India’s fiscal deficit as of May, 2020 stood at Rs 4.66 lakh crores or 58.6% of the fiscal deficit target for FY21, official data released showed. With economic activity coming to near halt in April and only picking up marginally in May, net tax receipts stood at Rs 33, 850 crores whereas total expenditure stood at Rs 5.12 lakh crores, an indication of heavy front-loading of expenditure to counter the covid-19 pandemic.
In April this year, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das had expressed concerns that meeting the fiscal deficit target was going to be challenging in FY21. Experts have estimated the center + state combined fiscal deficit could reach 13-14% of the GDP. The fiscal deficit stood at 4.6% of the GDP in FY20 as against a target of 3.3%.
Meanwhile, official data released earlier today showed contraction in eight core infrastructure sectors continued for the third month in a row in May. Although with economic activity resuming iin limited manner in May, the combined output shrank by 23.4% as compared to 37% in April when almost all activity was shutdown. Key infrastructure sectors like steel (48.4%), cement (22.2%), refinery (21.2%) and electricity (15.6%) kept on contracting sharply with fertilizer the only core sector out of the eight to register a positive trend. The eight core sectors account for nearly 40.3% of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
The manufacturing Purchase Manager’s Index (PMI) released earlier this month by IHS Markit stood at 30.8 for May, up marginally from 27.4 of April but still way short of the 50-mark that separates contraction from expansion. With the country now moving into Unlock phase and economic activity resuming gradually, some encouraging trends have been observed in terms of unemployment nos. dropping to pre-lockdown levels and automobile sales picking up slowly.
There are over 10 million cases of COVID-19 in the world today with over 501419 deaths. In India there has been 529395 ( covid19india.org) cases till 27th June with 16103 deaths. Here is a summary of the situation in India.
ALL INDIA LEVEL ANALYSIS
There are over 117663 new cases in the week of 21st to 27th June with 35 states and Union territories impacted all across the country. The weekly growth rate marginally increased from last week. There has been a 29% increase in the total number of cases in the week. During this week there has been a 21% increase in the total number of deaths from 13277 in the week ending on 20th June to 16103 in the week ending on 27th June. So in this week the growth rate of number of deaths was lesser than that of the overall cases.
India has maintained a high recovery rate of 58% till June 27th. This is higher than the world recovery rate of 54%. There has been a increase in recovery rate also this week. In terms of death rate, India has lower death rate as compared to the world death rate of 5%.
STATE LEVEL ANALYSIS
Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamilnadu are the top three states and UTs in terms of the spread of COVID-19 cases. The three states together account for over 60% of all the cases in the country. Maharashtra alone contributes to 30% of all the cases in the country. Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are the other two states in the top 5.
Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states among recovery rate while Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are the bottom three states among all the states which have over 5000 cases of COVID 19. Fourteen states have higher recovery rate than the national average.
Gujarat is the only state in India which has a death rate higher than the world average. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states in terms of death rate. Assam, Odhisa and Bihar has the lowest death rate among all states with over 5000 cases of corona.
Let us deep dive on the top 3 states which account for over 60% of all cases in India.
The total number of new cases in Maharashtra has been over 30000 this week, the highest till date. There has been a decline in death rate till the week of May, 23rd, Since then the death rate has been rising week over week. The death rate showed marginal decline this week. It is important to note here that Maharashtra is among the bottom three states in terms of recovery rate among the states with more than 5000 cases and is among the top three among the death rate. For the state which accounts for over 30% of the total cases in the country, this is an alarming situation.
Delhi has seen over 23000 cases this week. The death rate in Delhi has been rising steadily till last week. From 1% in the week of 9th May, the death rate increased to 3.7% till last week. This has declined this week. There has been a 41% growth in the number of cases in Delhi. For a small region like Delhi, this increase is huge and Delhi is the next hot spot for India along with Maharashtra.
The total number of new cases in Tamil Nadu has been over 21000 this week, the highest till date. There has been marginal increase in death rate from the week of May, 23rd. It needs to be noted here that Tamil Nadu has one of the lowest death rates among the states with highest spread and its recovery rate is also decent.
CITY LEVEL ANALYSIS
Almost 58% of all the cases in the country comes from 10 cities in the country. Another 7.2% comes from the next 10 cities. So only 20 cities put together contribute to over 65% of all the cases in the country. Delhi now has the highest number of cases followed by Mumbai. Both cities together account for 29.2% of the total cases in India. In the top 10 cities there are three cities from Maharashtra ( Mumbai, Pune and Thane), two cities in Tamil Nadu ( Chennai, Chengalpattalu) one city each from West Bengal (Kolkata), Telangana (Hyderabad), Gujarat (Ahmadabad) and Haryana (Gurugram) respectively. The national capital region of Delhi also falls in the top 10 cities. Both the financial capital and the political capital of the country are in a alarming situation.
On 1st June, 2020, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the impact of COVID-19 extends well beyond the death and disease caused by the virus itself. The pandemic has forced countries to make difficult choices about suspending some health services. Restricted visits to health facilities is the key to keeping people safe and it equally ensures that the health systems are not overburdened. This means health services have been affected in care for people with any other communicable or non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cancer, cardio vascular diseases or chronic respiratory disease, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and so on. People living with vulnerable diseases can become severely ill or die due to COVID-19. At the same time, many people are not able to access the required medicine or medical help for their other diseases, hence, becoming severely ill or reaching the inevitable. WHO conducted a rapid assessment of service deliveries for non-communicable diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 155 countries submitting data. The results show that more than half of the countries surveyed, have partially or completely disrupted services for treatment of hypertension, half for treatment of diabetes and related complications, 42 percent for cancer treatment and 31 percent for cardio vascular emergencies.
It’s been three weeks that India has reopened with restrictions after observing two months of prolonged lockdown. The health facilities are yet to resume all provisions for diseases other than COVID-19. Like many other countries in the world, the ailing patients with other fatal diseases in India were not the primary focus in the health care ladder since the commence of the pandemic. Most of the hospitals in the affected areas were coping to fight against COVID-19. Hence, other patients were discouraged to visit hospitals unless it is absolute necessary. Surgeries, chemotherapy, regular pathological tests and follow ups with doctors which could be avoidable during the surge, were postponed. The prevalent fear of germs and infection from the COVID-19 affected patients also stopped people to visit health care centres. Everyone became even more helpless when some of the drugs were scarce in their local medicine shops during the lockdown. Under such state of turmoil, let us enquire what was India’s morbidity status in pre-pandemic era and who are more vulnerable during the pandemic due to their existing adverse health status. This article tries to understand the prevalence of non-communicable and communicable diseases across the states, especially in the states where the spread of the pandemic is more. Diseases other than COVID-19 will not be the prime focus for long in the states with vast spread for longer period.
The burden of disease in any country is majorly determined through ‘disability-adjusted life-years’ or DALYs. It is defined as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. Here, both mortality and morbidity are considered to make this metric and it is increasingly used as a common method to assess the health impact in the world. According to Lancet study in 2017, there were about 9.7 million deaths and 486 million DALYs in India. The causes of death and DALYs in India can be divided into three broad categories – non-communicable diseases (NCDs); communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases (CMNNDs); and injuries. NCDs consist of cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases, digestive diseases, neurological disorders, mental and substance use disorders, diabetes, urogenital, blood and endocrine diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and other non-communicable diseases. CMNNDs consist of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, diarrhoea, lower respiratory and other infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases and malaria, maternal disorders, neonatal disorders, nutritional deficiencies, other communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases. Finally, injuries consist of transport injuries, unintentional injuries, suicide and interpersonal violence and other injuries.
Non-Communicable and Communicable Diseases
India has gone a major epidemiological transition over the last three decades. The country’s disease patterns have shifted. Mortality and DALYs due to CMNNDs have declined significantly which means NCDs and injuries are increasingly contributing to overall disease burden. Here, epidemiological transition means the ratio of CMNNDs cases to NCDs and injury cases. According to the above pie chart, almost 62 percent of the deaths and around 55 percent of the DALYs are caused by NCDs in 2016. Around 27 percent of the deaths and 33 percent of the DALYs are triggered by CMNNDs. Almost 11 to 12 percent of deaths or DALYs are caused by injuries.
The top ten causes of death in India are listed above with their respective order. Cardiovascular disease being the top cause (28 percent) and diarrhoea, lower respiratory and other common infectious diseases being the second most cause of deaths (15.5 percent). This list clearly states that there are four causes out of top five causes to deaths are non-communicable in nature. Lack of access to medical facilities during this pandemic has left all existing patients with any disease completely vulnerable and helpless. This is more so for the patients with NCDs since the existing ratio of NCDs (and injuries) to CMNNDs is already higher.
Above, all the states are listed according to their intensity of COVID-19 spread. There are four groups – low, moderate, high and severe COVID-19 groups. The states with less than 1000 cases are part of low COVID-19 group. All the north-eastern states (excluding Assam, Tripura), Himachal Pradesh and Goa are part of this group. The states with more than 1000 cases but less than 5000 cases are part of moderate COVID-19 group. There are seven states in this group – Orissa, Punjab, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Tripura. States like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Jammu & Kashmir (including Ladakh) and Assam belong to high COVID-19 group with more than 5000 cases but less than 10,000 COVID-19 cases. Severe COVID-19 group has all the states with more than 10,000 cases and they are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. By combining the existent status of the states on non-communicable and communicable diseases and the intensity of the pandemic spread in each state, let’s see what it suggests.
The epidemiological transition level (or the share of communicable to non-communicable and injuries) of all the states are given in the above graph with the average being 0.45 (the blue line). The movement of epidemiological transition level towards 0 from 1 depicts that the share of NCDs (and injuries) is increasing compare to CMNNDs in the population. Therefore, lower the ratio, higher the cases of non-communicable diseases. The states which lie below the average line are the ones where the share of CMNNDs to NCDs (and injuries) are lower than average, hence, the share of NCDs is greater than CMNNDs. There are nine states where the epidemiological transition level is lower than the average in the high and severe groups of COVID-19 spread. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir are the ones in high COVID-19 group. In the severe COVID-19 group, there are Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which have lower epidemiological transition level than average. In these twelve states, both the share of NCDs and COVID-19 spread are higher, hence, indicating acute suffering among NCDs patients in those states as the primary focus of health will still be on COVID-19 for many days in near future. The number of deaths or DALY due to NCDs may see a spike during this mayhem in these states. According to MoHFW, GOI, 2017 report, cardiovascular disease causes the highest percentage of death among NCDs (28 percent), second is chronic respiratory diseases (11 percent) and the third is cancer (8 percent). Now, let’s see the status of these three diseases across each state and especially, the states where COVID-19 spread is high.
Non-Communicable Disease: Ischaemic Heart Disease
According to the same report, the number of prevalent cases of cardiovascular diseases has increased from 2.57 crore in 1990 to 5.45 crore in 2016. The prevalence is the highest in Punjab followed by Tamil Nadu. The all-age DALY rates for ischaemic heart disease across the states with high and severe COVID-19 spread are plotted in the above bubble graph. Each bubble represents a state. The horizontal axis represents the DALY rates of each states while the vertical axis represents the number of population in each state. Finally, the size of the bubble represents the spread of COVID-19. The states which are situated on the right end of the graphs, example – Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh have more than 4000 DALY rates for ischaemic heart diseases whereas states like Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and west Bengal have DALY rates in between 3000 to 4000. Therefore, the diseases burden due to heart diseases reduces as we move from right to left. The states with red borders are the ones which have high DALY rates (more than national average) for ischaemic heart disease and have severe COVID-19 spread. These are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Haryana where the primary health focus is on COVID-19 due to its daily spread but at the same time, the cardiovascular disease burden is also high in these states. Hence, the health care system of these states needs to provide a special attention to cardiovascular cases. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the two states where the DALY rates of ischaemic heart disease is high (more than national average) but their COVID-19 spread is still not severe. Hence, these two states do not have red border but they, too, should put extra attention towards cardiovascular cases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD causes the second highest percentage of death among NCDs (11 percent). The all-age DALY rates for COPD across the states with high and severe COVID-19 spread are plotted in the above bubble graph. States like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir have DALY rates more than 2000 which is more than national average and considered to be high. Three of the four aforementioned states belong to severe COVID-19 group. Hence, these three states, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, have critical condition for both COVID-19 and COPD.
Non-Communicable Disease: Cancer
Cancer causes the third highest percentage of death among NCDs (8 percent). According to WHO, India witnessed more than 11 lakhs new cancer cases and 7.8 lakhs cancer deaths in 2018. A research published in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2013, estimated that there will be 16 lakhs new cancer cases in India by 2021. The above graph merges the projected annual number of new cancer cases of each state by 2021 with their respective COVID-19 spread and delivers an important concern. The states with severe COVID-19 spread, where many health provisions are still restricted, share 59 percent of the new cancer cases projected for 2021. In another word, more than half of the new cancer cases belong to the states where intensity of COVID-19 is high. Around 23 percent of the new projected cancer cases are from the states with high COVID-19 spread. Hence, 82 percent of the new projected cancer cases might not receive the deserved medical attention in the high and severe COVID-19 zones.
The projected annual numbers (2021) of new cancer cases for each state of severe and high COVID-19 groups are plotted above. Uttar Pradesh is projected to report the highest number of cancer cases followed by Maharashtra and West Bengal. All these three states have more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases currently. Thus, the focus of the health care is primarily consolidated on the pandemic and provision of cancer treatment has taken a back stage. The only relief lies in the fact that this numbers are projected and that too, for 2021. Nevertheless, given the number of new cancer cases in 2016, this estimation is not too far from the reality.
The above graph has plotted the incidence rate of cancer of each state (from 2016) with their respective group of COVID-19 spread. Incidence rate of cancer means the number of new cases per 1,00,000 people. This is not projection but exact new cases per lakh people in 2016. The blue straight line refers the national average of the incidence rate. There are two states each from severe (Haryana, Delhi) and high (Karnataka, Assam) COVID-19 groups which have higher incidence rate of cancer per 1,00,000 in 2016. Therefore, these four states will be affected in terms of caring cancer followed by states like West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir with incidence rate of cancer equivalent to national average.
Communicable Disease: Diarrhoeal Diseases and Lower Respiratory Infections
Diarrhoea, lower respiratory and other common infectious diseases cause the highest percentage of death among communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases or CMNNDs (15.5 percent) according to a report by MOHFW, GOI in 2016. All-age DALY rates of Diarrhoeal disease (blue bar) and lower respiratory infections (grey bar) of each state belong to high and severe COVID-19 groups are plotted above. Here, the blue and grey bars with red border represent the states where respective disease has extended beyond the national average. The three states, Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have high prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases and simultaneously, they have higher number of COVID-19 cases currently. The five states, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have high prevalence of lower respiratory infections generally and higher number of COVID-19 cases currently. Therefore, these are the states which might experience more challenges with additional burden of these communicable diseases in the period of pandemic. Predominantly, the three states, Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have more prevalence of both the CMNNDs but less representation in NCDs above.
Communicable Disease: HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis
HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) cause the second highest percentage of death among communicable diseases. India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world with 21 lakhs HIV patients in 2017. According to India TB report in 2018, the estimated TB incidence in India is 27 lakhs with more than 2 lakhs deaths are reported per year. Both, HIV/AIDS and TB diseases have several common threads. Namely, both the diseases are caused by poverty. Maximum patients of both the diseases vastly depend upon the public healthcare system for treatment in India. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is followed to treat HIV/AIDS patients which requires regularity since irregular regimen can lead to resistance to drugs and therefore, can weaken or negate its effect. Directly observed therapy (DOT) is used to cure TB in India which requires strict surveillance of health workers during the time of medication consumption by the patients, otherwise irregular medicine consumption lead to drug resistance and incomplete treatment. During the lockdown and in the time of initial unlock days, both ART and DOT plummeted as the public healthcare system is completely disrupted due to the pandemic. It will not come as a surprise if there is a spike in death rates due to HIV/AIDS and TB. One has to remember that the patients affected by these diseases belong to lower strata of the income ladder and their livelihood is completely ruined during the lockdown. The situation will not get any better in the ongoing and coming economic slowdown.
The above graph combines the annual number of new HIV cases of each state with their respective COVID-19 spread. According to a HIV report published in 2015, the states with severe COVID-19 spread, where many health provisions are currently limited, share 57 percent of the new HIV cases. Around 24 percent of the new HIV cases are from the states with high COVID-19 spread. Hence, 81 percent of the new HIV cases might not receive the deserved medical attention in the high and severe COVID-19 zones.
The annual number of new HIV cases for each state in the severe and high COVID-19 groups are plotted above. In severe COVID-19 group, Gujarat has the highest number of HIV cases followed by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Currently, these three states have more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases each.
A primary job of health workers devoted for TB cure is to find out possible TB affected people by running tests and finally start treatment after notifying them. The above bubble graph represents number of tuberculosis patients notified in 2018 for each state from high and severe COVID-19 groups. The horizontal axis represents the number of TB patients notified in 2018 and the vertical axis represents the population. Each bubble represents each state where size of the bubble being the number of COVID-19 cases. On the horizontal axis, the movement from left to right refers to increase in notified TB patients. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have more than 1,50,000 new TB patients who were notified in 2018. The bubbles/states with red border are the ones which have both high cases of TB and COVID-19. These are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Here, only Uttar Pradesh is not present in the graph since the inclusion of Uttar Pradesh in the graph was congesting the clean visibility of other states. Uttar Pradesh has excessively high number of TB patients notified. Inclusion of such extreme number in bubble graph might cluster the other bubbles/states together, hence, endangering the clean visibility. Here, one has to remember that Uttar Pradesh has extreme high number of TB patients notified and it belongs to high COVID-19 group. Like the TB patients of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the TB patients of Uttar Pradesh, too, are vulnerable in the period of pandemic due to lack in health care support.
Furthermore, the states which have already high death rate due to TB might face additional challenges. The above graph plots the death rate due to TB in public sector for 2018 where states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have higher death rate than national average and they belong to either high or severe COVID-19 group currently. These states might face similar or more death rate due to TB during this period.
Maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases are also considered under CMNNDs by definition. Discussion on maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases have not been undertaken in this article since it has been already discussed in the preceding article. It can be available here (https://ipdonline.net/2020/05/06/infant-health-care-challenges-in-the-midst-of-covid-19/). The aforesaid article concluded that the pandemic stricken health care system is lagging behind in maternal, antenatal and neonatal care. The same article also talks about how the pandemic can impact the malnutrition status of the country.
In a nutshell, this pandemic has enforced to rearrange the priorities of health care system which in turn has impacted all kinds of ailed population with any other morbidity. Seemingly non-fatal diseases may turn into fatal during such pervasive environment. Therefore, the death rate may not only increase due to pandemic alone but also due to lack of supervision in other health care supports. The patients with chronic disease such as diabetes, urogenital, endocrine, neurological diseases are not able to do their regular pathological tests and follow ups with doctors due to the fear of spread of pandemic from the hospitals. These regular monitoring procedure often helps to detect and prevent some severe health issues in future. As anyone is visiting hospital due to extreme emergency other than the pandemic, sometimes they are entertained only after testing for COVID-19. Therefore, the specific medical help is reaching late sometimes and turns to be too late many a times.
At the end of the tunnel, some will survive and some may not. COVID-19 pandemic is vastly getting compared with the Spanish flu of 1919 which wiped off millions. Among other famous artists who died of the Spanish flu were Gustav Klimt, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, Niko Pirosmani and Egon Schiele. The painting above is one of the masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, called ‘Death and Life’, which he created in 1911, a couple of years before the world was set on fire with First World War, followed by Spanish flu. Ironically, the later is the cause of his death. The personification of death became integral part of art mostly because of Middle-age’s plague epidemic. Though this painting does not recall the torment of such epidemic but reminds the universal norm of beginning, symbolizing with life and end, symbolizing with death. The painting has two parts where on the left side, death is waiting and gazing at life. On the right side, bodies from every age group are huddled together to signify life. This painting evokes the parallel existence of death and life. This painting could be interpreted in several ways and probably, there lies the triumph of artwork. Essentially today, because of the humongous disruption of life due to pandemic, let’s interpret this painting on a promising note. Let’s hope that the life will elude the grasp of death and continue to celebrate humanity.
Note: The UTs are not considered in the graphs to improve visibility. Only Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir are considered since Delhi is the capital and Jammu and Kashmir was a state till 2019. The data on Ladakh from covid19india.org is added to Jammu and Kashmir to make the data comparable. Prior to 2014, Telangana was part of Andhra Pradesh and established as separate state identity only in 2014. Therefore, the bar graphs of the projected annual number of new cancer cases and annual number of new HIV infection cases have both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as single identity and called Andhra Pradesh*.
*Dhritisree is a PhD in Economics from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai. She did her Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research areas include Development Economics, Gender, Health and Agricultural Economics.
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.
Defence sector has been a major expenditure head for India almost since it’s inception. Within months of attaining indepence, India was involved in a border skirmish with newly separated Pakistan. Between 1962 and 1971, the nation had to fight three battles – two with Pakistan and one with China. Although there hasn’t been a full fledged war since ’71, tensions on both the Pakistan and Chinese borders have largely remained on the higher side and especially since the 1980s, proxy war waged by Pakistan through armed militancy in Kashmir has been a constant feature.
On the Chinese front, despite significant progress made in trade and diplomatic relations in recent years, the border situation has not been stable. In 2017, the two forces came close to blows in the Doklam tri-junction area. Last week, India and China relations hit a long time low after the two armies got involved in a violent encounter in the Galwan valley of Ladakh. Indian armed forces suffered 20 deaths and 70+ injuries while on the Chinese side also significant causalties happened although numbers have not been officially announced. Since then, the situation on ground has been tense with high level military delegations from both countries discussing ways to de-escalate the tension.
India in recent years has been among the heaviest spenders on defense heads. In 2019, India had the 3rd highest share of world defense expenditure – after USA and China (source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute-SIPRI). India’s defense expenditure in the ten year period 2009-18 has gone up steadily:
However, in the same time period, spending as a % of GDP and % of total government expenditure has witnessed a steady decline.
As can be observed, in the ten year period, military expenditure as a % of general government expenditure has declined from 10.3% to 8.7%. Similarly, seen as a % of GDP – military expenditure has dropped from 2.89% to 2.42%. In the last 4-5 years, it has largely hovered around the 2.4-2.5% mark. This however, is not unique to India. Even in China, a similar trend observed. China’s military expenditure as % of GDP was 2.06% in 2009 and has declined to 1.87% in 2018, although China’s absolute spending is estimated to have gone up from US$ 105.64 billion to US$ 250.0 billion in the same time.
For a rapidly growing / developing economy like India, managing allocation on defence vs other developmental heads is an act of delicate balance. Unstable borders like India has with Pakistan and China add to the problem. In an ideal situation, any government would want to focus maximum possible funds on development avenues. However, reality of geopolitics is that we live in a far from ideal world and therefore defense allocation/spending becomes a critical aspect of national safety.
The Union Budget 2020 (for the fiscal 2020-21) allocated INR 4.71 lakh crores for the Defense ministry. This however includes a INR 1.34 lakh crore component of defense pensions – close to 30% of the total outlay. Excluding the pension component, the allocation on revenue and capital expenditure witnessed an increase of 5.7% than 2019-20 estimate and only 1.8% more than the revised estimate for the same time period. Although the overall allocation stood at 2.1% of the GDP, it comes down to approx 1.5% of GDP excluding the pension component. This is estimated to be the lowest since 1962 – the year of the China war.
Out of the INR 3.37 lakh crores allocation on revenue and capital, the share of the latter stood at INR 1.13 lakh crores. This poses a serious challenge for the forces which have undertaken a major modernization drive which includes: M777 ultra light howitzers, K-9 Vajra self-propelled guns and Dhanush 155 mm artillery guns (Army), Rafale fighter jets, Apache and Chinook helicopters and S-400 air defence system (Air Force) among others. The IAF’s allocation out of the INR 1.13 lakh crores was 38% or INR 43, 281 crores. This is actually lower than the allocation in the revised estimate for FY20 which was INR 44, 869 crores. The IAF already had committed liabilities of over INR 47,000 crores last year – more than the revised allocation. The same further reduced will definitely pose problems for the force.
The Navy on the other hand has witnessed it’s alloted share in the capital expenditure go down from 18% in 2012-13 to 13% in FY20. It has led to the Navy having to re-work its plan of acquiring 200 new warships by 2027 and also reduce volume of orders in Mine Counter Measure Vessels and P8i maritime recon aircraft. There is a genuine concern among defence observers that capital acquirement process of all the three forces could witness a delay in light of the funding gap.
India’s fiscal deficit (gap between revenue and expenditure) for FY20 was 4.59% of GDP, overshooting the government’s revised target of 3.8%. With the covid-19 induced lockdown bringing all economic activity to a near halt for close to two months, the fiscal deficit is likely to widen further in the current FY. Rating agency Fitch has already stated that the deficit could widen to as much as 6.1% for FY21. Against that backdrop, it is unlikely that the representation made by the Services and the Defence ministry to the Finance Commission for additional funding especially on capital heads will bear major fruit. The Defence ministry has proposed certain measures to cover the funding shortfall. These include: divestment of defence PSUs, levying of a cess, monetisation of surplus lands and other defence assets, and issuing of tax-free defence bonds. The Finance Commission is expected to set up an expert group to examine these proposals and recommend further action.
The country is presently facing challenges on multiple fronts. The covid19 pandemic, the resultant lockdown leading to adverse impact on the economy and the situation on the border – all simultaneously have made the situation very difficult. IPD remains hopeful that the country will emerge stronger out of all the adversity and most importantly, the interest of the Indian armed forces will not be compromised in terms of modernization and capability strengthening agenda.
There are over 8.96 million cases of COVID-19 in the world today with over 467666 deaths. In India there has been 411732 ( covid19india.org) cases till 20th June with 13277 deaths. Here is a summary of the situation in India.
ALL INDIA LEVEL ANALYSIS
There are over 90105 new cases in the week of 13th to 20th June with 35 states and Union territories impacted all across the country. The weekly growth rate marginally declined from last week. There has been a 28% increase in the total number of cases in the week. During this week there has been a 44.3% increase in the total number of deaths from 9199 in the week ending on 13th June to 13277 in the week ending on 20th June. So in this week the growth rate of number of deaths was higher than that of the overall cases. This has lead to an increase in India’s death rate overall.
India has maintained a high recovery rate of 55% till June 20th. This is comparable to the world recovery rate. There has been a marginal increase in recovery rate also this week. In terms of death rate, while India has much lower death rate as compared to the world, but its death rate has seen an increase in the week ending June 20th.
STATE LEVEL ANALYSIS
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi are the top three states and UTs in terms of the spread of COVID-19 cases. The three states together account for over 58.5% of all the cases in the country. Maharashtra alone contributes to 31% of all the cases in the country. Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are the other two states in the top 5.
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are the top three states among recovery rate while Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra are the bottom three states among all the states which have over 5000 cases of COVID 19. Eleven states have higher recovery rate than the national average.
Gujarat is the only state in India which has a death rate higher than the world average. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states in terms of death rate. Assam, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh has the lowest death rate among all states with over 5000 cases of corona.
Let us deep dive on the top 3 states which account for over 58.5% of all cases in India.
The total number of new cases in Maharashtra has been over 23000 this week, the highest till date. There has been a decline in death rate till the week of May, 23rd, Since then the death rate has been rising week over week. It is important to note here that Maharashtra is among the bottom three states in terms of recovery rate among the states with more than 5000 cases and is among the top three among the death rate. For the state which accounts for over 31% of the total cases in the country, this is an alarming situation.
The total number of new cases in Tamil Nadu has been over 14000 this week, the highest till date. There has been marginal increase in death rate from the week of May, 23rd. It needs to be noted here that Tamil Nadu has one of the lowest death rates among the states with highest spread and its recovery rate is also decent.
Delhi has seen over 17000 cases this week. The death rate in Delhi has been rising steadily. From 1% in the week of 9th May, the death rate increased to 3.7% till this week. There has been a 45% growth in the number of cases in Delhi. For a small region like Delhi, this increase is huge and Delhi is the next hot spot for India along with Maharashtra.
CITY LEVEL ANALYSIS
Almost 58% of all the cases in the country comes from 10 cities in the country. Another 6.9% comes from the next 10 cities. So only 20 cities put together contribute to over 65% of all the cases in the country. Mumbai, the financial capital of the country alone accounts for over 15% of the total number of cases in the country. In the top 10 cities there are three cities from Maharashtra ( Mumbai, Pune and Thane) and one city each from Madhya Pradesh (Indore), West Bengal (Kolkata), Telangana (Hyderabad), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Gujarat (Ahmadabad) and Haryana (Gurugram) respectively. The national capital region of Delhi also falls in the top 10 cities. Delhi is seeing a huge surge in number of cases and can cross Mumbai by next week. Both the financial capital and the political capital of the country are in a alarming situation.
With the extensive lockdown in place through April and May, gross direct tax collections in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 has witnessed a sharp decline. Gross tax collection, which stood at Rs 1, 99, 755 crores during Apr-June 2019 has dropped by a whopping 31% to Rs 1, 37, 825 crores in the same period of this year. Gross corporate tax collections have fallen by 40% to Rs 61, 816 crores while gross income tax have dropped by 22% to Rs 73, 280 crores. During April and May, with a nationwide lockdown in place, it is estimated that around 80% of all economic activity was suspended. Besides the lockdown, lower rates of corporate tax and minimum alternate tax (MAT) announced last fiscal have also impacted collections. The headline corporate tax rate was cut last year to 22% from 30% for firms not availing any exemptions. Moreover, even for firms opting for the older regime, MAT was cut to 15% from 18.5% in September last year.
Advance income tax collections have dropped from Rs 48, 917 crore in Q1, FY20 to Rs 11,714 crores in the same period of current fiscal – a drop of 76% which is the steepest ever recorded drop. Advance tax from corporate assessees is down by 79% – from close Rs 40, 000 crore same period last year to Rs 8286 crores. Advance tax collection from individual assessees has also declined by 64% – from Rs 9512 crores to Rs 3428 crores. The sharp drop in direct tax collections is another indicator of the severe blow on the Indian economy from the covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown. All though a release from lockdown has been initiated post June 1, pace of resumption has been slow till date.
The budget estimate for direct tax collection in the current fiscal is Rs 13.2 lakh crores, which would require a growth rate of 27% from the actual collections in FY20 (Rs 10.37 lakh crores), which looks a nearly impossible target at this point of time.
There are over 7.87 million cases of COVID-19 in the world today with over 432394 deaths. In India there has been 321637 ( covid19india.org) cases till now with 9199 deaths. Here is a summary of the situation in India.
All INDIA LEVEL
There are over 75005 new cases in the week of 7th to 13th June with 35 states and Union territories impacted all across the country. The weekly growth rate marginally declined from last week. There has been a 30% increase in the total number of cases in the week. During this week there has been a 32.4% increase in the total number of deaths from 6946 in the week ending on 6th June to 9199 in the week ending on 13th June. So in this week the growth rate of number of deaths was higher than that of the overall cases. This has lead to a nominal 0.1% increase in India’s death rate overall.
STATE LEVEL ANALYSIS
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi are the top three states and UTs in terms of the spread of COVID-19 cases. The three states together account for over 57% of all the cases in the country. Maharashtra alone contributes to 33% of all the cases in the country. Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are the other two states in the top 5.
The recovery rate of India out of the total number of cases has been 51% which is similar to the world average of 51.3%. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are the top three states among recovery rate while Delhi, Haryana and West Bengal are the bottom three states among all the states which have over 5000 cases of COVID 19. Eight states have higher recovery rate than the national average. Among all the states over 1000 cases, Punjab has the highest recovery rate.
India has a death rate of 2.9% which is less than the world average of 5.5%. Gujarat is the only state in India which has a death rate higher than the world average. Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states in terms of death rate. Maharashtra which has the highest number of cases comes 4th in the list. Haryana , Tamil Nadu and Bihar has the lowest death rate among all states with over 5000 cases of corona.
Let us deep dive on the top 3 states which account for over 57% of all cases in India.
The total number of new cases in Maharashtra has been over 21000 this week, the highest till date. There has been a decline in death rate till the week of May, 23rd, Since then the death rate has been rising week over week.
The total number of new cases in Tamil Nadu has been over 12000 this week, the highest till date. Therehas been marginal increase in death rate from the week of May, 23rd.
Delhi has seen over 11000 cases this week. The death rate in Delhi has been rising steadily. From 1% in the week of 9th May, the death rate increased to 3.3% till this week.
CITY LEVEL ANALYSIS
Almost 58% of all the cases in the country comes from 10 cities in the country. Another 6.9% comes from the next 10 cities. So only 20 cities put together contribute to over 65% of all the cases in the country. Mumbai, the financial capital of the country alone accounts for over 20% of the total number of cases in the country. In the top 10 cities there are three cities from Maharashtra ( Mumbai, Pune and Thane) and one city each from Madhya Pradesh (Indore), West Bengal (Kolkata), Telangana (Hyderabad), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), Gujarat (Ahmadabad) and Haryana (Gurugram) respectively. The national capital region of Delhi also falls in the top 10 cities.
India has been under lock down due to the COVID -19 pandemic since March, 26th, 2020. The lock down has been stringent for the first months with the first set of relaxations announced from April 21st, 2020. This lock down is expected to have severe impact on the economy.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) announced the IIP growth numbers and the Core sector growth figures on June , 12th and May, 29th respectively. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the sectoral credit growth numbers for April, 20 on May, 29th. Let us examine how the Indian economy has been impacted by this stringent lock down.
IIP and Core Sector Growth
The IIP numbers saw a decline of 55.5% while the core sector growth saw a decline of 38.1%. Both these indicators had witnessed positive growth as of the same month last year. It needs to be noted here that in view of the preventive measures and announcement of nation-wide lockdown by the Government to contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic, majority of the industrial sector establishments were not operating from the end of March, 2020 onwards. This has had an impact on the items being produced by the establishments during the month of April, 2020, where a number of responding units have reported NIL production. Consequently, it is not appropriate to compare the IIP of April, 2020 with earlier months. Moreover the estimated of April, 2020 are quick estimates and may be subject to change in subsequent months.
It has been seen that manufacturing sector has suffered the severest decline in terms of IIP. It needs to be noted here that manufacturing sector contributed to almost 80% of the total IIP. Similar pattern is witnessed in terms of Core sector growth. Cement and Steel industry has witnessed the severest burnt in the stringent lock down month. Each of the eight core sectors has seen a negative growth.
Sectoral Credit Growth
All the sectors witnessed a decline in credit growth in April, 2020 as compared to the same month previous year. The decline in credit growth of industry has been very severe. It needs to be noted here is that a sizable section of the economic package announced by the government and the central bank is targeted to provide more liquidity and credit in the economy. The first set of such policies was announced by RBI in March 28th and then again around mid April. Government of India announced such measures in mid May. Many economists believe that with lack in demand in the economy, there might not be a higher credit off take even after those measures. It remains to be seen how the credit growth trend spans out in months to come.
A host of credit measures were taken focusing on the small and medium enterprises. It needs to be noted here that both the micro and medium industrial sector which actually is a source of employment for vast majority witnessed a decline in credit growth in the month of April. Only the large industrial segment witnessed a positive growth.
All the key economic indicators suggest that the lock down has a profound impact in the Indian economy at least in the month of April. It needs to be noted here that IIP growth, personal loan (retail) growth, Core sector growth and services sector credit growth has a strong correlation with GDP growth historically. The trends in April clearly indicates that the first quarter GDP growth for FY, 2020-21 is going to be severely impacted by this lock down.
Since April 21st there has been some relaxations given in the lock down. The number of relaxations increased in the month of May and June. It remains to be seen how this will impact the key economic indicators in subsequent months. The pandemic has severe impact in major economic centers like, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmadabad and so on. A control on the spread of the disease in these economic centers is the need of the hour.
13th November 2013 was a black day for Indian wild-life. Around 5.40 PM in the evening, the Assam bound Jaipur-Kamakhya Kaviguru Express was passing through the Chapramari forest of Jalpaiguri district in North Bengal. As it approached a bridge over the Jaldhaka river, it collided with a large herd of elephants. Five adults and two calves were killed while another ten were badly hurt. The visuals were gruesome. One female elephant had its leg fractured and had fallen into a ravine below the tracks. The remains of one dead elephant were mangled into the bridge’s structure so badly that part of the bridge had to be disintegrated to remove the remains.
The incident had sparked off the customary outrage. It was found that the train was speeding at ~80 kph – nearly double the recommended speed for trains passing through deep forests. Unfortunately, it ended up into a blame shifting game between Indian Railways and the West Bengal government with a fruitful solution not coming forth. In the years since, elephant deaths due to train accidents have continued to happen. After the Chapramari incident, there was heightened awareness around the threat to wild animals from train tracks passing through dense forests. Speed of trains passing through dense forest areas was reduced to 25 kph in 2015. But after the number of such incidents came down, the speed was again raised to 50 kph during the day (5 am – 5 pm). Since then, elephant deaths from train accidents have gone up considerably.
Elephant deaths from train accident
In 2010, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) had announced elephant as a “national heritage” animal. Despite the same, these wonderful animals, a custodian of our forests, have continued to die. The problem is complicated. In many places, train tracks run through dense forests with major bio-diversity. Here, especially at night, trains pose a major threat to animals. Not just elephants, even tigers, lions, leopards and deer have also died crushed by trains.
In some cases, tracks also pass through known elephant corridors – designated areas used by the pachyderms to move from one part of the forest to another. Due to the heat during the day, most animals prefer to cross over during the cooler night hours – increasing the risk of accidents. Although, trains are supposed to maintain speed limits during night journeys inside forests, often as it was the case in the Chapramari accident, it is not followed by the drivers. In 2016, in a first in India, a DFO in Kerala booked a train driver under section 9 (Hunting & the intent to hunt) of the Wildlife Protection Act (1973) for causing the death of an elephant by over-speeding.
And yet, this is probably not a solution. It is a complicated scenario. Locomotives are the lifeline of the country – ferrying more than 8 billion passengers and in excess of 1100 million tonnes of cargo every year from one corner to another. While the idealistic solution would have been to avoid train movement through dense forests/protected areas, in practicality that is difficult to do. Since majority of animal deaths from locomotive accidents take place at night, the first and foremost requirement is to ensure that all trains passing through forest areas stay within the stipulated speed limit, especially at night. This ideally should not be more than 30 kph. In today’s time with the progress made by technology, monitoring this should not be a challenge for a large institution like Indian Railways.
Secondly, there would be specific locations, like sharp bends or areas with very dense vegetation where visibility would be more compromised, increasing chances of accidents. It is therefore important to educate train drivers about such “vulnerable” spots on the route. Here, coordination between Indian Railways and state forest departments becomes critical – something that is sadly found lacking in most cases. Moreover, the forest department should keep track of movement of large herd animals like elephants, bison, deer etc. within their areas and if found near a train track, should inform the nearest railway control room promptly so that any train passing through the area is well sensitized about the same.
Greater use of technology, in the form of cameras, motion sensors etc. should be utilized to maintain track of animal movements and avoid repeat of horrific accidents like the one in 2013. Generally, elephants like most herd animals, follow a specific beat/route for their movements. The forest department should be in the know of the details of the same including frequency/periodicity of the movement. These details can and should be used to project potential movement charts and share the same with the railways at concerned locations so that prior planning can be done as much as possible to minimize accidents.
Good news is that some progress has already been made in this respect. Forest officials in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore division have introduced a unique system to reduce threats posed to elephants from locomotives. They have installed infrared sensors on trees adjacent to the train track near a known elephant corridor. Wherever a suitable tree is not found, 6-metre-long wooden poles have put up with sensors fitted on them. As soon the sensor detects presence of elephants nearby it sets off a shrill alarm that works in two ways: (i) scare off the elephants (ii) alert the forest deptt. staff who immediately mobilize to whisk the pachyderms away from the spot. An automated text message is also sent off to the concerned railway control room to inform all drivers scheduled to cross the area in the immediate future.
In some parts of Eastern Railway, devices have been erected near the railway track that emit loud, angry buzzing sounds of honeybees to scare away elephants. Forest department of Uttarakhand has started use of drones to track elephant movement and thus pre-empt possible incidents. The important thing is to replicate such features across the country wherever train tracks or even roads inside forests pose danger to elephants and other creatures. This also calls for significant monetary boost for the forest departments in states which face this type of challenge. In a positive development, the central government increased the allocation to the MoFE & CC by 5% to Rs 3100 crores in the last union budget. This included increase of Rs 5 crores for Project Elephant, a dedicated conservation effort for our jumbos. It is therefore imperative to ensure that allotted funds are used in the most efficient manner to minimize the threats posed to elephants as well as other wild animals from trains and other vehicle movement.
India has an estimated 27000-31000 wild elephants spread across four major zones in the country. These magnificent animals, like all wildlife, are threatened from habitat loss due to growing deforestation as a result of increasing human population, poaching, as well as deaths due to accidents like electrocution (India lost 461 elephants from 2009 to 2017 due to accidental electrocution) and train accidents. In a tropical forest, 30% of gigantic tree species and 40% of tall trees depend on elephants for seed dispersal. Therefore, many wildlife experts believe that without elephants, there would be no forests. They give shape to the landscape thorough their role in pollination, germination and improving the fertility of the forest soil with excreta.
Elephants are nature’s own gardeners. Losing them would be a blow from which nature will never recover. It is high time to act immediately and ensure that the future of the Indian elephant as well as wild life is safer in the coming years.
There are over 7.01 million cases of COVID-19 in the world today with over 402787 deaths. In India there has been 246622 ( covid19india.org) cases till now with 6946 deaths. Here is a summary of the situation in India.
ALL INDIA LEVEL
There are over 64487 new cases in the week of 31st May to 6th June with 35 states and Union territories impacted all across the country. The weekly growth rate remained similar to last week. There has been a 36% increase in the total number of cases in the week. During this week there has been a 34.5% increase in the total number of deaths from 5165 in the week ending on 30th May to 6946 in the week ending on 6th June.
STATE LEVEL ANALYSIS
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi are the top three states and UTs in terms of the spread of COVID-19 cases. The three states together account for over 57% of all the cases in the country. Maharashtra alone contributes to 34% of all the cases in the country. Gujarat and Rajasthan are the other two states in the top 5. This week there has been over 3149 cases which were not assigned to any state by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The recovery rate of India out of the total number of cases has been 48% which is similar to the world average of 49%. Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the top three states among recovery rate while Assam, Uttarakhand and Haryana are the bottom three states among all the states which have over 1000 cases of COVID 19. Nine states have higher recovery rate than the national average.
India has a death rate of 2.8% which is less than the world average of 5.7%. Gujarat is the only state in India which has a death rate higher than the world average. Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states in terms of death rate. Maharashtra which has the highest number of cases comes 4th in the list. Even though Assam has the lowest recovery rate, it also has the lowest death rate among all the states with more than 1000 cases of COVID 19.
CITY LEVEL ANALYSIS
Almost 58% of all the cases in the country comes from 10 cities in the country. Another 6.6% comes from the next 10 cities. So only 20 cities put together contribute to over 65% of all the cases in the country. Mumbai, the financial capital of the country alone accounts for over 20% of the total number of cases in the country. In the top 10 cities there are three cities from Maharashtra ( Mumbai, Pune and Thane) and one city each from Gujarat ( Surat), Rajasthan ( Jaipur), Madhya Pradesh (Indore), West Bengal (Kolkata), Telangana (Hyderabad) and Tamil Nadu (Chennai) respectively. The national capital region of Delhi also falls in the top 10 cities.