Saturday, February 06, 2010
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"Indeed, the 2008-9 plunge in world trade was one for the record books. What it mainly reflected was the fact that modern trade is dominated by sales of durable manufactured goods — and in the face of severe financial crisis and its attendant uncertainty, both consumers and corporations postponed purchases of anything that wasn’t needed immediately. How did this reduce the U.S. trade deficit? Imports of goods like automobiles collapsed; so did some U.S. exports; but because we came into the crisis importing much more than we exported, the net effect was a smaller trade gap.
But with the financial crisis abating, this process is going into reverse. Last week’s U.S. trade report showed a sharp increase in the trade deficit between August and September. And there will be many more reports along those lines.
So picture this: month after month of headlines juxtaposing soaring U.S. trade deficits and Chinese trade surpluses with the suffering of unemployed American workers. If I were the Chinese government, I’d be really worried about that prospect.
Unfortunately, the Chinese don’t seem to get it: rather than face up to the need to change their currency policy, they’ve taken to lecturing the United States, telling us to raise interest rates and curb fiscal deficits — that is, to make our unemployment problem even worse.
And I’m not sure the Obama administration gets it, either. The administration’s statements on Chinese currency policy seem pro forma, lacking any sense of urgency."
....extracted from the following article:
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- Expenditure on the NREG has gone up from Rs 12,074 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 19,279 crore in 2007-08, and further to Rs 36,153 crore in 2008-09.
- There were 2.12 crore households demanding employment in 2006-07. The numbers rose to 3.43 crore in 2007-08 and to 4.52 crore in 2008-09.
- Total person days of employment created have shot up from 90 crore in the first year to 144 crore in the second, and 339 crore in the third.
I think the above are serious numbers and maybe they had a significant impact on the results of the just concluded General Elections. In 2004, when the NDA ran its India Shining campaign, a large part of that shine was confined to urban areas, leaving the rural folks wondering whether they really lived in such a shining India? The result of which was there for us to see...NDA lost heavily despite almost everyone on the street predicting a win for the NDA.
Fast forward to 2009 and I think we have a repeat, although the shining and the non-shining parts seem to have switched corners. It's the rural India that is really shining today. Multiple years of decent precipitation, substantial increase in MSPs, debt loan waiver and now this super cool NREGS (which in fact in my view is the second best thing to have happened to our country since the Right to Information Act!). This is because, it is a well known fact that most of the small and marginal farmers or farm labourers are hugely underpaid in India. Till the NREGS came to existence, most of such farmers workers were paid in the range of Rs.40-60 per day! Imagine, any of us living in this part of the world earning that kind of a salary and compare it with the kind of work & effort being undertaken in return? It's a joke really. However, with NREGS, the government in one shot has more than doubled the average remuneration paid to farm workers to above Rs.100 per day. Now because the government offers atleast Rs.100 per day, private employers have to offer more than that to attract workers. And they are doing exactly that; in some parts of the country, private employers are now offering Rs.120-130 per day plus food to hire contract farmers/labourers. It a significant change, and a good one!