News Wrap


Aprivate research group, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has calculated that 73.5 lac jobs were lost in April 2021, the unemployment rate rising to 7.97 per cent, from 6.5 per cent in March 2021. Thirty-four lac salaried Indians lost their jobs in April 2021, as small and medium enterprises struggled to survive, unable to withstand the Covid-19 second wave, at a time they had not fully recovered from the pandemic’s first wave. Lockdowns and economic slowdowns had devastated small enterprises in the rural areas. About 28.4 lac salaried jobs were lost in the rural areas, and 5.6 lac in the cities, reducing the number of salaried employees from 4.6 crore in March 2021, to 4,544 crore in April 2021. In the villages, the number of the salaried fell from 3324 crore in Feb 2021, to 3024 crore in March 2021, to 2700 crore in April 2021. A section of the 73.5 lac people who lost their jobs in April, were agricultural workers, who had just finished harvesting. They are expected to resume work in June, once the sowing season stars. The 34 lac who lost their salaried jobs, worked in small and medium industries , that have closed their operations. Many of these units are unlikely to revive, amid the economic slowdown. After the lockdown of 2020, the suddenly unemployed workers had taken up occupations more precarious and informal than their earlier jobs. The economic losses suffered in 2020-21, are unlikely to be remedied in 2021-22. India’s post Covid-19 fiscal in 2020-21 was 2.2 per cent of the GDP. Several states have already enforced lockdowns, increasing the possibility of job losses, in the next few months. The central unions have demanded that the union government of India compensate workers for the period, they remain jobless because of the Covid-19 situation. Private employers are not paying any compensation to the workers. The workers’ earnings have been reduced, and pushed the families of 23 crore Indians into poverty.

Exploiting Dalit Labour
Bochasanwasi Akshar Puroshottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a Hindu Sect, having close ties with India’s ruling BJP has built temples around the world. It had exploited possibly hundreds of low caste men in the years-long construction. United States Federal law enforcement agents descended on a massive temple in New Jersey on 11 May 2021, after workers accused a prominent Hindu sect of luring them from India, confining them to the temple grounds, and paying the equivalent of about $1 an hour, to perform grueling labour in near servitude.

Violence In Jerusalem
Israeli police on 09 May 2021 gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city. The 10 May parade passed Jerusalem’s Old City, part of east Jerusalem, which was captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. During the holy week of Ramadan, Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza on 12 May 2021, and Palestinian militants fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv, and the southern city of Beersheba in the region’s most intense hostilities in years. At least sixty people have been killed in Gaza, since violence escalated on 10 May 2021. Dozens of tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber coated bullets, fired by Israel police at Palestinian stone-throwers, landed in the compound of Al Aqsa Mosque. The site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site in Judaism.

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Vol. 54, No. 6, Aug 8 - 14, 2021