Surat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: IANS)[/caption] Those promises haven’t been kept. India’s job data is terribly inadequate—partly because as much as 90% of all employment takes place in the informal, unorganised sector but also because little attempt has been made to conduct robust employment surveys. Yet, estimates based on the government data show that in 2016-17, only 0.41 million jobs were created, while more than 7 million new job seekers joined the workforce. If growth during the UPA regime was “jobless”, the scenario under the NDA has been no different. Moreover, as the recent massive protest by farmers in Maharashtra showed, agricultural distress has only worsened in the past four years. In the first three years of the Modi government, the average growth rate of agricultural GDP was 1.8%; during the 10-year UPA regime, it was double that at 3.7%. The tardiness in job creation could well become the BJP’s nemesis during the next parliamentary elections. In his aggressive election campaign, Mr. Modi had frequently referred to India’s “demographic dividend”, its large population of youth. An estimated 50% of 1.3 billion Indians are under 25. And calculations based on birth and mortality rates show that by 2025 (which is only seven years away), India’s population could grow to 1.43 billion of which 48%, or nearly 700 million, would be people who are below 25. Obviously, within this the bulge, the number of people who are between 18-25 would be bigger than the total population of many countries. That could be a ticking time bomb. More than seven out of 10 of India’s young people live in rural India, primarily depending on unproductive farms with little skill or education to be of use in anything other than manual labour. Urban youth are only slightly better off with their overall quality of education making them inadequate for meaningful employment. In 2015, Mr. Modi’s government launched, with much fanfare, a massive programme called Skill India with an ambitious target of training 400 million Indian in different disciplines to make them job-ready. That target is a pie in the sky because since its inception,  only 13 lakh people have been trained, 9 lakh certified, and a little over half of that have found employment. Likewise, another of Mr. Modi’s pet programmes, Make In India, aimed at attracting foreign investment in the manufacturing sector, has under-performed. The proportion of foreign direct investment to manufacturing has actually fallen over the past three years. One of the biggest promises made during Mr. Modi’s electioneering in 2014 and in the BJP’s manifesto was that if elected it would root out corruption and eradicate tax avoidance and black money. Last year, he hastily demonetized large currency notes with the aim of cornering people who hoard unaccounted cash. The ploy was ill-advised and boomeranged—those who suffered most were small businesses and traders and those (read: the majority) of people who worked in the informal sector. His campaign time promises of bringing back money that India’s unscrupulous tax avoiders had salted away in foreign banks have also come a cropper. Mr. Modi’s avowed intentions of stemming corruption, which he has often said was a hallmark of the Congress-led UPA regime, have been as impotent. While corruption at lower levels has probably declined, India still ranks a low 81 out of 180 countries in terms of a corruption perception index. In fact, as a series of recent episodes have shown, major, headline-grabbing cases of corruption and swindling still abound. Indian business tycoons—liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and upscale jewellers, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi—have gamed the banking system to siphon out huge sums of money and, what’s more, have escaped prosecution by fleeing the country. [caption id="attachment_17754" align="alignleft" width="427"] New Delhi: BJP chief Amit Shah  (Photo: Bidesh Manna/IANS)[/caption] It’s difficult to find promises made in the BJP’s manifesto that have been delivered upon in the past four years. In infrastructure, another purported thrust area, it has not been able to build roads at the pace it had targeted; in foreign affairs, despite the bright optics of Mr. Modi’s visits abroad and those of foreign heads of states to India, and the promise of reviving Brand India, India’s strategy towards neighbours such as China or even in relationships with global biggies such as the US and Russia have been fuzzy and indeterminate. There is one section of the manifesto, however, where remarkable alacrity has often been displayed by the BJP and its leaders. Sadly, one of those has to do with their resolve to build a Ram Mandir at the disputed site in UP where an old mosque was demolished in 1992; and the other is about protecting the cow and its progeny under the guise of which its supporters have frequently unleashed violence that includes lynching and murder of anyone they suspect of slaughtering cows. [caption id="attachment_15887" align="alignnone" width="833"] Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: IANS)[/caption] Come election time and India’s voters are often accused of having short memories—something that political parties of all stripes try to take advantage of. But when a party tantalisingly promises big and then fails to deliver on all of them, forgetfulness of the electorate is probably not something it can count on.      ]]>

GDP growth rate rises after falling for 5 quarters

#IndiaUnstoppable : India’s GDP grows at 6.3% in second quarter of 2017-18 (July-September), up from 5.7% in previous quarter (April-June), as Modi government sets in the transformational reforms.

— BJP (@BJP4India) November 30, 2017 “The growth in the ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’, ‘mining and quarrying’, ‘construction’, ‘financial, insurance, real estate and professional services’ and ‘public administration, defence and other services’ is estimated to be 1.7 per cent, 5.5 per cent, 2.6 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, during this period,” the data said. Wait another 3-4 quarters, says Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said he was happy that the economy has registered a growth of 6.3 per cent in the latest quarter but still one cannot say whether this will mark an upward trend in the growth rate.

“I am happy that the July-Sept quarter has registered a growth rate of 6.3 per cent. This is a pause in the declining trend of the last five quarters. “But we cannot say now whether this will mark an upward trend in the growth rate. We should wait for the growth rates over the next 3-4 quarters before we can reach a definite conclusion,” Chidambaram said in his reaction to the latest GDP figures released by the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO).


  (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
(IANS) // ]]>

After Moody's pat, S&P keeps India at stable rating

S&P ratings on India affirmed at ‘BBB-/A-3’; Outlook stable. S&P also affirms India’s reforms and growth story.

— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) November 24, 2017 It said the stable outlook reflects its view that, over the next two years, growth will remain strong, India will maintain its sound external accounts position, and “fiscal deficits will remain broadly in line with our forecasts.” “Upward pressure on the ratings could build if the government’s reforms markedly improve its net general government fiscal out-turns and so reduce the level of net general government debt. Upward pressure could also build if India’s external accounts strengthen significantly,” S&P said in the statement. “Downward pressure on the ratings could emerge if GDP growth disappoints, causing us to reassess our view of trend growth; if net general government deficits rose significantly; or if the political will to maintain India’s reform agenda significantly lost momentum,” it added. Boosting investor sentiments, US credit rating agency Moody’s on November 17 upgraded India’s sovereign rating to Baa2 from its lowest investment grade of Baa3 after 13 years, a development Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said was “an extremely encouraging” global recognition of the structural reforms of last three years. India Inc too lauded it. (IANS) // ]]>

Manmohan doesn't see economic recovery soon

In a hard-hitting speech against the Narendra Modi government, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the three-and-a-half year rule has ruined all sectors and also created a wedge in the secular credentials of India.

He also questioned the political agenda of the CPI-M in Kerala. Singh was delivering a speech at the Congress party-organised public meeting here on Friday night on the occasion of the state-wide yatra led by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala protesting against the “anti-people policies” of both the Centre and state government. “The demonetisation drive was a historic blunder and the outcome has been fresh trouble and hardship for the people. Then came the hasty implementation of the GST, and the result is today there is a slowdown of the economy and GDP has fallen from 7.2 per cent in 2015-16 to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal. I don’t see any immediate recovery of the economy in sight,” said Singh. Singh heaped praise on the commitment of his predecessors Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, “who worked for the country and took it to the forefront in all areas including becoming the biggest producer of food grains and also the progress made in the field’s of atomic energy and the space programme”. “I as the Prime Minister from 2004 to 2014 also made humble contributions and saw the economy growing at 7.8 per cent. When the Congress ruled the country religions harmony was there as we kept our country’s tradition of allowing people of various faith living together and we never imposed a ban on what dress people should wear and what people should eat. But, in the three-and- half years of Modi governance, attempts are made to hurt the secular and democratic fabric of our country. The Congress will fight resolutely these divisive forces,” added Singh. Singh also came down heavily on the Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI-M government in Kerala and pointed out that even though one year is a short period to make a comment on the performance of the government, “I understand that the rule of law has crumbled and women are not safe and economic progress is also slow”. “But I have a question to the CPI-M and Left parties. At the national level are we going to oppose BJP as a united front or whether the CPI-M will keep the BJP and the Congress at the same distance? If they are sincere in the fight against the BJP and its anti-people policies, they have to cooperate with the leadership of Congress at the national level and fight together against the BJP’s misrule and divisive policies,” said Singh. The yatra of Chennithala concludes in the state capital on December 1 and on that day AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi will be addressing the public meeting. (IANS) // ]]>

Elected autocrat Modi destroyed economy: Rahul

 Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “democratically elected autocrat” as he attacked demonetisation and GST on the first anniversary of the note ban. Gandhi, in an article in the Financial Times newspaper, said while the Prime Minister had “claimed” the demonetisation decision taken on November 8 last year was aimed at wiping out corruption, but “Twelve months on the only thing he has wiped out is confidence in our once booming economy”. Gandhi also attacked the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and accused the Prime Minister of converting anger created by joblessness into communal hatred. “Demonetisation has wiped out 2 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, destroyed the informal labour sector and has wiped out many small and medium businesses. It has ruined the lives of millions of hard working Indians. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has calculated that over 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2017 due to demonetisation,” he said. The Congress Vice President also called the GST a “hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised” step and said that it created a modern day licence raj. “Bureaucratic and complex, it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern day ‘Licence Raj’ that imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” he said. “These two acts come at a time when global forces place particular demands on India’s economic model,” he said. The Congress leader linked the rise of Prime Minister Modi to anger and frustration created due to joblessness, and also linked the same frustration to the election of US President Donald Trump and the UK choosing to exit the European Union. “The rise of democratically elected autocrats, such as Mr Modi, is driven by two factors: a massive increase in connectivity and its profound impact on institutions; and, second, China’s dominance of the global job market,” Rahul Gandhi said. “China’s global monopoly on blue collar jobs is a fundamental challenge to other states. This has created millions of disenfranchised and angry workers who express their frustration at the ballot box — whether in votes for Mr Modi, Brexit, or Donald Trump.” He also accused Prime Minister Modi of hiding behind a hate-filled political narrative. “Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions,” he added.

(IANS) // ]]>


PM Modi at Skill India[/caption] There are more difficult things that Mr. Modi’s government must also do. Cleaning up the banking system, which is beset with bad loans is one; ensuring that missions such as Skill India, which is aimed at re-skilling and making India’s burgeoning population of job seekers employable, works as well as they were meant to is another. None of those are quick fixes. One response of the government for combatting the slowdown has been to set up a five-member economic advisory council. Given the problem that the Indian economy faces, a council is unlikely to be a panacea but with economists to advise him, hopefully Mr. Modi will bite the bullets that he has to if he wants to get things back on track.   // ]]>