Why oil prices went down so far so fast

The reasons oil prices started sliding in June were hiding in plain sight: growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, Mid-East violence that threatened to disrupt supplies and never did.

After three-and-a-half months of slow decline, the tipping point for a steeper drop came on 1 October, said Ray Carbone, president of broker Paramount Options Inc. That’s when Saudi Arabia cut prices for its biggest customers. The move signalled that the world’s largest exporter would rather defend its market share than prop up prices.

CLICK HERE to read complete story – Livemint.

ALSO READ The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

Fed ends bond buying, exhibits confidence in U.S. recovery

The Federal Reserve, on 29 October, ended its monthly bond purchase program and signaled confidence the U.S. economic recovery would remain on track despite signs of a slowdown in many parts of the global economy.

“The Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability,” the central bank’s policy committee said in a statement following a two-day meeting.

The statement largely dismissed recent financial market volatility, dimming growth in Europe and a weak inflation outlook as headwinds that would do little to undercut progress toward the Fed’s unemployment and inflation goals.

CLICK HERE to read complete story | Reuters.

India’s 2014 gender gap rank worse than 2013

India has performed poorly in removing gender-based disparities, ranking 114 out of 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s 2014 gender gap index, scoring below average on parameters like economic participation, educational attainment and health and survival.

India slipped 13 spots from its last year’s ranking of 101 on the Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum. India is part of the 20 worst-performing countries on the labour force participation, estimated earned income, literacy rate and sex ratio at birth indicators.

On the other hand, India is among the top 20 best-performing countries on the political empowerment subindex.

The index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria.

via India’s gender gap rank worse than last year – The Hindu.

India amongst top suicide nations: WHO

According to a new database released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the relatively prosperous and developed States in India have seen the highest number of suicide cases and the poorer States have registered the lowest number of suicide cases.

According to WHO report, India is ahead of USA when it comes to suicides. In India, suicide rate is 20.9 for one lakh population; in the USA it is 13.7 for one lakh population. In United Kingdom, it is 6.9 for one lakh population.

However, India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) puts the average national suicide rate at 10.7 per one lakh population.

Poverty Alleviation Programmes of India

The fruits of economic growth have not benefited everyone uniformly. Some are left behind and some others are not touched by the benefits of economic growth. It is proved globally that the so-called trickle-down effect does not work in all the societies and India is no exception to this. There are various reasons for this uneven development in the society. Modern economy is technology driven and not labour-intensive.

High volume of high quality goods and services are produced with fewer labour hands. In short, the modern economy is not generating much employment and sometimes it displaces and replaces labour with machines and tools. The period of 1999-2000 to 2004- 2005 saw rapid economic growth in the country but it has not impacted on the unemployment problem of the country. During this period, the unemployment rate remained almost same for rural males and decreased by just one percentage for urban male. On the other hand, unemployment among females increased by one percentage for urban and rural females.

One-third of the country’s population is still illiterate and a majority are not educated up to the age of 15 years. Even among the educated, all do not have employable skills of the modern economy. The education system is not tuned to the changing economic scenario. The large agriculture workforce in rural areas is not sustainable with dwindling cultivable land and use of modern methods of cultivation. As a result, the rural labour is pushed into cities in search of work but they do not have any employable skills in the urban formal sector often end up doing odd jobs in urban areas.

Urbanization in this country is mainly due to acute poverty in rural areas, rather than due to the economic opportunities in urban areas. Further, poverty is not uniformly spread in the country. States like Odisa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have high level of poverty and the levels have not come down significantly in the post-economic reform era.

It is also pertinent to understand that some of the people are unable to be part of the economic reform and do not have the capacity to participate in the economic development process. Such groups need government intervention to ensure that they are not left behind in the development process and deprived of the benefits because they do not have the capacity to be part of the global economy. The government needs to develop safety nets for such groups and try to mainstream them in the development process. They need welfare measures in the form of poverty alleviation programmes to ensure that they survive, if not prosper, in this era of economic reform. Further, the poor are not a homogeneous population and their capacity to survive the economic reform varied from one group of poor to another. Especially, those who are below the poverty line or the poorest among the poor need more government help.

The government of India’s poverty alleviation programmes can be broadly classified under five categories: (a) Self-employment programmes like the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana; (b) Wage-employment programmes like the Sampoorna Grameen Rojgar Yojana and the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) scheme; (c) Area development programmes like Drought Prone Area Programmes and theRashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana; (d) Social security programmes like the National Old Age Pension Scheme; (e) Other programmes like the Indira Awaas Yojana.