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Despite having a food security legislation, spending on food subsidy is lowDespite having a food security legislation, spending on food subsidy is low
February 1, 2018

Recent data from the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) shows that about one-third of children in India is undernourished – 35.7 percent children below 5 years are underweight (too thin for age), 38.4 percent are stunted (too short for age) and 21.0 percent are wasted (too thin for height). It is also revealed that the level of anaemia among women and girls (aged 15-49 years) has stagnated marginally over the last decade from 55.3 percent in NFHS-3 to 53.0 percent in NFHS-4. Yet a country, which is ridden with such severe hunger and under-nutrition, spends less than 1 percent of its national income annually on food subsidy. A recent analysis by the Inclusive Media for Change team shows that the actual expenditure by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution) on food subsidy was less than 1 percent of Gross...

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Hard reality and political compulsions may force a rural-focused budgetHard reality and political compulsions may force a rural-focused budget
January 26, 2018

  Budgetary allocation to a particular sector indicates how much priority the government assigns to that sector as compared to the rest. A preliminary analysis by the Inclusive Media for Change team indicates that the actual expenditure (net of receipts and recoveries) by two of the country’s most important ministries, namely the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) and the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) was less than 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the last 6 years.   At first glance it may seem that the actual expenditure by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (under the MoAFW) had more than doubled from Rs. 15,296.04 crore in 2015-16 to Rs. 39,840.5 crore (RE) in 2016-17 (as could be seen from table-1). However, various economists have argued that it happened simply because the head 'interest subsidy for short term credit to farmers', which earlier came as part...

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Agriculture ministry differs with CSO over estimated growth of farm sectorAgriculture ministry differs with CSO over estimated growth of farm sector
June 1, 2018

  The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has contended that the growth in real Gross Value Added (GVA) by the agrarian sector will not decline in 2017-18 vis-à-vis 2016-17 as has been predicted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The first advance estimates of CSO show that the growth rate in GVA at basic price (at 2011-12 prices) of the 'Agriculture, forestry & fishing' sector is likely to dip from 4.9 percent to 2.1 percent between 2016-17 and 2017-18 (please consult table-1). Among other things, the press note dated 5th January, 2018 of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) makes it clear that the CSO has calculated the advance estimates by extrapolating the first advance estimates of production of major kharif crops for 2017-18 and targets based on rabi sowings (please click here to access).   Table 1: First advance estimates of GVA at basic price by economic activity (at...

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Casual employment worst hit after note ban, shows new reportCasual employment worst hit after note ban, shows new report
January 30, 2018

In the 3 months period following demonetisation, most job cuts happened for casual workers. This has been confirmed by the Labour Bureau's latest Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario in selected sectors. Although overall employment increased in the 8 major sectors of the economy by 1.85 lakhs between 1st January, 2017 and 1st April, 2017, employment of regular workers (1.97 lakhs) increased the most, followed by employment of contract workers (26,000 in nos.). Almost 53,000 casual workers lost their jobs in the same period. Please consult table-1 for further information.   The estimated employment of self-employed persons increased by 15,000 during the same duration. Table 1: Estimated change in number of employees in 8 sectors by nature of job (in lakh) Source: Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario in selected sectors (new series) as on 1st April, 2017, released in December 2017, Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment, please click here to access It...

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Non-communicable diseases emerge as the biggest killer, says new health reportNon-communicable diseases emerge as the biggest killer, says new health report
December 20, 2017

Although life expectancy at birth for both the sexes has improved over the last quarter of a century, a recent report points out that ‘non-communicable diseases’ (NCDs) now account for a larger proportion of total deaths vis-à-vis ‘communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional disease' (CMNNDs). The report entitled India: Health of the Nation’s States - The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative, which has been prepared after two years of intense collaborative research work, shows that NCDs including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, 'mental health and neurological disorders', cancers, musculoskeletal disorders, chronic kidney disease etc. accounted for 61.8 percent of total deaths in the country in 2016, which was 37.9 percent in 1990. On the other hand, the contribution of CMNNDs to total deaths was 53.6 percent in 1990, which almost halved to 27.5 percent in 2016. CMNNDs include ‘HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis’, 'diarrhea, lower respiratory, and other common infectious diseases', 'neglected tropical...

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