BBC News – Is India exaggerating its economic growth?

India’s economic growth might be overestimated, according to the country’s former chief economic adviser.

Sameer Hashmi

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India, 13 June 2019. In a column published in an Indian newspaper, Arvind Subramanian said his research shows India has changed how it measures growth, and this led to its gross domestic product (GDP) being overstated by about 2.5% annually.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s panel of economic advisers has rejected his conclusions, adding it would soon issue a “point-to-point rebuttal”.

Mr Subramanian’s observations have, however, reignited concerns about the credibility of India’s economic growth data.

It was the fastest growing economy in 2018 but many leading economists have argued the new methodology is flawed as it does not truly reflect the economy.

What’s the controversy?

In 2015, India changed the way it measured GDP.

One of the major changes: GDP is now measured by using market prices rather than basic costs. Simply put, the GDP was used to be calculated based on the wholesale prices at which producers received their products. Now, it’s calculated based on the market prices paid by consumers.

And the base year was shifted from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to assess quarterly and annual growth figures. Since then, the methodology has been under scrutiny from economists and statisticians.

Mr Subramanian has reinforced those doubts by claiming that the economic growth for the period between the financial years 2011-12 and 2016-17 is exaggerated. While official estimates put it at 7%, he pegs the “actual growth” at about 4.5%.

His comments are based on his own research, which has been published by the Centre for International Development at Harvard University.

Since 2015, when the new methodology came into effect, a growing number of experts have questioned the high growth estimates under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Despite his government’s claims of rapid growth, unemployment touched a 45-year high between 2017 and 2018.

Raghuram Rajan, former head of India’s central bank and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, has expressed doubts over the data given the high rate of joblessness.

What does the Indian government say?

The government has defended its methodology for calculating economic growth.

“India objectively measures the contribution of various sectors in the economy and the country’s GDP estimates are based on accepted procedures and methodologies,” India’s statistics ministry said in a statement.

This is the not the first time that the government has been questioned over data collection. A study by the statistics ministry found that in the fiscal year which ended June 2016, 36% of companies in the database used for calculating India’s GDP could not be traced or were wrongly classified.

The government itself has admitted there are deficiencies in the way it collets data.

Mr Subramanian has called for an independent panel of experts comprising Indian and foreign nationals to examine India’s GDP data.

“My new research suggests that post-global financial crisis, the heady narrative of a guns-blazing India – that statisticians led us to believe – may have to cede to a more realistic one of an economy growing solidly but not spectacularly,” Mr Subramanian writes.

How will this affect India?

It’s a big blow for Mr Modi’s government, which recently won a second term but is already under pressure to revive economic growth.

The government’s own figures admit that India is no longer the fastest growing economy, it lost that tag to China when its GDP grew at its slowest pace in five years.

Not only could this hurt India’s reputation but it also highlights how economic policies implemented over the past few years may have actually impeded growth by giving an inaccurate picture of the economy.

For example, interest rates in India were kept high to tackle inflation but that created more barriers for businesses, forcing them to borrow capital at a high cost. To make matters worse, the unravelling of the bad loans crisis impacted banks, making it difficult to access money.

The central bank lowered interest rates thrice this year to boost the economy after growth started to falter.

The lack of jobs and the agrarian crisis gripping India are two huge challenges that have weighed down economic growth.

Apart from restoring confidence in the economy, experts say there is an urgent need to revamp the statistical system to capture real-time data for policy analysis. The government has said that it’s working with the World Bank to modernise the way data is collected

Mr Modi has set up committees to device policies that would help attract investment and create employment. Given the gloomy outlook on India’s economy, Mr Subramanian, too, expects the government to act swiftly to tackle the slowdown.

“Going forward, there must be reform urgency stemming from the new knowledge that growth has been tepid, not torrid,” he writes.

The Tribune – Three water recharging channels at Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib)

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 17 June 2019. A state-of-the-art water recharging and recycling system has been made operational on the premises of the Golden Temple.

Named as ‘Rainwater Harvesting and Recharging Mechanism’, the project has been set up by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) through Jalandhar-based firm Varun Mitra-Friends of Water.

Under the project, three recharging channels have been set up to recycle and recharge the ‘sarovar’ water that was being used to clean the ‘parkarma’ and the causeway leading to the sanctum sanctorum.

PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu on Monday directed the firm to extend the project to channelise the water being used for ablution process at the ‘charan ganga’ (small pool of water where devotees wash their feet before entering the shrine).

SGPC staffers and volunteers draw water from the sarovar twice a day to clean the causeway or bridge that leads to the sanctum sanctorum, which is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width. The same procedure is adopted to clean the 13-foot parikrama that runs around the shrine.

While inaugurating the project, Pannu, also the director of the Tandrust Punjab Mission, said the old water recharging system in the Golden Temple complex had become redundant and hence a more effective system was made operational now.

The treated water would be recycled for multiple uses and would help recharge the underground water table and decrease the pressure on sewerage of the city. “The problem with the sarovar water was that it contained human hair and other dust particles that used to jam the channel. Now, this new system will pave a smooth passage for water to enter into the recharging channels,” he said.

Gent: De Koer – Bagattenstraat

De Koer
02 June 2019

All ready for the iftar meal

Tables, chairs, cutlery and orange goody bags

Trying to knit with rope

Evi giving instructions

09 June 2019

Flowers in the city !

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Asian Age – CM demands action against police for beating Sikh driver

An enquiry in the incident will be conducted by the joint commissioner of police and will be entrusted outside the district.

New Delhi – India, 18 June 2019. The Union minister of state for home affairs, G Kishan Reddy, met a BJP delegation regarding the Mukherjee Nagar incident and assured them of a fair and quick action in the matter.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal too demanded that Union home minister Amit Shah and lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal take strict action against the police personnel who allegedly assaulted a driver at Mukherjee Nagar in Delhi.

Mr Kejriwal, who met the family of the victim, said that Delhi police’s “brutality” in Mukherjee Nagar area on Sunday was highly condemnable and unjustified.

“Incidents of crime have increased in Delhi. The home minister and the L-G need to act strictly. It was an unfortunate incident. I hope that the guilty police personnel will be punished severely,” Mr Kejriwal said.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh hit out at the Delhi police on Monday for the alleged assault on the man and sought Mr Shah’s intervention in the matter.

Following the incident, a Delhi police ACP was also beaten up by enraged protesters at Mukherjee Nagar after he allegedly went there to “control the gathering.”

Shalimar Bagh police station ACP, K G Tyagi has to face the wrath of the protesters who were protesting against the incident in which an auto driver Sarabjit Singh and his son were thrashed by the police in Mukherjee Nagar.

The issue soon took a political turn with Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the BJP MLA from Rajouri Garden, claiming that the policemen insulted the man by attacking his turban.

On Monday, Mr Sirsa along with the victim, Sarbjeet Singh, met the Delhi police commissioner.

He said that a criminal case will be registered on Monday against all those police personnel who were involved in the merciless beating of the Sikh auto driver and his minor son.

An enquiry in the incident will be conducted by the joint commissioner of police and will be entrusted outside the district.

He said that no case has been registered against Sarbjeet Singh and his son under Section 307.

Delhi Police files cross FIR

A day after the gruesome act of violence, which took place in Northwest Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area, a cross FIR has been registered. The case has been transferred to Delhi police crime branch.

Three police personnel, including two assistant sub inspectors, have been suspended for unprofessional conduct in regard to the incident.

The Union home ministry has sought a detailed report from the Delhi police about the incident.

Dawn – The New Leadership

The meeting between Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in Jati Umra on Sunday is important in the context of long-term Pakistani politics, especially as the opposition parties try and build up momentum for a drive against the government. There was no press conference at the end of the luncheon meeting, which would suggest that the heirs of the two major political parties-cum-dynasties in the country initially want to pave the way for a meaningful partnership.

It would make sense for both to sit together before the media soon to discuss joint strategies and aims once they have come up with them. It is not going to be a light challenge for the government. It was because of the latter’s refusal to play ball with the older established leadership of the two parties that Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Ms Nawaz now have the leading role.

Many who desired a resurrection of the PPP had been hoping that Benazir Bhutto’s son would be allowed to try and breathe new life into the PPP. He has got a chance to prove his mettle as the head of a party that thrives on protest — and at a time when the PPP is in turmoil. For her part, Ms Nawaz has the opportunity to speak with the frequency she wanted to before she was silenced by the dictates of pragmatism for many months, which is a long period in politics.

Editorial, 18 June 2019. Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Ms Nawaz are no Ms Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif who came together to sign the document they called the Charter of Democracy.

Even if we disregard the official taunts that the endeavours of the two next-generation politicians result in, it is obvious that at one level theirs is indeed a campaign to rescue their respective fathers.

They have talked quite loftily of the need to develop further the famous Charter of Democracy, but that agreement belonged to a different era altogether. It was relevant to a period in which the PPP and the PML-N took turns to govern and play the role of opposition.

It was believed that this arrangement would continue forever. But that pattern has since been disrupted. There is another party in power, and it is determined to perform the old job of annihilating all the bad politicians, ie everyone except those in power. The period of agitation that the new leaders of the PPP and PML-N are entering is not aimed at securing power. It marks a battle for survival.