Jobs, Industry, Health Spending In Decline, Inflation Up; Bharat Jodo Is Ideological Counter To Hindutva’s Divide And Rule
NSCN-IM says no point in talks with Amit Shah, India without US ambassador since Jan 2021, NCPCR allegation of conversion in Chennai school a dud, Indian advisory chokes off Sri Lanka tourism
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Snapshot of the day
September 13, 2022
In August, India’s unemployment rate shot up to 8.3%, the highest in 12 months. “This rise reflects the inability of the economy to provide adequate jobs at a time when the demand for jobs increased,” says Mahesh Vyas of CMIE. The worrisome part is that salaried jobs fell by 4.7 million, a substantial 5.8%, from 80.8 million in July to 76.2 million in August. This is the lowest in 15 months.
The labour force participation rate increased from 38.95% in July to 39.24% in August and the labour force increased from 426 million to 430 million. But the labour market disappointed ― instead of absorbing workers, it shed 2.6 million jobs. Employment shrank from 397.2 million in July to 394.6 million in August. The unemployed swelled by 6.6 million, from 29 million in July to 35.6 million in August.
The government’s health spending has fallen to an abysmal 1.28% of GDP, down from 1.35% in 2017-18. The National Health Policy proposed to hike the rate to 2.5% of GDP by 2025. For comparison, the US spent 18.8% of GDP on health in 2020. In India, nearly half of all health expenditure remains out of pocket.
Retail inflation rose to 7% in August due to higher food prices. National Statistical Office data released yesterday showed that food inflation was 7.62% in August, up from 6.69% in July and 3.11% in August 2021. On an annual basis, inflation was over 10% for vegetables, spices, footwear, and “fuel and light”. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation, which RBI looks at while setting monetary policy, has remained above the comfort level of 6% for eight months running.
Meanwhile, industrial production growth plunged to a four-month low of 2.4% in July, compared with 12.3% in June. Manufacturing, which constitutes over 75% of the index of industrial production, rose only 3.2% compared with over 12% in the previous month.
A Naga delegation led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio met Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday to push for revival of talks between the Centre’s envoy and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). Talks broke down in June after central envoy AK Mishra excluded three political points agreed to by former Naga interlocutor RN Ravi, said TR Zeliang, chairman, United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Nagaland, who was present in the meeting. These are, inclusion of Yehzabo (Naga constitution) into the Indian Constitution, integration of Naga-dominated areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur into Nagaland and creation of a regional autonomous territory council for Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. “We were here to meet the Prime Minister, but he directed us to meet the Home Minister. The NSCN-IM said there was no point of discussion after the three political points were excluded from the final ‘Competency’. It is silent on Yehzabo. Both the interlocutors have agreed on a flag for the Nagas,” Zeliang said.
Iran has asked India to resume buying oil, “ignoring unilateral” sanctions imposed by the US, like New Delhi has done with Russia. The matter will be raised by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi with PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of the Heads of State meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India stopped buying oil from Iran in May 2019 after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on it. Prior to that, India was the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil after China.
Indian and Chinese troops have completed the disengagement process at Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh, but the larger issue of de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and disengagement at Depsang Plains and Demchok still remains. Is the worst over on the LAC? Unlikely, says Manoj Joshi.
The government plans to pay about Rs 20,000 crore to state-run fuel retailers like Indian Oil Corp, to partly compensate them for losses and keep a check on cooking gas prices, reports Bloomberg. The Oil Ministry has sought a compensation of Rs 28,000 crore, but the Finance Ministry is agreeing to only about Rs 20,000 crore. The final decision is awaited. The three biggest state-run retailers, which together supply more than 90% of India’s petroleum fuels, have suffered the worst quarterly losses in years by freezing retail prices. While the handout could ease their pain, it would pressure government finances that are already strained by tax cuts on fuels and a higher fertiliser subsidy to tackle inflationary pressures.
Gujarat’s Bharatiya Tribal Party, an ally of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since May, yesterday signalled the end of the four-month-old partnership, saying that it did not want to team up with any party that wears saffron or white caps.
Eastern Army commander Lieutenant General RP Kalita has said the Army is fully prepared for any eventuality in the eastern theatre, and monitoring Chinese activity across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The situation in the eastern sector is “reasonably calm and firmly under control,” Kalita said. “There have been reports of continued infrastructure development by the PLA and we are constantly monitoring the same.”
A proposal mooted by the nodal agency for the promotion of Kannada has run into a controversy with the Karnataka Jain community opposing the renaming of the arterial Adikavi Pampa road in Bengaluru. It was to be renamed Kannada Sahitya Parishat Road. The Karnataka Jain Association has registered a strong protest at the perceived insult to the Jain poet. Kannada litterateurs have also objected, because Adikavi Pampa has a special place in Kannada literature.
The Supreme Court fixed the hearing in 220 petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 on October 31 and said it will refer the case to a three-judge bench. Chief Justice UU Lalit has asked the parties, including the Centre, to draw a “road map” classifying the issues involved and forming questions of law. Lawyers said petitions linking the CAA with the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) ought to be heard separately.
Eight cheetahs ― five female and four male ― will depart from Namibia’s capital Windhoek on Friday and reach Jaipur airport on Saturday morning, to be released in the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The cheetah is the only large carnivore made completely extinct in India, mainly due to habitat loss, sport hunting and their use in coursing. Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Korea, Madhya Pradesh is believed to have killed the last three Indian cheetahs in 1947. In 1952, the Indian government officially declared the cheetah extinct.
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra has spoken to NDTV on cancelled shows and censorship.
The Shree Jagannath Sena in Odisha has laid claim to the Kohinoor diamond, which was briefly unattended following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and sought the president’s intervention on behalf of the Lord.
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