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No one ever thought of the scale and magnitude of disruption that was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the aftermath, the resurgence would be equally trying especially in a country like ours with a complex economic framework. However, we need to applaud the government for paving the way for an impressive recovery, with a judicious mix of spending and structural reforms.
The outcome of the efforts visible in the Q2 numbers which showed a single-digit economic contraction of 7.5 percent as compared to 23.9 percent in Q1. The figure beats the global average, where according to an analysis, 49 economies declined at an average of 12.4 percent.
The jubilations and optimism mirrored in the financial markets, business houses, and the government. If the current optimism and rally get carried unabated then as per the official and unofficial forecasts, India’s economy is likely to return to the pre-Covid levels by the end of the current fiscal year which is a much shorter timeframe than expected.
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The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) prediction of positive growth in the H2 FY21 is substantiated by the fact that in the recently published Q2 data, the manufacturing PMI is above 50 for the fourth straight month which is only 11 percentage points lower than pre-Covid-19 levels. It is worth noting that unemployment levels are currently on a decline; the 6.7 percent unemployment rate for September was lower than the pre-Covid-19 level of 7.6 percent in February.
Like always the world has taken notice of the positives and showed faith in India’s story once again as visible in the growth numbers of segments such as foreign direct investment (FDI), foreign policy investment, and corporate bond market inflows. It all points to strong investor faith in India’s economic resilience. Besides, upwards revisions by rating agencies in India’s GDP forecast are all repeating the same story that we have kicked in the rebound phase.
The Ripple Effect
The unleashing of structural reforms and the stimulus packages announced by the government did take effect in various sectors as the fiscal response has been calibrated to reap maximum benefit. The one that stands out is the extension of the 100 percent credit guarantee scheme to 27 stressed sectors. Besides, fiscal stimulus and tax rebates for growth-critical sectors, such as housing, would have spillover effects, thus indirectly boosting demand-led growth.
Reforms and timely fiscal interventions in other critical sectors are already showing positive results: the Gross Value Added (GVA) for three sectors– agriculture, manufacturing, and utilities– has been positive in Q2, as compared to just one, the agriculture sector, in Q1 this year. Similarly, the expansion of production linked incentive (PLI) schemes –that give incentives to firms– worth? 1.46 lakh crore for 10 new sectors will give a boost to the manufacturing sector, and result in long-term benefits for the economy.
The liberalization of the notoriously rigid formal labor market would expedite India’s upward movement in the ease of doing business rankings, and attract further investments., India has moved up 79 positions in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business’ rankings since 2014.
Fears of Fiscal deficit
The stimulus packages and therefore, additional non-budgeted spending –along with falling tax revenue,– by the government to wean off the COVID crisis has led to pushing India’s budget gap wider to 8 percent of GDP in the current financial year, more than double the targeted 3.5percent. The expanded support package– to rescue companies and save jobs amid the pandemic–given by the government amounts to 15 percent of the economy, adding to the global stimulus that has touched $12trillion.
The fear that the fiscal deficit will loom large on the government in the future to manage fiscal prudence is not unfounded. However, the finance minister has assured time and again that fiscal deficit fears won’t derail government spending as government spending is important to bring the economy on track. The forthcoming union budget will focus on public spending on Infrastructure to ensure sustainable economic revival. There is a dire need to reinstitute the Infrastructure Development Bank for long-term funding of infrastructure projects.
Globally countries that have committed to stimulus spending as high as 20 percent of their GDP are now resorting to additional taxation, helping fuel a recovery in the economy. In India, the government is finding other routes to keep fuelling the economic engine as the FM said that the government will push PSUs to accelerate spending as the government can’t afford to curb spending at this juncture of economic crisis.
Authorities to the Rescue
A multipronged policy response — the efforts and intelligent balancing act done– by the apex bank in India, the RBI, during the Covid crisis is praised by the government and the people of India, equally. The reduction of key interest rates along with the restructuring of outstanding loans, moratorium of given to the borrowers, and extension of on-Tap TLTRO to 26 stressed sectors under the Emergency Credit Linked Guarantee Scheme(ECLGS 2.0) are some of the strategies that have helped the businesses tide over the crisis.
The way RBI is trying to resolve the shadow banking crisis that has plagued the country since 2018 has found many takers including the government. The government on the other hand is rooting the idea of privatizing a couple of state-run banks that have received cabinet approvals.
The year 2020 may not have belonged to India, but the future certainly belongs to this nation for its resilience, faith, and sheer optimism. (IANS)
India is known for its pickles, popularly called 'Achaar', even across the world. But who thought about the idea of pickles in the first place? Apparently, the idea of making pickles first came from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, where archaeologists have found evidence of cucumbers being soaked in vinegar. This was done to preserve it, but the practice has spread all over the world today, that pickles mean so much more than just preserved vegetables.
In India, the idea of pickle has nothing to do with preservation, rather pickle is a side dish that adds flavour and taste to almost anything. In Punjab, parathas are served with pickle; in the south, pickle and curd rice is a household favourite, and in Andhra, it is a staple, eaten with everything. The flavour profile of pickles in each state is naturally different, suited to each cuisine's taste. Pickles are soaked in oil and salt for at least a month, mixed with spices and stored all year round. Mango season is often synonymous with pickle season as a majority of Indians love mango pickle. In the coastal cities, pickles are even made out of fish and prawns.
The Indian Achaar Image credit: Photo by Rahat Hossen on Unsplash
In other cultures, the pickling process has more to do with preservation. Cold countries, where temperatures drop to very low levels, pickle their vegetables in brine, vinegar, or salt. Sweden is famous for pickled herring, because fishing all year round is hard with all the snow and ice. The German Sauerkraut, originally composed of rice, cabbage, and wine, is now made using salt instead of wine. This gives it a sour flavour that is characteristic of the beloved German delicacy.
In Korea, kimchi is the national delicacy. It is a pickle that is made from pickled cabbages with a distinct mix of spices. Kimchi is made with various core ingredients, and is gaining popularity these days with the Korean Wave hitting the globe. It is a practice that represents the Korean winters, which are too harsh to grow anything. The Kimchi business is one of the largest in Korea, while the individual family recipes are also well-preserved as it is believed that each is unique in its own way.
The pickles made from dill and vinegar are most famous in America. It was introduced to the Americans by the Jewish immigrants. Dill pickles are best paired with sandwiches.
Keywords: Pickles, Culture, Brine, Vinegar, Preserves
It is impossible to detail the history of bookbinding without understanding the need for it. A very useful, and yet simple invention, spiral coils that hold books together and allow mobile access to the user came about just before WWII, but much before that, paper underwent a massive change in production technique.
Beginning in China, paper was made of bamboo sticks slit open and flattened. In Egypt, papyrus was made from the reeds that grew in the Nile. In India, long, rectangular strips of palm leaves were stitched together to form legible documents. When monasteries were established, scrolls came into being. Parchment paper, or animal hide, also known as vellum, were used to copy out texts periodically to preserve them. Prior to all this, clay tablets were used to record important events, and in some cases, rock edicts were made.
But all this changed with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg. Paper became the medium by which inscriptions, announcements, and almost everything was made. Once paper became so accessible, printing began in full scale. Newspapers and the Bible were printed every day.
Metal coils were used before the world war Image credit: Photo by Dan Bucko on Unsplash
With wads of paper, something had to be done about keeping them together. Bookbinding began as a booming business. First, the pages were just sewn together. A special sewing machine was invented just for books. When this did not suit all book types, the process of punching and binding began. Holes were punched in books, and they were tied together.
Much later, an adhesive thermoplastic strip became available by which book pages were stuck together. They sold in this format for a long time. Ideas began to flow in for notebooks when people discovered that they could attach pieces of paper together. A machine was invented that drew lines. This made it easier for people who wrote a lot.
After a while, when people got used to having their books a certain way, The Spiral Binding Company opened in 1932, which changed the way bookbinding was done. Books could now be bound by coil and this was not only economical, but also convenient, because pages could easily be turned without breaking the bind. The original spiral bind coil was made of metal, but when supplies were rationed during WWII, they were made from plastic. This trend has remained to the present day, where spiral bound books are preferred to the other kinds of binding except in cases of publishing and official documentation.
Keywords: Spiral Binding, WWII, Paper, Books, Printing
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
To keep the value and quality of what you offer, whether it's a romantic breakfast in bed or a royal wedding gift that will be remembered for years. The concept of gift-giving has taken on a number of shapes in today's society. Devina Singhania, the Founder of 'LE JAHAAN', a local home and decor accessories company, explains how the gifting paradigm has shifted.
Q: What do consumers expect from the gifting business and packaging designers these days?
A: Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. They are now more conscious about how their purchase affects the environment. Considering this shift in consumer buying, it's extremely important for companies to increase their commitments to responsible business practices and design products that are meant to be reused or recycled.
Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. | Photo by Superkitina on Unsplash
Q: The practice of self-gifting is being driven by millennials. What are your thoughts on the subject?
A: I absolutely agree with this. Millennials are so creative and expressive. They are more into personalized products with which they can tell the world something about themselves. We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. They truly believe it's the best way to stand out from the crowd and establish a signature style and we couldn't agree more.
We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What impact do colour trends have on gift designs and packaging?
A: 'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends and we hope to continue this association with colour even while we break through to more sustainable products and collections.
'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What has changed as a result of the pandemic in terms of how we commemorate special occasions and the gift-giving tradition?
A: It's smaller in quantity but more luxurious and thought through.
Q: What giving trends should one keep an eye on in 2022?
A: Consumers, including millennials and members of Generation Z, are especially concerned with sustainability. So, the trend is definitely to go green with eco-friendly.
Q: How does Le Jahaan keep its clients coming back?
A: Our products speak for themselves. We make small batches with exceptional quality with a personal touch.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gifts, le jahaan, festive, millennials, sustainable, gen z, paradigm, gifting