The Indian print media has commended the stellar role played by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the latest accomplishment being the announcement of launch of Chandrayaan 2. Papers have discussed the political arrests in Pakistan on the issue of corruption. Small savings paly a big role in India’s economy, observe the Indian dailies.

The TIMES OF INDIA in an editorial writes, eleven years after India launched its comprehensive lunar exploratory mission, becoming the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to join this elite club, its second mission to the Moon is coming up, on July 15. Chandrayaan 1 made global headlines by helping confirm the presence of water on Moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation also grabbed its slice of glory with Mangalyaan, for making it to the red planet on its first shot and at a bargain basement price. Now Chandrayaan 2 will soft-land a rover to gather intelligence on the Moon, unravelling its mysteries while also boosting ties with NASA. It has a far more complex mission than Chandrayaan 1 which only included an orbiter and an impactor. Given the reality that space is no longer a distinct entity outside human lives, it is welcome that India and ISRO are upping their space game. This is a national security imperative now. But the kind of unconditional support for science that Isro has been getting needs extending across the country.

The STATESMAN in apiece observes, the former President and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari, was arrested by Pakistan’s national Accountability Bureau (NAB). Zardari, is a politician who has not exactly covered himself with glory, has been arrested in a case related to fake bank accounts. Beyond Monday’s arrest, the NAB has arguably emerged as a critical factor in Pakistan’s power-play, in addition to the federal government, Within 24 hours of Zardari’s arrest, the crackdown was intensified by the NAB with the arrest of the PML-N leader, Hamza Shahbaz in a money-laundering case. In addition, unrelated to corruption, Altaf Hussain, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder was also detained for his inflammatory speeches. The Pakistan government has denied any role in effecting these arrests, but there is little doubt that Prime Minister Imran Khan had wanted the high-profile cases to be expedited. The civilian dispensation has confronted its political rivals ahead of the eagerly awaited budget and the IMF bailout. These two issues may or may not shore up Pakistan’s stuttering economy. The crackdown on corruption appears to be related to the anxiety to revamp the economy.

The HINDUSTAN TIMES says, savings by the household sectors is the most prominent component of savings. The large financing needs of investment in infrastructure require that long-term financial savings of households to increase and to be channelled for this need. This requires reform and development of the financial sector that can play the role of this intermediation. The first is the reform on the savings side. Savings of Indian households are primarily in short-term assets. The challenge is to incentivise these into long-term savings such as insurance and pensions. The Union budget and tax incentives play a critical role in encouraging households to save in these instruments. The coming budget needs to give priority to this need. A high domestic savings rate has been an important part of India’s growth story. High investment and an economic boom during the 2003-2008 period was supported by a strong savings rate. The savings rate surged from 25.9% in 2003 to 36.8% in 2008. The rise in the aggregate savings rate during the high growth phase from 2003-2008 was driven by savings in the household sector. However since 2012, we have seen a decline in the aggregate savings rate as well as in household savings rate. The aggregate savings rate declined to 30.5% in 2017-18. The household savings rate declined from 22.4% in 2012 to 17.2% in 2017.

Script: Padam Singh, Air: News Analyst