Indian unemployment rate highest in 45 years

In the first thorough evaluation of India’s employment situation, it has been revealed that the unemployment rate hit 6.1%. In November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government demonetised ₹500 and ₹1000 bank notes, wiping out 86% of India’s cash overnight. The employment figures released serve as a litmus test of the effectiveness of the demonetisation policy and its impact on job growth. This is the highest unemployment rate in 45 years, with joblessness reaching 7.8% and 5.3% of the urban and rural populations respectively. The release of these figures, originally scheduled for December 2018 was delayed by the government. This shows the government’s unwillingness to tackle unemployment and has led to the resignation of two non-government members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) – an autonomous body supervising statistical reporting by the government. Although India’s GDP continues to grow at over 7% annually, putting it ahead of China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, it fails to create the 8-12 million jobs needed annually to satisfy the demands of the one million new workers who join the labour force every month. Link


Jesse Griffiths: May the US monopoly on the World Bank presidency be ending?

Thus far, every World Bank President has been an American. But, the recent nominee by the Trump Administration, David Malpass, invokes suspicion and objections towards this long-standing tradition. He is an open questioner of globalization and multilateralism, the raison d’etre of the World Bank, and lacks experience dealing with developing issues. This does not meet the expectation of other members, namely European Union and developing countries, who long back a merit-based selection process. Considering the World Bank’s poor performance in recent years, a call for structural reform of the system and, more importantly, a more capable and powerful leader than Malpass, could end US monopoly on one of the most important positions in international institutions. Link


Thai Princess banned from running for Prime Minister by Election Commission

The Thai Election Commission (ECT) accepted nearly 70 nominations for Prime Minister, but rejected the bid of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya. The Princess, who had announced not only her candidacy but also the founding of the Thai Raksa Chart Party, had her nomination rejected firstly in an official statement by the Thai Palace and then later by the ECT. The ECT statement on Monday on its refusal of the Princess’ candidature said that “all members of the royal family must abide by the king’s principle of staying above politics, maintaining political impartiality and they cannot take up political office.” This may also lead to the Thai Raksa Chart Party, seen as linked to the Pheu Thai Party (itself linked with former Thai leader Thaksin Sinawatra) being disbanded.


UNCTAD: US-China Trade War bad overall, but EU, Japan and India could see trade wins

A recently released United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report argues that that should the US-China trade dispute continue, it will increase economic uncertainty, possibly spark a currency war and seriously disrupt the global economy. From a trade perspective, countries with the economic capacity to replace US and Chinese firms may see some growth in export industries. EU exports are likely to increase the most, capturing about $70 billion of US-China bilateral trade ($50 billion of Chinese exports to the United States, and $20 billion of US exports to China). Japan, Mexico and Canada will each capture more than $20 billion. India tallied one of the highest potential export percentage increases in the Asia-Pacific region (3.5%). Link


Endy Bayuni: Forthcoming Indonesian election needs a “None of the above” box

Perhaps in response to both candidates being the same as in the 2014 election, Indonesian opinion makers are calling for voters to be given a choice of no choice. Endy Bayuni remembers the successful “golput” campaign, a term minted during Soeharto’s general elections meaning protest votes against the electoral system designed to ensure his victory. Bayuni argues that this option should be made automatic, and voters allowed to ‘respond to an arbitrary election with a even more arbitrary act of adding option c “none of the above”!  Link