Thursday, March 21, 2019

India Among Biggest Losers and Pakistan Among Biggest Gainers in World Happiness Rankings

World Happiness Report 2019 says that India is among the world's biggest losers while Pakistan is among the biggest gainers on World Happiness Index. Under Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's leadership, India's ranking has worsened from 118 in 2016 to 140 in 2019. In the same period, Pakistan's ranking has improved from 92 in 2016 to 67 in 2019. World Happiness index is considered a better representation of people's well-being than other economic and social indicators individually.

World Happiness Trends in India and Pakistan. Source: United Nations
Contrary to the Indian and western media hype about Modi-nomics, it was recently reported that unemployment rate in India has reached its highest in 45 years. Indian GDP growth figures have been challenged as too optimistic by top Indian and western economists. Modi's demonetization has turned out to be a major disaster for India's largely cash-based economy. Farmers are continuing to take their own lives by the thousands each year as the agrarian crisis continues to take its toll. India's community fabric has been fraying with sharp spike in social hostilities against minorities.

Social Hostility Against Minorities in South Asia. Source: Bloomberg

This year's United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network's annual World Happiness Report ranked 156 countries based on 6 indicators: income per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity and corruption.

Countries in Scandinavia continue to to top the list while Sub-Saharan African nations remain at the bottom. Pakistan ranks 67 among 156 countries, tops South Asia region. China ranks 93, Bhutan 95,  Nepal 100, Iran 117, Bangladesh 125, Iraq 126, India 140 and Afghanistan at 154.

Indian Prime Minister Modi has been accused by his critics of stoking tensions with Pakistan ahead of this year's general elections to divert attention from his government's poor performance.  Some analysts believe that recent Indian airstrikes in Pakistan have helped bolster Modi's domestic support among his among his right-wing Hindu Nationalists base.

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist
While Modi may have made domestic political gains, India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan.  Pakistan spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Modi's GDP Growth Figures Challenged by Economists

Social Hostilities Spike in India Under Modi

Modi's Demonetization Disaster

Is India a "Paper Elephant"?

Farmers Suicides in India

India's Hindu Nazis

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

CPEC Myths and Facts


Asif said...

This is a very good factual post of TRUE statistics at any given level as compared to Indian individual versus a Pakistani in quality of life to anything positive in comparison.

Riaz Haq said...

Asif: "Indian individual versus a Pakistani in quality of life to anything positive in comparison."

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

Nitin B said...

Quality of Life ≠ Happiness
Economic growth ≠ Happiness

Although income is correlated with happiness when looking across countries—and although economic downturns are reliable sources of temporary misery—long-term GDP growth does not seem to be enough to turn the average frown upside-down.

nayyer ali said...

I am surprised by this result. GDP and life expectancy are about the same in India and Pakistan so what is the main source of this wildly different outcome? Looking at the underlying data they also showed that Indian happiness has declined a lot in last several years. Not sure what to make of that. Is that mostly subjective well-being on surveys?

Riaz Haq said...

nayyer ali: "GDP and life expectancy are about the same in India and Pakistan so what is the main source of this wildly different outcome?"

You have to go beneath the top level GDP and other stats to see the real living standards and social fabric.

#India biggest loser in #WorldHappinessReport. #Pakistan big gainer. Media hype about #Modi-nomics negated by highest #unemployment in 45 years. Indian #GDP growth questioned; #demonetization disaster #Farmers #suicides. India's social fabric in tatters. …

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

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

Pakistan's agriculture value added per capita is almost 2X India's. Growth of value added agriculture in Pakistan has helped the nation's rural economy. It has raised incomes and reduced rural poverty by creating more higher wage jobs. It has had a salutary effect on the lives of the rural poor in terms of their ability to afford better healthcare, nutrition and education. Doing more to promote value added agriculture can accelerate such improvements for the majority of Indians and Pakistanis who engage in agriculture and textiles and still live in rural areas.

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

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

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

Pakistan Gini Index 52.6% vs India 83%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

The World Happiness Report combines quantitative data -- such as per capita GDP growth -- and qualitative data, such as social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption , to rank 156 countries.

Pakistan's big edge in the happiness ranking over India may come as a surprise to some emerging market observers. India’s economy has been outperforming Pakistan’s in a number of metrics, like world competitiveness, GDP size and growth, and inflation rates - see table.

Besides, India is a democracy that has yet to be interrupted by military coups.

Pakistan’s, India’s Key Metrics (2018
$2597.49 billion
$304.95 billion
GDP Growth yoy
Inflation Rate
World Competitiveness Ranking
Capital flows
-$21.31 million
-$1210.63 million
Government Debt to GDP
72.5% 3/22/19

So, what have Pakistanis done better than Indians in the pursuit of happiness?

It’s hard to say. Most of the variables included in the calculations are qualitative, and therefore, prone to specification and measurement errors.
Still , the gap between the rankings of the two countries is too big to be ignored.

“It must be other metrics, like income inequality and poverty,” says Udayan Roy, Professor of Economics at LIU POST. “That’s matters more than per capita GDP when it comes to well-being of the masses.”

Indeed, the rich are getting richer in India while the poor are getting poorer.

Over the last four decades, India’s top 1% earners’ share of the country’s income rose from roughly 7% to 22%, as of 2014. Meanwhile, the income share of the bottom 50% earners declined from roughly 23% in the early 1980s to 15% in 2014.

That’s according to 2018 World Inequality Report, which compiles data from the 1950s to 2014.

Meanwhile, India’s income inequality is much higher than that of both Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as measured by the Gini coefficient of income inequality.

That’s according to Standardized World Income Inequality data.
Meanwhile, poverty rates are higher in India than they are in Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to World Bank.

Then there’s “vulnerable employment”— employment in unpaid family activities—which is much higher in India than in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Wait, there’s more. There’s economic freedom.
Published by the Heritage Foundation, the Economic Freedom report measures such things as trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and the degree of property rights protection in 186 countries.

Though the two countries have ranked closely in the last couple of years, Pakistan’s ranking has consistently beaten India's over longer periods.

In fact, a closer look at the ranking components of the two countries reveals that Pakistan has fared better than India in the area of government spending, which matter a great deal when it comes to providing on welfare programs.

Nitin B said...

In terms of Inequality in HDI which measures male/female inequality in health, education and income, Pakistan ranks lowest (ranks lower than its HDI ranking) in South Asia.

In essence even if Pakistan is "more equitable" as you mention based on GINI, within the microcosm of a Pakistani middle class family, the females of the household receive much less in education, health and income.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's crony capitalist edifice is creaking. A bank-dominated financial system hasn’t just saddled India with more than $200 billion in bad loans; it’s also been the bane of governance. #Modi #BJP #inequality #economy via @ThePrintIndia

For at least six decades, scholars and policy makers have been aware of the strain placed by India’s feudal system of corporate governance on capital formation, job creation and growth. Yet the last major reform was in 1969, which ironically was also when India was nationalizing banks and lurching toward a more virulent socialism. Subsequently, globalization caught up with India, the economy opened up and attracted hundreds of billion dollars in foreign capital, but the foundations of corporate structure stayed weak. It’s only now, when the edifice is showing cracks, that it’s becoming clear a fresh coat of paint alone won’t suffice.

Back in the 1960s, “managing agencies” dominated India’s industrial landscape. The 70 companies in the Tata Group were run by nine agencies, while 49 firms in the Birla Group were managed by 13. Such was the sway of the “boxwallahs,” as the agents were pejoratively referred to, that State Bank of India wouldn’t lend to an operating company without its managing agency’s guarantee. Nevermind that a majority of these proxy controllers didn’t even have 1 million rupees in capital of their own. They were vehicles for business families to extract commissions and control empires in the garb of providing managerial expertise.

Andrew Yule, Martin Burn, W.H. Brady and MacNeill & Barry. As the names suggest, the managing agencies started out as part of the British colonial project, but about a hundred years ago ownership started to pass into Indian hands. The world wars and India’s 1947 independence hastened the switch. India eventually outlawed managing agencies in 1969, but entrenched families lost no time in gaming the corporate boards that were now in charge.

Explicit recognition of some shareholders as “promoters” has perpetuated their exorbitant privilege, and infected even firms of a newer vintage. The co-founders of Mindtree Ltd., a mid-bracket software services company, didn’t show any urgency when a large investor warned them of his intention to cash out. Now that the investor has sold to engineering firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd., the insiders are shocked, shocked that L&T is out to “decimate” Mindtree with a $1.6 billion hostile takeover.

Mindtree founders are first-generation entrepreneurs. You can imagine the sense of entitlement that may be felt by the more pedigreed families that control 60 percent of the assets of publicly traded companies. In the 1970s, William Meckling and Michael Jensen studied the friction between managers and a diffuse U.S.-style shareholder base, whereas in Asia, the main issue is concentrated ownership and expropriation by insiders whose political connections get them bank loans.

A bank-dominated financial system hasn’t just saddled India with more than $200 billion in bad loans; it’s also been the bane of governance. Recently, Indian banks did an out-of-court settlement in Sterling Biotech Ltd., taking a 65 percent haircut while handing back control to the same promoters who’ve left India and are facing charges of money-laundering.

Abid H. said...

You will be shocked to see how India has changed in last 5 years 😱

1. India is now suffering from Highest Unemployment Rate in 45 years (NSSO data)
2. All Top 10 most polluted cities in world are now in India (WHO data)
3. Number of Indian Soldiers Killed is highest in 30 years now (Washington Post)
4. India now has Highest Income Inequality in 80 years (Credit Suisse Report)
5. India has become world's worst country for women _(Thomas Reuters Survey) _
6. Kashmiri youth joining militancy is highest in 10 years (Indian Army data)
7. Indians Farmers suffered Worst Price Crash in 18 years (WPI Data)
8. Highest ever Cow related violence and Mob Lynchings on record after Modi became PM (India Spend Data)
9 India is now World's Second most Unequal Country (Global Wealth Report)
10 Indian Rupee is now Asia's worst Performing Currency (Market Data)
11 India has become World's Third Worst Country in Environment Protection (EPI 2018)
12 First time in history of India, foreign funding and corruption is legalized (Finance Bill 2017)
13 current PM Modi is the Least accountable Prime Minister in 70 years (First PM to give 0 press conferences)
14 First time in history of India, CBI vs CBI, RBI vs Govt, SC vs Govt fights happened because Modi wanted control of all democratic Institutions
15 First time in history of India, 4 Supreme Court judges gave a press conference to say ”Democracy is in Danger”
16 First time in history of India, top secret Defence documents stolen from Defence Ministry office (Rafale)
17 Intolerance and Religious Extremism is highest in 70 years (Personal observation because no data for this exists)
18 Indian Media is now Worst in 70 years (Personal Observation)
19 First time in history of India, if you criticize the Govt, you will be labeled Anti-National
20. India flung 7 positions more in World Happiness Index( this year, its 145 out of 170 country’s). Pak is 67th.

None of what is in this message is an opinion . All the data given above is 100% verified FACTS.

Modi Govt is the Worst Govt India has ever had in last 70 years.

CHSU said...

Abid H says, "Indian Media is now Worst in 70 years (Personal Observation)" and

" First time in history of India, foreign funding and corruption is legalized (Finance Bill 2017)"

Corruption is legalized, really? Abid H then ends with a bang, "None of what is in this message is an opinion . All the data given above is 100% verified FACTS."

Mr Riaz Haq, I didn't think you allowed such hypocrisy.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's 'untouchables': How #caste system interferes with #politics and #democracy. Diego Maiorano of National University of Singapore says caste system remains India's "most fundamental social institution" despite rapid urbanisation via @ABCNews

In India, your fate and future are often sealed at the moment of your birth, depending on your ancestors' place in society.

Key points:

India's caste system is the world's oldest surviving form of social stratification
It affects most aspects of people's lives, including how they vote in elections
PM Modi's historic 2014 election win was partly due to his appeal across castes

Riaz Haq said...

"Despite official figures #India’s economy slowed sharply due to #Modi's mis-steps while promised #jobs and #investments have not materialized...India has gone backwards under him. He is lying about the #GDP numbers....#Indian MBAs are working as waiters"

Mr Modi swept to power in New Delhi in 2014, pledging to bring acche din, or good times, for India, with accelerated economic growth and millions of new jobs. But his record of delivery on these promises is highly contentious.

The prime minister insists India’s economy has grown faster under his leadership than ever before, with an average annual GDP growth of 7.3 per cent, compared with an annual average of 6.7 per cent under the previous Congress-led government. But many economists have questioned the credibility of official data, amid perceptions of unprecedented political interference. Even by New Delhi’s own numbers, India’s GDP growth slowed to 6.6 per cent in the three months ending December 31, its slowest pace in five quarters.

New Delhi has also suppressed a major report which apparently indicated rising joblessness among youth. In a Pew Research Center survey of 2,521 Indians last summer, 76 per cent cited lack of employment opportunities as a major concern. “The gap between the hype and the promises was clearly wide and clearly visible,” Mr Varshney says.

Farmers have been squeezed hard as part of the effort to curb once rampant inflation, their anger displayed in a series of large-scale protests. “We are very unhappy”, says Lakshman Ram, a 61-year-old farmer at the Jodhpur spice market, where he was selling a mound of fragrant cumin seeds to traders. “He has killed us farmers. He has finished us. I’m just waiting for Congress — they think about us.”


The Zomato and Swiggy delivery boys, however, brim with enthusiasm for Mr Modi, especially his recent authorisation of a missile strike on an alleged terrorist training camp in neighbouring Pakistan. Their excitement is mirrored by Akshay Bhati, 25, whose father supplies milk to the shop.

“The power of the nation has gone up,” the younger Mr Bhati says. “Before, any enemy country would come and attack India and just get away with it — India would not do anything. Now, we will enter your house and kill you.”

The divergent views among the evening crowd at Pokar’s reflects the deep faultlines among India’s 900m eligible voters, as they gear up for what has become an unusually personality-driven general election contest. The voting will serve as a national assessment of how well the charismatic populist Mr Modi has lived up to the high expectations he raised of a “New India”, when he took power in 2014 after 10 years of disappointing rule by the Congress party.

The premier’s Bharatiya Janata party, with its deep pockets and sophisticated political machinery, is urging India’s voters to give Mr Modi another five years in power to continue his efforts to remake India.

Fragmented opposition parties — including the BJP’s arch-rival Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, and a diverse array of smaller regional parties — are trying to counter by accusing Mr Modi of failing to live up to expectations, and inflicting unnecessary misery on the population, while simultaneously taking potshots at one another. Results will be known only on May 23, as voting is spread over six weeks.

“It is undoubtedly a referendum on Mr Modi,” says Ashutosh Varshney, director of the Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University, of the contest. “It’s a very presidential style election.”

Rks said...

Kudos. In Spite of being the poorest nation in the region, Pakistan grabs highest rank for happiness. Proves, money and happiness are not related.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s PK: School Enrollment: Primary: % Gross data was reported at 97.710 % in Dec 2016. This records an increase from the previous number of 92.409 % for Dec 2015. Pakistan’s PK: School Enrollment: Primary: % Gross data is updated yearly, averaging 58.128 % from Dec 1971 to 2016, with 37 observations. The data reached an all-time high of 97.710 % in 2016 and a record low of 49.022 % in 1972. Pakistan’s PK: School Enrollment: Primary: % Gross data remains active status in CEIC and is reported by World Bank. The data is categorized under Global Database’s Pakistan – Table PK.World Bank.WDI: Education Statistics. Gross enrollment ratio is the ratio of total enrollment, regardless of age, to the population of the age group that officially corresponds to the level of education shown. Primary education provides children with basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills along with an elementary understanding of such subjects as history, geography, natural science, social science, art, and music.; ; UNESCO Institute for Statistics; Weighted average; Each economy is classified based on the classification of World Bank Group's fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018).

Riaz Haq said...

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar: 'It is crucial today to realise where we have reached in this 15 year-period..." Indian Military scaling down? Cutting #weapons imports? Feel used by Americans? Stop competing with China? #India #Modi #China #US #IndoPacific.

His views reflect radically new thinking. Concepts such as 'cold start', fighting two-front wars, interoperability and so on that were inherited from the UPA government (2004-2014) are being discarded.

The coronavirus pandemic focuses attention on the social sectors and the overall state of the country's economy where a reset of development strategies has become necessary demanding judicious resource allocation.
The country simply cannot afford the armament programme as of today, which is heavily dependent on import of prohibitively expensive arms purchases.
The operational requirements of the armed forces should not be exaggerated.
India's defence strategy is strictly limited to defending the country's borders and dominating the Indian Ocean Region.
A realistic and thorough reappraisal of operational priorities is needed to reduce arms imports so as to optimally utilise the available budget.
Equally, there is imperative need to indigenise the weapon systems. But 'unrealistic GSQRs' (general staff qualitative requirements) stand in the way.
Again, GSQRs should be redefined strictly in terms of our own operational requirements rather than by way of imitating the inventories of the US or other advanced countries.
General Rawat has spoken with remarkable candour. It has a stunning effect already. Especially, since a reasonable assumption is that General Rawat has articulated official thinking with a purpose to calibrate India's defence strategy.

Indeed, what we see here is not a mere 'tweaking' of the defence strategy.

His views reflect radically new thinking. Concepts such as 'cold start', fighting two-front wars, interoperability and so on that were inherited from the UPA government (2004-2014) are being discarded.

The new emphasis is on local products and local supply chains -- self-reliance.

General Rawat's interview appeared two days before Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi's address to the nation on Tuesday where he said, inter alia, 'Making India self-reliant is the only way to make the 21st century belong to India... This era of self-reliance will be our new pledge, we have to move on with new resolve.'

Suffice to say, this week becomes a truly defining moment if one were not to miss the wood for the trees.

The doctrine laid down by the PM and applied to the sphere of defence strategy by General Rawat punctuates a 15-year steady upward curve in the thinking and actions by our bureaucratic and military establishment since the signing of the landmark India-US defence agreement in 2005 by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his American counterpart Donald Rumsfeld.

It is crucial today to realise where we have reached in this 15 year-period in order to fully and properly assess the profundity of what General Rawat has said in his weekend interview.

From the Indian perspective, what began as a much-needed modernisation of our armed forces, metastasized incrementally -- almost inexorably -- over this period as an obsessive drive to attain interoperability between the Indian and US militaries.

The American side has done extraordinarily well in dominating the Indian bureaucracy -- civilian and military alike -- to take us to this point today, where we no longer, as General Rawat plaintively framed it, tend to define our GSQRs not 'as per our own operational requirements", but instead in terms of "what the US or other advanced countries have'.

If the US has seven aircraft carriers, shouldn't we at least have three? Our mind no longer applies logically, rationally.

The thinking is done for us largely by the Americans.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi is turning to deregulation amid an #economic crisis. So far, the overhaul has led to more confusion. The poor have been hit hardest by #COVID19, with migrants returning from cities & unable to support families in rural areas. #BJP via @WSJ

measures—the BJP passed a flurry of politically difficult changes.

In a single swoop, it dismantled a longstanding regulatory system that forced farmers to sell most of their crops through government-approved wholesale markets dominated by traders and middlemen instead of directly to consumers or food processors.

Then the BJP passed a series of new labor measures that increased the number of companies that can fire workers without government permission, raised the barriers for workers to unionize, relaxed rules preventing women from working night shifts and restricted unions’ ability to organize strikes. At the same time, it expanded the country’s social security program to include many contract workers.

Jitendra Singh, a minister in the BJP government, said the changes would ultimately improve farmers’ economic prospects, especially in far-flung rural areas, by giving them more options for selling their crops. The BJP has also said it doesn’t intend to phase out government wholesale markets or minimum price supports.

The agricultural industry overhaul went into effect immediately, while most of the labor-market changes will be implemented before the end of the year.

The measures add to a mixed record of economic changes by Mr. Modi and the BJP. The prime minister’s controversial 2016 move to instantly remove almost 90% of the country’s currency in circulation hobbled the economy for years with little benefit to show for it, economists say. Overhauls of the country’s bankruptcy code and the country’s tax system have been broadly applauded, despite complaints about how they have been implemented.

The latest changes have sparked an uproar, including from opposition parties that once promoted the very same policies and even from farmers who are supposed to be the main beneficiaries.


Economists say the changes could ultimately be a boon for the Indian economy, which depends heavily on agriculture. Farming accounts for about 17% of total income in the country, and provides employment for close to two-thirds of India’s working-age population.

The daunting challenge may be implementing them during a double-barreled economic and health crisis—even though the desperation of the country’s economic state is what finally cleared a political path for an initiative both the BJP and its main opposition have at times supported.

“In a word, all reforms are good in theory,” said Vivek Dehejia, an expert on the Indian economy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. “In practice, I worry it may be too little too late, and I’m not confident that market incentives work well during a time of a public safety emergency.”

If the changes can be maintained long enough for legions of traders and middlemen entrenched by the government-created monopoly wholesale markets to be replaced by competitive markets, then farmers should ultimately benefit by capturing at least some of the profits that have traditionally gone to those buying and reselling their crops, said Shubho Roy, an economist at the University of Chicago who has studied the wholesale market system.