-Swapnil Srivastav , CEO , NotNul
CP JHA’S E-BOOK IN HINDI “NEW INDIA MEIN MANDI” IS FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR MODERN POLICY MAKERS AND ANLYSTS”
With GDP growth rate for 2019-20 having dipped to an estimated an alarming 5 per cent as against 6.8 per cent in FY19, India’s economy is in a pretty bad shape. The first advance estimates of the national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) suggest that the manufacturing sector output growth will decelerate to 2 per cent in 2019-20, down from 6.9 per cent in the previous financial year, while the construction sector growth is estimated at 3.2 per cent as against 8.7 per cent in 2018-19.
Suffice to say, the economic recession that India is undergoing currently is akin to the one witnessed in 2008-09, when economic growth was recorded at 3.1 per cent. The recession faced by the country during 2008-09 was a direct fallout of the economic crisis witnessed across the world at that juncture. However, the latest recession by and large “M(modi)an-Made”.
On its part, the Modi government has chosen to underplay the gravity of the current economic crisis in the country by seeking to link to the recession in other parts of the world. But, the fact remains that the current recession in the country is the result of either poor or virtual lack of economic governance in the country.
Till not long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would often talk about making India a trillion dollar economy. It will take some years before India becomes a trillion dollar economy, given the manner in which the Modi has bungled in managing the economy during the last five to six years through its disastrous decisions like demonetisation and badly structured GST.
That the deteriorating economic situation in India is being taken cognisance of can be gauged from a telling comment made by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of Singapore, a renowned economist and a political personality, recently.
“To achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and to ensure unemployment does not keep going up, India will have to create something like 140 million jobs over the next decade — half of that in the first half of the decade,” Shanmugaratnam said, while delivering the Third Suresh Tendulkar Memorial Lecture at the Reserve Bank of India.
Coming as it does in the run-up to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman presenting the national budget on February 1, the new e-book in Hindi “New India Mein Mandi” (Recession in New India) by Chandra Praksh Jha could not have come out at a more appropriate time It is arguably the first serious attempt in Indian languages , dissecting with clinical precision what ails economy in the country in general , and the present recession in particular.
CP, as the author is known in his professional circle, is a JNU alumni and a seasoned bi-lingual journalist of vast field experience of both rural and urban areas, has reported extensively on economic and financial matters, as a Special Correspondent of the United News of India (UNI) for many nearly three decades, two of which he spent in the country’s financial capital. .Having focussed focuses on meanings in details of recession in the first chapter, CP has written a total of 10 chapters in this book running into nearly 100 pages. The book, which deals basically with on perceptions and realities with facts and laced with credible statistics about much-hyped terms of ‘ New India ‘, ‘ Skill India ‘, ‘ Start up India ‘, ‘ Make in India ‘ etc and dwells upon the Government’s failed efforts of disinvestment in Air India , on PNB Scam , entry of Wallmart in India , Black money and a some sort of historical document on Trade Union movement, published on the eve of May Day centenary.
The author in his personal note titled “Kuchh Baatein” (Some Thoughts) informs the readers that very first published article on economic topics was published way back in 1985. “I had prepared this article in JNU’s old campus library and found except certain painful experience of people following the Modi Government’s measure of demonetisation. I have included an updated version of this article, included in the books, following its publication in a number of media organisations. Power of black money is much more when it becomes white and this is what happened as a result of Modi’s demonetisation,” CP writes.
CP laments that journalists of Indian languages face a typical problem while writing on economic, science topics as their readers are notknowledgeable enough to understand highly complicated with jargons thrown in. I had to come out with a simple term like MahaMandi to explain the current situation as my readers may not easilygrasp meaning of stagflation following recession as used by formerPrime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in his acclaimed article in “TheHindu”.
Alluding to his archived article on trade union movement in India,the author avers labour is integral part of the process of economicproduction and therefore it has to be taken into consideration whilereporting and writing abot economy. He points out that there use tobe ‘ Labour Beat ‘ in newspapers when Mumbai was full of cotton millsbut with these mills closing one by one labour beat of journalistsalso disappeared, “This beat has been replaced to some extent by IPObeat, for those covering Initial Public Offer of selling shares byvarious companies at the time of getting listed in share market. However, journalists of Indian languages don’t report much about mandatory disclosures contained in documents distributed at the time of press conference to announce such IPOs and FPOs, “CP says.
The author mentions his experience as founder General Secretary ofIndian Business Journalists Association (IBJA) formed as a Trustthat attempted to help journalists with business beat to understandtricky matters of Capital Market and also sought to informallyregulate Press events of trade and industry. “Unfortunately, theIBJA became dysfunctional because of its own inherent problems and certain internal differences and I resigned,” CP recalls.
About use of snail on cover of this book, CP — who is also an avidreader of literature, says that this was inspired by a poem on snailby German litterateur Gunter Grass ( 1927- 2015 ), who was awardedNobel Award in 1999 for his Novel, The Tin Drum, published in 1959.The novel depicted economic destruction in Nazi Germany, fear ofWorld War and resultant sense of crime following defeat of Germany inthat. “Expression emerging in the said poem and also may be a bitsimilar in India’s economic and strategic situation now,” CP says.
In one of the forward of the book in English, T. K. Arun , consulting editor of Economic Times, says the authorhas spent decades engaging with business and economics, reporting onrelated topics, writing in clear, lucid, jargon-free prose.” “I am extremely happy to be given this chance to write a few lines on thepresent compilation of articles on the economy, written originally in Hindi my old friend, hostel-mate and comrade at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Chandra Prakash Jha, whom we called Suman” he wrote and pointed out, ‘ It is important for articles on the economyto be written in Indian languages and not just be translated from English. This is so, for multiple reasons,” Arun writes.
As Arun puts it in his foreword, the person –the person who writes, say, in Hindi, brings with him a frame of reference that prioritises the concerns of Hindi speakers. “The concerns that are uppermost in the minds of journalists of the English press are not necessarily identical with the concerns of the broad mass of Indians. English is the language of the elite and papers that cater to their interests will prioritise their concerns, rather than the concerns of the broader society,” Arun points out.
According to Arun, original writing in Indian languages on business and economics will better reflect and address not just the concerns of the people at large but also the level of comprehension the subject at hand has attained in popular discourse. Even when writing in a business paper, a journalist would take the trouble to explain what the repo rate or the reverse repo rate is, while reporting on monetary policy.
“For the bulk of the denizens of the business-paper-reading universe, the explanation that the repo rate is the interest rate at which the RBI makes overnight money available to banks is sufficient. That this represents the cheapest source of additional funds for the banks, so that when the repo rate goes up, the banks’ cost of funds goes up and their lending rates have to go up, does not have to be elaborated. It might need to be spelt out for readers from a non-business background. A Hindi journalist would do that automatically, when writing in Hindi,” Arun mentions in his foreword.
“Those who write for the man in the street will see business and economics from a political economy perspective, rather than seeing political intrusion intobusiness as an aberration. That the strength of the rupee vis-à-vis the dollar has a political economy aspect is not obvious to most people, even those who see that minimum support prices for crops and the allocation for petroleum subsidy are political decisions,” Arun says.
“An Indian language journalist would think of how theRBI’s intervention in the foreign exchange market would affect the common man, as well as different business interests, more naturally than a business reporter trained to see the exchange rate as a product of demand and supply of foreign currency,” Arun opines.
In the second forward of the book, Dr. Ahmed Shah Firoz, Market & Strategy Adviser says: “CP Jha’s efforts are commendable. His kong term association in journalism has provided a new flavour to the subject and brings his heart out in the open which has cried for change”.
“Nobody will deny the Indian economy is passing through a challenging time, to say the least. More complex the matter is because there isneither visibility of an imminent revival nor are there clear cut widely acceptable policy interventions that are available for the government to make a change,” Dr Firoz says.
Dr Firoz says that the country’s already feeble economy suffered further from measures such as demonetisation of about 85 per cent of the total value of thecurrency notes in circulation in 2016 November. “Although there are various rationales provided for such a drastic action, the fact remained, outcomes were nowhere near the desired objectives and theymerely ended up destroying economies and livelihood of small businesses, farmers and many other vulnerable sections of the society. There was practically no destruction of black money as visualised,” he says.
With the Government hard pressed to raise its tax revenue, brought in, rather hurriedly, GST, without any systematic operational structure being in place. Confusions and conflicts reached sky high. Loopholes led to rampant evasion of the tax and other complications arising out of getting into the system quickly enough made many to find ways to evade the tax altogether. These are two examples specifically taken from the contemporary economic history where the weaker sections of the people as also the middle class suffered for no fault of theirs.
Subsequent measures of the government in the form of multiple social welfare programmes, designed to be good politically, but also necessitated to mitigate the adverse impact of above mentioned large measures.
Nothing much changed except for the fact that the economic growthslowed down subsequently to the levels never seen in years. The policy chaos now visible is a reflection of multiple conflicts of interestswithin the society which have built the base of reactive government decisions. While political objectives may serve one set of actions,the economic rationale may negate them.
“It is, therefore, necessary to see the economic developments, theirdirections and content, from a longer term perspective and bringing in individual objective observations together and make the thoughts, however, scattered they may be, before the society at large for it to make a decision on economic and political space,” Dr Firoz elaborates.
“CP’s collection of articles runs over a long period of time and they are very significant commentaries on thesociety and the economy at each specific time. They will, seen in a historical perspective, provide food for thought to modern policy makers and analysts,” Dr Firoz says.
Priced at a reasonable Rs 49, CP Jha’s e-book “New India Mein Mandi” (Recession in New India) is not only affordable for the readers, but it also gives quality content for the money invested on it.
You can get it this book from NotNul by this link. <http://NotNul.com/Pages/ViewPort.aspx?ShortCode=q62o4Q8y>