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Since the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a bold target of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024 at a NITI Aayog meeting early last month, the conversations in the mass media have disproportionately centred on the idea.
The Economic Survey – released a day before the Budget was presented in accordance with tradition – elaborated upon the idea and suggested that India needs to grow at least at 8 per cent per annum to achieve the target.
As per our estimates, however, this figure seems conservative. The growth from $2.7 trillion to $5 trillion amounts to an output expansion of 85 per cent, or at about 13 per cent compounded annually.
Assuming inflation of 4 per cent, which is the mandated target for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the required real growth of the Indian economy is estimated at 9 per cent per annum. Nevertheless, in either case it can be argued that the $5 trillion target will be challenging for the Indian economy.
The few economies that have achieved such high growth rates on a sustained basis are Asian economies like China and South Korea. The survey rightly identified investment, and more specifically private investment, as the key driver of such sustained economic growth, which has been the case for these high-growth economies.
It recommended that on these lines, the private sector needs to be re-vitalised and an aggressive exports strategy should be followed. Such a suggestion raised hopes of a fiscal stimulus from the budget of the newly elected government. This would have complemented the monetary stimulus being provided by the RBI through three successive rate cuts.
The budget did chalk out a blueprint for undertaking large-scale infrastructure activities, which are usually the means adopted to provide a fiscal stimulus. The plan includes improving the country’s transport infrastructure through the construction of water grids, I-ways and regional airports along with a massive boost to develop the rail infrastructure over the next decade.
But instead of infusing taxpayer money, the budget proposed the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to meet its financial needs. While such a model might be fiscally prudent, the PPP model might face challenges to take off as the investment activity in the economy is already subdued and a more direct fiscal push would be required to kickstart growth.
For now, the government has prioritised fiscal prudence by lowering the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 per cent of the GDP for FY20, which had been pegged at 3.4 per cent for the current fiscal in the interim budget.
While the intent to stay on the path of fiscal consolidation is commendable, it would not have been as problematic to ease on the tightening considering the urgent need to improve economic growth currently.
But a deeper look into the budget figures shows that the lower fiscal target might be missed next year. The fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent is based on the estimate that the net tax revenue for the current fiscal would see an increase of over 25 per cent over the previous fiscal.
This seems optimistic when considered against the fact that the tax revenues had merely risen by 6 per cent in the last fiscal cycle. A fiscal stimulus was probably avoided in the current budget keeping the uncertainty of the tax revenues in mind.
Another case of where the budget financial estimate can prove optimistic is in the disinvestment target of over Rs 1 lakh crore, which includes the sale of Air India. Considering the current state of the airline sector, an imputation of the sale of the debt-ridden government airline should be included with caution. Thus, steering clear of fiscal exuberance was probably the appropriate approach.
While the path to a $5 trillion economy is a medium-term goal, the budget also carried promising elements that point to the right directional approach that the economy should adopt over the long run. It has long been argued that the obsession with GDP figures fails to take into account the real issues that matter to the citizens of a country. The idea that higher output leads to higher incomes, which would enable well-being of citizens can be simplified by directly ensuring improvement in the well-being of the populace.
Hence, the stress on enhancing the ease of living in the budget is a commendable idea to pursue. Surely, the provision of efficient services in a society – be it health or education – supersede the specifics of growth levels at 8 or 9 per cent for the average Indian citizen.
The government has a rare opportunity to introduce such impactful change in the Indian economy owing to its strong electoral mandate and it is promising to witness its effective utilisation on this front. (IANS)
Indian origin girls -- New Jersey-based Natasha Peri (11) and Dubai-based Priyamvada Deshmukh (12) -- have been named in the worlds "brightest" students list based on results of above-grade-level testing of 19,000 students across 84 countries, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), a part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Peri, a student at Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary School, was honored for exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment is taken as part of the CTY Talent Search," said a statement from the CTY.
Deshmukh, a student of GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai, has been honored for her exceptional performance on the SCAT assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search, a university statement said.
She was one of nearly 19,000 students from 84 countries who joined CTY in the 2019-21 Talent Search years. CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities.
Peri took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2021 when she was in Grade 5. Her results in the verbal and quantitative sections leveled with the 90th percentile of advanced Grade 8 performance.
"This motivates me to do more," she said, adding that doodling and reading J.R.R Tolkien's novels may have worked for her.
Deshmukh took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2020 when she was still in Grade 6. Her results in the verbal sections leveled with the advanced Grade 10 performance. She made the cut for Johns Hopkins CTY 'High Honors Awards'.
Due to the Covid19, induced delay in Global logistics support, she finally received her much-awaited "High Honors" pin this week, which she lovingly kept in front of her Grandparents photograph as a tribute to her roots.
The delay in officially getting the certificates did not stop her from attending the summer program at John Hopkins University's CTY in English literature where she studied the confluence of Art and Science in literary writing and completed the course scoring 'A' Grade.
She followed up with top-scoring the second level of Asset Talent Examination which also qualified her for the summer program at Northwestern University this year, where she is learning about world-building in fiction writing this year.
Her elder brother was among the first UAE students to have cleared the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Programme) when he was in Class 8.
Her parents joke that it's nothing but routine sibling rivalry that she wanted to achieve the same, just a year ahead of her brother. Even though she loves Physics and Computer Science as subjects, unlike her elder brother (who is Chancellor's Scholarship holder student of Astro Physics at the University of Massachusetts), Deshmukh wants to pursue humanities and literature when she goes to college five years down the lane.
As part of Johns Hopkins policy, granular information is not broken down by age or race.
Likewise, it is left to the guardian to disclose the prodigy's name. Within the US, awardees come from all 50 US states.
"We are thrilled to celebrate these students," said Virginia Roach, CTY's executive director.
"In a year that was anything but ordinary, their love of learning shined through, and we are excited to help cultivate their growth as scholars and citizens throughout high school, college, and beyond," Roach added.
The quantitative section of the Johns Hopkins CTY test measures the ability to see relationships between quantities expressed in mathematical terms, the verbal section measures understanding of the meaning of words and the relationships between them.
Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.
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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.
In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.
The herb has rounded leaves.Pixabay
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, with sweet basil being one of the most widely used. The herb has rounded leaves that are often pointed. It is a bright green plant, although some varieties have hints of purple or red in their leaves, basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes.
It has been observed that many of the cooks use basil to thicken their dessert instead of using any artificial/ unhealthy powder to do so. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between Chia seeds and basil seeds, to make it clear basil seeds are different in nature they are larger and a bit duller in their color. These herbs are used in various recipes as a cooling component in desserts, drinks, and fruit juices for refreshment, also beating the summer heat.
For better digestion, weight loss, and immune system, I suggest this simple recipe which can be easily made at home:
*Take 2 tsp of Basil seeds (sabja) + Add in 1/2 liter of water +10 mint leaves crushed
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + A little bit of sendha salt (pink Himalayan salt)
*Or to make a sweeter version one can add organic honey.
*Mix it well and drink it.
This recipe will help to flush out toxins from our body making it feel light and healthy. (IANS/SP)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)