Mixed bag of interesting diagnosis combined with some optimisticprognostication.
CEA in July projected real GDPgrowth rebounding to 7% this fiscal.
CEA acknowledges that 2019 was a difficult year for the global economy, including for trade and demand, and by extension a challenging period for the Indianeconomy as well.
National Statistical Office now estimates at 5% for the 12months ending in March.
IMF: stress in the non-bankfinancialindustry and decline in creditgrowth.
Interestingly, a chapter devoted to “Financial fragility in the NBFC sector” recommends a dynamic health index that policymakers can use as an early warning system to avert incipient liquiditycrises in this key credit providing sector..
Downside risks: continuingglobal trade uncertainties, escalation in West Asian geopolitical tensions, slow pace of insolvency resolution and the possibility of further fiscal pressure crowding out private investment.
It recommends scrapping the Essential Commodities Act — enacted in 1955 when famines and shortages were the concern.
Drug (PricesControl) Order of 2013 has failed to achieve its aim of making drugs affordable and needs to go.
CEA wants a complete review of the policy on foodgrains, which he argues has made the government the largest “hoarder” thereby distorting these markets.
All are suggestions that traders and market players, a key electoral constituency, will cheer, but may be fraught with risks.
European Union Parliament’s discussion recently on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, is more proof of concern, particularly in the West, over the possible repercussions of the law and the protests across India.
Parliamentarians in the U.K. and U.S. Congressmen, including Democratic presidential contenders, have asked India to “reconsider” the law and to “engage” with the protesters.
The EU parliamentarians went a step further: putting out six different and extremely critical resolutions, including one that spoke of the possible risk by the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens, of creating “the largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
After India’sintensediplomaticoutreach, the parliamentarians agreed to put off voting on the resolution until after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Modi visit Brussels; according to the EU member requesting the postponement, India will address Europe’s concerns.
The government has called this a diplomatic victory, blaming Pakistan and also a British MEP with Pakistan occupied Kashmir origins for “strenuous efforts” to attack India in the EU Parliament.
The government has held that the CAA is India’s internal law.
New Delhi must also consider the impact of its repeated reference to Pakistan as the sole mover of any motion against it at world legislatures and fora.
In the EU Parliament, 626MEPs of the total 751 were members of the groups that originally drafted the six resolutions, and it seems unlikely that Islamabad could have achieved such a majority.
Indian diplomats seem to be overwhelmedkeepingout any negative references to India at official fora.
A sneeze, a global cold and testing times for China
The Year of the Rat has begun on an inauspicious note for China.
Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV has claimed over 200 lives in China and the numbers infected have touched 10,000confirmedcases.
WHO has declared it a global emergency
Animal-to-person spread and now person-to-person spread is occurring.
Rapid urbanisation that forces animals and humans into closer proximity creates a perfect petri dish from where such zoonotic outbreaks can originate.
Keralapatient, who is in isolation in a hospital, is stable and being closely monitored.
The Chinese Lunar New Year began on January 24 and normally, it marks a week-longholiday, marked by feasting and travel by large numbers to join their families for the celebrations.
Undoubtedly, this movement contributed to the rapid transmission of the disease across China and to many countries before the Chinese authorities cracked down.
Comparisons are being drawn the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in 2002-03 which infected around 8,000 patients and claimed nearly 800 lives.
Nipah is also zoonotic and made the jump from fruit bats to humans.
Though there were 17 deaths in India, effective quarantine measures by local authorities prevented the spread.
In addition, regions in India suffer from seasonal outbreaks of dengue, malaria and influenza strains.
The nation-widediseasesurveillanceprogramme needs to be strengthened.
There is an acute shortage of epidemiologists, microbiologists and entomologists which translates into wasteful delays in diagnostics.
Thinking beyond farm sops
The year 2019 witnessed a series of interventions and disruptions in the farm sector.
The first half of the year saw the launch of a grand farm sop in the form of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) with a record allocation of ₹75,000 crore.
The second half, however, was a disaster for the sector as many parts of the country witnessed drought and floods.
The economic slowdown and the spiralling onion and vegetable prices burdened consumers (including farmers), providing a short respite to only a section of farmers.
Populist measures have a low bearing on the economy.
Despite several measures to reduce vulnerability of climate-induceddisasters, the farm sector and farmers continue to suffer losses.
Expenditure on livestock and fisheries must be increased, as they are mainly connected with resource-poor families in rural areas and also to raise the decelerating growth rate.
The expenditure on research and development in agriculture needs to be raised from nearly 0.40%of agriculture GDP to 1%
It is imperative to expand the implementation of Climate Smart Villages of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) across the nation.
Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), which are currently facing operational and structural issues governed by different Acts and funded by various sources, may be strengthened by bringing them under one institution, preferably an FPO Development and Regulatory Authority.
Key farm institutions and organisations in the front line of farm service, dealing with perishables and low shelf life commodities, must digitalise so that they are efficiently managed.
Small-scaleinvestmentmeasures or an incentive-basedsystem is essential to scale up sustainable practices such as agroforestry, climate-smart agriculture, ecosystem services, conservation agriculture and others.
Increasing corporate social responsibility will help to tap more private investments besides encouraging private players in potential areas where production sustainability is possible.
The government must establish a farm data agency, which can consolidate, collate and maintain farm data available at various platforms.
Commissioning ease of farming index is necessary to ascertain the progress made by national and State governments on the key indicators of farming.
The need of the hour is setting up two institutions
A national agricultural development council on the lines of the Goods and Services Tax Council under the chairmanship of Prime Minister for effective coordination and convergence of States on key reforms and policies
Farmers’ welfare commissions (both at the Centre and State level), as an independent institutional mechanism which will act as a neutral platform for assessing all agriculture-relatedissues and schemes.
CAA fulfils wish of Gandhiji, President tells Parliament
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday kick-started the Budget session of Parliament with an address to both Houses. He lauded the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) that, he said, fulfilled the wish of Mahatma Gandhi who had said that Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan, who didn’t want to stay there, could come to India.
Execution of Nirbhaya convicts postponed till further orders
The execution of the death sentence awarded to all four convicts in the December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case was postponed for the second time on Friday, following an order from a Delhi court.
On January 7, the court had ordered the execution of the death sentence on January 22. This was postponed to February 1.
Shortly after the court’s order, the victim’s mother said she would continue her fight till the convicts are hanged.
Be aggressive on CAA, PM tells NDA partners
Foreign Secretary takes up major revamp at MEA
themes like culture, trade and development
consolidated geographical divisions for better coordination