Mitras Analysis of News : 20-03-2017

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1.Moving towards a larger formal economy(Live mint)

2. Low, stagnating female labour-force participation in India (Live mint)

3.Infrared Wi-Fi


1.Moving towards a larger formal economy(Live mint)

Synoptic line- it throws light on how current currency swap can be seen as step towards formalization of economy but more sustained effort is needed.(GS III)


  • Single party is covering most of the India states can be seen as greater chances of development with less parliamentary hurdles. From enacting tough reforms to structural changes can lead to formalization of economy with higher productive and security.

Formalization of economy

  • By the economic logic if country climbs the development ladder, its economy shift towards the formal sector. However, in India according to National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) statistics (1989 to 2010 period) informal firms have accounted for the maximum number of jobs creation and the vast majority of new establishments.
  • Gradual shift of workforce from informal or unorganized sectors towards formal sectors with greater chances of productivity, job security is known as formalization of economy.
  • With analysing recent moves of Govt. like currency swap and financial inclusion, NITI Aayog chairman said that the initiative is “move towards formal economy” with the need “to bring workers and activity into the formal sector”

Major hurdles

  • Addressing this necessitates a much broader approach on multiple fronts is needed. Improving transport infrastructure and connectivity is one of them. Spatial mismatches between enterprises and workers are a major barrier to growth and formalization.
  • The relatively high cost of urban living makes labor-intensive firms uncompetitive in cities, while poor connectivity undercuts hub and spoke arrangements that could get around the problem.
  • Setting up enterprises in smaller towns with lower costs is another option but here again, improved infrastructure is a necessity. Improving access to formal credit is another front.

Way forward

  • has the political space to consider the policy measures needed to increase formalization of the economy; currency swap may have been pitched as a first step, but the changes that are truly needed are structural in nature.
  • Improving the quality of human capital by boosting education and skill levels are need of an hour.
  • Multiple areas such as in labour and land reforms, state governments has same role as the centre, with now one party controls large no. of states, PM must push their governments to take these reforms forward.

Question: Formal Sector holds the key to India’s growth trajectory as it forms the work history which can lead to higher incomes. Comment


2. Low, stagnating female labour-force participation in India (Live mint)

Synoptic line- it throws light on how female labour force participation rate can detrimental to India’s demographic dividend. (GS III)


  • India is now going through the phase of “demographic dividend”, where the share of working age people is particularly high, effecting per capita growth through labour force participation rate (LFPR), savings and investments.
  • India had gone through economic and demographic conditions that are favorable for greater female labour-force participation rates, but India is seeing declining trend of female LFPR.

India’s female LFPR

  • With booming economic growth averaging 6-7% in the 1990s and 2000s and trends from Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa, India also anticipated higher female labor participation, but National Sample Survey (NSS) data shows that labour force participation rates of women have been stagnated at about 26-28% in urban areas, and fallen substantially from 57% to 44% in rural areas, between 1987 and 2011.
  • Stigma against females working outside the home in particular sectors has been major cause of concern.

Feminization U hypothesis

  • Feminization U Hypothesis explains the stagnation of female labor force participation in urban India.
  • According to the feminization U hypothesis, when the development is in process, female labour force participation first declines and then rises.
  • This hypothesis sees thes decline reasons as rising incompatibility of work and family duties, workplace moves away from home, income effect of the husband’s earnings, and so on.
  • Rising LFPR seen with receding stigma, high potential earnings of females as their education improves further, as well as fertility decline and better options to combine work and family duties.

But this U shape relationship between education and female participation is not straight forward for India due to some reasons

  • It was finding that the U hypothesis cannot explain the vastly different levels of female participation between countries. In India, female labour force participation rates are 22 percentage points below their expected level in a feminization U curve. This hypothesis is based suited for shallow U curve.

Demand and supply factors of female labour participation

Using data from NSS a micro level study reveals female LFPR is driven by demand and supply factors.

  • In the supply side shows that decline in female participation in rural areas is concentrated among mainly married women (aged 25-64), rising own education, incomes and husband’s education could account for most of the decline in female labour force participation in rural areas.
  • Decline might be driven by increasing returns to home production, relative to market production. Educated women that drop out are engaged in home production.
  • Stagnation of participation in married females in urban areas is due to rising household incomes and husband’s education, there is falling trend in labour market attachment of highly educated women, as well as adverse development in district-level labour demand, contributed to declines in female participation.
  • Rising education and incomes are allowing women to get out of menial and undesirable employment, while jobs appropriate for more educated women (especially in healthcare, education and public service) have not grown commensurately with the rise in female education have lead to falling participation among more educated groups.

With seeing the reasons for declined female LFPR, it appears clear that labour supply factors do play a role in depressing female incomes. It is difficult for married women with some education and children to be employed, especially if they have an educated and well-earning spouse. But labour demand also matters. Particularly in rural areas, it appears that declining agricultural employment has left a gap in employment opportunities for women as non-agricultural jobs have not emerged at the required pace.

Way forward

  • India could run up labour shortages in key sectors of the economy, if women largely stay out of the labour force. It will lead to turn demographic dividend into demographic curse. India cannot touch the economic prosperity without societal progress for which female role is invincible.
  • Employed women have greater bargaining power with positive repercussions on their own well-being and that of their families, for overall development in society share of female workforce is much needed.

Question: India is witnessing through a window of demographic dividend where it becomes pertinent  to tap the potential of female workers. However, India had attached a huge stigma to women. How can India overcome this problem?



Infrared Wi-Fi

  • Slow wi-fi is a source of irritation that nearly everyone experiences. Wireless devices in the home consume ever more data, and it’s only growing, and congesting the Wi-Fi network. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have come up with a surprising solution: a wireless network based on harmless infrared rays. The capacity is not only huge (more than 40Gbit/s per ray) but also there is no need to share since every device gets its own ray of light.

Mechanism of Infrared Wi-Fi

  • The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, for instance mounted on the ceiling, which are able to very precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fiber.
  • Since there are no moving parts, it is maintenance-free and needs no power: the antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles (‘passive diffraction gratings’).
  • Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. Since a safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the vulnerable retina in your eye, this technique is harmless.
  • If a user is walking about and a smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s direction, then another light antenna takes over.

Benefits of infrared wifi

No interference

  • If you walk around as a user and your smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s line of sight, then another light antenna takes over.
  • The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction.
  • It is a simple matter to add devices: they are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity. Moreover, there is no longer any interference from a neighbouring Wi-Fi network.

Data capacity of light rays

  • Current wi-fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or 5 gigahertz.
  • The system conceived at Netherlands uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1500 nanometers and higher; this light has frequencies that are thousands of times higher, some 200 terahertz, which makes the data capacity of the light rays much larger.
  • They even managed a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 meters. For comparison, the average connection speed in the Netherlands is two thousand times less (17.6 Mbit/s). Even if you have the very best wi-fi system available, you won’t get more than 300 Mbit/s in total, which is some hundred times less than the speed per ray of light achieved by the Eindhoven study.
  • The Eindhoven system has so far used the light rays only to download; uploads are still done using radio signals since in most applications much less capacity is needed for uploading.

Question: Light based solution in Wi-fi holds several promises apart from providing fast speed internet.Comment on such usages of light based wifi technology.

Prelims Special

“Mahi”- Assam’s ancient herbal ink

Assam’s ancient herbal ink Mahi was used in early and medieval Assam for writing on Sancipat (folios made of bark of the sanci tree) manuscripts. A cocktail of fruit pulp and barks such as haritaki, amla, bibhitakhi or bhomora, mango, jamun — often infused with the blood of eels or catfish — Mahi was extracted using cow urine.

Mahi’s endurance is proven by the stability of Sancipat manuscripts that are said to have existed for centuries without fading or wearing out.

By unravelling the science behind Mahi, researchers are now planning to recreate the lost techniques of manuscript writing. Robin Kumar Dutta, Professor, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University, believes study of ancient ink and paint may help retrieve useful information regarding traditional practices in addition to unfolding historical mysteries.

‘Efforts are on to recreate these heritage tokens (Sancipat and Mahi) in lab conditions and upscale them. They can be used as tourism marketing tools. For tourists who visit Egypt or Europe, papyrus scrolls are popular. Similarly, we are working towards the idea that Mahi and Sancipat can become popular tokens. In addition, for locals, there is an emotional attachment to a piece of heritage.

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