AFTER months of dilly-dallying, the Reserve Bank of India has finally come out with the figure that nearly 99 per cent of the currency notes demonetised in November 2016, came back to the banking system. The total value of demonetised currency, in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, was Rs 15.44 lakh crores, of which Rs 15.28 lakh crores came back to the banking system, which is 98.96 per cent.
THE post-liberalisation period is widely perceived to have been a period of jobless growth. Between 1999-2000 and 2011-12, proportion of men in the age-group 15 to 59 years who were gainfully employed declined from 84 per cent to 81 per cent. During the same period, proportion of women aged 15 to 59 years who were gainfully employed for at least some part of the year fell from 41 per cent to only 32 per cent.
VOLUME II of the Economic Survey which was brought out by the ministry of finance a few days ago paints an extremely grim picture of the Indian economy. The growth rate of real Gross Value Added (GVA which is the appropriate thing to look at, since the GDP measure includes net indirect taxes and hence does not truly reflect output trends), was 6.6 per cent for 2016-17 as a whole, compared to 7.9 per cent for 2015-16.
EXACTLY twenty years ago, a major financial crisis had hit the countries of East and South East Asia in July 1997. This crisis was a watershed in the history of third world development, in the sense that these “tiger economies” which had seen extraordinarily high growth rates until that time, remained permanently crippled thereafter.
INDIA’S livestock economy is among the biggest in the world. A ban on cow slaughter would either result in more and more unproductive animals being killed in most unscientific and cruel ways or would entail such a high cost for maintaining unproductive animals that cattle rearing would cease to be a profitable enterprise for farm households. Restrictions being imposed on cow slaughter and the actions of the cow vigilantes would deal a serious blow to the agrarian economy and in particular to the livelihoods of the poor and middle peasants in rural India.
MUCH hype has surrounded the transition to the Goods and Service Tax (GST regime) which has tended to be elevated to the status of being the magical solution to all of India’s economic problems. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Quite independent of the intrinsic merits or demerits of GST compared with the structure of taxes it has replaced, the changeover does not address the fundamental challenges of the Indian economy even in the sphere of taxation.
NARENDRA Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncracy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform.
THE Indian constitution had erected a financial federal structure as a complement to the political federal structure. The constitution had been aware that if the states were reduced to the status of mendicants approaching the centre for resources, then that ipso facto would entail a subversion of the federal polity.
THE question of farm-loan waiver that is being demanded by the peasantry is much misunderstood. Such a waiver, it is argued by critics, would vitiate the credit-culture in the country: people would stop repaying loans henceforth in expectation of waivers on them. Since the UPA government had waived farm-loans a few years ago and now again there is a demand for a farm-loan waiver, peasants, they contend, are getting into a habit of not paying loans and demanding periodic waivers instead.