Modi's economic paradox: Strong growth, but where are the jobs? | Counting the Cost

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a landslide election, but then the bad news started to flow: India is no longer the fastest-growing large economy and the jobless rate rose to a 45-year high.

So what went wrong in Modi’s first term? And can the appointment of Nirmala Sitharaman, the country’s first female finance minister since Indira Gandhi, help drive growth and create jobs for the million young people who join the labour force every month?

“Growth has slowed down lately and one of the reasons for it is that the manufacturing has not taken off. Manufacturing was Mr Modi’s big agenda in his first term … [called] ‘Make in India’. That was supposed to have delivered thousands of jobs. But it has not really progressed as much as expected. So in the second term, there is a lot of hope on this Make in India project … which should generate … employment,” Dr Sreeram Chaulia, professor and dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs, told Counting the Cost.

According to Chaulia, “the onus is on the government and Mr Modi knows it”.

“The price inflation … is quite stable over the last few years so they have room for monetary stimulus and reforms now, because the political stability and price stability cushions, through which Mr Modi can try and re-engineer the Indian economy on a high growth trajectory.”

How China stopped being the world’s garbage can and disrupted the multibillion-dollar global waste industry
After 25 years of importing the world’s waste, China threw the global recycling industry into chaos. It refused to buy plastic waste.
Rich nations had become used to exporting their rubbish to Asia – where labour is cheap and environmental standards were not enforced or were non-existent. Matters came to a head when many Asian nations could not pick up the slack from China’s refusal to take in waste.

“The impacts of the dirty recycling materials that are going to the Asia Pacific region are causing profound public health and environmental impacts … The impacts are inter-generational, they are global and they impact First Nations people disproportionally,” Jane Bremmer from Australia’s National Toxics Network told Counting the Cost.

“I think there is international consensus that plastics recycling particularly is a major global issue … The plastic waste disaster is a symptom of a failed waste management system globally, and the inequities that exist globally that exploit Asia-Pacific countries particularly. So the solution to the plastic waste problem is really to require a much deeper or holistic cross-sector approach to improving waste management across the world. And many countries are stepping up and doing that. But … we can’t really address adequately the issue of plastic pollution … if we don’t address the failed waste management and the linear materials production system that’s driving the generation of waste,” Bremmer said.

“At the moment a lot of the contaminated waste is leaking into the Asia-Pacific countries because we don’t have strong global laws to prevent that …. but we need to address the dinosaur in the room, which is our linear materials production process. It’s unsustainable and we need to move to more sustainable waste management systems.”

Also on this episode of CTC:

Greener on the waves: Norway’s one-trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund has decided to sell its stakes in 150 oil and gas companies and pour more money into green ventures. The shipping industry, which moves 90 percent of the world’s trade and has the same carbon footprint as Germany, is keen to reduce its greenhouse emissions. Nick Clark went to Norway where one cruise company is setting a green example.

Wooden skyscrapers: Some architects say the era of concrete and steel skyscrapers might be over – and the future lies in wooden skyscrapers. The manufacture of concrete and steel emits planet-warming carbon dioxide, while wood absorbs carbon – cleaning the air. John Hendren reports.

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