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
April 23,2021

Mangaluru, Apr 23: Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar today led a team of police to force a few establishments including jewellery shops in the city to roll their shutters dwon in accordance with the fresh covid guidelines issued by the Karnataka government. 

The revised guidelines from Chief Secretary P Ravikumar has ordered the closure of shops, commercial and private establishments other than those dealing with essential services.

As a part of crackdown on the traders and force the shutting of shops other than that of essential services, City Police Commissioner carried out a drive in Clock Tower, Hampankatta, Ambedkar Circle, Falnir and Kankanady areas on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, the City Police Commissioner said that cases will be booked against those who violated the guidelines. “People and business establishment owners should behave responsibly. It is a natural tendency for the people to visit and buy when jewellery shops are open. Already appeal and advises were given to the traders. When they fail to adhere to the guidelines, the police have no option other than to book cases against them.”

The Commissioner also handed over roses to a few people who were found strictly adhering to the guidelines on various streets in the city.

The commissioner had even boarded a few city buses to ensure that the guidelines of wearing masks are strictly followed by the passengers, conductors and drivers.

Several shops dealing in electronic goods, mobile and mobile accessories, ready-made garments, jewellery were closed down by the police and Mangaluru City Corporation teams across Mangaluru.

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News Network
May 4,2021

IPL.jpg

New Delhi, May 4: The Indian Premier League was on Tuesday suspended indefinitely after multiple Covid-19 cases were reported in its bio-bubble, ending a month-long relatively smooth run for cricket's most glamorous and cash-rich event in the middle of a raging pandemic.

"The tournament has been suspended indefinitely. We will try to conduct the event in the next available window but this month is unlikely," league chairman Brijesh Patel told PTI.

The announcement came after Sunrisers Hyderabad's wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for Covid-19 along with Delhi Capitals' spinner veteran spinner Amit Mishra.

"...we will take stock if we can find a suitable window later during the year. It could be September but these are all speculations. As of now, we are not conducting it any further," BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla told PTI.

On Monday, Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji along with Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had also returned positive results.

The spread of infections had led to the postponement of two IPL games earlier.

The league organisers also issued a formal statement and said that the safety of its players and staff is paramount.

"The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect," the statement read.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind," it added.

The IPL said BCCI will do all it can to ensure that players in the event get back to their homes safely. IPL features stars from England, Australia, and New Zealand among other countries.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times," the IPL stated.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021."

The tournament began on April 9 and ran smoothly before KKR's Covid-19 cases caused the initial jitters on Monday. The tournament final was planned for May 30.

There was cause of concern in Delhi too as a few groundsmen at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium tested positive even though DDCA chief Rohan Jaitley asserted that "none of the groundsmen on duty" were among the infected.

Just days before this, three Australian players had pulled out of the league, citing Covid-19 concerns amid a devastating second wave of the global pandemic that has overwhelmed the medical infrastructure of the country.

The 2020 IPL had also been held in a bio-secure bubble in the UAE and at that time, infections were only reported before the start of the tournament.

India is currently recording over 3 lakh cases every day and more than 3,000 daily deaths.

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News Network
May 2,2021

Kolkata, May 2: The Election Commission of India on Sunday retracted its earlier announcement declaring Mamata Banerjee as the winner of Nandigram and announced TMC turncoat Suvendu Adhikari as winner from the seat. The EC said he won by a margin of over 1,900 votes.

As confusion over the title-bearer of Nandigram prevailed, the All India Trinamool Congress tweeted, "The counting process for Nandigram has not been completed. Please do not speculate."

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee in a press conference said that she will appeal this decision. However, she also added that she will humbly accept the mandate of the people of Bengal.

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