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:

1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/india/091009/unfettered-regulation-india-pulls-ahead-stem-cell-treatments

It will take 100 years for Pakistan to be of same standard like India when it comes to innovation in healthcare. Fact is smart Indians are lot smarter than smart Pakistanis. In fact no comparison.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "It will take 100 years for Pakistan to be of same standard like India when it comes to innovation in healthcare."

Isn't it ironic that Indian medical establishment is chasing the foreigners to offer untested, dangerous experimental procedures in its quest for dollars while most average Indians have no or little access to even basic healthcare? Can you imagine any self-respecting developed nation allowing such a state of affairs?

Anonymous said...

It is pretty dismal state of affairs in India indeed.

But can you imagine any self-respecting civilised country in the world bombing its own citizens and using air force against its own people. Ofcourse there is Pakistan and SriLanka.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "But can you imagine any self-respecting civilised country in the world bombing its own citizens and using air force against its own people."

Have you heard about the American civil war? The American Civil War was the first war to witness significant use of aeronautics in support of battle. Thaddeus Lowe made noteworthy contributions to the Union war effort using a fleet of balloons he created In June 1861 Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe left his work in the private sector as a scientist/balloonist and offered his services as an aeronaut to President Lincoln, who took some interest in the idea of an air war. Lowe's demonstration of flying his balloon Enterprise over Washington, DC, and transmitting a telegraph message to the ground was enough to have him introduced to the commanders of the Topographical Engineers; initially it was thought balloons could be used for preparing better maps.

Lowe's first action was at the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861 with General Irvin McDowell and the Grand Army of the Potomac. Enterprise did a free flight observation of the Confederate positions.

In another demonstration, Lowe was called to Fort Corcoran by artillery General W. F. Smith. Lowe ascended to a given altitude in order to spot rebel encampments at Falls Church, Virginia. With flag signals he directed artillery fire onto the sleeping encampment. As the General put it, "The signals from the balloon have enabled my gunners to hit with a fine degree of accuracy an unseen and dispersed target area."

If they could actually drop bombs from these balloons during the American civil war, I have absolutely no doubt they would.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

Riaz, you may be right in all the points mentioned, especially sanitation which is directly related in some sense to human dignity. But what you conveniently left out is security without which, nothing else really count - because you may be even a millionaire, but if you go to market to buy fish and come back with one leg less, then how is (only relatively) better sanitation and health care going to help? In this case bar few problem areas, India is way ahead.

dcruncher4 said...

This post and the comments tells everything what is the problem with Pakistan and India. The author of this post (Riaz) comes up with such comparison post like a clock work - to indicate that pakistan is a success and India a failure. May be he is ticket off at the constant negative media report about pakistan and need to boost his self esteem by such posts. The first comment referring to India's progress in stem cell is again a typical indian response to indicate that despite such poverty, india has achieved phenomenal in any knowledge based jobs, be it IT, Medicine, somethign no muslim country can claim so despite having oil money.

May I ask both Indians and Pakistan: What do you achieve in such discussions?

And for disclosure, I am a Pakistani and my wife is Indian.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "But what you conveniently left out is security without which, nothing else really count - because you may be even a millionaire, but if you go to market to buy fish and come back with one leg less, ..."

Yes, security is problem. But the absence of security is the result of many people rejecting the status quo, which is a good thing in the long term. I hope this ugly phase brings about positive changes to make Pakistani society more just and balanced.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "What do you achieve in such discussions?"

From my pov, it's an honest discussion of the strengths of weaknesses of the two nations. Clearly the much touted Indian democracy has failed to provide the basic necessities of its people while Pakistan has miserably failed in properly educating its population. Both need to have an understanding and self-awareness to address their problems with appropriate priorities.

dcruncher4 said...

"Clearly the much touted Indian democracy has failed to provide the basic necessities of its people while Pakistan has miserably failed in properly educating its population. Both need to have an understanding and self-awareness to address their problems with appropriate priorities."

Again what's your point? Much touted American democracy and capitalism has ended with a trillion dollar reserves and a vanishing job market for educated people (indians and chinese are eating their lunch).

Fact is, despite this poverty, Indian's achievements in intellectual capability is order of magnitude more than Pakistan or for that matter any islamic country.

Have you read "The world is flat" by Thomas Friedman. He has praised Indians and Chinese a lot. he quoted Jack Welch "India is a developing country with an already developed intellectual capability". Honestly not a single islamic country can claim that.

dcruncher4 said...

typo in my last comment
"trillion dollar reserves"
should read as "trillion dollar DEBT".
sorry.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "Much touted American democracy and capitalism has ended with a trillion dollar reserves and a vanishing job market for educated people (indians and chinese are eating their lunch)."

I couldn't disagree with you more. US, in spite of its recent problems, is light years ahead of India or China. Just look at the latest list of the top universities of the world, or the Nobel prizes awarded to American scientists and engineers.

Chinese are significantly ahead of the Indians, but both India and China remain distant followers of the US.

drcrucher: "Fact is, despite this poverty, Indian's achievements in intellectual capability is order of magnitude more than Pakistan or for that matter any islamic country."

Again, this is an exaggeration in the extreme. My own experience working here in Silicon Valley tells me that Pakistanis are just as capable as Indians in the various R&D projects that I have seen up close. Such projects vary the gamut from semiconductors to space science to life sciences.

Among Islamic nations, there are 16 universities in the top 400 world universities ranking published by Times, and there are only six from India, and many are moving up each year. There have been at least two Muslim Nobel Laureates in Sciences as well.

As far as your recommendation on Friedman's book "The World is Flat" is concerned, I have read it and don't think much of the book or the author.

I would recommend you read Fareed Zakaria, another cheerleader for India, and his book "The Post-American World":

In this book, Zakaria argues that "many of the IITs are decidedly second-rate, with mediocre equipment, indifferent teachers, and unimaginative classwork." Zakaria says the key strength of the IIT graduates is the fact that they must pass "one of the world's most ruthlessly competitive entrance exams. Three hundred thousand people take it, five thousand are admitted--an acceptance rate of 1.7% (compared with 9 to 10 percent for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton)."

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

"I hope this ugly phase brings about positive changes to make Pakistani society more just and balanced."

Do you honestly think so? The problem with hope is that it is just an emotion after all. Violence in Pakistan is triggered by religious fanaticism - it will not magically make the soceity just. In fact the psyche of large part of Pakistanis are Talibanized and I see significant chance that Taliban will take control of good part of Pakistan. It will not create a just society as we define it.

Heterogeneity of India resulted in a relatively tolerant, though heavily unjust soceity(this relative tolerance is IMO partly an accidental, though intended consequence of democracy where different power groups and interests struggle peacefully to make their space in the society). Thanks to this, we have better security whereas social injustice prevails. In Pakistan, homogeneity resulted in an intolerant atmosphere driven by Utopian vision of Islamic glory, which resulted in violence and is always looking for an external enemy.

Despite the bragging of smug elites in India, India is very poor and unjust, but in India there seems to be some catalyst for prosperity if encouraged will result in a more just society. Unleashing of consumer credit is changing India at a pace that most Pakistanis cannot image - if this gets into a positive cycle as it got in China, there will be an explosion in the number of middle classes. Whereas Pakistan seems to lack even basic civil institutions which are vital for nation-building.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "Violence in Pakistan is triggered by religious fanaticism - it will not magically make the soceity just. In fact the psyche ..."

The violence appears to be motivated by religion. But if you look deeper, its seeds are found in the unjust feudal system protected by the ruling elite in Pakistan. Take the recent demand for Nizam Adl in Swat. It came out of the sharecroppers frustration with the court system that denied them justice against the feudal lords, who are also ministers and members of parliament from Swat.

Similarly, there are great concerns about Talibanization in Southern Punjab where the feudal lords are very powerful and unjust. Both the prime minister and the foreign minister with the "Makhdoom" title are from this region. Kasab is also the product of the injustices of feudal Punjab.

If and when the feudal system is weakened with increasing urbanization in Pakistan, the urge for people to join the Taliban-style orgs will weaken with it.

The people who join these Taliban are no different than those who join the Maoists.

dcruncher4 said...

Riaz,

"I couldn't disagree with you more. US, in spite of its recent problems, is light years ahead of India or China. Just look at the latest list of the top universities of the world, or the Nobel prizes awarded to American scientists and engineers."

There was a reason why I mentioned it. I was expected a reply like this only. So in case you are willing to disregard their serious economic problem and focus on their real positive. But in case of India, you want to focus on their negative and completely ignore their positive.Why this double standard? Why do we Pakistanis have to show our complex so openly?

I do not believe in claims made by Pakistanis about capabilities of Pakistanis. Hey I am a Pakistani too and it is natural for all of us to indulge in hyperbole and self praise. The best proof is how the rest of the world rates our capability and on that Pak gets F rating. Indians have made enormous name in USA. Don't you think it is amusing that no one wants to even consider Pak as an alternative for any intellectual job, which Indians do with remarkable ease.
Pakistan is no where in radar despite false claims made by Pakistanis all the time.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "So in case you are willing to disregard their serious economic problem and focus on their real positive. But in case of India, you want to focus on their negative .."

I think it's a real stretch to make any comparisons between US economy and std of living with Indian economy and std of living. Based on the all the data bout severe deprivation in India, it can only be compared with sub-Saharan Africa. Just look all the reports on hunger, poverty and malnutrition in India, it'll make you cry.

drcruncher: "I do not believe in claims made by Pakistanis about capabilities of Pakistanis."

My answer is based on real experience with real people from India and Pakistan who I have had the opportunity to work with....many from my own alma mater who are just as smart, if not smarter, than their Indian colleagues. Only a racist, or a self-loathing Pakistani, would deny it.

As to outsourcing development jobs to Pakistan, it is happening in spite of the security concerns. Menlo Park, California based oDesk has ranked the Philippines and Pakistan as the top two outsourcing destinations in terms of growth, value for money and customer feedback.
http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/01/pakistan-ranks-among-top-outsourcing.html

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

"Kasab is also the product of the injustices of feudal Punjab"

Then why did he cross the border to shoot unarmed civilians in Hotels in Bombay? In India also there is feudal system which resulted in violent uprising in many states - but noone is known to cross the border and blow themselves up. They only fought against Zamindars. Maybe feudal system makes it easy to recruit, but basic problem is that Pakistan is ideologically motivated by Saudi Arabia - the latter spent their oil wealth not to improve the lives in Pak., rather to pull Pakistanis down to their intellectual level. Common people from Pakistan that I have met are simple normal people, but nevertheless they seem to have a peculiar worldview which would make them difficult to catch up with developments elsewhere. In my opinion, in terms of nation building, India has marched forward a lot since independence whereas Pakistan has not made an inch of progress since independence. The malaises you described in India has always existed, but in many areas it has alleviated. Typical response of Pakistanis are to blame external forces ranging from Soviet Union to CIA to India whereas they seem not to realize or admit that the primary enemy to their well being is their own system.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "Then why did he cross the border to shoot unarmed civilians in Hotels in Bombay? In India also there is feudal system which resulted in violent uprising in many states - but noone is known to cross the border and blow themselves up."

I think you are missing the point of this discussion. Kasab did not make the decision, it was his dissatisfaction with his status as a serf on a farm that led him to the people who recruited him.

As to Indians not reacting to injustice the same way as Pakistanis, there is a fundamental difference between Indian and Pakistani mindset. Indians are far more patient, and willing to resign themselves to their fate. After all, that's how the caste system has survived for thousands of years in Indian society.

Even the Indian democracy is distorted by it. As is often said, "Indians vote their caste rather than cast their votes."

dcruncher4 said...

Riaz,

There is a difference between proud of being Pakistani and simply living in fool's paradise. Pakistanis can claim anything regarding their capability, but this capability has not translated to real work, either in Pakistan, or by expatriates living in the west. Sure there are Pakistanis who have done well for themselves, but they pale in comparison to achievements of Indians in USA or UK. We are so far behind India in earning a name for ourselves in technology and science that I don't even feel like talking about it.

If this makes me a self hating racist, so be it.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "Sure there are Pakistanis who have done well for themselves, but they pale in comparison to achievements of Indians in USA or UK. We are so far behind India in earning a name for ourselves in technology and science that I don't even feel like talking about it."

I am not sure if it is the company you keep or the inferiority complex deeply embedded within you that depresses you so much. Any way, all I can do is wish you luck.

Anonymous said...

riaz

For the benefit of this forum please publish the companies which are promoted by pakistani silicon engineers. Just out of curiosity.

dcruncher4 said...

"I think it's a real stretch to make any comparisons between US economy and std of living with Indian economy and std of living. Based on the all the data bout severe deprivation in India, it can only be compared with sub-Saharan Africa. Just look all the reports on hunger, poverty and malnutrition in India, it'll make you cry."

Perhaps you did not have your coffee today. I am not a fool to compare std of living in USA with India. I am only exposing your double standards. One can not pick and choose criteria based on the countries he likes/dislikes. Based your warped argument style, I can easily run down USA claiming that it is a country with huge debt and vanishing middle class.

But then this post seems to be a party for India bashing, just to make your day better. Enjoy the party.

dcruncher4 said...

"I am not sure if it is the company you keep or the inferiority complex deeply embedded within you that depresses you so much. Any way, all I can do is wish you luck."

Actually it is your post like this which depresses me. By starting post like this, and giving chance to Indians to rub it on our face to tell us of our failures, you only make it worse.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "For the benefit of this forum please publish the companies which are promoted by pakistani silicon engineers. Just out of curiosity."

Almost every major or innovative silicon valley company has Pakistanis in significant R&D positions. Talk about Intel, Cisco, Google, Yahoo, Oracle, you'll see Pakistanis fingerprints on their core technology and products. I personally participated in developing some of the most high-profile Intel processors, and was recognized as Person of the Year by PC Magazine for my contribution to the 80386 processor development.

Among the recent high-tech startups, there are several with founders from my Pakistani alma mater NED University, including Cavium (Raghib Husain), OpenSilicon (Naveed Sherwani), Wichorus (Rehan Jalil), etc. Other Pakistanis such as Nazim Kareemi developed the original pen pad, still used in electronic credit card signatures, and AST, Veridicom, PixSense, Via, Invisalign, etc.

These are just the ones I am familiar with. I am sure there are many more that I don't know about.

Anonymous said...

Nice to read about the cavium. Very happy to note that pakistani have created a good company and provided lot of employment to indians.

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT
Cavium Networks is led by a seasoned management
team with an average of over 20 years experience in
developing and bringing to market state of the art
semiconductor products.
• Syed Ali, President & CEO. Previously at:
PMC-Sierra, Malleable Technologies (Founder),
and Samsung
• Arthur Chadwick, Vice President of Finance &
Administration and Chief Financial Officer.
Previously at: Pinnacle Systems
• Rajiv Khemani, Vice President and General
Manager, Networking & Communications Division.
Previously at: Intel, NetApp and Sun Microsystems
• Sandeep Vij, Vice President and General Manager,
Broadband & Consumer Division. Previously at:
Xilinx and Altera
• Anil Jain, Corporate Vice President of IC
Engineering. Previously at: Compaq, DEC (Alpha
Design Team)
• Muhammad Raghib Hussain, CTO & Corporate
Vice President of Software. Previously at: Cisco
Systems and VPNet
• Andrew Rava, Vice President of Sales and Field
Applications. Previously at: Broadcom and Vitesse
• Syed Zaheer, Vice President of Operations.
Previously at: IDT
• Amer Haider, Senior Director of Corporate &
Business Development. Joined Cavium Networks
in 2001.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "By starting post like this, and giving chance to Indians to rub it on our face to tell us of our failures, you only make it worse."

I do not claim the power that you attribute to my posts. There are hordes of Indian bigots on the Internet, spewing out hatred against Pakistan every hour on very possible forum they see.

The funny thing is that the Internet penetration in India is only 7% versus 11% for Pakistan, according to ITU data. And, given India's demographics, these 7% are probably among the best educated Indians who lack any sophistication and display such open bigotry against Pakistanis and Muslims. And most of their comments are too vulgar and abusive to warrant publication.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Very happy to note that pakistani have created a good company and provided lot of employment to indians."

Cavium founders are Syed Ali, an Indian from Hyderabad, and Raghib Hussain, a Pakistani from Karachi.

Raghib's role has been developing the technology while Syed has overseen other aspects of the business. As in any other Silicon valley tech co, there are many Indians and Pakistanis working side by side.

It's the same with OpenSilicon. The founder is Naveed Sherwani and there are both Indians and Pakistanis working in the company.

dcruncher4 said...

Riaz,

It is not that simple.

I once asked an Indian as why Indians brag so much in forums. To my surprise he agreed and claimed that it is because of centuries of complex that indians can't do anything good. From that position to the present position where Indians feel confident enough to sell their cars in Europe, to write software for airplane flight control, to do surgery on whites who come to India to get treated. All this have given them the confidence that the best of the world thinks of them as good as their own.

He also pointed out that for the same reason Pakistanis have a dim view of their own because they see Indians doing what they have never done.

Maaran said...

Riaz, The poor state of affairs in India is no reflection on the political system. It is a result of 50 years of completely flawed Nehruvian economic policies.

Since the liberalisation was ushered in the early 1990s, millions of Indians are far better off.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "He also pointed out that for the same reason Pakistanis have a dim view of their own because they see Indians doing what they have never done."

I think you need to learn more about how well Pakistani engineers, scientists and professionals are doing in US. One way to do it is to attend meetings of OPEN, Org of Pakistani Entrepreneurs in the US. There are two very active chapters, one in Silicon Valley and other in Boston. They have an annual event each year which might be good place to start.

Meanwhile, check out the following post I wrote last year:

http://www.riazhaq.com/2008/06/silicon-valley-summit-of-pakistani.html

Riaz Haq said...

Maaran:"Since the liberalisation was ushered in the early 1990s, millions of Indians are far better off."

Majority of the poor and rural Indians are sustaining democracy at a great cost to themselves in terms of the grinding poverty that defines their meager existence. Contrasting Indian democracy with Chinese one-party rule, a British minister recently said that the number of poor people had dropped in the one-party communist state by 70% since 1990 but had risen in the world's biggest democracy by 5%. No one knows how long will the average Indian have to wait before the fruits of democracy to reach him or her. In the meanwhile, Maoists (and other revolutionaries) are gaining momentum and threatening a revolution to bring about a visible improvement in the lives of the poor.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/05/challenges-of-indian-democracy.html

dcruncher4 said...

"I think you need to learn more about how well Pakistani engineers, scientists and professionals are doing in US."

I think you have the answered the question yourself. While Indians feel justifiably proud of their accomplishment IN INDIA, Pakistanis have to feel proud of few thousand pakistani achievers in USA.

The day Pakistanis engineers in Pakistan can design a chip like Intel Bangalore, the day a Pakistani Banking s/w company will be bought by Oracle like they bought Indian company IFlex, the day Pakistan has thousands of employees working for Cisco, Oracle, Microsfot, IBM , IN PAKISTAN, the day Pakistan made cars are exported to Europe, yes that day Pakistanis can be proud of their accomplishment.

The world is Flat talks about Indians doing in India, not USA.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "The world is Flat talks about Indians doing in India, not USA."

And where did these Indians come from, according to Friedman? Most of them went to India after advanced education, training and experience in US. I know this from personal knowledge about Intel Bangalore. And these guys have not invented anything, it's just an incremental improvement on an existing architecture and design, using well known and commonly available chip design tools that hundreds, if not thousands, of Pakistanis know and use in Silicon Valley. These are essentially Cadence tools, or Cadence inspired commercial tools, some of which were developed and sold to Cadence by Pakistani engineers.

The same thing is happening in Pakistan, though more slowly. It will accelerate once the security situation is improved.

dcruncher4 said...

"And where did these Indians come from, according to Friedman? Most of them went to India after advanced education, training and experience in US."

what does it tell about India if Indians living in US want to go back. Very few Pakistanis want to go back. Heck I know a Pakistani enterprener who actually started an off shore center in India and not in Pakistan.

Also for one Indian who goes back to India to start a company, he hires and teaches ten indians on latest techniques.

"And these guys have not invented anything, it's just an incremental improvement on an existing architecture and design, using well known and commonly available chip design tools that hundreds, if not thousands, of Pakistanis know and use in Silicon Valley."

so what. Dr. Hoodbhoy says that making a nuclear bomb is no big deal as there are countless books and websites which give detailed instructions on doing it. Yet every Pakistani I know feels proud of it.

If Making chips is so easy, as you write it above, then there must be 25 different countries doing the same, including Pakistan.Yet there are 5 or less countries in the world which designs chips for Intel.

Also Microsoft has never invented anything. They either improved their own product by repeated attempts (compare Win XP with Win 95) or simply bought another company. That didn't stop it from being one of the most successful companies.

Hmm, you accuse me of self hate, I see you as a person with terribly envy. In fact you are jealous to such an extent that you can't even see the total failure of pakistan in building an educated society.
On that count india has performed 1000 times better than Pakistan.

Maaran said...

Chinese beat India to economic reforms. They started theirs in 1978 and India very reluctantly in 1990s. There is a long way to go for India to go towards matching the scale of chinese reforms.

I believe Manmohan Singh has the unique opportunity to broaden the reforms and become to be known in history as the Gandhi of economic freedom in India.

Maaran said...

The last time I checked China haven't recently invented anything earth shattering either.

The fact is India provided the right incentives (stepping out and relaxing government controls, licences,etc) for a lot of these Indians in the tech sector to come back home and setup shops.

Thats the kind of thing that is required in a lot of other sectors. Providing the right incentives for people to start businesses to improve their life and others in the process.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "what does it tell about India if Indians living in US want to go back. Very few Pakistanis want to go back...."

Some Pakistanis have gone back, others have established design centers being manage from US. Palmchip, Whizz, PixSense are some of the examples I know.

drcruncher: "If Making chips is so easy, as you write it above, then there must be 25 different countries doing the same, including Pakistan.Yet there are 5 or less countries in the world which designs chips for Intel."

Chip design is fairly automated and routine these days. There is not a lot of mystery in it any more. It's almost the same as writing code. It's a business decision by Intel to have few design centers, they can do it in other countries but they do not want to spread too thin.

drcruncher: "Hmm, you accuse me of self hate, I see you as a person with terribly envy. In fact you are jealous to such an extent that you can't even see the total failure of pakistan in building an educated society."

You don't understand that I have no reason to envy Indians, or anyone else for that matter. I have done well in whatever I have pursued. But I think you suffer from severe inferiority complex that is not good for your psyche, if indeed you are a Pakistani.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what would have happened to India but for the economic liberalisation that started in 1990s.

dcruncher4 said...

"You don't understand that I have no reason to envy Indians, or anyone else for that matter. "

I have no way of knowing your personally. I have only your postings to go for. Your postings does not indicate what you claim above.

And yes I am a Pakistan. Shia Pakistani to be precise and I think Pakistan is a hellhole for minorities, including Shia.

Anonymous said...

"Chip design is fairly automated and routine these days. There is not a lot of mystery in it any more. It's almost the same as writing code. It's a business decision by Intel to have few design centers, they can do it in other countries but they do not want to spread too thin. "

DId Intel arbitrarily decide to go to India. there has to be some economic rationale behind it.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher:"And yes I am a Pakistan. Shia Pakistani to be precise and I think Pakistan is a hellhole for minorities, including Shia."

Pakistan was founded by a Shia, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who is deeply revered by most Pakistanis. Pakistan's current prime minister Gilani is also Shia, a are many of his ministers and top officials.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "DId Intel arbitrarily decide to go to India. there has to be some economic rationale behind it."

Yes, 1) Abundant and cheap labor. 2) Keep geographic dispersion manageable by growing in a few existing locations, especially nations with large populations with potential market for their products...such as India and China.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, 1) Abundant and cheap labor. "

You make it sound as though these are people picked right out of villages. These are cheap but highly skilled people who are good enough to easily integrate themselves into a global company.

This is exactly where India beats Pakistan and reason why I believe India is going to pull more out of poverty quicker than Pakistan - Education my friend - not cutting edge but good enough. South of India has perhaps more engineering colleges than there are Madrassahs in whole of Pakistan.

dcruncher4 said...

"Pakistan was founded by a Shia, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who is deeply revered by most Pakistanis. Pakistan's current prime minister Gilani is also Shia, a are many of his ministers and top officials."

I note that you are not mentioning the regular killings of shias which happen in Pakistan. At one time Karachi was killing 50 shias a month.

Saudi has declared Shias as infidels.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "You make it sound as though these are people picked right out of villages. These are cheap but highly skilled people who are good enough to easily integrate themselves into a global company."

It wasn't the first but, perhaps, the second reason that clinched the deal: Large population with potential consumers of Intel products. Even if it's in single digits, it's still pretty big out of a billion people.

Anonymous said...

With rampant religious fundamentalism, do you honestly believe Pakistan can match India in terms of providing education to its masses - Even if Pakistan manages to do it, it will only be to its male population, I am highly skeptical about the other half.

Riaz Haq said...

drcruncher: "I note that you are not mentioning the regular killings of shias which happen in Pakistan. At one time Karachi was killing 50 shias a month."

I have written about it. But it's not Shias alone who are being targeted. Lately, the main targets have in fact been security personnel, police, paramilitary and military. The crazy wahabis are a scourge for the entire nation, and I am glad the military is now acting against them.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "With rampant religious fundamentalism, do you honestly believe Pakistan can match India in terms of providing education to its masses - Even if Pakistan manages to do it, it will only be to its male population, I am highly skeptical about the other half."

Well, that's a challenge that I talk about in my post. But the fact is that India is only marginally ahead in thus respect, particularly its gender gap in India is about 22%.

And it's not fundamentalism as much as corruption that threatens Pakistan's ability to educate its masses. The ghost schools that exist only on paper are a much bigger problem than the mullahs. In fact, it's corruption that drives people to radical madrassas where they receive basic education as well as food, clothing and shelter.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Riaz

"Both need to have an understanding and self-awareness to address their problems with appropriate priorities."

Indian press is more vibrant than most Pakistanis with their Saudi inspired system care to think of. There is criticism about India's shortcomings from mainstream press in India. I dont see this in Pakistani people.

"As to Indians not reacting to injustice the same way as Pakistanis, there is a fundamental difference between Indian and Pakistani mindset. Indians are far more patient, and willing to resign themselves to their fate"

Indians including those from my state Kerala have revolted violently against Feudalism, but they don't behave like sour losers by victimising themselves and attacking people of other countries. Despite caste system, this is a positive point. Was Kasab that stupid to believe that his feudal oppressers are Hindus and Jews sitting in Mumbai restaurants?

"these 7% are probably among the best educated Indians who lack any sophistication and display such open bigotry against Pakistanis and Muslims"

This may be true. But Pakistanis are not qualified to talk about this - I saw a feature in ZDF(official german channel) last week - they showed how openly anti Indian Jihadi materials are sold in Lahore and other cities in Pak.

"Talk about Intel, Cisco, Google, Yahoo, Oracle, you'll see Pakistanis fingerprints on their core technology and products. I personally participated in ..."

I wonder what you would have written if Pakistan had its own Indra Nooyi or Vikram Pandit or Vinod Khosla. None of these people need any introduction whereas Pakistani entrepreneurs you have written are unknown to most of the general public for some good reason.

"Some Pakistanis have gone back, others have established design centers being manage from US. Palmchip, Whizz,.."

Noone have ever heard of these companies where Infosys or Wipro are corporate titans in Nasdaq. IITs may not be yet MIT, but IITians sit on the board of some of the Fortune 100 cos., whereas Pakistani chip designers you mentioned are nowhere to be known(may be there are some rare exceptions that I dont know, then if I havent heard about it, probably they are not that famous as I personally read Economist, Barrons and FT every week).

"Pakistan was founded by a Shia, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah"

Does this improve the situation as a whole? Please apply the same standards that you apply to India.
You will see they are doing worse.

"Yes, 1) Abundant and cheap labor."

Only one reason. Indian outsourcing giants like TCS still work that way, but now there are top quality R&D centers of Fortune 500 cos. in India.

@drcruncher

"I once asked an Indian as why Indians brag so much in forums. To my surprise he agreed and claimed that it is because of centuries of complex that indians can't do anything good."

There are many elements playing here, one of them you already mentioned. Another is India is still a young country and Indians are just beginning to realize their power and wealth on the world stage - so there is a lack of maturity. A German friend of me recently visited Jaipur and he said that even cleaning lady in the Hotel bragged that India would be No.1. She was being ridiculous, but at the same time what gave her the spirit to talk with such enthusiasm is that her own life has improved lately thanks to developments in the country, whereas in Pakistan, I doubt anyone living in Peshawar would talk with such confidence. They would blame India/Israel for their illiteracy, poverty and violence and live in ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Zen - that was a good reply.
Riaz: Now is it clear to you why we indians consider it a joke to even think Pak is 'just' behind India.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Now is it clear to you why we indians consider it a joke to even think Pak is 'just' behind India."

I can only pity "we indians" if "we indians" draw this conclusion from the post or the interactions.

Pakistan is not only not behind, but ahead on 5 of the 6 basic indicators I have presented.

To help you comprehend, let me give a gist of the post and the comments, once again. The post discusses 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 fact, India dropped six places on the world rankings from a low of 128 to an even lower 134.

As to bandying about names like Infosys or Tata, these companies are big but not leading edge or innovative. They are also irrelevant to the lives of the vast majority of Indians, who need food to eat, clothes to wear, doctors to treat them when they sick, basic toilets, and schools to educate their offsprings.

Anonymous said...

funny how Indians elites need to boost their low self-esteem by bashing "backward" Pakistan which they have never visited.

These kind of comparisons are needed for more rational discussion of region. Pakistan should learn to counter indian p.r. operations.
This directly effect inflow of FDI.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "These kind of comparisons are needed for more rational discussion of region. Pakistan should learn to counter indian p.r. operations.
This directly effect inflow of FDI."

I often like to quote foreign observers, such as British author William Dalrymple, who visited and compared India and Pakistan last year and wrote as follows in the Guardian newspaper:

"On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India.
Moreover, the Pakistani economy is undergoing a construction and consumer boom similar to India's, with growth rates of 7%, and what is currently the fastest-rising stock market in Asia. You can see the effects everywhere: in new shopping centers and restaurant complexes, in the hoardings for the latest laptops and iPods, in the cranes and building sites, in the endless stores selling mobile phones: in 2003 the country had fewer than three million cellphone users; today there are almost 50 million."

Anonymous said...

riaz - I do believe India is years ahead of Pakistan. Here is an Indian company

http://www.suzlon.com/

They recently got bad news when cracks were developed in its blades in California, but they fixed it now.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601091&sid=a9mbwwWOXepg

Can we ever hope that during our lifetime we will have a pakistani company which will export to 21 countries.

Jaydev,india said...

Just want to point out that malaise in India is "caste discrimination" not caste(jaathi) system. A caste system is a robust institution..A particular caste can climb up or down the "varna" system based on their community's combined superior contribution in their society. In my place itself, my caste have gone down the ladder from "higher" caste to "lower" caste whereas some "lower" caste have climbed up in the "varna system" ladder.
In India's caste system, more restrictions are placed on people who are in higher caste and low caste have lower lifestyle restrictions like meat eating,rituals and spirituality.
The issue is caste system degraded into caste discrimination..
Islam and Christian converts in the subcontinent has inherited the caste system..check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_among_South_Asian_Muslims

Anonymous said...

Car Sales in Pakistan fell for the third straight month. July, Aug and now Sep.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a_SLjR.uCdiM

Otoh car sales in India rose 20% and above for the 3rd straight month.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125542291161082055.html

But that's OK, Pakistan is far ahead of India in all indicators indicated by Dr. Riaz Haq.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Anon

"funny how Indians elites need to boost their low self-esteem by bashing "backward" Pakistan which they have never visited."

Indian elites are unlike your friend Chinese elites, private individuals who amassed wealth through their skills and hardwork. Success of Indian corporate leaders talk for themselves. I dont think that Mittal or Vikram Pandit brag about anything consciously. In fact none of them have any time left for Pakistan. Some middle class Indians who live in the West are into Pakistan bashing and occasionally Islam bashing - but IMO, this is partly because of their own frustration that their own government is not doing anything to protect the interests of middle class neither in India, nor abroad. They see (rightly) Pakistan and (wrongly) Muslims in India damaging their interests by terrorism.

@Riaz

"Pakistan is not only not behind, but ahead on 5 of the 6 basic indicators I have presented."

As a matter of fact, both countries are hopelessly behind much of the developing nations in terms of HDI. Trying to prove which is better on relative terms is just statistical wizardry.

"As to bandying about names like Infosys or Tata, these companies are big but not leading edge or innovative "

They are leading in what they are supposed to do - ie, BPO. Some of them also have started to move higher end since long time. Infosys has not alleviated poverty as a whole, but companies like that gave people like me who are from lower middle class and minority background to move upwards socially. 30 years ago, only hope for people like me would have been to take up family trade or go to middle east. This is one reason why I would argue that India should continue the path of liberalisation and privatisation despite the complaints of reactionary elements both within and outside the country.

"I often like to quote foreign observers, such as British author William Dalrymple"

You are right to quote them - these failures of India are just facts which some Indians may conveniently want to ignore. Where you fail is in your analysis of what future holds for these countries. In India, problem of infrastructure and health can be improved if Govt. improves spending. But Pakistan with its non existing civil institutions need to start nation building from the scratch - but a radicalised society makes that task impossible. To quote from the article you posted "After a period of relative quiet, for the first time in a decade, we are back to the old question: it is not just whether Pakistan, but will Pakistan survive?" On the country's 60th birthday, the answer is by no means clear.

Anonymous said...

So, decruncher4 and Zen are hiding behind masks and having a discussion based on their personal anger instead of having an objective discussion... We had Mir Jaffer and Mir Sadiq in our history... so decruncher4 - please list 5 practical steps that you took to make things better for Pakistan? Asking only because you thought it was critical for you to disclose your faith and sect...only because you chose to advvocate for India instead of just inquiring about Pakistan.

dcruncher4 said...

@Anon, Why is that the moment some Indian critically examines India or a Pakistani does the same for his country, he has to prove his blue blood. E.g., Indians I have spoken to remind me that Arundhati Roy is a Christian (Suzane AR is her full name) and Farid Zakaria, MJ Akbar are all muslims. Similarly Dr. Hoodbhoy is often called a jew in disguise. I don't know what Irfan Hussain of Dawn is called as he is also very critical.
What religion does Imran Khan follow? You can see his TV programs on youtube where he has consistently reminded Pakistanis that there is a reason why Pakistan is labeled as a failed nation.

GROW UP please.

Riaz Haq said...

This comment is addressed to those Indian friends whose comments I have not published because they are laced with personal abuse and profanities rendering them unfit for publication here:

Please save some of your venom for my future posts, don't use it all up now. Your venom may or may not work when you need it again.

Please try and live up to the expectations as you are the privileged few in India with Internet access(less than 7% Internet penetration in India vs 11% in Pak per ITU), supposedly among the best educated Indians in the world.

Meanwhile, go feed your hungry or contribute to Akshaya Patra, clothe your naked before exporting your textiles for dollars, help Habitat for Humanity build a few houses for your fellow homeless Indians, work with UNICEF to build a few more toilets and sanitation infrastructure that your democracy is unable to deliver, train doctors to help your sick before they do dangerous, untested stem cell procedures on foreign patients, and take care of the growing gender gap in literacy that is leaving your women far behind their fellow illiterate male counterparts. And please. stop the ongoing female infanticide that has reduced female births in parts of India to about 300 baby girls for 1000 baby boys.

Stop hyperventilating. You have a lot of work to do. Good Luck!!

dcruncher4 said...

There are two more Pakistanis who are extremely critical of Pak society.

1. Tarek Fatah
2. Nazir Naji

You can check their videos in youtube. Mr Fatah praises India like anything.

What do you think their religion is? Judaism !!!!

Anonymous said...

riaz

Wait for another five years to see your own statistics as that will reflect the current trend of the couple of years where the pakistan is torn in civil war and internal disturbance by islamic fundamentalism.

Hence the gap between india and pakistan will increase continuously. Offcourse u can pick up think which suits your ego trip for display. Choice is yours but not that of the entire world.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Offcourse u can pick up think which suits your ego trip for display. Choice is yours but not that of the entire world."

Food, clothing and shelter have always been and will always be the most basic necessities for human beings. Then come education, healthcare and sanitation.

Instead of wishing ill for Pakistan, Indians would be better served by trying to improve the situation for their deep deprivations of their people.

Pakistanis are in a deadly struggle against fanaticism and recent polls showing support for military action against the radicals will help Pakistanis create a better future for themselves.

Of course, India has its own insurgencies to deal with. The growing rich-poor gap in India is strengthening the hands of the Maoists.

Anonymous said...

Pakistanis are in a deadly struggle against fanaticism and recent polls showing support for military action against the radicals will help Pakistanis create a better future for themselves.

You don't say! Who would have thought huh? With all these way positive (compared to that hell-hole called India of course) human development indicators seems like an unlikely place to be in a death-struggle.

Anonymous said...

One sector of economy where Pakistan beats India hands down is agriculture and that probably explains the relative prosperity of masses in pakistan.

India employs about 60% of its workforce to produce about 16% of its GDP. Pakistan employs about 44% of its workforce to produce 23% of its GDP.

You fix agriculture in India, you could make a real difference to millions. But the qn is who is going to do it.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Anon

"Food, clothing and shelter have always been and will always be the most basic necessities for human beings."

what about security? Over last 2 days alone, around 100 people got killed in "Land of pure", not by Americans or Indians, rather their own people.

"Meanwhile, go feed your hungry or contribute to Akshaya Patra, clothe your naked before exporting your textiles for dollars, help Habitat for Humanity build a few houses for your fellow homeless Indians, work with UNICEF to build a few more toilets and sanitation infrastructure that your democracy is unable to deliver, train doctors to help your sick before they do dangerous, untested stem cell procedures..."

All these are dark elements of India - some of them structural. But many of them are being taken care. USA in its early years was a poor, agrarian and backward country with a divided population.
But who is going to do all these for Pakistan when Pakistan is in a quasi civil war? - In latest HDI report, India is 134 whereas your Pakistan, a proud 141.(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index#Low_human_development)

In all of the things you mentioned, Pakistan in one way or other has an even worse track record(especially gender gap gives me a laugh - will you let your daughters/sisters grow in India or Pakistan?), without having to show any of the positives that India has such as democracy, better universities, rule of law etc.

Anonymous said...

A relevant link I came across recently

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/magazine/11FOB-Rieff-t.html?_r=2&scp=4&sq=india&st=cse

Sajida said...

Riaz has demonstrated one aspect of the weaknesses of South Asia.

I would suggest that South Asia is as a region fragile and faces catastrophe with global warming.

India is the epicenter of aquifer abuse. Food will be even harder to come by in future.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427285.300-indias-thirst-is-making-us-all-wet.html?full=true&print=true
India's thirst is making us all wet

The food is also contaminated. Must be affecting health also:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&refer=exclusive&sid=aErNiP_V4RLc

India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation’s Growth

Anonymous said...

Riaz Bhai..
From 1947 to 1997 ( The year when India celebrated its 50th independence), numerous Western journalist speculated that India will disintegrate.. for e.g..
After every communal riot in india it is speculated by Western journalist that now the country will break (balkanized)
after every political assacination, it is speculated not Military will take over
After every flood/draught it is speculated that famine will follow and evetually leads to revolution...
A famous quote by a western journalist goes like this..He was present for the funeral ceremony of Mrs Gandhi in 1984 and this quote he has written in 1992
"Very few of the present for Funeral imagined that India will exsits after 10 years from now whereas Russia not"..
I suggest you read the book called "India After Gandhi" By Ramchandra Guha.. it is available in many US public liabraries... And I urge all Indians also to read the same book.
This book nicely compares situtation between India & Pakistan in final chapter Name (Why India survives?)mainly in the eyes of Western as well as Pakistani journalist and I suggest if you do not like to read the whole book ( as it is on India) just read this capter..

The bottomline is .. You are suggesting due to maoist movement and all India may break or move away from democracy is good illusion and actully this country had passed many more illusions.. so only time will tell .. but your blogs simply showing your anxeity and frustration against Indians advancing inch by inch and the respect they are getting in the surroundings.. please read that book its very good and it has also chapter dedicated to India's failures.. which will make you happy

Anonymous said...

Riaz Bhai same is for you..

you have lot of work to erradicate the islamist fundamentalisum and the problems you mentioned of India is also exists in pakistan. .You mentioned UNICEF ranking of India lies 134 slipped from 128 but at the same time Pakistan lies at 141.. so you do your part and we does our... probably you have more work to get rid of mullahs which I think somewhere deep inside you and this cancer is in entire pakistani society.

Anonymous said...

It should also be mentioned that Maoists have NO territorial ambitions. All they want is better deal for farmers and other poor. Their approach, which is strictly not acceptable by democratic world, still does not believe in blowing away all and sundry like talibanis and so far they have not touched the same people for whom they claim to fight for. Talibanis are killing the same people whom they claim to support. However Maoists are anti establishment and they target govt institutions like police, administration.

Anonymous said...

It should also be mentioned that Maoists have NO territorial ambitions. All they want is better deal for farmers and other poor. Their approach, which is strictly not acceptable by democratic world, still does not believe in blowing away all and sundry like talibanis and so far they have not touched the same people for whom they claim to fight for. Talibanis are killing the same people whom they claim to support. However Maoists are anti establishment and they target govt institutions like police, administration.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "will you let your daughters/sisters grow in India or Pakistan?"

In Pakistan, the daughters have a much chance of being born and survive than in India. There is a quiet female genocide going on for years now that has completely distorted the male-female ratio.

The situation is particularly alarming among upper-caste Hindus in some of the urban areas of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, specially in parts of Punjab, where there are only 300 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to Laura Turquet, ActionAid's women's rights policy official.

ActionAid collaborated with Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC) to conduct research and produced a report called "Disappearing Daughters".

The report cites findings from sites across five states in north and northwest India reveal that the sex ratio of girls to boys has not only worsened but is accelerating compared to the last national census in 2001. One of the reasons for this accelerated rate of female feticide is the abuse of ultrasound technology to determine the gender of the unborn. The purveyors of the ultrasound business in every city, town and village of India entice parents by telling them to "spend 500 rupees now and save 50,000 rupees later.” The cost of the ultrasound scan is Rs. 500 and the required dowry for marrying daughters off exceeds Rs. 50,000.00.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "All these are dark elements of India - some of them structural. But many of them are being taken care. USA in its early years was a poor, agrarian and backward country with a divided population.
But who is going to do all these for Pakistan when Pakistan is in a quasi civil war? "

As clear from all the published data from credible sources, Pakistan has done much better than India in feeding, clothing and sheltering its population IN SPITE Of the ongoing violence. Now you can imagine how much better it will do when the Pakistani military finally puts down the insurgents to end the civil war. It took the Union Army to defeat the Confederates in US Civil War, it will take Pak Army to do the same in FATA, with strong public backing obvious in the recent polls.

Anonymous said...

Finally there is one point which I have to admit with Riaz. In India female infanticide is rampant in the north part. But Pak is not best either

"The data is truly astounding, Estimates indicate that 30.5 million females are "missing" from China, 22.8 million in India, 3.1 million in Pakistan, 1.6 million in Bangladesh, 1.7 million in West Asia, 600,000 in Egypt, and 200,000 in Nepal. "

http://www.infanticide.org/history.htm

The worst is of course CHina. But Mr Haq will never write anything against China as he is being paid by them :-)

Having said it, the women who grow up in India grow with far more freedom in education, job than Pakistan. Most of the Pakistani women in Toronto wear Hijab. If this is the case with the best of Pakistanis (this is assuming best of Pak come to Canada), one can imagine how bad it is in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

"Pakistan has done much better than India in feeding, clothing and sheltering its population IN SPITE Of the ongoing violence. "

Could the low population be one of the reason. It should be remembered that Pakistan is one country which is declining in economy. Korea, China, India are better than what they were two decades ago. Pakistan is the only country where all numbers are declining.

Plus this does not change the fact that there is no middle class in Pakistan, the educated class which works and earns well. There is no big business class either since industries in Pakistan is very rudimentary.

Pakistanis believe that they are very hard working and talented. Pity that it does not reflect in either a good service industry which is respected everywhere, nor they are an industrial powerhouse. A typical argument given by Pakistanis is that they are a small country. No they are not. THey are 170 million, seventh most populated country. Their industrial numbers do not match for that size.

anyhow my two cents.

dcruncher4 said...

May I add something.
It seems the fault line between Indians and Pakistanis is like this.

1. Pakistanis would like to assert that their country has done better than India on most essential things in life. They have data to back it up.

2. Indians would like to mention that despite all the well publicized poverty, Indians have done far better than Pakistan in manufacturing and service industry. Their growing international presence in these sectors says it all.

In my opinion both are correct in their own bragging rights, though it looks very juvenile. However, even as a Pakistani I have to admit that both medium and long term prospects for India looks better than Pakistan. And when one talks about their respective stature in the world, well let us not even talk about it.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "But Pak is not best either...
... 30.5 million females are "missing" from China, 22.8 million in India, 3.1 million in Pakistan, 1.6 million in Bangladesh, 1.7 million in West Asia, 600,000 in Egypt, and 200,000 in Nepal. "

There is no basis for this claim as far as Pakistan is concerned. Just look at the at-birth male-female ratios, and you'll find that Pakistan is absolutely at par with the world averages, nor are there any reports of ultrasound abuse. Abortion is considered abhorrent in Pakistan, as in most other Muslim societies.

Here are the latest statistics from the CIA's The World Factbook on male-female ratios in India and Pakistan:

India at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

China at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Pakistan at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

United Kingdom
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

United States
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/07/female-genocide-unfolding-in-india.html

Anonymous said...

How does one explain 30.3 million Chinese females missing and 3.1 Pak.

so are you saying pakistan has other forms of missing female. Perhaps honor killing. How does that make Pak society better
or even Chinese society. China in fact has acknowledged female infanticide. Due to their one child policy, parents prefer boys over girls as they think they will be supported in the old age.

http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html

Look, even as an Indian, I can not dispute this abhorrent practice. Why don't you , for a change, admit what is happening in Pakistan.

http://www.sabrang.com/cc/comold/feb99/obvat.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "It should be remembered that Pakistan is one country which is declining in economy. Korea, China, India are better than what they were two decades ago. Pakistan is the only country where all numbers are declining."

Please get your facts straight.
Pakistan's economy has grown at an average rate of 7% a year this decade until last year, doubling in size from about $75 billion to $150 billion in 2008. In terms of purchasing power parity, it stands at $450 billion, the 26th largest according to the World Bank.

Anon: "Plus this does not change the fact that there is no middle class in Pakistan, the educated class which works and earns well. There is no big business class either since industries in Pakistan is very rudimentary."

Another myth you are repeating here. There is a vibrant middle class in Pakistan which is the most urbanized country in South Asia. Pakistan ranks 163 and India at 174 on a list of over 200 countries compiled by Nationmaster. The urban population now contributes about three quarters of Pakistan's gross domestic product and almost all of the government revenue. The industrial sector contributes over 27% of the GDP (about the same as India's), higher than the 19% contributed by agriculture, with services accounting for the rest of the GDP.

Pakistani industries produce everything from cars and airplanes to air-conditioners and all sorts of home appliances. It has a fairly robust service sector from banking/finance to retail and construction.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most prosperous 50 Million Indians are way better off than the most prosperous 50 million pakistanis. If you are not part of this privileged group though, life I can imagine would be a terrible struggle in both countries.

On a more philosophical note, nationality is just an accident of our births. There is no need to get really ticked off by these nationalistic debates. We would do well to debate solutions than indulging in ego boosting arguments.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "However, even as a Pakistani I have to admit that both medium and long term prospects for India looks better than Pakistan. And when one talks about their respective stature in the world, well let us not even talk about it."

I couldn't disagree with you more. Not only are you a hapless victim of Indian propaganda, you are guilty of the same thing Indians are: Putting the cart before the horse. Economy and the industry are meant to serve the people, not the other way around. What good is the Indian industry and economy if the Indian people are suffering abject deprivation.

As a British report recently put it, "India is condemning another generation to brain damage, poor education and early death by failing to meet its targets for tackling the malnutrition that affects almost half of its children."

As to the discussion of stature, the nations with the highest standard and quality of living are not necessarily of "High stature" by your count. I'd rather see Pakistan focus on a better standard of living for its people than seek hollow praise by Western media.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Haq,

If Pakistan had a robust sector then the prices sold should be affordable. Almost every thing sold in Pakistan is costlier, sometimes significantly, than India. Of what use is earning more money if at the end you are going to pay more.

"After being reinstated as Pakistan's chief justice, Iftikhar Md Chaudhry is not just restricted to restoring functional democracy in Gen Pervez Musharraf's dictatorial regime. He also wants the country's ailing health services to look up as in India.

Speaking to health ministry officials, who had come for the hearing of a petition seeking a cap on surging drug prices last week, the chief justice said on his visit to India he paid Rs 10 for a pack of pills which cost Rs 49 in Pakistan."

Please do a google on food prices, car price and see for yourself how costly is Pakistan.

Do you know what happened 6 yrs ago when pak railways had to go for new Diesel Locomotives to replace their aging GM/EMD locomotives. EMD/GM by then outpriced themselves. It was suggested to Pak rail that they should import from India which also runs on the same gauge under similar conditions. But Pak has this policy of not buying anything from India till Kashmir is resolved. So they went to China. China did deliver but it had serious problem. Cracks were developed in the bogey frame. China at first refused to honor the warranty as they said that the condition of rail in pak is bad and hence their locos got damaged. Eventually they fixed it.

A country which can not make train locomotives, can not be believed to make air planes, unless repainting is considered as manufacturing.

Indian locos are exported to African countries, some far east asian countries, and Malaysia. In fact the meter gauge based Malaysia Rail uses indian diesel loco which has been leased to them.

Now can you answer honestly, why didn't Pak companies ever made an attempt to look beyond their shores. Lack of quality in their products??

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "what about security? Over last 2 days alone, around 100 people got killed in "Land of pure", not by Americans or Indians, rather their own people."

If you are not well fed, you can't do anything, you can not fight to take care of yourself against enemies internal and external.

As to the deaths, Pakistanis are not alone in facing such difficulties. Remember the Civil Wars in US, Spain and UK? Most of the powerful and prosperous nations today have dealt with security threats in the past to emerge stronger from them.

dcruncher4 said...

"I couldn't disagree with you more. Not only are you a hapless victim of Indian propaganda, you are guilty of the same thing Indians are: Putting the cart before the horse. Economy and the industry are meant to serve the people, not the other way around. What good is the Indian industry and economy if the Indian people are suffering abject deprivation."

Oh yes, Living in a country where one can never be certain if he will arrive back in the evening with his both legs intact is surely a far better way of living than what indians are living.

Or living in a country where a father has to dread that day when his daughter will be forced to not go to school is definitely a bright prospect. Right sir. I am wondering how will react when your daughter is told the same.

India has tons of problem. Pakistan too has, but Pakistan's problem threaten its existence.
The religious fanaticism in Pakistan has crossed the point of return. Only few educated westerenised folks hate talibanis. 80% of Pakistanis want sharia where adulters are stoned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIT7Fyu5KHI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRp6qeatruU

I am not a victim of any propaganda. I just happen to give very low regard to a false concept of patriotism.

Amusing that not one of Pakistani I speak to in USA want to go back to Pakistan. In fact one joked to me "pakistan zindabad should be changed to pakistan se zinda bhag"

Indians on the other hand are not only very proud of their country, many of them go back to work. There was an article in NYT or WSJ about reverse brain drain.

So when you are going back to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Perhaps the most prosperous 50 Million Indians are way better off than the most prosperous 50 million pakistanis. If you are not part of this privileged group though, life I can imagine would be a terrible struggle in both countries."

In addition to my personal observation, there is data to back up your assertion that there is significantly wider rich-poor gap in India than in Pakistan...it's called Gini Index, which goes from 0 for perfect equality to 100 to perfect inequality. Pakistan's Gini is about 30 while India's is 36.

What this means is that you probably won't see India's obscene wealth nor its abject filth and poverty in Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan is the most egalitarian nation in South Asia.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "Indian locos are exported to African countries, some far east asian countries, and Malaysia. In fact the meter gauge based Malaysia Rail uses indian diesel loco which has been leased to them."

I can understand it's hard for Pakistan to trade with a country that suffers from "Israel envy" (as described by Sashi Tharoor) and its media and the government often threaten with destruction.

As to the question of prices, it should be none of the Chief Justice's business. Prices should be determined by supply and demand.

Anon: "Please do a google on food prices, car price and see for yourself how costly is Pakistan."

Pakistanis have higher per capita incomes than India on the PPP basis, as calculated by the ADB's ICP program. The fact is that Pakistanis' real per capita incomes are much 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.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "Oh yes, Living in a country where one can never be certain if he will arrive back in the evening with his both legs intact is surely a far better way of living than what indians are living."

What you don't know is death by hunger and malnutrition for millions of Indians in India is far more certain than death by terror in Pakistan. What you also don't know is that India is the murder, rape and violent crime capital of the world, with more rapes and murders than any other country. Please go check the data on this.

Pakistan's security problems are temporary and will be solved. Pakistan is not unique in going through this difficult phase, others more powerful and now prosperous nations have solved these problems in the past.

I was in Pakistan recently and I felt quite safe during my visit and enjoyed it. You have exercise basic caution, as you would any where else when traveling. Please read my post on it:
http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/08/eleven-days-in-karachi-pakistan.html

Anonymous said...

Riaz - Are you on steroids ;-) With this kind of performance, if you were a cricketer, you would have been asked for a dope test...and .. needless to say how friendly media would have painted you...

Anonymous said...

Why are you beating the drums with Per Capita thingy. With Kind of population India have, per capita will be low.

If Pakistan is doing so good with foods and per capita in take or whatever then why Inflation of food items was 30% just few months back. Why there were stampedes in wheat distribution in Karachi?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "If Pakistan is doing so good with foods and per capita in take or whatever then why Inflation of food items was 30% just few months back. Why there were stampedes in wheat distribution in Karachi?"

What does inflation or free wheat distribution accidents have to do with it? Even in America, you occasionally see people picking food out of the trash or line up for free food at churches and soup kitchens. Does that mean Americans are not doing well in terms of per capita food consumption?

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Riaz

"In Pakistan, the daughters have a much chance of being born and survive than in India. There is a quiet female genocide going on for years now that has completely distorted the male-female ratio"

In some parts of India, in some communities, this is an alarming problem. In fact, I never heard about it, may be it is because I am from far South of India. But even in North, it is not the NORM, rather an exception. But in most other parts, India has much better gender equality and more decent treatment for women. Muslim women in India are far better off in India than in Pakistan. In Paksitan, Shariah has only encouraged more men to engage in rape as they rarely gets punished and the women may get honour killed.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Riaz

"What does inflation or free wheat distribution accidents have to do with it?"

Pakistan has the best Gini coefficient in South Asia, but it is the only country in South Asia where food stampedes happen. Only in SubSaharan Africa, one will encounter such things.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "But even in North, it is not the NORM, rather an exception."

The problem is very serious across India. Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh, who has three daughters, has recognized the accelerating horror of female genocide in India. In response, he has launched the “Save the Girl Child” campaign. He has said that no nation could claim to be part of a civilized world if it condoned female feticide. An estimated 50 million girls have been sacrificed because of son preference.

"Census figures illustrate that in some of the richer states the problem is most acute. These states include Punjab which had only 798 girls (per 1,000 boys), Haryana 819, Delhi 868 and Gujarat 883 girls in the 2001 Census. Growing economic prosperity and education levels have not led to a corresponding mitigation in this acute problem," he said.

"Female illiteracy, obscurantist social practices like child marriage or early marriage, dowry, poor nutritional entitlements, taboos on women in public places make Indian women vulnerable. The patriarchal mindset and preference for male children is compounded by unethical conduct on the part of some medical practitioners," Mr. Singh said.

As the literacy gap, India's females are 22 points behind their male counterparts in literacy, one of the widest in the world, but only slightly better than Pakistan's 25% gap.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "Pakistan has the best Gini coefficient in South Asia, but it is the only country in South Asia where food stampedes happen. Only in SubSaharan Africa, one will encounter such things."

I can assure you from personal observations of both India and Pakistan (and parts of Africa), that the kind of abject poverty and hunger that exists in India is not seen in Pakistan. Even the Indian Nobel Laureate and poverty specialist Amartya Sen has acknowledged this reality.

There are mechanisms such as Sadaqa and Zakat that help even out some of the most egregious rich-poor gaps in India. Many people take their obligation for charity very seriously.

Since the beginning of the current economic crisis in 2008, a lot of people have lost their jobs and since there is no social safety net, some rely on charity like sadaqa and zakat. But there are many philanthropists in Pakistan who pay for food for such people who line up outside restaurants and other places. The stampedes rarely happen because the process is more orderly.

Stampedes can happen anywhere, for any reason. It's more of an organizational issue, rather than the availability of free food to feed the needy.

Stampedes have happened in India for things much less essential, such as movie tickets in theaters. There have been reports of many more people dying from stampedes in almost all parts of the world for various reasons.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan is doomed for one major reason: the education and treatment of it's women.

North India does have abysmal birth ratios. We're fighting some enormous historical social and economic forces here. However, a democratic society does self-correct. In the case of women the legal system has over-corrected to the point of discriminating against men. My brother-in-law is going through a divorce (in North India) - he's pretty much guilty until proven innocent.

In South India, women decide who gets elected - a major reason for partial or complete prohibition in some states. Try getting a drink at a bar in Chennai after midnight - best of luck. Guess who caused that one. Literacy rates in the South exceed those of the US.

Nandan Nilekani talks about India's camel-humped demographics. India's current growth is powered by the South-Indian demographic bulge (250M people). If India manages the North Indian bulge (500M people) it's destined for greatness. If not ... well, we'll still be comparing India and Pakistan 20 years from now :-)

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Pakistan is doomed for one major reason: the education and treatment of it's women."

While I acknowledge that there is a serious problem in terms of education and gender gap, I believe this problem can and will be corrected with growing realization and increasing urbanization in Pakistan. Pakistan is the most urbanized in South Asia already, and its pace of rural-to-urban migration is accelerating.


I do agree that South India is doing much better than the North in terms of the social indicators.

In fact, I have always been intrigued by Kerala and I wonder if there is a Kerala model that could be replicated in the rest of South Asia. With the exception of Kerala, the situation in India is far worse than the Human Development Index suggests. According to economist Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on hunger, India has fared worse than any other country in the world at preventing recurring hunger.

In addition to its high literacy rate, Kerala boasts one of India's best healthcare systems, even for those who can't afford to pay user fees and therefore depend on government hospitals. Kerala's infant mortality rate is about 16 deaths per 1,000 births, or half the national average of 32 deaths per 1,000 births.

Freelance journalist Shirin Shirin thinks Kerala's success has something to do with the fact that communists have ruled Kerala for much of the past 50 years. The CPI(M) successfully pushed for three major reforms in the 1960s and 1970s. The first and most important was land reform. While nearly everyone looks on land reform as a huge success in Kerala, the policy was controversial when it was first proposed in 1959. Land reform, after all, is an attack on one of capitalism's founding principles - the right to property. The central government intervened and effectively blocked the implementation of land reform for 10 years. But planners and unions in Kerala understood that building a more egalitarian economy required attacking the old feudal system at its roots, and small farmers weren't going to stand for anything less.

But even Shining Kerala is plagued by hunger and malnourishment, just as the rest of India. The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) this year 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.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in knowing that of the four states in South, Kerala is worst in economic performance and industrial production. Tamilnadu and Karnataka are doing muc better.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "You might be interested in knowing that of the four states in South, Kerala is worst in economic performance and industrial production. Tamilnadu and Karnataka are doing muc better."

You may be right, but Kerala is significantly ahead in social indicators such as literacy and health of its residents.

http://medind.nic.in/jah/t04/i2/jaht04i2p55g.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a >WEF assessment of gender gap in South Asia and Islamic world as among the worst:

Despite government’s efforts at empowering women and some of them occupying top positions in various sectors, India stood at a dismally low position of 53 among 58 countries for "gender gap," according to a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The survey showed that India was just above Korea, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt which occupied the last five positions in that order but below Bangladesh which got the 39th slot. Sri Lanka and Nepal were not included in the countries surveyed.

However, Indian women got high rating for political empowerment, where they were rated at 24th position, health and well-being (34) and economic opportunity (35).

What dragged them down was educational attainment where they got a low ranking -- 57th position -- and economic participation in which they occupied 54th position.

The survey took into consideration economic participation, economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment and health and well-being.

The top five positions were occupied by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland followed by New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Germany and Australia. The United States occupied 17th position but got low rating in providing economic opportunity to women (46th).

Despite being among the richest countries, it scored the 42nd position for health and well-being of women. However, in education attainment it was placed at 8th position and for economic participation at 19th.

Overall, the survey gave India a score of 3.27 points on a scale of 1-7 where seven represented the top score.

Bangladesh, with just an overall score of 3.74, got the 39th position as it had done well in economic participation (18th rank), educational attainment and health (37) and well-being (37). Its ranking, however, dropped to 53 for economic opportunity and 42 for political empowerment.

China occupied 33rd position with an overall ranking of 4.01 points. Economic participation of women was its strongest point for which it occupied 9th position but for economic opportunity, its position dropped down to 23.

The ranking further went down for political empowerment (40) and educational attainment (46). But was slightly better for health and well-being at 36.

Out of the seven predominantly Muslim nations covered by the study, Bangladesh (39) and Malaysia (40) outperformed Indonesia (46), while Jordan (55), Pakistan (56), Turkey (57) and Egypt (58) occupied the bottom four ranks.

Traditional and deeply conservative attitudes regarding the role of women had made their integration into the world of public decision-making extremely difficult, the survey alleged.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Riaz - This pos has attracted 100 comments s far...wondering ifyou have any statistics for your posts..I ould like to connect with you regarding my research on blogposts.

dcruncher4 said...

here is an excellent article by Irfan Hussain

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/irfan-husain-survival-of-the-fittest

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher,

Thanks for sharing the link. Pakistan can certainly use a few Cassandras like Pervez Hoddbhoy and Irfan Husain. In fact, Pervez Hoodbhoy, who I know personally and stay in touch with, is my favorite.

Cassandras serve an important purpose by trying to tell the bad news and pull people out of denial.

Now let me address some of the points in Irfan Husain's piece.

1. It is unfortunately true that some doors in the post 911 world have closed for Pakistani students and scientists in terms of education, research and employment. However, it is not a hopeless situation. Take the Hadron Supercollider in Switzerland, for example.

There are 27 Pakistani scientists involved in this effort at CERN. Pakistan has made material contributions to the tune of $10m. Pakistan signed an agreement with CERN which doubled the Pakistani contribution from one to two million Swiss francs. And with this new agreement Pakistan started construction of the resistive plate chambers required for the CMS muon system. While more recently, a protocol has been signed enhancing Pakistan’s total contribution to the LHC program to $10 million.

Another example, there are at least 10,000 Pakistanis going to the UK alone each year, in spite of the visa difficulties. More than 30,000 student visa apps by Pakistanis are rejected each year.

There are dozens of Pakistanis working as nuclear scientists and engineers at GE and other firms, designing and building reactors. At least one of them serves on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Pakistan is one of a dozen nations with labs conducting research at Jinnah Arctic Station in Antarctica.

There is at least one university, NUST, that shows up on the latest top 400 universities published by Times of London. There are several more in 400-500 range.

According to Sciencewatch, papers by Pakistani scientist are increasingly being cited in many fields including computer science, engineering, materials, plant biology.

So along with the bad news that Cassandras bring you, there is always some good news, too.

dcruncher4 said...

@Riaz. You are welcome.

It is good to read about contribution by Pak scientists.

I also like articles written by Dr. PH and Mr. IH a lot. I had in the past exchanged few emails with them. Their wavelength is like mine. While PH is an outright atheist, IH like me is an agnostic and not a practicing muslim.

read this article. Read specially the comments by Indians :-)

http://thefastertimes.com/india/2009/10/14/afghanistan-is-india-part-of-the-problem-or-part-of-the-solution/

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: I agree with Kahn's conclusion: "I also don’t think India can have it both ways: insist on a presence in Afghanistan because of geopolitics and its rivalry with Pakistan – and yet object when the U.S. sees the exact same thing and wants India included in a regional Indo-Af-Pak strategy."

It seems the US is having second thoughts about the very "AfPak" label they contrived a few months go. The label "Chaosistan" for Afghanistan is looking more and more likely as the US appears to be contemplating an exit.

Pakistani military is probably preparing to deal with and manage "Chaosistan" next door, intensifying India-Pak competition there.

The current thinking in Washington seems to be shifting to stabilizing Pakistan rather than putting more US resources in Afghanistan...but it's a double-edged sword for both US and Pakistan due to the intense dislike of US in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

@Riaz,

I hope you publish my comment.

"I also don’t think India can have it both ways: insist on a presence in Afghanistan because of geopolitics and its rivalry with Pakistan – and yet object when the U.S. sees the exact same thing and wants India included in a regional Indo-Af-Pak strategy."

Kahn is wrong. India was invited by Afghanistan to rebuild their nation in the areas they perceived india to be strong at. USA invaded Afghan, they were not invited. Given this, why should India be part of US disastrous AfPak strategy. UK and other chamcha countries of US can do that job better. If India becomes part of
US AFPak strategy then effectively it means that India has joined US in the war on terror and this will be a disaster for India, given 150 million muslims in India itself.

Riaz Haq said...

Tens of thousands of Indian women and girls are dying during pregnancy, in childbirth, and in the weeks after giving birth, despite government programs guaranteeing free obstetric health care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 150-page report "No Tally of the Anguish: Accountability in Maternal Health Care in India" documents repeated failures both in providing health care to pregnant women in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India and in taking steps to identify and address gaps in care. Uttar Pradesh has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in India, but government surveys show it is not alone in struggling with these problems, including a failure even to record how many women are dying.

"Unless India actually counts all the women who die because of childbirth, it won't be able to prevent those thousands of unnecessary deaths," said Aruna Kashyap. "Accountability might seem like an abstract concept, but for Indian women it's a matter of life and death."

The report cites numerous examples of cases in which breakdowns in the system ended tragically. Kavita K., for example, developed post-partum complications, but the local community health center was unable to treat her, according to her father, Suraj S., who said the family then tried to take her to government hospitals in three different towns.

"From Wednesday to Sunday - for five days - we took her from one hospital to another," he told Human Rights Watch. "No one wanted to admit her. In Lucknow, they admitted her and started treatment. They treated her for about an hour, and then she died."

India created a flagship program, the National Rural Health Mission, in 2005 to improve rural health, with a specific focus on maternal health. The program promises "concrete service guarantees," including free care before and during childbirth, in-patient hospital services, comprehensive emergency obstetric care, referral in case of complications, and postnatal care. But the system is not working as it should in many cases, Human Rights Watch research showed.

Riaz Haq said...

HRW Contd:

The report identified critical shortcomings in the tools used to monitor the health care system and identify recurring flaws in programs and practice. While accountability measures, such as monitoring how and why women die or are injured, or how many pregnant women with complications can use the government's emergency obstetric facilities, may seem dry or abstract, they are critical to intervening in time to make a difference and to saving the lives of women.

The major gaps in the system identified by Human Rights Watch are:

* The failure to gather the necessary information at the district level about where, when, and why deaths and injuries are occurring and whether women with pregnancy complications in practice get access to emergency obstetric care; and
* The absence of accessible grievance and redress mechanisms, including emergency response systems.

"India has recognized that thousands and thousands of its women are dying unnecessarily, and it could be leading the world in reversing that deadly pattern," said Kashyap. "But for all India's good intentions, the system still leaves many women at risk of death or injury."

The research for the report was conducted between November 2008 and August 2009, and included field research and interviews with victims, families, medical experts, officials and human rights activists in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in India. Researchers reviewed government surveys and reports by local and international nongovernmental organizations.

The investigations in Uttar Pradesh also show that while health authorities are upgrading public health facilities, they still have a long way to go. The majority of public health facilities have yet to provide basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Many have a health worker trained in midwifery but who can do little to save the life of a pregnant woman unless supported by a functioning health system, including an adequate supply of drugs, emergency care, and referral systems for complications.

The reality is far different from what is guaranteed to women on paper. Niraja N., a health worker who routinely accompanies pregnant women to health facilities so they can give birth told Human Rights Watch:

"Nothing is free for anyone. What happens when we take a woman for delivery to the hospital is that she will have to pay for her cord to be cut ... for medicines, some more money for the cleaning. The staff nurse will also ask for money. They do not ask the family directly ... We have to take it from the family and give it to them [staff nurses] ... And those of us [ASHAs] who don't listen to the staff nurse or if we threaten to complain, they make a note of us. They remember our faces and then the next time we go they don't treat our [delivery] cases well. They will look at us and say ‘referral' even if it is a normal case."

In part, this happens because many women are unaware of their entitlements under health care programs and have no way to make sure that their complaints and concerns about the treatment meted out to them at health facilities or by health workers are heard and addressed.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Hunger Report on World Food Day that criticizes India's failures:

...the report criticizes economically liberal India where, it says, 30 million people have been added to the ranks of the hungry since the mid-1990s and 46% of children are underweight.

It says hunger exists in India not because there is insufficient food, but because people cannot access it, and that the exploitation of natural resources has led to "horrific displacements" of people, pushing many into poverty.

"When people are already on the brink of starvation this is simply unacceptable," it says.

The report said some progress had been made, with a scheme to protect rural employment in the case of drought, but it needed to be implemented more effectively.

Neighboring Bangladesh is praised for reducing the number of chronically food-insecure people from 40 million to 27 million in the past 10 years and for improving childhood nutrition in the past two decades.

Anonymous said...

As an indian,i feel that Haq has described the grave Hunger problem in india.India and Indians should take this problem as a challenge.We should continue to grow at 8-9% uniformly .At the same time Indian bureaucratic needs to pull up their socks and work hard in solving the basic problems of rural economy.

We are indians and we can achieve everything .

Riaz Haq said...

This information is not relevant to the post, but for those of you who are sincerely seeking data on Pakistan's IT industry, here is a snapshot:

The State Bank of Pakistan in its statement for the year According to Pakistan Software Export Board, State Bank of Pakistan for 2007-08 reports the export figures of software and IT-enabled services to be US$169 million which shows a consistent annual growth. State Bank of Pakistan adopted BPM 5 reporting system to report the IT exports revenue, which restricted the export figures to US$169 million only in 2007-08. In India, the Reserve Bank of India follows the BPM 6 (also called MSITS) Reporting System, which raises its exports to billions of US dollars. BPM 6 includes sales to multinationals, earning of overseas offices & salaries of non-immigrant overseas workers to export revenue. Using the MSITS Reporting System, Pakistan IT Industry exports are estimated at US$ 1.4billion while the industry size is estimated at US$ 2.8 billion. It is significant to note that Pakistan IT exports growth in each of the last few years has been more than 40%.


Source: http://www.pseb.org.pk/item/industry_overview

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about the tale of two India' on the BBC South Asia website:

Bangalore is an Indian city where hi-tech and crippling poverty live side by side.

As the rate of development in Bangalore gathers pace, some fear that the many impoverished communities that also call the city home may be left behind.

Since the liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, the Indian tech sector has expanded rapidly.

The major players - including Microsoft, Infosys, Cisco and Google - exist in enormous "tech parks" crammed with tall, shiny office buildings.

Meanwhile on the same block, piles of rotting rubbish, beggars and stray dogs surround traffic that is heavy with pollution and often locked in a loud and aggressive jam.

Contrast in this city is not new; the levels of poverty are growing faster than the tech industry as migrant workers from other states join the population to aid the development.

There are concerns that this impoverished population could be left behind in the city of the future, unless big businesses acknowledge that the local infrastructure is under a great deal of pressure.

Ethical business offline

Many foreign businesses have set up outsourcing hubs in Bangalore and beyond - India is a leader in this type of business.

Meanwhile non-governmental organizations and aid workers struggle to support the poorer aspects of society, and many believe that big businesses could have a more influential hand in helping those who are not doing so well out of the tech boom.

Azim Premji is the chairman of Wipro, one of the largest companies in India. He recognized the issues of his local communities and created the Azim Premji foundation.

It is a separate venture to his corporation and privately funded. It addresses methods of education in the hope that supporting youth will mean creating a better society in the long run.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a story by Rahimullah Yusufzai, a respected journalist who recently visited in India and wrote in the News as follows:

"I fear there will be a bloody revolution in India," a retired Indian military officer remarked to this writer and other guests during a recent visit to New Delhi. It was shocking to hear the comment from a soldier, in a country that supposedly had given a voice to its huge population and was believed to be all-inclusive.

It is obvious that India's much-praised democracy hasn't brought any real change in the lives of millions of Indians. That some of the poorest men and women are now up in arms in parts of India is evidence enough that democratically elected governments must do more to provide rights and justice to the rural poor and ensure even-handed development in different parts of the country.

The Naxalite violence in India has caused pain to most thinking Indians. For them it is a matter of anguish that a growing number of Indians are disillusioned with their country's democracy and see no hope of benefiting from India's steady economic progress. They have picked up the gun to fight for their rights.

The Maoist-linked violence is spreading and engulfing new places. The vast region affected by the insurgency include the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and runs south through Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It is usually called the "Red Corridor" because the leadership for the rebels is provided by communist cadres labelled as Maoists. The Communist Party of India (Marxists-Leninists), despite suffering splits, is still the standard-bearer of the rebels.

According to reports in the Indian media, more than 220 districts in 20 or so states are now affected by Maoist-linked violence. Indian intelligence agencies believe the movement has at its disposal 20,000 armed cadres and over 50,000 regular members. Apart from the rural poor, indigenous tribes such as the Girijans in Andhra Pradesh and Santhals in West Bengal have been flocking to the Naxalite movement. The movement has appeal for the dispossessed and the under-privileged. In the words of its present leader, Mupalla Laxman Rao, in hiding somewhere in eastern India and better known as Ganapathi, his party's influence has grown stronger and it was now the only genuine alternative before the people of India.

The Naxalite movement began as a peasants' uprising in May 1969 in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal. It was initially led by 49-year-old Charu Mazumdar and its aim was to seize power through an agrarian revolution by overthrowing the feudal order. Mazumdar died in police custody 12 days after his arrest in Calcutta in 1972 and became a hero to Maoist cadres that have increased in number and strength over the years despite splits in the movement. The Naxalite insurgency has sprouted after every defeat and is now stronger than ever.

India's share of the world's poorest people has increased to 39 percent from 25 percent in 1980. In comparison, the Below Poverty Line population worldwide has decreased from 1,470 million to 970 million. There are reportedly 301 million Indians below the poverty line, just 19 million less than in 1983. The Human Development Report by the UN has been ranking India among the lowest 60 or 65 countries in the list of 193 nations that are part of the annual study. India's poor performance on this score was in spite of the around nine percent growth rate in its GDP. There are reports in the media about farmers committing suicide or selling their wives to pay mounting debts. Though the recorded figures of such cases aren't high in a big country such as India with 1.17 billion people, it still indicates the desperate state of certain communities.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you an analogy. USA is worlds largest economy and the sole superpower..as well all know. But its healthcare system, Per capita income is much lower than many developed countries in the West especially in Europe. The quality of life is much better in a Germany or a Switzerland etc.

The reason is obvious - population. It takes effort and sophistication to do something to serve 1000 people versus 10000 people and across a more diverse geography and demographics. Most companies operating in India will tell you to deliver the same service requires lots of tweaking when you go from one state to the other. Thus the system of circles in telecom. If it wasnt so Indias telecom companies would be of the size comparable to the Chinese sooner than later...just as an example.

So while you might have quoted valid data in % terms to describe various social indicators. However, India's diversity and geagraphic expanse is much greater than Pakistan's and so is its population. Just like Srilanka was earliar..one would have expected Pakistan to be much further ahead of India rather than wafer thin advantages on these indicators.

As for Pakistanis doing well in the US; it might be true but Indians have done pretty well wont you say?...better than the Chinese your beloved friends.

Lastly, I think the basis of your bias against India is rooted in the British theory of 'Martial races', ills of caste system & Idol worship.Its been nicely window dressed with the social indicators data.

I have no problems with Pakistan progressing. Given its size, it should get to be middle income country quickly and befriend India. But the elite there (and you have to be considered a part of it) has biases that are stopping it and also dragging India down..with the export of drugs, fake currency and terror. Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a report in the Indian media with an Indian official Syeda Hameed admitting that India is doing worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh on nutrition:

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.


'There has been an enormous infusion of funds. But the National Family Health Survey gives a different story on malnourishment in the country. We don't know, something is just not clicking,' Hameed said.


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 organised Monday by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.


According to India's National 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.


Hameed said the government's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, which is a flagship programme to improve the health of women and children, had not shown results despite a lot of money being spent on it in the past few years.


'We have not been successful in improving the status of health of our women and children,' she added.


The annual budget for women and child development (WCD) ministry in 2008-9 is Rs.72 billion. Of this, Rs.63 billion is for ICDS.


According to Unicef, every year 2.1 million children in India die before celebrating their fifth birthday. While malnutrition is the primary reason behind it, other factors like lack of health facilities, hygiene and good nutrition compound the problem.


Narrating her experiences while travelling the length and breadth of the country, Hameed said in many areas women were still starving and finding it difficult to feed their children.


She said emphasis should be given on inclusive breast-feeding for six months after a child's birth, maternity benefits for pregnant women and food fortification of ready to eat mid-day meals.


'We are concerned and worried that we are losing human beings in such a manner. It is a disappointment and a blot. We have just improved a fraction and we are determined that we do not let it get worse,' she said.


'It is frustrating to see this dark and dismal picture of undernourishment in the country. We have to learn the experiences from other South Asian countries,' she added.


The NFHS survey found that levels of anaemia in children and women had worsened compared to seven years ago -- around 56 percent of women and 79 percent of children below three years are anaemic.


Vinita Bali, managing director of Britannia Industries, said the problem was very critical and action was needed from both the government and the industry.


She said their 'Tiger' biscuits had been fortified with iron and had shown amazing results. These biscuits have been provided to children in Hyderabad with a midday meal.


'We conducted a study and found that in six months of taking these biscuits, the haemoglobin increased. The biscuits are not only healthy but also fortified,' she said.


'There should be a balance between prevention and treatment. Our focus should be to target the most vulnerable and then only we will have a much healthier future for India,' he added.

http://newshopper.sulekha.com/india-worse-than-pakistan-bangladesh-on-nourishment_news_927008.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an LA Times report on the vicious cycle of poverty in rural India:

India has long been plagued by unscrupulous moneylenders who exploit impoverished farmers. But with crops failing more frequently, farmers are left even more desperate and vulnerable.

Reporting from Jhansi, India - She stops for long stretches, lost in thought, trying to make sense of how she's been left half a person.

Sunita, 18, who requested that her family name not be used to preserve her chance of getting married, said her nightmare started in early 2007 after her father took a loan for her sister's wedding. The local moneylender charged 60% annual interest.

When the family was unable to make the exorbitant interest payments, she said, the moneylender forced himself on her, not once or twice but repeatedly over many months.

"I used to cry a lot and became a living corpse," she said.

Sunita's allegations, which the moneylender denies, cast a harsh light on widespread abuses in rural India, where a highly bureaucratic banking system, corruption and widespread illiteracy allow unethical people with extra income to exploit poor villagers, activists say.

But here in the Bundelkhand region in central India that is among the nation's more impoverished areas, the problem is exacerbated by climate change and environmental mismanagement, they say, suggesting that ecological degradation and global warming are changing human life in more ways than just elevated sea levels and melting glaciers.

"Before, a bad year would lead to a good year," said Bharat Dogra, a fellow at New Delhi's Institute of Social Sciences specializing in the Bundelkhand region. "Now climate change is giving us seven or eight bad years in a row, putting local people deeper and deeper in debt. I expect the situation will only get worse."

An estimated 200,000 Indian farmers have ended their lives since 1997, including many in this area, largely because of debt.

A 2007 study of 13 Bundelkhand villages found that up to 45% of farming families had forfeited their land, and in extreme cases some were forced into indentured servitude. Tractor companies, land mafia and bankers routinely collude, encouraging farmers to take loans they can't afford, a 2008 report by India's Supreme Court found, knowing they'll default and be forced to sell their land.

"While a few people borrow for social status or a desire to buy a new motorcycle, in most cases it's for sheer survival," Dogra said. "When they see their children starving after several years of crop failures, many feel they have no choice."

Recent amendments to a 1976 law in Uttar Pradesh state have increased the maximum punishment for unauthorized money-lending to three years in jail, up from six months, but many loan sharks are well-connected and elude prosecution. The law specifies that lenders must obtain a state license, but the requirements for obtaining it can be vague, a situation that critics say gives bureaucrats significant leeway to enact arbitrary rules and exact questionable fees.

"I take occasional loans when we're desperate," says Jhagdu, 50, a farmer in Barora, 60 miles south of Jhansi, sitting on his haunches with teeth stained red from chewing betel nut. "When there's no rain, like now, you can't repay for a year, so the amounts can double."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a November 2009 AFP report on how the Kiwis' charity brought mobs of beggars in Chennai and sparked a full-scale riot:

Two New Zealand cricketers have admitted to inadvertently sparking what has been described as a full-scale riot in the Indian city of Chennai after handing out money to street people.

The incident happened following an unauthorised drinking session during the New Zealand A tour of India in August.

Neil Broom and Aaron Redmond owned up after the Herald on Sunday newspaper reported that a riot broke out when two players began handing out money in Chennai.

"The intended charity quickly became more popular than the pair had counted on. The crowd grew larger and more unruly and, according to sources, a full-scale riot broke out," the newspaper said.

Although the players were not named in the article, Broom and Redmond later issued a statement admitting liability to remove the spotlight from the rest of the squad.

"Unfortunately when we decided to leave the night spot we were picked up by police following another poor decision to hand out money to people living on the street, whereupon a crowd developed," Redmond, a seven-Test batsman, said.

"The police initially took us back to the station and then arranged for a taxi to take us back to the hotel."

Broom said they accepted it was a serious breach of team protocols.

"We deeply regret the incident and wish to apologise to New Zealand Cricket," he said.

They were charged by New Zealand Cricket with serious misconduct for breaching team protocol but no details of any punishment were released.

"It was a confidential process, and New Zealand Cricket considers the matter closed," New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said.

New Zealand Cricket Players Association executive manager Heath Mills noted the players had not committed a crime and no charges were laid in India.

"The players fully accept that they should not have left the hotel, and also showed poor judgment in heading to a night spot and drinking, given preparations required for upcoming fixtures and the security position the team was in," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting report by Reuters in Pakistan:

By Alistair Scrutton

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - If you want a slice of peace and stability in a country with a reputation for violence and chaos, try Pakistan's M2 motorway.

At times foreign reporters need to a give a nation a rest from their instinctive cynicism. I feel like that with Pakistan each time I whizz along the M2 between Islamabad and Lahore, the only motorway I know that inspires me to write.

Now, if the M2 conjures images of bland, spotless tarmac interspersed with gas stations and fast food outlets, you would be right. But this is South Asia, land of potholes, reckless driving and the occasional invasion of livestock.

And this is Pakistan, for many a "failed state." Here, blandness can inspire almost heady optimism.

Built in the 1990s at a cost of around $1 billion, the 228-mile (367-km) motorway -- which continues to Peshawar as the M1 -- is like a six-lane highway to paradise in a country that usually makes headlines for suicide bombers, army offensives and political mayhem.

Indeed, for sheer spotlessness, efficiency and emptiness there is nothing like the M2 in the rest of South Asia.

It puts paid to what's on offer in Pakistan's traditional foe and emerging economic giant India, where village culture stubbornly refuses to cede to even the most modern motorways, making them battlegrounds of rickshaws, lorries and cows.

There are many things in Pakistan that don't get into the news. Daily life, for one. Pakistani hospitality to strangers, foreigners like myself included, is another. The M2 is another sign that all is not what it appears in Pakistan, that much lies hidden behind the bad news.

On a recent M2 trip, my driver whizzed along but kept his speedometer firmly placed on the speed limit. Here in this South Asian Alice's Wonderland, the special highway police are considered incorruptible. The motorway is so empty one wonders if it really cuts through one of the region's most populated regions.

"130, OK, but 131 is a fine," said the driver, Noshad Khan. "The police have cameras," he added, almost proudly. His hand waved around in the car, clenched in the form of a gun.

On one of my first trips to Pakistan. I arrived at the border having just negotiated a one-lane country road in India with cows, rickshaws and donkey-driven carts.

I toted my luggage over to the Pakistan side, and within a short time my Pakistani taxi purred along the tarmac. The driver proudly showed off his English and played U.S. rock on FM radio. The announcer even had an American accent. Pakistan, for a moment, receded, and my M2 trip began.

Built in the 1990s by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, it was part of his dream of a motorway that would unite Pakistan with Afghanistan and central Asia.

For supporters it shows the potential of Pakistan. Its detractors say it was a waste of money, a white elephant that was a grandiose plaything for Sharif.

But while his dreams for the motorway foundered along with many of Pakistan, somehow the Islamabad-Lahore stretch has survived assassinations, coups and bombs.

A relatively expensive toll means it is a motorway for the privileged. Poorer Pakistanis use the older trunk road nearby tracing an ancient route that once ran thousands of miles to eastern India. The road is shorter, busier and takes nearly an hour longer.

On my latest trip, I passed the lonely occasional worker in an orange suit sweeping the edge of the motorway in a seemingly Sisyphean task.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report about healthcare for mothers giving birth in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD- Pakistan ranks 72 among 75 less-developed countries as the best places to be a mother, in the same list, Sri Lanka ranks 54 and India ranks 70.
These facts were revealed on Saturday in the 10th annual Mothers’ Index issued by “Save the Children”.The global ranking is highlighted in the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers 2009 report, which focuses on the link between investing in early learning opportunities for young children and success in school. The Mothers’ Index was based on an analysis of indicators of women and children’s health educational, economic status and well being.
The top-10 countries, in general, have very high scores for mothers and children’s health, while the 10 bottom-ranked countries are a reverse image, performing poorly on all indicators. The report intensely presented comparisons of countries in the Mothers Index. In the overall global Mothers Index, Sweden ranks first in the world and Nigeria the last. According to report a typical woman in Pakistan has less than six years of schooling versus a typical woman in India who receives nine years and 12 years in Sri Lanka of formal education.
It also stated that 1 child in 10 does not reach his or her 5th birthday in Pakistan and in Sweden, only 1 child in 333 dies before age of 5.
“Fewer than 39 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Pakistan; 99 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Sri Lanka”, the report further noted. It also informed that female life expectancy in Pakistan is 66, 44 in Afghanistan, 67 in India and 76 in Sri Lanka. While addressing at the occasion Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of “Save the Children” gave detailed description regarding key findings of report.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's traveler-blogger Sean-Paul Kelly talking about lack of sanitation in India:

In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)

Riaz Haq said...

For some of the posters here, let me share with you what Sean-Paul Kelly, a traveler-blogger, thinks of India, based on the recent NY Times story on "India's Innovation Envy":

Indians, it seems, aren’t lacking in the hyper-patriotic, and India certainly doesn’t lack its boosters in the West. Alas, some folks are beginning to see the light:

"BANGALORE, India — In the United States and Europe, people worry that their well-paying, high-skill jobs will be, in a word, “Bangalored” — shipped off to India.

People here are also worried about the future. They fret that Bangalore, and India more broadly, will remain a low-cost satellite office of the West for the foreseeable future — more Scranton, Pa., in the American television series “The Office,” than Silicon Valley."

Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley-Asia has called this wage arbitrage (Roach happens to be one of the few American economists that gets it right on India). And Americans are right to worry about this. It’s put downward pressure on services as varied as call-centers and tech support, to financial news reporting, X-ray and MRI interpretation and accounting. I would be especially worried if I were an accountant. But then again, many of the big firm accountants need not be worried, as their shilling game for Wall Street will protect them. For a time.

"Even as the rest of the world has come to admire, envy and fear India’s outsourcing business and its technological prowess, many Indians are disappointed that the country has not quickly moved up to more ambitious and lucrative work from answering phones or writing software. Why, they worry, hasn’t India produced a Google or an Apple?"

Wait a second. India does not have any technological prowess in the true sense of the word. After all, if they did, why would the Ambassador, a car model over fifty years old, made of the heaviest steel imaginable, and horribly inefficient be the best selling domestically produced car in India, still. The Nano notwithstanding.

"Innovation is hard to measure, but academics who study it say India has the potential to create trend-setting products but is not yet doing so. Indians are granted about half as many American patents for inventions as people and firms in Israel and China. The country’s corporate and government spending on research and development significantly lags behind that of other nations. And venture capitalists finance far fewer companies here than they do elsewhere."

Re-read that graph closely and you’ll begin to get an idea of the hurdles India faces. And hurdles it is doing nothing, absolutely nothing to overcome. Instead of using its domestic capital for something like infrastructure building, local elites continue to siphon it all off and live behind huge fenced in compounds paying dalits pitiful, barely life-sustaining wages.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's traveler-blogger Sean-Paul Kelly talking about lack of sanitation in India:

In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about rising food prices in India:

Food prices in India have risen to a high of nearly 20% over last year, the highest rate in a decade.

The federal finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the government was planning to import food to ease prices.

A short supply of food due to lower farm produce following drought and floods has led to the rising prices.

Overall inflation in India has risen to 4.78% in November, up from 1.34% in October. Economists say this could trigger a rise in interest rates.

Correspondents say that the price rises are bound to increase concerns that poorer people in the country may be more exposed to food shortages and malnourishment.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the food prices were an "area of concern."

"We have to take appropriate measures to see what best could be done by augmenting the supply through imports," he was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Reports say that despite easing of import restrictions to bolster food supplies, food inflation had soared to nearly 20%.

The prices of pulses, milk, wheat and rice - and vegetables like potatoes - have risen sharply.

Potato prices have gone up by 136% and pulses have risen by over 40% over last year.

Senior government officials have said that overall inflation in India could be close to 7% by end of March next year.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on homeless deaths from cold in India:

Scores die in India every year, being ill-equipped to deal with extreme cold.

Estimates of the number of dead vary from 25 to 100 but these figures cannot be confirmed at present.

Fog in central Punjab region in neighbouring Pakistan has also shut down highways and affected railway and flight schedules.

A number of people have been injured in some minor accidents due to fog on Monday morning, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan says.

Intense cold

Heavy fog and a cold wave have disrupted life across northern India with temperatures dropping to zero degree Celsius in several places, including the city of Amritsar in Punjab.

Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are among the northern states which have been hit by intensely cold weather.

In Uttar Pradesh, scores of homeless people have died after being exposed to the intense cold.

The victims were mostly poor people who were sleeping on the streets or out in the open.

There are few homeless shelters in Indian cities and towns and although the authorities have distributed blankets and firewood, their efforts have been inadequate in the face of the extreme cold, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi.

Poor visibility because of dense fog has also affected rail and air traffic in the region with several flights and trains cancelled, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded.

On Saturday, the fog caused two separate train accidents in Uttar Pradesh leaving 10 people dead and nearly 50 injured.

Riaz Haq said...

There are an estimated 4.5 million Indian workers in just the GCC countries, about half of them in the UAE, according to the Financial Times.

The current difficulties in Dubai are exposing India's vulnerability to the possible economic collapse in the Gulf region. The fears are deepening that remittances, worth about $27bn a year, accounting for over 50% of total remittance inflows, from the Gulf to India. The United Arab Emirates is also one of India’s most important export destinations, accounting for about $17.5bn in trade or 10 per cent of India’s merchandise exports.

In spite of repeated tales of horror by Indian workers, the Islamic Gulf nations remain a powerful magnet for Indians seeking a way out of abject poverty and deprivation at home.

The village of Akhopur is in the district of Siwan in Bihar, India- from where about 75,000 people work in the Gulf. Most work as masons, helpers, carpenters, fitters and drivers, according to a recent story by the BBC.

They often labor in abysmal conditions with little or no facilities, but many say they can at least earn a living since opportunities back home are non-existent.

In Akhopur and neighboring villages of Bindusar, Orma and Khalispur, every household has at least two people working in the Gulf.

In the wake of recent Dubai troubles, the flow of returnees is ever growing, raising fear of rising h unger and poverty in resurgent India.

Often motivated by religious bigotry rather than than genuine concern, some Indians point to the unacceptable and deplorable treatment of the poor Indian workers in the "Arbi land".

But the real question is why are the Indian workers forced to accept degrading treatment in foreign lands?

Why is resurgent India so badly failing its people?

Why are 42% of Indians forced to live on less than $1.25 a day?

Why does Indian official Syeda Hameed believe "countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better" than India in terms of meeting basic nutritional needs of their children?

Why have an estimated 200,000 farmers in India committed suicide in the last ten years?

Why are 46% of India's children malnourished?

Why does the world call India a nutriti onal weakling?

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Ishrat Husain, a former World Bank senior official and an ex governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, wrote an article captioned "India, Pakistan: a comparison" at the end of the first five decades of two nations' existence as independent states. To my knowledge, Dr. Hussain has not done an update of his article since it was first published. Although about three years too late, I have just published a new post titled "India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010" to attempt to present a comparison of the two South Asian nations after sixty years of independence.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent post by BBC's Soutik Biswas:

A sobering thought to keep in mind though. Impressive growth figures are unlikely to stun the poor into mindless optimism about their future. India has long been used to illustrate how extensive poverty coexists with growth. It has a shabby record in pulling people out of poverty - in the last two decades the number of absolutely poor in India has declined by 17 percentage points compared to China, which brought down its absolutely poor by some 45 percentage points. The number of Indian billionaires rose from nine in 2004 to 40 in 2007, says Forbes magazine. That's higher than Japan which had 24, while France and Italy had 14 billionaires each. When one of the world's highest number of billionaires coexist with what one economist calls the world's "largest number of homeless, ill-fed illiterates", something is gravely wrong. This is what rankles many in this happy season of positive thinking.

Riaz Haq said...

According to UNICEF, scientific evidence available today tells us that in India alone more than 1 million child lives could be saved from scaling up known and proven cost effective interventions. With over 240 million children under the age of five, India contributes 25 percent of the world’s child deaths. It is evident that a major turnaround in India will ensure a significant impact globally!

The Education For All-Global Monitoring Report, released recently, says that out of the total 759 million illiterate adults in the world, India still has the highest number. “Over half of the illiterate adults live in just four countries: Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan,” the report said, adding the progress has been “painfully slow” and threatens to obstruct the Millennium Development Goals.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a novel use of cell phones in Pakistan to improve literacy:

A literacy programme delivered through the mobile phone to disadvantaged female learners in Punjab showed improved literacy skills.

The five-month programme, initiated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), targeted 250 females aged 15 to 24 years old in three districts.

Pakistan, with half its population illiterate, is the fourth largest contributor to the world illiterate population. The literacy rate for males is 63 per cent, compared to only 36 per cent for females, making the country with one of the widest gap in this region.

One of the main challenges in promoting literacy in the country is the lack of interest, Ichiro Miyazawa of UNESCO Islamabad, told FutureGov. “Many youths, after attending the basic literacy course, often relapse into illiteracy because the available reading materials are either too difficult or not interesting enough.”

In this pilot project which ended last month, these learners who have just completed the basic literacy course, were given a mobile phone each. They receive three text messages a day in the local language. They are required to practise reading and writing the messages in their work book and reply to their teachers by text.

Monthly assessments held at the learning centres showed improvement in literacy skills. While results varied in the three districts – Lahore, Sialkot and Hafizabad – learners who scored C reduced from an average of 52 per cent to 12 per cent.

UNESCO invested US$57 per learner to run this trial programme. Miyazawa expected that cost could be lowered to US$33 if the mobile phones were reused by at least three learners.

“We want the programme to be sustainable. If the learner wishes to continue after completing the programme, he or she can pay US$6 to keep the phone and continue receiving the messages,” he added.

While it will take some time to create awareness and gain acceptance, Miyazawa is confident that the benefits will quickly win the population. “56 per cent of learners and their family members were initially negative about the programme. The parents, in particularly, disapproved of their children carrying mobile phones and doubted that the phones would be used for learning. However, 87 per cent of them were satisfied with the effectiveness of the programme at the end.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg report on India's sanitation crisis:

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Until May 2007, Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place.

Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with the Taj Mahal in plain view.

With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians. Devi looks back on her routine with pain and embarrassment.

“As a woman, I would have to check where the males were going to the toilet and then go in a different direction,” says Devi, 37, standing outside her one-room mud-brick home. “We used to avoid the daytimes, but if we were really pressured, we would have to go any time of the day, even if it was raining. During the harvest season, people would have sticks in the fields. If somebody had to go, people would beat them up or chase them.”

In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300- ­million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in Devi’s village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September.

Economic Drain

Illness, lost productivity and other consequences of fouled water and inadequate sewage treatment trimmed 1.4-7.2 percent from the gross domestic product of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2005, according to a study last year by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.

Sanitation and hygiene-related issues may have a similar if not greater impact on India’s $1.2 trillion economy, says Guy Hutton, a senior water and sanitation economist with the program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Snarled transportation and unreliable power further damp the nation’s growth. Companies that locate in India pay hardship wages and ensconce employees in self- sufficient compounds.

The toll on human health is grim. Every day, 1,000 children younger than 5 years old die in India from diarrhea, hepatitis- causing pathogens and other sanitation-related diseases, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

‘Sanitation Crisis’

For girls, the crisis is especially acute: Many drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate lavatories, depriving the country of a generation of possible leaders.

“India cannot reach its full economic potential unless they do something about this sanitation crisis,” says Clarissa Brocklehurst, Unicef’s New York-based chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, who worked in New Delhi from 1999 to 2001.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a British report of India complaining about "poverty porn":

Diplomatic officials are preparing to lodge a complaint with Ofcom, the media watchdog, about the content of McCloud's Channel 4 series, Slumming It.

In the two-part documentary, the Grand Designs host visited Mumbai's squalid Dharavi slum. It showed children living amongst open sewers, dead rats and toxic waste, and residents scavenging on the city's rubbish dump.

Sources say the Indian High Commission in London granted a filming permit in the belief that McCloud was making a programme highlighting Mumbai's architectural history, and officials were horrified to see the end result.

"We thought it would be about the architecture of Mumbai but it was only about slums, nothing else. He was showing dirty sewage and dead rats, children playing amongst rubbish and people living in these small rooms. He never talked about architecture at all.

"This was poverty porn made to get ratings, and we are upset," the source said.

"Many people know India but for people who don't travel, they will think all of India is like this. Of course it will affect our tourism. It is not representative at all.

"We are not saying, 'Don't show Dharavi', but the show was not balanced. There is so much more to Mumbai and so much more to India."

The original synopsis submitted by the programme-makers said: "Kevin McCloud's passions are buildings and people and he will explore the architecture of Mumbai... Maharashtrian, British, Gothic and post-modern."

The source said: "When the production company applied, they said the name of the documentary was going to be Grand Designs. They said it was part of a 'celebration of all things India' and that he would look at different kinds of architecture. He didn't do any of this.

"Only occasionally did he mention the community spirit and the low crime rate and the fact that rubbish is recycled there.

"People forget that this nation is 60 years old. We are a young nation and it's not easy to bring 300 million people out of poverty just like that."

Slumming It was part of Channel 4's ongoing Indian Winter season. Of the five programmes shown so far, four have been set in the Mumbai slums, including a 'Slumdog' version of The Secret Millionaire.

The source accused Channel 4 of "cashing in on the success of Slumdog Millionaire", the Oscar-winning film which kicked off the season.

McCloud has praised the community spirit in Dharavi, claiming that the British government could use it as a model for "social sustainability". The Prince of Wales has hailed Dharavi as a model for urban planning.

In a joint statement, Channel 4 and the production company, talkbackThames, said: "We have not received a complaint from the India High Commission. The programme explores if city planners and architects can learn from the way Asia’s biggest slum has evolved and developed high levels of sustainability. Kevin McCloud follows everyday life in Dharavi and the film is a balanced and insightful account of his experience there.

"While it raises issues such as acute levels of poverty and the lack of sanitation, the programme also highlights many positive aspects of life in Dharavi such as the real sense of community as well as low levels of crime and unemployment. We believe that the film raises some important points around the issues of poverty, sustainability and city planning and is clearly in the public interest.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent piece from London's Telegraph newspaper about lack of toilets in modern India:

No one would ever call Radha Jagarya fortunate. The 45-year-old widow and her four children live on the pavement in an upmarket south Mumbai suburb, scraping a living by selling flowers to passing motorists.

But in terms of public toilet provision, the family is well-served compared with other areas, with an adequate communal block a five-minute walk away near the US Consulate and another under a busy road in the opposite direction.

n slum areas, in which more than half of Mumbai lives, an average of 81 people share a single toilet. In some places it rises to an eye-watering 273.

Unsurprisingly, it is still common to see people squatting by roads and railway tracks or along the coast, openly defecating in the city that drives India's economy and where some of the world's richest people live.

The UN estimates that 600 million people or 55 per cent of Indians still defecate outside, more than 60 years after Mahatma Gandhi, the scrupulously clean independence leader, first talked of the responsible disposal of human waste.

Jack Sim takes a very keen interest in such matters. As the founder and president of the World Toilet Organisation (WTO), he has made it his mission to improve sanitation across the globe.

For him, India has "a lot of work to do" to improve sanitation, not just because of its impact on health and the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea, which Unicef reports kills 1,000 Indian children aged under five every day.

It also tarnishes the image of a country that likes to portray itself as an emerging world economic superpower, the Singapore businessman said on a visit to Mumbai, where he was promoting World Toilet Day on November 19.

In particular, Sim questioned whether the authorities in New Delhi were doing enough to provide adequate public facilities for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which will draw tens of thousands of foreign visitors.

"If you don't have good toilets to welcome tourists, they don't come and won't go to all your beautiful sites," he said.

Public lavatory provision in Mumbai - and other cities - faces the same problem as housing, water and other basic services: supply cannot keep up with demand as India's population increases exponentially.

In March, Mumbai's municipal authorities said there were 77,526 toilets in slum areas and 64,157 more were needed. Work is in progress to build only 6,050.

Yet the UN's Mumbai Human Development Report 2009, published earlier this month, points out that even where public lavatories exist, most have no running water, drainage or electricity, making them unhygienic and unusable.

Embarrassment means women and girls often wait all day until it is dark to go to the toilet, increasing their chances of infections and exposing them to violence or even snake bites as they seek out remote places.

Poor sanitation and the illnesses it causes cost the Indian economy 12 billion rupees (£154 million) a year, according to the health ministry.

Sim, who sees links between public lavatories and social development, wants the issue pushed up the political agenda, urging people to "talk more about toilets".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about Kerala's economy and social indicators:

Kerala defies all stereotypes of a "socially backward" Indian state - swathes of people living in abject poverty, men outnumbering women because of female foeticide, internecine caste politics.

Many of its social indicators are on par with the developed world and it has the highest human development index in India.

It also has the highest literacy rate (more than 90%) and life expectancy in India, lowest infant mortality, lowest school drop-out rate, and a fairly prosperous countryside.

That's not all.

In contrast to India's more prosperous states, like Punjab and Haryana, Kerala can boast a very healthy gender ratio - women outnumber men here.

Life expectancy for women is also higher than for men, as in most developed countries. Thanks to a matrilineal society, women, by and large, are more empowered than in most places in India.

When it comes to low population growth, Kerala competes with Europe and the US. And all but two districts of the state have a lower fertility rate than that needed to maintain current population levels.
----------------
And thanks to pioneering land reforms initiated by a Communist government in the late 1950s, the levels of rural poverty here are the lowest in India. Decent state-funded health care and education even made it the best welfare state in India.

Yet, today, Kerala is a straggler economy almost entirely dependent on tourism and remittances sent back by two million of its people who live and work abroad, mostly in the Gulf.

Joblessness is rife due to the lack of a robust manufacturing base - more than 15% in urban areas, three times the national average. More than 30 million people live in the densely populated state, a third of which is covered by forests

More people here are taking their lives than anywhere else in India. Alcoholism is a dire social problem - the state has India's highest per capita alcohol consumption. People migrate because there are no jobs at home.
---------------------------------
Clearly, Kerala needs a new contract between the state and its people to move ahead and build upon its enviable gains.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about British aid to India used in building toilets in Mumbai:

International development aid is one part of the UK budget unlikely to be cut in a squeeze on public finances. But questions are being asked about how aid is used, and which countries need it. India last year got almost £300m from the UK, some of it spent on toilets in the country's financial capital, Mumbai.

The stench from the stagnant, fetid stream of the Queresh Nagar slum in Mumbai hits you as soon as you get out of the car.

The slum itself is bustling and vibrant. There is a line of shops with living quarters above. The stream is behind, the water a murky grey with insects buzzing on top. Some residents have rigged up filthy plastic covers at the back of their homes for privacy. But the children scamper around using the stream, or whatever ground they can find on the disused rail track behind, for a toilet.

"We have to live in these conditions," says La La Nawab Ali, who is showing me around.

"What can we do? You can see the state of it. This is Mumbai."

In another slum at Munjul Nagar, residents show letters, many signed with thumb prints, asking the authorities to finish building a toilet block that has been left half-finished. A similar stench pervades the air.

"It's an extremely difficult and helpless situation," explains Prasad Shetty, an urban planning consultant. "It's an extremely embarrassing undignified demeaning kind of experience for them."

Most of the funding for the sanitation project initially came from the World Bank and was then was taken over by the Mumbai government.

A small amount of British aid goes from the UK Department of International Development (DFID) through charities in England and India, mainly to train people to maintain their community toilet blocks. But many in the slums say they know little or nothing about it.

"You foreign people from over there, you keep on sending so much money," says one angry slum resident. "But the poor person sees nothing."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some facts about India's "security think tanks" from an Indian blogger writing about "escape from India":

With the emergence of Hindutva fascist forces and their alliance with Neo cons and Zionists, India witnessed a sharp increase in the number of research institutes, media houses and lobbying groups. According to a study by Think Tanks & Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, India has 422 think tanks, second only to the US, which has over 2,000 such institutions.

Out of 422 recognized Indian think tanks, around 63 are engaged in security research and foreign policy matters, which are heavily funded by global weapon industry. India’s Retired spies, Police officers, Military personals, Diplomats and Journalists are hired by such national security & foreign policy research institutes which gets enormous fund from global weapon industry. These dreaded institutions are in fact has a hidden agenda. Behind the veil, they work as the public relations arm of weapon industry. They create fake terror stories with the help of media and intelligence wing, manipulate explosions through criminals in areas of tribals, dalits or minorities in order to get public acceptance for weapon contracts.

By creating conflicts in this poor country, Brahmin spin masters get huge commission from the sale of weapons to government forces. To this corrupt bureaucrats, India’s ‘National Interest‘ simply means ‘their self Interest’. Their lobbying power bring more wealth to their families as lucrative jobs, citizenship of rich countries and educational opportunities abroad.

Mentionable that India is one of the world’s largest weapons importers. Between 2000 and 2007 India ranked world’s second largest arms importer accounting for 7.5 % of all major weapons transfers. It stood fourth among the largest military spender in terms of purchasing power in 2007 followed by US, China and Russia.

Over 1,130 companies in 98 countries manufacture arms, ammunitions and components. 90 % of Conventional arms exports in the world are from the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council namely USA, UK, Russia, China & France. The countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East hold 51 per cent of the world’s heavy weapons.

The Defence Offset Facilitation Agency estimating the expenditure on the sector at USD 100 billion for next five years. At least 38 court cases relating to arms agreements are still pending against bureaucrats and military officers. Hindu fascist forces currently enjoy upper hand in media, civil service, judiciary, defence and educational streams of Indian society. Sooner or later, 25,000 strong democratic institutions in India will be collapsed and the country will be transformed to a limited democracy under the rule of security regime like Turkey or Israel. Hindutva’s security centric nationalism never was capable of bringing peace and protection to the life of our ordinary citizens.

According to Global Peace Index, India currently ranked on bottom, (122 with 2.422 score). Interestingly, our favourite arms supplier, Israel is among the worst performer when it comes to peace ranking. (141). It reminds a simple fact that the peace cannot be attained by sophisticated security apparatus.

Further more, India topped on Asian Risk Prospects -2009, with the highest political and social risk, scoring 6.87, mainly because of internal and external instability (PERC)

Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC commentary by Soutik Biswas on India's "rights revolution":

Ensuring the basics in life remains the biggest challenge for India, six decades after independence.

Take food. Some 43% of Indian children younger than five are underweight - far above the global average of 25% or sub-Saharan Africa's 28%. India is a lowly 65th among 84 countries in the Global Hunger Index. Half of the world's hungry people live in India.

So the proposed right to food, entitling a poor family to 25kg of rice or wheat at three rupees (seven cents) a kilogram is good news. The bad news is that identifying the deserving poor is a challenge - there are four different government estimates of the very poor or below poverty line (BPL) people floating around. States may inflate numbers of beneficiaries to corner more federal benefits. Then there is the notoriously leaky public distribution system, from where food is often siphoned off by a triad of low-level bureaucrats, shop owners and middlemen.

Nobody can deny that the right to education - every child aged 6-14 can demand free schooling - is critical: an estimated eight million children in that age group do not attend school in India. India's 61% literacy rate lags behind Kenya's 85%. But critics point to a lack of teachers - India would need more than a million teachers just to implement the right - and say there are simply not enough schools to cope with the increased demand.

Rights don't work miracles. But activists say they are an urgent social intervention to empower the poor in a highly iniquitous society, where it is difficult for the poor to access officials to air their grievances and secure their entitlements. "In a hierarchical society, rights-based movements are a way of moving towards equality," says leading political scientist Mahesh Rangarajan. Also, they put pressure on the state to deliver - the right to information, despite glitches, is making government more accountable.

Studies show that sensitive political and bureaucratic leadership combined with grassroots awareness and an engaged local media can translate rights into reality and improve the lives of the poor. Activists point out that money is not a problem - the economy is doing well, revenues are buoyant, federal health and education outlays have been increased. The government has pledged more than $5bn to send 10 million poor children to school.

The cynicism over rights mainly comes from India's burgeoning educated upper middle class. It is mostly not engaged with public institutions at all - its members rarely serve in the lower ranks of the armed forces, teach in state schools or work for the government. Yes, there are valid concerns about whether the state has the capacity to deliver on rights. Yes, the Indian state continues to focus on maintaining law and order and collecting revenue. Delivering services is not its strength. Rights could actually help it move towards a functioning welfare state. I would like to hear stories from you - and people you may know - who are reaping the benefits of the rights revolution.

Riaz Haq said...

In rural Pakistan where about 70% of Pakistanis live, people spend 55% of their income on food, according to a World Resources Institute (WRI) report.

The bottom two BOP (Bottom of Income Pyramid) groups alone account for more than 50% of national food spending in Pakistan. Average annual food spending per household in the BOP in Pakistan is $2,643. While BOP3000 households have 6 times as much income on average, they outspend BOP500 households in the food market by a ratio of only 2:1 in Cameroon, 2.3:1 in South Africa and Pakistan, 2.4:1 in Kazakhstan, 1.9:1 in Uzbekistan, and 3:1 in Peru.

Currently, food inflation in Pakistan is running at 15.49 percent, hitting the poor the hardest.

According to a recent Daily Times report, Non-perishable food item prices increased 14.76 percent whereas perishable food items recorded 21.30 percent increase in their prices.

Fuel & lighting index rose 20.19 percent during January this over the last year whereas house rent index posted 13.38 increase this month.

Transport & communication index rose 9.43 percent, education expenses increased 13.68 percent and medical expenses increased 5.88 percent.

The detailed analysis of the SPI prices for Jan-10 reveals that few items, within the food category, were observed to post over 100bps MoM increase in prices. Sugar (1.92 percent weight in the CPI) remained exceptional with 19 percent MoM increase and food prices (40.3 percent weight in the CPI) contributed passively this time around to the CPI in Jan-10 due to being relatively stable.

Riaz Haq said...

In a recent interview, food campaigner Jean Dreze aid, "For Indians to eat like the Chinese, let alone the French or the Italians, there will have to be a lot more food around."

Here are some excerpts from it:

"Firstly, I would not agree that India is “self-sufficient” in food production. It looks self-sufficient only because food intake is abysmally low, not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality. For Indians to eat like the Chinese, let alone the French or the Italians, there will have to be a lot more food around. Having said this, low food production is not the main issue, and food production itself would easily go up if there were enough purchasing power among the masses. The main issue is people’s inability to secure essential things that are required for good nutrition. These include not only food but also other inputs such as clean water, health care, sanitation, basic education and child care. All these fields of public policy have been grossly neglected for a long time."

"The NREGA can certainly help, and it does. In a recent survey of 1,000 NREGA workers conducted in 10 districts of North India, 69 per cent of the respondents felt that the NREGA had “helped them to avoid hunger” [see “The Battle for Employment Guarantee”, Frontline, January 2009]. But even if the NREGA functioned really well, which is not the case, it would have a limited impact on the nutrition situation, for many reasons. Some people are unable to participate in NREGA work because of illness, disability, old age, and so on. Those who do participate earn a meagre income at best, even if they work for 100 days in the year. And most importantly, good nutrition is not a matter of income alone. This applies especially to child nutrition, which is the foundation of good nutrition for all.

Even among households that are relatively well-off in economic terms, child under-nutrition is not uncommon, for reasons that can range from low birthweight and poor breastfeeding practices to lack of health care or gender discrimination. This is why a range of complementary interventions are required. It would be pointless to expect a single intervention, whether it is the NREGA or the PDS or the ICDS, to ensure food security."

Riaz Haq said...

Part of the problem fueling anger and insurgencies is the growing number of the poor in India. Here's a recent Reuters report:

India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday.

The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, a change that will require the Congress-ruled government to spend more money on the poor.

The new estimate comes weeks after Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress party, asked the government to revise a Food Security Bill to include more women, children and destitutes.

"The Planning Commission has accepted the report on poverty figures," Abhijit Sen, a member of the Planning Commission told Reuters, referring to the new poverty estimate report submitted by a government panel last December.

India now has 410 million people living below the U.N. estimated poverty line of $1.25 a day, 100 million more than was estimated earlier, officials said.

India calculates how much of its population is living below the poverty line by checking whether families can afford one square meal a day that meets minimum nutrition needs.

It was not immediately clear how much more the federal government would have to spend on the poor, as that would depend on the Food Security Bill when it is presented to the government after the necessary changes, officials say.

India's Planning Commission will meet the food and expenditure secretaries next week to estimate the cost aspects of the bill, government officials said.

A third of the world's poor are believed to be in India, living on less than $2 per day, worse than in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, experts say.

http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-47791820100418

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts of Nehru University's Prof Jayanti Ghosh's video interview on Real News Network in which she says there is "no Indian miracle":

JAY: So in India you're saying there never was major reforms and it's getting worse.

GHOSH: Absolutely. If you look at the pattern of Indian growth, it's really more like a Latin American story. We are now this big success story of globalization, but it's a peculiar success story, because it's really one which has been dependent on foreign—you know, we don't run trade surpluses. We don't even run current account surpluses, even though a lot of our workers go abroad to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, to California, as IT workers. We still don't really run current account surpluses. So we've been getting capital inflow because we are discovered as this hot destination. You know, we are on Euromoney covers. We are seen as this place to go. Some of our top businessmen are the richest men in the world. They hit the Fortune top-ten index. All of that kind of thing. This capital inflow comes in, it makes our stock market rise, it allows for new urban services to develop, and it generates this feel-good segment of the Indian economy. Banks have been lending more to this upper group, the top 10 percent of the population, let's say. It's a small part of the population, but it's a lot of people, it's about 110 million people, which is a pretty large market for most places. So that has fuelled this growth, because otherwise you cannot explain how we've had 8 to 10 percent growth now for a decade. Real wages are falling, nutrition indicators are down there with sub-Saharan Africa, a whole range of basic human development is still abysmal, and per capita incomes in the countryside are not growing at all.

JAY: So I guess part of that's part of the secret of what's happening in India is that the middle, upper-middle class, in proportion to the population of India, is relatively small, but it's still so big compared to most other countries—you were saying 100, 150 million people living in this, benefiting from the expansion. And it's a lot bigger. It's like—what is it? Ten, fifteen Canadas. So it's a very vibrant market. But you're saying most of the people in India aren't seeing the benefits.

GHOSH: Well, in fact it's worse than that. It's not just that they're not seeing the benefits. It's not that they're excluded from this. They are part of this process. They are integrated into the process. And, in fact, this is a growth process that relies on keeping their incomes lower, in fact, in terms of extracting more surplus from them. Let me just give you a few examples. You know, everybody talks about the software industry and how competitive we are. And it's true. It's this shiny, modern sector, you know, a bit like California in the middle of sub-Saharan Africa. But when you look at it, it's not just that our software engineers achieve, it's that the entire supporting establishment is very cheap. The whole system which allows them to be more competitive is one where you are relying on very low-paid assistants, drivers, cooks, cleaners. You know, the whole support establishment is below subsistence wage, practically, and it's that which effectively subsidizes this very modern industry.

Riaz Haq said...

Talking about healthcare in India, hunger haunts the poor patients even in the hospitals. And sickness drives them deeper into debt and poverty.

Here's a recent report on it:

NEW DELHI, Jan 3, 2010 (IPS) - As a nurse, Amita Dhaka sees much suffering, but what she finds hard to handle is inadequate nutrition and even hunger among poor in-patients.

At the busy, charitable hospital run by the Rural Medicare Society (RMS) at Mehrauli, on the outskirts of the national capital, where Dhaka is employed, there are provisions for poorer patients. But this is not the case with most state-run or private medical facilities, where patients are left to their own devices when it comes to procuring prescribed medicines or getting their meals.

"The problem is that attendants also require meals, and we see that very often they end up being an additional burden on the pockets of patients admitted in hospital," said Dhaka.

According to Dr. Aarti Vasisht, one of 28 doctors and surgeons working at the RMS hospital, providing patients with timely, balanced and nutritious meals is important because it has a direct bearing on recovery.

The chest specialist added that many of her patients are being treated for tuberculosis and are on heavy medications. "These are people who need to be on special diets and must be provided timely, nutritious meals," she said.

Vasisht has been able to arrange free meals for her patients at the RMS hospital from the charitable Santhigiri Ashram, which has a mission of providing free or subsidised food and medical care for the needy.

"We hope to expand these services and reach other hospitals in the national capital, but this is not easy in a time of recession when the prices of food items have gone through the roof," said Swami Pranavsuddhan, director of the Santhigiri Ashram. "The good thing though is that this is a cause that people seem interested in supporting, and New Delhi is a city of wealthy people who believe that feeding the poor and needy can add positively to their karma."

"These free meals go a long way for patients who may have to spend 300 rupees (6.4 US dollars) or more for each day of hospitalisation, which is an enormous burden for people living below the poverty line, earning less than two dollars a day,’’ Vasisht said.

"In India’s healthcare delivery system it is hard enough to get affordable medicines to most patients, and so the question of ensuring that they eat well is glossed over although everybody is aware of the problem,’’ she said.

The latest review of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), released last week, speaks of continuing difficulties in providing free drugs to patients and "the imperative of prescribing medicines from outside," when the government is committed to raising public spending on health from 0.9 percent of gross domestic product to two to three percent of GDP.

In sharp contrast to the services at the RMS centre are the swish hospitals dotting the capital that cater to the health needs of the well-to-do and to a burgeoning medical tourism industry that attracts 450,000 foreign patients each year.

Hospitals such as the ‘Indraprastha Apollo,’ which ranks among the world’s biggest private health facilities, do not allow attendants and provide patients with meals prepared under the careful supervision of dieticians.

The NRHM, which runs from 2005 to 2012, was set up after the government recognised that curative services favour the rich and that for every dollar spent on the poorest 20 percent of the population, three dollars are spent on the richest quintile.

The NRHM also acknowledges that over 40 percent of hospitalised Indians borrow heavily or sell assets to cover medical expenses and that over 25 percent of hospitalised Indians fall below the poverty line because of hospital expenses.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's water quality is not good, but it is significantly better than in India.

On page 288 of his book "Water management in India" the author P. C. Bansil quotes a UN study that says India ranks a poor 120 on a list of 122 countries in water quality.

India's neighbors Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan rank much better at 40, 64, 78 and 80 respectively.

http://books.google.com/books?id=u7ojYC9csS8C&pg=PA288&lpg=PA288&dq=India+ranks+a+poor+120+in+a+list+of+122+countries+ranked+for+their+water+quality&source=bl&ots=_m4oQAa7kK&sig=r-qPJRUB2Xg1u3wQQ0FphcATDe8&hl=en&ei=oyLVS7j7GYqiswPIyrScCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=pakistan%20water%20quality&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

In 2009 HDR, the rankings of countries in terms of population WITHOUT access to improved water source, the rankings are as follows:

India 78 (11%)
Bangladesh 106 (20%)
Nepal 79 (11%)
Pakistan 74 (10%)

Water quality reported by UNESCO is not the same as access. The two are different, mainly due to the relative affordability.

The water quality is bad in some European nations such as Belgium, but access to clean water is 100%, and it is achieved through bottled water that the population there can afford.

If you look at the water quality rankings, you'll realize the difference.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about a female Maoist fighter in India:

The guerrilla fighter was tough, experienced, leading a platoon of around 60 insurgents.

"I am from a very poor family," the fighter told me.

"Life was very difficult. I joined the party and now I understand many more things. I think revolution is the only option."

One thing you should know about this hardline Maoist rebel - she is a young woman.

She is one of the growing numbers of poor Indians who have joined a four-decades-old Maoist rebellion, in which thousands have died. Last month the rebels killed 76 members of the security forces in a single attack.

More than 20 of India's 28 states are affected by the insurgency. The remote tribal villages of Jharkhand state, where the fields are still tilled by oxen, are at the centre of it.

The area is home to some of the country's poorest people, mostly members of indigenous tribes. There is little sign of India's economic miracle here.

Local people feel the government has neglected them. So the Maoists, or "the party" as the villagers call them, have got on with running the place.

Parallel government

"The government here has no health programmes… so our party sets up health clinics to help the people," one Maoist fighter told me.

"This area is plagued by illness... Our party gives free medicines in the clinics - and we get help from doctors and nurses. We run them in the rainy season when people are suffering most."

The Maoists have drawn a lot of support from poor villagers like Chachi.

"They are like our sons, our brothers," she says.

"Before, we were not allowed to go into our forests - the authorities used to cut the trees but we weren't even allowed to gather firewood. Now we can.

"The party makes sure there is no tension between rich and poor… that's why we want the party here."

But not everyone agrees. The Maoists have blown up schools because the security forces use them as barracks.

Riaz Haq said...

India's official poverty measure has long been based solely upon the ability to purchase a minimum recommended daily diet of 2,400 kilocalories (kcal) in rural areas where about 70 percent of people live, and 2,100 kcal in urban areas. Rural areas usually have higher kcal requirements because of greater physical activity among rural residents. The National Planning Commission, which is responsible for the estimate, currently estimates that a monthly income of about Rs. 356 (about US$7.74) per person is needed to provide the required diet in rural areas and Rs. 539 in urban areas. Factors such as housing, health care, and transportation are not taken into account in the poverty estimates, according to demographers Carl Haub and O.P Sharma.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal story about counting the poor in India for government's welfare aid program:

Alimunisha's home is a 150-square-foot mud floor with a roof of plastic tarp held up by bamboo sticks. The beds are burlap potato sacks. There's no running water, electricity or toilet. She can afford to feed her five children one meal a day on the income her husband earns selling traditional drums.
Redefining Poverty in India

But according to the Indian government, Ms. Alimunisha, who goes by only one name, isn't living in poverty.

That means her family doesn't qualify for aid aimed at the poorest Indians, including a program that provides free housing and subsidies that would cut her food costs by two-thirds.

India, one of the world's fastest growing economies, is now embarking on a major reassessment of poverty levels. The review will determine how many struggling people across the world's second-most populous nation, from urban slum dwellers like Ms. Alimunisha to landless farm laborers, will be counted among the ranks of the official poor and get government handouts. At a stroke, tens of millions of people could flood onto the welfare rolls.

Millions of destitute Indian families don't qualify for food subsidies or housing assistance because they are not officially considered poor. Now the government is reassessing its poverty levels.

Generating a reliable list of poor households has become a top priority for the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which has pledged to spread the benefits of India's rapid growth to the aam aadmi, or common man. The government launched its review of poverty as it drafts legislation to give the poorest Indians a right to subsidized food-grains.

Defining poverty is tough in any country. But deciding who is poor, and how much the government can afford to help them, is especially complex in a nation of 1.2 billion where average annual per capita income is $953 and roughly one in two children is malnourished.

Expanding the definition of poverty without ballooning social spending will be doubly difficult. India already spends $12 billion a year on food subsidies alone. The review could add 100 million people to the welfare rolls and $1.3 billion a year to the nation's food-subsidy bill, a burden on a country that is striving to trim public deficits.
------------------
But the most pressing question is how many people the program should cover. Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, who has made the "right to food" bill her pet project, was unhappy with early drafts based on the previous poverty count, because she thought too many people would be left behind, people familiar with her thinking say. Through a spokesman, Mrs. Gandhi declined to comment.

It isn't hard to see why politicians find it so tempting to expand the welfare rolls. In urban areas like Ismail Ganj, the Lucknow slum where Ms. Alimunisha lives, residents beg for water from nearby government buildings, often without success. They bath and defecate in the open.

Last September, the city bulldozed the slum prior to the planned inauguration by the state governor of a building across the street—the state's Human Rights Commission. The ceremony was canceled amid a backlash over the incident. Residents re-erected their mud and bamboo homes.

Ms. Alimunisha's husband earns about $40 per month—less than the official poverty line for a household of seven—by selling "dholaks," folk drums made of mango wood and goat skin.

"I feel so bad being poor," Ms. Alimunisha says. "Are we going to have to live like this all our lives?"

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a Times Online report about slum population swelling in India:

The number of people living in slums in India has more than doubled in the past two decades and now exceeds the entire population of Britain, the Indian Government has announced.

India’s slum-dwelling population had risen from 27.9 million in 1981 to 61.8 million in 2001, when the last census was done, Kumari Selja, the Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said.

The figure is the latest illustration of how India’s recent economic boom has left behind millions of the country’s poorest people, raising fears that social unrest could undermine further growth.

India’s economy has grown by an average of 8 per cent annually over the past four years, and yet a quarter of its population of 1.1 billion still lives on less than $1 (50p) a day.

The expansion of India’s slums is partly due to the rise in India’s total population, which increased from 683 million in 1981 to 1.03 billion in 2001.

That has been exacerbated by mass migration from the countryside as millions of farmers have forsaken the diminishing returns of small-scale agriculture to seek the relatively high wages of manual labourers in India’s cities.

But the ballooning slum population is also evidence of the Government’s failure to build enough housing and other basic infrastructure for its urban poor, many of whom live without electricity, gas or running water.

India’s largest slum population is in Bombay, the country’s financial and film capital, where an estimated 6.5 million people – at least half the city’s residents – live in tiny makeshift shacks surrounded by open sewers. Bombay is also home to Dharavi, Asia’s biggest single slum, which is estimated to house more than a million people.

Delhi, the national capital, has the country’s second-largest slum population, totalling about 1.8 million people, followed by Calcutta with about 1.5 million.

Mrs Selja says that it will cost India four trillion rupees (£49 billion) to build the estimated 24 million housing units needed to accommodate India’s slum-dwellers. She has called for the Government and the private sector to address the problem jointly and has launched several schemes to provide basic public services to slum-dwellers. But civil rights activists accuse the Government of willfully neglecting India’s slums, while favouring commercial property developers who often bribe local officials and fund politicians’ election campaigns.

“The rise in slums is due to the lack of affordable housing provided by the Government,” said Maju Varghese, of YUVA Urban, a nongovernmental organisation that has been working with the urban poor for more than 20 years. “The Government has withdrawn from the whole area of housing and land prices have gone to such heights that people can’t afford proper housing,” he said.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1805596.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about Brookings finding that madrassas are not a major threat in Pakistan:

Islamic schools - or madrassas - in Pakistan are not stoking militancy or extremism, a report by a leading US think-tank has concluded.

The Brookings Institution report says that while religious schools are often cited as a cause of extremism, they "appear not to be a major risk factor".

The report says that fewer than 10% of Pakistani students attended madrassas.

It says that the real cause of militancy in the country is the poor public education system.
Urgent priority

Report co-author Rebecca Winthrop, a Brookings fellow, said that number of militant madrassas was not increasing.

She said that most Pakistani parents preferred not to send their children to school at all rather than to enrol them in madrassas.

"We do need to take the militant madrassa issue very seriously," she said at the launch of the report.

"We should really leave the question of the role of Islam in the Pakistan education system to the Pakistanis to debate. This is not something that I think is fruitful if outsiders - us here in the US - start weighing in on."

The study found that the most urgent priority was to increase the supply of schools in Pakistan, where a literacy rate of 56% is among the lowest outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

The researchers said that low enrolment rates were "a risk factor for violence" and that demand for education inside Pakistan "far exceeded the government's ability to provide it".

Furthermore, Pakistan's public school system was "highly corrupt" with teaching positions handed out in return for political favours and teachers paid regardless or whether they turned up for work or not.

"The way the education system is set up is contributing to support militancy," said Ms Winthrop.

"Historically education in Pakistan has been used as a tool by successive regimes in pursuing narrow political ends."

She said that the curriculum and teaching methods in public schools promoted the dissemination of intolerant views and did not prepare students in their search for employment.

The report said that this turn frustrated youngsters and increased the pool of militant recruits.

"The almost exclusive focus on madrassas as a security challenge - which is especially prevalent in the west - needs to be corrected," the report said.

Riaz Haq said...

Much has been written about India's skilled doctors providing health care to "medical tourists" from the West. Here's a BBC story that makes you think about all the hype:

A US surgeon convicted of manslaughter after botching a series of operations has been jailed for seven years by an Australian court.

Jayant Patel, an Indian-born US citizen dubbed "Dr Death" by Australian media, worked at a Queensland hospital between 2003 and 2005.

He was found guilty at the Brisbane Supreme Court earlier this week of the manslaughter of three patients.

He was also convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to a patient.
Patients hidden

Patel had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Gerry Kemps, James Phillips and Mervyn Morris, and causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

Prosecutors argued that Patel's operations were well below the standard of a competent surgeon.

During the 14-week trial, the court heard that he had botched operations, misdiagnosed patients, removed healthy organs and used sloppy surgical techniques during his time at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Nurses used to hide patients from him because of their concerns about the quality of his work, the court heard.

Prosecutors had requested a 10-year sentence.

Before arriving in Australia, Patel had been banned from conducting surgery in the US states of New York and Oregon.

Riaz Haq said...

There are more poor people in 8 Indian states than all of Africa, according to a recent report. It is based on a new measure, called Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), that was developed and applied by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support.

Acute poverty prevails in eight Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, together accounting for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African nations combined, a new 'multidimensional' measure of global poverty has said.

The new measure, called the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), was developed and applied by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support.

It will be featured in the forthcoming 20th anniversary edition of the UNDP Human Development Report.

An analysis by MPI creators reveals that there are more 'MPI poor' people in eight Indian states (421 million in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) than in the 26 poorest African countries combined (410 million).

The new poverty measure that gives a multidimensional picture of people living in poverty, and is expected to help target development resources more effectively, its creators said.

Riaz Haq said...

Developed at Oxford University, the new Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) goes beyond income poverty based on $1.25 or $2 a day income levels. It measures a range of "deprivations" at household levels, such as schooling, nutrition, and access to health, clean water, electricity and sanitation. According to Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) country briefings 2010, 55% of Indians and 51% of Pakistanis are poor.

OPHI 2010 country briefings on India and Pakistan contain the following comparisons of multi-dimensional (MPI) and income poverty figures:

India
MPI= 55%,Under$1.25=42%,Under$2=76%,India_BPL=29%

Pakistan
MPI=51%,Under$1.25=23%,Under$2=60%,Pakistan_BPL=33%

Lesotho MPI=48%,Under$1.25=43%,Under$2=62%,Lesotho_BPL=68%

China
MPI=12%,Under$1.25=16%,Under$2=36%,China_BPL=3%

Riaz Haq said...

FAO released its report on hunger today. According to the report highlights as published in The Guardian, there are 847.5 million undernourished people in the world. India tops the list with 237.7 million, followed by China with 130.4 million, Pakistan 43.4 million, Democratic Republic of Congo 41.9 million, Bangladesh 41.7 million, Ethiopia 31.6 million and Indonesia 29.9 million.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/datablog/2010/sep/14/hunger-world-fao-undernourished

Riaz Haq said...

Here are key points of WHO report on maternal mortality report (MMR) with India accounting for most of the mothers' deaths:

Puncturing tall government claims, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report claimed on Wednesday India accounted for most maternal deaths in the world, with at least 63,000 such deaths taking place in 2008 alone.

In fact, India fared worse than even Nigeria (50,000 maternal deaths in 2008), Congo (19,000), Afghanistan (18,000), Ethiopia (14,000), Pakistan (14,000), Tanzania (14,000), Bangladesh (12,000), Indonesia (10,000), Sudan (9,700) and Kenya (7,900).
An estimated 65% of maternal deaths globally occurred in these 11 countries in 2008, with India contributing the most.

Though India’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) came down from 570 deaths per 1,00,000 live births to 230 in 2008, the change in percentage was negative-59.

Health ministry officials, however, put on a brave face, saying the figures were stale and fresh data would surely present a better picture.

The WHO report, ‘Trends in maternal mortality’, contradicts a nationwide survey commissioned by Unicef in 2009 which recently claimed that important parameters of maternal health, such as institutional delivery, safe delivery by skilled birth attendants and three or more ante-natal check-ups by mothers, had increased impressively since 2005-06.

It says the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth decreased by 34%, from an estimated 5,46,000 in 1990 to 3,58,000, in 2008 worldwide. But the annual rate of decline was less than half the target to achieve the millennium development goal of reducing MMR by 75% between 1990 and 2015. Developing countries continued to account for 99% (3,55,000) of such deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for 87% (3,13,000).

It is estimated that overall, there were 42, 000 deaths due to HIV/AIDS among pregnant women.


http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_shame-story-india-is-the-biggest-mother-killer-of-the-world_1438582

Riaz Haq said...

"Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards," said the Delhi Commonwealth Games Chief Lalit Bhanot in response to criticism that "the facilities are filthy and unhygienic", according to the BBC.

"This is a world-class village, probably one of the best ever," Bhanot added.

Delegates who visited the tower blocks where athletes will live during the games have described them as filthy, with rubble lying in doorways, dogs inside the buildings, toilets not working and excrement "in places it shouldn't be".

Speaking at a news conference in Delhi, Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the Delhi organizing committee, said the authorities understood the concerns shown by some member countries and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

But he suggested that the complaints could be due to "cultural differences".

New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie has suggested the Games might even have to be canceled.

He told New Zealand commercial radio on Tuesday: "If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that it's not going to happen.

"It's pretty grim really and certainly disappointing when you consider the amount of time they had to prepare."

New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Northern Ireland have demanded their teams be put up in hotels if their accommodation is not ready.

Commonwealth Games England has called for "urgent" work on the facilities, raising concerns about "plumbing, electrical and other operational details".

I think the world is expecting too much of a nation where two-thirds of the people still def ecate in the open.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Delhi says the Indian government had hoped that hosting the Commonwealth Games would highlight the country's strengths.

But many Indians now worry that the opposite has happened, and that the country's weaknesses have been very publicly exposed by the many problems, delays and allegations of mismanagement in the build up to the Games.

Riaz Haq said...

CK Prahalad's theory on the purchasing power at the 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) has set the MBA circles buzzing about the big corp making money off the poor people in India by selling products to them.

Recently, Indian govt tried giving away cell phones to the poor in India who wondered out loud what they'd do with them. They'd rather have food rotting in govt warehouses given away to them so they can fill their hungry stomachs to survive.

Michigan professor Aneel Karnani calls Pralahad's BOP theory "at best a harmless illusion and potentially a dangerous delusion".

His new working paper, Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: a mirage, really takes late Professor Pralahad to task.

Karnani argues that "the best way for private firms to help eradicate poverty is to invest in upgrading the skills and productivity of the poor, and to help create more employment opportunities for the poor".

Riaz Haq said...

India ranks 67, far worse than Pakistan's ranking of 52 on the world hunger index 2010 report published recently, according to a Times of India report.

China is rated much ahead of India at the ninth place, while Pakistan is at the 52nd place on the 2010 Global Hunger Index, released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in association with a German group Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

In India, the high Index scores are driven by high levels of child underweight resulting from the low nutritional and social status of women in the country, the report pointed out, adding that India alone accounts for a large share of the world's undernourished children, the IFPRI report said.

India is home to 42% of the world's underweight children, while Pakistan has just 5%, it added.

Among other neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka was at the 39th position and Nepal ranked 56 by index. Bangladesh listed at the 68th position.

"The economic performance and hunger levels are inversely correlated. In South and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Timor-Leste are among countries with hunger levels considerably higher than their gross national income (GNI) per capita," the IFPRI report said.

"Undernutrition in the first two years of life threatens a child's life and can jeopardise physical, motor and cognitive development. It is therefore of particular importance that we take concerted action to combat hunger, especially among young children," the report stressed.

It further said that the global food security is under stress. Although the world's leaders, through the first Millennium Development Goal, adopted a goal of halving the proportion of hungry people between 1990 and 2015, "we are nowhere near meeting that target."

"The 2010 world Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows some improvement over the 1990 world GHI, falling from 19.8 points to 15.1 or by almost one-quarter. The index for hunger in the world, however, remains serious," it noted.

In recent years, however, the number of hungry people has actually been increasing. In 2009, on the heels of a global food price crisis and in the midst of worldwide recession, the number of undernourished peopled surpassed one billion, although recent estimates by the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest that the number will have dropped to 925 million in 2010, it added.

Read more: India ranks below China, Pak in global hunger index - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-ranks-below-China-Pak-in-global-hunger-index/articleshow/6728259.cms#ixzz12CoXFD6s

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an India blogger Abhinav talking about "India's growth story" on hunger and starvation:

Today’s news on the death of fifty people from hunger at Balangir in Orissa is a grim reminder of the little growth story that India has had. It clearly indicates many negative facets of our system, bureaucracy and the public at large. As per the World Food Program, almost half of the world’s population who are deprived of food live in India. Another website of a well known NGO (http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html) offers a grim picture of this particular issue especially when the same is getting the least attention by the policy makers across the world. If 50% of the starving residents belong to India, we do not need to look beyond our borders to nail the culprits.

More than six decades post independence and being counted as one of the key growth engines to the world economy, why are hunger deaths still happening in India? Is it because there is a scarcity of food to offer the ones hungry? Clearly that is not the case.

Those leading a life above the poverty line pay taxes to the Central and the State Governments so that it is used for public facilities, amenities and for the benefit of those living the poverty line. Obviously, those in power have to let go of their hunger for corruption or we have to watch the country going down the drains. Otherwise, it would constantly fail to administer the proper distribution of food and nutrition to people who matter.

We all talk about “3 idiots” and how a college principal is called a murderer who is responsible for the suicide of the students in his college. In the same way, aren’t the following responsible for the demise of people from hunger in our country?

1. Politicians responsible for making food security and food distribution laws.
2. Governmental agencies responsible for proper storage of food grains.
3. Bureaucrats responsible for administration and distribution amongst the right people.
4. Local security agencies which must maintain law and order to ensure proper distribution.

And why is it that they are not punished for these deaths. We have poor being imprisoned for thefts but those in power prosper, while the poor suffer. Is there any accountability for what is being and can be done to break this nexus? Would those in urban cities who are fortunate enough to be writing and reading this blog do something about it? Would they start taking candle light walks in memory of those unfortunate who die in India of hunger every day? Will they go beyond the regular candle marches or force those in power to take responsibility and amend their ways?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an IANS report on "The dark side of India's economic growth" leading to growing hunger and malnutrition in India:


New Delhi: A more inclusive growth policy targeted at marginalised communities and protection of their basic rights is required to combat hunger in India, international NGO ActionAid said.

"The dark side of India's economic growth is the fact that the poor have been dispossessed further, leading to malnutrition, hunger and starvation deaths," Sandeep Chachra, executive director of ActionAid India said here.


The International Food Policy Research Institute has ranked India 67th on the global hunger index, way below its neighbours China and Pakistan.

In a hunger score card released before the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations headquarters at New York in September, ActionAid said that while India's per capita income had tripled between 1990 and 2005, the number of chronically hungry had not reduced, standing at a staggering 270 million.

At this rate, India cannot halve its number of those starving until 2083, the report said.

"Implementation remains a massive challenge. Food and other entitlements have to be delivered on the ground, which requires greater political will," Amar Joyti Nayak, thematic head for food rights for ActionAid India, said.

Riaz Haq said...

A US NIH funded study published in Lancet says over 200,000 Indians die of Malaria among 1.3 million infectious disease deaths reported in the country, according to a report by the BBC:

he number of people dying from malaria in India has been hugely underestimated, according to new research.

The data, published in the Lancet, suggests there are 13 times more malaria deaths in India than the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

The authors conclude that more than 200,000 deaths per year are caused by malaria.

The WHO said the estimate produced by this study appears too high.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

The new figures raise doubts over the total number of malaria deaths worldwide.
Difficult diagnosis

Calculating how many people die from malaria is extremely difficult. Most cases that are diagnosed and treated do not result in fatalities.

People who die of extremely high fevers in the community can be misdiagnosed and the cause of death can be attributed to other diseases and vice versa.

As most deaths in India occur at home, without medical intervention, cause of death is seldom medically certified.

There are about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, where acute fever is the main symptom in rural areas in India.

In this study, trained field workers interviewed families, asking them to describe how their relative died. Two doctors then reviewed each description and decided if the death was caused by malaria. This method is called verbal autopsy.

Some 122,000 premature deaths between 2001 and 2003 were investigated.

The data suggests that 205,000 deaths before the age of 70, mainly in rural areas, are caused by malaria each year.

Riaz Haq said...

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.

Here is the link to a paper by Lyla Mehta that sheds light on it:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/R4D/PDF/Outputs/RIPPLE/working-paper-12.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some comparisons of disease burdens in India and Pakistan as published by the World Health Organization in 2009:

Burden..............India.....Pakistan

DALYs/1000 cap.......65........58
(disability-adjusted life years)

Deaths..............2,691,000.......318,400

Percent Total Burden...24%.....22%


Malnutrition(Stunting)...48%.....42%

Riaz Haq said...

Shining India is made up of a few fabulously rich individuals like Mukesh Ambani whose new billion dollar 27-story home soars into the Mumbai skies. It's a brand new symbol of the vast rich-poor gap that continues to grow in India.

Here's what NY Times says:

Now Mukesh is moving into a tower that makes Sea Wind seem like a guest house.

“It’s kind of returning with a vengeance to where they made it into the middle class and trumping everybody,” said Hamish McDonald, who chronicled the family’s history in his new book, “Mahabharata in Polyester: The Making of the World’s Richest Brothers and Their Feud.”

“He’s sort of saying, ‘I’m rich and I don’t care what you think,’ ” Mr. McDonald said.

Mumbai, once known as Bombay, is India’s most cosmopolitan city, with a metropolitan area of roughly 20 million people. Migrants have poured into the city during the past decade, drawn by Mumbai’s reputation as India’s “city of dreams,” where anyone can become rich. But it is also a city infamous for its poor: a recent study found that roughly 62 percent of the population lived in slums, including one of Asia’s biggest, Dharavi, which houses more than one million people.

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Along Altamount Road, which is also home to other industrialists, the reaction to the new neighbor is mixed. Some senior citizens along the street worry about the noise from the comings and goings of helicopters. But Utsav Unadkat and Harsh Daga, college students who grew up in the neighborhood, stared up at the tower on a recent afternoon as if it were a dream realized.

“I heard he has a BMW service station inside,” said Mr. Unadkat, dragging on a cigarette (unconfirmed). “There’s also a room where you can create artificial weather,” Mr. Daga added (apparently true).

Standing nearby, Laxmi Kant Pujari, 26, a decorator’s assistant, waited to carry glass samples into the building. If his samples are selected, Mr. Pujari, a migrant, would handle the installation — a task he considered an honor. “Whether it is a beggar or an Ambani, the desire to be rich is in everyone’s heart,” he said.

Farther down the street, Sushala Pawar admitted struggling to comprehend the difference in Mr. Ambani’s life and her own. She cooks for a family in a nearby apartment, earning 4,000 rupees a month, or about $90. She sleeps on the floor of the hallway after the family has gone to bed.

“I’m a human being,” she said. “And Mukesh Ambani is a human being. Sometimes I feel bad that I live on 4,000 rupees and Mukesh Ambani lives there.”

But then, nodding toward the building, she perked up.

“Maybe,” she said, “I could get a job there.”

Riaz Haq said...

Assuming India's PPP GDP of $3.75 trillion (population 1.2 billion) and Pakistan's $450 billion (population 175 million), here is what I calculated in terms of per capita GDP in different sectors of the economy:

India vs. Pakistan:

Agriculture: ($833 vs. $1,225)

Textiles: ($1,242 vs. $1,714)

Non-Textile Mfg ($11,155 vs $5,785)

Services ($7,246 vs $3,654)

It shows that Indians in manufacturing and services sectors add more value and produce higher value goods and services than their Pakistani counterparts.

The income range in India is much wider from $883 to $11, 155 accounting for the much bigger rich-poor gap relative to Pakistan's range from $1225 to $5,785.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the transcript of a recent NPR radio show on how Brazil has emerged as a major exporter of food:

Next we're going to explore how Brazil became an agricultural superpower. It is the world's biggest exporter of beef, poultry, orange juice and sugar cane. And it also supplies a quarter of the worlds soybeans. The credit goes in part to Brazilian scientists who've been working since the 1970s to make what was once an agricultural wasteland bloom.

And Brazil, which elects a new leader Sunday, promises to become even more productive in years to come. NPR's Juan Forero has the story from Brazils grain belt.

JUAN FORERO: Slowly, a powerful New Holland harvester advances over rolling hills here in Brazils dry, hot savannah, the Cerrado. In the cab is farm worker Luiz Tavares, who marvels as he cuts through golden stalks of wheat.

Mr. LUIZ TAVARES: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: This is a wheat thats resistant to plagues, he says, a wheat that has an especially high yield and is excellent for flour. Its wheat that Brazilian scientists created for this tropical climate and acidic soil. Paulo Kramer is the owner of this farm and he gives the credit to Embrapa, the government-run agricultural research institute.

Mr. PAULO KRAMER: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: When we started planting here, he said, we never thought wed be planting wheat. Wheats a cold-climate crop, Kramer said, usually found in places like Iowa or Argentina.

Barely two generations ago, many considered this 1,000-mile swath of low-lying trees and scrubland good only for raising cattle. The military government that ruled Brazil then decided, with unusual foresight, to create Embrapa. The head of its international wing is Francisco Souza, a tropical seed expert.

Mr. FRANCISCO SOUZA (Embrapa): Back in the '70s, Brazil imported most of the food. We had food crisis, the government at that time decided to really invest in modern agriculture.

FORERO: The nationwide system of laboratories that made up Embrapa was entrusted with improving Brazils soils. They also work on new crop varieties and find more efficient ways to fatten up cattle and hogs. Embrapa started by developing its know-how. And it did that by sending hundreds of young scientists to earn their doctorates in American universities. Among them was Thomaz Rein.

(Soundbite of footsteps)

Rein, a soil scientist educated at Cornell University, walks through experimental fields of sugar cane and beans. He stops in a stand of corn, the leaves of which look yellow and easily crumble in his hands.

Dr. THOMAZ REIN (Soil Scientist): So you see here the bottom leaves are necrotic, already dry, at this time, so this is a sign of nitrogen deficiency.

FORERO: The corn with the greener leaves, he said, was inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Such is the work of Embrapa scientists trying to resolve problems particular to Brazil.

Mr. REIN: So the soil are very poor in terms of nutrients that are required by the plant like phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and what are called also micronutrients. And also the soil are very acid.

FORERO: The soil in the Cerrado, in fact, is so naturally toxic that roots cant grow well. Embrapa added just the right mixture of limestone and other nutrients to make the soil fertile.�And Rein said scientists determined that gypsum helped correct the acidity, permitting roots to reach deep for water.

Embrapas advances are important well beyond Brazil - in the tropical countries of Africa, which struggle to feed their people. As wind whips through a test field, Rein said Embrapa continues to tinker.

Some of its most recent advancements come with wheat. Wheat wont ever become a big export for Brazil, Rein said. But Embrapa is always looking to find ways for all crops to bloom.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 1 of a recent report titled "India: Economic Power House or Poor House?" by reporter The Star's Mary Albino that talks about how deceptive "India's Miracle" is:

India’s economic miracle is a perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving.

The dominant narrative on the country goes like this: as the fourth largest economy in the world, with a steady annual growth rate of close to 9 per cent, India is a rising economic superstar. Bangalore is the new Silicon Valley. Magazines such as Forbes and Vogue have launched Indian editions. The Mumbai skyline is decorated with posh hotels and international banks.

There are numbers to back up this narrative. The average Indian takes home $1,017 (U.S.) a year. Not much, but that’s nearly double the average five years ago and triple the annual income at independence, in 1947. The business and technology sector has grown tenfold in the past decade. Manufacturing and agriculture are expanding, and trade levels are way up.

India is also on the up and up in terms of human well-being. Life expectancy and literacy are steadily rising, while child mortality continues to decline. The poverty rate is down to 42 per cent from 60 per cent in 1981. While 42 per cent still leaves a long way to go, India’s situation seems rosy compared with that of, say, Malawi and Tanzania, which have poverty rates of 74 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively.

If we examine these statistics in real numbers, however, a different narrative emerges, one the Indian government likes less.

With a population as big as India’s, 42 per cent means there are some 475 million Indians living on less than $1.25 per day. That’s 10 times as many facing dire poverty as Malawi and Tanzania combined.

It means India is home to more poor people than any other country in the world.

To put it another way, one of every three people in the world living without basic necessities is an Indian national.

The real number is probably even larger. The recently launched Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), a more comprehensive measure of deprivation than the current “poverty line” of $1.25 per day, uses 10 markers of well-being, including education, health and standard of living. The MPI, developed by the Poverty & Human Development Initiative at Oxford University, puts the Indian poverty rate at 55 per cent. That’s 645 million people — double the population of the United States and nearly 20 times the population of Canada.

By this measure, India’s eight poorest states have more people living in poverty than Africa’s 26 poorest nations.

A 10-year-old living in the slums of Calcutta, raising her 5-year-old brother on garbage and scraps, and dealing with tapeworms and the threat of cholera, suffers neither more nor less than a 10-year-old living in the same conditions in the slums of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. But because the Indian girl lives in an “emerging economy,” slated to battle it out with China for the position of global economic superpower, and her counterpart in Lilongwe lives in a country with few resources and a bleak future, the Indian child's predicament is perceived with relatively less urgency.

One is “poor” while the other represents a “declining poverty rate.”

What’s more, in India there are huge discrepancies in poverty from one state to the next. Madhya Pradesh, for example, is comparable in population and incidence of poverty to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. But the misery of the DRC is much better known than the misery of Madhya Pradesh, because sub-national regions do not appear on “poorest country” lists. If Madhya Pradesh were to seek independence from India, its dire situation would become more visible immediately.

As India demonstrates, having the largest number of poor people is not the same as being the poorest country. That’s unfortunate, because being the poorest country has advantages.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 2 of a recent report titled "India: Economic Power House or Poor House?" by reporter The Star's Mary Albino that talks about how deceptive "India's Miracle" is:

By this measure, India’s eight poorest states have more people living in poverty than Africa’s 26 poorest nations.

A 10-year-old living in the slums of Calcutta, raising her 5-year-old brother on garbage and scraps, and dealing with tapeworms and the threat of cholera, suffers neither more nor less than a 10-year-old living in the same conditions in the slums of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. But because the Indian girl lives in an “emerging economy,” slated to battle it out with China for the position of global economic superpower, and her counterpart in Lilongwe lives in a country with few resources and a bleak future, the Indian child's predicament is perceived with relatively less urgency.

One is “poor” while the other represents a “declining poverty rate.”

What’s more, in India there are huge discrepancies in poverty from one state to the next. Madhya Pradesh, for example, is comparable in population and incidence of poverty to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. But the misery of the DRC is much better known than the misery of Madhya Pradesh, because sub-national regions do not appear on “poorest country” lists. If Madhya Pradesh were to seek independence from India, its dire situation would become more visible immediately.

As India demonstrates, having the largest number of poor people is not the same as being the poorest country. That’s unfortunate, because being the poorest country has advantages. In the same way a tsunami or earthquake garners an intense outpouring of aid and support, being labelled “worst off” or “most poor” tends to draw a bigger share of international attention — and dollars.

When Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan in 1971, it was the poorest country in the world, so poor most economists were skeptical it would ever succeed on its own. But being labelled “dead last” worked in its favour: billions of dollars in aid money flooded in, and NGO and charity groups arrived in droves. The dominant narrative of Bangladesh at the time was of a war-ravaged, cyclone-battered and fledgling country on the brink of famine. That seemed to help rally the troops.

No doubt India’s government wants the world to perceive the nation in terms of its potential and not its shortcomings. But because it’s home to 1.1 billion people, India is more able than most to conceal the bad news behind the good, making its impressive growth rates the lead story rather than the fact that it is home to more of the world’s poor than any other country.

Still, at least part of the blame should be placed on the way poverty is presented on the international stage. If the unit of deprivation is a human being, then the prevalence of poverty should be presented in numbers of lives. If we know precisely how many billionaires India has — 49 in 2010, double last year’s number — than we should also know precisely how many people live without basic necessities.

Riaz Haq said...

Along with healthy economic gowth, the Musharaf era also saw significant reduction in hunger and poverty in Pakistan, according to recent IFPRI and World Bank data.

This reminds us of the whole reason why Dr. Mabhub ul-Haq argued for using social indicators, not just the GDP, as a measure of a nation's well-being.

There is a description of Mahbub ul-Haq's thinking on page 12 of the Human Development Report 2010. It is titled "From Karachi to Sorbonne--Mahbub ul-Haq and the idea of human development".

Dr. Haq was Pakistan's planning commission's chief in 1960s which was seen as a time of great progress because of rapid GDP growth in Pakistan, and every one expected Dr. Mahbub ul-Haq to crow about it and pat himself on the back.

But, as the report puts it, "The young economist shocked his audience by delivering a stinging indictment of Pakistan's development strategy" for favoring the elite at the expense of the poor. A few years later, Mahbub ul-Haq persuaded UNDP to push for research reports and social indicators as an alternative to single-minded focus on GDP.

Riaz Haq said...

Countries like BRIC nations with rapid economic growth are often promoted by the likes of Goldman Sachs and New York Times, while nations with top social induicators but low economic growth are dismissed as less important.

Steven Hill discusses this situation by comparing US with Japan in a piece he wrote for Common Dreams.

Here are some excerpts from it:

Look at it this way: In the midst of the Great Recession, the United States is suffering through nearly 10% unemployment and 50 million people without health insurance. A new report has found over 14% of Americans living below the poverty line, including 20% of children and 23% of seniors, the highest since President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. That's in addition to declining prospects for the middle class, and a general increase in economic insecurity.

How, then, should we regard a country that has 5% unemployment, healthcare for all its people, the lowest income inequality and is one of the world's leading exporters? This country also scores high on life expectancy, low on infant mortality, is at the top in literacy, and is low on crime, incarceration, homicides, mental illness and drug abuse. It also has a low rate of carbon emissions, doing its part to reduce global warming. In all these categories, this particular country beats both the U.S. and China by a country mile.

Doesn't that sound like a country from which Americans might learn a thing or two about how to get out of the mud hole in which we are stuck?

Not if that place is Japan. During and before the current economic crisis, few countries have been vilified as an economic basket case as much as the Land of the Rising Sun. Google "Japan and its economy" and you will get numerous hits about Japan's allegedly sclerotic economy, its zombie banks, its deflation and slow economic growth. This malaise has even been called "Japan syndrome", sounding like a disease to warn policymakers, as in "you don't want to end up like Japan."

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a Bloomberg report on World Bank findings released today on the cost of missing toilets in India:

A lack of toilets costs India more than $50 billion a year, mostly through premature deaths and hygiene-related diseases, a study found.

Illness, lost productivity and other consequences of fouled water and inadequate sewage treatment trimmed 6.4 percent from India’s gross domestic product in 2006, or the equivalent of $53.8 billion, according to the study by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.

The finding suggests India bears a higher cost than other Asian countries from inadequate collection of human excreta: $48 per person, compared with $9.30 per person in Vietnam, $16.80 in the Philippines, $28.60 in Indonesia and $32.40 in Cambodia, the study’s authors found. More than three-quarters of the premature mortality-related economic losses are due to deaths and diseases in children younger than 5, according to the report.

“For decades we have been aware of the significant health impacts of inadequate sanitation in India,” Christopher Juan Costain, the program’s team leader for South Asia, said in a statement yesterday. “This report quantifies the economic losses to India, and shows that children and poor households bear the brunt of poor sanitation.”

Inadequate Sanitation

Diarrhea among children younger than 5 years accounts for more than 47 percent of the total health-related economic impacts, the study found. Premature mortality and other health- related impacts of inadequate sanitation were the most costly at $38.5 billion, 72 percent of the total economic burden, followed by productive time lost to access sanitation facilities or sites for defecation at $10.7 billion, or 20 percent, and drinking water-related impacts at $4.2 billion, or 7.8 percent.

“The cost is more than I expected,” Clarissa Brocklehurst, water, sanitation and hygiene chief at the United Nations Children’s Fund, said in a telephone interview from New York. “Yet, if you know the scale of open defecation in India, it’s not all that surprising.”

More than half of India’s 1.17 billion people were mobile- phone subscribers, yet only 366 million people had access to proper sanitation in 2008, a study published in April by the United Nations University, a UN research organ, found.

Eighteen percent of India’s urban population and 69 percent of rural dwellers defecated daily in fields, bushes, beaches and other open spaces, according to a March report by the World Health Organization and Unicef.

“It’s a long hard slog to change social norms around open defecation, to create an enabling environment where everybody can buy a toilet,” said Brocklehurst, who has lived and worked in New Delhi. “There is no glitzy solution.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by BBC's Soutik Biswas on India's onion crisis:

A spectre is haunting India - the spectre of an onion-less life.

Onion prices have shot through the roof this week, climbing to an eye-watering 85 rupees ($1.87; £1.20) a kilo from 35 rupees only last week. Crop damage due to unseasonal rains has apparently led to a shortage. Traders have been hoarding stockpiles of the staple food to make a killing, despite official threats to punish them.

A fretful government has banned exports till mid-January to bring prices down, and cut import duties on the vegetable. The prime minister, we are told, is busy writing letters imploring his farm and consumer affairs ministries to bring down prices quickly. The opposition is breathing fire.

Onions have stormed their way to the front pages of newspapers and the top of TV news bulletins. I counted two dozen stories on onions in a dozen-odd English papers today. One editorial chides the government for the price rise and asks it to "know your onions". "UPA [United Progressive Alliance, another name for the ruling Congress-led government] lands in onion soup", is a particularly colourful banner headline in another paper. "Onions: Weep till March", bemoans yet another headline, alluding to a minister's deadline to fix the crisis. And a tabloid's onion edit - teasingly called "More at work than onions" - is strategically placed between one on a corruption scandal besieging the government and another on the sizzling alleged affair between the British actress Liz Hurley and the Australian cricketer Shane Warne.

Chefs and cookbook writers have come out in droves giving out free tips on how to cope without onions. "My advice, especially to those who want to eat out," says one chef, "would be to shift to different cuisines for a while as onions are primarily used in Indian cooking." So try European and other Asian foods, he advises. At home, he says, substitute onions with tomatoes and curds. Onion lovers may not find that a very convincing answer.

Everyone is concerned about the prospect of life without onions in India. Most worried of all are the politicians. In 1998, onion inflation was partly blamed for the unseating of the Hindu nationalist BJP government in Delhi's state polls. Political pundits insist that steep onion prices also contributed to the now-defunct Janata Party's debacle in the 1980 general elections.

So why do high onion prices drive Indians up the wall and unseat governments? One onion exporter said to a paper: "Why does the consumer never compare prices of onions with those of other vegetables? No vegetable is available at less than 40 rupees a kg in the retail market."

It's simple. Onion is a vegetable that no Indian kitchen can do without. It is also the most egalitarian of vegetables. A poor peasant or worker's sparse meal is incomplete without a bite of the pungent bulb. The onion is pureed, sauteed and garnished in the rich man's feast as well. It also occupies a unique culinary space in Indian cooking.

It is a must for adding taste and crunch to many vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. It is eaten raw as a salad, pureed for flavouring and sauce for meats and garden vegetables; used as a dip; fried as fritters and crisps. Rustic medicinal beliefs have it that it has healing properties and reduces acidity. Indians believe onions cool the body in the searingly hot summers and keep fungal infections away during muggy monsoons. In the old days Hindu widows kept away from onions after their husbands' deaths as the humble bulb was believed to have aphrodisiac qualities. How can you possibly compare such an exalted vegetable with any other?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC story on India urging Pakistan to resume onion exports:

India is trying to persuade Pakistan to resume exporting onions overland to curb soaring prices.

The matter has been taken up with the government of Pakistan, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said.

Pakistan banned overland exports of onions to India on Tuesday with traders saying they feared shortages at home.

Last month, India abolished import taxes on onions after prices nearly tripled in a month.

"We have initiated talks and before not too long, we are hopeful we will find a solution to this, easing pressure within our country for onions," Mr Krishna told a press conference in Delhi.

Pakistan banned exports to India through the land route via the Attari-Wagah border crossing, although the sea route is still open.

Much of the trade, however, is by road and rail which are cheaper and quicker.

India's food inflation has risen for the fifth straight week this week to 18.32% - the highest in more than a year.

The price of onions, a key food staple for Indian families used in almost all dishes, has risen dramatically over the past month.

A kilogram which usually costs 20 rupees went up to 85 rupees ($1.87; £1.20) last month. At present, it is 65 to 70 rupees a kilo.

The rise has been blamed on unusually heavy rains in the bulk-producing western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and in southern states, as well as on hoarders and speculators.

Discontent over food inflation has been a major headache for the government.

High prices of essential commodities such as onions have previously sparked unrest and helped bring down the national government in 2004.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an opinion piece by Amartya Sen published in The Hindu:

... I managed to resurrect the memory of having said in passing, in a meeting of TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) in Delhi in December, that it is silly to be obsessed about overtaking China in the rate of growth of Gross National Product (GNP), while not comparing ourselves with China in other respects, like education, basic health, or life expectancy. Since that one-sentence remark seems to have been interpreted in many different ways (my attention to that fact was drawn by friends who are more web-oriented than I am), I guess I should try to explain what that remark was about.
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Let me look at some numbers, drawing from various sources — national as well as international, in particular World Development Reports of the World Bank and Human Development Reports of the United Nations. Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years; in India it is still 64.4 years. Infant mortality rate is 50 per thousand in India, compared with just 17 in China, and the under-5 mortality rate is 66 for Indians and 19 for the Chinese. China's adult literacy rate is 94 per cent, compared with India's 65 per cent, and mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China. In our effort to reverse the lack of schooling of girls, India's literacy rate for women between the ages of 15 and 24 has certainly risen, but it is still below 80 per cent, whereas in China it is 99 per cent. Almost half of our children are undernourished compared with a very tiny proportion in China. Only 66 per cent of Indian children are immunised with triple vaccine (DPT), as opposed to 97 per cent in China. Comparing ourselves with China in these really important matters would be a very good perspective, and they can both inspire us and give us illumination about what to do — and what not to do, particularly the glib art of doing nothing.
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Life expectancy in Bangladesh is 66.9 years compared with India's 64.4. The proportion of underweight children in Bangladesh (41.3 per cent) is a little lower than in India (43.5), and its fertility rate (2.3) is also lower than India's (2.7). Mean years of schooling amount to 4.8 years in Bangladesh compared with India's 4.4 years. While India is ahead of Bangladesh in male literacy rate in the youthful age-group of 15-24, the female rate in Bangladesh is higher than in India. Interestingly, the female literacy rate among young Bangladeshis is actually higher than the male rate, whereas young females still do much worse than young males in India. There is much evidence to suggest that Bangladesh's current progress has much to do with the role that liberated Bangladeshi women are beginning to play in the country.

What about health, which interests every human being as much as anything else? Under-5 mortality rate is 66 in India compared with 52 in Bangladesh. In infant mortality, Bangladesh has a similar advantage, since the rate is 50 in India and 41 in Bangladesh. Whereas 94 per cent of Bangladeshi children are immunised with DPT vaccine, only 66 per cent of Indian children are. In each of these respects, Bangladesh does better than India, despite having less than half of India's per-capita income.
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And perhaps more worryingly, this group of relatively privileged and increasingly prosperous Indians can easily fall for the temptation to treat economic growth as an end in itself........

Riaz Haq said...

“Democracy in India is only top-dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.”

—B.R. Ambedkar, in 1949, framer of Indian constitution, in "Thus Spoke Ambedkar, Vol. 1: A Stake in the Nation"

Talking about minority rights, here's an excerpt from a piece by Satya Sagar about cow rights trumping human rights in India:

Human Rights vs. Cow Rights

What we are dealing with in this country is a situation where historically the concept of the fundamental rights of a universal, standard ‘human being’ has never existed. In fact I would argue that traditionally in India there has never been the concept of a creature called the ‘human being’.

The only two categories that have prevailed for centuries in this land- and continue to do so in many parts of the country even today- are that of the ‘devas’ and ‘asuras’. ‘Human being’ is a somewhat fancy Western category in between the ‘gods’ and the ‘demons’ that small groups of enlightened activists have been bravely propagating for many years but one which is understood by very few even in the highest echelons of power- in the Indian parliament or the Indian judiciary.

To those sections of society who rule India the Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim or the poor in general, who constitute over 75 percent of the Indian population, are not human beings at all. That is why a vast section of this oppressed population is subject to the most horrific forms of violence in the form of not just direct physical attacks from time to time but also abject poverty, forced displacement and disease. For example, there are 2.5 million children under the age of 5 who die every year due to malnutrition related diseases in this country- all avoidable with social or state intervention. A vast majority of these children are from the communities I mentioned above. If this is not a genocide I would like someone to explain what is?

Even today in many parts of the country while there is a ban on ‘cow slaughter’ that is effectively implemented there is no such privilege for people from the Dalit, Adivasi or Muslim communities. In that sense these hapless people do not even have ‘cow rights’ leave alone the more esoteric ‘human rights’.

http://www.countercurrents.org/sagar280210.htm

Riaz Haq said...

China, Nepal, Indonesia and South Korea are among the ''top movers'' in the Human Development Index (HDI), while India joins the list of top 10 performers in income growth, says a report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), according to a UNI report:

However, the country ranks 119th in the non-income HDI and is way below China (89) and Sri Lanka (91), and also below its other neighbours Bangladesh (116) and Pakistan (112). The UNDP launched its 20th anniversary edition of Human Development Report 2010 'The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development' worldwide today. In India, the report was launched by UNDP Resident Representative and UN Coordinator Patrice Coeur-Bizot in the presence of Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid and Chief Economic Advisor, Union Ministry of Finance Kaushik Basu.

Among Asian countries, Nepal ranks second among top movers in non-income HDI while India is among top ten in GDP growth and is among the middle human development countries. The other nine Top Movers are China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco.

An analysis of the 40-year trends shows that poor nations, including Nepal, were making 'faster development gains'.

There has been steady progress on the HDI over the past 20 years and India's HDI was above the average for countries in South Asia.

Its economic growth has been impressive, but inequality was on the rise and the report said there was 30 per cent loss in HDI value when adjusted against inequality, said Mr Coeur-Bizot.

Reacting to India's ranking in the report, Mr Basu said the country's goal was to improve overall human development and not just economic growth. However, he said, economic growth and rise in income levels were necessary for improving human development index, as for example, access to education and health services was linked with income level.

Ms Hamid in her remarks said more emphasis would be placed in democratisation of the five year plans and change introduced with the 11th Plan would be more visible in the 12th Plan. The 2010 Report introduces three new indices that measure the impact of inequality, gender disparities and multi-dimensional poverty.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a comparison for those who are curious:

At 3 per 100,000, the suicide rate in Pakistan is a fifth of the suicide rate in India of 15 per 100,000, according to WHO data.

http://www.who.int/mental_health/resources/suicide_prevention_asia_chapter1.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

A familiar refrain from many readers of this blog is that "Pakistanis (especially the educated) use India as their yardstick..."

Here's a recent Times of India headline:

Pakistanis happier than Indians: Gallup survey

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-21/pakistan/29458679_1_gallup-pakistanis-happiness

Does the above headline suggests that "Indians (especially the educated) use Pakistan as their yardstick"?

Here are a few more Indian news headlines to ponder:

1. Pakistan ahead of India on human development indices: UN report

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pakistan-ahead-of-India-on-human-development-indices-UN-report/Article1-622313.aspx

2. Doing business? India lags behind Pakistan!

http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-doing-business-india-lags-behind-pakistan/20101109.htm

3. India trails Pakistan, Bangladesh in sanitation

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/india-trails-pakistan-bangladesh-in-sanitation_100120219.html

4. India worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh on nourishment

http://newshopper.sulekha.com/india-worse-than-pakistan-bangladesh-on-nourishment_news_927008.htm

5. India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-11-05/india/28243298_1_maternal-mortality-india-ranks-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Got more nonsense from Indian posters like "Pakistan managing to outperform India is one of the few rare cases, which qualifies for - "man biting dog".

Few areas? How many headlines did you see me cite? Few? I wonder?

And what are these headlines about?

These headlines deal with essentials like food, nutrition, sanitation, health, life expectancy, gender gap, roads, etc in which Pakistan is ahead of India.

Let me give you a few more:

1. India Could Use Pakistan's Infrastructure

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2010/07/20/india-could-use-pakistans-infrastructure/

2. India lags behind Pakistan in missiles

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-02-02/india/28029160_1_short-range-prithvi-missile-agni-iii-missile-arena

3. Affluenza: With love from across the border

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/hindol_sengupta/article429776.ece

4. WITNESS: Failed state? Try Pakistan's M2 motorway

http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/12/16/us-witness-pakistan-motorway-idUSTRE5BF01220091216

Riaz Haq said...

How many hundreds of millions of poor Indians are there? asks the NY Times:

Nobody can argue that India has hundreds of millions of poor people and that the government should help them. What remains a matter of significant dispute, however, is just how many poor people there are in India.

The government Planning Commission estimates that 27.5 percent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, which is calculated based on how much it would cost to buy 2,400 calories a day in rural areas and 2,100 in urban areas. (City dwellers are thought to exert less energy, so they should need to consume less.)

Many have challenged the way India measures poverty. The latest complaint came last week when a commission appointed by the country’s Supreme Court said the number of people living in poverty is probably at least 50 percent, because it asserts that the Planning Commission poverty line has been wrong for years because it does not properly adjust for the rise in food prices.

The difference is not merely technical.

A high poverty line means that the federal government has to give state governments more money for various anti-poverty programs. Even the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, acknowledged recently that higher measures of poverty could be tough on government finances, which are already severely strained.

Regardless of whether or not people can buy the requisite calories, data from a national survey taken every five years shows that most Indians are indeed not consuming 2,400 (or 2,100) calories each day, and many are now consuming less than they used to 10 years ago. The poorest 25 percent of Indians now consume 1,624 calories, from 1,683.

Moreover, most of the calories consumed by the poor come from cereals, whereas the diet of the rich includes more meat, vegetables, fruit and other foods with higher nutritional value.

Perhaps even more distressing is the finding by the Supreme Court panel that more than half of the country’s poorest 20 percent of people do not have the cards that identify them as poor and are necessary to access public welfare plans. At the same time, about 17 percent of the richest Indians have such cards.

Riaz Haq said...

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) by US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) is for 2000 calories per day with 55% cabs, 30% fat and 15% protein.

According to chartsbin.com, South Asians have the following calorie intake and composition:

India Pakistan

2300 Cal 2250 Cal

71% Carbs 63% Carbs

10% Protein 10% Protein

19% Fat 27% Fat

Riaz Haq said...

Why is fat important in our diets?

Fat has many important functions as a nutrient. It is a concentrated source of energy and provides essential building blocks for the cells in the body. Fat is a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it contains the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). It is also needed by the body to support natural growth, and for the maintenance of healthy skin, reproduction, immune function and development of the brain and visual systems. Dietary fat also improves the taste and texture of food.

http://www.margarine.org.uk/whatisfat-importance.html

A fascinating new study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In the study, people who consumed salads with fat-free salad dressing absorbed far less of the helpful phytonutrients and vitamins from spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots than those who consumed their salads with a salad dressing containing fat.

This is interesting research, but not necessarily all that surprising. We've known for a long time that healthy fats are a critical part of a healthy diet, and that avoiding fats actually causes chronic disease. The key is in choosing the right kind of fats for your diet and making sure you don't overdo the fats, because fats have a very high caloric density and can add far more calories to your meal than you might expect.

In this study, the focus was on eating salads with either fat-free salad dressing or regular salad dressing containing fat in the form of canola oil. However, these findings apply to far more than just eating salads. Every meal that you consume should contain healthy fats, even if only in small portions. What are the healthy fats? Canola oil is what I consider a neutral fat, meaning it's not necessarily a bad fat, but neither is it considered one of the healthier fats. The healthy fats include extra-virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, and fats from plant sources such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts. These healthy fats should be consumed with every meal. Failure to include these fats in a meal will result in many of the nutrients consumed during the meal not being absorbed by the body. That's because many nutrients are fat-soluble nutrients. Beta carotene, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E are three such nutrients that require fat in order to be absorbed and used by the human body, but there are many other nutrients that also need fats for human metabolism.

----

We now know that this advice from the American Heart Association was, in effect, causing extreme nutritional deficiencies and actually reducing the life span of heart patients rather than helping them. Such is the case with information from many so-called disease organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Personally, I wouldn't listen to nutritional advice from any association that is so politically motivated and receives funding from pharmaceutical companies, as both of those organizations do.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/001545.html#ixzz1N2Dr0Jhj

Riaz Haq said...

Overview of Livestock, Dairy, Fisheries & Poultry Sectors in Pakistan:

1 Dairy Sector
With an estimated 33 billion litres of annual milk production from 50 million animals, managed by
over 8 million farming households, Pakistan is the 5th largest milk producing country in the world
Livestock sector contributed approximately 53.2 percent of the agriculture value added and 11.4
percent to national GDP during 2009 – 10
The milk economy in terms of value is over 27% of the total Agriculture sector
Additional potential of 3 billion litres of milk, with a growth rate faster than any other sector
Of the total 33 billion litres of milk produced, 71% is rural based and 29% is urban based
Of the total production, around 3% is processed and marketed through formal channels
40% Supply and Demand gap exists in Pakistan.

2 Livestock Sector
Livestock sector contributed approximately 53.2 percent of the agriculture value added and 11.4
percent to national GDP during 2009?10.
Gross value addition of livestock at current factor cost has increased from Rs. 1304.6 billion
(2008?09) to Rs. 1537.5 billion (2009?10) showing an increase of 17.8 percent as compared to the
previous year.
The population growth, increase in per capita income and export revenue is fuelling the demand for
livestock and livestock products.
Pakistan earned USD717 million from leather exports in FY09 and a meagre USD96 million from meat
exports.
Poultry sector is one of the organized and vibrant segments of agriculture industry of Pakistan.
This sector generates employment (direct/indirect) and income for about 1.5 million people.
Poultry meat contributes 23.8 percent of the total meat production in the country
The meat demand for Pakistan Domestic market is growing at a rate of 2.73% for Beef, 2.90 % for
mutton and 6.10 % for poultry.
This domestic demand is growing to meet the population growth, human need for protein and
calcium, migration of population from rural to urban and the fluctuating growth due to per capita rise
in income.
-------
3 Fisheries Sector

During the period July?March 2009?10 the total marine and inland fish production was estimated
952,735 Million tons out which 667,762 Million tons were marine production and the remaining catch
come from inland waters.
A number of sites have been earmarked on an area of 20,000 acres of land in Districts Thatta &
Badin along the coast.
Immense potential exists to start commercial scale fish/shrimp farming in Sindh.

4 Poultry Sector
Poultry is an important sub – sector of agriculture and has contributed enormously to food production by
playing a vital role in the domestic economy.
Poultry industry can broadly be divided into three
groups, viz. hatchery, poultry farming and feed sectors. This sector generates employment and income
for about 1.5 million people in Pakistan. Its contribution in agriculture growth is 4.81% and in Livestock
growth is 9.84%, whereas, the total poultry meat contributes to 23.8% of the total meat production in
the country.
Pakistan, with a population of 170 Million people, has gone through a sizeable growth in the production
of poultry meat and eggs. Per capita availability went up from 23 in 1991 to 46 eggs in 2009 and poultry
meat availability increased from 1.48kg to 2.88 kg during the same period. In our Country per capita
consumption of meat is only 7 KG and 60-65 eggs annually. Whereas developed world is consuming 41
KG meat and over 300 Eggs per capita per year. According to Industry sources there is capacity of 5,000
Environmental Control Houses in Pakistan and currently only 2,500 houses are working.
The total Poultry population in Pakistan is approximately 610 Million.

Riaz Haq said...

Oxfam is warning that food prices will more than double by 2030, according to BBC:

The prices of staple foods will more than double in 20 years unless world leaders take action to reform the global food system, Oxfam has warned.

By 2030, the average cost of key crops will increase by between 120% and 180%, the charity forecasts.

Half of that increase will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts, in its report Growing a Better Future.

It calls on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.

"The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy," said Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's chief executive.
Women and children

In its report, Oxfam highlights four "food insecurity hotspots", areas which are already struggling to feed their citizens.

* in Guatemala, 865,000 people are at risk of food insecurity, due to a lack of state investment in smallholder farmers, who are highly dependent on imported food, the charity says.
* in India, people spend more than twice the proportion of their income on food than UK residents - paying the equivalent of £10 for a litre of milk and £6 for a kilo of rice.
* in Azerbaijan, wheat production fell 33% last year due to poor weather, forcing the country to import grains from Russia and Kazakhstan. Food prices were 20% higher in December 2010 than the same month in 2009.
* in East Africa, eight million people currently face chronic food shortages due to drought, with women and children among the hardest hit.

The World Bank has also warned that rising food prices are pushing millions of people into extreme poverty.

In April, it said food prices were 36% above levels of a year ago, driven by problems in the Middle East and North Africa.

Oxfam wants nations to agree new rules to govern food markets, to ensure the poor do not go hungry.

It said world leaders must:

* increase transparency in commodities markets and regulate futures markets
* scale up food reserves
* end policies promoting biofuels
* invest in smallholder farmers, especially women

"We are sleepwalking towards an avoidable age of crisis," said Ms Stocking.

"One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone."

Among the many factors driving rising food prices in the coming decades, Oxfam predicts that climate change will have the most serious impact.

Ahead of the UN climate summit in South Africa in December, it calls on world leaders to launch a global climate fund, "so that people can protect themselves from the impacts of climate change and are better equipped to grow the food they need".

Riaz Haq said...

India's dirty big mess exposed to the public, reports The Australian:

...India is where human waste, discharged along the vast, 65,000km rail network, corrodes the tracks to such an extent the rails have to be replaced every 24 months instead of having a normal 30-year lifespan. This is the human waste left by the 20 million passengers carried each day by Indian Railways.

India is where staggering numbers tell a story of squalor that lies behind so much of the controversy and apprehension surrounding next month's Commonwealth Games.

More than six decades after India won its freedom from British colonial rule, 55 per cent of its people - by one count 638 million - do not have access to a toilet of any kind and defecate in the open.

Paradoxically, more people have access to mobile phones in India than to basic sanitation. A recent estimate suggested about 366 million people have access to sanitation while there are about 600 million mobile phones in service in the emerging economy.

"It is a tragic irony to think that in India, a country now wealthy enough that roughly half of the people own phones, about half cannot afford the basic necessity and dignity of a toilet," a UN report has stated.

It is hardly surprising that India's Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh has said: "If there is a Nobel prize for dirt and filth, India will win it, no doubt." He is right.

Outside of the glitz of the sumptuous hotels where many tourists stay, the reality is that despite the great strides India has achieved in some areas, hygiene standards in India remain abysmal. The notorious malady known as "Delhi belly" is rampant.

Indians have been let down severely by successive governments since independence. The sort of mindset that has allowed filth to spoil Commonwealth Games preparations is testament to that failure.

N. R. Narayana Murthy, an eminent Indian and founder of Infosys Technologies, has summed up that failure thus: "The enigma of India is that our progress in higher education and science and technology has not been sufficient to take 350 million Indians out of illiteracy. It is difficult to imagine that 318 million people in the country do not have access to safe drinking water and 250 million people do not have access to basic medical care. Why should 630 million people not have access to acceptable sanitation facilities?"

-----
"It is common to find sumptuous luxury apartments in buildings that are filthy, rotting and stained, whose common areas, walls and staircases have not been cleaned in generations. Each apartment owner is proud of his own immediate habitat but is unwilling to incur responsibility or expense for the areas shared with others, even in the same building.

"This attitude is also visible in the lack of a civic culture in both rural and urban India, which leaves public spaces dirty and garbage-strewn, streets potholed and neglected, civic amenities vandalised or not functioning. The Indian wades through dirt and filth, past open sewers and fly-specked waste, to an immaculate home where he proudly bathes twice a day."


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/indias-dirty-big-mess-exposed-to-the-public/story-e6frg6zo-1225929083779

Riaz Haq said...

ere's an excerpt from Britain's DFID report on open defecation around the world:

58% of the open defecation in the world takes place in India. It is an absolutely astonishing phenomenon. Even just rural India is more than double the open defecation in the whole of
sub-Saharan Africa. The WSP, the Water and Sanitation Programme at the Bank, have recently done an assessment of the costs of this to India, and every
year they estimate $54 billion, which is $48 per head, which is far higher than any other countries in the
region.


http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/reliefweb_pdf/node-420188.pdf

Sense of public hygiene is worst in India among its neighbours – a recent study revealed that India hosts 58% people of the world of open defecation compare to 5% for china, Indonesia and 4.8% for Pakistan. Economic growth is not reflecting improvement in public hygiene.

http://esa.un.org/iys/docs/san_lib_docs/Scaling%20Up%20Rural%20Saniltation.pdf

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2494536.ece

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmpfinal.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

This is one statistics that will put India in the poor light. A report by WHO-UNICEF says that Indians comprised 58 percent of all people who defecate in the open. However, the worldwide figures show a decline from the previous years’. The report points out that open defecation worldwide is on decline from 25 per cent in 1990 to 17 per cent in 2008.

Some of the key findings of the report:

Around 638 million people do not have access to toilets in India followed by Indonesia (58m), China (50m), Ethiopia (49m), Pakistan (48m), Nigeria (33m) and Sudan (17m).
18 percent of urban India still defecates in open while the percentage of rural India is as high as 69 percent.
At least 44 percent of the population defecates in the open only in South Asia.
Unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene claim the lives of an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five each year.
It also underlines that open defecation leads to deadly diarrhoea and other intestinal diseases which kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year.
The report also says with only five more years to go until 2015, a major leap in efforts and investments in sanitation is needed to fulfill the targets of Millennium Development Goal.

The report also says with only five more years to go until 2015, a major leap in efforts and investments in sanitation is needed to fulfill the targets of Millennium Development Goal.

Read the entire report here

http://www.governancenow.com/views/think-tanks/open-defecation-%E2%80%93-india%E2%80%99s-shame

http://www.unicef.org/media/files/JMP-2010Final.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

UNICEF says India tops the world in open defecation, according to the Times of India:

NEW DELHI: With India facing the slur of topping the global list in open defecation, the Centre is keen to put the sanitation programme back on the centrestage by sensitizing the population about public hygiene.

The Union rural development ministry along with states will organize a month-long campaign from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, to create awareness for its flagship scheme of Total Sanitation Campaign.

According to a UNICEF survey, 58% of the world's population practicing open defecation lives in India while China and Indonesia come a distant second by accounting for just 5% of the world numbers. Pakistan is down to third with 4.5%, tied with Ethiopia.

The numbers are astounding as the prosperity of liberalized India does not seem to translate into better sanitation.

RD minister Jairam Ramesh said, "I consider these numbers a matter of great anguish and shame. We must make sanitation a political campaign like Gandhiji did. Kerala, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Haryana and Himachal are doing well but other states have to pick up significantly."

There is little denying the anguish given that the numbers do not tie up with the sanitation standards expected of improving financial economy as well as urbanizing India.

As per national population figures, 54% of India's population practices open defecation against China's 4%.

The national figures do push up numbers in smaller and poor countries. Like Indonesia has 26% of its population practicing open defecation as against its contribution of only 5% to the world population. The national figure stands at 60% for Ethiopia, 28% for Pakistan and 50% for Nepal.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka, in contrast, has only 1% of its citizens going to toilet in the open.

Ramesh said, "We are going to focus now on `nirmal gram abhiyan' -- today 25,000 nirmal grams are a tiny fraction of 6 lakh villages. These nirmal grams are in Maharashtra and Haryana. Maharashtra is a success of social movements while Haryana an example of determined state government action."

As part of the awareness drive, the states have been asked to take active interest with chief secretaries issuing directions for the awareness drive up to the panchayat level. It may include household contact programme and gram sabha meetings to highlight the benefits of an environment free of open defecation. The panchayats would also train masons to construct toilets.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/With-58-figures-India-tops-in-open-defecation/articleshow/10200781.cms

Riaz Haq said...

Minister says India’s rank as No. 1 country for open defecation a source of national shame, according to Washington Post and AP:

NEW DELHI — India’s rural development minister is pushing a campaign on public hygiene, after a recent survey revealed that India accounts for 58 percent of the world’s population practicing open defecation.

Jairam Ramesh says the revelation is a source of national shame and a “sad commentary” on society’s failure to address the issue through education and better sanitation.

The government says it spends $350 million a year to build rural toilets, but some 638 million still rely on fields or quiet corners.

The UNICEF report puts China and Indonesia in second place, with each representing 5 percent of the world’s 1.1 billion open defecators.

Ramesh said Sunday that filth was polluting the environment as well as public spaces, and Indian rivers had become sewers.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/minister-says-indias-rank-as-no-1-country-for-open-defecation-a-source-of-national-shame/2011/10/02/gIQAdWTqGL_story.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about a Lancet study of Pakistan's "Ladies Health Workers" treating child pneumonia:

LONDON, 14 November 2011 (IRIN) - Pakistan’s army of “Lady Health Workers” – some 90,000 strong – was never meant to diagnose and treat serious illnesses. Instead, these female community health workers (in Pakistan, men cannot visit families) were expected to teach good hygiene and nutrition, provide family planning advice, monitor pregnant women, weigh and vaccinate babies and treat minor ailments.

Yet a new study shows that these same women could hold the key to treating pneumonia – the world’s leading killer of young children.

The study, published by The Lancet medical journal and conducted by Save the Children US, funded by the US Agency for International Development and coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that children suffering from severe pneumonia were more likely to recover if treated at home by these women rather than in a health facility.
---------------
Sadruddin and his colleagues in Pakistan decided to see whether treatment could be given at home by the local Lady Health Worker. They ran a pilot project in Haripur district, in the south of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Where the health workers identified severe pneumonia, with fever, rapid breathing and in-drawing of the lower chest, they were to give a full course of the WHO recommended antibiotic, liquid amoxicillin. “We wanted to see if they could do as well as conventional in-patient treatment. In fact, we found that they did better.”

The study followed 3,211 children, whose progress was checked six days after the start of treatment. Among those treated by their local health worker, only 9 percent failed to respond to treatment. In the control group, 18 percent failed to respond. The children visited at home started treatment sooner, and were sure to get the most suitable drug, while prescriptions in government and private clinics were far less consistent.

The Lady Health Workers taking part in the trial were carefully supervised. “These workers cannot just be left unsupervised after their training,” Sadruddin told IRIN. “They need ongoing support from their supervisors to attain their goals.”

The message was reinforced by the Elizabeth Mason, director of WHO’s Department for Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

“Supervision is absolutely critical, and it is one area that programmes have to ensure that they have well in place,” she told IRIN.

But she said WHO was extremely interested in the findings. “This is the kind of breakthrough research which is urgently needed. It is the first study of its kind and we will have to put it together with studies from other places. But I hope we may be able to review our guidelines to make treatment more accessible to poorer children and those living in remote communities, the ones who need it most.”

The programme also brought benefits to the women, elevating their status. In Haripur, when people saw that the women could treat seriously ill children and save their lives, their status rose dramatically, according to Sadruddin. By the end of the two-year trial, families were far more likely to make the Lady Health Worker their first port of call when their children were ill.

“When they started,” said Sadruddin, “the women themselves were not confident of their own abilities, and the community was also not confident. But when we went back, we found [so] much respect for the Lady Health Workers.”


http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94200

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a critical analysis of Tom Friedman's "Flat World" on India:

In the first chapter of his bestseller on globalization, The World Is Flat, three-time Pulitzer Prize–winning foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times Thomas Friedman suggests that his repertoire of achievements also includes being heir to Christopher Columbus. According to Friedman, he has followed in the footsteps of the fifteenth-century icon by making an unexpected discovery regarding the shape of the world during an encounter with “people called Indians.”

Friedman’s Indians reside in India proper, of course, not in the Caribbean, and include among their ranks CEO Nandan Nilekani of Infosys Technologies Limited in Bangalore, where Friedman has come in the early twenty-first century to investigate phenomena such as outsourcing and to exult over the globalization-era instructions he receives at the KGA Golf Club downtown: “Aim at either Microsoft or IBM.” Nilekani unwittingly plants the flat-world seed in Friedman’s mind by commenting, in reference to technological advancements enabling other countries to challenge presumed American hegemony in certain business sectors: “Tom, the playing field is being leveled.”

The Columbus-like discovery process culminates with Friedman’s conversion of one of the components of Nilekani’s idiomatic expression into a more convenient synonym: “What Nandan is saying, I thought to myself, is that the playing field is being flattened… Flattened? Flattened? I rolled that word around in my head for a while and then, in the chemical way that these things happen, it just popped out: My God, he’s telling me the world is flat!”

No compelling justification is ever provided for how a war against deterrables will solve the problem of undeterrables who by definition cannot be deterred.

The viability of the new metaphor has already been called into question by Friedman’s assessment two pages prior to the flat-world discovery that the Infosys campus is in fact “a different world,” given that the rest of India is not characterized by things like a “massive resort-size swimming pool” and a “fabulous health club.” No attention is meanwhile paid to the possibility that a normal, round earth—on which all circumferential points are equidistant from the center—might more effectively convey the notion of the global network Friedman maintains is increasingly equalizing human opportunity.

An array of disclaimers and metaphorical qualifications begins to surface around page 536, such that it ultimately appears that the book might have been more appropriately titled The World Is Sometimes Indefinitely Maybe Partially Flat—But Don’t Worry, I Know It’s Not, or perhaps The World Is Flat, Except for the Part That Is Un-Flat and the Twilight Zone Where Half-Flat People Live. As for his announcement that “unlike Columbus, I didn’t stop with India,” Friedman intends this as an affirmation of his continued exploration of various parts of the globe and not as an admission of his continuing tendency to err—which he does first and foremost by incorrectly attributing the discovery that the earth is round to the geographically misguided Italian voyager.

Leaving aside for the moment the blunders that plague Friedman’s writing, the comparison with Columbus is actually quite apt in other ways, as well. For instance, both characters might be accused of transmitting a similar brand of hubris, nurtured by their respective societies, according to which “the Other” is permitted existence only via the discoverer-hero himself. While Columbus is credited with enabling preexisting populations on the American continent to enter the realm of true existence by reporting them to European civilization, Friedman assumes responsibility for the earth’s inhabitants in general without literally having to encounter them.


http://www.guernicamag.com/features/3284/fernandez_12_1_11/

Riaz Haq said...

India fares worst in terms of low birth weight and underweight children, and under-five infant mortality compared to Brazil, Russia and all South Asian neighbors, says BBC's Soutik Biswas:

Will the proposed law to provide cheap food to more than half of India's people eliminate hunger, the most shameful scourge of an aspiring superpower?

The jury is still out on how the $19bn (£12bn) scheme will work, as is the case with similar big-ticket welfare schemes launched by what many believe is an endemically weak and corrupt state.

But there is little doubt that India needs to fight malnutrition on a war footing, and the food security scheme may well be its last chance to redeem itself.

Many believe that it does not behove a country which never tires of gloating about its red hot economic growth to have millions of malnourished and starving people.

The facts on the ground are startling. India has the largest number of malnourished children in the world, a rate worse than the average in Africa.

Nearly half of India's children under three are malnourished. More than half of the tribes' children are underweight and stunted.

India fares worst in terms of low birth weight and underweight children, and under-five infant mortality compared to Brazil, Russia and all South Asian neighbours.

India also has the highest number of Vitamin A deficient children in the world: nearly 6% of the children suffer from eye problems related to the deficiency. Of the 37m people in the world who are blind, about 15m are from India. More than 320,000 children suffer from avoidable blindness.
----------
Then there are India's notoriously fickle public distribution system shops aimed at providing food security to people. Over 500m people are supposed to benefit through a gigantic distribution network of half a million fair-price shops supplying cheap food grains.

Here too, the results are mixed and contested. In many states, it has failed to make cheap food grains available to the poor. Theft of supplies, fraudulent beneficiaries and hoarding by the shop-owners is not uncommon.
Cart before horse?

So will the latest food security scheme aimed at providing subsidised food grains to 75% of the rural population and half of the urban households work?

There are many economists who wonder how India will cough up the funds to finance the scheme which will see the country's food subsidy bill climb to $19bn from $13bn. The government insists money will not be a problem.

There are also questions about how beneficiaries will be identified and targeted in a transparent manner in a country where there are different official estimates of the poorest of the poor - from 37% to 77% of the people, depending on whom you believe.

India's state-run cold storage system is shambolic, so where is the guarantee that some 65m tonnes of food grains procured from farmers for distribution for the scheme - up from 55m tonnes presently - will not rot before reaching the beneficiary? How can the food grains be distributed through the leaky public distribution system shops without reforming them?

So is India again putting the cart before the horse? Without reforming its laws and public institutions, welfare schemes with the best intentions run the risk of floundering.

For the scheme to work, the government will need to target beneficiaries properly and revamp the distribution system. The public distribution system, for example, could be made accountable by issuing smart cards to beneficiaries to eliminate bogus cards and fraudulent withdrawal.

If the food security scheme does not work, economists believe, India is doomed to remain a hungry republic. It is already one of the fast-growing economies with the hungriest people in the world. And it can get worse.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16291300

Riaz Haq said...

According to The Fiber Report 2009/10, Indians consumed 4.18 million tons of cotton while Pakistanis consumed 2.558 million tons.

Assuming a population of 1.2 billion for India and 180 million for Pakistan, the per capita cotton consumption works out to 3.48 Kg in India and 14.2 Kg in Pakistan.

http://www.oerlikontextile.com/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-1763/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on housing trends in Lahore, Pakistan:

...as the middle class of the city has expanded, real estate developers have now increasingly begun to offer more affordable variants of the gated housing community, primarily by reducing the size of the average house. Builders predict the fastest growth in demand for the 125-square-yard duplex or townhouse, which is made affordable by offering an instalment plan for the full price, which can start as low as Rs1.2 million.

“The higher end of the market is saturated. Now the industry needs to cater to the rapidly growing middle class that is seeking comfortable housing facilities,” said Abdul Aleem Khan, who runs a real estate development business based out of Lahore.

“After completing one project with mostly larger units, I announced that I would build one with smaller, more affordable units and an easy instalment plan,” he said. “The response was very positive. People clearly need affordable housing and this [middle class] is a very neglected market segment.”

Eden Housing, one of the largest real estate companies in Pakistan, was the first to create such housing schemes in the 1990s, which typically include better roads and infrastructure than the rest of the city they are in. Since then, this formula has been copied by many developers, who saw how rapidly Eden was able to sell off its inventory.

“To live in such a community, which provides you with good infrastructure and security, is relaxing,” said Mujahid Ali, a resident of Eden Avenue, a gated community in Lahore developed by Eden Housing. “I moved here two years ago and have the peace of mind that there is no street crime or robberies within the scheme’s premises. My job requires me to visit other cities and I used to worry for my family’s safety. But since moving here, I can travel without that tension.”

Many of the facilities have hired a full-time staff of maintenance staff. The security is often provided by one of the more than 600 private security companies that now hire out both equipment and guards to a Pakistani middle class that is increasingly concerned for its safety.

Lahore has at least two dozen of these gated communities. In keeping with the temperament of the people in the Central Punjab region, there are hardly any apartments. Most of the housing units are bungalows, townhouses or duplexes. Some of the largest units can be spread over as much as 1,200 square yards, with the smallest ones generally being no more than 125 square yards. Other common sizes include 150 and 200 square yard units.

Builders often locate these communities close to major thoroughfares. Yet as real estate within Lahore proper grows increasingly scarce, many developers have begun to create such offerings on the outskirts of the city, taking advantage of the improvements in the transportation infrastructure in Punjab that includes a highway network comparable to that in some parts of the developed world. Once Lahore’s Ring Road is completed, such housing projects will be able to offer even faster access to the inner city.

Khan, the real estate developer, says that nearly all of the buyers of houses in these projects tend to be buying their own primary residences. “These schemes are not really meant for investors,” he said.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/328177/the-rise-of-pakistans-middle-class-as-crime-rises-property-developers-beef-up-security/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a 2011 Dawn Op Ed on cement industry by Pakistan Cement Industry Association leader Tariq Saigol:

While the private sector performed magnificently whenever provided with an enabling environment, the response of the present government remains mired in confusion and inertia. Installed capacity was a paltry nine million tons in 1990, much of it being grossly inefficient as it was based on the outmoded wet process technology. As demand rose, the industry responded by launching a massive expansion programme. Over time, the installed capacity rose to nearly 44 million tons, a magnificent feat by any standards and a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector.

However a number of adverse developments from 2007 onwards have brought the GDP growth to some two per cent. It is being reported by the media that the revised allocation after the latest cut, is a measly Rs180 billion. High inflation combined with slump in real estate and increase in the cost of production due to weakness of the dollar, resulting in a spike in coal prices, electricity and freight rates and accounting for 70 per cent of the cost, has adversely affected consumption while production cost soars, retarding construction activity in the private sector.

The current economic environment including low public spending has had disastrous consequences for the cement sector.

Local sales during the first half of the current fiscal year have witnessed an eight per cent year on year drop to around 10.1 million tons. Simultaneously, exports fell from 5.6 million tons to 4.6 million tons. The bad news does not end here. On top of low volumes, the average cement FOB prices fell to $48 per ton during the corresponding period— a level low enough to hardly break even.

Consequently cement sales through the sea route alone declined by about one third. Cement sales to India were also hard hit on account of non renewal of BIS certification (a quality control licence). Burdened with high energy and freight costs as well, the manufactures are desperate for some government support.

But no support is forthcoming. One would expect the government’s economic planners to appreciate the tremendous odds against which the industry is battling. If care of the cement industry is in short supply, then some thought may be given to the enormous exposure of the banks which have provided financing to the tune of $1.5 billion to the sector during 2003-2008.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/14/opportunities-missed.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here are highlights of a presentation on Pakistan's cement manufacturing sector:

Beginning with just 500,000 tons in 1947, Pakistan's cement production almost tripled from 16 million tons in 2000 to 44 million tons in 2010.

At 145 Kg per person, Pakistan's cement consumption is up from 75 Kg in 2003, but still about half of the world per capita consumption average of 270 Kg.

http://www.slideshare.net/msaadafridi/cement-industry-of-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

"As the green revolution tapered off, a poultry revolution began; in the late 1970s. Ever since, Pakistan has been gnawing away at broiler chicken and there’s no turning back", wrote Punjab's director general of board of investments in a recent Op Ed in Dawn.

In 2011/12 K&N’s expects to produce 80 million layer and broiler chicks, reports thepoultrysite.com.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, obtaining safe, reliable sources of poultry feed was an insurmountable challenge in Pakistan. This led Khalil to set up his own feed mill to produce feed for K&N’s operations at Karachi in 1971. With the growing need of feed for the integrated production operations in Central Punjab province and Northern areas of the country, a feed mill established by a multi-national company at Lahore, was acquired by K&N’s to take advantage of low-cost feed ingredients available in the Central part of Pakistan.

The growth of commercial poultry production through the decades changed the mindset of consumers towards farm raised broilers and eggs, helped by lower prices and greater availability. Today, Desi chicken and eggs are produced in lower volumes and considered more of a delicacy.

Yet the strength of the live/wet chicken market culture, the negligible overheads of roadside sales – a butcher’s knife costs less than US$1 – and the reassurance of Halal slaughter remain significant influences slowing the uptake of processing, says Adil Sattar.

Practical problems, particularly the limited availability of cool chain facilities and frequent power breakdowns, have to be overcome with production and distribution of processed products inevitably involving high overheads.

"Earlier, within our industry, poultry processing was considered a non-viable poultry business activity as many firms had tried but ended up closing down their operations," says Adil. "At K&N’s, we endeavoured to develop the market, and other companies are now looking to start processing operations."

Today, chicken is the most popular protein source in Pakistan, primarily through the industry’s growth and success leading to lower cost and widespread availability, with per-capita consumption about 7kg (15.4lb) per year. The tradition is to eat chicken at home, always skinless cooked in curries, with rice or barbecued.

Restaurants offer local cuisine including a variety of curries, barbecue dishes and different types of rice, with a number of upmarket cafes and restaurants serving western cuisine and many of the international fast food caterers such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Nando’s, Hardees and Subway also present.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on meat consumption in Pakistan:

The consumption of poultry meat increased by 239 percent in 11 years from 322 million tons in 1999/2000 to 767 million tons in 2010/11, but it is still only 0.7 percent of the global poultry production, experts said on Monday.

At a seminar organised by Big Bird to commemorate its 20 years association with the global poultry giant Hubbard pioneer of poultry in Pakistan Dr Yaqoob Bhatti in his paper revealed that the value of poultry infrastructure exceeds Rs300 billion and annual turnover of commercial poultry is Rs40 billion.

With 105 hatcheries, the annual broiler chick production is 820 million, he said, adding that the commercial egg production is 8.690 billion per annum in addition to 3.742 million production of rural eggs.

Pakistan Poultry Association former chairman Abdul Basit said that poultry is the cheapest source of animal protein not only in Pakistan, but the world over. The average daily animal protein consumption in Pakistan is only 17 grams per capita, while the average minimum requirement is 27 grams, he said.

There is a dire need to increase poultry production in the country that has largely grown without helpful government policies or facilitation, said Basit. The industry, for instance, has since long been demanding the government to disallow poultry farm clusters through a law as chicken farms at least 1.5km apart greatly reduce the risk of spread of diseases among various poultry flocks, he said.

He said his concern has to relocate its very large chicken farms each time when place was surrounded with many other farms too close to his farms. He said he has shifted his major high quality grand parent farms to Thar deserts. Dr Mustafa Kamal said that the consumption of mutton has declined rapidly, while that of beef and poultry has increased.

The share of poultry meat increased from 16.4 percent to 24.3 percent, he said, adding that the consumption of mutton declined from 0.649 million tons to 0.616 million tons, showing a fall of 20 percent in total meat consumption share.

Still, he said, Pakistan as a meat eating country produces around 50 percent broiler chickens of those produced in India, which has seven times human population and has a good chance to develop Grand Parent breeding operations, which has an existing capacity of producing eight million parent stocks for domestic as well as for export purposes.

Olvier Behaghel of Hubbard France said that Pakistani poultry improved efficiencies rapidly during the last 20 year that has helped it control the cost. Maturing time of a broiler has reduced during this period from four days to 46 days and from 38 days to 40 days, he said.

The weight gain of the chick at the time of maturity has increased from 1.5-1.7kg to 1.9 to 2kg and feed consumption by the time of maturity has declined from 2.2-2.5kg to 1.7-1.9kg. “Pakistan, he said, is gradually reaching global and Hubbard standards in chicken health, morality and efficiency in productive processes.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=70726&Cat=3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on fiber consumption for clothing around the world:

World fiber consumption has been steadily trending up over several decades. Per capita consumption was about 3.7 kg in 1950 and climbed to 10.4 kg in 2008. Given the nature of the final products of fibers, clothing and textiles, fiber consumption is sensitive to the global economic situation.
----------
Final products of fibers can be grouped into three major categories: clothing, textiles for home, and textiles for industrial uses. These final products respond differently to changes in income and prices, depending on whether they are consumed as necessary goods, luxury goods, or durable goods. Therefore, world total fiber consumption is exposed to the influence of global economic developments. Encompassing a 4.2 percent annual average growth of the world GDP from 2000-2007, per-capita world fiber consumption increased by nearly 35 percent, from 8.3 kg in 2000 to 11.1 kg in 2007.

However, the economic stagnation in developed countries in 2008 resulted in a reduced rate of GDP growth for the world (3 percent), and a 6.4 percent contraction in per-capita world fiber consumption, to 10.4 kg.

Furthermore, two important developments came about in 2008:
• First, per-capita fiber consumption in developed countries experienced a fall in excess of 8 percent, but developing countries witnessed a decline of less than 5 percent. Some developing countries--such as Ecuador, Indonesia, Paraguay, Pakistan and Vietnam--even saw their per-capita consumption increase slightly in 2008.
• Second, world cotton consumption dropped sharply, over 7 percent, but man-made fibers production declined by less than 5 percent.

Preliminary analysis suggests that world fiber consumption experienced a significant rebound from its 2008 decline. In 2009, man-made fiber production increased by 3.6 percent, reversing the loss of 2008, while natural fiber production continued to decline, although at a slower pace. As a result, world fiber consumption may have gone up slightly in 2009 compared with the previous year.

Developing countries led growth in consumption
Developed countries had been the major driver of growth in world fiber consumption over the past few decades. Over the most recent decade, however, per-capita consumption of fibers in developing countries increased at a much more rapid pace. Compared with 2004, per capita consumption of fibers in developing countries in 2007 increased by about 20 percent, but only by 8 percent in developed countries. By regions, far Eastern countries registered the highest growth, about 27 percent, largely due to China (Mainland), where per capita consumption of fibers increased by 50 percent between 2004 and 2007.

The increase in fiber consumption in developing countries has been largely met by man-made fibers. While total per capita fiber consumption increased by 20 percent, consumption of man-made fibers went up by 28 percent during 2004–2007. As a result, the share of man-made fibers in total fiber consumption in developing countries climbed from 56 percent in 2000 to 65 percent in 2008. The per-capita consumption of manmade fibers in developing countries increased from 2.8 kilograms in 2000 to 4.9 kilograms in 2008. In 2008, total cotton consumption in developed countries accounted for about 50 percent of world consumption with a per capita consumption of 9.5 kilograms, which was nearly 4 times the 2.4 kilograms consumed in developing countries.
----------......


http://www.cotton247.com/supplychain/textiles/?storyid=2106

Riaz Haq said...

There's a report in ET claiming research at UAF that Pakistanis are now 4 in shorter than in 1960s.

This finding does not appear to be credible.

All anecdotal evidence suggests that most Pakistani children are growing up to be taller than their parents. All one has to do is keep one's eyes open & observe.

The average height in Pakistan of 20 yrs old males is now 5' 6" vs 5' 4" in India. If one is to believe this "research", then one must also believe that the avg height in Pakistan in 1960s was 5' 10'' which is simply untrue based on all known evidence, anecdotal or otherwise.

In addition, if worsening malnutrition were indeed an issue, the life expectancy in Pakistan would not have doubled since independence. Published data shows that life expectancy in Pakistan has jumped from 32 years in 1947 to 67 years in 2009, and per Capita inflation-adjusted PPP income has risen from $766 in 1948 to $2603 in 2009.


http://www.interbasket.net/news/4385/2009/09/average-height-by-country-males-20-years/

http://tribune.com.pk/story/375257/height-of-pakistanis-has-fallen-4-inches-over-50-years-say-experts/

HopeWins said...

Dr. Haq,

I have seen you argue in many articles on your blog that Pakistanis are better fed, better clothed, better schooled and in better health than the Indians.

In response, some of the hyper-nationalistic India code-coolies with their typical Cyber-bravado ask you how that is possible when Pakistan and India have about the same per capita GDP of ~1000$ (Approximate, Nominal).

To which you respond that even though the per capita GDP is the about the same, the Poor in India are still more bhookay, nangay, unpar and bimar because India has more inequality (Higher Gini Index) than Pakistan due to the evil caste system (which, Hamdulillah, does not exist in our country).

I have to say that you are correct, but only partially.

There is ANOTHER reason why India has more visible and more desperate poverty than Pakistan. If you look at the measures of visible and desperate poverty you will see that they come under the category of consumption (i.e. recurring expenses such as food, clothes,education, healthcare, public services etc).

Now, if you look at the WB data, you will see that India has a gross domestic savings rate of 32% of GDP versus a gross domestic savings rate of 10% of GDP for our country. What this means is as follows:

Pakistan-- Per Capita GDP 1000$, Savings Rate 10% => Per Capita Consumption = 900$

India----- Per Capita GDP 1000$, Savings Rate 32% => Per Capita Consumption = 680$

As you can see Pakistanis have a 32% higher living standard, since current living standard is measured by consumption (clothes, food, utilities, Kabab, Paan, Ittar, Dawayee, Tuition fees etc) and not production.

This is a very large difference. Given the 32% higher living standard, I am not at all surprised to hear from foreign visitors and Indian journalists that Pakistanis seem to live better, with better food, clothes, education, healthcare and not as much visible and desperate poverty as India.

Of course, as you said, the higher GINI index associated with the higher inequality arising from the unspeakable evil called the caste system is ALSO a factor.

Thank you.

PS: You know, sometimes I wonder what the effect of the savings rate differential (32% versus 10%) might mean for the future of the two South-Asian countries? Will they grow together and in similar fashion? Or will our country use its better clothing, food, education and health to leverage our 10% savings rate into a long-term investment-driven high-growth trend? And will India collapse due to the lack of consumer demand created by their obsessively-high savings rate of 32%? I don't know. I suppose we will have to wait and see, but I am optimistic about things as I tend to see the glass as half-full. Inshallah, Pakistan will not only grow, but also thrive in the coming decade to become a prosperous, peaceful, stable and democratic country.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on Pakistan's rising food & clothing consumption:

Pakistanis are increasingly spending more and more money on food and clothing, and it is not just because prices are rising: the data now shows that they are buying higher volumes, particularly in food.

In an analysis conducted by The Express Tribune using data generated by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, it is becoming increasingly evident that even though prices of food and clothing have skyrocketed over the past decade, the ability of most Pakistanis to keep buying has – for the most part – kept pace (though for some income groups, that has come at the expense of their ability to save).

Between 2002 and 2011, food prices have increased at an average rate of about 11.2%. Spending on food, however, has risen by over 12% per year during that same period. That may not sound like much of a difference, but that means that the average household consumes 6.8% more food than it did a decade ago. Factor in the fact that the average household size has declined during that time and one gets the following statistic: the average Pakistani consumed 17.2% more food in 2011 than they did in 2002.

This massive expansion of food consumption, meanwhile, has fuelled a boom in the sector. Food companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange saw their revenues more than double between 2006 and 2010. During that same period, their pre-tax profits more than tripled.

An increased sign of prosperity is also the fact that Pakistanis now buy more meat: expenditure on meat, fish and poultry now constitutes about 10% of all spending on food, up from 9.3% a decade ago. The fastest rise has been in poultry. Pakistanis have increased their per capita consumption of chicken by about 130% during this past decade. This is despite the fact that prices of chicken have shot up 120% during that same period.

It is this dual expansion of per capita consumption and prices that has resulted in the more visible competition among food companies to advertise their products to consumers.

The story in clothing and footwear expenditures is also interesting. The difference in total spending and price rises, at first glance does not appear to be much. Between 2002 and 2011, spending on clothes and footwear rose by 7.4% per year, while prices rose by 7.2% per year. Yet, given the decrease in household size, the per capita volume of clothes bought by Pakistanis increased by nearly 11% during that period.

The fortunes of clothing companies have similarly soared. Between 2006 and 2010, the local sales revenues of clothing manufacturers listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange jumped by an average of 29% per year, much faster than even their own export sales, which rose by about 22% per year during that period. Profits have more than quadrupled during that time.
--------
There has also been a very significant change in buying behaviour: the fastest increase in demand has been for readymade clothing, with a decline in the relative importance of tailored clothes. The average demand for such clothes has increased by an astonishing 81% during the past decade, which suggests that far more Pakistani consumers prefer the convenience of buying off the rack rather than spending time haggling with tailors.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/414820/food-and-clothing-prices-keep-rising-but-consumption-rises-faster/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a 2009 Dawn article by Anand Kumar on edible oil consumption in South Asia:

despite being such a huge consumer of edible oil, per capita consumption of vegetable oil is still very low in India, around 12 to 13 kg (it was 10 kg in 2001). In contrast, per capita consumption of edible oil is around 20 kg in Pakistan and China. However, with rapid urbanisation and a burgeoning middle-class, besides growing health consciousness, demand for refined vegetable oil is expected to climb sharply in the future.

http://archives.dawn.com/archives/25464

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