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No clear-cut trend in economy going cashlessNo clear-cut trend in economy going cashless

Paytm's founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma was in the news recently for signing a deal to purchase a Rs. 82 crore worth property in Lutyens’ Delhi. He is credited with the growth of Paytm's mobile wallet services, which is currently being used by over 220 million users across the country. Although Paytm was launched in 2010, the popularity of its mobile wallet services and payment gateway among the ordinary citizens grew several folds only after 8 November, 2016 i.e. when the government banned currency notes of denomination Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/-. Following demonetisation, there has been a push on the part of the officialdom to move towards a digital economy, from the existing cash-based economy. A look at the data pertaining to electronic payments (through various modes), which is provided by the Reserve Bank of India, would reveal the following facts: * The total volume of digital transactions in the economy reached...

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Between 2013-14 & 2016-17, rabi foodgrain output likely to drop by 1 million tonneBetween 2013-14 & 2016-17, rabi foodgrain output likely to drop by 1 million tonne

Much to our surprise, a careful relook at the newly released estimates on farm production from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare would reveal that the foodgrain production during the rabi season is likely to fall by almost 1 million tonne between 2013-14 and 2016-17. Please see chart-1. Amidst the celebration of a bumper harvest in the ongoing crop year, it needs to be explained why the rabi foodgrain output nosedived between 2013-14 and 2016-17.   The third advance estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare indicates that the rabi foodgrain production is likely to fall from 136.3 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 135.3 million tonnes in 2016-17 i.e. by nearly 0.7 percent. The expected decline in rabi foodgrain production between 2013-14 and 2016-17 may be attributed primarily to two factors: (i) the demonetisation policy, which was implemented between 8 November, 2016 and 30 December, 2016, broadly coincided with...

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Prevalence of wasting among children is rising, shows NFHS-4 dataPrevalence of wasting among children is rising, shows NFHS-4 data

When it comes to child under-nutrition, the proportion of stunted and underweight children below 5 years has reduced in India during the last ten years. However, a rising trend has been observed in the prevalence of wasting among children below 5 years between the last two rounds of National Family Health Survey (NFHS). The recently released data from NFHS-4 indicates that the proportion of under 5 year children who are stunted (i.e. too short for age) has fallen from 48.0 percent in 2005-06 to 38.4 percent in 2015-16. Similarly, the proportion of under 5 year children who are underweight (i.e. too thin for age) has gone down from 42.5 percent to 35.7 percent between 2005-06 and 2015-16. However, the proportion of children who exhibit wasting (i.e. too thin for height) has increased from 19.8 percent to 21.0 percent between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4.   It needs to be mentioned that children from...

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Non-payment of due MGNREGA wages recurred in 2016-17Non-payment of due MGNREGA wages recurred in 2016-17

The focus on MGNREGA got renewed when the Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley during the presentation of Union Budget 2017-18 increased allocation under the programme to Rs. 48,000 crore (B.E.), up from Rs. 47,499 crore (R.E.) in 2016-17. However, it has been noticed by the Inclusive Media for Change team that nearly Rs. 9,748.7 crore of due payment during the last financial year is still pending, as on 2 April, 2017. From the MIS reports section of the official MGNREGA website i.e. www.nrega.nic.in, it has been found that as on 2 April, 2017, 49.4 percent of the pending payments are related to wages of unskilled labourers, 48.6 percent related to material suppliers and the remaining 2 percent related to administrative expenses. Please click here to access. As on 2 April, 2017, the highest pending amount has been observed for the state of West Bengal (Rs. 1,828 crore) in 2016-17.   An...

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Job creation is a major challenge before the govt.Job creation is a major challenge before the govt.

Promises are made to be broken. In its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made the promise that if it is elected to the Centre, it will then accord a high priority to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship, among other things. But latest data on unemployment shared by the BJP MP Shri Bandaru Dattatreya in written form while replying to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha reveals that the government has failed to create enough number of new jobs in the economy. In his written reply to the unstarred question no. 682 on 6 February, 2017, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment Shri Bandaru Dattatreya said that the unemployment rate has risen marginally from 3.4 percent in 2013-14 to 3.7 percent in 2015-16 for persons aged 15 years and above, both in the organised and unorganised sectors. The unemployment rate...

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