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Data on AES related deaths in Bihar during May-June this year is fraught with confusionData on AES related deaths in Bihar during May-June this year is fraught with confusion
August 18, 2019

In the month of June this year, encephalitis related deaths in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district grabbed the headlines. Actually, most of the children, who were admitted or died at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), hailed from East Champaran, Vaishali, Sitamarhi and Samastipur apart from Muzaffarpur. Unfortunately, till recently official data on the number of cases and deaths related to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) was unavailable for the month of June. For quite some time, the website (https://www.nvbdcp.gov.in) of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) gave data pertaining to encephalitis cases and deaths till April, 2019. Media reports and opinion pieces (prepared mostly on the basis of field visits) that got published during June-July 2019, suggest that there were several probable factors [including high prevalence of under-nutrition among the children from marginalized communities -- dalits, Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) and muslims; hypoglycaemic encephalopathy that...

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A reality check indicates that MSP set for 2019-20's kharif crops is not 1.5 times the 'C2' cost of productionA reality check indicates that MSP set for 2019-20's kharif crops is not 1.5 times the 'C2' cost of production
July 30, 2019

A recent press release by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) shows that the declared minimum support price (MSP) for most kharif crops to be marketed in 2019-20 is at least 50 percent above the cost of production. The official information related to the newly declared MSP, which came two days ahead of the Union Budget presentation, gives the impression that the newly re-elected NDA government has kept its promise of offering remunerative prices to farmers (as demanded by various farmers' organisations in the recent past), which are at least 1.5 times the cost of production. However, that may not be the case if the comprehensive cost of production (termed as 'C2') is taken into account instead of 'A2+FL' cost of production -- the one that has been used for calculations by the government. Please note that in a previous news alert dated 11th January 2019, Inclusive Media for...

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Recently presented Union Budget does not provide updated data on important heads for FY 2018-19Recently presented Union Budget does not provide updated data on important heads for FY 2018-19
August 2, 2019

During budget presentations, budget documents, which are provided, carry updated data and information related to various departments and ministries of the Central Government such as on revenues, expenditures, deficits etc. Recently economists like Dr. Rathin Roy and Prof. Jayati Ghosh have expressed concerns about the Ministry of Finance for not uploading updated and appropriate budgetary data and figures on the website www.indiabudget.gov.in following the 2019-20 Union Budget presentation by the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. The Inclusive Media for Change team has found that the figures related to 2018-19 Revised Estimates (RE) presented during the Interim Budget dated 1st February, 2019 were exactly replicated in the Final Union Budget documents dated 5th July, 2019. For example, both the Interim and Final Union Budgets show that the Revised Estimates for Tax Revenue (net to Centre) is Rs. 14,84,406 crore for 2018-19. Please compare the figures within the red boxes in the...

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New research shows positive association between adolescent pregnancy & under-nutrition among childrenNew research shows positive association between adolescent pregnancy & under-nutrition among children
July 29, 2019

Adolescence is a period when physical and neuro-maturational changes take place in the body of a young girl. Although it is illegal marrying a girl under the age of 18 years as per the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, adolescent girls in our country are compelled to marry and attain pregnancy that adversely affects well-being and outcomes of both mothers and their children. Latest available data shows that societal norms to consummate the marriage and low level of sexual reproductive health knowledge, among other factors, compelled almost one-third of Indian women (roughly 31 percent) to give birth by the age of 18 years during 2016. A new study, which has been published recently in the prestigious Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, aims to explain the negative impact of childbearing at an early age on nutritional outcomes among children. The paper, which has been co-authored by Phuong Hong Nguyen,...

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Which one is a better indicator for depicting the problem of joblessness -- Proportion Unemployed or Unemployment Rate?Which one is a better indicator for depicting the problem of joblessness -- Proportion Unemployed or Unemployment Rate?
June 21, 2019

In a recent blog post, Columbia University professor Arvind Panagariya mentions that the critics of the present Prime Minister of India failed to underscore ‘employment rate’ -- flip side of unemployment rate -- that stood at nearly 94 percent according to the report on Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18. A recent article by Dr. Vikas Rawal and Prachi Bansal, however, points out that in order to understand the problem of joblessness in the country it is better to consider the indicator 'Worker-Population Ratio' (WPR), which is also known as the 'Work Participation Rate' for the age-group 15-59 years (according to usual status) instead of the indicator 'unemployment rate'. It should be noted that the indicator ‘Proportion Unemployed’ (viz. proportion of persons unemployed in the population) among the age-group 15-59 years is a corollary of WPR.   If 'Proportion Unemployed' (according to usual status) is considered, then it could be noticed that 24.8...

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