The Government of India – under the Disaster Management Act – has set up 11 Empowered Groups for ensuring a comprehensive and integrated response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. Empowered Group-4, headed by Dr Arun K Panda, Secretary (MSME), has launched a full-fledged website covidwarriors.gov.in that has a comprehensive database of Covid Warriors. The data accounts for doctors and nurses as well as dentists, auxiliary health staff, Ayush practitioners, Asha and Anganwadi workers and those that belong to the uniformed youth groups such as NSS and NCC.
According to covidwarriors.gov.in website, India has at least 3 million medical professionals and roughly 8 million others who can be drafted for disease containment work such as contact tracing etc. The website reflects the Union government’s stocktaking of a vast and divergent pool of human resources that can be deployed if the Covid-19 outbreak grows. Continue reading Corona Warriors of a Special Kind→
The textile and clothing industry is one of the worst affected sectors of the economy due to the deadly coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, one of the worst pandemics of our living memory, creating havoc across the world. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is nearly impossible to gauge when 90% of the world is under the un/declared lockdown.
Due to the labour intensive nature of the textile and clothing industry, tens of millions of workers have either lost their jobs or have not got any money because of no work during the lockdown. Their lives have been turned upside down in a matter of a couple of weeks. Small and medium businesses are in no way less affected due the total closure of their economic activities. We are facing the biggest and global humanitarian crisis in the modern history which would have far reaching impact on the way we live and conduct our business. Continue reading Impact Of COVID-19 Pandemic On Global Textile Industry→
The first cases of unusual pneumonia were reported in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province of China on December 31, 2019. China claimed to have alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) about this unknown virus which was later termed as 2019-nCoV on January 7, 2020. China announced its first death from COVID-19 on January 11. A second death in Wuhan was announced on January 17. Later, over the following days, news of confirmed cases of Coronavirus started coming from Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, France, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Iran, Italy, the United States, the Middle East and host of other countries and regions. The WHO declared it a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Currently, the disease has spread across the world, affecting over 132,000 people in 123 countries and more than 4,900 deaths. China believes the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan and China has passed and they are now busy in containing the ‘imported’ cases. China expects that with $3 trillion in foreign reserves the country will not have a problem achieving a 6 percent GDP growth in 2020. Continue reading World Halted by Coronavirus. When Will Coronavirus Halt?→
The theory of trickle-down economics, as propagated worldwide by economists of repute everywhere, has not worked the way it was supposed to have worked in theory. According to this theory, benefits given to the wealthy, and also the wealth created by them, trickle down to everyone else. The governments all over the world tend to provide such benefits in the form of tax cuts on businesses, high-income earners, capital gains, and dividends. Even subsidies of various kinds are also negotiated by governments to attract investments from outside to enhance the industrial activity and to boost industrialization and modernization in various priority sectors. Continue reading “Localization Of Globalization!”→
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has free trade agreements with six partners namely People’s Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) as well as Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA). The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was established by the 16 participating countries on the basis of existing ASEAN+1 FTAs with the spirit to strengthen economic linkages and to enhance trade and investment related activities. RCEP negotiations started in 2012 and participating countries included ASEAN members – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia – and six Asia-Pacific countries with which ASEAN has free trade agreements – Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Continue reading Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: Dangerous For India?→
The United States has decided to remove India from the list of eligible GSP countries. The reason for this move is that the Trump administration feels that India has failed to provide the United States with assurances that “it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.” The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program aimed to promote economic growth in the underdeveloped or least developed countries and also in the developing countries by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP is in existence since January 1, 1976. The scheme provided India tariff-free access to the US market. All benefits have stopped since June 5, 2019. India had been the largest beneficiary nation under the GSP and exported goods worth $6.35 billion every year. Continue reading Exclusion of India from GSP Could Be a New Beginning For Exporters→
Millions of workers across the globe are deprived from the minimum wage required to live a decent life. For them, the Living Wage, a voluntary pay rate set above the statutory minimum wage, is still but a distant dream. Many employers who do not pay the Living Wage argue that they simply cannot afford to. According to them, a minimum wage destroys jobs, particularly for the young. Is their argument about greed – the quest for maximum profit from the bodies and labor of others? We are NOT talking about vulnerable persons who fall victim to traffickers, from desperation, deception, or coercion. Continue reading Fresh Thinking is Needed to Guarantee “Living Wage”→
The US administration’s withdrawal of the generalized system of preferences (GSP) status for India is being discussed by all the stakeholders including exporters of ready-made garments because the US accounts for 30-35% of exports of this sector. There is no clear indication as to how much negative impact this would cause on India’s exports to the US, if at all there is going to be any effect. Around $5.6 billion worth of exports from India – covering 1,784 textiles, engineering, gems and jewellery and chemical products – will be impacted when the decision comes into force by May this year. If we look at the pattern of the decision making involved in this case by the US Department of Commerce, it is abundantly clear that the process was initiated after the US dairy and medical devices sectors lobbied against India’s so-called trade barriers affecting their exports. If the statement of the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is any indication, the final trigger could have come when India announced ‘stringent e-commerce rules’ that negatively affected two of the giant US companies – Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart. Continue reading GSP: Altering Preferential Status is ‘Significant’ or ‘Insignificant’?→
First the ritual statement: The Textiles industry is the second most important economic activity in terms of employment generation after agriculture. It contributes 15% to the country’s total export earnings and has a 7% share in the total industrial output. Gujarat is the largest producer of Manmade Fibre, Synthetic Fabric and Denim. The state contributes about 12% to the country’s total textile exports. Gujarat contributes 35% to India’s total cotton production and 50% to the total manmade fibre production. Gujarat accounts for around 30% of India’s fabric production coming from the mill sector. Gujarat, with more than 30 sanctioned textile parks, ranks second highest among all the states. Moreover, Gujarat accounts for about 40% of the total MMF fabric production and about 25% of the country’s total output of technical textiles. In view of these facts, the government – both at central and state levels – must consider measures to support the industry which provides livelihood to millions of people.
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is being held from 22—25 January 2019 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The 2019 event will focus on the theme, ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The stated mission of the World Economic Forum is to improve the state of the world. I came across a statement of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, in which he says a “re-moralization” of globalization is needed. He said globalization produced many “winners” over the last generation or so. “But now we have to look after the losers, after those who have been left behind.” The intensity of this revealing statement drove me to write this piece and its title in the form of a question is equally revealing. This question needs to be earnestly answered if any meaningful dialogue has to happen for the required course correction.