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India’s GDP calculation methodology sparks debate

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: As India adopted a new way of calculating its gross domestic product (GDP) six months ago, the data is in controversy with many people questioning it. There is a debate going on whether or not these numbers be taken on its face value.

Photo credit: tibetanreview.com
Photo credit: tibetanreview.com

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seems to welcome the debate, adding that the government has no role in this matter.

He said at The Economist magazine’s annual conference, “The manner in which the CSO (Central Statistics Office) functions is autonomous and independent of the government… they work at arm’s length from the government, while the models they employ are all internationally compatible.”

India’s new series of GDP figures continue to be wrapped up in controversy, over six months after its release.

Questions pertaining to the new estimates of India’s national income have been raised by several critics. Raghuram Rajan, Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stated publicly that it is difficult to take the new GDP numbers at face value and that he needs to study them further.

A committee headed by National Statistical Commission Chief, Pronab Sen, has been set up to examine the estimation methodology. He has however been a vocal supporter of the new series. “In the meanwhile, let both the exercise as well as the debate continue, which is always welcome in democracy,” the minister said.

The Indian economy grew by seven percent in the first quarter of this fiscal, showing signs of slowing vis-a-vis the 7.5 percent expansion in the quarter before. But the growth was much higher than 6.7 percent registered in the first quarter of the last fiscal.

The new number seem quite contradictory when compared with other economic indicators such as the revenue growth of listed firms and bank credit growth, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), as well as real ground level challenges for companies such as weak demand, high debt and low earnings.

with inputs from IANS

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)