Modi govt’s poor handing of 2nd covid wave leaves another 7 million Indians jobless

News Network
May 3, 2021

India’s unemployment rate rose to a four-month high of nearly 8% in April, and the outlook remains weak thanks to the poor handling of the second wave of covid-19 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government coupled with state administrations extending lockdowns to curb a record surge in virus cases.

Unemployment increased to 7.97% from 6.5% in March, with more than seven million jobs lost last month, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt., a private research firm.

“There is a fall in the jobs available. This could be due to the lockdowns,” CMIE Managing Director Mahesh Vyas said by telephone. “Since the virus is still quite intense and we are stressed on the medical health-services front, it’s likely that the situation will remain tense in May as well.”

Daily Covid-19 deaths in India hit a record 3,689 Sunday. The number of new cases slowed slightly Monday after India on Saturday became the first country to register more than 400,000 daily cases.

PM  Modi, who announced a strict lockdown in March 2020 that resulted in millions of lost jobs and a record contraction in economic output, now is urging states to use such measures only as a last resort. Local administrations have been forced to extend curbs as the nation’s creaky health infrastructure can’t cope with the flood of virus cases, jeopardizing a nascent economic recovery.

The weak employment outlook is a risk for India’s chances of reaching double-digit economic growth this year. Many economists already have lowered their projections, while several are warning of possible reductions if provincial curbs are extended further.

Barclays Bank Plc on Monday lowered its forecast by one percentage point to 10%, as “there is growing uncertainty around the number of cases and fatalities,” economist Rahul Bajoria wrote in a research note. “Slowing vaccinations are also hurting India’s recovery prospects.”

Double Whammy

The rise in unemployment comes amid a backlash against government handling of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreak. Modi’s party lost an election in a key state, while foreign envoys are joining Indians on social media clamouring for help with few medical supplies available.

A separate survey Monday by IHS Markit showed the manufacturing sector was still losing jobs in April, though the rate of contraction was the weakest in the current 13-month sequence of job shedding. The CMIE data -- which economists track closely in the absence of real-time employment data from the government -- show joblessness is more acute in urban areas as labourers return to their villages.

The labour-force participation rate, which includes the number of people with jobs and those seeking work, declined to just below 40% in April.

“It’s a double whammy for the economy,” Vyas said. “Some people get disappointed and leave the labour market. The problem is the inability of the Indian economy to generate sufficient jobs for people who want them, so incomes are falling.”

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News Network
November 24,2021

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Mangaluru, Nov 24: Police have arrested four accused in connection the recent cold-blooded murder of an 8-year-old girl at Raj Tiles Factory, Parari near Ulaibettu on the outskirts of the city. 

According to police, the accused had gang-raped the child before killing her last weekend. 

The arrested accused are Muneem Singh (20), Manish Tirki (33), Mukesh Singh (20) and Jayban alias Jay Singh (21). All of them are labourers and said to be close friends.

The victim was the daughter of a couple from Simdega district Jharkhand, aged 35 and 28 respectively who work for the factory. The aggrieved couple had four children and they were working for the tiles factory for the last two years.

The girl who went out with her siblings to play after lunch on November 21 did not return even though the other three came back. The parents went searching and found the girl having fallen into a drain inside the factory at about 6 pm.

The police of the rural station here registered a case under Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Four teams were formed to probe the case in light of the seriousness of the crime. 

The teams after thorough verification of CCTV footages, evidences, eyewitnesses, confessions etc, found that a 21-year-old youth from Panna district, Madhya Pradesh, another youth aged 20 from the same place, a 33-year-old man from Ranchi district, Jharkhand and a 20-year-old resident of Panna district, Madhya Pradesh, were involved. Three among them were working as coolies in the said factory while the other was working in Puttur and had come here to meet one among the above four.

Two of the accused had invited the girl into their room in the past several times and had offered chocolates etc to her and indulged in sexual atrocities. When the girl went out to play on November 21 afternoon, the accused forcibly took the girl into the room by holding her mouth tightly shut after which they raped her in turns. As the girl was crying loudly because of bleeding and pain, one of the men smothered her to death. 

They then tossed the body into a drain. When the people in the area including the parents went searching for the girl, the accused had also acted like searching for her, the police said.

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News Network
November 25,2021

New Delhi, Nov 25: For the first time, India has 1,020 women per 1,000 men, according to the Phase-II report of the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).

This is the first time in any NFHS survey or census that the number of women on the sex ratio is more than men. In the 2005-06 NFHS-3 report, the ratio was 1000:1000. However, it went down to 991:1000 in the next NFHS report in 2015-16.

 “The improved sex ratio and sex ratio at birth is also a significant achievement; even though the real picture will emerge from the census, we can say for now looking at the results that our measures for women empowerment have steered us in the right direction,” Vikas Sheel, additional secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Mission Director, National Health Mission, told Hindustan Times.

Even though the sex ratio of 1020:1000 is a significant milestone achieved by the country, the gender ratio at birth in the past five years stands at 929.

The government on November 24 released the factsheets of key indicators on population, reproductive and child health, family welfare, nutrition and others for India and 14 states and UTs, clubbed under Phase-II of the 2019-21 NFHS-5.

The states and UTs that were surveyed in the second phase were Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The findings of NFHS-5 for 22 states and UTs were covered in Phase-I, which was released in December last year.

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News Network
November 19,2021

New Delhi, Nov 19: After withdrawing the contentious land ordinances in 2015, this is the second time that the Prime Minister Narendra Mod led union government has had to blink on the farmers' issue ahead of the state polls. In 2015, it was months before the Bihar polls and this time, it was just a few months before polls in half a dozen states.

The move comes just a couple of months before the elections in states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which were the epicentres of farmers' agitation. The BJP has been getting feedback from the ground that the ongoing farmers agitation could harm BJP's election prospects, particularly in Western Uttar Pradesh where the agitation had united the jats against the government and in Punjab where BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal broke its ties with the saffron party in protest against the farm laws.

What remains to be seen is whether the BJP tries to get its oldest ally back to the NDA fold besides forging a closer tie with Captain Amarinder Singh's new party.

In UP, the Samajwadi Party, the BJP's main rival, had allied with Jayant Chautala-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in Western UP, which appeared to pose a big challenge to the BJP after the farmers agitation. In his speech before announcing the decision to withdraw the farm billls, PM Modi reached out to the marginal farmers, who he said account for 80 per cent of the community. 

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