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News of the Day : GDP growth slumps to 5.8%
- June 1, 2019
- Posted by: Shivam
- Category: NEWS Worth To Read
News of the Day
Narendra Modi Cabinet: Amit Shah gets Home and Nirmala Sitharaman is India’s first full-time woman Finance Minister
The contours of the new Modi government were clear after portfolios were announced for the Union Council of Ministers, with BJP national president Amit Shah being allotted the Home Ministry and former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar being made the External Affairs Minister. Both new faces immediately also became members of the Cabinet Committee on Security, the most powerful Cabinet sub-committee. Former Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be the new Finance Minister and former Home Minister Rajnath Singh will take over as the Defence Minister.
Change at the top
Prime Minister Modi has made bold changes in the top four Ministries that form the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), with Mr. Jaishankar being the biggest gainer, having joined the government as a Cabinet Minister and inducted straight into the CCS. However, many other Ministers have retained their portfolios from the first Modi government, with some being given additional departments. Senior Minister Nitin Gadkari continues as the Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Ravi Shankar Prasad stays on as the Law Minister, along with Information Technology and Telecommunications. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal retains charge of the Ministry with the addition of Commerce, which was earlier held by Suresh Prabhu who has been dropped. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan retains the crucial portfolio and has been given the additional responsibility of Steel. Giant killer Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and was expected to be moved up in the hierarchy, continues with her old portfolio of Textiles, along with Women and Child Development, formerly held by Maneka Gandhi.
One of the major gainers among Cabinet Ministers was former Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who will head the newly created “Jal Shakti” Ministry. Mr. Modi had said at the BJP’s manifesto launch in April that the Ministry would be a priority area for the new government. The Agriculture portfolio has been allotted to Narendra Singh Tomar, along with his old portfolios of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
Allies retain portfolios in new Cabinet
Several Ministers from the previous government retained their portfolios, with some given additional charge. Thawarchand Gehlot has again been allotted the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda being the new Tribal Affairs Minister. Newly inducted Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” is the new Minister for Human Resources, while Prakash Javadekar has been made the new Minister for Environment and Forests and of Information and Broadcasting. Pralhad Joshi will take care of Coal along with Parliamentary Affairs. Minister of State with Independent charge, Kiren Rijiju is Sports Minister. R.K. Singh continues to hold power and renewable energy, while Hardeep Puri has been allotted Civil Aviation. Among allies, Harsimrat Kaur Badal continues to hold Food Processing, Ram Vilas Paswan stays with Food and Consumer Affairs, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant will hold heavy industries and Ramdas Athawale continues as junior Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. Prime Minister Modi will himself hold the portfolios of Department of Personnel and Training, Atomic Energy and Space.
GDP growth slumps to 5.8%
India’s GDP grew at 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter, dragging down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%. The unemployment rate in the country rose to a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18, as per official data released on the first day of the second term of the Modi government. Addressing a press conference on Friday, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the slowdown, caused by temporary factors such as liquidity crunch, is likely to continue in the April-June 2019quarter, with the demand picking up from the second quarter onwards. Temporary factors “Slowdown in the fourth quarter GDP was due to temporary factors, like stress in the NBFC sector affecting consumption finance. The first quarter of the current fiscal will also see relatively slower growth. From the second quarter onwards, we expect the growth and consumption to pick up,” Mr. Garg said.
Asked about India losing the fastest growing nation tag to China with a quarterly growth of 5.8%, Mr. Garg, who is also the Finance Secretary, said, “Quarterly numbers don’t matter…it is basically annual growth… At 6.8% annual growth, India is still the fastest growing nation… China is still lower.”
During the year, the slowdown in the economy was led by sluggish growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (2.9% growth), the mining sector (1.3% growth) and manufacturing (6.9%).
The sectors which saw growth rate of over 7% were public administration, defence and other services, construction, financial, real estate and professional services, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services.
“The consumption story is not dead,” the secretary said, adding that, “I am confident that with interest rates becoming much more favourable and credit coming back in the system…the consumption story will be very good.”
The unemployment data, which was released a day after Prime Narendra Modi took oath for the second term, confirms an earlier leaked version of this survey that claimed that joblessness was at a 45-year high.
“It is a new design and a new matrix. It would be unfair to compare it with the past. This 45-year high is your interpretation. I don’t want to claim that it is 45-year low or high,” Statistics Secretary Pravin Srivastava told the media.
The data showed that 7.8% of the employable urban youth and 5.3% of employable rural youth was without jobs. Additionally, 6.2% male and 5.7% females across the country were jobless.
Further, as per the data, unemployment rate for males was higher in rural areas at 5.8% as against 3.8% for women, while in urban areas the rate for women was 10.8 against 7.1% for men.
Source – The Hindu