22.7.19

Of Migration & Maharashtra....


Fresh census numbers indicate that the Mumbai urban agglomeration is seeing fewer migrants from south Indian states. Generalised as ‘Madrasis’ by the locals, people from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh would rather go to other parts of Maharashtra than come to Mumbai.

Evading the exorbitant housing cost of the city, migrants from southern India and Gujarat are finding opportunities in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and other cities. On the other hand, migration from West Bengal has increased.

For labourers and workers, Maharashtra turns to migrants from central India. The count of migrants from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP has increased, but now, instead of thronging Mumbai, they are distributed across the state, largely in its urban pockets.

While the face of Maharashtra is changing because of the 90 lakh migrants who came from other regions of India, 479 lakh moved within the state, a number that went up from 342 lakh a decade ago. “A lot of this is rural-urban migration and people moving for jobs. This puts pressure on cities that need to cope with this influx,” said Neeraj Hatekar, Mumbai University economics professor.

The story of Pune is another interesting one. Migration has increased at a rapid pace. Mostly from Karnataka and UP, Pune has about 32 lakh migrants. “Pune’s development, its affordable housing and educational facilities have been a magnet for migrants from within the state and outside too,” added Singh. Migration into Nagpur from MP and Chhattisgarh has also increased reflecting the development there.

Maharashtra CM seeks unique ID & voter card linking

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has written to chief election commissioner Sunil Arora giving his view on the idea of linking Aadhaar cards to voter IDs. The letter, written last week, says that if this linkage comes through, it will bring in transparency in the election process.

The letter says that such a decision may have multiple benefits besides cleaning up electoral rolls and preventing bogus voting. Fadnavis says that if Aadhaar details are available in the electoral roll and conversely voter/ electoral roll details are available in Aadhaar, then shifting and duplication of voters can be detected and addressed immediately during the electoral roll purification process. He also said that the move will make biometric identification of voters possible and can replace the use of indelible ink. This will lead to zero errors in the identification of voters, his letter says. It will also help save time and manpower.

Fadnavis said this linkage will help prevent bogus voting and ensure that there is proper identification of voters, especially in the border districts. Aadhaar will identify illegal movements, preventing bogus voting.

India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend



Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependant population — children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age. This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning.

Many Asian economies — Japan, China, South Korea — were able to use this ‘demographic dividend’, defined by the United Nations Population Fund as the growth potential that results from shifts in a population’s age structure. This transition happens largely because of a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR, which is the number of births per woman) after the increase in life expectancy gets stabilised.

Japan was among the first major economies to experience rapid growth because of changing population structure. The country’s demographic-dividend phase started in 1964 and ended in 2004. An analysis of the first 10 years since this phase shows how such a shift in the population structure can propel growth. In five of these years, Japan grew in double digits; the growth rate was above 8% in two years, and a little less than 6% in one. Growth slid below 5% in only two of these 10 years.

China entered this stage in 1994 — 16 years after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms that started in December 1978. Although its growth accelerated immediately after the reforms, the years of demographic dividend helped sustain this rate for a very long period. In the 16 years between 1978 and 1994 (post-reform, pre-dividend) China saw eight years of double-digit growth. In the 18 years since 1994 there have been only two years when China could not cross the 8% growth mark.

Analysing the demographic dividend data for two of the four Asian tiger economies shows similar patterns. (Taiwan has been excluded as historical growth rate data is not available).

In Singapore the dividend years started in 1979 and in the next 10 years there were only two years when its economy grew at less than 7%. The island country saw double-digit growth in four of these 10 years. South Korea entered this phase in 1987 and in the next 10 years there were only two years when its growth rate fell below 7%. In Hong Kong, it was 1979 when the dividend years kicked in, and the growth rate dipped below 8% in only two of the next 10 years.

It is, however, important to note that this change in population structure alone cannot push growth. There are many other factors. In the late 20th century demographic dividend in Asia resulted in a seven-fold increase in the GDP of many countries. In Latin America the growth was only two-fold, the UNFPA points out in its explanatory note on demographic dividend. The UN agency further states that countries can only harness the economic potential of the youth bulge if they are able to provide good health, quality education and decent employment to its entire population.

Thousands gather to bid adieu to Sheila Dikshit


The mortal remains of one of the tallest leaders in the capital and three-time CM Sheila Dikshit were consigned to flames on Sunday, with VIPs, workers and admirers bidding her farewell. Sheila (81) died of cardiac arrest on Saturday.

Thousands of people braved heavy rain and gusty winds to reach Nigambodh Ghat to catch the last glimpse of their leader, credited with changing the face of Delhi during her tenure. Family members broke down as the public raised slogans of “Sheila Dikshit Amar Rahe”.

Among the dignitaries who reached Nigambodh Ghat were Union home minister Amit Shah, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, LG Anil Baijal, CM Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, BJP leaders Vijay Goel and Manoj Tiwari, several former ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats.

Sheila’s mortal remains were kept at Congress headquarters at Akbar Road for almost two hours before being taken for cremation. Former PM Manmohan Singh, senior Congress leaders Ahmad Patel, Mani Shankar Aiyar, and Raj Babbar, CM Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel, Kapil Sibal and Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai paid their tributes.

Talking to reporters, Sonia Gandhi said Sheila was very close to her. “She was a great support for me. She became almost an elder sister. This is a big loss for Congress. I will always remember her,” she said.








20.7.19

Current LS Session Most Productive in 20 Years


The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha is turning out to be the most productive session so far in the history of the lower house. With the newly elected members of Parliament clocking unprecedented hours, working till 12 midnight on many days, the new session has so far registered record productivity of 128%, as per statistics collated by non-profit organisation PRS Legislative Research.

Productivity here refers to the number of hours the house actually functioned as a percentage of the number of hours officially earmarked for it to work. The Lok Sabha official working hours are from 11 am to 6 pm, with an hou rlong break between 1 and 2 pm.

The ongoing session of Lok Sabha, which started on June 17, has already functioned for 150.2 hours till July 16, according to PRS Legislative Research. The session will end on July 26.

The first session of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 had 28.05 productive hours, at 67% productivity, while the first session of the 16th Lok Sabha registered 23.83 hours at a productivity of 66%, data showed.

Budget sessions usually register higher number of hours with MPs discussing demands for grants of different ministries threadbare. But the current session has surpassed all the previous budget sessions. The most Lok Sabha MPs worked before this was during the budget session of 2015 when the house functioned for 246.02 hours, registering productivity of 122%. Budget Session 2016 recorded 198.2 hours at 121% productivity, the data showed.

All those extra hours that the MPs are putting up in the lower house discussing demands for grants of ministries, though, is not going too well with the support staff and security officials.

Special arrangements are made for their meals, but officials rue the long working hours without any over time. 

Sheila Dikshit dies at 81


Sheila Dikshit, the three- time chief minister of Delhi, died at a private hospital in New Delhi on Saturday. She was 81 years old.

In her last big political assignment, she was named the Delhi Congress chief, making a political comeback at the age of 80 to try and revive the party’s fortunes in the battle for the Capital’s seven Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections.

Dikshit, also the former governor of Kerala, contested unsuccessfully from North East Delhi in the just concluded national elections. The Congress, though did not win any seats in the polls, but managed to secure the second position in all seats and pushed the AAP to the third spot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to recognise the late leader’s contribution to Delhi’s development. “Deeply saddened by the demise of Sheila Dikshit Ji. Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi’s development. Condolences to her family and supporters. Om Shant,” tweeted Modi.

As the news spread, tributes started pouring in for the Congress leader. “Just now got to know about extremely terrible news about the passing away of Sheila Dikshit ji. It’s a huge loss for Delhi & her contribution will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace,” tweeted Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Dikshit was the longest-reigning chief minister of Delhi, serving for 15 years from 1998 to 2013, when the advent of the Aam Aadmi Party ended Congress’s rule.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he was “devastated” to hear the passing away of the veteran leader. “I’m devastated to hear about passing away of Shiela Dikshit Ji, beloved daughter of Congress Party,with whom I shared a close personal bond. My condolences to her family&citizens of Delhi, whom she served selflessly as a 3 term CM,in this time of great grief,” Rahul said in his tweet.

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute said in a statement that Dikshit was brought to the hospital in a critical condition with cardiac arrest. “A multi-disciplinary team of doctors, led by Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, carried out the advanced resuscitative measures. Her condition stabilised temporarily. However, she had another cardiac arrest and despite all the resuscitative efforts, passed away at 3:55 pm.” said the statement.

19.7.19

Somewhere in Assam....


A Royal Bengal Tiger emerged from a flooded Kaziranga National Park on July 18 morning, took refuge in a house on the fringes and found a ‘bed’ to rest on.

Park officials said the animal, possibly a female, was spotted at 8.30 a.m. near the national highway along the southern edge of the KNP. It was moving out of the park about 200 m away and was on its way to the hills of Karbi Anglong district, about 500 m across the highway.

“Probably disturbed, the tiger turned and jumped across the tinned wall of a scrap godown and decided to take rest in an adjoining room,” an official said.

The godown owned by one Motilal, opposite a dhaba, is in Harmoti village, about 1.5 km from the KNP’s Bagori Range office.

KNP Director P. Sivakumar said a rescue team was exploring ways to provide a safe passage for the animal into the forest without capturing it.

Although the 430 sq. km. KNP is known more for its one-horned rhino, it has one of the highest concentration of tigers in the world. A census in March 2017 said the park had an estimated 102 tigers.