The Convenient Silence Of The Modi Govt On The Economic Crisis Ailing India

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Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, popularly known as CMIE, has reported that India’s unemployment rate has hit a three-year high. The unemployment rate in October rose to 8.5%, the highest in over three years and up from 7.2% in September 2019. It is reflecting the slowdown of the Indian economy. The highest unemployment rate is in Tripura and Haryana, which is 20%, whereas Tamil Nadu, with a rate of 1.1%, stood at the last place.

In the financial year 2018, the unemployment rate was 6.1%. The growing rate of unemployment is a matter of worry, and the current BJP-led NDA government must look into the matter and act seriously.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Image via Getty

A few months ago, the Finance Minister of India made a statement, which led to a heated debate in the country. In her statement, FM Nirmala Sitharaman pointed her finger towards the millenials of the country and held them accountable for the auto sector crisis—just because they prefer to use Ola and Uber cabs.

The auto sales in India have declined for the continuous 10th month. Even the demand for diesel has fallen by 7.4% in October due to the current economic situation. Data released by EPFO shows a 26% fall in the average monthly job creation since October 2019, and this data can scare them even more. Also, a survey found that over 33% of skilled Indian youth are jobless.

India’s manufacturing output grew at its slowest pace in two years in October, and also, our domestic automobile sales witnessed a decline of 12.34% in June. This decline in automobile sales led to a job loss of 3 lakhs since April. Low demand or no demand plays a huge role in affecting our economy, and it is also considered as one of the biggest reasons behind the slowdown.

According to Rajnish Kumar, the chairman of the State Bank of India, which is considered as the most prestigious public sector bank of the country, there is an obvious slowdown in demand which is visible in every sector.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The Most Talked Term In The Current Economic Crisis

The GDP growth rate in the second quarter ( July-Sept) of 2019 is the lowest in the last six years, which is just 4.5%, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office. The contraction is visible in the manufacturing as well as the industries index. The overall GDP is being affected because of the negative growth rate in both of these sectors. India is now no longer the world’s fastest-growing major economy because of the slowdown in our economic growth.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested five steps to solve the following issue. The steps include rationalization of GST, focus on increasing rural consumption and reviving the agriculture sector, solving the liquidity crisis, and reviving the major job-generating industries such as textile, auto, electronics and subsidized housing. He also said that easy loans need to be provided for this purpose, especially to medium and small enterprises. According to him, the government needs to identify new export markets opening due to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

The condition doesn’t seem to improve even in the next financial year because NCAER has predicted the GDP growth rate in India for the FY 2020 at 6.2%. According to the economic survey 2018-19, India would have to grow by 12% a year to become a $5 trillion economy in future, which is almost impossible if the condition doesn’t change.

Demonetisation and faulty implementation of GST are considered as the biggest reasons behind the current crisis. IMF has also cut its projection for India’s GDP growth in the current financial year by 0.3%, which is a bad sign for the world’s largest democracy. The rank of the Indian economy is continuously declining. We have shifted to the 7th place from the 5th, and the following data is reported by non-other than the world bank.

The food prices in India faced the worst hit of this economic slowdown. Consumer Price Index inflation rose marginally to 3.2 % in August 2019. Onions are giving even more tears as the price for a kilogram is now 80 Indian rupees. NSO reported that consumer spending has seen its first fall in four decades. The Indian rupee is also in ICU like the economy as it suffers the biggest fall in six years against the dollar.

The saddest part is that the stand of the government is still not clear on the following issue. Several renowned economists, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have suggested several ways to revive our economy, but the current government is yet to acknowledge this. Despite all the noise pollution, media channels barely ask questions to the government on the economy, and this provides even more freedom to the government to stay calm on the Indian economic crisis.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China is dragging on global growth.

The global economy, on the other hand, is also facing a huge crisis. The heat between China and the United States is also at its peak. The game of currency war, as well as the trade war, is on. The total tariffs applied exclusively to Chinese products by the US are $300 billion, while the total Chinese tariffs applied to the US goods are $110 billion.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China is dragging on global growth. Last month, it said that the conflict would cut the growth by 0.1% points in 2019-20. This trade war can easily push the world towards the global economic slowdown, and the biggest example to prove this fact is the Great Depression of the 1920s. The Great Depression of 1920 was also the result of a trade war. Only time will tell in which direction the winds of the five oceans blow.

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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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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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