Altaf Hussain Haji
The Economic Census (EC) is a huge countrywide exercise for generating data on all economic activities. It is also called the Business Register. The Economic Census is the complete count of all non-farm economic establishments and units located within the geographical boundary of a country. The units may be involved in any economic activity either related to non-farm agricultural or non-agricultural sectors of the economy engaged in production or distribution of goods and services but not for the sole purpose of own-consumption excluding non-farm agricultural crop production and plantation.
As we know that the Economic Census gives important data of the state of the economy, prospects and the policy challenges. The Economic Census serves the requirements that determine the magnitude and spread of the economic units at the disaggregated level at planning and prepare the update Business register. The Business register will be an economic sampling frame and master sample for follow-up enterprise surveys where advance information and missing information is not available or possible in the economic census. There are many other uses of the economic census in the planning and policy formulation.
Some of the uses of the economic census are as under:
- To create and develop a map of economic activities and the spatial
- To find out detail information on the structure of economy i.e. disaggregated
information on operational and structural variables of the establishments in
- To measure the diversity of non-farm economic activities in its major dimensions
- To provide updates on units actually operative to concerned registering/licensing authorities, most of whom have no mechanism to live registers
In India, a fairly reasonable database exists for the Agriculture Sector whereas such data for the non-agricultural sector is not adequate. Keeping in mind the importance of the nonagricultural sector in the economy and the non-availability of the basic frame for adoption in various sampling techniques for collection of data and estimation of various parameters, the Economic Census was felt necessary.
The economic census in the country is a mandate of the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) government of India. The NSO has the creation of a database for various sectors of the economy and its periodic updating so as to meet the requirements of the planners for sound and systematic planning both at the macro as well as micro-level.
The origin and history of conducting Economic census in India started in 1976. In 1976, the Government of India launched a planning scheme called “Economic Census and Surveys”. In 1977 Central Statistical Organization conducted a first economic census in collaboration with Directorate of Economics & Statistics [DES] in the States/Union Territories. Since the economic censuses of 1980 and 1990 were integrated with the house listing operations of the population census. The fourth Economic Census, fifth Economic Census and sixth Economic Census were conducted 1998, 2005 and 2013 respectively.
All other economic censuses were conducted by the Directorates of Economics and Statistics of the states under the overall guidance and support of the Central Statistical Office (CSO).
The Seventh Economic Census data collection is under processes in Jammu and Kashmir. This census is different from all other six censuses in terms of collection of data and the use of technology with the aim to be paperless and bring out timely results in a short spell of time. The economic census also gives us employment data. The employment data is very important data sources for decision making.
It is to mention here that the task force made by the government of India and given various recommendations in its report during 2017 for improving employment data of Economic census. The report also recommended that the Economic Census should be conducted every three years, beginning with the seventh economic census.
Jammu and Kashmir is also ready to collect the data on economic census through the Common Service Centers (CSCs) e-governance service India limited through the department of Science and Technology Jammu and Kashmir government under the supervision of the regional office of National Statistical Office (NSO), Field Operations Division, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has already constituted state-level coordination committee for smooth conduct of seventh economic census with the terms of reference to monitor preparedness, progress and hurdles in the conduct of seventh economic census on regular basis and ensure complete coverage of the data canvassed through validation against existing data basses such as state business register. The work of 7th economic census is almost near compilation in Jammu and Kashmir and its provisional results will be available near future for policy-making purposes of various indicators of the non-agriculture sector including indicators for Sustainable development goals.
As you are aware that the Field Operations Division (FOD) of the National Statistical Office (NSO) is responsible for conducting of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields. The National Statistical Office (NSO), Field Operations Division has been entrusted with the work of training, monitoring and supervision in the Economic Census and has also been directed to develop appropriate implementation framework along with Common Service Centre (CSC). The main role of NSO during conducting of the seventh economic census was including to conduct the training of trainers for effective capacity building of field enumerators and supervisors engaged by CSC, top provides support and supervision in the training of enumerators and supervisors conducted by CSC at district and sub-district level, to effective coordination with State government and district administration to and facilitate CSC SPV for smooth conduct of fieldwork of Seventh economic census, etc.
The supervision of NSO for the seventh economic census is incumbent upon us to ensure quality aspect for the enumeration process. As we know that Quality is a very important issue for quality data. Since the fourth goal of the agenda of sustainable development goals (SDG’s) is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality and promote opportunities for all with the targets to be achieved by 2030. Keeping in mind the quality of the data. National Statistical Office (NSO) has an important role in the supervision of the collection of data.
On behalf of the Field Operations Division of NSO and an officer of Indian Statistical Service (ISS), it is a duty to aware that all stakeholder to come forward for helping to obtain quality data which is used for development and wellbeing of the nation. The reliable data, obtained with the cooperation of the respondent, will help the government in measuring the contribution of economic activities. Thus, the role of the respondent in the survey operations of the FOD is crucial and will contribute towards improving the quality of information. The Government, therefore, appeals to you to extend your kind cooperation to spare some of your valuable time to provide the correct and complete information. The information so provided by you will go a long way in helping the government to improve the lives of the public with concrete plans and policies based on hard facts.
Altaf Hussain Haji, ISS, is Deputy Director General at National Statistical Office, State Head HP, based in Shimla. He can be contacted on [email protected]
Rural mart inaugurated under NABARD scheme
Shopian, Sept 20: National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) has collaborated with National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) for extending the grant support to SHGs promoted by NRLM for setting up rural marts. These marts aim to promote and provide a platform for women’s self-help groups to market their handmade products.
The rural mart was inaugurated on 20 Sept 2022, at Shopian
Dr AK Sood, CGM NABARD J&K, SSP Shopian Tanushree, NRLM Reyaz Ahmad, and ADDC Shopian, Manzoor Hussain were present for the inauguration ceremony.
The mart will give numerous SHGs an opportunity to sell their homemade goods, including apparel, handloom and handicraft products, homemade food items, dry fruits, and more.
For a period of three years, NABARD has agreed to commit Rs 4.79 lakh as financial support for each rural market. NABARD will pay for the components, such as shop rent, salesman salaries, marketing costs, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Dr Sood, CGM NABARD, urged the female SHG members to use the mart as an opportunity for economic growth and to guarantee the continuity, quality, and quantity of local goods for both locals and tourists.
Additional Mission Director NRLM commended SHGs for taking such a unique initiative in the district.
“Rural mart to be run by female SHGs is the first step towards women empowerment in the district,” said Tanushree, SSP Shopian
Members of various SHGs from the district attended the event. Deputy General Manager NABARD Surinder Singh, District Development Manager NABARD Rouf Zargar, DPMs NRLM Uzma Mehraj and Irfan were also present on the occasion.
Wood shortage, high prices due to Russia-Ukraine war affect timber business in Kashmir
Srinagar: Every summer Altaf Ahmad 35, a small timber trader from north Kashmir Baramulla district used to be busy with his timber business, but this year instead of attending to customers at his unit, Altaf spends his day playing cricket in his village outskirts. The war in far-off lands has affected his business badly.
The prices of KD Wood mostly imported from Russia and Ukraine have soared many times, while the supply had dwindled.
“The Russia-Ukraine war has badly hit our timber business in Kashmir. This is the construction season here, we were expecting our business will double as there was lockdown from the past two seasons because of Covid19, but due to the war we are on the verge of complete breakdown this season too,” said Altaf Ahmad.
Altaf believes that their business is at a halt not only because of less supply of timber but also due to the less demand due to price rises as customers are reluctant to purchase at higher rates.
“There is the increase of 20% to 50% in the rates that has abruptly brought down the demand because customers are unable to purchase on such higher rates. We used to earn a good profit, but are presently on destruction mode where survival seems very much difficult,” said Altaf
Russia is one of the highest timber suppliers in the world and ranks as the seventh biggest exporter of forest products worldwide, which accounts for 22% of the global trade. And it clearly shows that the global market will continuously impact as long the Russia-Ukraine war continues. A country like China, which is in support of Russia in the conflict, has also been affected by limited trade sanctions as it depends on the import of timber, logs, and wood chips even for their domestic use.
Halted construction work
For Sajad, who was planning to complete the pending works of his newly built house and get married next year, the Russia- Ukraine conflict has brought a tsunami of hopelessness because the sudden surge in the timber rates has halted his plans of construction work and marriage back home, he feels it is unbearable to bear all the expenses in such a tough situation where other commodities all already in the surge.
“The sudden increase in timber rates halted all my construction works because, I was expected to purchase timber say for example for Rs 1 lakh, now it will cost me Rs 1.5 lakhs an increase of fifty thousand. Now, I am too confused about whether to do it or not,” said Sajad Ahmad from the Bemina area of Srinagar.
Showkat Ahmad another timber trader from North Kashmir says Ukraine timber was mostly used in Kashmir for the past couple of years as compared to Russian and German timber because Ukraine timber was available at cheaper rates. With a war going on in Ukraine the demand for German and Russia will arise, but it’s going very much costlier for customers.
“People prefer Ukraine timber because it’s easily affordable for them in contrast with German and Russian timber due to its low cost. The war in Ukraine has put everyone both (buyer and seller) in a catch22 situation because one doesn’t know what’s going to happen next,” says Showkat Ahmad who deals with the timber business for the past decade.
Business Kashmir visited various units in central and north Kashmir among them was Changa Timber Gallery, Sopore.
“I am into this business for the last one year but, I think this kind of situation will only benefit those dealers who have piles of stock available in the stores because they can increase rates on that stock which they have purchased at low rates earlier and a trader like me will go more into loss due to these unprecedented rates who’s new into this business and has very much less stock available at times,” says Aijaz Ahmad Changa, a 30-year-old BCom graduate.
Kashmiri Timber Traders mostly purchase timber from Gujarat and in Gujarat, they directly import the timber from Russia, Ukraine, and Germany. Business Kashmir contacted Singla Timbers Private Limited one of the oldest timber factories in Mithirhar, Gandhidham Gujarat who are in this business since 1946.
“The whole world is witnessing inflation it will remain for some time maybe for another year and there is also less supply of timber from the last few months because of that we are witnessing an increase in the rates of timber,” says Pulkit Singla director Singla Timbers.
“Kashmiri traders prefer Ukraine timber because of low price, but at the same time Ukraine timber also differs in quality in comparison to others.”
He says the lack of local wood production forces people to buy imported wood.
“India only imports 2% of the world produced timber. The local timber in India is not of that quality and one has gone through a long process before getting its access. The forests are like agricultural fields for countries like Russia and Ukraine, they cut the trees and do the plantation of it again and again but, in India, that thing is lacking. It’s also because of the weather,” he said.
Altaf and other timber traders in Kashmir are now waiting and praying for the end of the war in Ukraine so that their business will see that charm again.
“I only want the war in Ukraine to end, so that our miseries will also end,” concluded Altaf.
Omicron, economy and budget deficits
The World Health Organization on November 26, 2021, labelled variant B.1.1.529 a variant of great alarm, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). Extensive evidence was presented to this advisory that Omicron has several mutations affecting its behaviour.
Research is coming up at different levels to get hold of different aspects of Omicron in a better way. There is much ambiguity about whether there is more transmission in Omicron as compared to other variants, including the Delta variant. South Africa has seen the number of people testing positive increasing as a result of this variant. Many epidemiologic studies are in progress that aims at knowing if the positive cases are rising because of Omicron or some other factors.
One of the biggest aims of economies is resource allocation involving a balance between our priorities and competing needs so as to get the most suitable economic action. Any fiscal policy demands a judicious attitude in pursuing the goal of resource allocation and distribution. Fiscal discipline should reduce fluctuations in income, output, and employment.
Whether it is omicron or anything else the fact is that all facets of the current pandemic have in one way or the other way affected economies of the world in general and underdeveloped in particular. It is very important to correct all economic and social odds.
Fiscal indiscipline is an important characteristic related to all shocks of all times and COVID19 is no exception. Fiscal indiscipline implies that our governments are not maintaining good fiscal positions that coincide with macroeconomic stability and economic growth that is all-inclusive and sustained. Borrowing in large numbers and amassing debt like anything are enemies of every economy. The dual actions are responsible for the creation of fiscal crunches. To achieve the target of Fiscal discipline it is necessary for governments to maintain fiscal positions that are consistent with macroeconomic stability and economic growth that is sustained by letter and spirit. In order to create and maintain fiscal etiquette, there should be an avoidance of debt accumulation and excessive borrowing.
One of the biggest aims of economies is resource allocation involving a balance between our priorities and competing needs so as to get the most suitable economic action. Any fiscal policy demands a judicious attitude in pursuing the goal of resource allocation and distribution. Fiscal discipline should reduce fluctuations in income, output, and employment. COVID19 and all its variants no doubt have generated fiscal indiscipline which is why all governments should be prudent to create ‘‘budgetary beanbags’’ to combat all shocks and disturbances and to deal with anticipated economic and fiscal burdens.
Economists surveyed by Reuters argue that economies should emphasize fiscal judiciousness as there is a declining trend in the Indian economy. Lead Economist at Emkay Global Financial Services, Madhavi Arora argues that Omicron and the allied bad repercussions have a short end and is in no way a long-lasting wave.
A fiscal deficit connotes a gap in a government’s income compared with its spending thereby meaning that there is a fiscal dearth in the government spending beyond its means. There is a dip in the fiscal deficit from 135.1% in the April-November period of the previous financial year to 46.2% in the current financial year. There is a need for fiscal consolidation and all the fiscal policies carried out by the government at all levels must aim at reducing their deficits and debt stock build-up.
In order to understand Omicron and its impact on the Indian economy and other emerging markets, planners need to Google and start thinking about consolidating their budget deficits post COVID19 years. They need to include a series of fiscal responsibility laws, fiscal guidelines, and fiscal assistance (dynamic organizations in particular).
The strategy and implementation policy, alongside economic (fiscal) and political commitment are necessary and sufficient conditions for the effective strengthening of fiscal discipline during shocks.
Dr Binish Qadri is an assistant professor at the Department of Economics, University of Kashmir. You can reach her at [email protected]
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