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The recent decline in India's goods exports and imports, leading to a contraction in the.....

The recent decline in India's goods exports and imports, leading to a contraction in the merchandise trade deficit. It highlights the factors contributing to this decline, such as a decline in demand for high-value goods and the global dip in prices of key items.

  • India's goods exports decreased by 2.8% in November compared to 2022 levels, reaching $33.9 billion.

  • Imports also dropped by 4.33% to $54.5 billion, resulting in a merchandise trade deficit of $20.6 billion.

  • The decline in imports was significant, despite the Commerce Ministry reducing October's import bill by $1.6 billion.

  • Although exports contracted in November, they were higher than October's tally, which was the lowest in 12 months.

  • Exports have recorded their weakest values in a year over the last two months.

  • The decrease in imports can be attributed to factors such as a decline in discretionary demand for high-value goods and a global dip in prices of key items.

  • Economists expect the trade deficit to remain between $20 billion and $25 billion for the remaining four months of the year.

  • The goods trade deficit in August was reduced by nearly three billion dollars, with revisions of $5 billion in the overall export-import tally.

  • The monthly merchandise trade deficit has seen an average upward revision of around $1.5 billion since July, compared to an average of $0.5 billion in the first quarter of 2023-24.

  • The government needs to improve its data accuracy to make informed decisions.

  • Officials are hopeful for an increase in exports in the final quarter of the year, citing similar trends in recent years.

  • The World Trade Organization expects global trade flows to strengthen in 2024, and the US Federal Reserve's interest rate cuts may influence other central banks.

  • India needs to take more measures to compete with its rivals in order to capture the potential increase in global demand.

  • A government-commissioned study suggests that logistics costs have slightly decreased over the past decade, and ongoing infrastructure investments may further reduce them.

  • Reducing petroleum prices for users, in line with global trends, would enhance competitiveness more effectively.

The importance of delimitation of constituencies in ensuring political equality in liberal democracies. It explains how the right to vote can be diluted quantitatively and qualitatively through redrawing of boundaries and gerrymandering.

  • Political equality in liberal democracies involves both equality of opportunity to participate in the political decision-making process and carrying a vote value equal to others.

  • The right to vote can be diluted quantitatively and qualitatively through redrawing constituency boundaries.

  • Quantitative dilution occurs when votes have unequal weight due to population deviations among constituencies.

  • Qualitative dilution occurs when a voter's chance of electing their preferred representative is reduced due to gerrymandering.

  • The delimitation of constituencies plays a significant role in strengthening or weakening democracy.

  • The Constitution includes safeguards to ensure equal political rights, such as maintaining the same population ratio for Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly constituencies.

  • Parliament has the power to make laws related to delimitation, and an independent delimitation commission is formed to avoid qualitative dilution.

  • Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies must be considered during delimitation.

  • Delimitation of constituencies should be regularly carried out based on the decennial Census to maintain vote value equality.

  • The government has constituted four delimitation commissions in the past: in 1952, 1962, 1972, and 2002.

  • The first delimitation order in 1956 identified 86 constituencies as two-member constituencies, but this was abolished by the Two Member Constituencies (Abolition) Act, 1961.

  • The second delimitation order in 1967 increased the number of Lok Sabha seats from 494 to 522 and State Assembly seats from 3,102 to 3,563.

  • The third delimitation order in 1976 increased the number of Lok Sabha and State Assembly constituencies to 543 and 3,997, respectively.

  • The fear of imbalance of representation led to the freezing of the population figure of the 1971 Census for delimitation until after the 2001 Census through the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976.

  • The Delimitation Act of 2002 did not allow for an increase in the number of seats, but it required the readjustment of boundaries within existing constituencies.

  • The fourth Delimitation Commission was able to reassign reserved constituencies, increasing the number of seats for SCs from 79 to 84 and STs from 41 to 47 based on population increase.

  • The moratorium on increasing the number of seats was extended until the first Census after 2026.

  • The population of Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Gujarat has increased by more than 125% between 1971 and 2011, while the population of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Odisha has increased by less than 100% due to stricter population control measures.

  • This has resulted in a significant variation in the value of vote for people between states.

  • In Uttar Pradesh, an MP represents around 2.53 million people on average, while in Tamil Nadu, an MP represents around 1.84 million people on average.

  • The qualitative dilution of vote value can be used to marginalize the votes of minorities.

  • This can be achieved through cracking, stacking, and packing techniques.

  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution and the Sachar Committee Report have highlighted the qualitative dilution of vote value.

  • In seats reserved for SCs, the population of Muslims was often higher than the SC population, leading to a lower representation of Muslims in Parliament.

  • Currently, the share of Muslim MPs in Parliament is only around 4.42%, despite the Muslim population being 14.2%.

  • Delimitation cannot be postponed further to avoid deviation in population-representation ratio

  • Southern States' interests need to be protected as their representation in Parliament might weaken

  • Next Delimitation Commission needs to address both quantitative and qualitative dilution of vote value

  • Aim is to ensure adequate representation of minorities in Parliament

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