Monday, December 18, 2017

Ignite: Pakistan Federal Government Fund to Promote Tech R&D

Guest Post by Yusuf Husain
CEO, Ignite

The mandate of Ignite, formerly National ICT R&D Fund, a Government owned non profit company, affiliated with the Ministry of IT, Government of Pakistan, is to fund innovative projects that solve local problems or target global opportunities. Since early 2017 we are focusing on startups based on 4th Industrial Wave technology – like AI, IoT, Robotics and AR – whose technology risk is beyond the appetite of private sector investors, with the expectation that investors and corporates will participate in subsequent rounds or else purchase or license the technology. With about ten deals a quarter, with average size of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, we also fund academia and industry projects with strong, well-articulated commercial potential and intent. This year projects include a smart stent, which detects slippage, clotting and re-stenosis, an IoT based water management system that detects moisture in the air and fluid in the ground, an AR remedial system that improves motor, cognitive and functional skills in neurologically challenged children, and AI based bovine disease diagnostic that improves dairy production and life of cows.


Startups are the building blocks of the knowledge economy, and Ignite is funding world-class incubators across the country. National Incubators in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawer are operational, with Karachi and Quetta expected to launch in early 2018. Together, these incubators will cover a hundred thousand feet, including Makerspaces and design labs, and incubate a couple of hundred startups every year. Human resource development is the key driver of economic and job growth. Ignite will be launching an ambitious plan to train one million people in marketable digital skills, also in early 2018. Designed like a startup, and driven by data based AI decision-making, the program is expected to iterate to match supply with demand and achieve high completion rates on training courses. Included is a learn-by-doing soft skills component that will develop aptitude in communication, meeting commitments, initiative, and perseverance.

Many countries in the world from USA and UK to Israel and India support innovation and entrepreneurship through the award of Government projects, funding, incubators, and incentives. Agile regulation and targeted incentives are essential to unleashing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. Through studies and engagement with experts in industry and academia, Ignite seeks to develop the thought leadership required to support the Government in designing such regulation and incentive packages. A three-year tax break and credit for Startups was introduced last year. More incentives for startups, incubators, VC, Angels and Corporate Innovation are on the anvil.

Waves of innovation have changed the course of history, elevating innovative societies and marginalizing laggards. Through its outreach program, Ignite seeks to inform key stakeholders and change agents in media, government, academia, corporates, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the professional community about Ignite initiatives, and the opportunities, threats and tradeoffs offered by the 4th Industrial Wave innovation.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Tech Investing Opportunities in Pakistan

Pakistani Tech Unicorns

Promoting Culture of Innovation in Pakistan

IT Jobs Moving From India to Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan: The Party Has Started

Pakistan Mobile Broadband Speed Fastest in South Asia

Data Usage Soaring in Pakistan

Fiber Connectivity in Pakistan

Mobile Apps in Pakistan Public Sector

Armed Drones Outrage and Inspire Pakistanis

Saturday, December 16, 2017

India Breakup; Pakistan NGO Expulsions; Alabama Democrat Jones' Upset Win

Does Lord Meghnad Desai's question "A country of many nations, will India break up" raised in his latest book "The Raisina Model" make any sense? Why would India break up? What are the challenges to India's unity? Is there an identity crisis in India? Is it the power imbalance among Indian states? Is it growing income disparity among peoples and states? Is it religious, ethnic, caste and/or regional fault lines running through the length and breadth of India? Is it beef ban?

Growing Income Gap of Indian States. Source: Bloomberg

Why is Pakistan expelling dozens of foreign-funded NGOs? Is it the fall-out from Save The Children NGO's alleged collusion with the CIA in fake polio vaccination scheme to find Osama Bin Laden? Is it a general concern about the NGOs role in subverting and corrupting society as explained by Stephen Kinzer's book "The Brothers" about John Foster and Alan Dulles? Is it the State Department documents describing US-funded international NGOs as "force multipliers", "partners", "agents of change" and "an efficient path to advance our foreign policy goals"?

How did Democrat Doug Jones' pull off a win in the US Senate race in deep red Alabama? Did the allegations of sexual harassment against Republican Roy Moore play a big role? Or was it the heavy turn out of black voters that overwhelmed the vast majority of white voters (65% of white women, 74% of white men) who voted for Roy Moore? Would the result have been different if more women voted for Moore? Does it save considerable embarrassment for the Senate Republicans to see an openly racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, pedophile Judge Rpy Moore lose in a state in the Deep South?




Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/tPzuQrNSW3A




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Disintegration of India

Dalit Death Shines Light on India's Caste Apartheid

US Hypocrisy in Dr. Afridi Case

Who Killed Sabeen Mahmud?

Trump's Dog Whistle Politics

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pakistan Mobile Broadband Speed Fastest in South Asia

Pakistan's average mobile broadband speed of 13.1 megabits per second is the fastest in South Asia, according to Ookla Global Speed Test Index 2017.  Mobile broadband speeds in other South Asian countries are: Myanmar 11.7, Nepal 11, Sri Lanka 9.3, India 8.8 and Bangladesh 4.97.




World Speed Rankings:

South Asia region remains far behind the rest of the world. Pakistan ranks 89, Myanmar 94, Nepal 99, Sri Lanka 107, India 109 and Bangladesh 120 among 122 nations ranked by Ookla.  Norway tops the list with 62.66 Mbps followed by the Netherlands 53, Iceland 52.78, Singapore 51.5 and Malta 50.46 Mbps.  United States is ranked 44 with 26.32 Mbps.

Smartphones/broadband Growth:

The growth of mobile broadband has spurred demand for smartphones. Pakistan now has nearly 50 million mobile broadband subscriptions with as many smartphones. Both smartphones and broadband user base in Pakistan are surging at a rate of 1 to 2 million a month.

Next Billion Users:

Google believes the next billion smartphones will be sold in 4 countries including Pakistan. The other three countries driving demand are India, Indonesia and Brazil.

At a recent launch of Datally app in Pakistan,  Google's head of Next Billion User initiative Tania Aidrus told Express Tribune that “Google is working on digitalising Urdu to promote local content and bring the vast majority of non-English-speaking Pakistanis online."

At the launch event, Google’s Asia Pacific Industry Head Khurram Jamali said that the number of people watching videos on the internet is growing by 66% annually while social media users are increasing by 35% per year, adding that 80% of the users surf the internet through mobile phones, according to Express Tribune.

Summary:

Pakistan mobile broadband  speeds are the fastest in South Asia region and the number of users in the country are growing rapidly. There are nearly 50 million broadband/smartphone users now and rising at a rate of 1 to 2 million per month. Google has put Pakistan among 4 countries where the Next Billion smartphone users are expected to come from.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Smartphone and Broadband Use in Pakistan

IT Jobs Moving From India to Pakistan

Data Usage Soaring in Pakistan

Fiber Connectivity Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan 4G Speeds 2X Faster Than India's

Pakistan 2.0: Technology Driving Productivity

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Nepal Voters Reject Pro-India Ruling Party to Elect Left-Wing Alliance

Media reports indicate that pro-India Nepali Congress Party (NCP) led by Sher Bahadur Deuba is heading toward a major defeat in parliamentary elections. Nepalese people have shown strong preference for the Opposition left-wing alliance led K.P. Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachandathat that could garner two-thirds majority in the national legislature. The 2015-16 blockade of Nepal by India appears to have played a decisive role in voters' choice.

Nepal's Capital Kathmandu

Indian Blockade of Nepal:

In 2015, landlocked Nepal passed a new constitution with 90% of the votes in the national legislature. India did not like some of its provision and shut its border to put pressure on Nepal to force a change. Indian government denied it was responsible for the blockade. But no one could deny the ground reality of a major economic and humanitarian crisis in Nepal because of its total dependence on India for food, fuel and other supplies.

Nepali Response:

Leaders of the Nepali Congress which has always been close to New Delhi failed to unequivocally condemn the Indian action.  However,  the left-wing parties put the blame squarely on India for the crisis the crisis that caused a lot of pain in Nepal.

China vs India:

Nepal is a small landlocked country sandwiched between China to the north and India to the South. However, Nepal has had close ties to India because the two share a common religion and culture. Nepal has relied on India for almost all of its supplies.

The left-wing alliance favors closer ties with China. It seeks to reduce dependence on India by opening up supply routes through China, including a Kathmandu-Lhasa train link which goes over difficult terrain. India strongly opposes it for geopolitical reasons.

Nepalese Resentment of India:

When a devastating earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, Indian media descended en masse to portray the benevolence of Indians for the victims of disaster. The Nepalese found them so overbearing that they started a new hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia which tracked for weeks.

Source: Nepal's Himal Magazine

The Indian media also attacked Pakistan's relief efforts in Nepal while it attempted to amplify India's response to disaster. Nepal's Himal magazine's cartoon mocked the Indian media by showing a photojournalist popping out of a smiling aid carrying Indian soldier's pocket.

Superpower Delusions:

Indian leaders have superpower delusions. They express such delusions by attempting to intimidate their neighbors--particularly smaller neighbors. Indians have stirred trouble in Bangladesh by using their intelligence service; they recruited, armed and trained LTTE terrorists in Sri Lanka; they blockaded Nepal; and they are using Afghan soil to wage proxy war of terror against Pakistan. All of these activities are not winning them any friends in the neighborhood.

Summary:

Nepali voters have rejected pro-India politicians and voted in left-wing alliance that seeks better ties with China. The 2015-16 blockade of Nepal by India appears to have played a decisive role in voters' choice. It's yet another reminder that India's attempts to intimidate its neighbors are backfiring. It's time for Modi and company to re-evaluate their foreign policy that seems to be guided by the Kautilya Doctrine that says: "Your neighbor is your enemy; your neighbor's neighbor is your friend."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Indian Media's Nepal Quake Coverage Disaster

India's Kautilya Doctrine

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan?

India's Superpower Delusions

Pakistani Arms Helped Defeat LTTE in Sri Lanka

BJP Makes "Akhand Bharat" Part of Indian Textbooks

Earthquakes in South Asia

China-Pakistan Ties

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Trump on Jerusalem; India Pew Survey; Mattis in Pakistan

Why did President Donald Trump recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital? Why now? Is it designed to shore up Trump's domestic support with Evangelical Christians and Jewish donors and voters? What will be its impact in the Middle East and the world in the short term and the long term? Will it strengthen anti-US forces? Will there be more violence? Does it make the fight against terror more difficult?

What does the Pew Survey of Indians' on their views of Pakistan show? Why do 64% of Indians, the highest since 2013 when the survey began, say they view Pakistan extremely unfavorably? Is the rise of Prime Minister Modi a cause or consequence of it? Does it make the chances of peace in South Asia even more remote? Why did Indian Congress leader Mani Shankar Ayar call Indian Prime Minister "neech aadmi" (mean person)?

 How did US Def Sec Gen James Mattis' visit to Islamabad go? Why did Stratfor analysts say "Mad Dog (Mattis) Will Bark, But Islamabad Won't Bite"? Did anything change after the visit?  Will Pakistan yield to US pressure? What comes next? Will Pakistan really shoot down any US drones violating Pakistan airspace as the Pakistan Air Force Chief claims? Will US-Pakistan relations further deteriorate?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


https://youtu.be/U2WYeoVBBfU





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Do Trump and Modi Have Much in Common?

Will Pakistan Yield to US Pressure? 

Growing Power of Jewish Lobby in Washington

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rising Share of Income of Poorest 20% Pakistani Households

The share of national income of Pakistan's poorest 20% of households has increased from 8.1% to 9.6% since 1990 , according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (NESCAP) Statistical Yearbook for 2015.  It's the highest share of income for the bottom income quintile in the region.

Income Share Change in Asia's Poorest Quintile: 

The countries where people in the poorest income quintile have increased their share of total income include Kyrgyzstan (from 2.5 per cent to 7.7), the Russian Federation (4.4 per cent to 6.5), Kazakhstan (7.5 per cent to 9.5) and Pakistan (8.1 per cent to 9.6).  India's bottom income quintile has seen its share of income drop from 9% to 7.8%.

Bottom Quintile Income Share Change. Source: UNESCAP Statistical Yearbook

Although more people in China have lifted themselves out of poverty than any other country in the world, the poorest quintile in that country now accounts for a lower percentage of total income (4.7 per cent) than in the early 1990s (8.0 per cent). The same unfortunate trend is observed for a number of other countries, including in Indonesia (from 9.4 per cent to 7.6) and in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (from 9.3 per cent to 7.6).

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017:

Data released by Credit Suisse with its Global Wealth Report 2017 shows that Pakistan is the most egalitarian nation in South Asia. It also confirms that the median wealth of Pakistani households is three times higher than that of households in India.

Here is per capita wealth data for India and Pakistan as of mid-2017, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017 released recently.

Pakistan average wealth per adult: $5,174 vs India $5,976
Pakistan median wealth per adult: $3,338 vs India $1,295

Average household wealth in Pakistan is $15,522 (3 adults) vs India $14,940 (2.5 adults)
Median household wealth in Pakistan is $10,014  (3 adults) vs India $3,237 (2.5 adults)

Pakistan Gini Index 52.6% vs India 83%

World Bank Update on Pakistan: 

A November 2016 World Bank report says that Pakistan has successfully translated economic growth into the well-being of its poorest citizens. It says "Pakistan’s recent growth has been accompanied by a staggering fall in poverty".

Rising incomes of the poorest 20% in Pakistan since 2002 have enabled them to enhance their living standards by improving their diets and acquiring television sets, refrigerators, motorcycles, flush toilets, and better housing.

Another recent report titled "From Wealth to Well Being" by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also found that Pakistan does better than India and China in translating GDP growth to citizens' well-being.

One particular metric BCG report uses is growth-to-well-being coefficient on which Pakistan scores 0.87, higher than India's 0.77 and China's 0.75.

Big Poverty Decline Since 2002:

Using the old national poverty line of $1.90 (ICP 2011 PPP) , set in 2001, the percentage of people living in poverty fell from 34.7 percent in FY02 to 9.3 percent in FY14—a fall of more than 75 percent. Much of the socioeconomic progress reported by the World Bank since 2000 has occurred during President Musharraf's years in office from 2000-2007. It has dramatically slowed or stagnated since 2010.

Source: World Bank Report Nov 2016

Using the new 2016 poverty line of $3.50 (ICP 2011 PPP),  29.5 percent of Pakistanis as poor (using the latest available data from FY14). By back casting this line, the poverty rate in FY02 would have been about 64.3 percent.

Pakistan's new poverty line sets a minimum consumption threshold of Rs. 3,030 or $105 (ICP 2011 PPP) per person per month or $3.50 (ICP 2011 PPP) per person per day. This translates to between Rs. 18,000 and Rs. 21,000 per month for a household at the poverty line, allowing nearly 30% of the population or close to 60 million people to be targeted for pro-poor and inclusive development policies—thus setting a much higher bar for inclusive development.

Multi-dimensional Poverty Decline:

UNDP report released in June 2016 said Pakistan’s MPI (Multi-dimensional poverty index) showed a strong decline, with national poverty rates falling from 55% to 39% from 2004 to 2015. MPI goes beyond just income poverty.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index uses a broader concept of poverty than income and wealth alone. It reflects the deprivations people experience with respect to health, education and standard of living, and is thus a more detailed way of understanding and alleviating poverty. Since its development by OPHI and UNDP in 2010, many countries, including Pakistan, have adopted this methodology as an official poverty estimate, complementing consumption or income-based poverty figures.

Rising Living Standards of the Poorest 20% in Pakistan:

According to the latest World Report titled "Pakistan Development Update: Making Growth Matter" released this month, Pakistan saw substantial gains in welfare, including the ownership of assets, the quality of housing and an increase in school enrollment, particularly for girls.



First, the ownership of relatively more expensive assets increased even among the poorest. In the bottom quintile, the ownership of motorcycles increased from 2 to 18 percent, televisions from 20 to 36 percent and refrigerators from 5 to 14 percent.

In contrast, there was a decline in the ownership of cheaper assets like bicycles and radios.



Housing quality in the bottom quintile also showed an improvement. The number of homes constructed with bricks or blocks increased while mud (katcha) homes decreased. Homes with a flush toilet almost doubled in the bottom quintile, from about 24 percent in FY02 to 49 percent in FY14.

Dietary Improvements for the Poorest 20% in Pakistan:

Decline in poverty led to an increase in dietary diversity for all income groups.

For the poorest, the share of expenditure devoted to milk and milk products, chicken, eggs and fish rose, as did the share devoted to vegetables and fruits.

In contrast, the share of cereals and pulses, which provide the cheapest calories, declined steadily between FY02 and FY14. Because foods like chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and milk and milk products are more expensive than cereals and pulses, and have lower caloric content, this shift in consumption also increased the amount that people spent per calorie over time.

For the poorest quintile, expenditure per calorie increased by over 18 percent between FY02 and FY14. Overall, this analysis confirms that the decline in poverty exhibited by the 2001 poverty line is quite credible, and that Pakistan has done remarkably well overall in reducing monetary poverty based on the metric it set some 15 years ago, says the World Bank.

Summary:

Pakistan is among the most economically egalitarian nations in the world.  In spite of the country's many challenges on multiple fronts, it has successfully translated its GDP growth into the well-being of its poorest citizens. The share of national income of Pakistan's poorest 20% of households has increased from 8.1% to 9.6% since 1990, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (NESCAP) Statistical Yearbook for 2015.  It's the highest share of income for the bottom income quintile in the region. "Pakistan’s recent growth has been accompanied by a staggering fall in poverty", says a November 2016 World Bank report.  An earlier report by Boston Consulting Group reached a similar conclusion.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017

Pakistan Translates GDP Growth to Citizens' Well-being

Rising Motorcycle Sales in Pakistan

Depth of Deprivation in India

Chicken vs Daal in Pakistan

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Terror in Peshawar; Obama in India; Tillerson Exit?

Who was behind the terror attack at Peshawar Agriculture University? Is it the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that claimed responsibility? Will this attack harden Pakistan's position vis-a-vis TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan? Will it make less likely for Pakistan to cooperate with the US and Afghanistan? Are Pakistani security forces getting better in dealing with such attacks?

Why is former US President Obama in India? What did he say about Pakistan and its alleged role in hiding Osama Bin Laden? Why is Obama advising Indian Prime Minister Modi to abandon Hindu Nationalists' politics of hate and division along religious lines?

Is the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson really on his way out? If so, why? How is the uncertainty impacting American diplomacy abroad? Is President Trump too focussed on building up and funding the military at the expense of diplomacy? Will it backfire?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/Em8-PX2WAJY




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wave of Terror in Pakistan

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

India is Lynching Capital of the World

Tillerson in South Asia

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Katas Raj Temple Case Exposes Pakistan's Groundwater Crisis

Pakistan Supreme Court has recently taken notice of the drying water pond at Katas Raj temple located in Chakwal district in the nation's Punjab province.  Hindus believe that it was formed from the tears Lord Shiva shed after the death of his wife Sati.

Why is the temple pond drying up? What is happening to the water source that used to keep it full? Is it symptomatic of a much larger  life-and-death issue of water stress Pakistan faces? Let's explore the answers to these questions.

Groundwater Depletion:

Katas Raj temple pond is a victim of the falling water table due to increasing use of groundwater in Pakistan. Pakistan, India, and the United States are responsible for two-thirds of that outsize groundwater use globally,  according to a report by University College London researcher Carole Dalin.  Nearly half of this groundwater is used to grow wheat and rice crops for domestic consumption and exports.  This puts Pakistan among the world's largest exporters of its rapidly depleting groundwater.

NASA Satellite Maps:

Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources is working with  United States' National Air and Space Administration (NASA) to monitor groundwater resources in the country.

Water Stress Satellite Map Source: NASA 
NASA's water stress maps shows extreme water stress across most of Pakistan and northern, western and southern parts of India.

The US space agency uses Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to measure earth's groundwater. GRACE’s pair of identical satellites, launched in 2002, map tiny variations in Earth's gravity. Since water has mass, it affects these measurements. Therefore, GRACE data can help scientists monitor where the water is and how it changes over time, according to NASA.

Aquifer Recharge:

Building large dams is only part of the solution to water stress in Pakistan. The other, more important part, is building structures to trap rain water for recharging aquifers across the country.

Typical Aquifer in Thar Desert 

Pakistan's highly water stressed Punjab province is beginning recognize the need for replacing groundwater. Punjab Government is currently in the process of planning a project to recharge aquifers for groundwater management in the Province by developing the economical and sustainable technology and to recharge aquifer naturally and artificially at the available site across the Punjab. It has allocated Rs. 582.249 million to execute this project over four years.

Punjab Pilot Project: 

The Punjab pilot project is intended to recharge groundwater by building flood water ponds in "old Mailsi Canal and supplement it by installing suitable recharging mechanism like recharging well as pilot project. Moreover to develop efficient and sustainable techniques for artificial recharge of Aquifer using surplus rain, flood and surface water and also strengthening the ground water monitoring network in Punjab as well as to identify the different potential feasible sites for artificial recharge."

Summary:

Katas Raj Pond case in Pakistan Supreme Court has brought mass media attention to the nation's existential crisis with its water resource depletion. The country needs to urgently address this looming crisis with a multi-pronged effort. It needs to build large dams and recharge its groundwater reservoirs. At the same time, Pakistan needs to find ways to conserve and more efficiently use the water resources it has.  The country needs to particularly focus on efficient farm irrigation and planting of less water intensive varieties of crops because the agriculture sector uses over 90% of all available water.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Water Scarce Pakistan

Cycles of Drought and Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan to Build Massive Dams

Dust Bowl in Thar Desert Region

Dasht River in Balochistan

Hindus in Pakistan

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Why Do Majority of Indians Favor Military Rule?

A majority of Indians, 53%, favor military rule, according to a Pew Research Center survey released recently. India is one of only 4 countries where a majority is in favor of a military government, according to the survey. Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Africa are the other three.

Source: Pew Research Center

Pew Survey Question:

The Pew survey questionnaire asked respondents to vote on direct democracy, representative democracy,  technocrats rule, rule by a strong leader and rule by military. Here are the definitions of these in the survey:

Direct Democracy: A democratic system where citizens, not elected officials, vote directly on major national issues to decide what becomes law.

Representative Democracy: A democratic system where representatives elected by the people decide what becomes law. 

Rule by Experts: Experts, not elected officials, make decisions according to what they think is best for the country.

Rule by a Strong Leader: A system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts.

Rule by Military: The military rules the country.

Indian Responses:

Majorities voted yes on all 5 choices with direct democracy leading with 76%, followed by representative democracy 75%, rule by experts 65%, rule by strong leader 55% and rule by the military 53%.

The results are a bit confusing but  it does seem that the majority of the people in India are open to all forms of government ranging from democratic to autocratic.

Why Autocracy?

The survey results raise the following question: Why are the majority of Indians so open to 3 non-democratic choices out of 5? I think the answer to this question can be found in the following post titled "Civilian "Democracy" vs Military "Dictatorship" Debate in Pakistan" that I wrote three years ago:

Civilian "Democracy" vs Military "Dictatorship":

Asian Tigers became Asian Tigers under dictators before they became democratic. There is not a single example of a developing country that became a developed country under democratic rule since WW II. Development gap between China, a one-party state, and India, a multi-party democracy, is huge and growing. Developed countries in Europe and North America took centuries to develop under democratic systems. Asian Tigers did it much faster under dictators. China is doing so now. Asia's experience has shown that democratic processes act as speed breakers to slow pace of development and stymie efforts to reduce poverty, ignorance and disease to deliver higher living standards. Let's examine these statements and see how they apply to Pakistan.

Asian Tigers:

Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea  experienced a dramatic rise under authoritarian regimes from 1960s through 1990s. The dictators who led these states also showed the way to fellow Asian dictators in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and China who also industrialized and prospered using the same formula that rejected the Washington Consensus of democracy and free markets as the basis for development of all nations.



1960s Pakistan:

Pakistan was on a similar trajectory as the Asian Tigers during 1960s under Gen Ayub Khan's rule. GDP growth in this decade jumped to an average annual rate of 6 percent from 3 percent in the 1950s, according to Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. Dr. Husain says: "The manufacturing sector expanded by 9 percent annually and various new industries were set up. Agriculture grew at a respectable rate of 4 percent with the introduction of Green Revolution technology. Governance improved with a major expansion in the government’s capacity for policy analysis, design and implementation, as well as the far-reaching process of institution building.7 The Pakistani polity evolved from what political scientists called a “soft state” to a “developmental” one that had acquired the semblance of political legitimacy. By 1969, Pakistan’s manufactured exports were higher than the exports of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia combined."



Bangladesh:

Some argue that it was Ayub Khan's rule in 1960s that resulted in the loss of Pakistan's eastern wing and the creation of Bangladesh. I strongly disagree with this view. I believe that ill-conceived general elections of 1970 gave the opportunity to Pakistani politicians to lie to mostly poor and illiterate electorate of the time to win their votes. Shaikh Mujib exploited normal regional economic disparities that can be found in any country, including India and US, to argue that Bengalis were unfairly treated. Just look at the income data for various states in US or in India and you'll see huge gaps in incomes and standards of living. Indian Punjab's per capita income of Rs. 88,783 is 1.4 times higher than West Bengal's Rs. 62,831. Bihar's per capita income of Rs. 28,317 is less than a quarter of Haryana's Rs. 122,660. New Jersey's per capita income of  $53,628 is much higher than Mississippi's $33,073. 

In the end, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto refused to sit down and talk with Shaikh Mujib and forced the split. Here's how one of Bhutto's friends late Gov Salman Taseer offered his view in his book "Bhutto: A Political Biography"

"Blame can never be satisfactorily or finally apportioned to the major players in this grisly drama, but that Bhutto, Mujibur Rahman and Yahya Khan share responsibility there can be no doubt. Many, indeed, are inclined to the view that Bhutto, as the most sure-footed politician of the three and thus the best equipped to assess the consequences of his actions, must accept the lion's share of the blame. Argument on this point will remain one of the central themes of Pakistani politics, perhaps for decades."

The fact is that economic gap between former East Pakistan and Pakistan has grown over the last 40 years, and the per capita income in Pakistan now stands at more than twice Bangladesh's in 2012 in nominal dollar terms,  higher than 1.6X in 1971.

The China Miracle: Fastest GDP Growth in World History



India: 


As China's share of the world's extreme poor (living below $1.25 per day per person level) has dramatically declined, India's share has significantly increased.  India now contributes 33% (up from 22 % in 1981). While the extreme poor in Sub-Saharan Africa represented only 11 percent of the world’s total in 1981, they now account for 34% of the world’s extreme poor, and China comes next contributing 13 percent (down from 43 percent in 1981), according to the World Bank report titled State of the Poor.

The share of poverty in  South Asia region excluding India has slightly increased from 7% in 1981 to 9% now, according to the report. India now has the world's largest share of the world's poor, hungry, illiterate and sick who still lack access to very basic sanitation.

Pakistan Growth By Decades. Source: National Trade and Transport Facility


In a recent book "Street Smarts", a hedge fund Manager Jim Rogers makes some important points to explain how East Asians have succeeded in rapidly developing while others have failed:

 "Many Asians say that the Asian Way is first to open your economy, to bring prosperity to your country, and then, only after that, to open up your political system. They say that the reason the Russians failed is that did it the other way around. Russia opened up its political system in the absence of a sound economy, everybody bitched and complained, and chaos inevitably ensued. As an example of the Asian path to political openness, they point to South Korea and Taiwan, both of which were once vicious dictatorships supported by the United States. Japan was at one time a one-party state supported by the US military. Singapore achieved its current status under one-party, authoritarian rule. All these countries have since become more prosperous and more open. 

Plato, in The Republic, says that the way societies evolve is by going from dictatorship to oligarchy to democracy to chaos and back to dictatorship. It has a certain logic, and Plato was a very smart guy. I do not know if the Asians ever read The Republic, but the Asian way seems to suggest that Plato knew whereof he spoke." Not only is the Asian model different from that of the Soviets, it stands China in marked contrast to those thirty-year dictatorships previously mentioned. Chinese leaders have put a high premium upon changing the country's economy, presumably to seek prosperity for the 1.3 billion people who live there." 

"And yet,in 1947, when it achieved independence, India was one of the more successful countries in the world, a democratic country. But despite democracy, or maybe because of it, India has never lived up to its potential. China was a shambles as recently as 1980. India was far ahead of it. Bt since then China has left India, literally in the dust....As China rises, India continues to decline relatively. Its debt-to-GDP ratio is now 90 percent, making a strong growth rate virtually impossible."




Pakistan's Economic History:

Since 1947, Pakistan has seen three periods of military rule: 1960s, 1980s and 2000s. In each of these decades, Pakistan's economy has performed significantly better than in decades under political governments.



In a 10/12/1988 interview with Professor Anatol Lieven of King's College and quoted in a book "Pakistan-A Hard Country", here is how eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Mabubul Haq explained lower economic growth under "democratic" governments:


"..every time a new political government comes in they have to distribute huge amounts of state money and jobs as rewards to politicians who have supported them, and short term populist measures to try to convince the people that their election promises meant something, which leaves nothing for long-term development. As far as development is concerned, our system has all the worst features of oligarchy and democracy put together.

That is why only technocratic, non-political governments in Pakistan have ever been able to increase revenues. But they can not stay in power for long because they have no political support...For the same reason we have not been able to deregulate the economy as much as I wanted, despite seven years of trying, because the politicians and officials both like the system Bhutto (Late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) put in place. It suits them both very well, because it gave them lots of lucrative state-sponsored jobs in industry and banking to take for themselves or distribute to their relatives and supporters."
Human and Economic Development under Musharraf:

Pakistan saw yet another confirmation of accelerated economic and human development under military rule in years 2000-2007. Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”.

Source: Human Development Report 2013-Pakistan



 At 0.515, Pakistan's HDI is lower than the average HDI value of 0.558 for South Asia which is the second lowest among the various regions of the world tracked by UNDP. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions. Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%), according to the United Nations Development Program.

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

 Who's to blame for this dramatic slowdown in the nation's human development?  Who gave it a low priority? Zardari? Peoples' Party? Sharif brothers? PML (N)? PML (Q)? Awami National Party? Muttahida Qaumi Movement?  The answer is: All of them. They were all part of the government. In fact, the biggest share of the blame must be assigned to PML (N).



Sharif brothers weren't part of the ruling coalition at the center. So why should the PML (N) share the blame for falling growth in the nation's HDI? They must accept a large part of the blame because education and health, the biggest contributors to human development, are both provincial subjects and PML(N) was responsible for education and health care of more than half of Pakistan's population.

Pakistan R&D as Percentage of GDP Source: World Bank


Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.



Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident.  Not only did Musharraf's policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country's total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which  continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring.

Pakistan's High-Tech Exports Tripled as % of Manufactured Exports. Source: World Bank
Political and Performance Legitimacy:

The issue of rulers' legitimacy often raised in Pakistan is not as black and white as it appears.  Polls showed that military rulers like Gen Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan made up with performance legitimacy for lack of political legitimacy. On the other hand, civilian leaders who ascended to power did demonstrate political legitimacy but they have consistently lacked performance legitimacy. Similarly, the terms "democracy" and "dictatorship" are often vague in Pakistan's context. Pakistani "dictators" were much more "democratic" than civilian politicians in deregulating mass media and allowing lots of political debate which was absent before Musharraf's coup in 1999.

Source: Pew Surveys in Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto Created Taliban:

Many Pakistanis hold the military responsible for creating the Taliban who are now responsible for daily carnage in Pakistan. Few Pakistanis know that the Taliban movement was midwifed by Benazir Bhutto and her right-hand man and interior minister Naseerullah Babar during her term in office in 1993-1996. Benazir is often referred to as the Mother of the Taliban because of her role in giving birth to the Taliban movement. Once born and nurtured by Benazir and Babar, the Taliban quickly became a force to be reckoned with. The Taliban under Mulla Omar's leadership defeated the Afghan Mujahedeen who had fought against the Soviets and quickly took control of much of Afghanistan in just a few years. The Taliban became so confident that they resisted Pakistan's pressure and refused to agree to the Durand Line as international Pak-Afghan border when they were in power in Kabul in 1990s.

Summary: 

Pakistan saw rapid social and economic development under military regimes in 1960s, 1980s and 2000s. Each time the torch passed to a civilian government, both the economy and social sectors suffered a significant slowdown.  If Pakistan had 30 years of continuous military rule with sustained  growth without several lost decades, it would have been an economy several times larger than it is today.



Had Pakistan's development continued on the 1960s trajectory, it is quite conceivable that Pakistan would be a prosperous democracy like the Asian Tigers today.

Here's a recent discussion on democracy in Pakistan:


Pakistan PM Invites Army Intervention; Can Army Chief Save Nawaz Sharif Govt? from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India Tops World Slavery Charts

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Challenges of Indian Democracy

Pakistan's Economic History

Comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan

Economic and Human Development in Musharraf Years

India's Share of World;s Poor Up from 22% to 33%

Wealth Inequality in India and Pakistan

Musharraf Era Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Credit Suisse: Pakistan's Wealth Inequality is the Lowest in South Asia

Data released by Credit Suisse with its Global Wealth Report 2017 shows that Pakistan is the most egalitarian nation in South Asia. It also confirms that the median wealth of Pakistani households is three times higher than that of households in India.

Wealth Inequality:

Inequality is measured in terms of Gini index. It ranges from 0% for perfect equality (when everyone has the same wealth)  to 100% for total inequality (when all of the wealth is owned by one person).  On this scale, Pakistan’s Gini index is 52.6%, Bangladesh’s 57.9%, Sri Lanka’s 66.5%, Nepal’s 67.3%, China’s 78.9% and India's 83%.

Data Source: Credit Suisse Graph: Counterview


Household Wealth:

Here is per capita wealth data for India and Pakistan as of mid-2017, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017 released recently.

Pakistan average wealth per adult: $5,174 vs India $5,976
Pakistan median wealth per adult: $3,338 vs India $1,295

Average household wealth in Pakistan is $15,522 (3 adults) vs India $14,940 (2.5 adults)
Median household wealth in Pakistan is $10,014  (3 adults) vs India $3,237 (2.5 adults)

Pakistan Gini Index 52.6% vs India 83%

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles: 

Growing household wealth in developing nations like India and Pakistan is reflected in  ownership of consumer durables like computers, home appliances and vehicles. This data is sourced from periodic household surveys like NSS (National Sampling Survey) in India and PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership in India and Pakistan. Source: KSBL


India-Pakistan Comparison:

Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, a professor at Karachi School of Business Leadership, has recently analyzed household surveys in India and Pakistan to discover the following:

1.  As of 2015, car ownership in both India and Pakistan is about the same at 6% of households owning a car. However, 41% of Pakistani household own motorcycles, several points higher than India's 32%.

2. 12% of Pakistani households own a computer, slightly higher than 11% in India.

3. Higher percentage of Pakistani households own appliances such as refrigerators (Pakistan 47%, India 33%), washing machines (Pakistan 48%, India 15%) and fans (Pakistan 91%, India 83%).

4. 71% of Indian households own televisions versus 62% in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL
Growth over Time:

Dr. Abdul Ghani has also analyzed household data to show that the percentage of Pakistani households owning washing machines has doubled while car and refrigerator ownership has tripled and motorcycle ownership jumped 6-fold from 2001 to 2014.

Income/Consumption Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL

Rapid Income Growth:

Rising ownership of durables in Pakistan has been driven by significant reduction in poverty and growth of household incomes, according to Dr. Abdul Ghani's research. Percentage of households with per capita income of under $2 per day per person has plummeted from 57% in 2001 to 7% in 2014. At the same time, the percentage of households earning $2 to $10 per day per person has soared from 42% of households in 2001 to 87% of households in 2014.  The percentage of those earning over $10 per day per person has jumped 7-fold from 1% of households in 2001 to 7% of households in 2014.

Summary:

Credit Suisse wealth data for 2017 shows that Pakistan has the lowest wealth inequality in its region as measured by Gini index. Lower inequality can be seen in terms of rising percentage of households that can afford to buy durables like appliances and vehicles as reported by Dr. Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL).

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan: A Majority Middle Class Country

Karachi School of Business and Leadership

State Bank: Pakistan's Actual GDP Higher Than Officially Reported

College Enrollment in Pakistan

Musharraf Accelerated Development of Pakistan's Human and Financial Capital

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor