The Hindu: October 13, 2015 00:27 IST
The path to economic recovery
A dividend payment of Rs. 66,000-crore from the Reserve Bank of India, the highest in its 80-year history, helped tip India's fiscal balance to surplus in August. A combination of the pick-up in the Centre's revenue receipts and its declining expenditures, especially on subsidies, helped keep the fiscal deficit during the first five months of the current financial year under Rs. 3.7 lakh crore, lower than the Rs. 3.97 lakh crore during the corresponding period last year. The Central government's unfailing commitment to fiscal consolidation is conducive to macroeconomic stability. But sticking to the road map for fiscal consolidation isn't easy: expenditure and tax reforms can be tricky politically. In its budget for this year, the Narendra Modi government had shifted India's fiscal consolidation road map by raising the fiscal deficit target for the year to 3.9 per cent from 3.6 per cent earlier. By doing so it created fiscal room for Rs. 70,000 crore of public investments, which it hopes would kick-start the jobs-generating infrastructure sector. Earlier governments too postponed targets. The fiscal deficit reduction targets that were originally a part of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Bill, 2000 were eliminated from the Act that Parliament passed in 2003; the annual numerical targets were left to the government to formulate in the FRBM Rules. Since then, the road map has been halted four times — in 2005-06, 2008-09, 2012-13 and 2015-16. And so the resolve that the Union Finance Secretary expressed at a media conference last week — that though the government expects a shortfall in tax revenues this year it won't deviate from the 3.9 per cent fiscal deficit target — is welcome.
With inflation now under 4 per cent, interest rate cuts adding up to 125 basis points in the past 12 months, and the Centre and the States going all out to revive stalled projects and improve the ease of doing business, India remains well-poised on the path to economic recovery. Fiscal credibility, important as it is to macroeconomic management, will make it possible to sustain India's current growth rate and to convert potential into actual growth. The focus will be on the budget-makers' tricks of funding subsidies through non-transparent, off-budget borrowings or higher taxes on fuel and so on. The Finance Minister has undertaken to clean up the clutter of tax incentives for the corporate sector to plug revenue leakages, in order to set the stage for lower tax rates. He is bound to find the business lobbies less enthusiastic about giving up sops, and must resist pleas for their retention. He will have to be insusceptible too to excuses for delaying even further the urea prices de-control and other such expenditure-side reforms. On the road to fiscal correction, Finance Ministers walk, and are judged, alone.
A sum of money paid regularly (typically quarterly) by a company to its shareholders out of its profits (or reserves).
Making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible.
· kick-start verb [T] (MOTORCYCLE)
› to make the engine of a motorcycle start by forcefully pushing down a metal bar with your foot
· kick-start verb [T] (HELP)
› to make something start to happen:
Taxes were drastically cut in an attempt to kick-start the economy.
Cause or arrange for (something) to take place at a time later than that first scheduled.
Bring or come to an abrupt stop.
Settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter).
(of a motor vehicle or its engine) stop running, typically because of an overload on the engine.
· poised adjective (WAITING)
› [after verb] If an object or a part of your body is poised, it is completely still but ready to move at any moment:
My pencil was poised over the page, ready to take down her words.
› [after verb] ready to do a particular thing at any moment:
[+ to infinitive] The company is poised to launch its new advertising campaign.
The military forces are poised for attack.
A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.
› something of little importance or value that is offered to stop complaints or unhappiness:
Critics see the increase in defence spending as a sop to the armed forces rather than an improvement of national security.
A request made in an urgent and emotional manner.
The continued possession, use, or control of something.
Not likely to be affected
The Hindu : October 13, 2015 00:27 IST
Anger beyond words
Over the past week, a growing number of writers have returned literary honours that had been awarded to them in recognition of their work — and in doing so reminded the state of its failure to protect the last man standing. What started with writer Nayantara Sahgal returning the Sahitya Akademi award she won in 1986, led to a wave of protests. The others also chose to give up their precious Sahitya Akademi awards, given by writers to writers. Their protest is against an impassive state that remains a silent spectator, effectively complicit in the act of writers and rationalists being hunted down, and a Muslim man being lynched by his own neighbours for allegedly storing beef in his home. Their rejection of the honour is a symbolic reminder of the times, as a wave of intolerance cascades from Dadri even to the most cosmopolitan of Indian cities, Mumbai, threatening to choke the air. What the writers have reminded India is what its people are today witness to: a society turning upon itself. And in asking the state to act now, the writers are telling India of the need to preserve and hold on to its pluralistic fabric. The letters serve as reminders of the fragile times we live in, when mere rumours can rob a man of his right to life. A writer speaks out when his or her conscience is numbed beyond pain. For many of them, the lynching of the Muslim man was the last straw. After all, since Partition this is probably the first time that rumours of a man killing a cow have cost him his life, in his own neighbourhood. Their protest is also against several non-state actors that owe allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party government and that call the shots in towns and villages far from the public gaze in general.
It is in this climate of intolerance and complicity by the state that the letters of protest have found their way to the Akademi and to the public realm. The Akademi is an autonomous body but has refrained from speaking out. Its silence is the silence of the state. Even the once-formidable media adviser to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has had ink thrown on his face for taking a stand on former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book launch event, which was opposed vehemently by the BJP's ally, the Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena is known for acts of that kind, but they don't behove a city such as Mumbai that prides itself on being India's most cosmopolitan city. As for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who leads the BJP, a party that has premised itself on extending its hand to the common man, words have to match deeds. It is the responsibility of the chief servant of the country to ensure that the stain of intolerance does not spread and then consume it.
· The saying "last man standing" refers to a competition, contest, or other situation in which the field of participants is narrowed until only a single individual remains. The term can be applied to a wide variety of circumstances, from golf to art to eating competitions. It is also appears frequently in movies, books, songs, and other types of pop culture. Occasionally, the term may be used to describe a winning couple or team rather than an individual.
Not feeling or showing emotion
Involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing.
· Last Man Standing
One of the most dangerous matches in the wrestling world (apart from the Hell in a Cell match). The only way to win the match is by knockout i.e. incapacitate you're opponent for 10 seconds.
· hunt down
1. (tr) to pursue successfully by diligent searching and chasing: they finally hunted down the killer in Mexico.
2. (Music, other) (intr) (of a bell) to be rung progressively later during a set of changes
(of a mob) kill (someone), especially by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial.
· cascade To occur in a sequence or successive stages: circumstances that cascaded into a crisis.
1. To cause to fall in or as if in a cascade: cascaded the ingredients into the bowl.
2. To cause to occur in a sequence or successive stages: wholesale price reductions that are cascaded down to the consumer.
> to block air so that we cant breathe
(of an object) easily broken or damaged.
An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.
· the last straw
(also the final straw)
› the latest problem in a series of problems, that makes a situation impossible to accept:
The last straw was when the company fired most of the managers
Have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received.
Loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.
Look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.
The state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing.
Inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable
Showing strong feeling; forceful, passionate, or intense.
It is a duty or responsibility for someone to do something; it is incumbent on.
Mark (something) with colored patches or dirty marks that are not easily removed.
Macro environment may be helping growth revive.The August numbers for the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and the September numbers for the Consumer Price Index have been released. They both support the view that the economy is in a recovery phase, which should logically lead to higher growth as well as higher inflation numbers. In fact, the IIP reading was very much a positive surprise, with the overall index growing by 6.4 per cent. The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 75 per cent of the index basket, grew by an even faster 6.9 per cent. Of course, the low base provides a boost, but even then, this is a welcome indication of a benign domestic macroeconomic environment beginning to provide some stimulus to growth. Looking at the use-based classification, the base effect is most pronounced in the case of capital goods and consumer durables, both of which had sharp declines in August 2014. However, in the case of capital goods, the growth during this August more than offsets previous declines, reinforcing the recovery interpretation. Of course, the strength in the capital goods sector flies somewhat in the face of the general perception that an investment recovery is still elusive. According to the monthly reading, production of electrical machinery grew by over 40 per cent year-on-year. The second-quarter results of manufacturing companies should provide better insights into the performance of this sector and, in turn, a clue as to the behaviour of the investment cycle.
On the inflation front, as was generally expected, consumer inflation came in at 4.41 per cent, higher than the 3.74 per cent year-on-year rate in August. This was mostly due to acceleration in food inflation, but even this remained far below the troublesome levels seen for much of the past seven or eight years. Food inflation in August was a modest 3.88 per cent. The waning of the monsoon during August and September has evidently not had much of an adverse impact, partly due to the fact that the abundance of rainfall in the first half of the season helped replenish groundwater and reservoirs, providing a buffer for the second half. There are clearly several nuances to a deficient monsoon. Importantly, apart from the significant moderation in cereal price increases, the rates of increase in the prices of most protein sources and vegetables were modest. The government's responses to the pressure from onions appear to have worked. The exception was in the case of pulses, whose prices increased by almost 30 per cent year-on-year. Here, the monsoon pattern may be playing a role and the rate of increase could persist for a while. Overall, however, the inflation momentum appears to be low and questions could be raised about the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI's) baseline projection of 5.8 per cent in March 2016.
From a policy perspective, since the RBI has just accommodated a relatively benign inflationary scenario, one question at this point is: would the policy action have been the same with these numbers? In all likelihood, the response would have been the same. But, looking ahead, space for further cuts will lie in the inflation trajectory consistently undershooting the RBI's projections.
· firm sth up
› to make something more certain or less likely to change:
Could we have a meeting so we can firm up the details of our agreement?
A thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue
A consideration or amount that diminishes or balances the effect of a contrary one.
Strengthen or support, especially with additional personnel or material.
Difficult to find, catch, or achieve.
› to become weaker in strength or influence:
By the late 70s the band's popularity was beginning to wane.
Fill (something) up again.
A subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.
(especially of a change or distinction) so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe.
> moving upwards
Welcome PM Oli
New Delhi needs to take him at his word — and trust the people of Nepal.Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli isn't the man New Delhi would have chosen to lead its Himalayan neighbour. Nepal's first prime minister under its new constitution is seen, correctly or otherwise, as pro-China and anti-India. He has been cast as hostile to claims for greater federal autonomy by the Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis — a constituency India has batted for, with little success. His penchant for inflammatory rhetoric — "Oli ko goli", his speeches are called — has alarmed some. The fact that Oli began his career as a radical Maoist beheading landlords, and remains a trenchant secularist, hasn't endeared him to some in PM Narendra Modi's foreign policy inner circle. Ten years ago, when former PM Manmohan Singh's government, with the support of a cross-section of Indian politicians, began nudging Nepal towards inclusive democracy, this probably wasn't the outcome they were hoping for.
For exactly these reasons, New Delhi should welcome PM Oli's rise to power.
It is critical to the legitimacy of Nepal's constitution that the act of breathing life into its words is seen as directed by representatives of its people — not the hidden hand of the powerful neighbour next door. It is true that the birth of the new order has been stained by blood, with peoples in the plains — as well as others — believing they have have been short-changed by the hill elite. Yet, these are questions Nepal's new constitution and political system must find answers to. In one interview, Oli said he was aware "people see me as an illiberal hardliner and anti-Madhesis. But I will show what I am by my actions, by addressing their demands through constitutional amendments". Delhi needs to take him at his word — and trust Nepal's people to deliver punishment in the next election if he fails.
The bottomline is this: India's relationship with Nepal isn't, and shouldn't be, shaped by fear. It is true China's growing presence in the country has geopolitical consequences for India. Yet, Chinese economic power is one of the defining realities of our times. Diplomacy that seeks to contain it by coercion or cajoling is destined to implode, leaving a trail of ill will. Delhi should, instead, build on the extraordinary strength of ties that bind the two nations. Millions of Nepalis live and work in India, after all, while millions more are bound by ties of kinship, and yet others give their blood to guard our borders. Kathmandu will not ever become a proxy for Beijing, because it cannot. PM Modi's decision to invite Oli to Delhi is a step in the right direction. Delhi must show that he is welcome, no matter what its concerns and differences.
A strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something.
The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques
(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
Cut off the head of (someone), typically as a form of execution.
Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.
Strong, healthy, and full of energy.
Cause to be loved or liked.
Prod (someone) gently, typically with one's elbow, in order to draw their attention to something.
The practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.
Persuade someone to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery
Collapse or cause to collapse violently inward.
· ill will:
bad feelings between people because of things that happened in the past.
Oct 13 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)
Under 30 Strong
Majority of youth will certainly come down on the winning side in Bihar
The ongoing assembly elections in Bihar appear set to go right down to the wire. While the NDA campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is drawing in big crowds, the grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress has put in substantial legwork to cover its bases. Both factions are pitching development while simultaneously working out caste calculations. In such a scenario, one important electoral segment in these elections will be the youth.According to Election Commission data, almost 31% of eligible voters in Bihar are under 30 years of age.
This works out to an average of 85,000 under-30 voters in each of the 243 assembly seats.
Given that the average winning margin in the 2010 Bihar assembly polls was 15,000 votes, if the youth vote en bloc for one political formation they could tilt the elections decidedly in its favour. This would certainly be part of the NDA strategy with Modi's pro-development image.
However, Nitish too is pushing his development track record as Bihar chief minister. Building on his earlier schemes such as bicycles for school girls, Nitish is now promising an engineering college in every district, free Wi-Fi at universities and a student credit card scheme.
That said, the Bihari youth are not a monolith. While they certainly crave more development high unemployment and large migration outflow exemplify this caste loyalty continues to be an important factor. Plus, the Modi wave that could have been a glue for the Bihari youth has ebbed from the high of 2014. Against this backdrop, a high voter turnout it was 57% in the first phase of polling could favour either of the two alliances. Whether caste trumps development or vice versa, the majority of the youth will certainly come down on the winning side in Bihar.
· down to the wire
>until the very last minute. We went right down to the wire on that one.
Move or cause to move into a sloping position.
A large single upright block of stone, especially one shaped into or serving as a pillar or monument.
Feel a powerful desire for (something).
An adhesive substance used for sticking objects or materials together.
(of tidewater) move away from the land; recede
Oct 13 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)
Nobel for Welfare at Pyramid's Bottom
Angus Deaton stands for growth and more
The 2015 Nobel Prize for economics going to Angus Dea ton touches India more intimately than would recognition of any random advance in economic theory , for two reasons. One is the simple fact that he has been a prolific scholar of India, particularly of poverty , consumption, healthcare and welfare, in particular, at the bottom of the pyramid. The other is the counter the Nobel committee's recognition of Deaton's work offers to the notion that measuring what happens to consumption of particular groups is irrelevant when fast growth improves all lives. Deaton's body of work argues that programmes like the employment guarantee scheme are needed, even as rapid growth transforms society .
Macroeconomics studies aggregate demand, savings, investment, income and growth. Aggregate consumption demand stems from consumption of individual goods and services by members of society , whose behaviour is the stuff of microeconomics. Deaton's refined under standing of how different consumers form their demand for goods and ser vices based on their current needs, in comes and expectations of the future improved the theory of demand, drop ping excessively restrictive and unre alistic conditions about consumer be haviour while retaining rationality as a valid attribute. Substituting the simplistic notion of a representative consumer with the combined effect of different classes of consumers whose incomes move in opposite directions, Deaton improved theory and also made it impossible to ignore different implications of policy for different sections of society.
Thus, Deaton not just freely adulterated high theory with dirty data, but also used insights from the data to improve theory and improve data collection. Some things were not rocket science: he pointed out, for example, how a cereal-dominant price index in India understated poverty when demand had shifted to non-cereals whose prices rose faster than cereal's. It just took readiness to accept that detailed data matters, not just sweeping macroeconomic generalisations.
· In economics, the bottom of the pyramid is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group. In global terms, this is the 3 billion people who live on less than US$2.50 per day.
› producing a great number or amount of something:
He was probably the most prolific songwriter of his generation.
Rabbits and other rodents are prolific (= have a lot of babies).
Matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied.
Render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior on
Willingness to do something.
Beyond the by-elections
BY their very nature, by-elections tend to be quiet affairs, with relatively muted campaigns and below average voter turnout. But not all by-elections are equal.
Yesterday, three seats were contested in Punjab. However, the only one that appeared to matter nationally was NA-122 in Lahore.
The reasons are fairly obvious: NA-122 was one of the four seats that the PTI had insisted was rigged in May 2013; the loser in the general election was Imran Khan; and the winner, Ayaz Sadiq, was rewarded for his 2013 success with the office of the speaker of the National Assembly.
All of that meant that there was intense interest, hysteria even, surrounding the Lahore by-election. So intense, in fact, that the only close approximation to yesterday's events was the April by-election in NA-246, the MQM stronghold in Karachi that was retained by the party in unprecedented circumstances.
Given all the hype, therefore, it was only right that yesterday attention turned to the voter himself and the will of the people.
The trend in the two National Assembly seats contested yesterday appear to be in line with pre-election speculation. The Okara result, where independent candidate Riazul Haq Juj appeared in the lead, would be shaped primarily by local factors — and the inability of the PTI, PML-N or the PPP to impose party discipline and rally supporters around the party candidates.
In Lahore, a victory for Ayaz Sadiq will be portrayed by the PML-N as a validation of the 2013 general election. The more meaningful outcome though would be that the National Assembly would have been spared a potentially disruptive search for a new speaker.
To the credit of the voting public and the activists of the political parties involved, yesterday's elections were held in a quite orderly and mostly trouble-free environment. Less salutary was the role of the party leaderships themselves, particularly of the PML-N and PTI.
While keenly fought electoral contests ought to be the sign of a healthy, vibrant democracy, there is a sense that the PML-N and PTI leaderships allowed ego and personal rivalries to overwhelm common sense and regard for the political process itself.
Over the top campaigning created a sense that yesterday's elections were make or break for both sides, when in fact they were never going to alter the parliamentary equation or reshape the political landscape. Unhappily, the PML-N and PTI appear more keen on campaign rhetoric than the real need: electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 general election.
· rig verb [T] (DISHONESTLY ARRANGE)
› to arrange dishonestly for the result of something, for example an election, to be changed:
Previous elections in the country have been rigged by the ruling party.
Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people.
Never done or known before.
Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.
(especially with reference to something unwelcome or unpleasant) producing good effects; beneficial.
In a keen and discriminating manner; "he was keenly aware of his own shortcomings"
view on the impact of the bomb attacks on Turkey's elections
As Turks mourn the deaths of the more than 100 people killed in Saturday's bomb attacks, there is just as much anger as grief across the nation. The announcement by the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, that Islamic State was behind the bombings will assuage neither emotion. The domestic turmoil created by Turkey's war with Kurdish armed groups, and the spillover of violence and chaos from the wider Middle East, mean that Turks are unlikely to be satisfied by simple assertions of this kind.
Instead, there is no shortage of speculation about who may have had an interest in organising such a deadly attack. Nor did the AKP-run government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan do much to diminish the general atmosphere of distress and confusion when it reacted to the bombings by charging that "traitors" were at work, and by trying to block social media and other coverage of the event. As it approaches an election on 1 November, Turkey has entered a dark period where accusations fly and recriminations abound.
The level of public distrust in the authorities is such that the charge of Isis culpability is doubted by many, or at least not taken at face value. It is true that Turkey now finds itself on the frontline of western-led efforts to counter the extremist jihadi group. It has opened up its airfields to US warplanes active over Syria, and became much more active against the networks that Isis uses for its foreign recruits.
So it is certainly feasible that Isis struck in Ankara as an act of retaliation, because this was a street demonstration organised by pro-Kurdish, secular and liberal groups, thus making the Turkish capital a new theatre of the war raging in Iraq and Syria between Kurdish and Isis fighters. But many of Mr Erdoğan's critics tend to favour a different, conspiratorial version of events – one whose very existence tells us a lot about the general level of suspicion in Turkish society. This version accuses the regime of activating a "deep state" to sow terror. It suggests that an alliance of paramilitary, mafia and secret service groups, not unlike that which plagued Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s, is intent on exacerbating tensions between ethnic Turks and the 15-million-strong Kurdish minority, and thus galvanising Turkish nationalism. The reading is that this will play in Mr Erdoğan's favour as he attempts to gain the commanding majority for the AKP party that eluded him last June.
Whether there is any such political gain in prospect may be doubted. Although questions about the obvious security failures on Saturday have yet to be answered, and there were anti-Erdoğan street protests after the attack, with cries of "Murderer!" directed at the president, the plot theory seems very implausible.
The one certainty is that the authoritarianism which is increasingly a feature of Erdoğan's rule – media repression, political intimidation, slogans of hatred against all opponents, military escalation against the Kurds in the south-east – will not bring a solution to Turkey's woes, but only deepen them. For Turkey's partners, this calls for more vigilance, not less.
It is right and natural that many messages of solidarity were sent, from Europe and elsewhere, in the wake of the Ankara tragedy, and it is of course necessary to continue to work with Turkey on the refugee crisis. But nobody should be blind to the divisive and polarising nature of a regime run by a strongman who has been in power for 13 years and who stands accused of being ready to go to extremes to make sure he stays there. The best hope now is that next month's elections will be free, fair, and safe.
Feel or show deep sorrow or regret for (someone or their death), typically by following conventions such as the wearing of black clothes.
Make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense.
A state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty.
An instance of overflowing or spreading into another area.
A person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc
Responsibility for a fault or wrong; blame.
The action of returning a military attack; counterattack
Make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.
Shock or excite (someone), typically into taking action.
The action of subduing someone or something by force.
The action of intimidating someone, or the state of being intimidated.
Great sorrow or distress.
Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.