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Economic conditions of India remains weaker than peers: Moody

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New Delhi: Financial conditions of India will remain weaker than other country’s economy in the coming course also even if the economic consolidation will continue, said Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday regarding India’s budget for next term.

“Even if the budgetary consolidation continues, India’s fiscal metrics will remain weaker than rating peers in the near term, because of the relatively high level of India’s state and central government deficits and debt,” Moody’s said in a report.

“The importance of the upcoming budget lies in its message on the government’s fiscal consolidation plans,” the American agency said.

“But at around 63.8 percent of GDP, India’s government debt ratio remains high compared to the median of 49.5 percent for Baa3-rated peers. Without continued fiscal consolidation, India’s government finances will continue to compare poorly to peers,” it added.

The economic shortage of GDP touched 4.1 % in 2015-16, as the government planned it at 3.9 % and 3.5 % of GDP for this fiscal and the next, respectively.

According to report, “The budget will reveal whether and how the government intends to maintain the trend of modest fiscal deficit reduction of the past few years’’.

Structural factors weaken the fiscal, said Moody. Around $1,700 lower per capita incomes limit the government’s tax base and increase pressure of financial support and spending on development.

“Moreover, interest payments absorb almost a fifth of Indian government revenues, a consequence of high debt, which we estimate at 63.8 percent of GDP in fiscal 2016, down from 83.1 percent in fiscal 2005. This restricts the government’s fiscal flexibility,” said Moody.

India’s moving growth rate perform better than the autonomous, was accompanied last year because of weak corporate profitability with pricing power staying low and by overcome rural demand payable to poor monsoons, said Moody while looking at India’s current environment growth which creates problems in fiscal consolidation.

“For instance, despite a robust GDP growth above 7 percent in 2015, rural demand and corporate profitability remained subdued, weighing on tax revenues,” it said, adding that government tax revenue growth has cooled.

Moody’s said that India’s economic consolidation process such as fall in corporate profits or expenditure growth or increase in subsidy costs remains at risk to economic shocks, on the basis of trends in revenues and expenditures over the last five years.

“Therefore, fiscal improvements are likely to be limited in the near term. Whether they occur over the medium term will depend on the successful implementation of policy measures that expand the revenue base and/or curtail expenditure commitments,” Moody’s said. (IANS)

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Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)