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Employment situation grim, says CMIE; Rural wages drop, says RBI report



Employment situation grim, says CMIE; Rural wages drop, says RBI report

Labour participation and employment rates in India are around their lowest levels, says a report of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) which produces economic and business databases.

And, while employment is at its lowest, rural wages have reduced dramatically since 2014 under Narendra Modi government, making it a period of distress according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

According to an article by Mahesh Vyas on CMIE website, the employment situation continues to remain grim in the country.

According to CMIE, the unemployment rate continues to remain high compared to the levels a year ago when they ranged closer to 4 per cent although it fell slightly to 5.9 per cent in April 2018 compared to the over 6 per cent rate seen in the preceding two months.

April began with rising unemployment rates of over 7 per cent, but then the rates moved decidedly lower in the second half of the month.

Labour participation rate (LPR) declined in April 2018. At 43.1 per cent the LPR in April was among the lowest. In the past 28 months, (since the CMIE started measuring LPR), this was the second-lowest LPR level.

“The low LPR and high unemployment rate combine to give us a low employment rate in April 2018. The employment rate was 40.7 per cent during the month. This is a small improvement over the 40.5 per cent level of March 2018. But, March and April this year mark the lowest employment rates recorded since January 2016 when we began these measurements,” said Vyas.

Here are some points he makes:

– The estimated employed persons in the country was 403.2 million and the unemployed who were actively looking for a job during the month was 25.1 million.

–  An additional 9.5 million were unemployed and willing to work but were not actively looking for a job.

– The total workforce willing to work and was waiting for jobs to become available therefore was of the order of 35 million.

– Large numbers of labour force quit the labour markets post demonetisation and have not returned to the labour markets. It is likely that when conditions improve these could come back. If we add these, then the workforce that is willing to work but does not have a job is much larger.

Vyas describes the current situation, particularly in urban India, as “sombre”.

Noting that the number of applicants for a single job often runs into several thousands, Vyas says: “Although the overall unemployment rate fell in April, it rose in urban India – from 6.5 per cent in March to 6.6 per cent in April. Labour participation rate fell from 41.1 per cent to 40.8 per cent. And, the employment rate fell to its lowest level of 38.1 per cent.”

The employment rate had touched a new low of 38.4 per cent in March 2018 itself. However, in April, it fell further to 38.1 per cent.

The working age Vyas takes into consideration are all persons above the age of 15 years. In September 2016, over 41 per cent of such people were working.

Employment in urban India fell to an 11-month low in April 2018.

However, says Vyas, the month’s data also seems to suggest a pause in the growing employment in urban India seen in the preceding six months. This rising employment had stabilised the employment rate at around 40 per cent after seeing a fall in the preceding months.

At the same time, a RBI report released last week (April 25) talked of a sharp decline in rural wages since 2014. “During the last 10 year period, a high growth phase in rural wages from 2007-08 to 2012-13 was followed by a phase of significant deceleration,” the RBI report said.

Between October 2007 and October 2013, the report noted, wages in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors grew at 17% and 15%, respectively. Since November 2014, however, agricultural and non-agricultural sector wages grew at only 5.6% and 6.5%, respectively.

Employment situation grim, says CMIE; Rural wages drop, says RBI reportPhase I (Jan 2002-Sep 2007)

The first phase spanned from January 2002 to September 2007, when the average growth in rural nominal wages remained around 4 per cent, while the average rural inflation stayed around 4.5 per cent. As a result, there were extended spells when growth in real wages stayed in the negative territory. This period has been analysed quite extensively in the literature. Several authors have also termed this phase as the period of agrarian distress, a lot of which was attributed to poor agricultural performance and lower employment opportunities outside agriculture (Himanshu, 2006; Abraham, 2009).

Phase II (Oct 2007-Oct 2013)

This phase covers the period from October 2007 to October 2013. During this phase, the average growth in nominal agricultural and non-agricultural wages stood at around 17 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, surpassing rural inflation which averaged at around 10 per cent. Evidently, there were several months when growth in real wages reached such levels that were not a regular phenomenon, at least never observed in the preceding decade.

Phase III (Nov 2014- Oct 2017)

This is the current phase which began from November 2014. Notwithstanding data limitations (as mentioned in section III) one cannot ignore the fact that rural wage growth has recorded significant deceleration during this phase. This phase is also characterized by low inflation occasionally surpassing growth in nominal rural wages, pushing real wage growth to the negative territory. For obvious reasons, such movements in rural wages after a prolonged period of boom has attracted the attention of policy research. Again, this phase has been labelled as a period of rural distress. However, if we consider average growth in rural wages and inflation, we do not find a significant gap between the two. Average rural inflation during phase III so far is around 4.0 per cent, whereas average growth rates in nominal agricultural and non-agricultural wages are 5.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively.

A whole host of factors including the global slowdown in growth, collapse of international primary commodity prices, and major contraction in food prices led to the decline in growth of rural wages, according to the RBI report.

The Indian economy also suffered two consecutive droughts in financial years 2015 and 2016, which wreaked havoc in rural India, said a report in Quartz India.

The ineffective implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (MGNREGS) in recent years has also contributed to the decline in farm income, the Quartz report said, on basis of RBI report.

Moreover, growth in the construction sector, which saw a significant pick up during 2000 and 2012 and was the major driver of rural non-farm employment, slowed down in recent years.

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Tata Group’s EV Future: to establish Rs 13,000 crore manufacturing plant in Gujarat

By 2070, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants India to become a carbon net zero country. Electric vehicles, or EVs are more efficient and environmentally friendlier than conventional gasoline-powered automobiles. Rising fuel prices is also the main reason to switch to electric vehicles.



Tata Group

Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group has signed an agreement with the Gujarat government to establish a giga-factory for manufacturing of lithium-ion cells, with an initial investment estimated at approximately 13,000 crore. According to a state government document posted on its website, Tata Agaratas Energy Storage Solutions Pvt., a subsidiary of Tata Group, signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to establish an electric-vehicle battery plant with a production capacity of 20 gigawatt hours, creating direct and indirect employment for more than 13,000 people.

In past also, Tata Group has been investing heavily in the electric vehicle (EV) market. In 2018, Tata Group launched The Tata Tigor EV for the commercial market. The Tigor EV can be charged up to 80% in 90 minutes and has a range of up to 142 km on a single charge.

The Nexon EV, Tata Motors’ first EV for the personal market, was introduced in 2019. The Nexon EV can be charged up to 80% in 60 minutes and has a range of up to 312 km on a single charge. The Tata Group subsidiary Tata Power also participates in the EV industry.

According to the state government, the Tata facility will establish Gujarat as a global leader in the production of lithium batteries, and the company would receive support in establishing a production eco-system in the region. A spokesman of the Tata Group declined to comment.

By 2070, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants India to become a carbon net zero country. Electric vehicles, or EVs are more efficient and environmentally friendlier than conventional gasoline-powered automobiles. Rising fuel prices is also the main reason to switch to electric vehicles.

India is expanding the use of EVs nationwide in an effort to become an EV-efficient nation. Although the demand for these vehicles is now being driven by the two- and three-wheeler segments, automakers are already either introducing models or announcing plans to do so in the near future.

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India News

Withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes statutory exercise not demonetisation: RBI tells Delhi HC



The withdrawal of Rs 2,000 banknotes is a statutory exercise, not demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.

The high court was hearing a petition challenging the decision by the RBI and SBI that enables the exchange of Rs 2,000 notes without the requirement of an identity proof. The plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said the decision was arbitrary and against the laws enacted to curb corruption.

Responding to the plea, the RBI said the decision to enable the exchange of Rs 2,000 notes was taken for operational convenience as the withdrawal is not demonetisation but merely a “statutory exercise.”

In his plea, advocate Upadhyay said he wasn’t challenging the decision withdraw the Rs 2000 notes but the decision to exchange the said denomination without requiring any slip or identity proof. The petition argued that the exchange of currency should only be allowed through bank accounts linked with Aadhaar.

It claimed that the current arrangement would only enable mafia and gangsters like “Atiq Ahmed’s henchmen” and Maoists while arguing that today almost every poor person has a Jan Dhan account and BPL persons are also connected to bank accounts.

A Delhi HC bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramanium Prasad said an appropriate order will be passed on the plea.

Advocate Upadhyay claimed in his public interest litigation (PIL) that the notifications by the RBI and the State Bank of India (SBI) that enable the exchange of Rs 2000 notes without requiring a requisition slip and identity proof were arbitrary, irrational and offend Articles 14 of the Indian Constitution.

The PIL claimed that cash transaction in in high value currency is the main source of corruption and used for illegal activities like terrorism, naxalism, separatism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping, extortion, bribing and dowry, etc. and a large amount of the currency has reached either in individual’s locker or has “been hoarded by the separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug smugglers, mining mafias & corrupt people”.

RBI counsel, Senior advocate Parag P Tripathi argued that the emphasised that the court cannot interfere in such matters and the decision was taken to allow exchange of the Rs 2000 currency note for “operational convenience” as the said banknote is not commonly used and other denominations continue to meet currency requirements.

Advocate Tripathi said that no points mentioned by the petitioner impinge or deal with constitutional issues and as such the court cannot interfere.

On May 19, the RBI had announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, and said existing notes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by September 30.

However, the 2,000 notes will continue to be legal tender, it had said, adding that the notes can be exchanged for other denominations from any bank starting May 23, albeit with a limit of Rs. 20,000 per transaction.

Both the RBI and the SBI issued notifications stating that no requisition slip or identity proof is required for exchanging the Rs 2,000 notes.

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Factually baseless: SEBI on claims of investigations against Adani Group since 2016

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday told the Supreme Court that all claims that the market regulator has been investigating the Adani Group since 2016 are “factually baseless” and one must not jump to “premature and wrong conclusions” in the case.



Adani Group

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday told the Supreme Court that all claims that the market regulator has been investigating the Adani Group since 2016 are “factually baseless” and one must not jump to “premature and wrong conclusions” in the case.

In an affidavit filed in the Apex court, SEBI said that no listed company of the Adani Group was among the list of 51 companies that it had investigated for issuing of Global Depository Receipts or GDRs.

According to the affidavit, filed in response to a plea claiming that SEBI had been investigating the Adani group since 2016 and had opposed a six-month extension to its ongoing probe, the market regulator clarified that the ‘investigation’ “referred to in paragraph 5 of the reply affidavit has no relation and/or connection to the issues referred to and/or arising out of the Hindenburg Report.”

It further said that matter pertains to the issuance of GDRs by 51 Indian listed companies which the SEBI was investigating, adding that no listed company of Adani Group was part of the aforesaid 51 companies.

Read Also: Karnataka CM fight: Siddaramaiah emplanes for Delhi, Shivakumar says did not receive invitation from high command

The SEBI said that after the completion of the investigation, appropriate enforcement actions were taken. Hence, the claims that the SEBI is investigating the Adani Group since 2016 are “factually baseless.”

The regulator said the six-month extension is to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out keeping in mind the interest of investors and the securities market.

The Supreme Court had on March 2, directed the SEBI to investigate violations by the Adani Group, if any, before and after the release of the damning Hindenburg report.

The SEBI had been asked to file a report within two months, however, on April 29, the regulator filed for a six-month extension to complete the investigation.

Adani Group endured over $120 billion in market losses- nearly half of the conglomerate’s estimated value—since the damning report released by US short-seller Hindenburg Research.

In its critical report, Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group of indulging in improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation while also raising concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.

Punjab court summons Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge for comparing Bajrang Dal to SIMI, Al Qaeda in Karnataka manifesto

Karnataka gave befitting reply to BJP: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on poll results

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