Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Can Superpoor India Become a Superpower?

"India is superpoor, not superpower"
Sashi Tharoor

“It is still 80 percent nation and 50 percent democracy”
Ramachandra Guha
Source: Where Are the Poor and Where Are the Poorest?

Last year, Indian writer, diplomat and politician Sashi Tharoor said "India is superpoor, not superpower". This week, Indian historian Ramachandra Guha went a step further and suggested that "India can not and must not become a superpower". Guha added that “India should not try to be a dominant and powerful country, but a less discontented nation.”



How poor is India? An Oxford study found last year that India has more poor than the poor population of all of sub-Saharan Africa. The latest World Bank data shows that India's poverty rate of 27.5%, based on India's current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day, is more than 10 percentage points higher than Pakistan's 17.2%. Assam (urban), Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the only three Indian states with similar or lower poverty rates than Pakistan's.



“A superpower is a political, economic and military giant that has global reach,” Tharoor said. “The US still holds that position. It can fight a war in East Asia or any other part of the world. But I can’t imagine China or India doing that.”



Given the many ethnic, regional, religious and caste fault lines running through the length and breadth of India, there have long been questions raised about India's identity as a nation. Speaking about it, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated".

Acknowledging the reality of deep fault lines in Indian polity, Guha says: "Because of its size and diversity, because of the continuing poverty of many of its citizens, because it is (in historical terms) still a relatively young nation state, and because it remains the most recklessly ambitious experiment in history, the Republic of India was never going to have anything but a rocky ride.

Pakistan share of the world poor about the same as its share of the world population


"National unity and democratic consolidation were always going to be more difficult to achieve than in smaller, richer, more homogeneous and older countries."

Mr Guha argues that democracy and nationhood in India face the following major challenges:

1. India is home to some of the world's fiercest insurgencies which Indian military is attempting to put down in northeast, northwest and central India.

2. Religious fanaticism is "receding but by no means vanquished." A "sullen peace rather than an even-tempered tranquility" prevails in the country

3. There is increasing corrosion of public institutions. Political parties are becoming family businesses; the police and bureaucracy are heavily politicized; corruption is rampant and patronage trumps competence

4. Natural resources are rapidly degrading and depleting as population grows, causing severe problems for the rural poor.

5. There is growing economic disparity. One example: India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is worth more than $20bn, and his new home is a 27-storey high, 400,000 sq ft building in Mumbai, where 60% of the people live in subhuman conditions in overcrowded slums.



I think both Tharoor and Guha make a lot of sense. The sad reality is that India is home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates, a country where nearly two-thirds of the people still practice open defecation. India really needs to focus on solving these basic domestic problems rather than trying to become a superpower through a massive arms buildup.

Here's a video of Ramachandra Guha on the subject:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

India Home to World's Largest Number of Poor, Hungry and Illiterate

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

India Tops in Illiteracy & Defense Spending

Indians Poorer than sub-Saharan Africans

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

India, the world's second fastest growing economy, has been ranked as poorer than its blighted enemy Pakistan in a United Nations report on global poverty.

The report also finds more 'gender equality' in conservative Pakistan than in 'tolerant' India.

Its findings amount to a wake-up call for a nation which has taken great pride in its rapid economic growth and the increasing clout of its billionaire business leaders but has failed to share the spoils with its poor. Britain's Department for Internmational Development has pointed to this chequered progress to justify its continuing aid to India.

The Human Development Report reveals that while India ranks slightly above Pakistan in its level of 'human development' – based on life expectancy, schooling and per capita income – its wider poverty level is worse than Pakistan's.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/8867353/Indian-poverty-levels-higher-than-Pakistans-says-UN-report.html

Anonymous said...

Superpower? 230 million Indians go hungry daily

With 21% of its population undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children underweight and 7% of them dying before they reach five years, India is firmly established among the world's most hunger-ridden countries. The situation is better than only Congo, Chad, Ethiopia or Burundi, but it is worse than Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan or Nepal.

This is according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) which combines the above three indicators to give us a Global Hunger Index (GHI) according to which India is 67th among the worst 80 countries in terms of malnourishment.

That's not all. Data collected by GHI researchers shows that while there has been some improvement in children's malnutrition and early deaths since 1990, the proportion of hungry in the population has actually gone up.

Today India has 213 million hungry and malnourished people by GHI estimates although the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) puts the figure at around 230 million. The difference is because FAO uses only the standard calorie intake formula for measuring sufficiency of food while the Hunger Index is based on broader criteria.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-15/india/30629637_1_anganwadi-workers-ghi-number-of-hungry-people

Ashmit (India) said...

You are hilarious, Mr. Haq.

You are questioning india's potential, when not very long back you were fiercely advocating for viewing pak as a natural contendor for the 'superpower' tag.

Your implicit suggestion, therefore, is that pak is a better bet for heading a new world order.

I didnt know the fine afghan weed had found its way to silicon valley.

Mr. Haq, your rhetorical rants reek of emasculation and betrays a deep seated prejudice. The same prejudice for which you villify others.

Anonymous said...

rhetoric aside being a superpower isn't cheap the USSR collapsed under its weight and the US is in deep deep fiscal and social trouble and likely to collapse if it continues to spend $1 trillion a year on defence.

I think what India wants to be is a major world power ie 4 SSBNs 16 SLBMs each and ~500 nukes arsenal

1000 plane airforce, a blue water navy and a 3000 tank army.

I don't think it wants the ability to fight wars on the other side of the world like the US has.

By 2020 it will be the world's third largest economy so I don't think the spending will be unsustainable.

Harish said...

Riaz, you know what, i like you. :). Yep, i really do. Your dogged determination to stand against the world in the defence of a failed ideology, and the attempts to project misleading data in defiance of international media, remind me of the 300 spartans who stood against the million strong persians in the ancient times.

Alive said...

Indian psyche is to boast about anything which they do differnt. Give it a cultural theme and then dance around it. Adding some charm to anything and luring in westerners to the Majestic India which is in reality The Poorest India. But as it is a Secular state the West is more tilted towards them. After seeing your throughly researched posts i feel that actually now is the time for Pakistanis to take on the competition and pull a lead on India in social, cultural and economic fields. We can do it as we have the potential but May God Deliver us from Our Corrupt Leaders first. Ameen

Ashmit (India) said...

You are hilarious Mr. Haq.

You challenge India's potential, yet not very long back you were vociferously advocating for Pakistan to be viewed as a nation which has the makings of a superpower.

(You post titled - Arabs view pak as a potential superpower - http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/11/arabs-view-pakistan-as-potential.html) Nevermind the fact that, that the survey reveals that arabs WANT to see pakistan as a superpower, not that they EXPECT pakistan to become a superpower.

Nevertheless, your dismissal of India and advocacy for pak, carries the implicit suggestion that - pak is a better bet for heading a new world order.

I didn't know the fine afghan marijuana had made its way to the silicon valley.

I'll be the first to concede that India is far from perfect - but to argue that pak stands a better chance is downright delusional.

But if it's me, who's dreaming, then i'd love if you could enlighten us with some credible work by an authority on the subject, who backs you views on pak upstaging india in the race to become a superpower.

Anonymous said...

The west considers Pakstan to be the headquaters of international terrorism and this has lead to negatively publicity of Pakistan. Investments in Pakistan compared to India are negligible which is bad for the economy as jobs are generated are not keeping growing population which is leading to social problems. Yes its true India is worse off than Pakistan for now but the gap is closing and by 2020 India will overtake Pakistan in many human development issues. Its not that we Pakistanis can't out do India its just we have become too hung up on religion and scared of religious extremists instead of Allah. Classic example is showering of petals on the murder of governor taseer by lawyers. If lawyers who are supposed to be one of the most educated people can be so brainwashed by religion then what can we expect of ordinary pakistanis.
i sincerely hope and pray that The next Pakistani government invests a lot more on modern education and public health.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, why don't you get it into your head once and for all that South Asia's primary problem is their lack of cognitive ability (on average). Low IQ, enormous population = recipe for disaster.

I am an Indian now in the West, and have redneck friends who drive trucks. They're way sharper than the average middle class Indian. I'm sure Pakistanis are also similar to Indians in terms of their cognitive abilities.

Anyway, Indians keep bragging all the time, and do nothing about it.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts of an NPR Fresh Air interview of Katherine Boo, the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers:

.......Some inhabitants (of Mumbai slum Annawadi) lack any shelter and sleep outside. Rats commonly bite sleeping children, and barely a handful of the 3,000 residents have the security of full-time employment. Over the course of her time in Annawadi, Boo learned about the residents' social distinctions, their struggles to escape poverty, and conflicts that sometimes threw them into the clutches of corrupt government officials. Her book reads like a novel, but the characters are real.
----------
BOO: Well, I'll describe it (the slum) this way. You come into the Mumbai International Airport, you make a turn, and you go past a lavish Hyatt and a beautiful hotel called the Grand Maratha. By the time you get to the Hyatt, which is about three minutes in your car, you've already gone past this place.

There's a rocky road that goes into it, and you turn in, and the first thing you notice when you get into this landscape of hand-built, makeshift, crooked huts is one of the borders of the slum - or it was I came in 2008 - was this vast lake of extremely noxious sewage and petrochemicals and things that the people modernizing the glamorous airport had dumped in the lake.

And so it was almost beachfront property on this foul, malarial lake, and all around it in this, the single open space in the slum were people cooking and bathing and fighting and flirting. And there were goats and water buffalo. There was a little brothel, and men would line up outside the little brothel. And there was a liquor still.

And mainly there were families and children who were trying their best to find a niche in the global market economy. Almost no one in Annawadi had permanent work. Six people out of 3,000 last I checked had permanent work.
-------------
DAVIES: One of the most remarkable things to read here was that you tell us in the book that no one in Annawadi was actually considered poor by traditional Indian benchmarks. Is that right? I mean, if they're not poor, who is poor?

BOO: Go to the village, and you'll see what poor is. No, so officially, the poverty lines in many countries, including India, are set so low that officially the people that I'm writing about look like part of the great success narrative of modern global capitalism. They look like the more than 100 million people who have been freed since liberalization in India in 1991 from poverty.

So usually in my work, I'm not looking to write about the poorest and abject. I'm not looking to make you feel sorry for people. I want readers to have a connection more blooded and complex than pity or revulsion. But really, the main point I have to say is that on the books, these men, women and children have succeeded in the global economy. They're the success stories.

But I hope what my book shows is that it's a little more complicated than that.

DAVIES: Well, I mean, so many of them are just on the edge of losing, you know, food and shelter for the day. I mean, are the truly poor, are they rural poor who sleep out in the open? I mean, who are the...?

BOO: Well, many people in Annawadi sleep out in the open, too, but when Asha(ph) - in the book, I follow Asha, the mother, who has used politics and corruption to try to give her daughter a college education, I follow her back home to Vidarbha, a very poor agricultural region.

And when Asha walks through the door, everybody can see on her face and the face of her children how good life is in the Mumbai slums. Asha's grandmother walks on all fours, she's so bent from agricultural labor. And when Asha walks in that door, she stands mast straight.,,,


http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=146575908

Ashmit (India) said...

Let me begin by making clear that in my humble opinion, neither of the two countries are likely to become a superpower.

But since we are in fantasy-land, no harm in letting the creative juices flow.

So let’s consider the following.

Superpowers have massive economies and enjoy trading ties with nations across the world. India does better than Pakistan in this aspect. India is nearly 10 times in size and is growing nearly twice as fast as pak. Moreover, India’s trade with China alone is about half the size of Pak’s entire GDP.

Superpowers also boast of an impressive arsenal. Pak is believed to have more nukes, but other than that it lags on every front. Indian army is far larger (2.1 million strong). India boasts of a greater number of armored divisions, higher number of artillery guns, the two are however equally matched in terms of ballistic and cruise missiles. Indian airforce also scores one over pak. Higher number of aircrafts, with the likes of Su-30MKI, a 4.5 generations fighter, unquestionably the most advanced piece of weaponry in south asia. Now rafale is likely to come into the picture – and with BVR tech, JF-17s and F-16s can be painted from a distance that won’t allow pak fighters to engage the rafale. Again, in the navy, the less said about pak navy, the better.

Softpower and perception management is also critical for superpowers. By your own admission (the worst 5% getting most attention...blah blah), India has lobbied better and has been accepted with relative ease as compared to pak. Also let’s not forget Indian influences through religion, food, cinema, etc. From what I understand bollywood is quite famous in pak itself.

Equally, alliances are also important for superpower aspirations. Pak begs US on one hand and stabs it in the back with the other, and US returns the favor. So, that leaves pak with few choices – China, on certain issues maybe Saudi, and not many others would terms their ties with pak as close or intimate. India, on the other hand, finds favor with US, Japan, Australia – arc of democracy as it is called. At the same time, on the other side of the Spectrum, a country like Russia, too, is seen cosying up to India. Never-mind the fact, that few would question india’s status as a regional power in south asia. Add to that Manmohan Singh’s “look east” policy and India is the definite winner in terms of lobbying and gaining alliances.

As for human developments, both the countries’ performance has been abysmal. Probably the key reason that will keep both from realizing their aspirations.

So, as per indicators mentioned above, India scores over pak on most. Therefore, in my dreamworld, India is more likely to win the race.

What do your fantasies tell you?

Anonymous said...

i think economic, military and political powers are 3 powers that make a nation a super power. In todays world only US can claim that. china today is an economic power and slowly becoming a political power as well. Its military has a long way to go to become a military power. Russia is a military power but it doesnt help as its political power has decreased so as its economic power. Countries allying with the US have gained because of its superpower influence around the world. India is still not ready to embrace US openly because of cold war rivalry. India is neither an economic or military or political power. India has huge socio economic problems and unless India addresses the issues its problems are going to increase inspite of growing economic power. Pakistan is on a collision course with US and there is a possibility that US will use everything in its power to create anarchy and chaos in Pakistan unless it gets what it wants from Pakistan i.e. Elimination of terrorists attacking nato forces in Afghanistan. If republicans win the elections Pakiistan will see tough days ahead.
There is no question of India or Pakistan being a superpower in the next 30 yrs.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "What do your fantasies tell you?"

Harvard economist and former US Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith called India a "functional anarchy" some 30 years ago.

Now Ramachandra Guha, renowned historian and author of India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy, says instability is India's destiny, according to Soutik Biswas of BBC.

In addition to all the advantages you claim India has over Pakistan, India also has huge baggage and problems of hunger, poverty, insurgencies, corruption, social backwardness, instability, etc.

Never say never, but I agree that neither India nor Pakistan have a chance of achieving superpower status any time soon.

However, I do expect both India and Pakistan to eventually become significant world powers which can exert considerable influence in international affairs.

raoul said...

India already has a lot of power in the world arena as was seen in 2010 when all the P5 countries came to india and agreed that india should join their club( except china, which obviously never will as they do not want their neighbor to show their true potential) whereas, leaders only come to pakistan to accuse them of terrorism. Mr. haq, donot be under the perception that pakistan will have power, the only reason you guys capture the headlines is for the nuisance you create.I was in dubai recently and was having a chat with an arab over their,when i told him that i was from India, he got very excited and started telling me how he studied in India and how India has grown to reach superpower status. when i told him about pakistan causing a hindrance in our growth story, he said that pakistan is the only muslim nation to cause so many problems to the world, which i totally agree with. I mean if pakistan didn't have terrorist, people would not have cared what pakistan is!

You talk about how only westerners consider india to be a potential superpower, well you must be thoroughly ignorant then, because you do not read articles from other parts of the world. whether it is africa, the middle east, south east asia, even south asia other than pakistan, all of them preach that india is a superpower along with china!

Riaz Haq said...

raoul: "India already has a lot of power in the world arena as was seen in 2010 when all the P5 countries came to india and agreed that india should join their club.."

Yes, I remember Hillary Clinton calling India a "self-appointed" front-runner for UNSC seat.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-11-30/india/28227862_1_india-s-unsc-frontrunner-for-unsc-seat-first-cache

raoul: "I was in dubai recently and was having a chat with an arab over their,when i told him that i was from India, he got very excited and started telling me how he studied in India and how India has grown to reach superpower status."

Really? Polls say otherwise.
There was a Pew poll last year in which Arabs saw Pakistan as a potential superpower.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/11/arabs-view-pakistan-as-potential.html

Ashmit (India) said...

I don’t think you get the drift of what I have been saying.

I don’t think India will be a superpower. It is more likely to be one of the various poles of a multi-polar world. Given the nature of issues that Pakistan face, and the limited potential (in relation to india…smaller economy, smaller army, smaller navy, smaller cultural impact, smaller land mass, access to fewer resources, smaller industries, etc) – Pakistan is more likely to be a tier 2 power, at best.

Moving on, you place disproportionate importance on the levels of human development (in context of nations competing of power). Consequently, implicitly dismissing the impact of other variables.

When nations face-off, it’s not the average citizen that competes but rather the collective entity. And representative of the strengths / weaknesses of the collective entity are parameters such as economy, armed forces and global clout. For better or for worse, neither of these three are a function of the human development.

India itself should be a case in point, the economy is skewed in favour of elite, ignoring large chunks, yet the power that it has come to wield on the international stage, is phenomenal. Similarly, the poverty tag has not kept india from developing a strong arsenal and nurturing alliances.

India has already registered a significant lead over pak, in all of the 3 parameters. And it is light of this massive gulf between the two nations, that I conclude India is more capable and more likely to first, establish itself on the international stage and second, to wield greater power.

PS – “Yes, I remember Hillary Clinton calling India a "self-appointed" front-runner for UNSC seat.”

You are mocking at yourself by quoting these examples. Barrack Obama, who occupies a higher office, has explicitly stated that he backs India for permanent membership. And he made this clear in various public forums, unlike Clinton who spoke in hushed tones behind curtains, only to be revealed through wikileaks. Besides India enjoys support from other major powers such as France, Russia, UK.

Other than the major powers, 53 nation African Union has also backed india’s bid. Also 52 other nations ranging from Malaysia in SE Asia, to Bangladesh in south asia, to Kazakhstan in central asia, to UAE in middle east, to the likes of Croatia Greece Portugal Norway in Europe, to Bahamas in the Caribbean and to Cuba in South America have supported India’s bid.

Perhaps a reflection of greater global clout and acceptability – that Pakistan lacks. Also an example of how internal strife in India, as you have so painstakingly articulated, is doing little to limit India’s global reach.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Pakistan is more likely to be a tier 2 power, at best"

Talking about tiers of power, with all of its massive baggage of hundreds of millions of poor, hungry and illiterate and discontented people, I see little chance of India achieving "tier 1" status.

If the past is any guide, it's quite safe to assume that Pakistan will continue to effectively respond to all military threats to its security and assert its power ...be it nukes, missiles, satellites, fighter jets, drones, nuke subs, etc. Now you talk about India's nuke sub, it's just a matter of time before Pakistan launches its own nuclear subs to complete the nuclear triad. Let there be no doubt on this point.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/03/pakistans-growing-defense-industry.html

As to eating grass to build nukes, all of the available data from international sources shows that many Indians can't even find grass to eat, as hundreds of millions of Indians go to bed hungry every night.

Here's a quote from Times of India poking fun at the superpower claim:

With 21% of its population undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children underweight and 7% of them dying before they reach five years, India is firmly established among the world's most hunger-ridden countries. The situation is better than only Congo, Chad, Ethiopia or Burundi, but it is worse than Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan or Nepal.

Today India has 213 million hungry and malnourished people by GHI estimates although the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) puts the figure at around 230 million. The difference is because FAO uses only the standard calorie intake formula for measuring sufficiency of food while the Hunger Index is based on broader criteria.


http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-15/india/30629637_1_anganwadi-workers-ghi-number-of-hungry-people

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a DefenseNews report on Pakistan's rumored nuclear submarine project:

...Mansoor Ahmed, a lecturer at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University who specializes
in nonconventional weapons and missiles, believes the reports are the result of a
calculated leak by the Navy, and that a message may be being sent to India.

“This news … appears to be some kind of signaling to the Indians seeing as they are taking delivery of a new nuclear-powered
submarine from the Russians as well as their own Arihant Class SSBN,” he said.

“So Pakistan is signaling to the Indians that they are mindful of these developments and taking due measures in response.”

Ahmed said he has for some time believed Pakistan was working on a nuclear propulsion system for submarine applications and that Pakistan already has a functional submarine launched variant of
the Babur cruise missile.

The Babur cruise missile is very similar to the U.S. BGM-109 Tomahawk, and perhaps derives at least some technology from Tomahawks which crashed in Pakistan
during U.S. strikes on al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in 1998. It can be armed with conventional or nuclear
warheads.

Ahmed believes Pakistan is now gearing up to build its own SSN/SSGN flotilla as a way
of deterring India and maintaining the strategic balance in South Asia.

However, in the long term in order to fully ensure the credibility of its deterrent Ahmed said he believes Pakistan should
build ballistic missile submarines.


http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120211/DEFREG03/302110003/Pakistani-Navy-Develop-Nuclear-Powered-Submarines-Reports?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "You are mocking at yourself by quoting these examples. Barrack Obama, who occupies a higher office, has explicitly stated that he backs India for permanent membership."

Yes, but US publicly agreed only to a UNSC permanent seat for India without veto power.

Privately, US leaders mock India as "self-appointed" front-runner for it.

http://liveindia.tv/india/unsc-seat-india-ready-for-the-deal-without-veto/

Ashmit (India) said...

You never fail to amuse me. You remind me of the famous cartoon series “The Road Runner Show”. I see you like the coyote, running gleefully towards the light at the end of the tunnel, only to realize that it’s a several ton heavy locomotive racing towards you.

“If the past is any guide, it's quite safe to assume that Pakistan will continue to effectively respond to all military threats to its security and assert its power.”

Respond to military threats like in the past?! The same way pak responded to ongoing drone strikes by foreign forces over sovereign pak soil? The same way pak responded to unilateral strikes by US into pak soil to kill OSAMA? The same way pak responded to 24 soldiers being killed by US? Was the hurt pak pride salvaged by actions as timid as not allowing a few trucks to run?

And FYI – US ambassador to pak has revealed that NATO supplies continue to be routed through pak airspace. Meanwhile, the pak Defense Minister is busy advocating that the land routes to be opened for NATO forces.
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.asp?id=49682
http://www.newspakistan.pk/2012/02/07/Defence-Minister-of-Pakistan-Ahmad-Mukhtar-advocates-reopening-of-NATO-supply-lines/

The past only indicates that pak, however hopelessly, will continue to TRY to respond to military threats. The efficacy of such efforts leaves much to be desired, I presume, given that half of your country was sliced away (East Pakistan).

But you really think that it’s wise for pak to compete with India militarily? Doctrines adopted by the pak forces suggest that pak has already conceded the superiority in conventional warfare to India. Firstly, the use of proxy warfare (terror cells) by pak. It is a well established military strategy that yields results, and importantly, in the case of pak, allows it deniability. Hence, reducing the likelihood of military engagement with India. Secondly, with respect to nukes, isn’t it obvious why pak hasn’t adopted a no first use policy?

Besides, arms build up is an expensive affair. How exactly do you think pak plans to pit its meager defense budget of USD 6 billion, against India’s defense spending of USD 37 billion for FY12? India spends a lower percentage of its GDP, yet it’s more than 6 times what pak can afford. And as the pace of growth differs, the difference is only likely to get larger. Are you getting a better picture of the train’s headlights?

(Contd)

Ashmit (India) said...

(Contd)

“Now you talk about India's nuke sub, it's just a matter of time before Pakistan launches its own nuclear subs to complete the nuclear triad. Let there be no doubt on this point.”

It’s only a matter of time? So says the man with close ties with pak’s defense establishment, who despite the links relies on googling of newspaper stories to validate rhetorical claims? The information that you provide, is just shy of being called wishful thinking and at best is speculation – but importantly, no hard facts.

As for pre-empting by arguments – India’s latest acquisition the nuclear sub didn’t cross my mind till you pointed it out. But, it’s an interesting subject as well.

Well firstly, other than India only 5 countries can boast of such hardware. Pak’s not one of them. As for pak’s ability to secure one, you would have the readers believe that the rumor about pak’s n-sub is the product of a selective leak to caution India. But talk of india securing a nuclear submarine was made public years ago. Yet after so many years, all that pak could manage was this little rumour? which jingoists are promoting as a “selective leak” How about a photo-op?? A news brief on the sub?? A paper by a govt sponsored think tank??? Anything?!?!?

Pak navy’s strategy to deter india is through a leak?! If pak had the wares why would it not put it on display?? A desperate hope that India doesn’t call pak’s bluff is the basis of this “selective leak”?! Is this rumour / leak / speculation a representation of pak “effectively responding to all military threats”?? Please, for sake of your own nation, tell me that as India brings in a nuclear powered sub into the sub-continent pak has more than rumors to bank on to tackle this challenge.

Please pardon my skepticism. Given the facts you have presented, I’m inclined to believe that pak is still light years from a nuke sub.

And finally, according to you India has the heavier baggage of poverty to carry, as compared to pak. But despite the heavier baggage, it has outperformed its lowly neighbors in terms of economy, military and clout. India has already emerged as the sole regional power in a subcontinent that includes pak. What does that say about pak’s destiny with tier 2?

Those headlights are awfully close. Don’t you think?

Ashmit (India) said...

"Yes, but US publicly agreed only to a UNSC permanent seat for India without veto power.

Privately, US leaders mock India as "self-appointed" front-runner for it."

Let's not be childish here. Are you always this delusional and are you deliberately swaying from the point, today?

The issue is not what privileges india will enjoy, or will have to forego. The point is that despite the baggage that you point towards, major world powers and dozens of smaller nations are rallying behind India’s contention for permanent membership.

Support that is indicative of future power status. It also reflects poorly on pak, that finds few takers today.

As for private vs public issue. How does Clinton’s personal opinion matter, if the administration and the office that she is a part of are committed towards a particular agenda? You don’t have to love curry to support India.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Support that is indicative of future power status. It also reflects poorly on pak, that finds few takers today."

Few takers? Pakistan has been elected UNSC member several times, and is also a member today. A non-veto permanent membership of UNSC is not particularly different or nore significant in substance.

Ashmit: "The information that you provide, is just shy of being called wishful thinking and at best is speculation – but importantly, no hard facts."

Yeah, sure. It's wishful thinking, the kind of wishful thinking that has already produced indigenous nuclear bombs, ballistic and cruise missiles, tactical nukes, conventional subs, frigates, indigenous plutonium reactors at Khushab, main battle tanks, modern fighter jets, etc. etc. in Pakistan's arsenal.

Ashmit: "Respond to military threats like in the past?! The same way pak responded to ongoing drone strikes by foreign forces over sovereign pak soil? The same way pak responded to unilateral strikes by US into pak soil to kill OSAMA?"

There's a world of difference between superpoor India and sole global superpower United States. India is a pygmy while US is 10-ft tall. Besides US-Pak is a complicated frenemy relationship in which both compete for influence in the region.

Ashmit: " India has already emerged as the sole regional power in a subcontinent that includes pak. What does that say about pak’s destiny with tier 2?"

India has only appointed itself as "sole regional power"....just as it's a "self-appointed" front runner for UNSC permanent membership. Neither Pakistan, nor Sri Lanka accept it as such.

Here's an excerpt from an Indian paper on the subject:

"According to Brahma Chellany, a prominent Indian analyst, “India has ceded strategic space in its
regional backyard in such a manner that Bhutan now remains
its sole pocket of influence."
-------
"Of greater worry to India have been the deepening military and political ties between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The relationship appears to be growing closer. Pakistan has long been an outspoken supporter of the Sri Lankan state’s campaign against the LTTE, as well as one of the
island’s largest suppliers of military hardware in recent
years.127 In November 2010 President Rajapaksa praised
Pakistan for helping the government defeat the LTTE. Pakistan had also stationed roughly a dozen military personnel in Sri Lanka over the past decade, who “extended technical assistance and training for the SLAF [Sri Lankan Air Force] during its air campaign” against the LTTE. There are allegations that Pakistani pilots flew bombing..."

Riaz Haq said...

A newly-wed woman in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh recently left her husband's home because the house had no toilet, reports BBC:

Anita Narre returned eight days later after her husband, a daily wage worker, built one with savings and aid from villagers.

An NGO announced a $10,000 reward for Mrs Narre for her "brave" decision and forcing her husband to build a toilet.

More than half a billion Indians still lack access to basic sanitation.

The problem is acute in rural India and it is the women who suffer most.

Mrs Narre's husband, Shivram, said he was not able to build a toilet at home because of lack of money.

He admitted that his wife returned home only after he constructed one with his savings and "some support from the village council".

"It is not nice for women to go outside to defecate. That's why every home should have a toilet. Those who don't should make sure there is one," Mrs Narre told the BBC.

Many people in India do not have access to flush toilets or other latrines.

But under new local laws in states like Chhattisgarh, representatives are obliged to construct a flush toilet in their own home within a year of being elected. Those who fail to do so face dismissal.

The law making toilets mandatory has been introduced in several Indian states as part of the "sanitation for all" drive by the Indian government.

The programme aims to eradicate the practice of open defecation, which is common in rural and poor areas of India.

Special funds are made available for people to construct toilets to promote hygiene and eradicate the practice of faeces collection - or scavenging - which is mainly carried out by low-caste people.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17022847

Asoka said...

I am tired of hearing that India is a poor country. We are a poverty free nation. We have the largest number of millionaires and billionaires in the world. The world's richest person is an Indian.

I am tired of hearing that India is behind China and that she will one day catch up to China. Let me tell you the Truth India is already a global superpower. Forget about G2, G8, G20, India is class by itself.

India is G1, the lone hyper-superpower in the world.

We are not behind China in the race. We have already won the race to become the world’s next superpower. We are already enjoying our Superpowerdom, superpowerhood, and supoerpower status, thank you very much Bloomberg editors.India has the fastest growing economy in the world with over 10% annual growth rate, the world’s largest middle class consumers with over 1 billion people, the world’s largest and greatest democracy, and a huge foreign reserve that is second to none.

It makes no sense to talk about India’s future. India is the Future. We will rule the world. India is shining.

Let me tell you a few more facts about our Great Country India:

1>India Largest Democracy in the world-: Population: 1.2 Bn. India’s population will surpass china’s by 2030. India has the largest middle class in the world –> Population superpower.

2>India the most industrialized country. India produced the cheapest car, the Tata Nano. India’s IT industry is second to none. Industrial superpower.

3> India never lost a war in its 8000 years history. War superpower.

4> India never invaded other country in history. Peace Superpower.

5>Largest english speaking nation by 2010. The world’s biggest back office. world’s largest skilled workforce. World’s largest working age population. People superpower.

6> over 800 movies made anuualy–bollywood overshadows hollywood, Movies superpower.

7> 6 Miss Universe / Miss world titles in last 10 years: Beauty superpower

8>Per capita income US $9550 ; 2% live in poverty, literacy levels at 88%. India has the world’s largest number of millionaires and billionaires: economic superpower!

9>The Indian Diaspora
38% of Doctors in AMerica are Indians
36% of NASA employees are Indians
34% of Microsoft employees are Indians
28% of IBM employeesare Indians
17% of Intel employees are Indians
13% of Zerox employees are Indians

intellectual superpower!

Asoka said...

10>India will eventually become world’s largest economy in 2083–Goldman Sachs

11>India is fastest growing GDP’s in the world, averaging over 10% growth since 1990.

12>India’s GDP will exceed that of Italy in 2020, France in 2020, Germany in 2025 and Japan in 2035 — USA in 2050, China in 2082 –Goldman Sachs

13>India’s Foreign exchange reserves history
1990-91 $40 billion
1995-96 $200 billion
2001-02 $600 billion
2002-03 $760 billion
2003-04 $1000 billion
2004-05 close to $1500 billion
2006-10 over $ 3000 billion

14>Indian Economy
Robust hyper growth of manufacturing, agriculture and services
Low external debt, low deficit, high trade surplus

299 Fortune 500 companies outsource IT work to India
Increased disposable income, increased wealth
Large emerging affluent middle class

15>Indian Aviation
Air deccan–1 st low cose domestic carrier
Most international carriers now target India for network growth and profitability
$5 bn capital infusion in govt owned carriers
Airport privatization

16>India will be the second fastest growing travel and tourism market over 2005-2014 at 8.8%– WTTC

17> Size of indian tourism is 330 million as of 2004

18>Indians going abroad as of 2004
Singapore — 375,658
Saudi Arabia — 373,636
UAE — 336,046
Kuwait — 293,621
Thailand — 280,641
Bahrain — 268,383
USA — 257,271
China — 213,611
U.K — 205,065
Hongkong — 193,705
NewZealand — 16,862

19> India growth projections
1999 — 2.7%
2000 — 3.4%
2001 — 3.6%
2002 — 4.2%
2003 — 4.5%
2004 — 5.9%
2005 — 6.9%
2006 — 8.0%
2007 — 9.4%
2008 — 11%
2009 — 12.8%
2010 — 15%
2011-2050 — 16.8%

20> Drivers of outbound growth
Increased charter operations
Upper middle income group will remain largest segment
potential consumer pie will grow to 300 billion
Age group of 15 to 49 likely comprise 62%
Self-employed who account for over 40% will emerge as
high potential target market
Holiday finance will become popular

21> Over 500 million Indian’s will travel overseas by 2020 — WTO

22> india discover water in moon, space superpower

23> 15 indian awarded Nobel prize.

24> Indian Prime Minister Nehru gifted the UN Security Council Seat to China, and now India is the leading candidate for the permanent member, winning endorsement from USA, Great Britain and Russia. Diplomacy Superpower

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Russian analyst Anatol Karlin on India's prospects and its comparison with China:

It is not a secret to longtime readers of this blog that I rate India’s prospects far more pessimistically than I do China’s. My main reason is I do not share the delusion that democracy is a panacea and that whatever advantage in this sphere India has is more than outweighed by China’s lead in any number of other areas ranging from infrastructure and fiscal sustainability to child malnutrition and corruption. However, one of the biggest and certainly most critical gaps is in educational attainment, which is the most important component of human capital – the key factor underlying all productivity increases and longterm economic growth. China’s literacy rate is 96%, whereas Indian literacy is still far from universal at just 74%.
-----------
The big problem, until recently, was that there was no internationalized student testing data for either China or India. (There was data for cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, but it was not very useful because they are hardly representative of China). An alternative approach was to compare national IQ’s, in which China usually scored 100-105 and India scored in the low 80′s. But this method has methodological flaws because the IQ tests aren’t consistent across countries. (This, incidentally, also makes this approach a punching bag for PC enforcers who can’t bear to entertain the possibility of differing IQ’s across national and ethnic groups).
--------------
Many Indians like to see themselves as equal competitors to China, and are encouraged in their endeavour by gushing Western editorials and Tom Friedman drones who praise their few islands of programming prowess – in reality, much of which is actually pretty low-level stuff – and widespread knowledge of the English language (which makes India a good destination for call centers but not much else), while ignoring the various aspects of Indian life – the caste system, malnutrition, stupendously bad schools – that are holding them back. The low quality of Indians human capital reveals the “demographic dividend” that India is supposed to enjoy in the coming decades as the wild fantasies of what Sailer rightly calls ”Davos Man craziness at its craziest.” A large cohort of young people is worse than useless when most of them are functionally illiterate and innumerate; instead of fostering well-compensated jobs that drive productivity forwards, they will form reservoirs of poverty and potential instability.

Instead of buying into their own rhetoric of a “India shining”, Indians would be better served by focusing on the nitty gritty of bringing childhood malnutrition DOWN to Sub-Saharan African levels, achieving the life expectancy of late Maoist China, and moving up at least to the level of a Mexico or Moldova in numeracy and science skills. Because as long as India’s human capital remains at the bottom of the global league tables so will the prosperity of its citizens....


http://www.sublimeoblivion.com/2012/02/04/china-superior-to-india/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a Businessweek piece titled "India, Interrupted":

For much of India’s post-independence history, the country was an economic basket case—a textbook example of financial mismanagement, wasted potential, and stunted growth. Then, in the 1990s, after India embarked on market reforms and began opening its closed, semi-socialist economy, the narrative changed. As native companies aggressively acquired international brands, and as growth rates approached double digits, the media was full of triumphalist rhetoric about impending “economic superpowerhood.”

Over the last few months the narrative appears to have shifted again. Growth has slowed from more than 10 percent in 2010 to around 7 percent today. Inflation is persistently high, agricultural productivity has declined, and foreign investment and the stock market are down. Social unrest and deteriorating law and order in many parts of the country have potential investors spooked. Corruption is estimated to cost India at least $18.4 billion a year.

A recent Economist headline on the nation’s growth prospects read: “Slip-sliding away.” At the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, India’s trade minister, Anand Sharma, was questioned by journalists about everything from corruption to inflation to social inequality. “Why are you picking on India?” the minister was reduced to asking. “What is going wrong with us?”

The truth is that India’s prospects were never quite as bright as they were made out to be—nor are they quite as dire as they are held to be today. Instead, the recent swings in the Indian narrative are another reminder of the role of sentiment in investors’ perceptions and decisions. Nations, like markets, are subject to often irrational (and certainly ill-informed) cycles of boom and bust.
------------------
Over the last few years, I’ve had occasion to spend considerable time in the Indian countryside, in villages and farms in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. These places are important to understanding India. For all the hype about the cities and their technology industries, some 70 percent of the population still lives in the countryside.

What I’ve seen is considerably more nuanced than is suggested by either the optimistic or pessimistic narratives of modern India. The villages around here are layered with stories of triumph and hardship, success and failure. Farming is dying, a reminder of the nation’s declining agricultural productivity, which threatens food security and rural livelihoods. The environmental damage wrought by India’s rapid growth is apparent in polluted bodies of water and steaming mounds of uncollected waste.

But for all these problems, there are also signs of India’s promise. People who have quit farming become entrepreneurs; they open cell-phone stores and restaurants and other small enterprises that drive an emerging new rural economy. Young men (and increasingly women) go to college; their horizons are far wider than their parents could have ever imagined.


http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-01/india-miracle-interrupted

Riaz Haq said...

LSE study finds India can not become a superpower, reports The Hindu:

Despite India’s "impressive" rise, its ambition to be a super power may remain just that—an ambition, according to an authoritative new study by the London School of Economics to which several Indian scholars have contributed.

It pointedly dismisses what it calls the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s "unequivocal verdict" during her India visit in 2009 that "India is not just a regional power, but a global power’.

The study, India: the Next Superpower? acknowledges India’s "formidable achievements" in fostering democracy, growth and cultural dynamism but concludes that these are nullified by its structural weaknesses, widespread corruption, poor leadership, extreme social divisions, religious extremism and internal security threats.

India, it argues, still faces too many "developmental challenges" to qualify for "super power" status, or to be considered a serious "counterweight" to China, a role sought to be thrust on it by some in the West. Some of the report’s authors wonder whether India should even aspire to be a super power given its institutional weaknesses and social and economic divisions.

Historian Ramachandra Guha, currently the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at LSE, suggests that rather than being seduced by the bright lights of great power diplomacy, India should instead focus on reforming its institutions and repairing the social fabric that seems to be coming off its seams.

“We need to repair, one by one, the institutions that have safeguarded our unity amidst diversity, and to forge the new institutions that can help us. It will be hard, patient, slow work,” he writes.

The study, a summary of which was released on Wednesday, starts off by acknowledging that" India’s rise has certainly been impressive, and warrants the attention that it has commanded".

"India has been one of the world’s best-performing economies for a quarter of a century, lifting millions out of poverty and becoming the world’s third-largest economy in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) terms. India has tripled its defence expenditure over the last decade to become one of the top-ten military spenders. And in stark contrast to Asia’s other billion-person emerging power, India has simultaneously cultivated an attractive global image of social and cultural dynamism," it says. But then come the "ifs" and "buts".

Plunging the knife into Indian ambitions, the report says:"Still, for all India’s success, its undoubted importance and despite its undisputed potential, there is cause for caution in assessing India’s claim to superpower status. India still faces major developmental challenges. The still-entrenched divisions of caste structure are being compounded by the emergence of new inequalities of wealth stemming from India’s economic success. India’s democracy may have thrived in a manner that few ever expected, but its institutions face profound challenges from embedded nepotism and corruption. India’s economic success continues to come with an environmental cost that is unsustainable."

These problems are compounded by India’s "pressing security preoccupations" arising out of "insurgent violence" affecting large parts of the country and long-festering cross-border disputes.

The best that India can hope for—the study offers as a consolation-- is "to continue to play a constructive international role in, among other things, the financial diplomacy of the G20".

"Yet the hopes of those in the West who would build up India as a democratic counterweight to Chinese superpower are unlikely to be realised anytime soon," it concludes....


http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2969252.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC's Soutik Biswas Op Ed on "Why India will not become a superpower":

India will not become a superpower, says Ramachandra Guha, renowned historian and author of India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy.

Taking the lead in a special report by the London School of Economics, Mr Guha outlines seven reasons to support his thesis.

The challenges which will hold India back, he writes, are the Maoist insurgency, the "insidious presence" of the Hindu right wing, degradation of the "once liberal and upright" centre, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, trivialisation of media, the sustainability of "present patterns of resource consumption" and the instability and policy incoherence caused by multi-party governments.

More importantly, Mr Guha believes that India should not even attempt to become a superpower.

"In my view, international relations cannot be made analogous to a competitive examination. The question is not who comes first or second or third, whether judged in terms of Gross National Product, number of billionaires in the Forbes or Fortune lists, number of Olympic gold medals won, size of largest aircraft carrier operated, or power of most deadly nuclear weapon owned," he writes.

"We should judge ourselves not against the achievements, real or imagined, of other countries, but in the light of our own norms and ideals... We are a unique nation, unique for refusing to reduce Indian-ness to a single language, religion, or ideology, unique in affirming and celebrating the staggering diversity found within our borders (and beyond them)."

In fact, as Mr Guha's teacher, the late historian Dharma Kumar, once said, Indians should applaud the lack of homogeneity.

"Instead of regarding India as a failed or deformed nation-state we should see it as a new political form, perhaps even as a forerunner of the future. We are in some ways where Europe wants to be, but we have a tremendous job of reform, of repairing our damaged institutions, and of inventing new ones," Ms Kumar had once written.

India, as the participants in the LSE study say, should strive to become a more inclusive and efficient society, rebuild its broken institutions and engage with the egregious problem of state corruption. Superpowerdom can wait.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17350650

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post blog on India's claim of poverty reduction:

India’s Planning Commission says the number of poor people has dropped by 51 million — more than the entire population of Spain or Argentina — in the past five years. This, officials say, is the sharpest drop in poverty rate in India — from 406 million to 356 million, out of 1.2 billion Indians — since the country introduced an ambitious economic reforms program in 1991 that brought unprecedented economic growth and wealth. Poverty in rural India declined at an even faster pace, the report said.

But many Indians are not ready to believe this rare good news. Some accuse the government of statistical jugglery — first, lowering the definition of the poverty line, so as to include fewer people, and then claiming that the number of Indians living in poverty has declined.

According to the commission, Indians are defined as poor if they spend the equivalent of 56 cents or less daily in urban areas and 44 cents or less in villages. This is lower than the earlier level of 65 to 75 cents a day or less in cities, and 50 to 55 cents daily or less in villages, which was set by the commission.

“Is this the poverty line or the starvation line?” S. S. Ahluwalia, a lawmaker with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, asked in parliament on Tuesday, accusing the government of playing with lives of the poor.

“India’s poverty line is the most austerely defined line in the whole world,” said M. S. Swaminathan, an agricultural economist. “It is lower than other emerging economies.”

The government’s data triggered fear among many activists that fewer people will benefit from the government’s proposed free food program for the poor.

But Planning Commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an ardent advocate of free market policies, dismissed such fears on Tuesday.

“The focus of this exercise is to determine whether inclusive growth is working,”said Ahluwalia. “It is not to determine who will get food entitlements.”

One official at the commission said welfare programs like the rural public works guarantee scheme launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has reduced destitute poverty in the past five years,

But in India’s poorer, populous northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the poverty decline has only been marginal, and the absolute number of poor has risen.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/is-india-misrepresenting-its-poverty-numbers/2012/03/20/gIQA1dtXPS_blog.html

Riaz Haq said...

Top adviser says 70% of Indians are poor, according to IANS:

Debunking the government's claim that the number of poor in India has come down, a top adviser has claimed that around 70 percent of the country's 1.2 billion population is poor, and stressed the need for a multi-dimensional assessment of poverty.

"The government claim that poverty has come down is not valid... there is a need for a multi-dimensional assessment of poverty as around 70 percent of the population is poor," National Advisory Council member N.C. Saxena told IANS in an interview.

According to Saxena, the various poverty estimates the government relies on to assess the impact of developmental schemes are faulty as they fail to factor in the lack of nutritional diet, sanitation, drinking water, healthcare and educational facilities available to the people.

The former bureaucrat, who now is part of the NAC that reports to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, claimed that not only the National Sample Survey Organisation data is faulty, the ongoing Socio-Economic and Caste Census, which is expected to throw up the latest poverty estimates, is highly flawed.

"The NSSO data is unreliable and the SECC is highly flawed," said Saxena.

The National Advisory Council (NAC) was set up as an interface with civil society. The NAC provides policy and legislative inputs to the government with special focus on social policy and the rights of disadvantaged groups.

After the government faced flak over its latest poverty estimates, according to which anyone earning over Rs.28 per day in urban areas and Rs.26 per day in rural areas is not poor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said a multi-layered approach is required to assess poverty as the widely accepted Tendulkar committee report "is not all inclusive".

The government now plans to set up another expert panel to devise a new methodology to assess poverty levels in the country, said the prime minister.

The government recently revised its poverty estimates from earlier Rs.32 per day in urban areas and Rs.26 per day in rural areas based on 2011 prices, to the current estimate which is based on 2009 prices.

Using the Tendulkar panel report, the Planning Commission pegged poverty at 37.5 percent of the population.

Saxena said in reality out of about 200 centrally sponsored schemes, only 5 or 6 are linked to the poverty estimates, pegged at 37.5 percent by the Planning Commission.

Having a realistic assessment of poverty in not only crucial for the government to ensure that around Rs.80,000 crore that it spends on various welfare schemes annually reaches only the genuinely poor, it is also important for the United Progressive Alliance which hopes to roll out the ambitious National Food Security Bill, which aims to provide subsidised rations to around 65 percent of the 1.2 billion population some time next year.


http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/70-percent-india-poor-top-055810676.html

Riaz Haq said...

Is India another illusion? asks Pierro Scaruffi of IEET:

Last year I predicted that the Chinese bubble will burst soon, and that it’s unlikely that China will become the biggest economy in the world any time soon, contrary to what most analysts predict (See The great illusion?). Now it looks like India might also disappoint, although for completely different reasons.

The closer we look, the more Indian ills look like a scary combination of European ills and American ills. Start with the budget deficit: India’s economy needs to grow frantically just to pay its debt, which is about 8.5% of GDP. Defense spending increased 10% last year and this year should grow even faster. At the same time, growth is projected to slow down to 6-7%. That sounds a lot like the problem the USA is facing with colossal defense spending that is not justified by the facts on the ground (who’s planning to invade the USA? who’s planning to invade India?)

On top of defense spending, the Indian government also spends billions to provide subsidies to the oil industry and to farmers. Just like the USA. Finally, the Indian parliament resembles the fractured and paralyzed parliaments of Italy and Belgium, in which the governing party is tamed by the tiny allies that it needs in order to claim a majority. Just like Europe, the balance sheet and ridiculous bureaucracy are scaring away foreign investors.

India is famous for a dumb and gargantuan bureaucracy, which was never truly reformed when it moved from pseudo-communism to free-market capitalism, and that bureaucracy recently has been at work to make it difficult for anybody to do business in India. (And even for tourists to visit it: India is the only country in the world that forbids tourists from reentering India for two months).

The social and political problems of India have long been ignored by the world as remote and passing nuisances.

The truth is that many more people are killed by terrorists of various factions in India than in the other emerging powers.

The truth is that India still has a caste-based system that has created incredible social injustice.

The truth is that India, unlike China, Brazil and Russia and virtually any other emerging country, is a federation of linguistically and ethnically different states, a fact that could potentially derail the union.

The truth is that it is the largest Muslim country in the world (or second largest after neighboring Pakistan), a fact that constitutes a perennial threat to its identity.

The truth is that, unlike China, Russia and Brazil, who are unlikely to go to war with any of their neighbors, India is in a constant state of alert along the border with Pakistan, a nuclear enemy.

The truth is that corruption in India is more widespread than even in Russia (see for example for example).

The truth is that this year 27 million babies will be born in India (versus 10 million in China and 4 million in the USA): India needs to create an improbable number of jobs to improve the conditions of its population, or even to keep it where it is and avoid social unrest.
The closer one looks, the less reassuring India looks as a place to invest money.


This would matter little if growth were still exponential and business opportunities were popping up everywhere. However, just like China, India is vulnerable to oil prices and to prices of commodities in general. Those prices are unlikely to come down any time soon, now that the US economy is picking up steam.

Last but not least, India may have run out of Western customers willing to offsource jobs to cheaper English-speaking countries (i.e., to India) and may have to rely on its own domestic market. That market is, in theory, huge. Alas, the World Bank estimates that 300 million of them live under the poverty line, and the others have an average salary which is below $1,000 a month


http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/scaruffi20120330

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal India Realtime piece:

Justice Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court Justice turned chairman of the Press Council of India, has done it again. Already known for his recent views of the journalists he oversees – they “are of a very poor intellectual level” – he has widened the focus of his condemnation to include approximately 1.08 billion anonymous Indians.

That’s our calculation based on India’s estimated total population, but we made it after Mr. Katju stated in an Indian Express op-ed Monday that he was presenting us with an “unpleasant truth: 90 per cent of Indians are fools.” He was humble enough to attribute a “great defect” to himself, too, though it was one couched in virtue: “ I cannot remain silent when I see my country going downhill. Even if others are deaf and dumb, I am not. So I will speak out.”

And speak out he did.

His first example for reaching his controversial conclusion: “When our people go to vote in elections, 90 per cent vote on the basis of caste or community, not the merits of the candidate. That is why Phoolan Devi, a known dacoit-cum-murderer, was elected to Parliament — because she belonged to a backward caste that had a large number of voters in that constituency.”

Example no. 2: “90 per cent Indians believe in astrology, which is pure superstition and humbug. Even a little common sense tells us that the movements of stars and planets have nothing to do with our lives. Yet, TV channels showing astrology have high TRP ratings.”

Example no. 3: “Cricket has been turned into a religion by our corporatised media, and most people lap it up like opium. The real problems facing 80 per cent of the people are socio-economic — poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, price rise, lack of healthcare, education, housing etc.”

Example no. 4: “I had criticised the media hype around Dev Anand’s death at a time when 47 farmers in India were committing suicide on an average every day for the last 15 years… In my opinion, Dev Anand’s films transported the minds of poor people to a world of make-believe, like a hill station where Dev Anand was romancing some girl.”

Example no. 5: “During the recent Anna Hazare agitation in Delhi, the media hyped the event as a solution to the problem of corruption. In reality it was, as Shakespeare said in Macbeth, “…a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing.”

Mr. Katju says his intention behind his harsh critique is very noble. “When I called 90 per cent of them fools my intention was not to harm them, rather it was just the contrary. I want to see Indians prosper, I want poverty and unemployment abolished, I want the standard of living of the 80 per cent poor Indians to rise so that they get decent lives,” he writes....


http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/04/09/india-a-nation-of-more-than-1-billion-fools/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts of a BBC Op Ed on Indian economy titled "Five things wrong with India's economy":

After several official predictions that India would grow by 7-8% in 2011-12, the finance minister finally admitted in his Budget 2012 speech that the growth would be 6.9%.

The actual figure may be lower at 6.5%, thanks to the statistical error in sugar production, which dragged down January's industrial production growth figure from 6.8% to 1.1%.

Although ratings agency Standard and Poor's estimate for 2012-13 is 5% or above, Indian economists feel they won't be surprised if the economy grows by just 4%.

"If things remain the way they are, in terms of policy decisions, investments and sentiments, I would go to the extent that the figure may be 3%," says a senior economist with a leading business association.
--------
Wholesale price inflation, which is under 7%, could increase to 9-10% over the next few months.

Food inflation is still high at double-digit levels, and any hike in fuel (petrol and diesel) prices in the near future will spur inflation.

A combination of low growth and high inflation, or near-stagflation, would be India's worst economic nightmare come true.
-------------
In 2011-12, the fiscal deficit zoomed from a projected 4.6% of GDP to 5.9%. Although Budget 2012 predicted it would come down to 5.1% in 2012-13, most economists remain sceptical.

Low growth rates, lower-than-estimated government revenues, and higher-than-expected expenditures, especially on welfare schemes for rural employment and the right to food, may force the deficit to go up in 2012-13, as happened in the previous financial year.

Although exports grew by 20% in 2011-12, imports rose at a faster pace, and the trade deficit went up to $185 billion, the highest ever in the country's history.

Since August 2011, foreign exchange reserves have dipped from $322bn to $293bn due to the higher trade deficit and other foreign exchange outflows.
-----------
Coalition compulsions, a united opposition and corruption allegations have forced the government to backtrack on key economic reforms, including foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand organised retail.
--------------
In 2011-12, the domestic private sector was wary of huge investment commitments; many firms delayed or postponed plans to invest in expansion or building new factories.

An April 2012 overview of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that "consultations with industry and banks suggest that new project investment continue to be sluggish"
-----------



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17891946

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Line story on India's bills coming due:

A rapidly depreciating rupee, dipping foreign exchange reserves and strong financial links with the Euro Zone are pushing India against the wall. The over 20 per cent depreciation of the rupee against the dollar in the last one year has hugely increased the repayment burden of Indian companies.

According to the Bank for International Settlements' (BIS) preliminary data for December 2011, international claims on India, payable within the next one year, are $137 billion.. This is 60 per cent of the total claims of overseas banks on India in non-rupee currencies. This can eat up one half of the $293-billion foreign exchange reserves that India now has. European banks account for over 40 per cent of India's total foreign dues. At $132 billion, this is twice India's liabilities towards the US.

But leaving out the UK, India's Euro Zone exposure is about $60 billion. That is close to 3.4 per cent of India's GDP. Any full-blown crisis in Greece could spill over to the other European nations, posing a risk of capital flight from India.

The immediate impact of capital flight and the depreciating rupee would be more pressure on domestic liquidity, says Ms Sonal Varma, Executive Director and India Economist at Nomura. That also means a higher risk of interest rates moving upwards.

International claims, other than rupee-denominated ones, include trade credit and other borrowings. The data on international claims from the BIS, roughly tally with the RBI's data on non-rupee external debt.


http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/article3429540.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of an article from India's Open Magazine on India's delusions:

There is a thin line between the audacity of hope and grasp of reality. India’s middle-class, with its fond dream of India as a Superpower, is like a trapeze artist walking that very thin line. Despair too much, and your case is hopeless. Daydream too much, and you topple into a delusionary void.

Over the past decade or so, it’s the latter which has been the bigger danger. India the Infotech Iron-pumper. India the Nuclear Non-aggressor. India the Space Scorcher. India the Cricket Conqueror. India the Massive Market. India the Enormous Economy. India the Growth Giant… you get the drift. With a flying cape and coloured briefs, it’s an India ready to make the world spin the other way round on its axis. At the top level, the dream was articulated by an optimist-in-residence at the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself, former President APJ Abdul Kalam. With his technocratic training straight from the rah-rah realm of rocket science, he went forth and set a deadline: 2020. And then got little children all across the land waving little tricolours to pledge their support.

The Millennium Goal to beat all millennium goals! The future that was promised! The glory that was destined! Each success has brought another bout of delirium, India’s lunar mission being a fine example. There’s ice on the moon, Jai Hind!
-----------
So why does this fancy persist? Says Shiv Vishwanathan, a sociologist, “There is a fantastic urge within the middle-class for upward mobility. For status. This is fuelled equally by the expatriate Indian cousins when they visit or hold ‘India’ days. It is a dangerous fantasy because it is taken as manifest destiny. Bear in mind that a lot can still go wrong in the India story. If the middle-class insulates itself in the superpower ivory tower, it will invite reactions.”

There are sniggers in the dark, scowls in the aisles. Read The White Tiger. Or watch Slumdog Millionaire. Though aimed at Western audiences, they are reminders of the mockery that comes the way of India’s middle-class consensus on Superpowerhood. And indeed, there is much that should make the country squirm. There is nothing ‘super’ in having to declare a quarter of the country’s districts tormented by Naxal violence. There are people out in the jungles who are taking up guns to overthrow the State, an entity they see as increasingly hostage to the mollycoddled middle-class and its fancies.

MATTER OF SELF BELIEF

So, can no good come of hallucination? It could depend on how the energies are channelled. In Meiji Japan, or Imperial Britain, the State took national ambition to new heights. “Some good does come out of the fantasy,” says Gurcharan Das, “It gives a sense of self-belief. But it is critical to direct this positive energy, for otherwise it can lead to a dangerous disconnect of the elite from the concerns of a transforming country.” India must wake up.


http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/india-s-superpower-delusions

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times on massive power outages in India:

It had all the makings of a disaster movie: More than half a billion people without power. Trains motionless on the tracks. Miners trapped underground. Subway lines paralyzed. Traffic snarled in much of the national capital.

On Tuesday, India suffered the largest electrical blackout in history, affecting an area encompassing about 670 million people, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population. Three of the country’s interconnected northern power grids collapsed for several hours, as blackouts extended almost 2,000 miles, from India’s eastern border with Myanmar to its western border with Pakistan.

For a country considered a rising economic power, Blackout Tuesday — which came only a day after another major power failure — was an embarrassing reminder of the intractable problems still plaguing India: inadequate infrastructure, a crippling power shortage and, many critics say, a yawning absence of governmental action and leadership.
----------
India’s power sector has long been considered a potentially crippling hindrance to the country’s economic prospects. Part of the problem is access; more than 300 million people in India still have no electricity.

But India’s power generation capacity also has not kept pace with growth; in March, for example, demand outpaced supply by 10.2 percent, according to government statistics.

In recent years, India’s government has set ambitious goals for expanding power generation capacity, and while new plants have come online, many more have faced delays, whether because of bureaucratic entanglements, environmental concerns or other problems. India depends on coal for more than half of its power generation, but production has barely increased, meaning that some power plants are idled for lack of coal.

----------
Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian, said that the blackout was only the latest evidence of government dysfunction in India. On Monday, he noted, 32 people died in a train fire in the state of Tamil Nadu — a reminder that the nation’s railway system, like the electrical system, is underfinanced and in dire need of upgrading.

“India needs to stop strutting on the world stage like it’s a great power,” Mr. Guha said, “and focus on its deep problems within.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/world/asia/power-outages-hit-600-million-in-india.html?pagewanted=all

M Singh said...

Mr. Haq,

Even if we assume India is a "functional anarchy". it is indeed far better than the well known international migraine, "functioning terrorist state of Pakistan".

It is further not surprising, how it has come about, and why!

Data doctoring in Pakistan has been perfected to the level of brazen art form, seen nowhere else in the world.

On the other hand, in spite of advances in various fields, a teeming army of leftist NGO and foot soldiers of ideology along-with corrupt officers and contractors, blatantly doctor data negatively in India to support multiple vested interests.

But nevertheless, it is expected of you to go on repeating your anti India campaign based on deep seated resentments and envy.

Unfortunately, you can increase and extend any thing but not the geographical ares and natural resources.

It would be far better, if you focus and utilize energies and skills to make Pakistan a less dangerous place for the world and yourself as well.

HopeWins Junior said...

^^^"If the past is any guide, it's quite safe to assume that Pakistan will continue to effectively respond to all military threats to its security and assert its power ...be it nukes, missiles, satellites, fighter jets, drones, nuke subs, etc. Now you talk about India's nuke sub, it's just a matter of time before Pakistan launches its own nuclear subs to complete the nuclear triad. Let there be no doubt on this point."

------------------------

The doubt is PRECISELY on this point.

How will our "diverse and vast Industrial base" respond to all these Global Threats when our DOMESTIC SAVINGS are so abysmally low?

From where, exactly, will all this capacity come? Who will finance it and how? We have alienated almost every nation in the world, except for our BFF China. And now China is headed for its own "lost decade". Even Saudi Arabia holds a grand reception for Manmohan Singh, even as it refuses to so much as meet with Zardari. It would appear that we have NO friends left. None. Zero.

Please commment.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Atlantic Mag piece arguing that China is much bigger than the rest of BRICs:

In 2001, China's GDP was equal to the GDP of all the RIBS combined. In the five years since the global financial crisis, just the increment of growth in China's economy is larger than the entire economies of Russia and India combined. Indeed, in the half decade since the financial crisis, 40 percent of all growth in the global economy has occurred in China.

Last year, the economy of China expanded by $1 trillion; Russia and India grew by $100 billion; Brazil and South Africa shrank. In 2001, China ranked sixth among the world's economies. Today it stands at number two, on track to overtake the U.S. and become the world's largest economy in the next decade.

In trade, China accounts for 11 percent of global merchandise exports, roughly double that of the RIBS combined. Moreover, the markets to whom China and the RIBS export and from whom they buy are the U.S., the EU, and Japan. Merchandise trade among China and the RIBS barely registers in world trade statistics.

In foreign reserves, China held twice as much as the RIBS combined in 2001 (with $220 billion), and now holds three times as much as the others (with $3.3 trillion). In greenhouse gas emissions, China accounts for 30 percent of the global total, more than twice the amount of the RIBS combined.

Goldman Sachs continues trumpeting the rise of the BRICS (though it refuses to include South Africa, which was pulled into group by China in 2010). Its latest "BRIC Fund" prospectus forecasts that by 2030, the BRIC nations will have a combined economy larger than that of the G7. If this happens, the most important part of the story will be that China added $17 trillion to the global economy, effectively creating another United States in less than 20 years.

Concepts that jumble together elements with more differences than similarities sow confusion. While it may have played a useful purpose at the beginning of the century to highlight faster-growing emerging economies, BRICS has become an analytic liability. Like generalizations about per-capita growth in countries where wealth disparities are widening (as the rich get richer while the income of the poor declines), submerging China in this acronym misses more than it captures. If a banner is required for a meeting of these five nations, or for a forecast about their economic and political weight in the world ahead, RIBS is much closer to the reality. Even if governments, investment banks, and newspapers keep using BRICS, thoughtful readers will think China and the rest.


http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/03/china-doesnt-belong-in-the-brics/274363/

peterparker said...

Yes, india has population of poor people. But who are those people? They are muslims and christians, especially muslims. And it is correct, as india is land of hindus. People like shashi tharoor and ramchandra guha belong to secular creed, and hence, for them, muslims are also part of india. But we know that muslims came from uzbek, mongol ,turkey and are foreigners for us.

Riaz Haq said...

Mary Kay Magistad of NPR's The World reported that China has reacted strongly to the Pentagon report on China's military growth and modernization with its first aircraft carrier, several nuclear submarines and stealth aircraft.

Magistead reported that Xinhua has for the first time talked about China as a global economic power with global interests and it needs a blue water navy to protect a tremendous number of sea-lanes.

http://www.theworld.org/2013/05/pentagon-china-military/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's The Economist on ending poverty:

IN HIS inaugural address in 1949 Harry Truman said that “more than half the people in the world are living in conditions approaching misery. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of those people.” It has taken much longer than Truman hoped, but the world has lately been making extraordinary progress in lifting people out of extreme poverty. Between 1990 and 2010, their number fell by half as a share of the total population in developing countries, from 43% to 21%—a reduction of almost 1 billion people.
--------
Starting this week and continuing over the next year or so, the UN’s usual Who’s Who of politicians and officials from governments and international agencies will meet to draw up a new list of targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were set in September 2000 and expire in 2015. Governments should adopt as their main new goal the aim of reducing by another billion the number of people in extreme poverty by 2030.

Nobody in the developed world comes remotely close to the poverty level that $1.25 a day represents. America’s poverty line is $63 a day for a family of four. In the richer parts of the emerging world $4 a day is the poverty barrier. But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short. They lack not just education, health care, proper clothing and shelter—which most people in most of the world take for granted—but even enough food for physical and mental health. Raising people above that level of wretchedness is not a sufficient ambition for a prosperous planet, but it is a necessary one.

The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original MDGs—such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.

The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.

Poverty rates started to collapse towards the end of the 20th century largely because developing-country growth accelerated, from an average annual rate of 4.3% in 1960-2000 to 6% in 2000-10. Around two-thirds of poverty reduction within a country comes from growth. Greater equality also helps, contributing the other third. A 1% increase in incomes in the most unequal countries produces a mere 0.6% reduction in poverty; in the most equal countries, it yields a 4.3% cut.

China (which has never shown any interest in MDGs) is responsible for three-quarters of the achievement. Its economy has been growing so fast that, even though inequality is rising fast, extreme poverty is disappearing. China pulled 680m people out of misery in 1981-2010, and reduced its extreme-poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to 10% now.

That is one reason why (as the briefing explains) it will be harder to take a billion more people out of extreme poverty in the next 20 years than it was to take almost a billion out in the past 20. Poorer governance in India and Africa, the next two targets, means that China’s experience is unlikely to be swiftly replicated there......


http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21578665-nearly-1-billion-people-have-been-taken-out-extreme-poverty-20-years-world-should-aim

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times on India's growing troubles:

...a summer of difficulties has dented India’s confidence, and a growing chorus of critics is starting to ask whether India’s rise may take years, and perhaps decades, longer than many had hoped.

“There is a growing sense of desperation out there, particularly among the young,” said Ramachandra Guha, one of India’s leading historians.

Three events last week crystallized those new worries. On Wednesday, one of India’s most advanced submarines, the Sindhurakshak, exploded and sank at its berth in Mumbai, almost certainly killing 18 of the 21 sailors on its night watch.

On Friday, a top Indian general announced that India had killed 28 people in recent weeks in and around the Line of Control in Kashmir as part of the worst fighting between India and Pakistan since a 2003 cease-fire.

Also Friday, the Sensex, the Indian stock index, plunged nearly 4 percent, while the value of the rupee continued to fall, reaching just under 62 rupees per dollar, a record low.

Each event was unrelated to the others, but together they paint a picture of a country that is rapidly losing its swagger. India’s growing economic worries are perhaps its most challenging.

“India is now the sick man of Asia,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at the financial information provider IHS Global Insight. “They are in a crisis.”

---.

The Indian government recently loosened restrictions on direct foreign investment, expecting a number of major retailers like Walmart and other companies to come rushing in. The companies have instead stayed away, worried not only by the government’s constant policy changes but also by the widespread and endemic corruption in Indian society.

The government has followed with a series of increasingly desperate policy announcements in recent weeks in hopes of turning things around, including an increase in import duties on gold and silver and attempts to defend the currency without raising interest rates too high.

Then Wednesday night, the government announced measures to restrict the amounts that individuals and local companies could invest overseas without seeking approval. It was an astonishing move in a country where a growing number of companies have global operations and ambitions.
---------
The submarine explosion revealed once again the vast strategic challenges that the Indian military faces and how far behind China it has fallen. India still relies on Russia for more than 60 percent of its defense equipment needs, and its army, air force and navy have vital Russian equipment that is often decades old and of increasingly poor quality.

The Sindhurakshak is one of 10 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines that India has as part of its front-line maritime defenses, but only six of India’s submarines are operational at any given time — far fewer than are needed to protect the nation’s vast coastline.

Indeed, India has fewer than 100 ships, compared with China’s 260. India is the world’s largest weapons importer, but with its economy under stress and foreign currency reserves increasingly precious, that level of purchases will be increasingly hard to sustain.

The country’s efforts to build its own weapons have largely been disastrous, and a growing number of corruption scandals have tainted its foreign purchases, including a recent deal to buy helicopters from Italy.

Unable to build or buy, India is becoming dangerously short of vital defense equipment, analysts say.

Meanwhile, the country’s bitter rivalry with Pakistan continues. Many analysts say that India is unlikely to achieve prominence on the world stage until it reaches some sort of resolution with Pakistan of disputes that have lasted for decades over Kashmir and other issues.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/business/global/a-summer-of-troubles-saps-indias-confidence.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a BBC story on India's ambitious Mars Mission:

After India's successful unmanned Chandrayaan mission to the Moon in 2008 that brought back the first clinching evidence of the presence of water there, the Mars mission, according to K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), is a "natural progression".
----------
India sees the Mars mission as an opportunity to beat its regional rival China in reaching the planet, especially after a Russian mission carrying the first Chinese satellite to Mars failed in November 2011. Japan also failed in a similar effort in 1998.

China has beaten India in space in almost every aspect so far: it has rockets that can lift four times more weight than India's, and in 2003, successfully launched its first human space flight which India has not yet embarked on. China launched its maiden mission to Moon in 2007, ahead of India.

So if India's mission succeeds, it will have something to feel proud about.
-----------
Though India says its Mars mission is the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to have been undertaken in half a century of space exploration, some are questioning its scientific purpose.

"This is a highly suboptimal mission with limited scientific objectives," says D Raghunandan of Delhi Science Forum, a think tank.

Others like economist-activist Jean Dreze have said the mission "seems to be part of the Indian elite's delusional quest for superpower status".

Refuting such talk, a top government official says: "We have heard these arguments since the 1960s, about India being a poor country not needing or affording a space programme.

"If we can't dare to dream big it would leave us as hewers of wood and drawers of water! India is today too big to be just living on the fringes of high technology."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-24547892

Riaz Haq said...

Here's The Economist Magazine on India's Mars Mission:

ON NOVEMBER 5th or at some point in the following weeks India’s space organisation, ISRO, will launch a rocket carrying a small, unmanned spacecraft, the Mangalyaan (“Mars vehicle”). By the end of the month, the orbiter is set to stretch its solar wings and begin a nine-month trip to Mars. Officially, it will look for signs of methane on Earth’s neighbour. In fact the main concern is rivalry closer to home: to show that India’s space plans are not entirely outclassed by China’s. A successful mission would swell national pride. But as the Mangalyaan begins its journey, many might wonder how a country that cannot feed all of its people can find the money for a Mars mission. How can poor countries afford space programmes?

India is not the only emerging economy with space ambitions. Nigeria already has a handful of satellites floating around the Earth (though these were launched by others). Depending how you define a space programme, even minnows like Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Belarus have plans of some sort to get space activity under way. By one count, including co-operative efforts between countries but not fully private ones, there are currently over 70 space programmes, though only a dozen of these have any sort of launch capability. China’s programme is advanced: last year it put a woman in space, and in December it will launch its first (uncrewed) lunar mission.

From a distance, India's extra-terrestrial ambitions might seem like a waste of money. The country still has immense numbers of poor people: two-fifths of its children remain stunted from malnutrition and half the population lack proper toilets. Its Mars mission may be cheap by American (or Chinese) standards, at just $74m, but India’s overall space programme costs roughly $1 billion a year. That is more than spare change, even for a near $2-trillion economy. Meanwhile, spending on public health, at about 1.2% of GDP, is dismally low. What if the 16,000 scientists and engineers now working on space development were deployed instead to fix rotten sanitation? And why should donors bother to help tackle poverty where governments have enough spare resources to think about space? For some countries, at least, decent answers exist to such questions. Trips to the Moon and Mars may well be mostly about showing off. But most space programmes are designed to get satellites into Earth’s orbit for the sake of better communications, mapping, weather observation or military capacity at home. These bring direct benefits to ordinary people. Take one recent example: a fierce cyclone that hit India’s east coast last month killed few, whereas a similar-strength one in the same spot, in 1999, killed over 10,000. One reason for the improvement was that Indian weather satellites helped to make possible far more accurate predictions of where and when the storm would hit. Otherwise, improved data on monsoon rains, or generally shifting weather patterns, can help even the poorest farmers have a better idea of when to plant crops.

Donors may not be mollified (Britain, for example, is winding down its aid to India). But any aid programme has to be justified in the face of other waste, which can be far costlier than space programmes. A bigger problem in India, for example, is that pitifully few people pay tax, partly because so few have formal jobs. As an emerging middle-income country, India should easily have the means to pay for proper public health, as well as the odd jaunt into space. The pity of it all: it does neither as well as it could.


http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/11/economist-explains-0

Riaz Haq said...

By:Prem Sagar, Meerut
Date: Friday, 11 January 2013, 2:20 pm
Open your eyes about great India:

900 million people earn only 20 rupees per day in India. Out of which 500 million people earns only 10 rupees per day. Out of which 250 million makes only 5 rupees per day. Out of which 50 million people makes nothing. We have created the most heinous society in the history of human race. We 1 million Indians carry the toilet of other Indians every day. This is the greatest economical terrorism in the history of human race. We have 5 lakh villages without water. 34 families control 50% India – the greatest feudal system ever. Our mataas and mothers in the villages do their toilet on the road side. We are topping in AIDS, Blood Pressure, Stress Level and many other ills and deceases. We have the largest ghetto in Bombay. And yet, we have all the time to attack Muslims. We have killed and massacred over 10 million Hindu female babies in the last decade alone by forced abortions. Every day, hundreds of Hindu women are being raped by other Hindus. Every day! When Muslims lost power in India, the literacy rate was 96%. When British lost India, the literacy rate was reduced to 12% and they left 160 million Indian poor and destitute. Today, that poor and destitute climbed to 900 million. Today, Hindus have created the greatest feudal System in the history of mankind. 34 Hindu families control 50% India. Out of 1200 million people, only 35 million Indians are full time employees. The rest is hopping one place to another. Out of which 1.5 million are employed in military, few lakhs in Banking, Railway and government.

If anybody wanted to substantiate the above, please watch RAJIVE DIXIT SPEECH IN HYDERABAD 2010. Just cut and paste the capital letters on YouTube and enjoy the speech by this Pakka Hindu. Hindus are incapable to function as a society. When Muslims entered India, the country was divided into 200 mini kingdoms. They always use to fight with each other. They demolish each other Bhagwans and deities statutes. It was a regular practice. Muslims provided stability. Bollywood today is the hub and powerhouse of prostitution. The producers and directors regularly rape the upcoming start up heroines. The branded heroines regularly sell their bodies for lakhs per night to rich people inside and outside India. India is becoming a superpower is nothing but hoax and false.

Today, every city of India is filthy, dirty - they live like haiwaans and animals.

http://www.ourbeacon.com/cgi-bin/bbs60x/webbbs_config.pl/md/read/id/314123119185216

Riaz Haq said...

In the first 25 days of 2014 (in Delhi), 197 thumbnail images have gone up in the gallery of nameless dead.

Everyday, an average of seven people are dying unidentified and unclaimed in Delhi's winter. But what may be even more heart-rending is that such deaths are not limited to this season. As police data shows, they are an all-weather phenomenon. Around 2,900 died unidentified in Delhi last year. 241 perished in January; 225 in April; 279 in July; and, 238 in October.

The highest deaths, 323, took place in May. Data for last three years shows that unidentified deaths peaked in summer and monsoon. A majority of such deaths were of able-bodied men. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/The-everyday-tableau-of-Delhis-nameless-dead/articleshow/29430667.cms

MANJUL said...

Mr. Riaz sahab you always say that pakistan do every thing better than india, than you told me that no. of pakistani companies in fortune 500 list.i do not discus this time on the difference of inflation rate of both countries. and difference of purchasing power of both countries which shows the standard of life. but one thing i say that in an indian earn aprox. 1 $ per day per head and in an indian family average have 5 person than a poor family
of india earn aprox 10000 indian rupee per month and i truly say that if that family live in a village of panjab, haryana or western U.P. type comparatively costly area, live with a good living standard. i am live in Muzaffarnagar city of U.P. state of india with my family in a rental home i maintain 2 scooty and one nissan micra diesel car and maintain one two wheeler in saharanpur city where i work. i daily up and down from muzaffarnagar to saharanpur by train and use railway season ticket i use 24 hour internet maintain 2 cell phone and i truly say that my monthly expenditure is less than 10000 indian rupee per month.

poverty can not only depend on earning of a family it is also depend upon availability and cost of things and services which are necessary for a good living standard.
in india a good standard living cost very low than pakistan that's mean in india an average family live with a very good standard than pakistn in low earnings in $ than pakistan. i saw pics and videos of pakistan and i found that average living standard of pakistan is very low than india. an average india have good educational, medical, railways,road transportation, electricity, water resource communication facility than pakistan.

i invite you in india with meet me and visit all over india with me and saw realty by yours eye that an average indian live a very gool life than an average pakistni.

Riaz Haq said...

One can probably get a good historic overview of India's economic and social indicators data by reading British economist Angus Maddison and Swedish statistician Hans Rosling.

Maddison estimates that in PPP terms in 1990 dollars. In 1 AD, India’s GDP per capita was $450, as was China’s. But Italy under the Roman Empire had a per capita income of $809. In 1000 AD, India’s per capita income was $450 and China’s $466. But the average of the West Asian countries, such as Turkey and Iraq, was much higher at $621. In terms of general prosperity, therefore, it was the Arab world that was doing well a millennium ago. The Caliphate in Baghdad was a centre of power at the time and both science and culture flourished.

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/Nb7KkZ3yOVSNW3vHf9K1oM/World-history-by-per-capita-GDP.html

Rosling (www.gapminder.org) has estimated India's life expectancy in 1800 at about 23 years, lower than its peers at the time.

Riaz Haq said...

The 2013 GHI says that in India the proportion of undernourished declined from about 21% of the population to 17.5%, the proportion of underweight children declined from 43.5% to about 40% and under-five mortality declined from 7.5% to about 6%. All this put together means that the hunger index for India declined from 24 to 21 between 2003-07 and 2008-12. The proportion of underweight children is an estimate done by IFPRI as the last survey was done in 2004-05.

In other words, the proportions and the index for India are at best an approximation. Other surveys done more recently have shown trends that indicate that the nutritive value of food consumed per person is dipping. A recent survey of consumer expenditure said that nutritional intake measured in terms of calories declined from 2,153 kilocalories (Kcal) per person per day in 1993-94 to 2,020 in 2009-10 in rural areas and from 2,071 to 1,946 Kcal in urban areas. These shocking results are according to a report of the 66th round of survey done by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). Even between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the calorie intake per person per day dipped from 2,047 to 2,020 in rural areas and from 2,020 to 1,946 in urban areas.

Despite these caveats regarding the GHI data, India still continues in the "Alarming" category of countries classified by severity of hunger. That puts it in the category where the hunger index is between 20 and 29.9. Others in this category are Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo, Chad, Niger, and other African countries. These are places ravaged by resource wars and extreme poverty, and they make up the bottom most bunch in the Human Development Index rankings. Meanwhile, an October report on food prospects issued by FAO forecast a record cereal harvest for 2013 powered by a 7% increase in production over 2012. Wheat output is estimated at 705 million metric tons (MMT), a record. Coarse grains output is put at 1,288 MMT, another record. And rice output is estimated at 496 MMT, yet another record. Wheat prices have declined in international markets by 16% over last year, rice prices are down 23% and maize prices by 35%, according to FAO's price monitor in October quoting prices for September 2013. With huge production and declining prices worldwide, why the world's hungry are not getting enough food is a conundrum that policy makers and experts are groping to answer.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-home-to-a-quarter-of-the-worlds-hungry-Global-Hunger-Index-report/articleshow/24171694.cms

dharmender singh said...

mr haque i appreciate ur research on bad things about india. u seem to be very happy with this. may god give u peace. i acccept the problems we r facing today but we have one thing "HOPE" which u dont have mr Haque. we have a visionary and vibrant leader modi. We are hopefull of getting rid of these things in next two decades but certainly the land of pure is heading towards middle ages. Congrats to u

Riaz Haq said...


Pankaj Mishra in Nw York Times:

"Mr. Modi doesn’t seem to know that India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture. The psychic wounds Mr. Naipaul noticed among semi-Westernized upper-caste Hindus actually date to the Indian elite’s humiliating encounter with the geopolitical and cultural dominance first of Europe and then of America."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/opinion/pankaj-mishra-nirandra-modis-idea-of-india.html