THE report of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted in 2017-18 is finally out, and it confirms what had been leaked earlier, namely a dramatic increase in the unemployment rate in the Indian economy. The unemployment rate is given under two heads: usual status unemployment and current weekly status unemployment. These can be understood as follows.
THE official Gross Domestic Product data have just been released, which show that the growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 (January-March) over the fourth quarter of 2017-18 was 5.8 per cent. This is the lowest quarterly growth rate in five years. The media coverage of this event however has only been concerned with India’s rivalry with China, i.e., with the fact that India has lost the position of being the fastest-growing economy in the world to China.
WE often miss this aspect in our discussions, but Modi’s re-election is part of a global Right-ward shift that is taking place. Netanyahu got re-elected in Israel. Erdogan got massively re-elected in Turkey. The Conservative government came back to power in Australia against all predictions to the contrary.
THE Index of Industrial Production has for the first time since June 2013 contracted in absolute terms by 0.1 per cent in March 2019 compared to a year ago. This comes on top of a mere 0.07 per cent increase in February, a 1.7 per cent increase in January, a 2.6 per cent increase in December, and a 0.3 per cent increase in November. Industrial growth in short has been slowing down for some time now and the latest figure only reaffirms this trend emphatically.
BRITAIN, as the leading capitalist country in the world, had a current account deficit vis-à-vis the newly emerging countries, such as Continental Europe and the United States, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In fact it is the nature of the leading country to have such a deficit, since it provides the scope to others to grow within the international currency arrangement presided over by the leading country.
STATISTICS show that the period of neoliberal economic policy in India has witnessed a much higher rate of GDP growth compared to the earlier dirigiste period, indeed almost double the previous rate. They also show that the rate of agricultural growth, especially of foodgrains, in the neoliberal period has been distinctly lower than in the previous period.
NARENDRA Modi has been strutting around the country boasting about his muscularity. But he has feet of clay. In fact no previous prime minister in post-independence India has been as subservient to the US at the expense of the country’s interest, as Modi has been.
FIRST the Modi government in its last budget announced a scheme of transferring Rs 6000 per annum per household to a targeted group of small peasants (about 12 crores), obviously with an eye on the coming elections. But the amount promised was so trivial, and the exercise so fraught with non-seriousness of intent (except perhaps to make some money available to local cronies in the election season), that Modi himself has refrained from tom-tomming it in his election speeches.
NUMEROUS agencies from the Labour Bureau of Shimla to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy to Oxfam have been drawing attention to the grim unemployment situation in India at present. The government however not only continues to be in a denial mode, but has actually suppressed all official statistics that go against its claims. But like the proverbial thief hiding behind curtains whose shoes nonetheless are visible from outside, the government’s hiding behind suppressed statistics is of no avail; its own figures given in other places, like the thief’s shoes, reveal the truth.
IN election season, when political parties are seen to be making promises that would involve a commitment to governments making expenditures later, a question is often posed whether the country can afford such a ‘burden’. Those who pick this specific criticism among the several possible reasons that could be advanced against what is being offered, of course, are not in favour of any significant stepping up of public expenditures and effectively assume that the resources that the government can command are not amenable to increase.