government-report-2023-07-17/


NEW DELHI, July 17 (Reuters) - Nearly 135 million people, around 10% of India's population, escaped poverty in the five years to March 2021, a government report found on Monday.

Rural areas saw the strongest fall in poverty, according to the study, which used the United Nations' Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), based on 12 indicators such as malnutrition, education and sanitation. If people are deprived in three or more areas, they are identified as "MPI poor."

"Improvements in nutrition, years of schooling, sanitation and cooking fuel played a significant role in bringing down poverty," said Suman Bery, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, the government think-tank that released the report.

The percentage of the population living in poverty fell to 15% in 2019-21 from 25% in 2015/16, according to the report, which was based on the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey.

A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released last week said the number of people living in multidimensional poverty fell to 16.4% of India's population in 2021 from 55% in 2005.

According to UNDP estimates, the number of people, who lived below the $2.15 per day poverty line had declined to 10% in India in 2021.

India's federal government offers free food grain to about 800 million people, about 57% of country's 1.4 billion population, while states spend billions of dollars on subsidising education, health, electricity and other services.

The state that saw the largest number moving out of poverty was Uttar Pradesh, with 343 million people, followed by the states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, according to the report.

Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Conor Humphries

Riaz Haq said...

Bhavika Kapoor ✋
@BhavikaKapoor5
๐‘ท๐’“๐’๐’‘๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’‚:
- 5th largest economy ๐Ÿšฉ
- 5 trillon economy ๐Ÿ„

๐‘ป๐’“๐’–๐’•๐’‰:
๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฎ'๐˜€ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—š๐——๐—ฃ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฆ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฐ:

๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด: The manufacturing sector has grown at an average rate of just 3.5% per year since 2014. This is well below the average growth rate of average 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the manufacturing sector is a major concern, as it is a key driver of job creation and economic growth. Poor performance of manufacturing in GDP is one of the major reasons of massive unemployment in India

๐—œ๐—ป๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ: The infrastructure sector has also performed poorly in recent years. The growth rate of the infrastructure sector has averaged just 2% per year since 2014. This is below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the infrastructure sector is a major constraint on economic growth, as it limits the ability of businesses to expand and create jobs.

๐—”๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—น๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ: The agriculture sector has also performed poorly in recent years. The growth rate of the agriculture sector has averaged just 2% per year since 2014. This is below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the agriculture sector is a major concern, as it is a key source of livelihood for millions of Indians.

๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป:
The construction sector has grown at an average rate of just 2.5% per year since 2014. This is well below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the construction sector is a major concern, as it is a key driver of job creation (as it gives employment to unskilled workforce too) and economic growth.

๐—•๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€:
India's banking and financial services sector has faced a multitude of challenges, primarily in the form of non-performing assets (NPAs) and the resulting stress on bank balance sheets. The burden of NPAs, coupled with regulatory issues, limited credit availability, and risk-averse lending practices, has impacted the sector's ability to fuel economic growth. Additionally, the sector has witnessed instances of fraud and mismanagement, eroding investor confidence.

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ด๐˜†:
Despite efforts to improve power generation and distribution, India's power and energy sector has struggled to keep pace with the growing demand. Issues like inadequate infrastructure, transmission losses, fuel supply constraints, and pricing challenges have hampered the sector's progress. The heavy reliance on fossil fuels has also posed environmental challenges, requiring a shift towards cleaner and renewable energy sources.

In summary, addressing the above highlighted issues will require a comprehensive approach, involving policy reforms, infrastructure development, skill enhancement, and investment in research and development. However, I don't think Modi government has the talent, vision and political willingness to handle such complex issues.

https://twitter.com/BhavikaKapoor5/status/1680910458742767616?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

72% of MSMEs stagnant since past 5 years: Survey | The Indian Express


https://indianexpress.com/article/business/72-percent-of-msmes-stagnant-since-past-5-years-survey-8447589/

Over three-fourth of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are of the view that their business remained either stagnant or decreased or wound up during the last five years, a survey said. The survey by industry body Consortium of Indian Associations of 1,08,500 entrepreneurs also stated that 76 per cent of the respondents are not making profit and access to bank finance remains a big issue.

“During the last 5 years, the performance of 72% of the respondents is either stagnant or
decreasing or stopped or wound up. Only 28% of the respondents have confirmed that they are growing. This is a warning sign. 76% of the respondents have said they are not making a profit,” it said.

--------------


Jawhar Sircar
@jawharsircar
Modi’s economics —
where Demonetisation destroys MSMEs —
who provide 90% of jobs in India.
Corporates, esp Cronies make profit —
but no jobs are created.
Low tax helps corporate — obviously, nothing comes free —
which may explain BJP’s money power and godi media support

https://twitter.com/jawharsircar/status/1682747158020374528?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

Only a cheaper rupee can spur Indian growth


https://www.ft.com/content/c3a28628-5b92-4db7-a8c2-0f41bea05969

Elite interest favours a strong currency, to the detriment of the nation
ASHOKA MODY


While other Asian policymakers, such as those in South Korea and China, have strategically used sizeable depreciations of their currencies to bolster export competitiveness, Indian elites bemoan every infinitesimal decline in the rupee’s value as a national humiliation. A unique economic and political confluence first entrenched this bogus pride in the country’s psyche in the mid-1960s. And since the 1990s, the country’s corporate leaders and new rich have wanted to maintain a strong rupee. As a result, the country’s export-based growth has suffered, as have jobs for low-skilled workers.


India is triply handicapped in exporting manufactured goods: it has a poorly educated workforce, few women in its factories and an overvalued currency. Education and female labour force participation are key to raising productivity, but take years to achieve. Today, only a much cheaper currency — about 100 rupees per dollar rather than the current 82 — can spur Indian exports. It is low-hanging fruit.

In a rare sane moment in 1949, a newly independent India devalued the rupee from Rs3.3 to Rs4.8 per dollar, bringing relief to its uncompetitive economy. Indian manufacturers could earn profits even when they lowered dollar sale prices, which helped increase exports. Costlier imports slowed import growth, helping reduce the current-account deficit. But the task was never completed. With low productivity and high inflation, India could not match countries such as Japan in labour-intensive manufactured exports. The World Bank and the IMF financed India’s large current account deficit, creating the illusion that it did not need currency devaluation.

When those two institutions finally threatened to stop financing that deficit, the country’s officials foolishly negotiated the rate to Rs7.5 per dollar in June 1966. This too-little-too-late devaluation did not compensate for the rise in domestic production costs. Taiwan and South Korea raced ahead, helped by currency devaluations; Indian exports languished.

The perceived failure of the 1966 devaluation to spur exports forever tarnished Indian belief in an activist exchange rate policy. Rather than encouraging more aggressive nominal devaluation to offset the rise in production costs and thus achieve real depreciation, devaluation “by stealth” was always too little, too late. In the 1980s, China used aggressive exchange rate depreciation as key to its monumental export push.



India’s 1991 financial crisis was another all too brief moment of sanity. Authorities devalued the rupee in July 1991 and let it float in March 1993. But new forces strengthened the currency. Software exports and remittances from workers in the Middle East had a bolstering effect. More importantly, once global money managers began funding large Indian companies, a strong rupee helped that small elite minimise the costs of repaying international creditors and investors. A strong rupee also helped aspirants to elite status shop for fast cars and handbags, often in Milan and Singapore.



Reflecting the national sense of pride and elite preference, political gamesmanship conditioned policymakers to focus on stemming the currency’s decline. In 2013, prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi bemoaned the fall in the currency, saying: “Our rupee has been admitted into the ICU.” After Modi became prime minister, hot money flowed in and the rupee appreciated briefly. But when it fell again, leaders of the opposition trolled the government by repeating Modi’s phrase: the rupee was in the ICU.

Riaz Haq said...

Only a cheaper rupee can spur Indian growth


https://www.ft.com/content/c3a28628-5b92-4db7-a8c2-0f41bea05969


Elite interest favours a strong currency, to the detriment of the nation
ASHOKA MODY

Sadly, the nominal depreciation was not enough. According to the Bank for International Settlements, between 1994 and now, India’s domestic costs of export production have risen by about 60 per cent relative to competitors. As a result, the real exchange rate, which determines international competitiveness, has strengthened by 12 per cent. Vietnamese manufactured exports, following the East Asian playbook, are poised to exceed India’s manufactured exports.

India’s accumulated cost-of-production disadvantage requires the rupee to drop to about Rs90 per dollar; Rs100 per dollar would provide an ideal cushion. But Indian authorities continue to avoid an activist exchange rate policy, and rely on dodgy policy tools: tax cuts and subsidies for corporate India, tariff barriers to shield inefficient producers and weaker labour protections. Such measures simply make the rich richer, while doing little for low-skilled workers. An exchange value of Rs100 per dollar would temporarily give Indian exports a much-needed boost. The time to act is now.

Riaz Haq said...

Ritesh Kumar Singh
@RiteshEconomist
India's premature #deindustrialisation: 12 out of the 23 #manufacturing industries that make up the IIP (Index of Industrial Production) are at levels lower than 7 years ago
@moneycontrolcom

https://twitter.com/RiteshEconomist/status/1691499535170674698?s=20


-----------------

India's industrial growth falls to 3.7% in June


https://www.moneycontrol.com/europe/?url=https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/indias-industrial-growth-falls-to-3-7-in-june-11161921.html#:~:text=At%203.7%20percent%2C%20the%20latest,12.6%20percent%20in%20June%202022.



India's industrial output grew by 3.7 percent in June, according to data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on August 11.

At 3.7 percent, the latest industrial growth figure as per the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is at a three-month low. It is also below the consensus estimate of 5 percent.

Industrial growth had come in at 5.2 percent in May - now revised to 5.3 percent - and was 12.6 percent in June 2022.

For the first quarter of 2023-24, IIP growth stood at 4.5 percent, down from 12.9 percent in April-June 2022 when the data was boosted by a favourable base effect.

Industrial growth in June was dragged down by a weaker increase in the manufacturing output, which rose by 3.1 percent year-on-year compared to 5.8 percent in May.

The performance of the manufacturing sector has an outsized impact on the headline industrial growth number as the sector accounts for more than three-fourths of the IIP.

While manufacturing output grew at a slower pace, that of mining and electricity rose at a faster clip. In June, mining output rose by 7.6 percent, up from 6.4 percent in May, and electricity production was up 4.2 percent. In May, electricity production was up a mere 0.9 percent.

The improved performance of mining and electricity sectors was down the low rainfall in June as drier conditions allow increased mining activity.

"IIP growth print in June has disappointed," said Suman Chowdhury, chief economist and head of research at Acuitรฉ Ratings & Research.

"Clearly, the manufacturing sector has not been able to sustain the growth trend that had been seen in the first two months of the last quarter. The manufacturing output grew only by 3.1 percent and actually saw a sequential contraction of almost 1 percent," Chowdhury added.

"Within manufacturing, output in metals exhibited a healthy performance while export-intensive categories such as textiles and wearing apparel continued to remain pressured," noted Rajani Sinha, chief economist at CareEdge.

In terms of the use-based classification of goods, there were some big shocks. While production of primary and intermediate good rose at a greater rate in June - 5.2 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively - there were weaknesses in other spheres, with output of consumer durables falling 6.9 percent in June after rising for the for the first time in six months in May.

Capital goods' output was up just 2.2 percent - down from 8.1 percent in May - while that of consumer non-durables rose a mere 1.2 percent. in May, it had posted a growth of 8.4 percent.

Output of infrastructure goods grew by 11.3 percent - the same as in May.

According to Aditi Nayar, ICRA's chief economist, the performance of most high-frequency indicators improved in July relative to June, although there were some laggards in the form of vehicle registrations and finished steel consumption.

"Based on these trends, ICRA expects the IIP growth to witness an uptick to 4-6 percent in July," Nayar said.