The HINDU Notes – 27th September 2019 - VISION

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 27th September 2019


📰 Narendra Modi, Hassan Rouhani discuss Chabahar port progress

“[The leaders] especially mentioned operationalisation of Chabahar Port and noted it’s importance as gateway to and for the landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian region,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met on Thursday along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s 74th session in New York. The two leaders discussed progress on Iran’s Chabahar Port — which India is helping to develop.

•“They [the leaders] especially mentioned operationalisation of Chabahar Port and noted it’s importance as gateway to and for the landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian region,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

•The meeting comes at a difficult time in the relationship between the two countries. India has stopped orders for Iranian oil since May 2 following U.S. sanctions that kicked in last November, after it Washington pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , an international deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program. India was one of the countries that was given an exemption from these sanctions until early May.

•Despite a sanction carve out for India’s participation in the construction and development of Iran’s Chabahar port — a strategic project that would connect India, Afghanistan and Iran to Central Asia, while circumventing Pakistan — work on the project was “very slow”, Ali Chegeni, Iran’s envoy to India, had told The Hindu earlier this month. Mr Chegeni had also said that India should not have cooperated with U.S. sanctions.

•“[The] Prime Minister reiterated India's support for giving priority to diplomacy, dialogue and confidence building in the interest of maintaining peace, security and stability in the Gulf region, which is of vital importance for India,” the MEA statement said.

•The meeting comes a day before Mr. Modi’s UNGA address and a day after Mr Rouhani’s, in which the Iranian leader had said Iran would not talk to the U.S. unless sanctions were lifted.

•European countries, such as France and Germany had hoped to arrange a meeting between Mr. Rouhani and U.S. President Donald Trump. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that Mr Trump had enlisted his help in mediation and that he had spoken with Mr Rouhani. However, Mr. Trump left New York shortly after noon on Friday without having met Mr Rouhani.

📰 UNSC committee allows Hafiz Saeed to withdraw money for basic expenditure

The decision is in response to a request made by Pakistan, says a notification from 1267 Committee

•The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Committee has allowed Pakistan-based UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed limited access to his otherwise sanctioned bank account.

•Saeed is wanted by India in connection with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The UNSC decision is in response to a request made by Pakistan to which no objections were raised, as per a notification dated August 15 from the 1267 Committee, a UNSC committee that designates and sanctions terrorist entities and individuals.

•“The Chair has the honour to refer to his draft letter to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan communicating the Committee’s decision with respect to the intention of the Pakistani authorities to authorise certain expenditures to the benefit of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, and Zafar Iqbal, to cover basic expenses as specified in the note verbale of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan...” , the notification said.

FATF’s questions

•Pakistan’s decision to apply for funds for Hafiz Saeed follows questions raised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year. Pakistan’s letter had requested that Saeed be allowed access to a total of 1,50,000 Pakistani rupees a month to cover his and his family’s expenses.

•The APG (Asia Pacific Group) sub-group meeting in Beijing in May 2019 had asked Pakistan for details of how more than 100 UN-sanctioned entities, including Saeed, were sustaining themselves.

•Providing any of these entities access to funds without UNSC approval is a violation of Pakistan’s commitments and part of the 27-point action plan that it is expected to be approved on ahead of the FATF meet in November that will decided on its “greylist” status.

•Saeed, who heads the Jamaat Ud Dawa (the political arm of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba), has had his financial assets frozen and is under a travel ban since he was designated by the 1267 Committee in December 2008 for being associated with LeT and Al Qaeda and for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of both entities.” The notice also says no objections were raised within the stipulated deadline.

•It is significant that no objections were raised to Pakistan’s request on behalf of Saeed as the U.N. General Assembly is under way and the India-Pakistan relationship, especially the tensions around Kashmir and terrorism, is under intense scrutiny. Prime Minister Modi also strongly hinted that Pakistan was the hub of terror during a speech at the Howdy Modi diaspora rally on Sunday and the Indian government’s summary of the bilateral between Mr. Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump said that the two sides had discussed terror. (The U.S. readout of the meeting did not, significantly, mention a discussion around terror.)

•External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had said in New York earlier this week that India would talk to Pakistan only after Pakistan stopped supporting terror groups. The Hindu has reached out to India’s U.N. envoy Syed Akbaruddin as well as the U.S. mission to the United Nations for a comment on the story.

📰 High drama at SAARC meet as External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi boycott each other’s statements

Tension at the SAARC Foreign Ministers’ meeting has set the stage for speeches by Narendra Modi and Imran Khan, the first time the two Prime Ministers will face off at the United Nations.

•Pakistan and India boycotted each other’s statements at a meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Foreign Ministers here. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he would not attend the speech by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar first, announcing at the last minute that he would not attend the SAARC Minister’s lunch while Mr. Jaishankar was speaking. Mr. Jaishankar then made his statement and left the meeting, minutes before the Pakistani Foreign Minister’s arrival, ensuring that the two Ministers were not present in the room together at any point.

•Mr. Jaishankar did not comment on the dramatic events at the SAARC meet. Later, tweeting about his speech, he wrote, “Ours is not just a story of missed opportunities but also of deliberate obstacles... Elimination of terrorism is a precondition not only for fruitful cooperation but also for the very survival of the region itself.”

•As he went in to the meeting, Mr. Qureshi said he could not “sit and talk” with “killers of Kashmiris.” Mr. Qureshi’s decision was put out in a tweet 20 minutes after the meeting was due to start at a downtown hotel near the United Nations. The tweet, put out by Pakistan’s ruling party the PTI, said Pakistan would not engage with India unless it “lifted the siege and put an end to atrocities in [Kashmir].” The lunch meet then proceeded as scheduled with statements from delegations and Ministers from other SAARC countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and the current SAARC chair Nepal, who sat through both statements.

•Pakistan was represented by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal during the External Affairs Minister’s speech, who indicated to Mr. Jaishankar that he would officiate in place of Mr. Qureshi. Ironically, Mr. Faisal had told The Hindu just a few minutes prior to the lunch that the SAARC charter did not allow for “bilateral issues to take centre-stage.” Pakistan has been protesting India’s decision to boycott the SAARC summit due to be held in Islamabad since 2016, until cross-border terrorism ends, which has meant that the SAARC summit, which requires all leaders to attend, cannot be held. India has engaged all other SAARC members at different fora, including BIMTEC, BBIN and also bilaterally, stressing that these are more productive avenues at present.

•After the meeting, Mr. Qureshi claimed that Pakistan had secured the consent of the group to organise the SAARC summit in Islamabad next year. “If India thinks it is still a member of SAARC, it is most welcome to attend,” Mr. Qureshi said, adding that “no country” had objected to Pakistan’s proposal for the summit.

U.N. speech

•The tensions at the SAARC Foreign Ministers’ meeting set the stage for speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first time the two leaders will face-off at the United Nations. While Mr. Khan has made it clear that he intends to devote most of his speech at the UN to appeal to the world body to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure the restrictions imposed after August 5 are lifted, the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr. Modi would not refer to Kashmir in his speech.

•“Our Prime Minister will focus on what the United Nations General Assembly’s high level segment is meant to focus, which is, as an important economy, as an important country, as a responsible member of the United Nations, the Prime Minister will flag what we are doing for development, for security, for peace and our expectations and aspirations of other countries,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said before Mr. Modi’s visit.

📰 Institutions weakened, economy crippled

The credibility of the RBI, the CSO and the Niti Aayog has taken a beating in recent times due to political interference

•Nobel laureate Oliver Williamson pondered over an important question, around 25 years ago: “Why are the ambitions of economic development practitioners and reformers so often disappointed?” According to him, “one answer is that development policymakers and reformers are congenital optimists. Another answer is that good plans are regularly defeated by those who occupy strategic positions. An intermediate answer is that institutions are important, yet are persistently neglected in the planning process.”

•The question and all the three answers assume relevance in the context of India’s recent economic performance. The slowdown in GDP growth rate has been dissected, digressed and disowned by analysts, commentators and policymakers. However, the diagnosis is far from complete and the growth engine is running out of fuel. Both the demand- and supply-side factors have been central in all the analyses, but the crucial role of institutions in shaping the outcomes of both the factors in this episode of slowdown has been neglected. This has resulted in a series of banal policy measures for reviving growth.

•A market-centred economic model necessitates creating and sustaining credible institutions that further the efficiency of market mechanism. Given the possibility of ‘market failures’, such institutions assume a larger role in the economy in shaping expectations and decisions. Journalist Henry Hazlitt grouped the pillars of market economy into private property, free markets, competition, division and combination of labour and social cooperation. Institutions are needed to strengthen these foundational pillars are a prerequisite for markets to work.

•The credibility of three such important institutions — the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO); and the Planning Commission/NITI Aayog — has taken a beating in recent times.

Erosion in RBI’s autonomy

•The RBI, which was clamouring for more autonomy, has been systematically brought under the ambit of the Central government. Starting from the sidelining of the central bank on the important issue of currency demonetisation, the attempt has been to steadily erode the central bank’s independence. A three-pronged strategy resulted in this — first, the RBI was bypassed on matters relating to currency; second, its role as regulator of the banking sector was questioned when banks faltered; and, finally, its reserves were siphoned. The net result has been that the RBI has been reduced into an institution which presides over a limited space of monetary policy, that is, inflation targeting.

•It is also interesting to note that the only major policy tool available in the RBI’s armoury is cutting repo rates, which the central bank did four times this year. The last time the RBI made so many back-to-back cuts was after the global financial crisis over a decade ago, when most major central banks were desperate to revive economic growth. However, rate cuts alone could not help India’s economy this time, as banks, saddled with bad debt, were slow to reduce lending rates. This provides a classic case of an institution’s weakening, leading to questions on its role and credibility.

•Markets, which work on information and expectations, rely on official data to arrive at decisions. In an era of ‘big data’, we find that India’s official data procuring and publishing agency has been crippled. Often we find that the official series, ranging from national accounts to unemployment, has been smothered with repeated revisions and change of data definitions. When data that needs ‘approval’ before release, as in the case of the unemployment data, questions are bound to arise on the credibility of the numbers. The veracity of the data is to be tested by researchers and the public who consume the data and not by ‘approving agencies’. It is altogether another matter that had we had admitted that the rate of unemployment was high, perhaps more private investment could have come due the expectations of finding labour at lower wages. Such a possibility was shut out by an attitude of denial on the part of the government.

Space for course correction

•NITI Aayog presents the case of an institution that lost its character in the process of transformation. By abolishing the erstwhile Planning Commission and transforming it into the NITI Aayog, the government lost the space for mid-term appraisals of plans and policies. Course correction and taking stock of the economy have now become routine exercises, with uncritical acceptance due to a lack of well-researched documents.

•As another Nobel laureate, Douglass North, opined: “Institutions are the rules of the game in a society or, more formally, are the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction.” Institutions are formed to reduce uncertainty in human exchange. Together with the technology employed, they determine the costs of transacting (and producing). While the formal rules can be changed overnight, as has been practised by the present government, the informal norms change only gradually.

•In this context, it is useful to focus on understanding and reforming the forces that keep bad institutions in place, especially political institutions and the distribution of political power. This requires understanding the complex relationship between political institutions and the political equilibrium. Sometimes, changing the political institutions may be insufficient, or even counterproductive, in leading to better economic outcomes as has been the case in India in recent times. The use of high-quality academic information, which the present establishment lacks, is valuable both to think about these issues and generate better policy advice.

📰 Can the Indian economy ride out the storm?

Unless rural incomes, hit by demonetisation, are revived, consumer demand is not going to grow

•To pull India out of the current economic slowdown, the government can loosen its purse strings, make pending payments, give GST refunds quickly, and revamp MGNREGA to put more money in the hands of rural consumers, Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist at the Aditya Birla Group, and Pronab Sen, former Chief Statistician of India, tell TCA Sharad Raghavan. They add that we can expect to see the slowdown lasting for a few more quarters. Edited excerpts from a conversation:

Dr. Sen, do you think we are in a slowdown? And if we are, is it more structural, in that we need to make drastic changes, or is it more cyclical, where if we just make smaller changes we can ride out the storm?

•Pronab Sen: We are in a slowdown. There is no question about it. And I think we have only seen the first phase of the slowdown. It has been five quarters now and I think it will go on for at least a couple of quarters more, maybe longer than that. To my mind, the problem is essentially structural, but structural does not necessarily mean that you have to do deep reforms to get over it. What you have to do is identify the cause of the structural slowdown and address it directly. Indirect instruments don’t work in the case of structural constraints.

Dr. Ranade, of the main drivers of the economy — government expenditure, private consumption, investment, and exports — which of them do you feel need a revival most urgently?

•Ajit Ranade: I agree with Pronab that we are in a slowdown and I believe this is a problem of lack of aggregate demand. This is a slowdown not because we are not able to produce enough or that we have run out of capacity to produce; it is because there is not enough demand. You identified the four sources of demand. Of course the most sustainable and long-term solution to come out of the slowdown is when investment demand picks up, especially from private investment spending. But that is not something that can happen in a jiffy because it requires the investor’s confidence, it requires investors to take risks.

•So, in the near term, because exports depend on the enthusiasm of foreigners buying Indian goods, maybe some supply-side measures like trade facilitation, removing bottlenecks, reducing the GST refund period delay, or even managing the exchange rate [may work], but fundamentally if the global slowdown is a reality, then export demand cannot pick up quickly. Although, I do believe that India’s share of manufacturing exports in the world is barely 2% or something, so we can easily go from 2% to 3%. In the near term I think the aggregate demand gap has to be filled in by some kind of government spending, although we can have a separate discussion on the fiscal situation. But I believe that’s what is required.

Dr. Sen, Dr. Ranade has identified the most important driver that needs to be revived, but if we are looking for low-hanging fruit, if the government were to do something quickly that would have the biggest impact, what do you think that could be?

•PS: I think Ajit and I agree. The problem is really private consumption demand. Remember that the government has limited instruments in its hands. It cannot stimulate private consumption directly, except in certain ways. But the focus needs to be primarily on that. The things that Ajit talked about in terms of exports would have to be in terms of trade facilitation and issues of that kind, and a sensible exchange rate policy, which we don’t have at the moment. The focus really would have to be on how to do you revive consumption demand. To my mind, the first step is really to go back to something we briefly touched on, which is the fiscal deficit.

•If you were to ask me what I would recommend, I would say the first thing I would recommend is please recognise that the true fiscal deficit is significantly above the reported fiscal deficit. Because the outcome of trying to suppress your fiscal deficit artificially is that the government is not paying its dues. It is not giving refunds; export credit refund is a large issue. But this is true of GST refunds across the board. The second is that the government is not paying off its suppliers. The third is that a lot of government spending that has already been budgeted for and announced has not being made. PM KISAN is still languishing. These are things which have been budgeted for but that money has not been spent or has not been shown to be spent, simply because the government is not releasing the requisite funds. Just recognise the fiscal deficit for what it is and put the money out, then we can go back to the serious issue of correcting the fiscal deficit over the next few years.

Dr. Ranade, the government has recently announced certain steps to release some of these locked up funds. It is saying that within a time-bound period, we will pay our suppliers, and GST input tax refunds will be credited in a short window. Does this mean that the government will then have to cut down on other spending or can it keep the fiscal deficit target and say that we’ll do both — we’ll increase our spending and we’ll give all of these pending payments?

•AR: I am going to ask for forgiveness from god, and Pronab, and all my colleagues. I am going to stick my neck out and say that this is a time when we need to actually worry less about the fiscal deficit target. After all, 3% or 3.3%, there is no golden rule. I want to emphasise what Pronab said: even the routine stuff, the clearing payments which are not in dispute, where the vendors have supplied their services or goods, that itself is a very huge number if you count State and Central governments. I think it is very large, about ₹10 lakh crore. Just releasing this payment or making very quick refunds for exporters, especially SMEs, who have to pay 28% GST and then claim a refund would help a lot. So, that is the easier thing to do, and I would recommend that we don’t get hung up on the deficit, even though the CAG said that the 3.3% reported is not the right number. The actual deficit at the Central government level may be as high as 5.5% and when you factor in the State governments, the combined deficit could be 8-8.5%.

•But remember that the nominal GDP growth rate has dropped to 8% and we are in a very unusual and unprecedented situation of low inflation and low GDP growth in nominal terms, so this is the time when we have to take the risk of cyclical fiscal expansion. One thing I would like to mention, which Pronab also mentioned, is that purchasing power, especially in rural areas, is of prime importance. So, the driver of growth we need to look at is government spending, but also consumption in rural areas which is going to be helped by things like MGNREGA and wage growth because that will also require fiscal expansion.

Dr. Sen, there were reports on how the government is considering pegging MGNREGA payments to an updated CPI inflation. Do you feel this will have a big impact in terms of putting more money in the hands of rural workers?

•PS: MGNREGA wages in any case were inflation indexed. What the government has announced is that it will be linked to the CPI for agricultural labour or the rural CPI, whichever shows more inflation. That’s all they have done. It’s been indexed all along, nothing new in that.

•Whether this is going to have an effect will depend entirely on how well MGNREGA is being implemented. The fact of the matter is that over the past five years or so, the confidence of State governments that the Central government will pay up the MGNREGA funds has eroded significantly. And the net result is a lot of State governments simply haven’t been putting the same level of commitment in MGNREGA as they used to. Over the years MGNREGA has become a a supply-based system from a demand-based system. The State government says, I have got a public work, now you guys want to work on it, you can come and work on it. Earlier, it used to be a system where people went and demanded work and the State government was bound to give it to them and the Central government was bound to refund the labour cost of that particular project. So, unless you redesign MGNREGA to its original form, just indexing the wages is not going to do a whole lot.

Now that we have identified private consumption as one major driver that needs to be revived, what are the ways, Dr. Ranade, that we can put more money in people’s hands? Are income tax rate cuts viable and will they be effective?

•AR: Let’s not forget that a big driver of growth is consumption, which includes rural consumption. And so, I want to reiterate what Pronab said about MGNREGA. Make it truly demand-driven, make the wage indexation meaningful and involve social audits which were successful in some States like Andhra and Rajasthan. Involve social audits to ensure effectiveness, and also focus on the dual objective of asset creation wherever possible. But primarily it should be about putting some income in the hands of rural consumers.

•I am going to propose a radical suggestion. Since we also agreed that some of the reasons for the slowdown are structural, I believe one of the big structural features of the Indian economy right now is the massive drop in female labour force participation. In the last 10 or 12 years, it has come down by 10 percentage points, from 30-32% to 22%, which means that only one out of five working age women are actually working for a paid job. So, here’s my radical suggestion: Think of a 10-year or 15-year completely tax-free income for women. That is zero income tax for all women. That’s a suggestion to also increase consumption but it would be mainly to encourage paid jobs for women.

Dr. Sen, is it accurate to say that this slowdown that we are seeing is the delayed effect of demonetisation and that has completely removed the parallel economy?

•PS: Yes, unquestionably so. The unorganised sector has been hit now for a long time and unless rural incomes are revived, and that is where 70% of our population is, consumer demand is not going to grow. So, what we are talking about is the same, that the principal cause of distress in rural areas was demonetisation. If you want to fix that structural break, you need to bring back rural income to some semblance of normalcy.

Dr. Ranade, do you agree?

•AR: Yeah, 90% of India’s labour force is in the informal sector. We have to recognise that this is the normality of the Indian economy and, therefore, whatever disrupts that, we are disrupting the mainstream. And that I believe is the lingering effect of demonetisation. I believe the rural wages, which used to grow at perhaps 10-15% a year, have grown at barely 1% in the last few years. And this has certainly affected rural purchasing power.

📰 Daewoo in, SAAB out of submarine tender

4 other companies have shown interest

•The Swedish defence major SAAB has pulled out of the contest to supply the Navy with six advanced conventional submarines under Project-75I. South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has made a last-minute entry, official sources said.

•The Navy on September 24 opened the responses from the original equipment manufacturers to its expression of interest. SAAB informed the Defence Ministry that it could not take part in the tender, and Daewoo Shipbuilding was given the last-minute invite to submit its bid, a defence source said.

•When contacted by The Hindu, Ola Rignell, chairman and managing director, SAAB India, said in an email: “It is a decision we have made due to the customers’ requirements regarding the time schedule and the requirements related to the Strategic Partnership policy with its unbalance between our possibilities to have control and our obligations and liabilities.”

•“We believe we have a very competitive product that would suit the customer well,” he said. But, after having examined the expression of interest, the company decided “not to enter the competition due to the above reasons.”

₹45,000-crore deal

•Daewoo Shipbuilding has joined four other companies in the fray: Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain), Rosoboronexport (Russia) and TKMS (Germany).

•The ₹45,000-crore deal to build six submarines in India under technology transfer is being processed through the Strategic Partnership, under which foreign manufacturers will have to tie up with Indian private companies to make the product locally. The request for information was issued in mid-2017, but there was no progress for want of clarity on some aspects of the Strategic Partnership. The expression of interest was issued in June this year.

📰 Declare a climate emergency

The Indian government must take corrective measures immediately to combat climate change

•A few generations from now, our descendants may not see the animals and plants we now regard as commonplace. Nearly 500 species have become extinct in just the last century. We are depleting 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain right now. Mankind is teetering dangerously close to the precipice of extinction.

Climate change is real

•Al Gore’s 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth, awakened the world to the dire causes and consequences of global warming. It made an impact on millions and initiated global debates on climate change. However, many of us were sceptical of the warnings. Some of us did not believe that our planet would ever run out of resources. We thought that discussions would take place among scientists and environmentalists, but that the impact of climate change would never really be felt by us. And that if it were to be felt, it would take a long time, perhaps a couple of centuries.

•In just 13 years, Al Gore’s predictions have become real and haunting. Now the effects of climate change are at our doorsteps. Cyclones such as Thane, Vardah, Ockhi and Gaja have affected Tamil Nadu in recent times; Chennai saw terrible floods in 2015. Floods wreaked havoc in Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar this year, and Mumbai received record monsoon rains. Kerala witnessed floods for the second consecutive year. Cyclone Fani devastated Odisha, Cyclone Vayu ravaged Gujarat this year. All these are because of climate change. Meanwhile, Europe saw the highest temperatures ever in recorded history. This July, Paris recorded its highest temperature of 42.6°C.

•Humanity is paying the price for the indiscriminate use of fossil fuels. The increase in global temperatures started with the industrial revolution. Experts say that if our current lifestyle continues, the global temperature will increase further in the next 30-40 years and that will have catastrophic consequences.

•Industries, vehicles, burning of fossil fuels, thermal power plants and large-scale rearing of cattle are emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The increase in these gases is trapping the sun’s heat and increasing the earth’s temperature.

•Global warming will drastically affect agriculture — the production of rice, wheat, maize and soya will decrease significantly. Apart from malnutrition, climate change will give birth to newer infections and illness. This imbalance will in turn affect the economy which will lead to conflict, war and global unrest. Global warming is already melting the polar ice caps. If this continues, sea levels will rise and submerge coastal cities. These natural disasters will make millions of people climate refugees.

•The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that averting a climate crisis will require reinvention of the global economy. By 2040,there could be global food shortages, inundation of coastal cities and a huge refugee crisis, it says.

Steps to be taken

•UN and climate experts have called for the declaration of a global climate emergency. Countries like the U.K., Canada, France and Ireland have already declared climate emergencies. So have local bodies and NGOs worldwide. Unfortunately India and U.S. are still slow to act. Which countries are responsible for historical emissions is now past the stage of debate. Global warming will affect every individual in every country. It is the duty of every human and government to take steps to stop the climate crisis. The Indian government should declare a climate emergency immediately. Immediate policy changes should include reducing the usage of fossil fuels by half by 2030, encouraging the use of public transport, increasing forest area, promoting non-conventional energy, devising good water management policies, implementing the plastic ban stringently, banning the burning of waste, promoting innovative urban planning policies and reducing mass rearing of cattle for human consumption. Let us all join together to save the only planet we have.

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