Status Report on spread of Corona Virus in India till 4th April

There are over 12 lakh cases in the world overall in Corona till now. It has been regarded as one of the biggest pandemic event in the world history. Here is a status report on India.

Data Source: Covid19india.org

Till now 30 states in India has been impacted by this deadly disease. The number of new cases per week has seen a constant jump. The rise in the week ending on 4th April has been the steepest. IPD divides India into different risk group based on the spread of the virus. Here is the summary of the groups.

Data Source: Covid19india.org

Below is the summary of how the different segments have shown the prevalence of this deadly disease.

Data Source: covid19India.org

The very severe risk group has a average of 522 cases per state and has 3 states falling in this group. Mumbai, the financial capital of India and Delhi, the national capital of the country falls in this group.

Data Source: covid19India.org

There has been a increase of 2642 new cases in the week ending 4th April, 2020. Out of which over 48% is attributed to the very severe group. The share on the new cases has been higher in the higher risk group. So there is evidence of hot spots being formed and we are getting more cases from the hot spots.

Data source: covid19india.org

There has been a 257% growth in the total number of cases in the week ending on 4th April, 2020. The growth during the same period for the very severe group has been as high as 465%. All the other groups has a lower growth than the national growth rate. The focus now should be to contain the growth rate of the very severe risk group and ensure that there is not much cases in the other risk groups. India has gone into a nationwide lockdown since 25th March. It has been said by many experts that corona virus takes almost 14 days to get manifested. As in if one gets in contact with the virus today, then in the next 14 days there is a likelihood of the person to get the disease. 14 days from 25th March is on 8th April. IPD sincerely hopes that the effect of lockdown is seen and the growing number of cases show a decline from 8th April onwards.

Here is a state wise summary on the total number of cases.

Data Source: covid19india.org

Status report on spread of Corona Virus: India

Corona virus has become pandemic in the entire world. There are over 6 lac people affected in the entire world due to this virus till now. Here is a status on how this has spread in India.

Source: Covid19india.org

There is a 215% increase in the number of new cases of Covid 19 in the week of 22nd to 28th March. Entire country can be divided into 6 risk zones based on the spread of this disease. The 6th risk zone has no cases till now.

Source: Covid19india.org *Ladakh and J&K are considered as one identity

One important thing to note is that the risk groups with already higher number of cases are witnessing higher growth rates also. The share of the risk groups in the total number of new cases this week has been showing a clear pattern with highest risk groups getting higher number of cases and so on.

Source: Covid19india.org

Severely High Risk

Source:covid19india.org

Maharashtra and Kerala are seeing the highest number of cases in the country and this risk group has seen around 217% increase in the number of cases this week.

Very High Risk

Source: covid19indiä.org

The states in this group stand exactly were the states in the severely high risk group was last week and hence there is a huge risk of some of this states like Karnataka moving into the severely high risk group. Karnataka had a 326% increase in the number of cases this week.

High Risk

Source:covid19india.org

Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, who were in the medium risk bucket till last week, has seen a whopping 600% and 875% increase in the number of cases this week respectively and has moved in the high risk group.

Medium Risk

Source: Covid19India.org

Bihar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands which had no cases till last week, has seen a significant number of cases this week and moves straight into the medium risk group.

Low Medium Risk

Source: covid19india.org

North Eastern states of India had not seen any cases of covid till last week. Manipur and Mizoram saw 1 cases each this week.

Top Districts

Source: Covid19India.org

Twelve districts have 20 or more cases of Covid till now. Kasargod in Kerala and Mumbai in Maharashtra are the most affected districts.

Coronavirus myths & reality

The world is right now under the grips of an unprecedented crisis – the SARS-COV-2 virus pandemic has spread to more than 180 countries and till date, killed close to 13000. Along with coronavirus, what has also spread as fast if not more is misinformation and false facts, primarily through WhatsApp. This article is an attempt by IPD to bust certain covid19 myths and spread real facts. All information is from World Health Organisation (WHO) and can also be accessed at WHO’s website.

Myth 1: coronavirus can only spread in cool climates.

Reality: Till date, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus only spreads in cold climates. It can and has spread to areas with hot and humid weather conditions.

Myth 2: extreme cold/snow can kill coronavirus

Reality: the temperature of a normal human body is between 35° & 37°C, regardless of external temperature. Even if it’s very cold outside, the virus can still survive inside the body.

Myth 3: taking hot water baths can kill the coronavirus

Reality: same as myth 2. Exposure to hot/warm water or temperature is not known to impact virus inside a human host

Myth 4: coronavirus can be spread through mosquito bites

Reality: covid19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. Till date there is no evidence that the new virus is transmitted through mosquitoes or any other animal vector.

Myth 5: hand dryers can kill coronavirus

Reality: till date, there is no evidence to suggest the above is true. The only thing that removes the virus from your body is washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and then drying properly.

Myth 6: ultra violet disinfection lamp can kill the coronavirus

Reality: no evidence so far to suggest it can. Moreover exposure to UV light could harm your health due to radiation.

Myth 7: thermal scanners can detect coronavirus

Reality: thermal scanners can detect people who have fever (higher than normal body temperature). But it cannot detect people who are infected but not yet showing symptoms. That is because the coronavirus takes 2-10 days to fully manifest symptoms.

Myth 8: spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body can kill the coronavirus

Reality: again, no evidence is present to support the above. Moreover, alcohol or chlorine can harm your eyes. Alcohol or chlorine may disinfect surfaces but should not be directly applied to human skin.

Myth 9: pneumonia vaccine can kill the coronavirus

Reality: the SARS Cov2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has as of now, no known vaccine that can kill it.

Myth 10: regular rinsing of nose with saline water helps protect you from coronavirus

Reality: while rinsing nose with saline water has been known to help patients recover quickly from common cold, it is not known so far to have any effect on the coronavirus.

Myth 11: consuming garlic helps ward off coronavirus

Reality: garlic is a natural remedy that is known to have positive effect on human immunity. However, there is no evidence from the current pandemic to suggest that garlic consumption can protect one from getting infected with coronavirus.

Myth 12: coronavirus only affects older people

Reality: while it is true that older people are found to be more vulnerable to the new coronavirus due to weaker immunity system, there is no reason to think that young people are immune to the virus. The new coronavirus can affect young and old equally.

Myth 13: antibiotics can cure coronavirus

Reality: antibiotics can treat and cure bacterial infections i.e. infections caused by bacteria. They have no effect on viral infections.

Myth 14: medicine has been discovered to fight coronavirus

Reality: clinical trials on humans of medicine to counter coronavirus has started in the US. However, we are in all probability several months away from commercial availability of such vaccine. In the meanwhile, vaccines of other respiratory diseases are likely to be somewhat effective in countering the coronavirus.

The ways of protecting yourself and your loved ones from the new coronavirus are following:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then dry properly
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, mouth, nose with unclean hands
  • Clean objects of daily use like mobiles, keys, glasses, door handles etc with regular disinfectants or soap water. Research has shown that the new coronavirus can survive up to 72 Hours on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel
  • Stay at home as much as possible. Do not step out unless absolutely necessary
  • Do not spread false facts/rumors. If you want to know real facts, visit the website of the WHO or your central or state government
  • Follow government directives
  • If you show symptoms like dry cough, high fever, breathing difficulty etc. immediately seek medical attention

The impact of COVID-19 in India

As stated by the government, India is at stage 2 of the corona virus with local spreading. There has been drastic steps taken to control the spread of the virus. Here is a look of how the virus has spread so far within the country.

Source: covidout.in

As reflected in the above table the spread has been severe in the 3rd week of March. The spread of this virus has 4 stages. This is determined through transmission sources.

Source: covidout.in

The local transmission cases have seen a exponential growth in week 3. The silver lining is that till now there is no concrete evidence of community spreading. India is a vast country and so the impact of the virus is different id different parts of the country. based on the number of cases and progression of cases, IPD divides the country in three zones. Zone 1 is where the number of cases are more than 10 and/or the spread is more than a week. Zone 2 is where the numbers of cases are between 1 to 9 and/or the spread has been only for a week. Zone 3 is where there are no cases till now.

Source: Covidout.in

The above group falls under zone 1. This is the high risk zone. The risk of these states going into the community spread is high and hence more cautious steps are taken. Many of these states have announced partial to full lock down in the affected regions.

Source:covidout.in

The above group is in zone 2. These are the states where the spread is still in stage 1 or has just moved into stage 2. Here steps are taken to stop further progress.

Zone 3 are the states and UTs where there is no evidence of any case till now. There are states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Goa and some UTs. Also it is important to note that the spread in zone 1 and zone 2 states are restricted to certain areas. So a vast majority of areas in those states are also in zone 3.

The challenge in the coming week for India is three fold. One, stop community spreading in zone 1 states, for which the best measure is partial lock down. Second, control the spread in zone 2 states for which the best measure is physical distancing and Third, Don’t let it spread in zone 3 for which control on local traveling is important. These can only be achieved when each and every individual in the country owns up the responsibility. Both the central and the state governments are doing there work effectively but to restrict the spread of this virus complete cooperation from every person is required.

Indian Citizenship: Views of the Drafting Committee

Author : AASTHA AGARWAL*.

Christopher Lasch, an American historian, once said “The effect of the mass media is not to elicit belief but to maintain the apparatus of addiction.”(The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics)(1991). In the Indian context, this quote has become rather ultra precise, given the fact that the subject of citizenship, which was otherwise a group of spiritless alphabets resting in peace in the Indian Constitution, has suddenly become the new buzzword in the country.However, instead of hammering away at the media, it would be common sensical to shed light on that which doesn’t make headlines in the newspaper or incite theatricals in the newsroom.

Given such a state of affairs, a sneak peek into the Drafting Committee’s explanation on citizenship in the Constituent Assembly is of paramount importance. This is because a preliminary study of such deliberations will help one have a more learned understanding about the rationale of the Drafting Committee members when they proposed the articles on citizenship in the original draft of the Constitution that was moved by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.

At the very onset of the Debate, Dr. Ambedkar made it clear that the object of the articles on citizenship was not to lay down a permanent law of citizenship for the country, but simply to define citizenship as on the day of the commencement of the Indian Constitution. The business of laying down a permanent law of citizenship was left to the Indian Parliament as is evident from the wording of Article 11 of the Indian Constitution which reads:

“Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Part shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship.”

By way of this Article, as explained by Dr.Ambedkar, the Parliament is not only entitled to make altogether a new law embodying new principles but also has the power to take away citizenship from those who were declared to be citizens on the day of the Commencement of the Indian Constitution. Thus, the constitutional provisions on citizenship are in no way, permanent or unalterable.

Further, in conferring citizenship as on the day of the commencement of the Indian Constitution, the Drafting Committee provided for five different classes of people who could become citizens on the date on which the Constitution commenced, provided they satisfied the terms and conditions which were laid down in Articles 5-10 of the Indian Constitution.

The first category of people include those persons who are domiciled in the territory of India and who are born in the territory of India. They are recognised as Indian Citizens under Art 5(a) of the Indian Constitution. In this regard, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, a Drafting Committee member, argued that the Indian Constitution is much stricter than the Constitution of the United States where any person born in the United States would be treated as a citizen of the United States irrespective of colour or of race. This is because the Indian Constitution adds a further qualification: that the person must have his permanent home(domicile) in India. The second category include those who are domiciled in India but who are not born in India. It was argued that they shall be considered citizens only if they satisfy the conditions laid down in Art 5 (b) or 5 (c) of the Indian Constitution. While Art 5(b) requires that either of the parents of such people should be born in the territory of India; Art 5(c) requires that the person concerned must have been resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding the commencement of the Indian Constitution.Art 5(c) particularly provides for outlying tracts in India like Goa, French Settlements and other places from where people have come to India and have settled down in this country, regarding India as a permanent home, and they have contributed to the richness of the life in this country. They have assisted commerce and they have regarded themselves as citizens of India. Therefore, on grounds of their unfettered loyalty to the Indian state, such persons were granted citizenship.All these categories are subject to a general limitation : that they have not voluntary acquired the citizenship of any foreign State. (Art 9)

The third category of people include persons who have migrated to India from the territory now included in Pakistan. Such persons are recognised as Indian citizens provided the person concerned or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted)[Art6(a)]; or that such person has so migrated before the nineteenth day of July, 1948.[Art 6(b)(i)]. However, if a person has so migrated on or after the nineteenth day of July, 1948, it was required that he must be registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed in that behalf by the Government of the Dominion of India on an application made by him therefore to such officer before the commencement of this Constitution in the form and manner prescribed by that Government [Art 6 (b) (ii)]; provided that no person shall be so registered unless he has been resident in the territory of India for at least six months immediately preceding the date of his application.

The fourth category of people include persons who are residents in India but who have migrated to Pakistan. They are recognised as citizens under Art 7 of the Indian Constitution provided they have returned to the territory of India after the nineteenth day of July, 1948 under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law. In this regard, Dr. Ambedkar made a mention of three kinds of permits:Temporary Permit, Permanent Permit and permit for resettlement or permanent return. It was only the last permit which allowed persons to come back with the express object of resettlement and permanent return.

Articles 6 and 7 intended to provide for all cases of mass migration from Pakistan into India, without making any distinction between one community and another, between one sect and another. This is because it was felt that it would be the grossest injustice on the part of the Government of India now to deny the rights of citizenship of India to those people who have come and settled down here after being satisfied that they want to take their abode here and in no other country, and that they look upon this country as their own. However, to ensure that such an entitlement is not extended to those who have deliberately, voluntarily and intentionally migrated to Pakistan, Art 7 was included in the Constitution.

The fifth category of people include persons who or whose parents or whose grand-parents were born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935, but persons who are ordinarily residing in any territory outside India. They are called ‘Indians abroad’ and are recognised as citizens of India under Art 8 of the Indian constitution provided that the person concerned has been registered as a citizen of India on an application made by him to the diplomatic or consular representative of India, whether before or after the commencement of this Constitution, in the form and manner prescribed by the Government of the Dominion of India or the Government of India. This is because it was argued that  the Government of India has certain obligations with regard to its citizens abroad and that none of the International Conferences have been able to formulate any principle which can remove altogether the principle of double citizenship.

Despite listing five explicit categories of citizens, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, in his concluding speech on citizenship, admitted that it is not possible to cover every kind of case for a limited purpose, namely, the purpose of conferring citizenship on the date of the commencement of the Constitution. To this, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar added that there is hardly any Constitution in the world in which a detailed attempt has been made in regard to the nationality law in the Constitution. However, since the Indian Constitution was to become a republican constitution with provision for election to the Houses of Parliament and to the various assemblies in the units, and for rights being exercised by citizens, it was necessary to have some provision as to citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution. Otherwise, there would have been difficulties connected with the holding of particular offices, and even in the starting of representative institutions in the country under the republican constitution. However, since it was not possible for a Constitution dealing with several subjects to deal with all the complicated problems that arise out of citizenship, the Parliament was given a free hand in enacting any law as to nationality or citizenship suited to the conditions of our country.

  • References:

*AASTHA AGARWAL is pursuing Masters course in Political Science from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. She was awarded the Best Parliamentarian Award in the District Level Youth Parliament Competition organised by the Department of Parliamentary Affairs, Government of West Bengal, for the Year, 2019-20.

Kindly note that the point of views expressed in the article are entirely the author’s personal views. IPD takes no responsibility for the same.

Novel coronavirus 2019 and India – a perspective

The world today is staring at an unprecedented crisis. The SARS-COV-2, more popularly known as Novel Coronavirus 2019, that originated from city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province in December 2019 was recognized as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11th, 2020. Till date, the virus has spread to more than 180 countries across the world with no. of affected at more than 245, 000 globally with death count at over 10, 000 on date. The novel coronavirus spreads primarily between people via respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. It is considered most contagious when people are symptomatic although spread is also possible from asymptomatic host bodies. As on date, there is no known definite cure or vaccine for this virus. The spread of the covid19 is broadly classified into 4 distinct stages:

Stage I | Imported cases: these are the origin cases – people who were infected while being abroad mostly in severely affected countries and came back to India

Stage 2 | Local transmissions: spread of the virus from the imported cases to those who came in contact with them

Stage 3 | community transmissions: this is the most critical stage. This happens when the disease spreads to those who have neither travelled abroad nor came into direct contact with any such person. When the disease reaches stage 3, it is very difficult to stop it’s progress to stage 4

Stage 4 | the disease at it’s worst stage. It is an epidemic with no clear end point in sight

According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, the total number of covid19 affected cases in India as of writing of this article stands at 223 with 4 confirmed deaths. The number has seen a rapid increase in the last 2-3 days with several new cases coming to light. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) carried out random testing of 826 samples across India and all returned negative, suggesting the disease has not reached stage 3 yet. Although, ICMR has not conclusively ruled out stage 3 due to the huge population of the country and the limited number of samples tested.

The spread of an infectious disease can be controlled through two strategic approaches:

  1. Containment: this is done in the early stages of an outbreak. It aims to trace and isolate those infected in order to stop the spread of the disease to the rest of the population
  2. Mitigation: this comes into play when containment was not done or has not been successful. Here measures are taken to slow down the rate of spread and mitigate its effect on the society

India, at this point of time, is somewhere between containment and mitigation. While containment efforts are on, in some states like Maharashtra, Kerala, NCT Delhi, the disease is probably past the containment stage and needs immediate mitigative approach. Many state governments have already put in place containment strategies like:

  • Closure of academic institutions
  • Closure of public gathering places like malls, theatres, gyms, community swimming clubs etc.
  • Several major religious institutions and tourist attractions have also closed down
  • Major sporting events like the ongoing Indian Football League and the upcoming Indian Premier League cricket have been cancelled

Now let us examine the spread of the SARS-COV-2 in Italy, right now the most severely affected country in the world 3405 deaths till date and compare the same with India

  • The first cases in Italy were identified on 31st Jan in form of two Chinese tourists in Rome
  • One week later, an Italian man repatriated from China tested positive
  • There were 16 cases tested positive on 21st Feb and 60 on 22nd Feb
  • By the beginning of March, the disease had spread to entire Italy
  • On 9th March, the entire country was placed in forced lockdown but by then it was probably too late as current affairs in the country show

Looking at India:

  • First case in India was also identified around 31st Jan in Kerala
  • By 3rd Feb, this number stood at 3 – all in Kerala
  • On 21st Feb, all 3 were considered cured and discharged from hospital. There were no new cases
  • Between 27th Feb and 9th March, the number of cases in India jumped to 44 across 10 states/UTs
  • By 14th March, the number of affected went up to 84 with 2 deaths. No. of states/UTs affected stood at 13
  • In the last 1 week, it has close to trebled. between yesterday and today, around 50 new cases have come to light

The above statistics make the need of effective social distancing extremely critical. Yesterday, the Government of India has announced a number of emergency measures to inhibit the spread of covid19 in India. These include:

  • Complete suspension of international flight arrivals from 22nd & 29th March
  • All citizens above 65 years and children below 10 years asked to remain at home (except for medical emergencies)
  • Railways and airlines asked to stop concessional travel with immediate effect except for students, patients and divyangs
  • States requested to enforce work from home for private sector except those working in emergency/essential services
  • All group B & C central government employees asked to attend office on alternate weeks and staggered timings
  • A 14-hour voluntary curfew to be observed on Sunday 22nd March from 7 am in the morning to 9 pm in the evening. All citizens except those engaged in essential/emergency services requested to remain at home during this time period

A research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the survivability of the SARS-COV-2 outside a host (human) body i.e. on non-living surfaces. The study produced varied results:

  • On copper surfaces, no trace of the virus was found after 4 hours from the commence period
  • On cardboard surfaces, the virus was found living at the 24-hour mark
  • On steel and plastic surfaces, traces of the virus were observed even after 72 hours

However, while the virus presence was longer on cardboard, steel and plastic, the threat factor was highly diminished. For e.g. on plastic surfaces, the no. of micro-organisms at 6.8 hours from commencement was exactly halved vis-Ã-vis what it was at the beginning. This implies that with passage of time, count and hence threat from the virus decreases substantially. In the light of the above, social distancing and quarantine becomes of criticality.

To illustrate, if all Indians confine themselves largely to home for 14 hours on Sunday, the presence of the virus on infected surfaces in public space will likely to be reduced in that time. In absence of access to a live host, the virus will fail to multiply and die down. This should have a reasonably positive effect. Moreover, assuming there are people out there either with symptoms or asymptomatic, isolation from the rest of the society would mean a significant reduction in community transmission from such infected hosts. It makes adherence to the government’s request very critical at this juncture of time.

However, in places like large towns of Maharashtra, Delhi, Bangalore, Kerala, the spread of the virus is already at an advanced stage and progress to stage 3 already happening cannot be ruled out. These places need to go on full lockdown for the next 7-14 days at the minimum to curb the spread of the disease. As a matter of fact, the government of Maharashtra has earlier today announced shutdown of all offices and commercial establishments (except essential/emergency) in Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur till 31st March. The Delhi government has also announced closure of non-essential services in the city. These drastic measures need to be expanded in all the major urban locations of affected territories.

In other places where the disease has not yet progressed to severe proportions, containment efforts should continue. Moreover, intermittent closure/lockdown of public life should be seriously considered in these places to ensure that the disease spread is contained and it does not proceed to advanced stages.There is no doubt that covid19 crisis is the biggest global crisis since probably the world war II. To come out of with minimal damage has to be the only objective of every nation in the world. This cannot be the responsibility of the state/government only. Each and every citizen must share in this fight to ensure that we come out on the winning side. IPD sincerely hopes that our great nation and it’s wonderful citizens would come out on the right side of history at this critical juncture of human civilization.

Positive trends in IIP | Retail Inflation continues to remain high

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released the Index of Industrial Production numbers for January, 2020 and the retail inflation numbers for the month of February, 2020 yesterday.

Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI)

After a negative growth in the previous month, the IIP growth recovered to 2.0% in January, 2020. It should be noted here the core sector growth also showed a positive trend in January, 2020. So overall there is a sign of revival of the economy. With the threat of Corona virus looming in the entire world economy it needs to be seen whether this sustains over time. In comparison with the same month last year, there is a substantial increase in the IIP for electricity. Mining and manufacturing also showed some increase in the growth rate as compared to the same month previous year.

Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI)

The comparison of Apr-Jan, 2019-20 with the same in the previous financial year shows a dismal picture because of the slowdown that had impacted the economy since the last quarter of previous financial year. The April-Jan, 2019-20 numbers for IIP stood at 0.5% as against 4.4% in the same time in the previous financial year. Similar drop in growth is evident across all the three sectors, viz, mining, manufacturing and electricity.

Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI)

The retail inflation rate as of February, 2020 stood at 6.58% as against 2.57% in the same month previous year. However this is lower than the inflation rate of the previous month. The inflation rate has been showing an increase trend since January, 2019. This is the first time in over 13 months, that we see a reverse trend. However the present rate of 6.58% is higher than the permissible range of inflation prescribed by RBI. So while inflation rate has declined with respect to the previous month, it is still at a very high range. It needs to be noted here that as per the budget, 2020-21, the nominal GDP growth is predicted to be at 10% for 2020-21. With over 6.5% inflation rate, this would mean that real GDP growth will translate into less than 4%. Moreover higher inflation in a time when the economy is facing a demand crunch proves to be more detrimental.

The inflation rate is highest for the food and beverages category which means that the impact of this rising inflation is all across the population across income strata. Food price index is as high as 10.81%.

A typical food basket for a vegetarian Indian household will have cereals, vegetables and pulses, while the same for a non vegetarian household will have meat, fish and egg in addition to the cereals , vegetables and pulses. The most severe increase in inflation rate is reflected in all the essential items which are typically in the food basket of an average Indian. The vegetable inflation is as high as 31%. This has shown a decline from the whopping 50% in the previous month. However the present rate is still very high. Moreover the inflation rate of spices has shown a increase this month. With higher inflation rate of vegetables, pulses, meat and fish, a rising inflation of spices would mean more burden in the pockets of an average Indian. This further can reduce the savings rate given people have to spend more on essential commodities and can have a adverse impact on future investment as well. It should be noted here that the gross capital formation has witnessed a negative growth as per the third quarter numbers for the current fiscal.

Both rural and urban India witnessed a decline in inflation rate as compared to the previous month. But the inflation rates are significantly higher when compared with the same month, previous year. The situation is more alarming in rural than in urban. This is the second month in a row where the rural inflation rate is higher than that of urban. This is an unusual phenomenon. A lot has been said about farm distress and lack of demand in rural economy. Higher inflation in rural India as compared to urban, makes the situation worse.

Overall the month of January has brought some cheers to the Indian economy with a positive growth in IIP and core sector growth. However the high retail inflation remains a huge concern specially with the high inflation rate of the regular food basket of an average Indian. The present scare of Corona Virus can have a huge impact on the world economy. It remains to be seen how it impacts the Indian economy. This will determine whether the present signs of revival of the economy will be sustainable or not.