Tuesday, October 6, 2009

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

In spite of the fact that Pakistan's Human Development Index (HDI) has risen by 1.30 percent per year from 0.402 to 0.572 during 1980-2007 period, and it has accelerated to 1.9% increase since 2000 when it was reported to be 0.499, its progress is not yet sufficient to improve the nation's ranking relative to other countries in regions like East Asia, which have been moving considerably faster. Pakistan's index grew by 1.75% in the 1980s but slipped to less than 1.3% during the lost decade of the 1990s.

South Asia Lagging

In fact, the latest Human Development Report for 2009 shows that all major South Asian nations have slipped further down relative to other regions of the world. Pakistan's HDI ranking dropped 3 places from 138 last year to 141 this year, and India slipped six places from 128 in 2008 to 134 this year. The report includes human development data on 182 countries on the index, which measures achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income.

Rankings of other South Asian countries in 2009 are as follows: Bangladesh 146 (140 in 2008), Sri Lanka 102 (99 in 2008), Maldives 95 (100 in 2008), Nepal 146 (142 in 2006) and Bhutan 132 (135 in 2008). Norway continues to top the chart, while Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan make up the top 10. The US is ranked 13, while Britain and Germany are further down at 21 and 22.

Human Development Defined:

HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy); being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrollment in education); and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity) income.

Human Poverty Index (HPI-1) focuses on the proportion of people below certain threshold levels in each of the dimensions of the index. By looking beyond income deprivation, HPI-1 represents a multi-dimensional alternative to the $1.25 a day poverty measure. The HPI-1 value is 33.4 percent for Pakistan ranks 101st among 135 counties for which the index has been calculated. This figure of 33.4% poverty differs sharply from 17.2% poverty calculated for 2007-08 by the UNDP analysts in Islamabad.

Pakistan's Gender Development Index value means that the greater the gender disparity in basic human development the lower is the country's GDI relative to its HDI. Pakistan's GDI value, 0.532, should be compared to its HDI value of 0.572. Its GDI value is 93 percent of its HDI value. Out of the 155 countries with both HDI and GDI values, 152 countries have a better ratio than Pakistan. The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) shows whether women take an active part in economic and political life and is different to GDI as the GEM exposes inequalities in opportunities in selected areas. GEM says Pakistan ranks 99th out of 109 countries in the GEM index, with a value of 0.386.

Allowing for migration-both within and between countries-has the potential to increase people's freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world, according the Human Development Report. "We live in a highly mobile world, where migration is not only inevitable but also an important dimension of human development. Nearly one billion-or one out of seven-people are migrants.

"Migration can be a force for good, contributing significantly to human development," says United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark. "But to realize its benefits, there needs to be a supportive policy environment as this Report suggests."

Comparing HDI and PHI:

Unlike HDI which adds other dimensions such as literacy, the new index PHI focuses specifically on the most basic parameters of poverty and hunger in developing nations.

On PHI, Pakistan at 45 ranks well ahead of India at 62, and it is included in the medium performing countries. PHI is a new composite indicator – the Poverty and Hunger Index (PHI) – developed to measure countries’ performance towards achieving MDG1 on halving poverty and hunger by 2015. The PHI combines all five official MDG1 indicators, including a) the proportion of population living on less than US$ 1/day, b) poverty gap ratio, c) share of the poorest quintile in national income or consumption, d) prevalence of underweight in children under five years of age, and d) the proportion of population undernourished.

UNDP Criticisms:

Dr. Mahbub ul Haq of Pakistan, the creator of the human development report, intended the HDI for use as a more reliable indicator of human condition than the gross domestic product (GDP) of various nations. It has not quite met the expectations of some in the human development community. There have been many criticisms of HDI, ranging from the use of stale and skewed data to clear disconnect between the HDI ranking and the ground reality as seen by most observers.

In a 2003 letter to the UNDP, the former director of the UNDP-funded Center for Research on Poverty Reduction and Income Distribution (CRRPRID), Dr Mushtaq A. Khan, challenged the basic data on which the UNDP had ranked Pakistan. Dr. Khan argued that using the factual data of life expectancy at 63.56 years, literacy rate at 44 percent, combined gross enrollment rate at 36 per cent and PPP GDP per capita at $1890, the country should have been ranked at 136th position for 2001, rather than 144th, "bringing it in the group of medium human development countries instead of the low human development countries". Rather than responding to the issues raised in Dr. Khan's letter, the UNDP had him fired from his post. More recently, there continues to be a discrepancy between the poverty figures reported by UNDP analysts in Islamabad and the figures used in HDI computation.

Recently, UNDP became part of a controversial report by Mumbai's municipality in claiming that “Dharavi is not Asia’s largest slum, Karachi’s Orangi Township has surpassed Dharavi.” It is clear that UNDP did not bother to check the facts on the ground before allowing itself to be used by Mumbai's BMC. The fact is that Orangi is nothing like Dharavi in terms of the quality of its housing or the services available to its residents. While Dharavi has only one toilet per 1440 residents and most of its residents use Mahim Creek, a local river, for urination and defecation, Orangi has an elaborate sanitation system built by its citizens. Under Orangi Pilot Project's guidance, between 1981 and 1993 Orangi residents installed sewers serving 72,070 of 94,122 houses. To achieve this, community members spent more than US$2 million of their own money, and OPP invested about US$150,000 in research and extension of new technologies. Orangi pilot project has been admired widely for its work with urban poor.

Foreign visitors to Pakistan and India have often reported that Pakistanis generally look better fed, clothed and housed than their counterparts in India. There is much less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India. However, the UNDP HDI reports continue to show India ranking higher than Pakistan. There could be many possible reasons for such a disconnect.

One example of the disconnect between the UNDP reports and ground reality can be found in the purchasing power parity calculations. The most recent real per capita income data was calculated and reported by Asian Development Bank based on a detailed study of a list of around 800 household and nonhousehold products in 2005 and early 2006 to compare real purchasing power for ADB's trans-national income comparison program (ICP). The ICP concluded that Pakistan had the highest per capita income at HK$ 13,528 in South Asia. It reported India’s per capita as HK $12,090.

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

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

According to Werner International, Pakistan's per capita consumption of textile fibers is about 4 Kg versus 2.8 Kg for India.

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

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

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


In spite of the many valid criticisms and the major flaws in UNDP's methodology and HDI computation and reporting, the HDI rankings are an important ballpark indicator of the state of human development in a nation or region. The report is a very useful document that the governments must take seriously and make the necessary efforts to improve their human resources by providing the required funding and support for proper nutrition, education and health care to ensure a better future for their people.

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

Here's a video report about Pakistan's decrepit public education:

Related Links:

UNDP HDI: A Poor Representation of Human Development

HDI Ranking 2009

Housing in South Asia

Education, Society and Development

Pakistan Questions HDI Ranking

Pakistan's Decrepit Public School System

Globalis-Pakistan Human Development by Decades

Globalis-India Human Development by Decades

Pakistan Poverty Declines to 17.2%

Pakistanis Dietary Habits

UNDP Watch


Anonymous said...

here is a underfed looking hindu winning a nobel prize today

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "here is a underfed looking hindu winning a nobel prize today"

Ramakrishnan is an Indian-AMERICAN, not just any Indian. He is most likely from the urban middle class which is definitely better fed than the vast majority of rural or poor urban Indians.

It's a tale of two Indias. India has very wide and growing rich-poor gap, as measured by Gini coefficient. You can see easily obscene wealth juxtaposed with abject poverty in places like Mumbai.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, This guy was born and raised in India and completed his bachelors degree in India. He is not a second generation Indian in US.

How come none of the well fed muslims from any islamic country receive any nobel prize or for that matter don't shine in education like Hindus. Care to comment.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "How come none of the well fed muslims from any islamic country receive any nobel prize or for that matter don't shine in education like Hindus. Care to comment."

I don't see this as Hindu vs Muslim issue. I don't make any reference to religion in my post. But if you insist, please check out the following link to see the names of Muslim Nobel Laureates.


Anonymous said...

You may not make it a religion issue, but India vs Pakistan is very close to Hindu vs muslim comparison :-)

Now let us see the blog you mentioned.I am focusing on Nobel Prize for science/economics and not
on peace and literature.

Abdus-Salam was not a muslim. He was a Ahmediya and Pak
considers them as non muslims. In fact in order to get passport muslims from Pakistan has to declare that Ahmediyas are not muslims (remember there is no compulsion in religion -Quran).

BTW have you read the book by Dr.Hoodbhoy (ISLAM AND SCIENCE: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Ration). He has challenged the myth that islam at one time encouraged science and many scientific discovery was done by muslims. He is a devout atheist
and that's why I love him so much :-)

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "BTW have you read the book by Dr.Hoodbhoy (ISLAM AND SCIENCE: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Ration). He has challenged the myth that islam at one time encouraged science and many scientific discovery was done by muslims"

Yes, I have read it. And I disagree with you assertion that he "challenged the myth that islam at one time encouraged science"

In fact, he says it was Mutazalite movement, supported by the Abbasid court, within Islam that embraced reason and rationality and learned to reconcile faith with reason, that encouraged a lot of scientific discovery and innovation. He is very critical of Imam Ghazali who led the movement against the Mutazalites.

Anonymous said...

Ghazali was in 12th century. Are you implying that after 12th century Islam discouraged Islam?

Please be aware that most of the great muslim minds were deemed as heretics during their time. Omar Khayyam is a excellent example.
he was an agnostic and had no time for religious duties.

Anonymous said...

"You may not make it a religion issue, but India vs Pakistan is very close to Hindu vs muslim comparison :-)"

Anon, this is very wrong. If you say India is a Hindu country as it is the land where Hinduism originated, all right. But in terms of achievements in science, culture and industry, Muslims in India have contributed atleast proportionately if not more. Abdul Kalam are Azim Premji are famous examples. They are elites and exceptions, but the same goes for Hindus. Afterall, not every Hindus are as accomplished as Ambanis.

"He has challenged the myth that islam at one time encouraged science and many scientific discovery was done by muslims."

Whatever someone writes, it is not a myth. Myths and miracles do not happen consistently over several centuries, simulataneously across areas as geographically distant as Baghdad, Andalucia and Persia. Islam at that time did not consider scientific knowledge as a threat to faith. This was at the time when Catholic church was burning anyone who said that earth was round. Even in cultural area, Muslims were significantly advanced - it was Akbar who first tried to ban your Sati system.

"Riaz, This guy was born and raised in India and completed his bachelors degree in India. He is not a second generation Indian in US."

While this is something that I as an Indian am proud of, he is an American for all practical reasons. Amartya Sen could be called more Indian as he atleast has some contacts with India. Afterall, there must be some reason why this underfed looking fellow decided to suffer as a vegetarian in a country where even French fries have beef oil in it.

Zen, Munich, Germany

Anonymous said...

Counting Abdul Kalam as a muslim is really funny given that Rafiq Zakaria made lot of noise about Kalam being taken as a muslim.

Read this amusing article

Also you seem to indicate that muslims have done well in India. I am not sure how many pakistanis will agree with that, including Riaz.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece from Yahoo India on HDI in South Asia:

Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of eight major economies of South Asia in the 2009 Human Development Report, released earlier this week, show a dismal record with all countries relegated to the third category of medium development states with the global rankings falling in the second half of the listings of 182 countries. Topping the ranking list of the South Asian nations in 2007, the date for which comprehensive data was available, was Maldives (95), followed by Sri Lanka (102), Bhutan (132), India (134), Pakistan (141), Nepal (144), Bangladesh (146) and Afghanistan (182). The only positive trend was that four out of the eight South Asian nations made positive gains moving up the rungs, while the others remained stable. The highest gains were made by Maldives and Bangladesh both countries moving up by two rungs, while Bhutan and Pakistan improved their ranking by just one position. The worst aspect of the India s low HDI ranking was its dismal record in even a core area like life expectancy. Life expectancy at birth in India was only 63.4 years, which pushed it down in the last but one category, just above Afghanistan where the life expectancy was a dismal 43.6 years. South Asian countries scoring above India in life expectancy included Bhutan and Bangladesh (65.7 years each), Pakistan (66.2 years), Nepal (66.3 years), Maldives (71.1 years) and even the civil war hit Sri Lanka (74 years). India s record on life expectancy is made worse by the low rates of survival of young persons. The estimates show that the probability of dying before the age of 40 is among the highest in India, with 15.5% of the cohort loosing their lives. This is almost three times the level of mortality in Sri Lanka where only 5.5% of the population fail to cross the 40-age mark. Afghanistan fared the worst where the chances of survival over 40 was worst with almost 40% of the persons dying before attaining this age. What makes matters even worse is that the prospects of improving chances of survival of the younger age groups and improving overall life expectancy may continue to be hampered by its lackadaisical approach to improving child welfare, especially the nutritional levels. A comparison of the statistics on underweight children in South Asia show that India s record was among the worst, with 46% of the children underweight, a record which was only next to that of Bangladesh where the share of underweight children was a notch higher at 48%. India s poor record in meeting child nutrition standards are surprising given that even countries like Bhutan have been able to reduce its share of under-weight children to less than half the levels of India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's more from Yahoo India on HDI in South Asia:

India s 66% record in adult literacy was relatively better with the country ranking third in South Asia, but much below Maldives (97%) and Sri Lanka (90.8%). Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh had a literacy rate in the 50%-plus range. But the long-term prospects of moving up the rungs on this indicator among other South Asian nations are not very bright given the low gross enrolment rate. As in the case of other indicators, India s gross enrolment rate of 61% fell short to that of Sri Lanka ( 68.7%) and Maldives (68.7%), but was still better than that of other nations. One reason for this dismal scenario is India s ability to catch up wealth generation as at least three of the South Asian nations have higher per capita incomes on a purchasing power parity basis. India s PPP per capita income of $2,753 was sizably lower than that of much smaller neighbours like Sri Lanka ($4,243), Bhutan ($4,837) and Maldives ($5,196). Nepal ranked lowest in this category with its PPP per capita income of $1,049 being even lower than that of Afghanistan ($1,054). Making matters worse on the income front is the large disparity in the earnings between male and female workers. The ratio of female to male incomes in India was 32%, which was lower than that of other South Asian nations like Nepal (61%), Sri Lanka (56%), Maldives (54%), Bangladesh (51%) and Bhutan (39%). The only nations that had a worse ratio of male to female income were Afghanistan (24%) and Pakistan (18%).

"OM" said...

The debate is a classic representation of the sub continent mindset that my neighbour iis my benchmark for comparing my happiness and deprivation. The fact is that all the Nations Bangladesh, India, Pakistan are poorly ranked and need to urgently address the causes of poverty other wise we will become a huge island of deprivation. We have to go miles before we can proudly say that yes all our people have a decent life. We should not be misled by the numbers as even if one child dies of malnourishment, sanitation related or any other preventable death ; it is a death and the pain can only be realised by the family; it is not stastics but it is a death a fact to be more deeply understood only by those who have lost their loved ones. Just imagine if that one number of stastics is your chuild would the reaction be the same.

Lets join hands and take vow that we are goinf to learn from the successes of each other and try to make this world a better place to live and would not rest till the time it happens for everybody.

Anonymous said...

OM, That comparison with neighbor is done mostly by Pakistanis. Just read their newspapers and compare it with Indian newspapers.
Even this blog talks more about India than Pakistan. The term South Asia is used mostly by Pakistanis because the world hardly cares about Pakistan. It is India which has far greater mind share.
Once India took off economically in the last two decades, Pakistan, instead of competing with India on economic front, chose the easy way out. Deride India's failings and prove that Pak has not done bad. Pakistan has rudimentary industry and practically no exports of value added items (exports of Mangoes, Pickles hardly count as a prowess of a country).
Sad. If Pak chose to invest in education and make Pakistanis compete with India in service and manufacturing industry, it would have done wonders to their youth.
Instead they are in top ten failed nations.

Anonymous said...


"Counting Abdul Kalam as a muslim is really funny given that Rafiq Zakaria made lot of noise about Kalam being taken as a muslim."

Rafiq Zakaria is no authority. When we talk about achievements outside religious area, it is normally irrelevant how practicing one is. Einstein was a Jew, Nehru was a Hindu etc. though neither cared much about their religion or race. But nevertheless Rafiq was in fact taking great pains to put his point in a convoluted manner that adulation of Kalam by most Hindus are thanks to his vulgar admiration of Gita and his keeping distance away from Muslims. I would have respected Kalam a lot more had he opened his mouth against genocide in Gujarath. Not sure whether he lacked the moral courage or he did not find it wrong at all. Either way, this shows that in the bigoted atmosphere of subcontinent, scientific knowledge alone cannot improve quality of thinking.

"Also you seem to indicate that muslims have done well in India. I am not sure how many pakistanis will agree with that, including Riaz."

My point was, despite the attempts by Hindu supremacists to belittle the contribution of Indian Muslims, they in fact owe a lot to Muslims in India one way or other. Now if I were to opine on Muslims' status in India - statistically it is very bad and it is a fact that Muslims suffer casual discrimination in everything from employment to housing to financing possibilities. Nevertheless, noone can deny many of the genuine efforts of Hindu humanists and of our secular constitution to improve the situation of Muslims. In any case, Pakistanis themselves can't treat each other fairly, so they are least qualified to comment on this.

Zen, Munich, Germany

Anonymous said...

As a lover of indian classical music I will be the last person to deny the contribution of muslims in indian classical field. But at the same time I would also like to point out some of these muslim musicians were only muslims by birth. Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (I rate him the best vocal singer I have ever heard) migrated to Pak after indepedence and came back soon, bitterly disappointed. Ali Akbar Khan was more of a hindu than muslim. His son eventually converted to Hinduism.

The point is that when one talks of contribution of muslims like these, if possible, one should also talk how much of a muslim were they.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...


"The point is that when one talks of contribution of muslims like these, if possible, one should also talk how much of a muslim were they."

This may be true - but as I said, when we talk about cultural or scientific achievements, how much of a practicing Muslim/Hindu they are is not relevant. Do you think whether all the Hindu entrepreneurs in USA go to temple regularly or avoid beaf steaks? Nevertheless they are called Hindus. Muslim classical singers and poets in India have consistently shown some affinity towards native Hindu culture - there is nothing wrong in it. Hindustani Music is in fact an amalgamation of Persian music and classical Hindu music. Whether they are devout Muslims or not, culturally they are Muslims.(ie, Biriyani, Urdu, Ghazals etc. though some of them also drink a lot). In fact some of them like Rafi were devout as well.

Anonymous said...

"Hindustani Music is in fact an amalgamation of Persian music and classical Hindu music."

By writing this it is obvious that you have no idea about classical hindustani music. Hindustani classic music predates islam. It is an out and out indian form of music with some great muslim artists in it. Muslims try to exaggerate their contribution by claiming Hindustani music as their own invention. Not a single raaga has any islamic origins. Also consider that Carnatic music share lot of grammer with Hindustani classical music and no one suggests that Carnatic music is also influenced by muslims.
Note: Muslims have created other great form of music like Qawallis, naat or Ghazals. This is a different matter.

During the first few decades, Pakistan was bit open to classical music. However they tried to islamazie it by changing the name of raagas. Raag Chandrakauns became Chaandkauns. Raag Aahir Bhairav became Kabir Bhairav. Obviously they were too ashamed to show the hindu origins of classical music. Eventually Pakistan killed indian classical music.

"In fact some of them like Rafi were devout as well."

Yes. Rafi was great. He had no problem singing Hindu Bhajans and the muslim community of India were irked by it and were vocal about it too.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...


"Muslims try to exaggerate their contribution by claiming Hindustani music as their own invention"

There is no need to exaggerate, no need to undermine either. I never said that it was "invented" by Muslims - look up the meaning of the word "amalgamation" as I put it.

"Also consider that Carnatic music share lot of grammer with Hindustani classical music and no one suggests that Carnatic music is also influenced by muslims."

If noone suggests, what is your point? I am from South India and am trained in Violin in carnatic style. I don't know many North Indians who really appreciate South Indian music whole heartedly. South India was never really ruled by Muslims and that is partly the reason why the culture is so monilithic with nothing to eat other than Sambar. Whether you like the fact that you were ruled by Muslims or not, lot of cultural things including Hindustani music and Mughlai food have been nurtured by Muslim rulers even though there was already some base. If you cant come to terms with it, then you have the onus of trying to deny that by going to ridiculous extend such as claiming that TajMahal was a temple called TejoMahalay, Hindus were living in a golden age until foreigners came etc.

"Yes. Rafi was great. He had no problem singing Hindu Bhajans and the muslim community of India were irked by it and were vocal about it too."

Muslims in general are proud of him. If he becomes great in Hindu eyes only because he sang Hindu Bhajans, that shows the deep religious blindness among some Hindus. In fact, the vulgar adulation that Kalam enjoys among Hindus as a "great scientist" is also due to his admiration of Hinduism - it is not that Kalam invented how to split atoms or that he invented anything original. If Muslims become succesful, then the focus is how to prove that they are bad Muslims so that the hypothetical prejudice that Islam cannot go well with science and arts can be proven.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "There is no need to exaggerate, no need to undermine either. I never said that it was "invented" by Muslims - look up the meaning of the word "amalgamation" as I put it."

I agree with you description of Indo-Pak culture as "amalgamation" and "Indo-Persian", as does Indian writer Aakar Patel, who recently wrote as follows:

... it must let loose its secret weapon on the Taliban. And that is our culture, our Indo-Persian heritage. We built it. We own it; we should own up to it.

Forget Tarana-e-Milli. Let’s sing Tarana-e-Hind-o-Pak. Allama Iqbal would approve, and so, I suspect, would Jinnah.


Anonymous said...

"I agree with you description of Indo-Pak culture as "amalgamation" and "Indo-Persian", as does Indian writer Aakar Patel, who recently wrote as follows: "

And it also looks like that the indo part is more tolerable part of it, with so much of hate and bloodshed going on in pakistan.

zen: I won't disagree with you about muslim contribution. C'mon, they ruled us for around 1000 yrs and there has to be some amalgamation of it. What I am disagreeing is the 'invention' of credits to muslims. It is as amusing as calling Taj Mahal as a
original Hindu temple.

One pakistani was trying to argue with me that Pakistani follow sufism (as if it is a seperate religion by istself). Per him it was tolerable sufism which made his ancestors convert from hinduism to islam. I just asked one question "what is the stand of sufism on aethiest and apostates. Does Sufism allow anyone to leave Islam/Sufism on his free will".
Well, as expected, he never replied.

So much for tolerance of sufism.
Is it any surprise that there is not a single case known of a pakistani muslim leaving islam in pakistan and converting to other religion.

Anonymous said...

riaz, on a different note, for the last few days by browser is warning me that this site has no certificate. just FYI

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "for the last few days by browser is warning me that this site has no certificate."

Which browser and version are you using? I use both IE and FF (and iPhone Safari) and don't see any warning.

Anonymous said...

I am using IE8 on Windows Vista
and it given me warning everytime
I log on here. I have to answer Yes
to dialog box for me to continue.

Just for checking I used FF and it
shows a red dot icon at the lower right corner. Clicking on it tells
"part of this page was not encrypted before trasmitted over the internet..":

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "I am using IE8 on Windows Vista
and it given me warning everytime
I log on here. I have t.."

Thanks. I'll look into it.

Meanwhile, see if upgrading your browser helps. May be your browser is not recognizing the valid certificate.

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is resurgent India so badly failing its people?

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

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

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

Why are 46% of India's children malnourished?

Why does the world call India a nutriti onal weakling?

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

Here are some more recent comparative indicators in South Asia:


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

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

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


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

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


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

Child Protection:

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting commentary by Sudha Ramachandra about India's future prospects:

The populations of Europe and Japan are already graying, and the working-age populations of the United States and China are projected to shrink too in the next two decades. By 2020 the US will be short 17 million people of working age, China 10 million, Japan 9 million and Russia 6 million. However, India will have a surplus of 47 million people, giving the country a competitive edge in labor costs, which will be sustainable up to 2050, according to a study by Goldman Sachs.

Economists say India will catch up with the Chinese economy beginning in 2030, when the latter could cool off as the result of an aging population. "The window of opportunity offered by a population bulge has clearly opened for India," points out noted economist C P Chandrasekhar of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. After decades of evoking despair, India's demographic profile is finally beginning to stir hope.

But not everyone views the population bulge with such optimism. Some analysts say it is not enough to have a young population. The working-age population needs to be healthy and literate.

India's score on this, while improving, is certainly not inspiring. About 50% of all Indian children are undernourished, a large percentage of them born with protein deficiency (which affects brain development and learning capacity, among other things). This is hardly the ideal foundation for a productive workforce, as the likelihood of a malnourished child growing up to be an able adult is rather dim.

There is also the question of whether the population has the skills and knowledge to take on India's future work. Literacy has improved dramatically over the years - just 14% of the population was literate in 1947 versus about 64.8% today - but many who are classified as literate can barely read or write. And 40% of those who enroll in primary schools drop out by age 10. The curriculum in the schools, especially the government-run ones, does not prepare the child for the domestic job market, let alone the global one. The huge "workforce" might not be qualified to do the work.

Moreover, India's rich and educated classes are preferring to have small families, so the additions to the population are coming largely from the poor, illiterate sections in society. Nicholas Eberstadt, who researches demographics at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, points out that while India's overall population profile will remain relatively youthful, "this is an arithmetic expression averaging diverse components of a vast nation. Closer examination reveals two demographically distinct Indias: the north that stays remarkably young over the next 20 years, and a south already graying rapidly due to low fertility."

Riaz Haq said...

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

Riaz Haq said...

UNDP publishes the Education Index which is measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weighting) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weighting). The adult literacy rate gives an indication of the ability to read and write, while the GER gives an indication of the level of education from kindergarten to postgraduate education.

On this UNDP education index, Pakistan scores 0.665 and ranks 137, ahead of India's score of 0.638 and ranking of 142nd.

Riaz Haq said...

A US NIH funded study published in Lancet says over 200,000 Indians die of Malaria among 1.3 million infectious disease deaths reported in the country, according to a report by the BBC:

he number of people dying from malaria in India has been hugely underestimated, according to new research.

The data, published in the Lancet, suggests there are 13 times more malaria deaths in India than the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

The authors conclude that more than 200,000 deaths per year are caused by malaria.

The WHO said the estimate produced by this study appears too high.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

The new figures raise doubts over the total number of malaria deaths worldwide.
Difficult diagnosis

Calculating how many people die from malaria is extremely difficult. Most cases that are diagnosed and treated do not result in fatalities.

People who die of extremely high fevers in the community can be misdiagnosed and the cause of death can be attributed to other diseases and vice versa.

As most deaths in India occur at home, without medical intervention, cause of death is seldom medically certified.

There are about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, where acute fever is the main symptom in rural areas in India.

In this study, trained field workers interviewed families, asking them to describe how their relative died. Two doctors then reviewed each description and decided if the death was caused by malaria. This method is called verbal autopsy.

Some 122,000 premature deaths between 2001 and 2003 were investigated.

The data suggests that 205,000 deaths before the age of 70, mainly in rural areas, are caused by malaria each year.

Riaz Haq said...

Two-thirds of India's population lacks basic sanitation facilities. They are exposed to a variety of infectious disease resulting in 1.3 million deaths a year accounting for the largest number of victims of infections in the world. Studies indicate the prevalence of infections may be contributing to lower IQ of Indians.

In addition to malaria, dengue fever, and cysticercosis, India also has a huge disease burden of rabies, caused by dog bites. In India, 20,000 rabies deaths (that is about 2/100,000 population) are estimated to occur annually, according to Times of India.

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

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

A US NIH funded study published in Lancet says over 200,000 Indians die of Malaria among 1.3 million infectious disease deaths reported in the country, according to a report by the BBC.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a news report on UNDP findings released today:

India lags behind its neighbours, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on human development indices like life expectancy at birth and mean or average years of schooling, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released Thursday said.

Titled "Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development", the report had a global launch and was released at the UN in New York by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

While India is ranked 119 on the Human Development Index (HDI) among 169 countries -- above Pakistan and Bangladesh which are ranked 125 and 129, respectively -- it lags behind the two on certain development indices.

According to the report, life expectancy at birth in India is 64.4 years, while in Pakistan it is 67.2 years. In Bangladesh, life expectancy is 66.9 years.

Similarly, mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years while in Pakistan and Bangladesh it is 4.9 and 4.8 years respectively.

Sri Lanka, which is ranked above India on HDI at 91, also fares better than India on the two indices. Its life expectancy at birth is 74.4 years and mean years of schooling is 8.2 years.

On some positive note, in terms of growth of income, India is considered one of the top 10 countries. China is on the top position in this index.

Finance Ministrys chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu, who was present at the India launch of the report, said: "India has a lot of catching up to do. There is scope to do so much better."

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a NY Times Op Ed by Nicholas Kistoff on Pakistan:

Meanwhile, Pakistan seeks postflood aid from Western taxpayers, yet barely taxes its own affluent citizens at home. And its feudal landholders have historically opposed good schools, for fear that poor Pakistanis — if educated — would object to oppression.

One reason Pakistan is sometimes called the most dangerous country in the world is this: a kindergarten child in this country has only a 1 percent chance of reaching the 12th grade, according to the Pakistan Education Task Force, an official panel. The average Pakistani child is significantly less likely to be schooled than the average child in sub-Saharan Africa.

American myopia historically has played a role. We’ve propped up generals but not the lawyers’ movement for democracy. We’ve allocated billions of dollars for Pakistan’s army but not for schools. And the U.S. has never been willing to take the single most important step: open our markets wide to Pakistani garment exports, so as to provide jobs and strengthen the business sector.

Now let’s break for a ray of hope.

This is my first trip to Pakistan in years in which the country’s downhill slide seems to have been arrested — and that’s notwithstanding the floods that ravaged the country recently.

It helps that the United States has approved the Kerry-Lugar-Berman package to provide civilian aid, earning the U.S. a dose of goodwill in Pakistan. But most important, members of Pakistan’s emerging middle class are stepping up to the plate.

They are enraged at the terrorists who have been tearing apart their country, they’re appalled by corruption and illiteracy, and they want peace so that their children can become educated and live a better life. Their obsession is college, not Kashmir.

Partly because of middle-class influence, ordinary Pakistanis are increasingly focused on education. About one-fourth of Pakistani children, even from poor families, now attend private schools, simply because the public schools are so wretched.

These days the middle class is not only eclipsing the feudal landowners but also rejects the old feudal contempt for the masses. One reflection of the middle-class engagement is the rise of the Citizens Foundation, a terrific aid group started by a group of businessmen frustrated by their country’s appalling schools.

Today, T.C.F. runs 660 excellent schools for the poorest citizens. I visited several of these schools on this trip — and, wow!

T.C.F. spends 40 percent less per pupil than state schools do, but manages to provide incomparably better education. Here in the most-populous province of Punjab, for example, nearly 100 percent of Citizens Foundation pupils pass government exams, while over the last four years state schools have averaged a 44 percent pass rate.

Riaz Haq said...

Countries like BRIC nations with rapid economic growth are often promoted by the likes of Goldman Sachs and New York Times, while nations with top social induicators but low economic growth are dismissed as less important.

Steven Hill discusses this situation by comparing US with Japan in a piece he wrote for Common Dreams.

Here are some excerpts from it:

Look at it this way: In the midst of the Great Recession, the United States is suffering through nearly 10% unemployment and 50 million people without health insurance. A new report has found over 14% of Americans living below the poverty line, including 20% of children and 23% of seniors, the highest since President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. That's in addition to declining prospects for the middle class, and a general increase in economic insecurity.

How, then, should we regard a country that has 5% unemployment, healthcare for all its people, the lowest income inequality and is one of the world's leading exporters? This country also scores high on life expectancy, low on infant mortality, is at the top in literacy, and is low on crime, incarceration, homicides, mental illness and drug abuse. It also has a low rate of carbon emissions, doing its part to reduce global warming. In all these categories, this particular country beats both the U.S. and China by a country mile.

Doesn't that sound like a country from which Americans might learn a thing or two about how to get out of the mud hole in which we are stuck?

Not if that place is Japan. During and before the current economic crisis, few countries have been vilified as an economic basket case as much as the Land of the Rising Sun. Google "Japan and its economy" and you will get numerous hits about Japan's allegedly sclerotic economy, its zombie banks, its deflation and slow economic growth. This malaise has even been called "Japan syndrome", sounding like a disease to warn policymakers, as in "you don't want to end up like Japan."

Pavan said...

I came across a news report on BBC regarding a major trial in
progress in Nigeria in which the non-hormonal drug Tranexamic Acid is
being used to control post-partum bleeding which is the major cause
for maternal deaths. The drug is already in use for menorraghia or
heavy menstrual bleeding mostly in western countries and is available
over the counter in UK. The drug is administered orally. The drug has
already saved hundreds of lives in Nigeria. If the drug is made
available in adequate quantitiy in South Asia, I do believe that it
could drastically cut down maternal mortality rates. In India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh we lose around 1,50,000 women in or after
childbirth. The efficacy of the drug has already been proved but it
may take several years before its use becomes common. In the meantime
we will continue to lose tens of thousands of young mothers in rural
areas where there is no nursing or hospital care available. I have
written to the Federation of doctors looking after Obstetrics and
gynecology. Since the drug is available over the counter in UK, I am
sure it will have very limited side effects. In any case it will be
given as a one time dose after childbirth. Just thought I would share
this and if there is any way to take this forward. Regards. Pavan
PS The drug is being manufactured in India but is somewhat expensive
by Indian standards, 4 dollars for a course of ten tablets. The price
would go down when demand increases.

Riaz Haq said...


Excellent find! I do think it will help. Thanks for sharing it.

A year ago I read a book titled "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson who has had a lot of experience working in remote rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan building schools.

He has a couple of interesting anecdotes about saving mothers as well as reducing child mortality in Pakistan's Baltistan area. In one story, he talks about a poor Balti villager whose wife and the breast-fed baby girl were very sick after birth. Since Mortenson is a trained nurse, he quickly recognized the symptoms and understood that the problem was caused by toxicity from part of the placenta left rotting in mother's womb but he was afraid that the conservative husband would not allow a man, particularly a foreigner, touch his wife.

After a day or two, Mortenson gathered up the courage to explain the problem to the ailing woman's husband and to asked for his permission and, to his utter surprise, the man agreed. Mortenson then manually pulled the placenta out and saw the woman and the baby recover within a few days.

What this story tells me is that the solutions are there, and it's really a matter of some education of the villagers and basic acess to skilled midwives and nurses in every village.

Pavan said...

Thanks. Greg is a great guy. Have read the sequel to Three Cups too. I
am sharing this with some of my friends who are doctors working in
rural areas. They too feel this can make a difference. Pavan

Pavan said...

The Human Development Index: The debate continues
Last week, Francisco Rodríguez, HDRO's Head of Research, addressed some criticisms of the Human Development Index. This week, the debate continues with a new piece by Martin Ravallion, Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank, and a response by Francisco Rodríguez.
Read their articles here:
Fretting over tradeoffs? Response to Francisco Rodriguez by Martin Ravallion, Director, Development Research Group, World Bank
Interpreting Trade-offs in the HDI: A Response to Martin Ravallion by Francisco Rodríguez, Head of the Research Team, Human Development Report Office, UNDP

Mayraj said...


Poor countries with IMF loans 'divert aid from public health'
Oxford University-led research finds signs that tough loan conditions imposed by IMF has led to health aid being diverted for other uses

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has been ranked 10th among the countries in term of human development improvement by the United Nations Development Programme’s 20th Human Development Report 2010, according to Dawn News:

Those among the 135 countries that improved most in Human Development Index (HDI) terms over the past 30 years were led by Oman, which invested energy earnings over the decades in education and public health.

The other nine “Top Movers” are China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco. Remarkably, China was the only country that made the “Top 10” list due solely to income performance; the main drivers of HDI achievement were in health and education.

The UNDP report said that in Pakistan, between 1980 and 2010, the HDI value increased by 58 per cent (average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent).

“With such an increase Pakistan is ranked 10 in terms of HDI improvement, which measures progress in comparison to the average progress of countries with a similar initial HDI level”, it added.

Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth increased by more than nine years, mean years of schooling increased by about nine years and expected years of schooling increased by almost 4 years.

Pakistan’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by 92 per cent during the same period. The relative to other countries in the region, in 1980, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh had close HDI values for countries in South Asia.

However, during the period between 1980 and 2010 the three countries experienced different degrees of progress toward increasing their HDIs states the Report.

The Report introduces the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living.

The average percentage of deprivation experienced by people in multidimensional poverty is 54 per cent.

The MPI, which is the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.275.Pakistan’s “HDI neighbors”, India and Bangladesh, have MPIs of 0.296 and 0.291, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excepts of an Op Ed by Andrew Michell, British secretary of DFID, published in The News:

Over the last year, the UK has worked closely with Pakistan to deliver strong results, including supporting nearly half a million children in school; providing practical job training to more than 1,100 poor people in Punjab; providing microfinance loans to more than one hundred thousand people across Pakistan so they can start small businesses and lift their families out of poverty; and helping millions of people affected by the floods in 2010 and 2011.

Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future. With a population that is expected to increase by 50 per cent in less than forty years, it is worrying that half the country’s adults can’t read or write, and that more than a third of primary school aged children are not in school. That’s why the UK is committed to working in partnership with Pakistan to tackle its education emergency.

If educated, healthy and working, this burgeoning youth population will provide a demographic boost to drive Pakistan’s economic growth and unlock Pakistan’s potential on the global stage.

That’s why education is the UK’s top priority and why over the next four years, the UK will work in partnership with Pakistan to:

* support four million children in school;

* recruit and train 90,000 new teachers;

* provide more than six million text book sets; and

* construct or rebuild more than 43,000 classrooms.

Every full year of extra schooling across the population increases economic growth by up to one percentage point, as more people with better reading, writing, and maths skills enter the workforce.

The UK government is also working with Pakistan to empower and protect women and girls, to end violence against them and to help harness their talent and productivity. I welcome the legislation recently passed by Pakistan’s parliament that bans domestic violence, and congratulate Pakistan on its first Oscar for an outstanding film which throws the international spotlight on the horrific crime of acid attacks on women.

Other priorities for the UK include working with Pakistan to prevent 3,600 mothers dying in childbirth; enabling 500,000 couples to choose when and how many children they have; providing practical job training (such as car mechanics, cooks, weavers, carpenters, etc) to tens of thousands of people living in poverty; and enable millions of people, half of them women, to access financial services such as microfinance loans so they can earn more money and lift their families out of poverty.

The UK’s aid to Pakistan could potentially more than double, to become the UK’s largest recipient of aid. However this increase in UK aid is dependent on securing value for money and results, and linked to the Government of Pakistan’s own progress on reform at both the federal and provincial levels. This includes taking steps to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base, and tackle corruption.


Riaz Haq said...

Interpreting India's low HDI rank


HDI essentially is a composite index that integrates three basic dimensions of human development: ability to lead a long and healthy life; ability to acquire knowledge and ability to achieve a decent standard of living. The first dimension is captured by life expectancy at birth. Mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling combined capture the second, while Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (PPP in US$) captures the last dimension. Each dimension is then quantified as an index, calculated as the ratio between (Actual Value – Minimum Value)/(Maximum Value – Minimum Value). Note that the minimum and maximum values are fixed values (boundary limits), same for all the countries. These three indices are then aggregated and their geometric mean is taken as the HDI score for a particular country.

Let us take an example. For the year 2016, the Minimum Life Expectancy was fixed as 20 years and Maximum 85 years. India’s life expectancy was 68.3 years. Therefore, the Health Index for India would be computed as (68.3 – 20) / (85 - 20) = 0.743. Using a similar approach, the other two indices – education and income would be computed. Finally, the HDI score for India would be the geometric mean of all three indices. And this score would determine India’s relative rank across several countries. A higher HDI rank should ideally reflect better human development opportunities. Similarly, a year on year increase in HDI rank, would reflect an increase in a country’s relative performance.

However, there are several issues that complicate this. First, the HDI computation methodology itself keeps changing. As can be seen in the table (inset), earlier, Health index was measured by life expectancy at birth; Education index by a combination of adult literacy rate and gross school enrolment rates; and Income index by GDP per capita adjusted for PPP (in US$). Except the health index, methodology for computing the other two indices has now changed significantly. Second, simple arithmetic mean was used to compute HDI scores earlier. Now, geometric mean of each index provides the HDI score. Third, the number of countries for which data is collated also changes year on year. In 2010, there were 169 countries. This number increased to 188 in 2016. Fourth, there have been issues related to timelines of input data. For example, Life expectancy at birth for HDR 2013 corresponded to data for the year 2011. The HDR 2016, on the other hand, used the data for 2015. Especially for the social sectors, there are significant time-lags in data. Finally, and possibly the most serious concerns have been raised over the usage of only three dimensions and giving them equal weights while computing HDI. Experts argue that crucial variables such as political voice, democratic freedom, social connections and relationships, environmental sustainability, and economic/physical security are completely left out. On the other hand, equal weightage to all three indices pulls HDI score of countries like India down. Given the huge population base, India gets consistently low scores on GNI per capita. In fact, on this particular index, India’s score was very similar to that of Pakistan and Congo, but less than that of Iraq.

Riaz Haq said...

REPORT 2021/2022


World set back by 5 years on development indices
India falls from 131 to 132 mainly on back of 2.5 years reduction in life expectancy
BD forges ahead from 140 to 129
Pakistan falls from 154 to 161- in low HDI category now