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STAGFLATION

Let us go  back to the USA of the 1970s. A never-observed before disturbing trend is on the rise. Soon, it comes to the notice of Classical Economists.

  1. They observe a decline in general productivity levels.
  2. Unemployment levels are on the rise.
  3. However, the prices are increasing every day.

Now, the question here is, how can price levels rise when people are unemployed and not ready to splurge on stuff? The entire situation made no sense to the Economists but they didn’t want to give up. They turned to oil to look for answers. Around that time, the oil-producing nations had imposed an embargo on the USA and refused to continue shipping oil. With the supply of oil dwindling all of a sudden, prices sky-rocketed very quickly and took the costs along with them. As energy production became expensive, retail prices inched up too. The entire prognosis was debated highly and was referred to as a unique case, leading to the coining of a special term for this phenomenon- stagflation.

Stagflation is defined as a period of rising inflation accompanied by falling output and rising unemployment levels. The term was originally coined in 1965 by a British Politician. However, it entered popular discourse during the 1970s when it was adopted to explain the happenings in the USA. A degree of stagflation was also observed in 2008, shortly before the world economies entered recession. The major causes of stagflation could be:

  1. Oil-price rise: A supply-side shock increases costs. Such increases in turn flare inflation and lower the GDP due to a shift in the short-run aggregate supply.
  2. Trading Unions: If trade unions enjoy a higher bargaining power, they demand higher wages even during low economic growth, contributing as a cause of inflation.
  3. Falling Productivity: Inefficient workers are responsible for increasing costs and lowering the output levels.
  4. Rise of Structural Unemployment: A decrease in traditional industries causes this and a decrease in output levels, adding to inflation levels.

The catch here is that the monetary policy can  either increase interest rates to counter inflation or cut rates to boost economic growth. Stagflation is an amalgamation of inflation and deflation hence, becomes a tricky business to solve. A few of its model solutions suggest decreasing economic dependency on oil and boosting the supply-side policies to increase productivity without pushing inflation.

So, if anyone flags stagflation concerns in our own backyard, we have very good reasons to be concerned. In fact, last year in November, this is what former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh warned about, that India was going down the same rabbit hole. Months later, RBI’s household survey also pointed out the same things. You could see people being laid off, prices were expected to rise and the economy was at a standstill.

India, reeling under the immense pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, finds itself facing this painful trend. The intermittent lockdown and the higher money supply for the flare of the inflationary pressures have added to our vows. The lockdown led to supply side disruptions for perishable agricultural goods, pushing production costs and contributing to the inflation of food items. It was quite natural to see the spurt in inflationary figures. This also led to the RBI Monetary Policy Committee to hold its rates in August.

Many people have to say that the entire process may be more cyclic in nature, due to the sudden pandemic and ensuing lockdown. As the restrictions have eased out and the economy is opening up again, ideally production costs should normalize. In the string of events that will follow, prices should normalize as well. Yes, we still have job losses and GDP to worry about, but battling inflation while grappling with these two issues is itself a nightmare. Hopefully, stagflation won’t be an addition to it.

OPERATION BLUE STAR 1984

Operation Blue Star was the biggest national security mission ever undertaken by the Indian Army. It was Indira Gandhi’s solution to the out of control law and order situation in Punjab. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India at that moment, ordered the removal of Sikh militants who were accumulating weapons in the Golden Temple. The operation was held between June 1 and June 8, 1984, in Amritsar.

Bhindranwale, the main reason behind Operation Blue Star, was the leader of Damdami Taksal and influenced the Sikh youth. He convinced many people to follow Sikh rules and tenets. During the operation, Bhindranwale and Khalistan followers took over the Akal Takht complex in the Golden Temple. The Khalistan movement was a political Sikh nationalist movement which aimed at forming an independent state for Sikhs in the current North-Western part of India. Bhindranwale was seen as a supporter of Khalistan. Operation Blue Star specifically was aimed to eliminate Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple complex and regain control over the temple.

During the Operation Blue Star, the Punjab media was under a blackout. Journalists were put in a military bus and dropped at the Haryana border. There was a curfew in Punjab, and no transportation took place across the state. The incidents led to a great deal of criticism of the government. The military assault led to tensions across members of the Sikh community worldwide. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984, for permitting the Operation Blue Star.

A repeat of Operation Blue Star was seen a few years later. Operation Black Thunder took place in the late 1980s to remove remaining Sikh activists from the Golden Temple. The ‘Black Cat’ commandos of the National Security Guards were in this operation. Similar to Operation Blue Star, the operation was directed towards Khalistani militants who were using the Golden Temple as a base. The first Operation Black Thunder occurred on April 30, 1986, and the second one on May 9, 1988. The operation was commanded by Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, the DGP of Punjab Police at that time. Little damage was inflicted on the Golden Temple as compared to Operation Blue Star. It is known for its free access to the media, unlike during Operation Blue Star. Operation Black Thunder was far more successful as compared to Operation Blue Star.

THE E-PHARMACY RACE

The recent developments in the e-pharmacy sector have intrigued almost every individual and left everyone fascinated by becoming the talk of the town. In just one week, India’s online pharmacy market witnessed two major merger and acquisition deals- Reliance Retail picking up a majority stake in Netmeds and the merger of big rivals- PharmEasy and Medlife, amidst the launch of Amazon’s online drug delivery services. All this hubbub has suddenly made everyone interested in India’s E-Pharmacy sector. 

MEDUSA AND THE #METOO MOVEMENT

A statue of Medusa, holding the severed head of the Greek hero Perseus was recently unveiled on the 13th of October in the Collect Pond Park across the Manhattan Supreme Court Building. The statue serves as a tribute to the #MeToo Movement, launched in 2008 by Tarana Burke as a platform for solidarity and support for victims and survivors of sexual violence.

QATAR EFFECTIVELY DISMANTLES THE ‘KAFALA’ SYSTEM

The International Labour Organisation said that the reforms effectively dismantle the “kafala” system and mark the commencement of a brand new era for the Qatari labour market.

GREENLAND, ICE-LOSS AND THREAT

ILULISSAT, GREENLAND – JULY 30: Free-floating ice floats jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. The Sahara heat wave that recently sent temperatures to record levels in parts of Europe is arriving in Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Greenland is the world’s largest island which is sandwiched between the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans. Along with breathtaking beauty and sceneries, Greenland also has a whooping ice cover.

BREAST CANCER

“October is observed as World Breast Cancer Awareness Month, mainly to raise awareness about the prevention and also the need for early diagnosis of cancer, to reduce the risk of mortality due to the disease.”

Breast cancer forms in the cells of the breasts, and it can occur in women as well as men, but still, it is more common in women. Nowadays, survival rates from Breast Cancer have increased, and the number of deaths is also declining, due to various reasons such as timely detection of cancer, personalized approach to treatment, and understanding of the disease.

AMPLIFYING THE VOICES

BY SATYARTH AND CHIMATA SHRIYA

Revolutions aim at bringing about significant changes and educating important concepts. The French revolution’s major contribution was the concept of ‘Fraternity’ . Fraternity is the idea of a group of people sharing common interests regarding religious or secular affairs. Over the years,
this term has revolutionised with novel meanings added to ancient ones. The term Fraternity conveys a feeling of Brotherhood. Ever pondered upon the question ‘How to practice Brotherhood in India: The nation of diversity? People in India are divided amongst each other based on caste, class, sexuality, religion, etc.

WHY KILLING RAPISTS IS NOT THE SOLUTION?

Tragic cases like those of Nirbhaya, Dr. Priyanka Reddy or the recent Hathras victim, time and again highlight the unacceptable reality millions of women in India are forced to endure. Violence against women is endemic- the only silver lining it presents is the enormous outcry from the Indian society in its support.

Amidst the many reasonable and constructive calls demanding immediate justice for these victims are strong echoes of voices calling for death penalties of such perpetrators of crime. While the anger felt is understandable and the imposition of stricter laws is needed the most now, the voice of reason stating that such punishments perpetuate a series of violence gets lost somewhere.

Social Media Activism – The new face of revolution?

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

 

What brings about a revolution? Is it the recalcitrant tenacity of the undignified ‘upholders of justice’ doused in a delusional hangover or is it the unyielding voices of the victimized populace whose liberation is a prospective bound goal for the nation and society at large? Turning back in the pages of history, we will come across numerous examples in which the latter acted as a trigger for reform; however, with social media evolving into a new zone of outcry and dissent, the former argument seems more relevant in the modern era.

THE PROBLEMATIC NATURE OF #NOTALLMEN

By Chimata Shriya and Kamalika Gunasekaran

The kind of society that we are living in has primarily been a male dominant one, despite the argument that times are changing and equality is present everywhere, all women around you would have experienced male dominance at least once in some sphere of their lives. Women have almost always been treated unequally or even inferior to men in many cases. Now that, things have changed for the better, and women have become passionate than ever before, when we still identify some cases which reveal these disturbing acts of cruelty by men, the agenda of equality is severely questioned again.

VICTIM BLAMING AND MORAL POLICING

Society teaches “DON’T GET RAPED” rather than “DON’T RAPE.”

Rape Culture is a term for an environment in which rape is prevalent and where sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. This rape culture is being perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the glamorization of sexual violence, objectification of women’s bodies, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, trivializing rape, denial of the existence of widespread rape; thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

WHY MENTIONING CASTE IS IMPORTANT?

Since ancient times, the Indian society has been stratified into different castes: the upper caste and the socially oppressed lower caste. The culture of marginalized communities forms the basis of a lot of economic, social, and political reforms in our country. There are special incentives and concessions provided to the lower castes in the field of education, employment, etc. Therefore, whenever you fill a form of any government or (some) private organization, you are required to state your caste.

Role of UP Government and The HATHRAS cruelty


As we reach the three-year mark of the BJP led rule in the most populated state of our nation, with Yogi Adityanath (“a Hindu – Monk” as described by Google) as the Chief Minister, there has been an upsurge in the number of allegations against the state’s government. These three years have also seen a tremendous hike in the crime rate, especially crimes that come along
with a “caste” tagline.

RAPE CULTURE IN INDIA

Rape culture is a notion of trivialising rape and sexual assault due to societal norms based on gender inequality and casteism. Moreover, it tends to emancipate the assailant and rebuke the scapegoat. It bolsters the use of misogynistic language and humiliates women. One of the hallmarks of rape culture is that it promotes a society where sexual violence is glorified and
women are deprived of following their passion and are confined to the four walls of their house.

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