People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 40

October 04, 2009

on file


FOR the past year, as the economic crisis convulsed much of the world, India wobbled but never tumbled over. And now that the world is starting to pull itself out of the mire, India seems poised to resume its rapid economic expansion. Government officials are projecting that growth will reach or surpass 6 per cent this year, almost the pace that established India as an emerging global economic power second only to China.

But the cautious optimism about the broader economy has been tempered by a historic summertime drought that has underscored the fact that many people are largely untouched by the country�s progress. India�s new economy may be based on software, services and high technology, but hundreds of millions of Indians still look to the sky for their livelihoods; more than half the country�s 1.1 billion people depend on agriculture for a living even though agriculture represents only about 17 per cent of the total economy.

No one thinks India is facing the type of famines that struck it decades ago; government grain stocks can replenish any shortfalls. But the drought has focussed attention, again, on the problems facing Indian agriculture as the population continues to expand at the same time that water resources come under greater pressure.      


--- The Asian Age, September 12


EVEN as Right to Education Bill holds out the promise of education for all children, there�s a huge stumbling block. Altogether 4.17 lakh primary schools in India have one or at best two teachers. And that�s 54 per cent of all primary schools in the country.

Worse, the number of primary schools with three or less number of teachers is as high as 5.49 lakh --- that�s a staggering 71.5 per cent. The report of the working group on elementary education and literacy for the 11th Five-Year Plan submitted to HRD ministry has said that schools across the country are woefully short of teachers.

Though there has been an impressive increase in the number of primary and upper primary and upper primary school teachers in India in the past two decades, the imbalance in teacher allocation between states, districts and within districts, between rural and urban areas continues to be a major concern, sources said�..

Teaching-learning materials used in these small schools are also not geared to teaching in multi-age and multi-grade settings.


--- The Times of India, September 30


DESPITE the US economy showing indications of recovery, the global job market remains gloomy, with companies laying of at least 27 employees every hour to cut costs.

With companies continuing to reduce their headcount in their efforts to tackle the downturn, around 13,000 jobs have been slashed so far in September by some of the leading global firms, most of them headquartered in the USA.

Job losses of about 12,900 have been witnessed in just 20 days of this month, translating into an average of 645 people being laid off per day. In turn, the toll comes to at least 27 people losing jobs per hour.

The lay-offs are happening across almost all the sectors from pharma to software to refinery, among others.

Most of the job cuts happened in the United States, which has already seen a staggering 5,50,000 Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the first week of September.


--- The Statesman, September 21


US job losses fell to their lowest level in a year last month, but the unemployment rate jumped to a 26-year high, painting a mixed picture of an economic recovery hindered by weakness in the labour market.

The Labour Department said on Friday (September 4) the jobless rate climbed to 9.7 per cent in August, the highest since June 1983. The bigger than expected rise suggested weak consumer spending would impeded recovery from the worst slump in seven decades.

Employers cut 216,000 jobs, the smallest since August 2008, but the department revised upward the June and July job losses by 49,000�..

Analysts had expected non-farm employers to cut 225,000 workers from their payrolls in August and had looked from the unemployment rate to rise to 9.5 per cent after dipping to 9.4 per cent in July�.. 

A Reuters survey showed most big banks that do business directly with the Federal Reserve expect the jobless rate to peak by the first quarter of 2010�.


--- The Economic Times, September 6