New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) When Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), cautioned the government against demonetisation, saying short-term economic costs would outweigh long-term benefits, he was not trying to be prophetic. But a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made that fateful announcement in a nationwide broadcast on the evening of November 8, it would seem Rajan's words had actually become so.
It’s been eleven years since the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006) came to being. And it’s been way longer than that, over 80 years, since the Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929) was put in place. Yet, there still are innumerable little girls suffering at the hands of this evil. A recent survey reveals that there are almost 12 million married children, under the age of 10. And about 65% of them, close to 7.58 million, are girls.
Since the latest growth numbers have come in showing a consistent deceleration in Indias real gross domestic product (GDP) over six consecutive quarters, a cacophony of concerned voices have been heard. The din of criticism both from within and outside the government has grown so loud that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has had to intervene in order to defend his economic record. This warrants the question whether the situation is as grave as it is being made out to be.
The annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says that the average overcrowding rate in Indian prisons is 14 per cent. What the report does not reveal is that 149 jails in the country are overcrowded by more than 100 per cent and that eight are overcrowded by margins of a staggering 500 per cent.
In the decade after liberalisation, there was a nearly 120 per cent rise in the number of domestic workers in India, says author Tripti Lahiri in her recently released book, "Maid In India". Women constitute over two-thirds of the workforce in this unorganised sector. They usually come from backward regions such as Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam, are often barely of legal working age, their wages less than the minimum fixed by the government. Their employers range from Indias elite to its nouveau riche, many of who still believe in the traditional divide between servants and masters.
Nine of India's poorest states -- home to 581 million or 48 per cent of the population -- account for 70 per cent of the country's infant deaths, 75 per cent of under-five deaths and 62 per cent of maternal deaths, but do not spend even the money they have set aside for healthcare, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of 2017 Reserve Bank of India data on state budgets.
After a decade-long legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled in April 2017 that permanent jobs be given to 2,700 contract workers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), India's richest municipal corporation. These contract workers, who sweep streets, collect garbage and clean sewers, were not entitled to health and other benefits, vacation, rest days and pension. They will now get back pay of two years and employee benefits, such as weekly offs and medical leave without a pay cut.
As demands for farm-loan waivers grow across Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka -- after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra wrote off loans worth Rs 36,359 crore and Rs 30,000 crore, respectively -- India faces a cumulative loan waiver of Rs 3.1 lakh crore, or 2.6 per cent of its GDP in 2016-17.