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World needs to discuss how to stop “wanton destruction” and get rid of Violence: President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee, Source- Wikimedia

Nalanda, March 19, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the world needs to discuss and deliberate as to why it is facing the scourge of violence and how to stop the “wanton destruction”.

“No part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence. This crisis is all pervasive. The basic question being raised today is how to stop this wanton destruction and come back to sanity,” the President said.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the valedictory session of the three-day international conference, “Buddhism in the 21st Century – Perspectives and Responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar.

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Speaking about the relevance of Buddhism, the President said the philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever — especially as the world grapples with complex problems that seem intractable.

“Buddhism has had a deep influence on human civilisation. The mighty emperor Ashoka, who had the ambition of extending his empire as far as he could, was converted into a missionary. Dhamma Ashoka is remembered in history rather than warrior Ashoka,” he said.

He said that in the 21st century, the path of Lord Buddha and Buddhism will help the world get rid of viloence and terrorism.

About the historical significance of the ancient Nalanda University, Mukherjee said it reflects our ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers in ancient India.

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Quoting Gandhiji on the Buddha, Mukherjee said: “He was saturated with the best which was in Hinduism… His great Hindu spirit cuts its way through the forest of meaningless words which had overlaid the golden truth which was in the Vedas.”

The President congratulated the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara for publishing the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in the Devanagari script.

Appreciating the initiatives of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, the President said this will go a long way in popularising the tenets of Buddhism and will help the coming generations to easily connect with the supreme ideals of humanity, forbearance, discipline and compassion.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday inaugurated the three-day international Buddhist conference which is being attended by 1,000 delegates from 35 countries.

The conference is being organised by the Union Ministry of Culture. (IANS)

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State of Economy: India Staring at One of The Worst Job Crisis Ever

Unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18

Women are much worse affected than men. Pixabay

The ruling NDA government won a landslide in 2014 on a promise that it will produce jobs. Five years down the line, India is staring at one of the worst job crisis ever.

A report citing National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data, the publication of which was withheld, revealed that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.

Since the official data is yet to see the light of day, professionals turned to other credible sources. An analysis based on a data by a private body Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) further revealed the nature of the crises.

The Azim Premji University report based on CMIE data found that nearly 50 lakh people in India lost their jobs between 2016-2018, youth being the worst hit. “In general, women are much worse affected than men. They have higher unemployment rates, as well as lower labour force participation rates,” it added.

Economy, India, Worst, Job, Crisis
The ruling NDA government won a landslide in 2014 on a promise that it will produce jobs. Pixabay

Though the job loss has been witnessed across sectors, including governments own schemes, its been massive in the informal sector, which constitutes over 80 per cent of the total work force, according to the International Labour Organization.

Experts have said that the informal sector is still suffering from the shock of demonetization.

The only key argument that the government repeatedly had to offer was that how the country could not be producing jobs when the GDP growth rate is among the fastest in the world. This argument saw a massive rebuttal, from experts across the globe, who raised doubts over the GDP figures itself.

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said in a TV interview: “I know one Minister has said how we can be growing at 7 per cent, yet not have jobs. Well, one possibility is that we are not growing at 7 per cent.”

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International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, too, expressed doubt over India’s growth rate, saying there are still some issues with the way India calculates it.

Several experts, social scientists and activists expressed doubt over the unemployment and growth rate figures and alleged that the government was suppressing uncomfortable data.

Explaining one such point of contention, R. Nagaraj of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research told IANS that as the employment rate has fallen, one would also expect output growth to have decreased, unless there is a huge rise in productivity per worker for which there is no evidence.

“So, the rising GDP and declining employment rate for the same year seems anomalous,” he said

Economy, India, Worst, Job, Crisis
Five years down the line, India is staring at one of the worst job crisis ever. Pixabay

Nagraj, alongside several economists, in a statement released earlier, questioned the government’s intent behind the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) methodology revision and called for the restoration of independence of statistical bodies in light of the allegations that government was suppressing uncomfortable data.

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The big question for the whole of the political class and in particular the next government is: Can they come out with a definitive long-term strategy to keep unemployment in check? (IANS)