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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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Bihar, U.P. & West Bengal are worst affected by arsenic contamination in groundwater, says recent reportBihar, U.P. & West Bengal are worst affected by arsenic contamination in groundwater, says recent report
May 23, 2019

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) in its latest report has identified arsenic hotspots across the country, most notably in the states of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Please consult chart-3 to get an idea about the geographical spread of arsenic hotspots in India. On the basis of arsenic concentration in the range 0.01-0.05 mg per litre in water samples collected from groundwater observation wells and hand pumps, the recent report has identified 94 districts across the country. Chart-1 shows that Bihar (19) has the highest number of districts having arsenic concentration in groundwater samples in the range 0.01-0.05 mg per litre, followed by Uttar Pradesh & Gujarat (12 each), West Bengal & Madhya Pradesh (8 each) and Assam (7).       Source: Arsenic hotspots in groundwater in India (2019), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and...

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As days go by, the impact of Cyclone Fani appears more severeAs days go by, the impact of Cyclone Fani appears more severe
May 17, 2019

Initial media reports suggest how timely interventions by various official agencies in Odisha prevented loss of human lives when Cyclone Fani hit that state on 3rd May. However, it is essential to also take into account recent official reports by different agencies, which indicate that the impact of the cyclone has been quite severe. A situation assessment report on the impact of Fani cyclone dated 15th May, 2019, which was released by the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (http://www.osdma.org), mentions that so far 64 human lives have been lost due to the cyclone, ranging from 3 deaths each in Kendrapada and Jajpur districts to 39 deaths in Puri district. Please consult table-1 below. Table 1: Human casualty in various district during Cyclone Fani   Source: Situation Report on Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm – ‘FANI’, dated 15th May, 2019 (3.30PM), State Emergency Operation Center (Bhubaneswar), please...

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