- The challenge of achieving 9.5% growth rate
- For disabled citizens to have the police they deserve
The challenge of achieving 9.5% growth rate
The National Statistical Office (NSO) released the second quarter gross value added (GVA) and gross domestic product (GDP) numbers in November 2021.
GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Observations by NSO in the 2021 second quarter GVA and GDP numbers
- Challenges faced by the economy at present
- Way Forward
Observations by NSO in the 2021 second quarter GVA and GDP numbers
- The contraction of economy was highest in the first quarter of 2020-21, gradually easing off in the subsequent quarters.
- In the first half of 2021-22, only four of the eight GVA sectors have exceeded their corresponding 2019-20 levels. These are agriculture; electricity, gas, mining and quarrying; and public administration, defense and other services.
- For achieving the projected annual growth at 9.5% for 2021-22 given both by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the policy instrument may have to be a strong fiscal support in the form of government capital expenditure. This is currently being facilitated by the buoyant Centre’s gross tax revenues.
- The Centre’s gross tax revenues have shown an unprecedented growth rate of 64.2% in the first half of 2021-22.
- The resultant base effect was the strongest in the first quarter of 2021-22 as reflected in real GDP and GVA growth rates of 20.1% and 18.8%, respectively.
- The fiscal deficit target of 6.8% may come under pressure because of upward revisions in some expenditure items such as food and fertilizer subsidies, MGNREGA and extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana along with some shortfall in non-tax and non-debt capital receipts.
- The Centre’s incentivisation of state capital expenditure through additional borrowing limits would also help in this regard. Even as Central and State capital expenditures gather momentum, high-frequency indicators reflect an ongoing pick-up in private sector economic activities.
Challenges faced by the economy at present
- In the current financial year — 2021-22 — the GDP is expected to grow back to register a growth of 8.3%. This would mean that, in terms of overall economic production, India would have lost two full years of growth. The recent growth rate of GDP in percentage terms gives an impression of a “V-shaped” recovery. But, in terms of actual production, the economy will only manage to recover the ground it lost last year.
- At a time when economic growth has taken a hit and recovery is muted due to the second Covid wave, India is also facing ever-increasing prices. Headline retail inflation is the rate at which prices increase for retail consumers.
- Core inflation has remained consistently close to RBI’s upper limit, showing that it is not just a matter of petrol and diesel prices being very high or vegetables and fruit prices rising too fast. The common Indian is witnessing a fast rise in prices across the board.
- The biggest engine of GDP in the Indian economy is the expenditure that Indians undertake in their private capacity. This demand for goods and services is what accounts for more than 55% of all GDP in a year.
- Even before Covid, the Indian economy had reached a stage where the common man was holding back this expenditure. The first Covid wave made that trend worse with people either losing jobs or salaries being reduced. The second Covid wave has compounded the problem further because now everyone is bothered about the high health expenses.
- In the absence of consumer spending, the country’s businessmen — both big and small — are holding back new investments and refusing to seek new loans.
- Domestic consumers are holding back consumption and domestic businesses are holding back investments. Thus, it was incumbent on the government to spend more and pull the economy out of the current rut. After being forced to spend more in 2020-21, the government has actually pulled back (as a proportion of GDP) in 2021-22. It is for this reason that its deficit will fall in FY22 as against FY21.
- By now it is clear that there is no economic recovery unless India gets a significant majority of its population vaccinated. The possibility of a third wave is quite dangerous for economic recovery. That’s because the increased uncertainty further worsens the trends of consumers holding back consumption and businesses holding back new investments.
- The government has not been expanding its fiscal policy by as much as many expected it to. Indeed, it was largely left for the RBI to pump in loads of cheap money in the form of new loans in a bid to jump-start the economy.
- The acceleration in growth in the second quarter of 2021-22 reflects the Central Government’s emphasis on capital investment, which has gained traction in recent months. This momentum must be maintained for the remainder of the fiscal year.
- Private consumer demand would rise in tandem with employment and income growth, as a result of the recovery in the services sector, particularly in the trade, hotels, and so on.
- This might happen in the second half of 2021-22, assuming that COVID-19’s new strain, Omicron, does not disrupt economic activity again.
-Source: The Hindu
For disabled citizens to have the police they deserve
- As the Supreme Court noted in the Patan Jamal Vali v. The State Of Andhra Pradesh case concerning the rape of a blind Scheduled Caste woman in 2021 that women with disabilities are frequently considered as “soft targets” and “easy victims” for sexual violence.
- Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced Draft Accessibility Standards/Guidelines for facilities created under its control (police stations, prisons, and disaster response centres).
- When the standards indicate that access is a “social responsibility” of society toward “differently-abled,” they contradict rights-based understandings of disability. This understanding is inaccurate since access is a legal right that is granted to disabled people as empowered citizens.
GS-II: Social Justice (Vulnerable Sections, Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Interventions, Social Empowerment, Issues Relating to Development)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Arguments in favour of the Draft Accessibility Standards/Guidelines
- Arguments against the Standards
- Back to Basics: Understanding what is “Disability”
- Disability in India
- Numbers regarding Disables in Other surveys
- Constitutional Provisions and Legislations
- Other Schemes in India regarding Disabled people
Arguments in favour of the Draft Accessibility Standards/Guidelines
- The Standards for facilities created under the control of MHA such as police stations, prisons, and disaster response centres, etc., provide accessibility standards for services related to police stations and prisons.
- The Standards guarantee that people with disabilities who are suspected of committing crimes receive proper treatment, including having disabled-friendly access to police stations and disabled-friendly restrooms.
- The Standards give guidance on how to include people with disabilities in disaster mitigation, readiness, response, and recovery operations.
- The federal government has effectively eliminated the prospect of handicapped people joining the police service by issuing these guidelines.
- The Standards include methods for constructing new police stations as well as upgrading existing police stations and prisons to make them more contemporary, gender-sensitive, and accessible.
- They also emphasize disability-inclusive training for disaster relief personnel, data collection, and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
- Following the universal design concept, these guidelines impose accessible infrastructure models for schools, hospitals, and shelters.
Arguments against the Standards
- When the Standards claim that accessibility is society’s “social responsibility” to the “differently-abled,” they contradict a rights-based concept of disability.
- According to the Standards, police officers on civil duty may be people with impairments. This contradicts the Department of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities’ 2021 Office Memorandum.
- Several reasonable accommodations for the disabled are described as only recommended in the Standards. These include having trained police officers at each police station to help people with impairments.
- The Standards do not require directional signage to be accessible to the visually impaired, such as by auditory methods.
Back to Basics: Understanding what is “Disability”
- Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
- An impairment is a problem in body function or structure;
- An activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action;
- A participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.
- Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to face discrimination in the workplace. These barriers are social, not personal, and cannot be “overcome” through sheer force of will.
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975): “Any person unable to ensure by himself or herself, wholly or partly the necessities of a normal individual and or social life as a result of a deficiency either congenital or not in his/her physical or mental abilities” could be described as disabled.
Disability in India
- About 2.2% of India’s population lives with some kind of physical or mental disability, as per the National Statistics Office report on disability released 2019.
How are the disabled identified?
- Until the 2011 census, there were questions on seven kinds of disabilities in the questionnaire. This list of disabilities was expanded to 21 when the Rights of People with Disabilities was introduced in 2016.
- Accordingly, the 2019 report included questions to identify people with temporary loss of an ability as well as neurological and blood disorders in addition to the earlier definition, that included mental retardation and permanent inability to move, speak, hear and see.
- Significantly, the revised definition recognises deformities and injuries of acid attack victims as disabilities, entitling them to various relief measures.
Who are disabled and in what way?
- Rural men had the highest prevalence of disability in India, according to the NSO report. A higher proportion of men were disabled in India compared with women, and disability was more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Inability to move without assistance was the most common disability. More men experienced locomotor disability than women.
- These numbers were self-reported. In other words, the respondents were asked if they experienced any difficulty in performing tasks like moving, talking, etc.
Numbers regarding Disables in Other surveys
- The 2011 census estimated that the number of people with disabilities in India is close to 2.68 crore (or 2.2% of the population) — that is more than the entire population of Australia.
- This number was based on the older definition of disability, yet the proportion of disabled people in the population is not different from the 2019 NSO report, which used the expanded definition of disability. However, the 2019 edition of disability statistics reported a slightly higher prevalence than those reported in earlier editions of the survey.
- Other metrics for evaluating disability have provided different estimates. A 2019 study by the Public Health Foundation of India found that the use of the Annual Health Survey’s metrics results in a lower prevalence. Similarly, a group of doctors from AIIMS found that alternate questionnaires like the Rapid Assessment of Disability have resulted in a prevalence ranging from 1.6%-43.3%.
How can the range be so wide?
The proportion of population facing disability becomes bigger as one moves from a narrow definition to a broader one. For instance, if one defines disability as the difficulty in accessing public services for all kinds of reasons, even social or economic, then the proportion goes up.
Constitutional Provisions and Legislations
- The Preamble, Article 14, Article 21 and DPSP provide right to equality, justice and dignity of all individuals leading to an inclusive development which also includes the Disabled Persons.
- The Indian Lunacy Act 1912, The Lepers Act, 1899, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999, The Mental Healthcare Act 2017 are enacted for the betterment of disabled people.
Other Schemes in India regarding Disabled people
- ADIP Scheme: The main objective of the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing / fitting of aids / appliances (ADIP) scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential. The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme shall conform to BIS specifications to the extent possible. The scheme is implemented through implementing agencies such as the NGOs, National Institutes under this Ministry and ALIMCO (a PSU).
- Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan): Achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society. The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication eco-system.
- Sugamya Pustakalaya: “Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats.
- Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: The Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme is aimed to create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of persons with disabilities. Its objective is also to encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the People with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities and Protection of Rights) Act of 1995.
- National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities: In order to recognise dedicated efforts of persons and institutions involved in the process of empowerment of disabled and encourage others to strive to achieve excellence in this field, the National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities are being awarded every year.
-Source: The Hindu