The fiscal position of election-bound Madhya Pradesh has deteriorated in the last four years while expenditure in key social areas increased, its progress on key parameters shows. The state’s fiscal deficit increased steadily from the levels it had inherited from the previous government. From 2.4% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2014-15, the fiscal deficit rose to 2.7% and 4.3% in subsequent years, before falling to 3.4% in 2017-18, data from the Reserve Bank of India shows.
As Madhya Pradesh’s deficit expanded, its spending on key social goals, including on education, health and the social sector, increased over the last four years. While the deficit fell in 2017-18, it continues above the national average of 3.1%.
Madhya Pradesh’s expenditure on education increased to 15.5% of its total expenditure in 2017-18, from 14.8% in 2016-17 after remaining below 15% in the previous two years. Expenditure on health rose to 4.5% in 2017-18 from 3.9% in 2016-17. While spending on the social sector increased, the state’s development expenditure came down in 2017-18. This was 17.7 %, down from 18.5% in 2016-17. On social sector spending, calculated as a percentage of the GSDP, the state fares better than the national average which has ranged between 6.7% and 8.1%.
Tip for Reading List — New super-Earth, not too far away
A newly published research paper has reported the discovery of a planet in orbit around one of the closest stars to the Sun, Barnard’s star. The potentially rocky planet is known as Barnard’s star b.
WHAT, WHERE: Barnard’s star b is a ‘super-Earth’ with a mass of at least 3.2 times that of the Earth, and it orbits around its host star once every 233 days. Barnard’s star b is the second-closest known exoplanet to our Sun. The closest lies just over four light-years from Earth. Discovered in 2016, that exoplanet is called Proxima b and orbits around the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.
THE STAR: At nearly six light-years away, Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system. It is a type of faint, low-mass star called a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our Solar System.
LIFE UNLIKELY: At the distance it is from its star, the planet lies in a region that is known as the “snow line”. This is well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist. The planet’s surface temperature is estimated to be around -170°C, meaning it is likely to be a frozen world. Such conditions would make it uninviting to Earth-like life. However, if the planet has a substantial atmosphere, the temperature could be higher and conditions potentially more hospitable, the researchers say.
HOW: The researchers used the “radial velocity method” during observations that led to the discovery of Barnard’s star b. This technique detects wobbles in a star which are likely to be caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star. As the star moves towards the Earth its spectrum appears slightly shifted towards the blue and, as it moves away, it is shifted towards the red. This is the first time that this technique has been used to detect a planet this small so far away from its host star.
The study is published in Nature (www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0677-y).
Source: Queen Mary University of London