ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Change in the Employment– Unemployment Situation

By taking into consideration five different panels with each one of them surveyed during four consecutive quarters covering the period most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of employment scenario, this article examines the change in the employment–unemployment situation of the same persons during the four consecutive quarters. The study is confined to urban India and uses the unit-level data collected through the Periodic Labour Force Survey.

Retail Investment in India

Retail investment into the Indian equity markets through direct as well as indirect channels picked up meaningfully during the pandemic, and continued thereafter. This led to Indian equities staying afloat in 2022, the year when global equities suffered badly, thanks to the Russia–Ukraine war and the Fed tightening. Retail investor behaviour in India in and around the pandemic is examined through their activity (turnover) and net investments. These indicators are analysed using NSE’s proprietary data and juxtaposed with institutional activity. Retail risk-taking rises with market performance, shows high variability within the segment, and exhibits behavioural finance traits like exuberance and buyers’ remorse. Despite the recent correction in economic activity, retail investor participation remains well above pre-pandemic levels.

Gendered Impact on Unemployment: A Case Study of India during the COVID-19 Pandemic

India witnessed one of the worst coronavirus crises in the world. The pandemic induced sharp contraction in economic activity that caused unemployment to rise, upheaving the existing gender divides in the country. Using monthly data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy on subnational economies of India from January 2019 to May 2021, we find that a) unemployment gender gap narrowed during the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to the pre-pandemic era, largely driven by male unemployment dynamics, b) the recovery in the post-lockdown periods had spillover effects on the unemployment gender gap in rural regions, and c) the unemployment gender gap during the national lockdown period was narrower than the second wave.

Blended Learning in Indian Higher Education

The University Grants Commission had proposed up to 40% of online teaching mode for any course in higher education in India, in the concept note on “Blended Mode of Teaching and Learning,” in May 2021. While the unprecedented pandemic situation recognised the urgency of implementing the online mode of teaching, with already persisting structural bottlenecks in the system, serious introspection is required on the preparedness of the country to adopt such a technology-driven learning approach.

Resolving the Debt Crisis

As the number of developing countries likely to default on external debt service commitments increases, the effort to resolve debt crises in countries that have defaulted many months back remains unsuccessful.

Dietary Diversity during COVID-19 in India

The article reports the findings on the changing dietary patterns of Indian households during COVID-19, based on an analysis of the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey. The impact of the pandemic on diet composition was most severe for the poor and the deprived, who substituted inferior cereals for expensive cereals and spent lower amounts on nourishing foods such as fruits and vegetables.

COVID-19-related Uncertainty, Investor Sentiment, and Stock Returns in India

The Indian stock market witnessed a sharp recovery in the post-COVID-19 period owing to the sweeping investor enthusiasm. The event studies show that the 2020 lockdown and announcement of the first fiscal package had a significant impact on the stock returns. The impact of other events like the first COVID-19 case, second fiscal package, beginning of the vaccination drive, and the second wave was insignificant. Our estimates also show a significant impact of investor sentiment on stock returns, except during periods of extreme volatility. Further, the stock returns are positively related to oil price and negatively related to the exchange rate. 

COVID-19 and Insolvency Law

The World Development Report (WDR), 2022 highlights the relevance of adopting effective strategies for maintaining the financial stability of a nation in the wake of COVID-19.

Durable Growth Revival

The recent growth recovery has been uneven as is visible across different sectors of the economy and different segments of the population. This unevenness is hurting the consumption of lower-income households and private investments, which are vital for sustained or durable growth.

Is Covid-19 an Exogenous Shock?

This note argues that COVID-19 is not an exogenous shock, but an endogenous shock, resulting from the interaction or exchange of human society with the animal world. Recognising the endogeneity of the COVID-19 shock is important to devise and adopt methods of mitigating future virus shocks, such as ensuring biosafety in livestock production or reducing the interaction of humans and domestic animals with wildlife. Dealing with the endogeneity of virus transmission is also important for developing an economic theory that recognises the co-creation and co-evolution of human systems within and with the natural universe.

Reviving the Lending Appetite of Banks

The flow of bank credit is crucial to revive the economy. The fear of potential asset quality woes has reduced the risk appetite of banks. Going beyond the restructuring support, banks need policy support by relaxations in prudential norms in the near term to be normalised in the next four–fi ve years. Coping with the adversities of the pandemic needs a collaborative policy support of all stakeholders to step up the lending appetite.

How Reliable Is Labour Market Data in India?

Public perception about the pattern of shock on the employment rate during COVID-19 is based on the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data, which is widely referred to in public debates, corporate policy-making, and banking sector. The question that crops up then is how reliable is the CMIE data on the labour market? Here, the examination of the employment ratio indicator of the Periodic Labour Force Survey and CMIE is extended to two another very important labour market indicators, that are, labour force participation rate and unemployment rate, and a comparison of the PLFS and CMIE is carried out to look at their trends and association.

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