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Analysis

Three Years Into BJP Government, Unemployment Rate Up

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Unemployment

The unemployment rate in 2015-16 was 5% of the labour force, up from 4.9% in 2013-14, the year before the BJP assumed power.

As the BJP government completes three years in office this week, IndiaSpend is analysing five of its key electoral promises–on employment, Swachh Bharat, roads, access to electricity and terrorism. In the first part today, we look at how the government has performed on job creation.

Jobless growth
“The country has been dragged through 10 years of Jobless Growth by the Congress-led UPA Government,” the BJP had said in its manifesto for the 2014 general election, “Under the broader economic revival, BJP will accord high priority to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship.”

A television commercial by the BJP highlighting the issue of unemployment in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections

At a rally in Agra in 2013, Narendra Modi, then campaigning for the position of Prime Minister, had said the BJP would create 10 million jobs: “If BJP comes to power, it will provide one crore jobs which the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government could not do despite announcing it before the last Lok Sabha polls,” the newspaper DNA had quoted Modi in a November 2013 story.

Yet, the 2016-17 Economic Survey, based on data from the labour ministry, stated: “Employment growth has been sluggish.”

Based on the ‘Usual Principal Status’–according to which those who have spent a major part (183 days or more) of the preceding 365 days before a survey on economic activity are counted as having been part of the labour force–the labour ministry’s report on the Fifth Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey (2015-16) said unemployment was 5%.

The figure for 2013-14 was marginally lower, at 4.9%, according to labour ministry data.

The survey includes workers in both formal and informal parts of the economy, as well as those working as casual workers in public works programmes.

 

Source: Ministry of Labour and Employment Quarterly Employment Surveys here and here

Between July 2014 and December 2016, the eight major sectors of manufacturing, trade, construction, education, health, information technology, transport, and accommodation and restaurant created 641,000 jobs, data show, not including jobs created between January 2016 and March 2016, for which data are unavailable. In comparison, these sectors had added 1.28 million jobs between July 2011 and December 2013, according to labour ministry data.

This is based on data collected by the government from non-farm industrial units that have 10 or more workers in these eight sectors. “These surveys are being conducted in selected sectors of the economy which are sensitive to the global factors and employment intensive,” a 2016 labour ministry report said.

total jobs

Source: Ministry of Labour and Employment Quarterly Employment Surveys here and here

 

Lesser job and social security

 

Further, the Economic Survey pointed to a shift in the pattern of employment from permanent jobs to casual and contract employment. The increasingly “temporary” nature of work, it said, has an “adverse effect” on the level of wages, stability of employment, and employees’ social security. “It also indicates preference by employers away from regular/formal employment to circumvent labour laws,” it stated.

Source: Ministry of Labour and Employment Quarterly Employment Surveys here and here
Note: Temporary workers include casual labour and contract workers.

These employment surveys, conducted both before and after the BJP government began its term in 2014, do not account for a considerable portion of India’s workforce–those working in units employing less than 10 people, and those employed in the informal sector. The informal sector is estimated to have provided 90% of jobs through the period 2004-05 to 2011-12, according to Economic Survey 2015-16.

The number of beneficiaries of one government assistance programme, the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)–which aims to generate employment in rural and urban areas by starting new micro enterprises and small projects–has fallen 24.4% from 428,000 in 2012-13 to 323,362 in 2015-16, according to government data. Until October 2016, the programme had created an additional 187,252 jobs, according to the latest data available.

A further 15,768 people opened micro-enterprises under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission in 2016-17, which “seeks to enhance the employment opportunities and incomes of the urban poor….” The programme was launched by the previous government in 2013 but has been continued by the BJP government. It is not clear how many jobs these micro-enterprises might have created.

Source: Lok Sabha, Press release (July 2014) and Annual report 2013-14 of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
Figures for 2016-17 are upto October 31, 2016.

The total number of jobs created in the first three years of the BJP government, calculated by adding data from the eight major sectors included in the labour ministry’s quarterly employment surveys and data on the PMEGP until October 2016 would be 1.51 million–which is nearly 39% less than the 2.47 million created during the three previous years, based on the same data sources.

However, since data from the eight major sectors for January to March 2016 as well as PMEGP data between October and March 2016 are not available, the employment figures during BJP rule might be somewhat underestimated.

 

Source IANS/Indiaspend

 

Analysis

Corruptors seem a step ahead of enforcement agencies

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Match-fixing
Pic Credit : The Economist

It is all nice to say that fans deserve fairplay, not cheating and corruption. Yet, allegations of betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing keep sprouting in the world of sport, and corruptors seem a step ahead of the sports authorities and the law enforcement agencies.

And it is difficult to catch thieves when hundreds of players are playing the game all over the world, more so in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Afghanistan has just got into the big boys league, having played their first Test match against India a few months ago. Of the big four, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won the World Cup and all three are troubled by the nefarious activities of their players.

Bangladesh is seen as a rising team, but they, too, have caught up with the other three in matching their high levels of corruption.

It is not that only the subcontinental sides are corrupt, some of the top players from South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies have also faced allegations, charges and got punished.

Some were even jailed, too, while some others were discharged by the courts of law on technical infirmities in the prosecution. A couple of them successfully challenged the charges and got hefty compensations.

The names of players who have been banned or suspended for indulging in corrupt practices is public knowledge. The new element that has crept into corrupting the game is the mushrooming international leagues, the Indian Premier League showing them the way.

Corruption in cricket is back in board rooms and coffee table discussions, courtesy the Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, admitting that he had indeed fouled the English cricket atmosphere with his despicable spot-fixing almost a decade ago, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) charging the legendary Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya with non-cooperation in its ongoing investigation into Sri Lankan cricket.

While disclosing the Jayasuriya case, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshall also mentioned something that he, perhaps, thought a revelation, that most bookies operating around the world are Indian, without saying why his agency is unable to fix them.

It took six years for Kaneria to have a change of heart after vehemently denying that he had any role in spot-fixing during an Essex-Durham 40-over NatWest game in 2009 and accusing the jailed teammate Mervyn Westfield of ruining his cricket career by dragging him into it.

Kaneria, 37, who has been banned from playing in England by the England and Wales Board, had a successful career, having been the fourth highest wicket-taker with 261 Test wickets behind Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

Kaneria got his script well written and rehearsed to say “he can’t live a life of lies” and like a saint with a past, apologised to Westfield, his Essex teammates and his own family.

The charge against Kaneria is that he pressurised Westfield to bowl an over costing 12 runs, and for that got paid 6,000 pound sterling, though he conceded only 10. For that the medium-fast bowler was jailed for four months.

As if on cue, the Essex Police said they would be reassessing the investigation in the wake of Kaneria’s admission.

Coming to Marshall, he sounded like President Donald Trump, who expressed his helplessness in imposing sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

Like Trump, who says placing sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt the Americans more than the Saudis in view of their sale of arms and military equipment to Riyadh, Marshall seem to imply that taking action against the Indians will hurt the world cricketing body more than the Indians!!

Marshall, however, had no hesitation in saying that the island nation’s case involves both local and Indian corruptors. He picked 12-20 active corruptors, six of these the players should be careful about, and showed their pictures to the England and Sri Lankan teams which are now playing a bilateral series in the island nation.

Jayasuriya’s case is surmised to be one of a couple of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption in Sri Lanka and many, including former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, believe that it could lead right up to the top of the cricket set-up and players.

Shockingly, the probe relates to the time Jayasuriya was the chief selector for a second time in 2016-17 when Sri Lanka lost the final match for a 2-3 series defeat, raising doubts about the team’s effort.

If what Ranatunga and others say is true then it only reaffirms the role the officials and influential players play in corrupting the game.

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Analysis

Liquidity worries, Q2 results to chart stock market’s course

The liquidity availability to the sector has become a concern after the default by some of the IL&FS Group companies.

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equity sensex nifty

Mumbai, Oct 21 : Second-quarter earnings result season, combined with the direction of foreign fund flows and the liquidity situation of the NBFC (non-banking financial companies) sector are expected to determine the trajectory of Indian stock market indices during the upcoming week.

In addition, the price of global crude oil and the rupee-US dollar matrix will also be other major market themes during the period.

“Markets next week would again focus on the developments in the liquidity situation of the NBFCs, HFCs (housing finance companies),” Devendra Nevgi, Founder and Principal Partner, Delta Global Partners, told IANS.

The liquidity availability to the sector has become a concern after the default by some of the IL&FS Group companies.

Last Friday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with new measures to increase the liquidity flow to NBFCs and HFCs.

“The ongoing turmoil led by a financial crunch in the domestic economy, global risk-off and worries over upcoming elections are likely to maintain their burden in the equity market,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

“At the same time, it is possible that a good portion of these risk factors have been digested by the market and the upcoming impacts will depend on developments like stability in global bond yield and the trade war.”

In terms of quarterly results, companies like Adani Ports, Ambuja Cements, TVS Motor, Bajaj Auto, Wipro, Bharti Airtel, Biocon, Maruti Suzuki, Yes Bank, Dr Reddys Labs, ICICI Bank and ITC are expected to announce their Q2 earnings next week.

“The sentiment would be driven by the moves in the NBFC and HFC stocks and earnings of Asian Paints, Bajaj Group of companies, Bharti Airtel, etc., which are due next week,” Nevgi said.

Apart from the Q2 results, the direction of flow of foreign funds assumes significance as outflows from the beginning of October have crossed the highest level in the last 12 months.

As per data complied from the stock exchanges, in just 13 trading sessions from October 1 onwards, foreign investors have sold stocks worth around Rs 19,500 crore.

The weekly provisional figures showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold scrips worth Rs 1,576.01 crore.

Besides, the rupee’s strength against the US dollar and global crude oil prices will be closely followed by investors.

In the previous week, a decline in crude oil prices to below $80 per barrel and a stable rupee in a range of 73 to a US dollar helped buoy investor sentiments.

The Indian rupee last week closed at Rs 73.32 to a dollar, strengthening by 24 paise from its previous week’s close of 73.56.

“Lower oil prices and weakness in the US Dollar Index can offset the weakness in local stocks and keep the rupee in a range for the next week,” Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, told IANS.

“… We can expect range-bound trading in the pair for the next week — between 73 and 74 levels on spot.”

On the technical charts, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty50 remains in an intermediate downtrend.

“Technically, with the Nifty again displaying weakness after the pullback rally seen in the previous week, the intermediate trend of the index remains down,” HDFC Securities’ Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.

“The downtrend is likely to continue early next week once the immediate support of 10,250 points is broken. Crucial resistances to watch on the upside are at 10,436-10,526 points.”

Last week, mixed corporate earnings and fears of a slowdown in global economic growth, pulled the two main indices of the Indian stock market lower.

Consequently, on a weekly basis, the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex closed at 34,315.63 points, down by 417.95 points or 1.20 per cent from its previous close.

Similarly, the wider Nifty50 of the NSE edged-lower. It closed at 10,303.55 points, down 168.95 points or 1.61 per cent from the previous week’s close.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected] )

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Analysis

RSS chief sets BJP’s electoral agenda

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RSS volunteers

There was never any doubt about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) anti-minority electoral gambits but the agenda has now been unambigiously and forcefully articulated by the party’s friend, philosopher and guide, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Delivering the organisation’s customary message on the occasion of Dussehra/Vijay Dashami, its chief, Mohan Bhagwat, has left no stone unturned about what the Narendra Modi government should immediately do — which is to start building the Ram temple in Ayodhya even by enacting an ordinance.

By pointedly ignoring the fact that the issue is currently before the Supreme Court, the RSS chief has taken the party and the Hindutva brotherhood to the days of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement in the 1990s when the saffron storm-troopers used to say that the courts can have no say in a matter of faith.

Apart from a reiteration of this aggressive “religious” stance, Bhagwat’s directive to the BJP to get down to business and not dilly-dally any longer on building the temple has scrapped Atal Behari Vajpayee’s decision in 1996 to put in cold storage the three “core” issues of the Sangh parivar — building the temple, doing away with Article 370 of the Constitution conferring special status on Jammu and Kashmir, and introducing a uniform civil code

That the negation of Vajpayee’s wishes has been done in the year of his death is not without significance. It remains to be seen whether the RSS will give any “advice” to the government on the two other issues — Article 370 and the uniform civil code.

But why the sudden hurry about constructing the temple? There may be two reasons. One is that it is the last throw of the dice by the party and the parivar in an election season to consolidate its vote bank of communal-minded Hindus at a time when the less than favourable economic scene may make sections of the liberal Hindus, who voted for the BJP in 2014, drift away.

The other is the realisation in the saffron brotherhood that it is now or never where the temple is concerned since the BJP is unlikely to get a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha in 2019. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by it may get it, but it will not be easy for the BJP to persuade some of its allies such as the Janata Dal (United) — which has opposed the BJP’s favourite triple talaq ordinance — and the Akali Dal to endorse a construction programme which cannot but alienate the minorities.

Notwithstanding BJP president Amit Shah’s conviction that the party will reign for half a century, there may be an awareness in the organisation that the 2014 outcome was the result of several unforeseen events — the Congress’s sudden and somewhat inexplicable collapse and Modi’s emergence (against the wishes of several in his party) as some kind of a messiah. From this standpoint, 2019 will not be the same as 2014.

Ever since the party and the parivar sensed that the mantras of neither “achhe din” (good days) nor “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (development for all) is evoking a favourable response, the focus of the saffron propaganda has been on Hindu-Muslim polarisation.

Whether it is extending the scope of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) from Assam to other states or the removal of long-established Muslim names in Uttar Pradesh like Mughalsarai and Allahabad, the BJP’s aim has been to send the message that Muslims will be under pressure to prove the genuiness of their citizenship and that India’s multi-cultural past will be erased as Hindu rashtra takes root.

Along with the direct and indirect offensive against Muslims, the parivar is also intent on confirming its Hindu credentials by opposing the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on the grounds it violates centuries-old beliefs.

The Sabarimala episode enables the RSS and the BJP to try and kill two birds with one stone. One is to project themselves as the standard-bearers of Hinduism, and the other is to flaunt a defiance of the Supreme Court.

The court has aroused the saffron lobby’s ire ever since it delivered a series of “progressive” judgments (of which Sabarimala is one) such as the one upholding the rights of privacy, which the government argued was an elitist concept, and the other was to decriminalise homosexuality in a case from which the government recused itself evidently because while the legalisation went against the BJP’s crusty orthodoxy, the party could not afford to be seen as living in Victorian times.

Sabarimala has given an opportunity to the RSS and the BJP to defy the apex court and suggest that it is not right all the time. The defiance may have also been motivated by the #MeToo movement which has claimed the scalp of a Union minister and persuaded another minister to say that those who support the movement are “perverted”.

Among the others who also answer to the description of being perverted are the so-called “Urban Naxalites”, a new form of abuse coined by the RSS and the BJP for the Left-Liberals who have always been called anti-nationals. Not surprisingly, another of the RSS chief’s advice to the government was to keep the “Urban Naxalites” under surveillance.

It will be interesting to know what those “secularists” who interacted with the RSS recently like former President Pranab Mukherjee and the business tycoon, Ratan Tata, think of the pitch for the temple and the castigation of “Urban Naxalites”.

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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