Archives  >  2019  >  July  >  5th

It’s The Money, Honey

1. What’s the story?

Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s current Finance Minister, tabled the Economic Survey for 2018-19 in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. In case you’re wondering, the Economic Survey is a super-important annual survey that documents India’s economic development over the past one year. Considered to be the Finance Ministry’s flagship report, it is usually presented the day before the Union Budget. The Economic Survey is always authored by the Chief Economic Adviser. This year, that man was the newly appointed K V Subramanian.

Tell me more.
According to this year’s Survey, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is set to grow at a rate of 7% over the next year. This is a slight increase over last year’s 6.8%. (Quick recap: GDP of a country is the sum of all its economic activities over a fixed period of time.)

Among other things, this year’s Survey has encouraged private investments (especially in highways — terming them a catalyst for economic growth) and calculated that maintaining an annual GDP growth rate of 8% will make India a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025. It has also lamented the economic impact of climate change, advised the government to spend wisely, and predicted a rise in retirement age to 70 years (due to increased life expectancy of the masses). Data, it has argued, should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” (Cough Aadhar Act Cough)

So, what now?
Even though the Economic Survey is important, its suggestions don’t always make their way into the final Union Budget. You can download the final Survey here, but do keep your eyes peeled for the actual Budget that is set to be tabled at around noon on Friday.

2. Who else should I be looking at?

Kulbhushan Jadhav, that’s who. Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was charged with espionage in 2017 and sentenced to death in Pakistan. India had challenged this decision and approached the International Court of Justice. Back in February, the world court had held a long public hearing of the case, where India’s Harish Salve had argued on Jadhav’s behalf. Now, the ICJ is ready to pronounce its decision next Wednesday. fingers crossed, knock on wood

3. What more?

Back in September 2012, Tamil Nadu’s Idinthakarai beach swarmed with thousands of people – mostly women. They were gathered there to protest the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant nearby. The state, of course, did not like this and eventually responded with open fire. Now, seven years later, these women still refuse to give up.

4. Anything else?

Kerala’s prisoners are on TV. The Viyyur Central Prison in Kerala has started a television channel of its own – “by the inmates and for the inmates”. Called Freedom TV, it broadcasts news bulletins and comedy shows, music competitions and educational programmes. The inmates couldn’t be happier.

5. Is that all?

Sudan is on the boil. (Quick recap: Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir was toppled from the throne by the country’s Transitional Military Council, or TMC. His downfall was the result of months of protests by thousands of pro-democracy activists.) In a cruel irony of fate, the TMC is now refusing give up its power, sending the nation into a tailspin once again.

6. Before you leave …

Take a tongue-in-cheek look at how “with great power, there does come great responsibility”.

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