Reserve Bank of India continues with monetary tightening despite slowdown
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today hiked short-term rates by 25 basis points (bps), persisting with its anti-inflationary monetary tightening measures.
The RBI announced it was hiking the repo rate (the rate at which it lends to banks) to 8.25% and the reverse repo rate to 7.25%.
This is the 12th time that the central bank has hiked key rates in 18 months, although it was widely expected that it may take a pause in the context of the economic slowdown.
The news of the rate hike dragged the stock market down more than one per cent. The benchmark indices, which were mostly positive this morning, dipped to just below Thursday’s closing levels, but recovered in volatile trading.
The Nifty which opened this morning at 5,123, nearly 50 points up from yesterday, slipped just after noon to 5,068, just under its previous close, then climbed back up about 0.7%. It was a similarly trend with the Sensex.
As the demand for home-care workers soars, it is necessary to recognise the huge potential of care-givers as a profession that can create livelihoods for many and provide critical help for people who live to a ripe old age
A recent issue of The Economist noted that as more and more people live to a 'ripe old age' in the US, the demand for home-care workers is likely to soar. The report estimated that America will need two million additional home-care givers. And, even in that country, they lack adequate training. It quotes Ai-Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, as saying that "many of them are badly paid, get little or no time off and are vulnerable to injury because they have had no proper training for lifting immobile people… unless the pay and training of home-care workers are improved, ageing baby-boomers may have trouble finding competent people to look after them in their dotage."
How much worse the situation is in India can be gauged from even casual conversations with most urban middle-class, double-income families; most complain about the lack of home-care workers to look after their old parents. It is time we recognise the huge potential that care-givers, as a profession provides for creating livelihoods, especially for women and the consequential development impact it holds. Over the next few years, the changing demographics of India will present a huge opportunity which is waiting to be grabbed-either as business or as service or both.
According to an estimate, by 2050, India will have 335 million people above the age of 60. Assume that 60% of these are in urban areas-i.e., 201 million people. Further assume that 50% of these will require some amount of care-i.e., about 100 million. Of these, assume that 75% will either have some kind of family support or would go in for some kind of community care. So the balance 25% requires personal/individual care at home, and you are looking at a need for 25 million care-givers.
Are we in a position to provide the kind of training and certification that such care-givers require? A very simple calculation would show that each year for the next 40 years, we need to train 625,000 care-givers. Even if 50% of these are women-who need not be highly educated, just 10th std pass may be good enough-you are looking at providing training and, therefore, jobs to nearly 300,000 women each year. Additionally, to train such a large workforce you will require faculty of 7,500 trainers (assuming a ratio of 40:1).
Also, if we consider that each of these care-givers will earn about Rs6,000 (even at the current levels of payment to untrained hands), you are looking at putting some Rs1.8 billion into the economy annually-and this into the hands of women. Gender studies have shown it repeatedly that women's income directly goes into improved nutrition and education of children so the development impact of this activity will be obvious.
I have been talking to a few NGOs and social entrepreneurs and the issues they are mainly concerned with are certification criteria on the one hand and aspirational factors on the other. They don't have any doubts about the 'market' for it. A group of NGOs that worked together to devise the curriculum for such a training programme found that there was 100% placement of these geriatric care-givers within a week of their course completion.
I have also been talking to several associations of the elderly who say that while they are still able and earning, they would not mind even giving a scholarship of say Rs10,000 each year to support each trainee-it would become even more attractive if a tax rebate were available-if they were assured that they would be given a priority in hiring a care-giver for themselves from the institute where they would support such skill development, should the need arise.
Moneylife has commented on several interesting social experiments in its 'Beyond Money' section that have shown that such a model-of training not very highly educated women as home managers, community rural health workers and 'book fairies' from urban slums, etc-does work. (Read, 'Hum Aaapke Saath Hain', 'Dealing With Rural Poverty & Illness', 'Wings of Knowledge'.) To begin with, training care-givers may require to be subsidised through grants or scholarships, but when the trained care-givers find that their earning capacity improves tremendously with the skills gained, they would more than happily pay for the course, as Saath found.
It is time social entrepreneurs take up the challenge of creating livelihoods while simultaneously addressing a crying need of the hour.
A strong case for the acquisition of the Dreamliner as per the original 2005 order was made in the presentation and a case made out that the medium-capacity, long haul aircraft was absolutely necessary for the expansion of Air India
New Delhi: Air India would go ahead with the acquisition of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft as part of its overall expansion programme and seek Indian government’s nod for it, reports PTI.
A decision to this effect is understood to have been taken by the Air India board which met here on Thursday in the backdrop of civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi’s statements that the ailing airline did not have enough money to go in for a massive fleet acquisition plan.
While the airline has placed orders for 27 Boeing 787s with the first delivery expected later this year, the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, which is reviewing its turnaround plan, is likely to take a final decision in this regard, the sources said.
At the meeting, the board also reviewed the airline’s liquidity position and infusion of funds from the government, an airline spokesperson said, adding that Air India has so far received Rs1,200 crore by way of equity infusion in 2011-12.
On the aircraft acquisition issue, the board reviewed the modified turnaround plan prepared by SBI Caps in which suggested ‘a scenario for expansion’ if Air India was to grow as per the growth rate of the aviation market, he said.
The acquisition of Boeing 787 deal is understood to have been part of this modified turnaround plan and expansion programme and a presentation on the Dreamliner acquisition was made at the board meeting.
The turnaround plan was based on the recommendations of the committee of officers from the finance and other ministries, which had earlier suggested that “a scenario for expansion should be prepared if Air India was to grow as per market growth rate”.
A strong case for the acquisition of the Dreamliner as per the original 2005 order was made in the presentation and a case made out that the medium-capacity, long haul aircraft was absolutely necessary for the expansion of Air India, the sources said.
They said the planes, made of composite materials and are known to be very fuel-efficient, were an inalienable part of the route expansion plan of the ailing carrier.
Air India’s 68 aircraft deal, included the acquisition of 27 of these aircraft which was at that time on the drawing board. The list price of a Boeing 787-8 last year was $185.2 million.
This was the first meeting of the Air India board which was attended by the new CMD Rohit Nandan.
The board also reviewed the performance of the national carrier in August and noted the ‘significant achievements’ after the turnaround plan has started being implemented.
While passenger revenue increased by 12.3% from Rs889 crore to Rs998 crore between August this year and the same month last year, its passenger count went up from 1.07 million to 1.09 million, a growth of 1.8%, the spokesperson said.
The passenger load factor rose from 64.3% to 73.1% on domestic sectors and on the entire network, including international, from 67.7% to 70.3%.
The yield per revenue kilometre (RPKM) went up by 15% on international sectors, while on domestic sectors, it grew by 23.2%.
As part of a formality, the board approved the nomination of new CMD Mr Nandan on the various committees of the board and on the board of the AI-SATS, a joint venture of Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services for ground handling.