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Understanding The Euro Crisis: A Quick Analysis

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By Apurva Desai:

It’s 2012 and the much talked about prediction of the world ending might prove to be true in pure economic terms.

The negligent bubble of a crisis which started in Greece more than two years ago, was ignored as a minor worry by the Greek government itself, forget the rest of the world. All of us were busy worrying about the relapse of the American recession to concentrate on anything else.

So, where did it all lead to?

The answer to this is frightening, to say the least. For the past year, everyone is just trying to assess the damage that has been caused, or that will be caused. The truth is, it’s still not over, and nobody knows if the worst is actually over.

So here are my two cents to and about the Great Euro Crisis!

Cause: The Globalisation of Finance

Every report that is issued with respect to the crisis enumerates a million different reasons for the crisis. If you read between the lines, you shall realize that there is just one cause for it: The massive integration which went horribly wrong. We may word it differently, but the crux is the same.

The Birth of Euro Crisis

The Countries Involved

Greece

From late 2009, fears of a debt crisis developed among investors concerning Greece’s ability to meet its debt obligations due to strong increase in government debt levels. This led to a crisis of confidence, indicated by a widening of bond yield spreads. Downgrading of Greek government debt to junk bond status also created an alarm in the financial markets. In mid 2010, IMF agreed to loan out a €110 billion loan to Greece, conditional on the implementation of harsh austerity measures.

In October 2011, Eurozone leaders also agreed on a proposal to write off 50% of Greek debt owed to private creditors. Even after so many write offs and monetary help, Greece is still struggling to bounce back.

Ireland

Ireland’s crisis was led largely by it’s real estate bubble. The Irish government did not indulge in any extravagant spending, but made the mistake of guaranteeing the six main Irish-based banks who had financed the property crisis.

Ireland has a vast progress in dealing with its financial crisis, and is expected to stand on its own feet again and finance itself without any external support from the second half of 2012 onwards.

United Kingdom

As the whole of the debt crisis is interlocked, UK is not far from danger. UK is very much at risk from a domino-fall of defaults and called on banks to build up more capital when financial conditions allowed. The country has one of the highest debt levels, and hence is facing the tune of the same.

Italy

Italy’s deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP in 2010 was similar to Germany’s at 4.3 percent and less than that of the U.K. and France. It’s debt has increased to almost 120 percent of GDP (U.S. $2.4 trillion in 2010) and economic growth was lower than the EU average for over a decade. This has led investors to view Italian bonds more and more as a risky asset.

What Next?

So the crisis is down and about, it is spreading faster than the plague, but we are still clueless as to how exactly is it affecting the world and us.

The U.S. economy could likely weather a further slowdown, or even a modest contraction in Europe. But a prolonged slump may delay the U.S. recovery that is now starting to translate into a noticeable reduction in unemployment.

Europe’s woes translate directly into problems for South America, where the new powerhouse Brazil has shifted its worries from an over excited economy to an alarming slowdown stimulated by the euro turmoil.

China, which has the European Union as its top trade partner, the export growth has begun to weaken in the past two months and is expected to decline further as Europe heads toward recession. The Chinese economy’s expansion is expected to slow to around 8% in 2012 from more than 9% in 2011.

While 8% growth would be appreciable almost anywhere else, it can be a problem in China where the system is geared for super-high growth rates befitting a country that has grown on average 10% annually for the past 30 years.

The exports in China are going down and hitting new loans everyday. Now there are even signs that the currency is suffering as investors start to pull out.

That could prompt China to stimulate its economy, but it has less room to do so, because it already has a series of non performing loans from the earlier round of crisis, which included heavy bank lending.

Indian Effect

The country’s industrial output has shrunk down to 5.1% in October from a year ago and the government has now downgraded its 2012 growth forecast to 7.25% from as high as 9% previously.

With investors pulling out due to speculation that the RBI will cut down the interest rates, the rupee has taken a big dent, falling to an all-time low against the American dollar, with almost 56 rupees equaling a dollar.

India’s foreign trade account is hovering around a negative $10 billion per month, but that is no worse than several years ago and it is hard to detect a deteriorating pattern.

In conclusion, India is battling with the are-we, are-we-not affected by the crisis. With the emotions and sensibilities pointing towards the obvious effect, the statistically minded optimists refuse to believe so.

What do we do in the meanwhile?

Not exchange rupees for dollars, ofcourse.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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