Sunday, October 11, 2009

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

There is nothing more basic in terms of human necessities than the adequate availability of roti, kapra aur makaan. Going beyond these bare essentials of food, clothing and housing, one can add sanitation, health care and education. Let's examine how the two biggest nations in South Asia are coping with such fundamental necessities of their population:

1. Food:

Food is the most basic necessity of all. In terms of being better fed, Pakistanis consume significantly more dairy products, sugar, wheat, meat, eggs and poultry on a per capita basis than Indians, according to FAO data. Average Pakistani gets about 50% of daily calories from non-food-grain sources versus 33% for average Indians.

There is widespread hunger and malnutrition in all parts of India. India ranks 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries while Pakistan is slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70. The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) report in 2008 found that Madhya Pradesh had the most severe level of hunger in India, comparable to Chad and Ethiopia. Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — fell in the 'serious' category. "Affluent" Gujarat, 13th on the Indian list is below Haiti, ranked 69. The authors said India's poor performance was primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and under-nourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.

Last year, Indian Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed acknowledged that India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement.

Speaking at a conference on "Malnutrition an emergency: what it costs the nation", she said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during interactions with the Planning Commission has described malnourishment as the "blackest mark".

"I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better," she said. The conference was organized last year by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.

According to India's Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the last seven years. This is only a shade better than Sub-Saharan Africa where about 35 percent of children are malnourished.

India has recently been described as a "nutritional weakling" by a British report.

2. Clothing:

According to Werner International, Pakistan's per capita consumption of textile fibers is about 4 Kg versus 2.8 Kg for India. Global average is 6.8 Kg and the industrialized countries' average consumption is 17 Kg per person per per year.

3. Shelter:

There is widespread homelessness in India, with a population 7 times larger than Pakistan's, with the urgent need for 72 million housing units. Pakistan, too, has a housing crisis and needs about 7 million additional housing units, about a tenth of India's shortage, according to the data presented at the World Bank Regional Conference on Housing last year.



4. Sanitation:

India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.

Lizette Burgers, chief of water and environment sanitation of the Unicef, recently said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia. A former Indian minister Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told the BBC that more than 65% of India's rural population defecated in the open, along roadsides, railway tracks and fields, generating huge amounts of excrement every day.

While a mere 14 percent of people in rural India - that account for 65 percent of its 1.1 billion population - had access to toilets in 1990, the number had gone up to 28 percent in 2006. In comparison, 33 percent rural Pakistanis had access to toilets in 1990 and it went up to an impressive 58 percent in 2006, according to UNICEF.

Why is it that Pakistan has had more success than India in improving sanitation?

Both India and Pakistan have Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) campaigns supported by UNICEF, with the aim of creating open defecation free villages through education and funding. For reasons which are not obvious, it seems that the strategy has produced better results in Pakistan than in India so far. One possible reason may be that CLTS India is state driven versus CLTS Pakistan is driven by community champions, according to a paper by Lyla Mehta that sheds light on how the CLTS campaigns work in India and Pakistan.

As an example, let's compare India's largest slum Dharavi with Pakistan's Orangi Town. The fact is that Orangi is nothing like Dharavi in terms of the quality of its housing or the services available to its residents. While Dharavi has only one toilet per 1440 residents and most of its residents use Mahim Creek, a local river, for urination and defecation, Orangi has an elaborate sanitation system built by its citizens. Under Orangi Pilot Project's guidance, between 1981 and 1993 Orangi residents installed sewers serving 72,070 of 94,122 houses. To achieve this, community members spent more than US$2 million of their own money, and OPP invested about US$150,000 in research and extension of new technologies. Orangi pilot project has been admired widely for its work with urban poor.

5. Healthcare:

A basic indicator of healthcare is access to physicians. There are 80 doctors per 100,000 population in Pakistan versus 60 in India, according to the World Health Organization. For comparison with the developed world, the US and Europe have over 250 physicians per 100,000 people. UNDP recently reported that life expectancy at birth in Pakistan is 66.2 years versus India's 63.4 years.

Access to healhcare in South Asia, particularly due to the wide gender gap, presents a huge challenge, and it requires greater focus to ensure improvement in human resources. Though the life expectancy has increased to 66.2 years in Pakistan and 63.4 years in India, it is still low relative to the rest of the world. The infant mortality rate remains stubbornly high, particular in Pakistan, though it has come down down from 76 per 1000 live births in 2003 to 65 in 2009. With 320 mothers dying per 100,000 live births in Pakistan and 450 in India, the maternal mortality rate in South Asia is very high, according to UNICEF.

6. Education:

India's literacy rate of 61% is well ahead of Pakistan's 50% rate. In higher education, six Indian universities have made the list of the top 400 universities published by Times Higher Education Supplement this year. Only one Pakistani university was considered worthy of such honor.

Pakistan has consistently scored lower on the HDI sub-index on education than its overall HDI index. It is obvious from the UNDP report and other sources that Pakistan's dismal record in enrolling and educating its young people, particularly girls, stands in the way of any significant positive development in the nation. The recent announcement of a new education policy that calls for more than doubling the education spending from about 3% to 7% of GDP is a step in the right direction. However, money alone will not solve the deep-seated problems of poor access to education, rampant corruption and the ghost schools that only exist on paper, that have simply lined the pockets of corrupt politicians and officials. Any additional money allocated must be part of a broader push for transparent and effective delivery of useful education to save the people from the curses of poverty, ignorance and extremism which are seriously hurting the nation.

In spite of deficiency in education, how is it that Pakistanis can maintain better standards of living in terms of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation and healthcare than their neighbor India? The first answer is that, according to the 2009 UN Human and Income Poverty Report, the people living under $1.25 a day in India is 41.6 percent, about twice as much as Pakistan's 22.6 percent. The second answer can be found in the fact that Pakistanis' real per capita incomes are actually higher than reported by various agencies. The most recent real per capita income data was calculated and reported by Asian Development Bank based on a detailed study of a list of around 800 household and nonhousehold products in 2005 and early 2006 to compare real purchasing power for ADB's trans-national income comparison program (ICP). The ICP concluded that Pakistan had the highest per capita income at HK$ 13,528 among the largest nations in South Asia. It reported India’s per capita as HK $12,090.

Conclusion:

Clearly, the status of an average Indian is not only worse than an average Pakistani's, the abject deprivation in India is comparable to the nations in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Pakistanis do need to worry about their woefully inadequate state of education and literacy. They must find a way to develop the skills, grow the economy and create opportunities for their growing young population. As Pakistan's former finance minister Salman Shah recently told the wall Street Journal, "Pakistan has to be part of globalization or you end up with Talibanization. Until we put these (Pakistan's) young people into industrialization and services, and off-farm work, they will drift into this negative extremism; there is nothing worse than not having a job." Unless Pakistanis heed Shah's advice, there is real danger that Pakistan will slip into total chaos and violence, endangering the entire nation in the foreseeable future.

To summarize, this post has discussed six different indicators of life in any nation: Availability of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, health care and education. The published data that I have shared with you shows that PAKISTAN IS AHEAD OF INDIA IN FIVE OF THE SIX INDICATORS. In education, however, Pakistan is marginally behind India, which itself suffers from low levels of literacy and wide gender gap resulting in very poor showing on the UNDP HDI this year, and in prior years. In spite of heavy visa restrictions and quotas imposed by many nations around the world, about a million Indians manage to leave India in search of a better life. In fact, India dropped six places on the world rankings from a low of 128 to an even lower 134. Unfortunately, Pakistan has also slipped three ranks on the list, down from 138 to 141, mainly due to its deficit in literacy and gender discrimination.

Here are some more recent comparative indicators in South Asia:

One out of every three illiterate adults in the world is an Indian, according to UNESCO.

One out of very two hungry persons in the world is an Indian, according to World Food Program.

Almost one out of two Indians lives below the poverty line of $1.25 per day.

And yet, India spends $30 billion on defense, and just increased the defense budget by 32% this year.

Poverty:

Population living under $1.25 a day - India: 41.6% Pakistan: 22.6% Source: UNDP

Underweight Children Under Five (in percent) Pakistan 38% India 46% Source: UNICEF

Life expectancy at birth (years), 2007 India: 63.4 Pakistan: 66.2 Source: HDR2009

Education:

Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2000 to 2007, male Pak istan: 80% India 87% Source: UNICEF

Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2000 to 2007, female Pak istan 60% India 77% Source: UNICEF

Economics:

GDP per capita (US$), 2008 Pak:$1000-1022 India $1017-1100

Child Protection:

Child marriage under 15-years ; 1998–2007*, total Pak istan - 32% India - 47% Source: UNICEF

Under-5 mortality rate per 1000 live births (2007), Value Pakistan - 90 India 72 Source: UNICEF

Here's recent video of Prof Jayati Ghosh of Nehru University debunking the myth of the "Indian Miracle":




Related Links:

Syeda Hamida of Indian Planning Commission Says India Worse Than Pakistan and Bangladesh

Global Hunger Index Report 2009

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India

WRI Report on BOP Housing Market

Food, Clothing and Shelter For All

India's Family Health Survey

Hunger and Undernutrition Blog

Pakistan's Total Sanitation Campaign

Is India a Nutritional Weakling?

Asian Gains in World's Top Universities

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

What Does Democracy Deliver in Pakistan

Do South Asian Slums Offer Hope?

204 comments:

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Riaz Haq said...

Here's another Indian report (2008) on edible oil consumption:

Vegetable oil consumption in the country is continuously
rising and has sharply increased in
the last couple of years to roughly 11.2 kg/head/year. This is still lower than the world average
consumption level of 17.8 kg and that in neighbouring countries like Pakistan (16.1 kg).

The developed western world has a per capita consumption of 44 to 48 kg/year. According to projections from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), per capita consumption of edible oils is likely to reach 13.95, 14.83 and 16.17 kg by 2009-2010 if per capita income grows by 4%, 5% and 6% respectively.


http://www.ameft.com/picture/upload/file/08.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Fresh Plaza news report on fruits and vegetables production in Pakistan:

Pakistan produces over 14 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables of which almost one-third is wasted and never reaches the consumer. High post-harvest losses not only lower incomes of producers and traders, but also reduce the quantity available in local market as well as for export. Despite large production, our fresh produce exports are negligible (three per cent) and also fetch lower prices in international markets. So far Pakistani exporters have not been able to penetrate into high end supermarket chains, which account for about 80 per cent of the fruits and vegetables sales in the EU and other developed countries. Mango export earns about $24 million annually and around 60-70 per cent of good quality varieties is exported to the Middle East and 15-16 per cent to Europe.

The export of fresh produce, particularly mango is limited by enormous cost of air freight as compared to sea freight. The interest in sea freighting of mangoes is growing and probably it is the only commercially viable option for export to distant places in the future. However, it needs extended time and specific protocols to be developed for maintaining fruit quality, which is only possible using Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Technology. Mangoes from South America are being successfully shipped to the EU using CA Technology. Looking at the need and demand of the sector, Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) initiated a project on “Exploiting Control Atmosphere Technology potential for extended storage and shipping of fresh produce to international markets”. The project was managed by Dr Aman Ullah Malik, Professor of Horticulture, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) to increase shelf life of fresh vegetables and fruits for the export to distant markets.

The project was executed with collaboration of National Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFS&T), Plant Pathology department of UAF and METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan.The specific problems addressed were: optimum CA-conditions for different fruits and vegetables; extension of shelf life and maintenance of quality of mangoes and facilitating sea-freighting for reducing cost of shipment to high end markets. Chief Executive PARB Dr Mubarik Ali says the successful establishment of the SOP for CA technology for fresh produce would greatly benefit exporters in future”. It will generate a good return of money invested on research, enhance our exports and create sound recognition for Pakistani fresh products in international markets.
------------
Dr Amanullah said the usefulness of this project has been demonstrated by arranging seminars, trainings, workshops, meetings and visits for the local growers/ store keepers/ cold store operators/ traders and exporters. Another remarkable achievement is publication of two research papers in the 7th International Post-harvest Symposium in Malaysia. A modern Controlled Atmosphere R & D infrastructure has been developed at Institute of Horticultural Sciences to meet the long-term national needs.


http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=102535

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' blog post on lack of hygiene in India:

My Indian friends and I joke around a lot about me as the typical white American guy visiting India. Cows! Con men! Colors! Most people I’ve met in India have restricted their reactions to my westerner-in-the-east experiences to gentle teasing. When I stuck a picture of a man urinating in public on my Facebook page, calling it one more picture of what you see everywhere you go in India, people weren’t as patient. What was I doing? Insulting the nation? Focusing on the ugly because it’s what all the westerners do when they visit India? Why does India provoke such visceral reactions in visitors?

Public urination, public defecation, dirt, garbage, filth, the poor living on the street — talking about these things, even acknowledging that they’re in front of your face, risks making your hosts unhappy, and possibly angry. It’s the third rail of India, and the voltage can be lethal. That’s why I was surprised when B.S. Raghavan decided to touch it with all 10 fingers.

Raghavan’s column in The Hindu Business Line newspaper begins with this headline: Are Indians by nature unhygienic?

Consider these excerpts:

From time to time, in their unguarded moments, highly placed persons in advanced industrial countries have burst out against Indians for being filthy and dirty in their ways of life. A majority of visitors to India from those countries complain of “Delhi belly” within a few hours of arrival, and some fall seriously ill.

There is no point in getting infuriated or defensive about this. The general lack of cleanliness and hygiene hits the eye wherever one goes in India — hotels, hospitals, households, work places, railway trains, airplanes and, yes, temples. Indians think nothing of spitting whenever they like and wherever they choose, and living in surroundings which they themselves make unliveable by their dirty habits. …

Open defecation has become so rooted in India that even when toilet facilities are provided, the spaces round temple complexes, temple tanks, beaches, parks, pavements, and indeed, any open area are covered with faecal matter. …

Even as Indians, we are forced to recoil with horror at the infinite tolerance of fellow Indians to pile-ups of garbage, overflowing sewage, open drains and generally foul-smelling environs.

There’s plenty more that you can read in that story, but I’ll direct you to the article. I’ll also ask you some questions:

Some people say you shouldn’t point out these problems, and that every country has problems. Do you agree with this statement? Why?
Does anyone disagree with Raghavan’s descriptions of these sights and smells?
Is this even a problem? Or should people get used to it?
Should visitors, especially ones from countries where people are generally wealthier, say nothing, and pretend that they don’t see unpleasant things?
As for me, I can say this: I got used to it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice it. Indians notice it too. Otherwise, people wouldn’t suggest public shaming campaigns against people urinating in public, they wouldn’t threaten fines for doing it, and they wouldn’t respond with relief to plans to finally make sure that toilets on India’s trains don’t open directly onto the tracks. Of course, these are people in India. It’s a family, taking care of business the family way.

As for me, the message usually seems to be: “If you don’t love it, leave it.” It would be nice if there were some other answer. Acknowledging problems, even ones that are almost impossible to solve, makes them easier to confront.


http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2012/11/17/indians-inherently-unhygienic-indian-writer-touches-third-rail/

Riaz Haq said...

With nearly a fourth of its 1.1 billion popu-lation hungry, India indeed is the world’s hunger capital.

As more and more reports of the global financial meltdown are pouring in, digest this. It made the world scurry to a grim one billion hungry people, a fact perceived as a grave threat to global peace and security. The UN estimates that hunger now affects one in six people, compounded by factors such as war, drought or floods, high food prices and poverty. Most of the hunger in a world of plenty results from grinding, deep-rooted poverty.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), there are 100 million more hungry people this year, meaning they consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day. A spokesman of the World Food Programme said hungry people rioted in at least 30 countries last year, leading to, most notably, deadly riots in Haiti sparked off by soaring food prices to spiral into the overthrow of the prime minister.

“A hungry world is a dangerous world,” he said, “without food, people have only three options: They riot, they emigrate or they die. None of these are acceptable options.” Are not the Kalahandi district of Orissa and Lalgarh of West Bengal illustrative examples of the observation?

Absent State
Commentators note that in the 1990s, when India began to move towards a free market, the Naxalite movement revived in some of the poorest and most populous Indian states. Part of the reason for this is that some livelihood and living-related issues like agriculture, public health, education and poverty-eradication have been given a short shrift, exposing large sections of the population to disease, debt, hunger and starvation. The Indian state is conspicuously absent in most backward areas of the country.



Notwithstanding plaudits such as Thomas Friedman celebrating India as a success story of globalisation, it must be put on record that India has a terrible record in tackling hunger and malnutrition. Amartya Sen has repeatedly pointed out how the ‘very poor’ in India get a small share of the cake that information technology and related developments generate.

India ranked 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries, as per a report released by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
India has the highest number of undernourished people in the world — 230 million — added to which 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices.

The report of the UN World Food Programme is quite unflattering. More than 27 per cent of the world’s undernourished population lives in India, of whom 43 per cent children (under five years) are underweight. The figure is higher than the global average of 25 per cent and even beats sub-Saharan Africa’s figure of 28 per cent. Nearly 50 per cent of child deaths in India occur due to malnutrition.

Left out
“In no case should we allow citizens to go hungry,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admirably said in a meeting of state chief secretaries to take stock of the drought-like conditions in parts of the country. He seemed to be aware that non-utilisation of funds by a few states under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and National Food Security Mission, the two major schemes for the agriculture sector launched by the Centre, is another factor why, despite the element of goodwill, the target beneficiaries remain outside the loop of development.

The National Food Security Act of the UPA government is a step in the right direction as it envisages food-security-for-all. But the task of expanding our public distribution system must also take into account weeding out bogus cardholders and hoarders, while a stricter vigil has to be kept on both the quantity and quality of the available foodstock under PDS. Incorrect information, inaccurate measurement of household characteristics, corruption and inefficiency must be plugged.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/21720/india-still-worlds-hunger-capital.html

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