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Decoding recovery path of the Indian economy

The year 2020 may not have belonged to India, but the future certainly belongs to this nation for its resilience, faith, and sheer optimism.

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National debt under Modi govt surges

No one ever thought of the scale and magnitude of disruption that was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the aftermath, the resurgence would be equally trying especially in a country like ours with a complex economic framework. However, we need to applaud the government for paving the way for an impressive recovery, with a judicious mix of spending and structural reforms. The outcome of the efforts visible in the Q2 numbers which showed a single-digit economic contraction of 7.5 percent as compared to 23.9 percent in Q1. The figure beats the global average, where according to an analysis, 49 economies declined at an average of 12.4 percent.

The jubilations and optimism mirrored in the financial markets, business houses, and the government. If the current optimism and rally get carried unabated then as per the official and unofficial forecasts, India’s economy is likely to return to the pre-Covid levels by the end of the current fiscal year which is a much shorter timeframe than expected. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) prediction of positive growth in the H2 FY21 is substantiated by the fact that in the recently published Q2 data, the manufacturing PMI is above 50 for the fourth straight month which is only 11 percentage points lower than pre-Covid-19 levels. It is worth noting that unemployment levels are currently on a decline; the 6.7 percent unemployment rate for September was lower than the pre-Covid-19 level of 7.6 percent in February.

Like always the world has taken notice of the positives and showed faith in India’s story once again as visible in the growth numbers of segments such as foreign direct investment (FDI), foreign policy investment, and corporate bond market inflows. It all points to strong investor faith in India’s economic resilience. Besides, upwards revisions by rating agencies in India’s GDP forecast are all repeating the same story — that we have kicked in the rebound phase.

The Ripple Effect

The unleashing of structural reforms and the stimulus packages announced by the government did take effect in various sectors as the fiscal response has been calibrated to reap maximum benefit. The one that stands out is the extension of the 100 percent credit guarantee scheme to 27 stressed sectors. Besides, fiscal stimulus and tax rebates for growth-critical sectors, such as housing, would have spillover effects, thus indirectly boosting demand-led growth. Reforms and timely fiscal interventions in other critical sectors are already showing positive results: the Gross Value Added (GVA) for three sectors– agriculture, manufacturing, and utilities– has been positive in Q2, as compared to just one, the agriculture sector, in Q1 this year. Similarly, the expansion of production linked incentive (PLI) schemes –that give incentives to firms– worth? 1.46 lakh crore for 10 new sectors will give a boost to the manufacturing sector, and result in long-term benefits for the economy.

The liberalization of the notoriously rigid formal labour market would expedite India’s upward movement in the ease of doing business rankings, and attract further investments., India has moved up 79 positions in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings since 2014.

Fears of Fiscal deficit

The stimulus packages and therefore, additional non-budgeted spending –along with falling tax revenue,– by the government to wean off the COVID crisis has led to pushing India’s budget gap wider to 8 percent of GDP in the current financial year, more than double the targeted 3.5percent. The expanded support package– to rescue companies and save jobs amid the pandemic–given by the government amounts to 15 percent of the economy, adding to the global stimulus that has touched $12trillion. The fear that the fiscal deficit will loom large on the government in the future to manage fiscal prudence is not unfounded. However, the finance minister has assured time and again that fiscal deficit fears won’t derail government spending as government spending is important to bring the economy on track. The forthcoming union budget will focus on public spending on Infrastructure to ensure sustainable economic revival. There is a dire need to reinstitute the Infrastructure Development Bank for long-term funding of infrastructure projects.

Globally countries that have committed to stimulus spending as high as 20 percent of their GDP is now resorting to additional taxation, helping fuel a recovery in the economy. In India, the government is finding other routes to keep fuelling the economic engine as the FM said that the government will push PSUs to accelerate spending as the government can’t afford to curb spending at this juncture of economic crisis.

Authorities to the Rescue

A multipronged policy response — the efforts and intelligent balancing act done– by the apex bank in India, the RBI, during the Covid– crisis is praised by the government and the people of India, equally. The reduction of key interest rates along with the restructuring of outstanding loans, moratorium of given to the borrowers and extension of on-Tap TLTRO to 26 stressed sectors under the Emergency Credit Linked Guarantee Scheme(ECLGS 2.0) are some of the strategies that have helped the businesses tide over the crisis.

The way RBI is trying to resolve the shadow banking crisis that has plagued the country since 2018 has found many takers including the government. The government on the other hand is rooting the idea of privatising a couple of state-run banks that have received cabinet approvals.

Conclusion

The year 2020 may not have belonged to India, but the future certainly belongs to this nation for its resilience, faith, and sheer optimism.

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Male sex hormones may help treat breast cancer: Study

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

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Sydney : Researchers have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens, commonly thought of as male sex hormones but also found at lower levels in women, in breast cancer treatment.

In normal breast development, estrogen stimulates and androgen inhibits growth at puberty and throughout adult life.

Abnormal estrogen activity is responsible for the majority of breast cancers, but the role of androgen activity in this disease has been controversial.

The new research published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that androgens have potential for treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

A cancer is called estrogen receptor positive if it has receptors for estrogen, according to Breastcancer.org.

Using cell-line and patient-derived models, the global team, including researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, demonstrated that androgen receptor activation by natural androgen or a new androgenic drug had potent anti-tumour activity in all estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, even those resistant to current standard-of-care treatments.

In contrast, androgen receptor inhibitors had no effect.

“This work has immediate implications for women with metastatic estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, including those resistant to current forms of endocrine therapy,” said lead researcher Theresa Hickey, Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide.

“We provide compelling new experimental evidence that androgen receptor stimulating drugs can be more effective than existing (e.g. Tamoxifen) or new (e.g. Palbociclib) standard-of-care treatments and, in the case of the latter, can be combined to enhance growth inhibition,” said Wayne Tilley, Director of the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.

Androgens were historically used to treat breast cancer, but knowledge of hormone receptors in breast tissue was rudimentary at the time and the treatment’s efficacy misunderstood.

Androgen therapy was discontinued due to virilising side effects and the advent of anti-estrogenic endocrine therapies.

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

“The new insights from this study should clarify the widespread confusion over the role of the androgen receptor in estrogen receptor driven breast cancer,” said Elgene Lim, a breast oncologist and Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute.

“Given the efficacy of this treatment strategy at multiple stages of disease in our study, we hope to translate these findings into clinical trials as a new class of endocrine therapy for breast cancer.”

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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Elizabeth Olsen: Nepotism creates fear that you don’t deserve the work you get

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

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Elizabeth Olsen

Los Angeles, Jan 19 : Hollywood star Elizabeth Olsen says she once thought of changing her surname and distance herself from the success of her family because it was insanity growing up in the spotlight.

“It was insanity. There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out. It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career,” said the actress, whose older sisters are Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

Elizabeth opened up om the fears of nepotism.

“The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don’t earn or deserve the work. There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought if I’m gonna be an actress I’m going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name. And then, once I started working, I was like, ‘I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?’ It’s fine now,” she said.

The actress said fame has made her more of a homebody.

“Fame has also made me someone who is more of a homebody than maybe I would like to be but I know where not to go. If I could do whatever I wanted for the day, I’d start with the gym, then I’d go to the grocery store, because it’s my favourite thing,” Elizabeth told The Sun.

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