The Indian Express Editorial Summary : Indian Economy: Growth & Challenges

Question : Despite the positive growth momentum, what are the concerns regarding private consumption and investment activity in the Indian economy?

GDP and GVA Growth (NSO):

  • Economy grew 8.4% in Q3 surpassing projections.
  • Average growth of 8.2% in first 3 quarters (April-Dec).
  • Projected full-year growth of 7.6%.
  • GVA growth (excluding taxes) slowed down:
    • 2% in Q1.
    • 7% in Q2.
    • 5% in Q3.
  • Raises questions about underlying economic momentum.

RBI Study: A Different Perspective

  • RBI study suggests healthy growth momentum.
  • Projects Q4 growth at 7.2% (higher than NSO’s 5.9%).
  • Likely full-year growth closer to 8%.
  • Projects 7.4% growth in 2024-25 (higher than RBI’s 7% forecast).

Concerns Despite Growth

  • Subdued private consumption (around 3% growth).
  • Unevenness in demand across consumption segments:
    • Moderate growth in FMCG sector.
    • Robust growth in premium consumer businesses.
    • Indicates significant per capita income shifts.
  • Questions over broad-based revival in private capex:
    • Steady government capital expenditure (central & state).
    • Healthy bank and corporate balance sheets.
    • Capacity utilisation rates in several segments call for new investments.

Inflationary Dilemma

  • Divergence between food and core inflation:
    • Food inflation up to 8.66% (Feb 2024).
    • Core inflation down to 3.4%.
  • High inflation in cereals, eggs, vegetables, and pulses.
  • Eased inflation in non-food and non-fuel segments.
  • Creates a challenge for monetary policy amidst slowing global economy.

Global Concerns

  • Slowing global growth momentum in Q1 2024.
  • Uptick in global supply chain pressures index.
  • Heightened geopolitical risks.
  • Uncertain economic environment demands deft policy management.



The Indian Express Editorial Summary : India’s Air Pollution Crisis: Big & Small Cities

Question : What is the information gap concerning pollution sources in small cities, and why is it important to address this gap? Discuss the challenges in data collection and the urgent need to identify pollution sources in cities like Begusarai.

World Air Quality Report 2023 (IQAir): Key Findings

  • India ranks 3rd worst globally (annual PM2.5: 54.4 µg/m³).
  • Delhi: Most polluted capital city (4th consecutive year).
  • Begusarai, Bihar: World’s most polluted metropolitan area.
  • 10 out of 11 most polluted cities are in India.
  • 96% of Indians exposed to PM2.5 exceeding WHO guideline by 7 times.

Beyond Big Cities: The Emerging Crisis

  • Air pollution not just a big city issue (e.g., Guwahati, Patna).
  • Smaller cities like Rohtak (Haryana), Meerut (UP), Begusarai (Bihar) severely affected.
  • Begusarai’s PM2.5 levels spiked from 20 µg/m³ (2022) to worst in the world (2023).

Information Gap on Pollution Sources in Small Cities

  • Delhi’s pollution sources well-studied (geography, transport, industry, agriculture).
  • Data collection lacking pace with rapid urbanization.
  • Limited information on pollution sources in most of 83 Indian cities on IQAir’s list.
  • Urgent need to identify pollution sources in Begusarai and other small cities.

Tackling Air Pollution in India

  • Strengthen state pollution control boards (address staff shortages for better monitoring).
  • Address regional pollution issues: pollutants travel across cities and states.
  • National Clean Air Programme’s focus on airsheds (localities with limited pollutant dispersal) is a step in the right direction.
  • Effective solutions require coordinated efforts between local, state, and central agencies.

Conclusion: A Wake-Up Call

  • Air pollution in small cities is a growing concern alongside their economic growth.
  • A collaborative approach between local, state, and central agencies is crucial to combat air pollution across India.


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