Splainer

Tuesday, September 1 2020


Dive In

The diversity of our country is a fact. This cannot be turned into fiction due to the whims and caprices of a few individuals. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. It has worked well for us and it is the only way it will work for us.

These are the words of former president Pranab Mukherjee who passed away at the age of 84—after spending weeks in a coma. The epitome of Bengali bhadralok liked “long walks.” And the longest walk took him away from the Congress Party into the welcoming embrace of the BJP which rewarded him with the presidency (though he remained a Congressman to the end). Mukherjee has been called many things—most often a “pragmatist” or less charitably, “a crafty politician”—but he was never considered a fool. And no one understood India better than him. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

The great contraction of India’s economy

The TLDR: Everyone knew the numbers would be bad thanks to the pandemic. But the GDP numbers released on Monday shocked even hardened pessimists. Our GDP contracted by 23.9% in the months of April, May and June. Every metric of economic activity has crashed with the exception of agriculture. And it bodes ill for our economic growth for the coming year—which is poised to be the worst since India gained Independence.

 

How bad are we compared to everyone else?

Pretty bad. Only Peru (-30.2%) and Macau (-67.8%) have reported lower GDP growth numbers for the same period. Others doing poorly include the UK (-21.7%), Spain (-22%) and the US (-9.5%). Only two countries reported economic growth: China and Vietnam.

 

Ok, why are the numbers so bad?

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • US records worst case of reinfection so far
  • TikTok sale in trouble
  • An ek rupiah slap on Bhushan’s wrist
  • Temperatures soar on Ladakh border
  • Lady Gaga wins VMAs night

 

Smart And Curious

  • A 3D interactive globe allows you to see how any city has moved over 750 mn years
  • A dead star that exploded in a supernova some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago
  • A blanket Octopus which has sheets of webbing between its arm
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