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Economic survey 2018: A combo of cherry picked data

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Economic Survey

Instead of giving a true picture of the Indian Economy, the BJP Govt at centre has resorted to highlight only those facts that present itself in a good light. It is a shame that the Centre has wasted this golden opportunity to talk about the growing problems the country is facing.

It is apparent that with the release of the Economic Survey of 2017-18, the govt. has cherry-picked data to paint itself in a good light. It has cleverly hidden its wrongdoings and various primary indicators which may show the downward trend in economy.

The report fails to mention of the crisis which Indian farmers are currently facing. BJP has almost forgotten its promise of hiking the Minimum Support Price (MSP) by 50%, and it was not even mentioned in the Survey.

The agriculture sector is going through one of its worst phases as the growth has fallen to paltry 2.1%.The MSME sector has not recovered from the twin shocks of demonetisation and GST and there seems to be no light at the end of tunnel.

The most important question that begs to be questioned is how Modi government plans to achieve its impossible target of doubling the farmer incomes by 2022. The survey’s policy prescription doesn’t explain as how it could be done, instead it merely goes on to state that “radical follow-up action” is needed if its “laudable objective of addressing agricultural stress” is to be addressed.

The economic Survey also skips the important facts regarding the fiscal deficit. The ground reality is that the Govt has totally failed to contain the fiscal deficit which overshot the target and it is expected to reach a sky-high level of 3.5%. It is very strange that the Govt failed to rein in the deficit in last 44 months, despite getting the windfall of low international crude prices and astronomically high indirect taxes.

Exports sector which was performing so well has gone in a free fall and have reached its lowest levels but the government seems oblivious of this fact and continues to make tall promises on Make in India. As a matter of fact schemes such as Make in India and other similar schemes are complete disaster and are even contributing to the nation’s unemployment crisis.

The story is no different for other flagship schemes like Digital India, Startup India and Smart Cities as most of them are just high sounding names and were only meant to create media hype. The report has candidly accepted that it lacks fund for key sector like education where it spent a measly 0.47% of GDP in FY 2017-18.

 The survey grudgingly admits that in a developing economy like India, there isn’t enough fiscal space to “increase the expenditure on critical social infrastructure like education and health in India”. Therefore, it points out that over the last four years, expenditure on social services has largely stayed the same.

 The fresh investments are at its lowest in last 10 years and the GDP is likely to grow at only 6.5%, the lowest in last 4 years. One of the most important indicators of economy is Gross Capital Formation (GCP) which is the percentage of investments out of the total GDP every year. The GCP has gone down below 27% which is at its lowest level in last 13 years.

The entire banking sector is in crisis on account of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) which has reached an alarming level of 9.5 lakh crore. The key industries like Telecom, IT, Power and Construction which generate maximum employment are still under the strain of ill thought and hastily implemented GST.

The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament highlighted that demonetisation and the GST that was rolled out has added more taxpayers but this addition will not move the revenue needle anytime soon. So, the combination of demonetisation and GST has added about 1.8 million new tax payers to the net but this relatively small number is unlikely to bring in much additional revenue because most of them reported an average income, in many cases, close to the income tax threshold of Rs. 2.5 lakhs, limiting the early revenue impact.

We can say that combination of demonetisation and GST added 1.8 million new taxpayers to the net which is roughly 0.15% of the total population but most of them are at the bottom range of the tax threshold which means that even if they pay taxes, it will not have much of an impact on total revenues.

The survey further claims that the roll-out of India’s GST has resulted in a “50% increase in unique indirect taxpayers under the GST compared with the pre-GST system”. This translates into a substantial “3.4 million new indirect taxpayers”.

If we talk about the case of new enterprises entering the GST system, the survey also notes most of these firms aren’t engaged in business-to-consumer transactions, but instead do transactions in what is known as the business-to-business (B2B) sector and exports. It also acknowledges the poor implementation of the new tax system noting that “uncertainty will not be definitively lifted until the GST stabilises later this year”.

The Economic Survey also uses latest GST data to examine the state of formal employment in the country and points out that India may have been under-estimating this all along. In short, it notes, nearly 30% of India’s non-farm workforce which is 240 million, have some form of social security coverage through EPFO/ESIC and nearly 50% of that non-farm workforce is currently employed in firms that now pay taxes.

By examining the state of formal employment through payroll reporting, the chief economic adviser has ever so slightly waded into a recent debate over the creation of jobs in India. According to a recent study, which looked into the EPFO database, it was inferred that this amounted to an equal number of new jobs being created. The Economic Survey makes no such claims, apart from saying India may have been under-counting the state of formal employment in the country. This leaves the overall survey’s analysis on job creation wanting.

However, to his credit, CEA Subramanian notes that the India’s policy agenda for the next few years absolutely has to include “finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce” and also points out that the real estate and construction sector “will create over 15 million jobs over the next five years.”

Nevertheless, the state of formal employment in the country doesn’t tell us enough about the rate of new job creation and how it stands up against the rate of new skilled additions to the Indian workforce every year.

On other equally important areas which may turn around India, the Economic Survey remains mute. For instance, on the issue of agricultural growth and stagnant farm incomes, the Economic Survey describes the problem but doesn’t delve in deep. At best, the Economic Survey 2018 is a feeble attempt of Chief Economic Advisor to bail out this Govt which has failed to perform on every major economic indicator.

Chandrakent

By Chanderkent

Disclaimer: views are personal

 

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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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breast cancer

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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