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29th June – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Contents

  1. Absolute level of GDP over Growth Rates
  2. Lockdown: Harmful ozone levels increased
  3. The Mapillah uprising

ABSOLUTE LEVEL OF GDP OVER GROWTH RATES

Focus: GS-III Indian Express

Introduction

  • The GDP or Gross Domestic Product is nothing but the market value of all goods and services produced in an economy.
  • According to IMF and S&P Global ratings, amongst others, the projection of Indian Economy for the current year is contraction. However, they also predict a sharp recovery in the very next year.

The Case for Absolute levels of GDP

  • Most of the talk of economic recovery is happening in terms of real GDP growth rate, but there are compelling reasons why readers should focus on the absolute levels of GDP instead of GDP growth rates for the next few years if they want to truly understand where the economy stands at a particular point relative to where it was before the Covid crisis.
  • This is because looking at GDP growth rates alone can be misleading if the idea is to understand what happens to the overall wellbeing of the people in an economy.

Example of US, Italy, Spain and China

  • The annual GDP growth rates for the US, Italy, Spain and China shows – that around the period of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009 a sharp “V-shaped” or “W-shaped” recovery for the US, Italy and Spain. However, it continues to decelerate right through for China.
  • But if one looks at the absolute level of GDP – China’s total GDP continued to rise the steepest of the four. The US’ trajectory got shifted down almost permanently, while Italy and Spain flatlined.
  • In fact, until 2018, Italy could not regain the absolute GDP level that it had in 2007.
  • What further underscores why you should look at absolute GDP instead of GDP growth rates for a few years is the performance of absolute GDP per capita, which is an even more relevant marker for the wellbeing of a common Indian than the aggregate GDP.
  • It can be seen that after the 2008 crisis – countries took longer to recover on GDP per capita than absolute GDP levels.
  • Countries’ income in per capita (or GDP per capita) terms, coming back to the old levels takes even longer than the GDP coming back to the old levels, after a crisis.

-Source: Indian Express


LOCKDOWN: HARMFUL OZONE LEVELS INCREASED

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

  • Around the world, Covid-19 lockdowns cleaned up the air as a plethora of economic activities were brought to a standstill.
  • However, new research shows that while NO2 and PM2.5 levels plummeted during this period, pollution from ozone shot up.

Ozone as a pollutant

  • The highly reactive ozone gas (O3) helps protect life when it is in the Earth’s stratosphere.
  • There, it forms the ozone layer, which filters ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • In the troposphere (meaning at ground-level), however, ozone acts as a pollutant that can trigger several health problems among vulnerable groups, and is known to be associated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Along with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), tropospheric ozone is responsible for many of the ill effects caused by outdoor air pollution.

What the CSE study says?

  • As per the study, as many economic activities stalled during the lockdown, PM2.5 and NO2 levels plummeted in most cities, and this caught public attention.
  • However, the maximum standard average of invisible ozone pollution exceeded standard levels in these cities for several days.
  • In at least one measuring station in Delhi-NCR and Ahmedabad, ozone levels were higher than standard values on two-thirds of lockdown days.

Why have ozone levels increased?

  • Ozone builds up in cleaner areas, because ozone is not directly emitted by any source but is formed by photochemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases in the air under the influence of sunlight and heat.
  • A high NOx level can again react with ozone and mop it up. The ozone that escapes to cleaner areas has no NOx to further cannibalise it – and as a result, ozone concentration builds up in these areas.
  • There is also the speculation that as nitrogen oxides reduce, photochemical production may become more efficient and can lead to higher ozone concentrations in the summertime as higher temperatures increase emissions of biogenic hydrocarbon from natural sources such as trees, significantly affecting urban ozone levels.

Conclusion

This pandemic has shown that big reduction is possible only if all regions clean up together and at a scale and with speed across all critical sectors including vehicles, industry, power plants, waste, construction, use of solid fuels for cooking and episodic burning.

-Source: Indian Express


THE MAPILLAH UPRISING

Focus: GS-I History

Why in news?

  • Controversy has erupted over Malayalam movie projects commemorating the Mapillah rebellion of 1921 in its centenary,
  • The Mapillah rebellion is considered by many as one of the greatest challenges to British rule between the great uprising of 1857 and the Quit India movement of 1942.

Different Versions of History

  • The controversy surrounding the Mapillah uprising demonstrates that in the case of most important historical events no single narrative is accepted by all sections of society.
  • There are multiple narratives propounded by people of different ideological persuasions.
  • More often than not these divergent perspectives are shaped by the proponents’ current political projects and their preferred visions of their societies’ future.

What led to the Mapillah revolt?

  • The immediate trigger of the uprising was the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by the Congress in 1920 in tandem with the Khilafat agitation.
  • The Malabar Congress, many of whose leaders were Nairs, was the most active participant in these twin agitations with several Hindu leaders addressing Khilafat gatherings.
  • The anti-British sentiment fuelled by these agitations found fertile ground among the Muslim Mapillahs of south Malabar living in economic misery which they blamed in large part on British rule.
  • The British had introduced new tenancy laws that tremendously favoured the landlords and instituted a far more exploitative system than before.
  • The pre-British relations between landlords and tenants were based on a code that provided the tenants a decent share of the produce.
  • The new laws deprived them of all guaranteed rights to the land and its produce and in effect rendered them landless.
  • This change created enormous resentment among the tenants against British rule.
  • The fact that most of the landlords were Namboodiri Brahmins while most of the tenants were Mapillah Muslims compounded the problem.
  • The Nairs formed an intermediate grouping of well-off peasantry with their own economic and social grudges against the Namboodiri landlords but largely unsympathetic to the economic travails of the Mapillahs.

The spark that lit the fire

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement combined with the Khilafat agitation provided the spark that lit the fire of Mapillah revolt against the British rulers and their Hindu landlords.
  • The fiery speeches by Muslim religious leaders that accompanied the Khilafat movement added to the religious fervour of an already desperate peasantry and fuelled their ire against the British and the Hindu landlords leading to the atrocities committed by a segment of the mobilised Mapillahs against Hindus regardless of caste.
  • Economic distress, anger against foreign rule and the tenancy laws it instituted, and religious zeal are some of the multiple factors contributed to the character of the movement.

Click Here to read more about the Malabar Rebellion

-Source: The Hindu

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