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Economic Survey 2009-10
Little cheer, more worries
Job market strained, but not for women
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

lakh jobs added to pool in 2009

New Delhi, February 25
Recession blues that clouded the Indian job market post-October 2008 seem to be vanishing now, with 1.51 lakh jobs added to the pool last year. Overall job scenario may not look so happy, but women’s employment, in both public and private sector, has been rising over the years. Males, on the other hand, have been losing jobs in public sector.

The Economic Survey for 2009-10 points to severe job losses over past 17 years in the organised sector -- public and private combined. However, women have gained on employment front between 1991 and 2007, after which no comprehensive data has been available, as noted in the survey. The 1.51 lakh additional jobs it mentions are based on a small-sample survey conducted between July and September last on 2,873 units in 11 states.

In 2007, 30.18 lakh women were employed in the Indian public sector, as against 23.47 lakh in 1991, an increase of 6.71 lakh. Contrarily, men have been losing jobs in the public arena, to the extent of 17.26 lakh (167.1 lakh were working in 1991 as against 149.84 in 2007). Overall, women have been the major gainers. Today, India has 53.12 lakh women in jobs, as against 37.81 lakh in 1991 -- 15.31 lakh more. However, we now have 10 lakh men less in jobs than we had 16 years ago.

The most worrisome noting of the survey is the shrinking public sector job base in India. It saw a job loss of 10 lakh between 1991 and 2007. In the organised public sector, employment losses to the tune of 14 lakh occurred over the aforesaid period. Manufacturing sector was the hardest hit -- it employed 10.87 lakh people in 2007 as against 18.52 lakh in 1991 -- a loss of eight lakh jobs.




Carbon emissions to rise to 3.5 tonnes
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

pc is India’s present emission

New Delhi, February 25
India’s per capita carbon emissions will increase three-fold to 3.5 tonnes by 2030, according to the Economic Survey 2009-10. However, they will still be well below developed country averages. At present, India’s per capita emissions are around 1 to 1.2 tonnes and climate modelling studies say even with 8-9 per cent GDP growth every year for the next decade or two, they are likely to be well below developed country averages.

“Its climate modelling studies show that its per capita emissions will be around 2-2.5 tonnes of carbon equivalent by 2020 and around 3-3.5 tonnes of carbon equivalent by 2030, compared to around 1-1.2 tonnes presently,” the Survey said. The Survey explains that India’s energy intensity of production has been falling with improvements in energy efficiency, autonomous technological changes and economical use of energy. In order to reduce carbon emissions from India, the government currently spends over 2.6 per cent of the GDP on adaptation to climate variability. The country’s Five-Year Plans include a strategy for sustainable growth resulting in low-carbon sustainable development. The Eleventh Five-Year Plan includes an indicative target of increasing energy efficiency by 20 per cent by 2016-17. According to the Planning Commission’s estimates, emission intensity declined by 17.6 per cent between 1990 and 2005, and a further 20-25 per cent reduction is possible from 2005 to 2020 by undertaking necessary actions.




No space for health centres
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News service

pc centres in rented buildings

New Delhi, February 25
The government has no space for healthcare centres, with 29 per cent of all such establishments at sub-centre, primary and community-level being housed in rented buildings, where upkeep remains poor. The government report card for 2009-2010, tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, notes that progress in health indicators in India has been very uneven across regions, with large inter-state variations, gender differences and rural-urban divides.

Admitting to glaring deficiencies in health infrastructure, with the country currently short of 20, 486 health sub-centres; 4477 primary healthcare centres, and 2,337 community healthcare centres at the 2001 population norm, the survey indicates that these deficiencies would have been manifold at the current population. India’s health indicators continue to be poor as compared to a number of developing countries like China and Sri Lanka, states the Economic Survey, adding that glaring inadequacies in infrastructure, including shortage of personnel, is leading to gaps in coverage and outreach of services, particularly in rural areas which have no medical college. All this is thwarting the objectives of UPA’s flagship programme National Rural Health Mission.

It’s shocking to note that the government systems remain unequipped to even house healthcare facilities, with 29 per cent of the existing healthcare centres located in rented buildings. “Poor upkeep and maintenance and high absenteeism of manpower in rural areas are the main problems in the health delivery system in public sector,” the survey states.

Although institutional delivery rate has somewhat improved under the Jananai Suraksha Yojaya (JSY), which financially encourages women to go for hospital-based delivery, Jharkhand, UP, Rajasthan, MP, Orissa and Bihar haven’t shown gains. Two crore women have so far been covered by the JSY. The survey also notes glaring NRHM deficiencies pointed out by CAG recently, including the fact that district level annual plans under NRHM were not prepared during 2005 to 2008 in nine states and 24 states had not prepared block and village-level plans at all.




Food inflation major concern, agricultural growth sluggish
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

pc is estimated farm decline

New Delhi, February 25
The Economic Survey 2009-10 tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday made critical comments on rise in food prices, spurred by expectations of short fall in production. The government’s economic report card has partially blamed poor food-management policies for double-digit food inflation. It also says that since December 2009 there were signs of high food prices, together with hardening of non-administered fuel prices, getting transmitted to other non-food items.

Critical about the government's policies, the Survey said “hype” over kharif crop failure without taking into account comfortable food stocks and Rabi prospects “may have exacerbated inflationary expectations encouraging hoarding and resulting in a higher inflation in food items.This created some concerns for higher than anticipated generalised inflation over the next few months”

Pointing out that the farm sector continued to be a cause for concern, the Survey said there was a need for serious policy initiatives to reach the four per cent growth target. Farm sector growth is estimated to decline by 0.2 per cent in 2009-10. It adds that sluggish performance of agriculture sector has brought issues of food security, food-stock management and need for improving food production and productivity. Although the yield per hectare foodgrain has shown some improvement in recent years, it is not sufficient to cater to the rising population.

The Survey has asked the government to take policy initiatives for a targeted four per cent farm sector growth. It says:“Renewed attention needs to be paid to improving farm production and productivity, better utilisation of agriculture inputs, proper marketing infrastructure and support, stepping up investment in agriculture with due emphasis on environmental concerns and food management.” There is concern over the emergence of double-digit food inflation, especially in the second half, the government’s report card for current fiscal says food price inflation stood at 17.9 per cent for the week ended this January 30 and inflation in fuel, power, light and lubricants at 10.4 per cent.

Higher food prices were mainly because of supply-side constraints, compounded by a poor monsoon in 2009. The impact of a delayed and subnormal monsoon is reflected in the production and acreage data for kharif crops.



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