Editorial 1: Altering status quo


  • Restoring popular rule in J&K and its statehood ought to be a priority


  • Four years after the State’s status was downgraded to that of a Union Territory, all that the Union government can say about it now is that the status as a Union Territory is temporary and that it is taking steps towards making J&K a complete State.
  • When queried by the Supreme Court Bench, which is hearing the challenge to the abrogation of J&K’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, about a timeline for the return of Statehood, the Solicitor-General said he was unable to give an exact time period.
  • It is true that the State had faced disturbances for decades, but whether it can still be cited as the reason for the delay in restoration of statehood is a relevant question to raise.
  • Alongside the President’s declaration of Article 370 as inoperative and the application of the whole of the Constitution to J&K, the State was reorganised into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, with a Legislative Assembly, and Ladakh, without an Assembly.
  • The Centre favours holding of panchayat and municipal elections as well as polls to the Assembly.
  • The Election Commission of India and the State’s Election Commission will have to take a call soon, as even the work of updating the electoral rolls is said to be nearing completion.


  • Given the government’s claim that the situation is quite normal and that terrorism, infiltration and incidents of stone-throwing have all substantially come down, it is difficult to account for any further delay in the holding of elections.
  • However, the picture of normality portrayed by the government should not, and is unlikely to, influence the adjudication of the constitutional issues arising from the manner in which the abrogation of special status was achieved.
  • As the Chief Justice of India, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, observed during the proceedings, the development work the government says it has undertaken after August 2019 is not relevant to the constitutional challenge.


  • Any positive change brought about by the administration in the ground situation should be a pointer to the need for early elections and the restoration of popular government as well as Statehood, and should not be used to demonstrate the correctness of the government’s actions in 2019.

Editorial 2: An uneven rebound


  • Inflation, monsoon pose fresh risks even as residual stress lingers in economy

Growth of Indian economy

  • India’s economy, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as the Gross Value Added (GVA), grew 7.8% in the first quarter (Q1) of the year.
  • This is the highest GDP uptick in four quarters, but slightly underwhelming relative to the 8% growth estimated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The central bank’s 6.5% growth projection for 2023-24 factors in a decline in the uptick rate in each of the subsequent quarters of this year, culminating at 5.7% in the final quarter.
  • One will have to wait till October’s meeting of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to assess how this math is reworked, although the Chief Economic Adviser V. Anantha Nageswaran believes these GDP numbers do not signal any discomfort in hitting the 6.5% mark for the full year.
  • India remains the fastest growing major economy by a comfortable margin, with China recording a 6.3% rise in the same quarter and facing a fresh slowdown.

The sectors

  • Farm sector GVA maintained its growth pace to rise 3.5% in Q1, but may taper off thanks to the monsoon’s tepid progress and the fear that low reservoir levels may also hurt the rabi crop.
  • The headline growth rates for the services sectors were robust.
  • Trade, hotels and transport rose 9.2%, but in absolute terms, the employment-intensive segment remained 1.9% below pre-COVID-19 levels, indicating the recovery is still incomplete.
  • While the government has been asserting that the private investment cycle has finally taken off, the gross fixed capital formation trends indicate it is still government capital spending that is doing the heavy lifting.
  • Manufacturing GVA grew for the second successive quarter after six months of contraction, but only accelerated slightly so a broader rebound in consumption demand is likely still awaited.
  • Private consumption spending rose 6% but economists believe this is still dominated by demand from high income earners.
  • Depending on how long the current streak of spiked inflation, especially in food items, persists, demand from lower income segments would be dented afresh.
  • A feeble recovery in rural demand could also come undone if farm incomes take a hit. Interventions to counter inflation, such as export curbs on rice and onions, will hurt growth and the external trade balance, while relief measures, such as the ₹200 cut in LPG cylinder prices, that may proliferate ahead of the general election, also pose risks to the fiscal math and growth.


  • The  months ahead could prove to be more challenging with global headwinds that have hit goods exports and manufacturing already, combining with domestic pressures from the renewed spurt in inflation and the likelihood of a weak monsoon playing truant with crop yields and farm incomes.