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Mudda panelists discuss Gross Domestic Product of December quarter; wonder if country has recovered from demonetisation even as heat wave looms ahead

Growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 6.5% in the second quarter of this financial year which revised the full year’s growth upwards to 6.6% from its earlier estimate of 6.5%, according to official data released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) on Wednesday. It reported a GDP growth of 7.2% in the December quarter (Q3) of 2017-18—the fastest in the entire financial year so far. With this estimate economy is projected to grow to $2.6 trillion at the end of March.

Just when India seems to be recovering from the disruptions caused by GST and demonetization the Meteorological Department issued a grave warning to the nation. It warned of heat wave like conditions in parts of India, which already had touched 38 degree Celsius on February 28. Most parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha recorded the highest spike in temperature. The summers of 2018 will be hotter than normal with a minimum of 1 degree or more rise in maximum temperatures. It will affect agriculture the most.

Thursday’s edition of Mudda, APN’s daily current affairs show, discussed the issue. Moderated by Anurag Singh, the guests were economist JD Agarwal, political expert Ravindra Singh, climatologist Manu Singh, Congress spokesperson Onkar Nath Singh and APN consulting editor Govind Pant Raju.

JD Agarwal said: “India is recovering from the disruptions in its economy by GST demonetization. In the previous quarter growth rate was 6.6% which was estimated to be 5.5%. there has been growth in the agriculture, refinery, cement and electricity sectors. The standard of living has improved. There are indications that growth rate will increase over the years. but we have one big challenge in front of us— only the rich has benefitted from the growth; we have to make it accessible to the poor too. How we should increase the farmers’ income and solve the problem of unemployment in the country. Reports stated that last winter agriculture suffered some loss due to deficient rain and the weather. Since official body stated that there will be a heat wave we should look into solving the problem of deficient rainfall… Now agriculture is not dependent on climate only. Fertilizer, soil testing, technology has decreased the effects of the climate on agriculture… There is another problem in the country which is the increase in NPAs and bad loans. We should solve that too.”

Govind Pant Raju too said the growth rate proves that our economy is improving.

Manu Singh said every year global warming is becoming worse. “As this year summer temperatures will increase too much, it will have opposite effect on the monsoon. There will be drought in some areas and flood in others… Next war would be fought for water, not land. And it will start from Asia,” he said.

Ravindra Singh however said not to rejoice too much for the growth rate as the problems of unemployment, poverty, farmer’s poor conditions still exist. He said: “Only the conditions of the rich improved. The poor are still suffering from the effects of the GST and demonetization… The government should be blamed for this. They have not been able to fulfill its promises in four years.”

—Compiled by Usha Rani Das

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