Editorial analysis: US Fed sends equity crashing, unemployment unrest on rise


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In the daily editorial analysis, except for Sundays, The Raisina Hills critically reviews the comments of the top five English newspapers of India on their Edit pages.

The global equity market rout has invited the attention of The Economic Times and The Hindu, with both taking a hard look at the US Fed decision to go aggressive in hiking the rates amid the inflation defying all attempts for moderation.

The ET’s lead editorial ‘US Fed exports recession with hike’ noted that the Wall Street’s assessment of the rate hike by the Fed while initially being of relief turned into pain after it dawned that the US can enter recession as early as 2024. The equity markets in the US have crashed by over 20 per cent, which is known to signal entry into a bear market when investors pull out their money to park in safe options.

Both The Hindu and The ET have dwelt upon the consequences for India, concurring that there will be exodus of the foreign institutional investment, weakening of the rupee, which in turn will make the imports costlier, besides impacting the IT sector negatively since the past trends suggest the American recessions have been bad for export of software services.

The ET rightly commented that India is an importer of inflation, and the growth may stay under pressure because of the supply and demand side constraints.

However, both the newspapers ignored that the government was caught napping while the global inflation reared its head in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions in China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as there’s still no urgency to step up public investment.

Employment is the first casualty during recession and interest rate hikes. The Time of India and The Hindu have commented on protests against the Agnipath scheme with an edit ‘Baptism by fire’ and ‘Waiting for jobs’ respectively, both looking into the unemployment data.

ToI, quoting the CMIE data, explained violent protests in Bihar against Agnipath scheme to over 76 per cent unemployment for the 15-19 age group, while at India level it’s 50 per cent for the same cohort and 38.7 per cent for 20-25 age group.

The Hindu also noted that there exists 8.86 lakh vacancies in the Central government departments as of March, 2020, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of recruiting 10 lakh people would hardly be offering new jobs to the economy.

ToI pinpoints the genesis of the Agnipath scheme to the pension discomfort of the government. It argued that while the pension outgo in 2010-11 in defence was 19 per cent of the total defence expenditure, it shot up to 26 per cent in 2020-21. ToI blamed decrease in expenditure on new defence equipment to higher pension bill of the military forces.

Pension liability is indeed the reason why the governments at the Centre and in states sit over piling vacancies while the bureaucracy fails to innovate to offer solutions. In the US, ToI edit pointed out, 20 years of service is the eligibility for pension, helping the country to cut down on pension bill while also employing the former soldiers.

The Hindu has rightly flagged the growing concerns that India could squander off the demographic dividends by not creating enough jobs while worryingly noting that more employments are being created in agriculture and farm sector with corresponding decrease in industrial employments.

The Indian Express (IE) has commented on the Congress protests against the questioning of the party’s former chief Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald money laundering case. The IE Edit questioned why the Congress leaders protest only when its leaders are allegedly targeted. The IE Edit also sought answers from the Delhi Police for its highhandedness in entering the Congress headquarters, barricading the city and so on. The IE noted the trend to favour the police over the political, while also raising the larger issue of growing political intolerance.

Indeed, the police excesses in turning Delhi into a fort with barricades have been a clear trend in the recent years in the absence of the government lacking in communication with the political opponents.

Deccan Herald (DH) has both its editorials disconnected with any of the trending national issues, as the newspaper sought to comment on a post by the Chief Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar purportedly stating that treason charges by slapped against those who “instigated Islamic nations to protest against the remarks made by the former BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Navin Jindal”.

DH rightly states that it’s embarrassing for a person who is CIC should be opinionating on the basis of conspiracy theory. But Mahurkar, a former journalist, owes his current job for being what he’s in thoughts and expressions.



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