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Public hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemesPublic hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemes
March 16, 2018

A national-level public hearing, which was organized at the Gandhi Peace Foundation (Delhi) on 15th March, 2018, has revealed that the intended beneficiaries of various entitlement-based welfare schemes and programmes of the Central government are witnessing difficulties and impediments in accessing the benefits and services. During the public hearing, which was organized by the Right to Food Campaign along with partnering grassroots-level organizations, poor and marginalized citizens from across 14 states gave their testimonies in front of eminent citizens like Members of Parliament (MPs), lawyers, journalists, scholars and social activists. The statements made by those citizens indicate that many were denied ration cards, old age pension, disability pension or even aadhaar, although they had met their respective state’s criteria for inclusion in the entitlement-based schemes and programmes. A panel of eminent persons witnessing the public hearing organized by the Right to Food Campaign Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change It was observed during...

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Agricultural sector growth slows down to 3%, show new estimatesAgricultural sector growth slows down to 3%, show new estimates
March 10, 2018

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has recently made an upward revision to the growth to be experienced by the agrarian economy in the present crop year (viz. from July, 2017 to June, 2018). The growth in real Gross Value Added (GVA) by the agrarian sector as a whole is expected to be 3.0 percent in 2017-18 as per the second advance estimates of national income for 2017-18, which was released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on 28th February, 2018. The first advance estimates of national income for 2017-18 (released on 5th January, 2018), however, had predicted that the real GVA by the agrarian sector is likely to increase by 2.1 percent. It must be noted that GVA is the difference between GDP and net indirect taxes.   As compared to other sectors of the economy, the growth to be experienced by ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ sector is likely...

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PDS beneficiaries oppose cash transfers in Nagri block of JharkhandPDS beneficiaries oppose cash transfers in Nagri block of Jharkhand
February 26, 2018

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) or cash transfer might appear attractive on papers, but in reality it is opposed by its beneficiaries when implemented. Something similar to this has happened in the Nagri block of Ranchi district, where cash is being transferred to the aadhaar seeded bank accounts of beneficiaries in lieu of providing subsidized foodgrains. Cash transfers in the public distribution system (PDS) has been in operation in the Nagri block (Jharkhand) on a pilot basis since October, 2017. However, a recent survey of 244 households spread across 13 randomly selected villages of this block (between 28th January and 3rd February, 2018) reveals that the respondents (viz. beneficiaries of the DBT scheme) are facing several difficulties in accessing the money, which has been transferred into their bank accounts. For example, 95 percent of respondents (beneficiaries) were not informed by the concerned officials, which bank account of theirs would be used...

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Labour Bureau's new report indicate layoffs of casual & contract workers in Q1 of 2017-18Labour Bureau's new report indicate layoffs of casual & contract workers in Q1 of 2017-18
February 20, 2018

The declining trend in organized sector employment (i.e. in establishments employing 10 or more workers) continued in the first quarter of 2017-18. The sixth round of the Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario in selected sectors (as on 1st July, 2017), which was released in February this year, confirms this. The Labour Bureau’s latest report says that the net number of jobs created in the 8 major sectors of the economy was 64 thousand in the first quarter of 2017-18 viz. between 1st April, 2017 and 1st July, 2017. However, in the last quarter of 2016-17, the net number of workers who got jobs in these 8 sectors was 1.85 lakhs, which is roughly thrice the recent figure. As per the latest Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) report, although the employment of regular workers increased by 1.48 lakhs in the first quarter of 2017-18, nearly 64 thousand contract workers and 23 thousand casual workers...

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Size of tax rebates is large as compared to spending by agricultural & rural development ministriesSize of tax rebates is large as compared to spending by agricultural & rural development ministries
February 9, 2018

Believe it or not, the total revenue foregone in 2017-18 on account of special tax rates, exemptions, deductions, rebates, deferrals and credits -- broadly termed as 'tax expenditures' (an indirect subsidy) – that was given to corporate taxpayers has been more than 50 percent of the expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) and the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) altogether in that year. In other words, the size of tax concessions and tax breaks, which the corporate sector enjoys, is quite large vis-à-vis the expenditure made by the agricultural and rural development ministries altogether.   The total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to corporate taxpayers) as a proportion of total expenditure of the MoAFW and MoRD stands at around 88.7 percent in 2012-13, 76.1 in 2015-16, 67.4 percent in 2016-17 and 58.1 percent in 2017-18. It means that the tax incentives provided to the corporate...

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