Exports of goods to Japan and countries in Africa and Latin America dropped over the four years of Narendra Modi government and grew at single digits to other regions, an IndiaSpend analysis of government data has found.
In yet another blow to Modi government’s propaganda of all round progress, the analysis found that in contrast to its performance in this aspect, the 10 years of the two United Progressive Alliance (UPA-1 and UPA-2) administrations saw 11 percent to 33 percent growth in India’s merchandise exports. Services exports are excluded from this analysis because they are limited to certain geographies because of trade agreements, said IndiaSpend.
Moreover, this decline cannot be attributed to the global trend. The growth rate of goods traded across the world grew 3 percent over the four years to 2018 and grew by 3.3 percent (2009 to 2013) – according to International Monetary Fund.
Various experts attributed the Indian export decline to domestic factors, such as demonetisation, a new goods and services tax (GST) and a new bankruptcy code, said IndiaSpend.
Merchandise exports to China grew between 2014 and 2018 but at less than 1 percent while imports grew at 11 percent; during 10 years of UPA rule, exports to China grew 13 percent and imports 30 percent.
India’s exports to Africa between 2014 and 2018 dipped by 4.22 percent and imports increased 1 percent; during 10 years of UPA rule, exports to Africa increased 22 percent and imports 59 percent.
Overall Indian imports of merchandise grew by 1.6 percent to $465 billion over this period.
India’s exports-to-gross-domestic-product (GDP) ratio at 11.44 percent in 2017 was the lowest since 2005, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Outlook Report 2018.
High trade deficit
Slowing exports and increase in imports (an average annual increase of 1.6 percent from 2014-15 to 2017-18) has pushed the trade deficit from $137 billion in 2014-15 to $162 billion in 2017-18, the highest since 2012-13.
“We are facing serious headwinds at a time when the global economy post 2008 had become extremely fragile,” commerce minister Suresh Prabhu was quoted as saying in The Indian Express on 18 June, 2018.
India’s trade openness – the sum of exports and imports to GDP – was 27 percent in 2016, according to the IMF database, compared to an all-time high of 43 percent in 2012. Trade openness is an indicator of the economy’s participation in global trade.
“The first of the policy moves was the unique demonetisation experiment,” Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in The Times of India on 4 October, 2017.
“The second was the goods and services tax, which was supposed to bring India in line with global standards but instead added typically Indian layers of complexity. These policies disrupted local businesses, including exporters. Imports have surged to meet consumer demand, widening the trade deficit and cutting into GDP growth.”
The view was echoed by economists Dharmakirti Joshi, Adhish Verma and Pankhuri Tandon. “The implementation of the goods and services tax and associated glitches have had an impact, particularly on small and medium enterprises – evident in low export growth in gems and jewellery, textiles, and leather sectors,” they wrote in a report for Crisil, a ratings agency.
President Droupadi Murmu gives assent to Women’s Reservation Bill
The new law provides 33% reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The Women’s Reservation Bill became law in India after President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent, days after the historic vote in the Parliament. The new law provides 33% reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. However, the law will be imposed after the new census and delimitation.
The Women’s Reservation Bill which is officially known as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam was passed in both the houses during the special session of the Parliament. The historic bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on September 20, with 454 MPs voting in its favour and 2 voting against it. In the Rajya Sabha, the bill was passed unanimously on September 21 with 214 MPs voting in favour of the bill.
Issuing a gazette notification, the Government of India stated that the Bill has become an Act after the approval granted by the President. The notification read that the act will come into force on such date as the central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
While supporting the historic bill in the Parliament, the Opposition condemned the government for not bringing the quota for women into immediate effect. Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Parliament during the bill’s discussion that it could only come into effect after 2029 due to the pending census and delimitation.
A day after the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked that with the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam in Parliament, the nation usher in an era of stronger representation and empowerment for the women of India. He added that this is not merely legislation but a tribute to the countless women who have made the nation. He exclaimed that India has been enriched by their resilience and contributions.
CM Arvind Kejriwal announces Delhi winter action plan to curb pollution
Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government will also deploy 530 water sprinklers in an attempt to prevent dust pollution
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday affirmed that pollution levels dropped in the national capital owing to various government initiatives as he announced the winter action plan to curb pollution.
Addressing a press conference, CM Arvind Kejriwal stated that the number of days witnessing severe pollution levels declined in the past eight years due to several initiatives of the government, like the introduction of electric buses and the EV Policy, among others.
Announcing the winter action plan in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal stated that the Pusa bio decomposer that prevents stubble burning will be sprayed on 5,000 hectares of farmland this year against 4,400 hectares the previous year. As far as reports are concerned, the Pusa bio decomposer, developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) is a microbial solution that can turn paddy straw into manure in 15-20 days.
In addition, Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government will also deploy 530 water sprinklers in an attempt to prevent dust pollution and 385 teams, who will be entrusted to check vehicles pollution certificates and prevent the plying of overage cars.
According to reports, in 2018, the Supreme Court banned diesel and petrol vehicles older than 10 and 15 years, respectively, in Delhi. The top court had added that the vehicles plying in violation of the order would be impounded. Further, a 2014 order of the National Green Tribunal bars vehicles older than 15 years to be parked in public places.
Arvind Kejriwal also reiterated that burning garbage in the open is banned in Delhi. He mentioned that 611 teams will supervise the implementation of the same. He also urged people to download the Green Delhi mobile application on their devices and report any pollution-causing activity to the government.
Speaking about stubble burning, the Delhi Chief Minister noted that in Punjab, they formed a government last year and the data from the last year showed that the steps taken in 6-7 months led to a 30% reduction in stubble burning.
Karnataka Bandh: Pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj detained by Town Hall Police during protest
Five pro-Kannada activists were also detained after they entered the airport premises with a Karnataka flag to stage a protest.
Pro-Kannada and farmers organisations have called for a statewide bandh in Karnataka to protest against the release of Cauvery water to its neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu. During the protest, Town Hall police detained pro-Kanada activist Vatal Nagraj. Reportedly, five pro-Kannada activists were also taken into custody as they entered the Bengaluru International Airport to stage a protest.
According to reports, nearly 44 flights were cancelled at the Bengaluru International Airport on Friday owing to the statewide bandh. The airport authorities asserted that the flights were cancelled due to operational reasons and that the passengers were informed about the same in time. However, sources concerned to the matter said cancellations happened due to the effect of the Karnataka bandh since many passengers had cancelled their tickets.
Meanwhile, five pro-Kannada activists were also detained after they entered the airport premises with a Karnataka flag to stage a protest. According to an India Today report, the five detainees had booked flight tickets in order to gain entry to the airport premises.
On the other hand, normal life was affected, especially in the southern part of the state, with pro-Kannada and farmers’ organisations calling for ‘Karnataka Bandh’. Kannada Okkuta which includes factions of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Kannada Chalavali (Vatal Paksha) and various farmers’ bodies that have given a call for the statewide dawn-to-dusk shutdown. The opposition BJP and JD(S) have extended their support to the bandh, together with hotels, auto rickshaws and hail riders associations in Karnataka.
A member from a pro-Kannada organisation in Bengaluru told PTI that they have come over here to protest against the Cauvery water issue. He added that Cauvery water sharing is a very old issue and that they should solve the problem at earliest. He further noted that all the parties of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka should sit and sort out this matter.