Friday, November 5, 2010

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Although Pakistan at 125 ranks 6 places below India at 119 on UNDP's 2010 human development index, Pakistanis fare much better than their Indian counterparts on several sub-indices including life expectancy, years of schooling and gender parity.

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

On gender parity, Pakistan ranks 112, ten places ahead of India at 122.

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, according to media reports.

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.

Reproductive health is the largest contributor to the inequality index. The other indicators, based on which it is calculated, include women's participation in the labor force, their level of empowerment based on educational attainment and parliamentary representation.

For maternal mortality, the figure for Pakistan is 320 deaths per 100,000 live births. In India, the corresponding figure stands at 450. The country also falters on adolescent fertility rate, another indicator of reproductive health.

According to the HDR 2010, the adolescent fertility rate in India is 68 births per 1,000 live births as compared to 45 births per 1,000 live births in Pakistan. The figures illustrate that Pakistan has fewer younger mothers.

Overall, both India and Pakistan are near the bottom of the list of medium human development countries while Bangladesh shows up among low human development nations. This report is just another reminder that the governments and the peoples of the entire South Asian region have a lot of work to do in terms of poverty reduction and education and health improvements to catch up with the rest of the world.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

BRI C, Chindia and the "Indian Miracle"

Explore the

Multi-dimensional Poverty Index Finds Indians Poorer than Africans

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

OPHI Country Briefing: Pakistan

OPHI Country Briefing: India

Slumdog Inspires India's "Big Switch"

Do Urban Slums Offer Hope?

Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

Sub-replacement Fertility Rates

Female Genocide Unfolding in India

Missing: 50 Million Indian Girls

Population Growth and Migration

The Empty Cradle By Phillip Longman

Demographics Trend Favor Muslims in the West?


Anonymous said...

umm overall India is superior to Pakistan and given 10% growth it will inevitably overtake Pakistan by 2015.

Anway Indians nowadays don't feel any sense of achievement if they beat Pakistan(going by your posts the converse isn't true)

We need to compete with China hopefully we will be where China is today by 2020 that's the informal national goal.

Industrial sophistication of India broadly matches China and productiity/ROI is 80% higher.China has no equivalent of TATA or Godrej and Boyce.What we lack is the scale of production which is relatively simple thing given the access to capital that Indian industry has.
So it is possible!

Pavan said...

Thanks Riaz. A few more indicators. Bangladesh's maternal mortality
rate is the best at 290 per 100,000 live births. Child mortality is
also the lowest (infant mortality) at 43 per 1000 live births versus
India's at 52 and Pakistan at an alarming 72. If India were to reach
the figure of Bangladesh, that would result in about 2,34,000 children
below the age of one surviving. Bangladesh would be much higher in the
overall ranking if the per capita income would increase. India is at
$1017, Pakistan at 991 and Bangladesh at 497. I find it amazing that
with such a low per capita income they have done so much better. Pl
also note that they may be lower on the hunger index but they have
pulled 13 million people out of hunger while India has added a few
million. I was in Bangladesh in 71(Bogra, Dinajpur, Rajshahi) and now
feel happy that they have done so well. Pavan

Anonymous said...

$1017, Pakistan at 991 and Bangladesh at 497. I find it amazing that
with such a low per capita income they have done so much better. Pl

A large amount of the low HDI of India can be explained by the cesspools of UP and Bihar per capita roughly $250 pa.

Excluding these two basket cases which are also responsible for much of the slum populations in various Indian cities India is actually far ahead than others in HDI.

Riaz Haq said...


Bangladesh's progress is really impressive. A lot of credit goes to people like Mohammad Yunus of Grameen, and relative stability there.

This also reminds us of the whole reason why Dr. Mabhub ul-Haq argued for using social indicators, not just the GDP, as a measure of a nation's well-being.

There is a description of Mahbub ul-Haq's thinking on page 12 of the Human Development Report 2010. It is titled "From Karachi to Sorbonne--Mahbub ul-Haq and the idea of human development".

Dr. Haq was Pakistan's planning commission's chief in 1960s which was seen as a time of great progress because of rapid GDP growth in Pakistan, and every one expected Dr. Mahbub ul-Haq to crow about it and pat himself on the back.

But, as the report puts it, "The young economist shocked his audience by delivering a stinging indictment of Pakistan's development strategy" for favoring the elite at the expense of the poor. A few years later, late economist Mahbub ul-Haq persuaded UNDP to push for research reports and indicators as an alternative to single-minded focus on GDP.

satwa gunam said...

Human DevelopmentIndex (HDI) value comprises of the following four major parameter

Life expectancyat birth : 4.2%
Mean yearsof schooling : 10.2%

Expected yearsof schooling : -51.5%
Gross national income(GNI) per capita : -24.6%

Out of the four parameter which get the hdi in two pakistan is doing better than india by 4.2% and 10.2% and where as in the other two parameter india is far ahead of pakistan with 51.5% and 24.6% which effectively has put india ahead of pakistan.

Document is very good and i have tried to extract the data to excel to do dispassionate analysis and will share with all in a weeks time

Pavan said...

Also the fact that Bangladeshis got their priorities right. Unlike India and Pakistan, they have not spent excessively on defence. Health and nutrition is high on the agenda. In fact they are the only country in South Asia which is on target for the MDGs. Not resolving Kashmir has cost both our countries dear. I think Pakistan owes a big debt to Dr Haq. The lower poverty rates, better nutrition and health indicators in spite of very low public spending on health. The flood situation is a great setback. I also think that Grameen did a lot of good at least in the beginning. Pavan

satwa gunam said...

pagen no. 150 gives the trend of hdi value and comparision between india and pakistan is as under :

HDI Value
a b c=b-a d=c/b
year India Pakistan
1980 0.32 0.31 (0.01)-2.89%
1990 0.39 0.36 (0.03)-8.36%
1995 0.42 0.39 (0.03)-6.68%
2000 0.44 0.42 (0.02)-5.77%
2005 0.48 0.47 (0.01)-2.99%
2009 0.51 0.49 (0.03)-5.13%
2010 0.52 0.49 (0.03)-5.92%

HDI value comparision shows very clearly that india is moving consistenly above pakistan. Gap between india and pakistan has increased from 2.89% to 5.92% between 1980 and 2010

Comparing the hdi value of india and pakistan between 1980 and 2010 brings out the fact india has improvised by 62% where as pakistan by 58%

India Pakistan
1980 0.32 0.31
2010 0.52 0.49
incr 0.20 0.18
Inc % 62% 58%

Finally per capita aid for pakistan is 10 time more than india and still the movement has been very slow upward.

satwa gunam said...

Details review of the report from three aspect has been published. India is doing far better than pakistan in some sector and pakistan is doing marginally above india in some sectors.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...



First of all, sorry for the Obama snub. But Indians, rich or poor are Americophiles and so it is fair that Obama reciprocate some of the goodwill by celebrating Diwali in Mumbai and visiting Taj Hotel and stress how much these two giant democratic secular nations have in common.

@On topic

HDI issues have been widely covered in one way or another way in your blog many times, but what is missing is that you rarely add your own analysis for this disparity between relative better performance of Pakistan and Bangladesh when compared to India.

GDP growth and well being of general population do not always get along well. Indian growth story is given a lot more hype in the media because of its image as a counterweight to Communist China and Islamist Pakistan. Most Indians in a blissfully ignorant way assume that India is "prosperous" than countries like Indonesia, Egypt etc.

You touched Mohd. Yunus briefly, but more than cheap credit, probably wider attitude among Muslims towards charity, mutual help and egalitarianism also plays a role. That is under-appreciated or ignored in most studies. A couple of British anthropologists from the famous SOAS(London) published some reports about social attitudes towards charity in Kerala and they were touching on how Hindus and Muslims are different in this regard.

Charity itself will not improve per capita income, but it will make sure that those who are weakest will get something to survive. In India, lack of such social obligation to help regardless of caste make sure that those who are poor remains poor or get even poorer.

In terms of growth, India has already reaped many of the low hanging fruits of liberalization. It can still do so for atleast a decade by opening up more sectors like retailing, building up new roads/ports etc. But the question is how much India can grow after that? Any further growth can be availed only by having well educated and well nourished workforces - with high levels of poverty, this won't be easy.

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "First of all, sorry for the Obama snub."

Before the novice Bitish PM Cameron visted India recently, he was advised by an FT columnist that any mention of the words "poverty", "Kashmir" and "immigation quotas" upsets Indians the most.

He should have added that what pleases Indians most is denigrating Pakistan...something Cameron learned on his own and used it to please his Indian hosts immensely.

Obama was asked questions by students at St. Xavier's college with the intent to have him bad mouth Pakistan, but he refused to do it. Instead, he said the following:

"We want nothing more than a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan".

"It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say this, but I am absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India."

satwa gunam said...

I think it is too early to predict how the story moves. Nobody would have imagined that china will be economic super power thirty years back. Further, china is dependent on all the countries as it is production is more than the local consumption.

Trillion usd has no meaning when the value of the dollar is falling and china will go in the same way as japan as both are dependent on america for consumption.

Anonymous said...

Stable prosperous Pakistan coming soon to a theater near you - just as soon as hell freezes over ...

Anonymous said...

"It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say this, but I am absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India."

Yup just like a stable and prosperous USSR was in the US's best interest :)

satwa gunam said...


According to NYU economist Edward Wolff, wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated. In the 15 years between 1983 and 2007, the share of wealth owned by the nation’s top 1 percent households grew to 34.6 percent from 33.8 percent; and the top 20 percent of U.S. households in 2007 controlled 85 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from 81.3 percent in ’83. The fate of America’s vast “middle class,” the remaining 80 percent, has only gotten more dire: in 2007, it controlled 15 percent, down from 18.7 percent in 1983.

So called developed nations are falling in line with developing nations like india and pakistan. Probably the american politicans are making the asian politicians as pigmies.

Anonymous said...

So called developed nations are falling in line with developing nations like india and pakistan. Probably the american politicans are making the asian politicians as pigmies.

Social-market economies with high taxes and superb social services and quality free education like Sweden,Germany etc have better human capital and greater social cohesion than Anglo-Saxon model economies like US,UK etc which ultimately makes them more competetive.

It is my hope that the Indian political class endeavours to build a social market economy over the next 30 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Economic boycott of Christians in Kandhamal; rampant insecurity as
villagers forced to live as Hindus

From John Dayal
9 November 2010-11-09

[Based on the Report of a Fact Finding group of Activists on the
Social and Economical Boycott of Christians in the Kandhamal district
of Orissa:]

The Collector: of Kandhamal, Orissa, Dr. Krishan Kumar who headed the
district during the anti Christian violence of August-October 2008
which left 100 dead, 5,600 houses burnt and about 56,000 persons
displaced, seems now to be presiding over a well thought out economic
boycott of the minority community. Confronted with the stark reality,
Krishan has taken to blaming the Church and its leadership for being a
hindrance in restoring peace – possibly because they have petitioned
the High Court and the Supreme court of India on issues of justice in
the region.

The economic boyctott of Kondh and Panos Christians in Kandhamal,
which first came to light in the People’s National Tribunal headed by
former Delhi chief justice Shah, held in New Delhi in August this
year, continues to be a source of major harassment of the community, a
fact finding team of social activist and lawyers has discovered in a
field study of the region earlier this month. The preliminary report
was released yesterday.

The fact finding team consisted of four well-known activists led by
Advocate Nicholas Barla, a tribal activist leader, with Advocate
Brother Marcus, a social worker, Jugal Kishore Ranjit, a dalit human
right activist and Ajay Kumar Singh, human right activist. They
visited Kandhamal on 5th of November 2010 to verify the allegations of
social and economical boycotts of Kandhamal Christians. The team
visited four villages of four police stations of three blocks in
violent hit district of Kandhamal in Orissa.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan very marginally ahead of India based on 2009 field data and is likely to be behind India based on 2010 curent data when the imact of floods and zero economic growth are taken into account,

Unknown said...


Pakistan 'ahead of India' ranked six places below on the HDI index.

I've heard about creative interpretations but that's ridiculous.

Zen, Munich said...


Riaz Haq said...

Zen: ""

It is eally strange, or maybe not so strange, to see such high level of satisafaction in a county which is home to the world's largest population of poor, hungy and illiterate people.

The results of this Pew poll in India reminds me of the following part of Noam Chomsky's inteview recently published in Outlook India:

Q: You once said, “Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism.” Do you mean that propaganda enables the elite to dull the will of people, depriving them of the capacity to make political choices?

A. That clearly is its goal, in fact its stated goal. Back in the 1920s, it used to be frankly called propaganda. But the word acquired a bad flavour with Nazism in the 1930s. So now, it’s not called propaganda any more. But they were right in the 1920s. The huge public relations industry, for example, has its goal to control attitudes and beliefs. Liberal commentators, like Walter Lippmann, said we have to manufacture consent and keep the rabble away from the decision-making. We are the responsible men, we have to make decisions and we have to be protected—and I quote Lippmann—“from the trampling under the rage of the bewildered herd—the public”. In the democratic process, we are the participants, they watch. And the task of intellectuals, media and so on is to make sure that they are quiet, subdued and obedient. That is the view from the liberal end of the spectrum. Yes, I don’t doubt that the media is liberal in that sense.

Anonymous said...

"It is eally strange, or maybe not so strange, to see such high level of satisafaction in a county which is home to the world's largest population of poor, hungy and illiterate people.

You mean as strange as muslims believing that nothing is wrong with islam, when muslims all over the world are lowest performing, underachieving and living in miserable countries.

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.

Sandy said...

With laws like Hudoot ordinance, how can Pakistan be ahead in gender inequality. If at all any explanation to that, it would be that men in Pakistan are so backward, that Pakistan is better of in gender inequality.

FYI, India's female literacy rate is higher that Pakistan's men's literacy rate.

I am sorry to disappoint you but UNDP has got it completely wrong.

Riaz Haq said...

Sandy: "I am sorry to disappoint you but UNDP has got it completely wrong."

Yes,I know. The only data and repots you agree with are the ones showing India ahead of Pakistan.

What right is more important than the right to life, a right that is being denied to millions of Indian baby girls to grow into women as the a massive female genocide unfolds across India, and Indian women suffer the worst health indicators in the world.

Please read the criteria to undestand the UNDP report.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a Times of India report on India's rising TB disease burden:

NEW DELHI: India is saddled with highest burden of tuberculosis — with nearly 2 million new cases recorded in 2009. Out of an estimated 1.3 million people who died of TB in 2008, the nation alone accounted for 2.8 lakh lives.

India's case detection was around 67%, while the estimated number of TB cases that had become multi-drug resistant was 99,000 in 2009.

Even though the TB mortality rate has fallen by 35% since 1990, the disease claimed 1.7 million lives last year — of which 3.8 lakh were women.

According to World Health Organisation's annual report, "Global Tuberculosis Control 2010," around 4,700 die of TB daily. An estimated 9.4 million contracted the disease in 2009 — the same number as the previous year. However, the incidence of TB was stable, or falling in all 22 countries that have the highest burden of the disease except South Africa.

Six million lives are being saved annually as compared to 1995, thanks to improved detection and treatment. "There are still 1.7 million deaths a year from a disease that is perfectly curable in 2010. At this pace, it will take millennia to get rid of TB," said Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO's Stop TB unit.

However, "the biggest challenge of all" — as per the WHO — was an estimated 4.4 lakh multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains of TB a year, which are both hard to detect and treat.

"The main issue is in Russia, China and India, where most of the global (MDR) burden lies," said Raviglione. The global detection rate for MDR TB was about 5%.

WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2008 occurred in the Southeast Asia Region, which accounted for 34% of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of the Southeast Asia Region, which has recorded over 350 cases per 100,000. Among TB patients notified in 2009, an estimated 2.5 lakh had MDR-TB. Of these, slightly more than 30,000 (12%) were diagnosed with MDR-TB and notified.

The four countries that had the largest number of estimated cases of MDR-TB in absolute terms in 2008 were China (100,000), India (99,000), Russia (38,000), and South Africa (13,000). By July 2010, 58 countries had reported at least one case of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

Read more: 2m new TB cases in India last year - The Times of India

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some exerpts of a review by Ashok Mitra of Amit Bhaduri's "The Face You Were Afraid to See" as published in Calcutta's Telegraph:

Surely Amit Bhaduri is dead wrong. His recent book bears the title, The Face You Were Afraid to See. The “face” he has in mind is the stark reality of destitution, malnutrition, illiteracy and joblessness which is still the fate of a huge lot of citizens in independent India. The “you” Bhaduri addresses his epistle to are the roughly 10 — at most 15 — per cent of the nation at the top of the social ladder who, thanks to economic liberalization, had never had it so good: industrial tycoons, financial conglomerates, ruling politicians and assorted hangers-on of each of these species, including the media and the so-called intelligentsia. These latter categories, Bhaduri seems to assume, are scared to come face to face with the other India, the India of progressive immiserization and ruthless exploitation. Quite the contrary. For the first time since the British left, the richer layer of society has come to acquire an extraordinary self-confidence. The lurid contrast between how, on the one hand, its members are indulging themselves at spas, shopping malls, five star hotels and golf links and, on the other, the fact that at least 300 million of their countrymen exist at subhuman levels and, perhaps another 300 million or thereabouts, while not exactly starving, are bereft of a minimum of housing, education and healthcare, does not disturb them. The bizarre combination of happenings like India slipping down every year in the human development index constructed by the United Nations even as it attains the dubious distinction of having the largest number of billionaires after the United States of America is taken in its stride. More than half of Mumbai’s population lives in ramshackle jhoparpattys; awareness of this grim fact does not deter a tycoon from building in the city the obscenity of a mansion costing more than Rs 5,000 crore as his residential abode. Consider yet another instance. The loss to the national exchequer because of the 2G spectrum shenanigan, the comptroller and auditor general has estimated, is around Rs 1,80,000 crore. A public distribution programme covering the entire national population, which could reach food to each and every starving citizen of this country, would cost only one-half of that sum. But the powers that be are unwilling to endorse the programme; they even have the effrontery to suggest that public distribution reeks of corruption...
Bhaduri unravels these complex themes with an equal measure of acuity and elegance in The Face You Were Afraid to See. As one who identifies himself with the bottom 90 per cent of the community, he is, however, not satisfied with mere analysis; he is, so to say, stripped for action. And he has his own ideas regarding what activism should consist of. The established political parties, Bhaduri is convinced, are in cohorts with the ruling hegemony. He has equal contempt for the organized trade unions; these are, in his view, interested only in their own narrow interests and ignore such issues as the plight of villagers dispossessed of their cultivable land. He apparently forgets that the trade union movement, too, is itself a victim of the Machiavellian growth model fathered by economic liberalization. Any way, salvation, Bhaduri suggests, lies only in initiatives on the part of civil society groups in different spheres; these will then come together and accomplish the heroic task of smashing to smithereens the conspiracy hatched by corporate bosses and their crony politicians.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about leaked tapes exposing Indian journalists unethical dealings with corporate lobbyists:

Senior editors in India are considering putting in place systems to ensure ethical practices in journalism.

The move follows a scandal involving high-profile journalists after tapes of revealing phone conversations with an influential lobbyist were leaked.

At the centre of the controversy are two well-known journalists, Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt. Critics say they acted like deal-makers, not journalists.

Neither denies the conversations took place, but they deny any wrongdoing.

Ms Dutt is heard on tape offering to relay messages from the corporate lobbyist to politicians to influence the process of forming a cabinet.

Columnist Vir Sanghvi is heard offering a businessman a "rehearsed" interview.

'No grey areas'

"Journalists need to exercise their judgement and verify everything that is said by a source. There are no grey areas, it's black and white," Vinod Mehta, editor of Outlook magazine which published the tapes, said.

"Corporate lobbyists represent certain interests which should be clear to everyone."

Mr Mehta was among a number of participants who spoke in a debate held at the Press Club of India.

Rajdeep Sardesai, the editor of the TV channel CNN-Ibn, said: "Let us not overlook the fact that it is the media's unflinching attempts that have exposed these scams. Most of us are doing a very good job.

"This rot is not new - it's been around for three decades at least.

"In this competitive age, access is information which is where the politicians have co-opted the journalists. Corporate India and politicians are subverting the system," he said.

More than 100 tapes of conversations between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and leading journalists were recorded as part of an authorised police tap.

Police were acting on a request from income tax authorities investigating the alleged mis-selling of mobile telephone licences.

Last month, federal auditors said former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja had undersold mobile phone licences worth billions of dollars, resulting in an estimated loss of $39bn to the exchequer.

It is not clear who leaked the tapes to the media. Transcripts of the conversations have appeared in the Open and Outlook magazines and have angered many Indians.

In the tape recorded in the summer of 2009, Ms Dutt is heard discussing with Ms Radia who should be in the cabinet. Ms Radia was pushing for Mr Raja to be reinstated as a minister.

Ms Dutt, currently group editor at NDTV is heard assuring Ms Radia that she would speak to a senior Congress party leader on her behalf.

Barkha Dutt has apologised for "an error of judgement", but she insists that she has not done anything wrong.

Mr Sanghvi - who is heard offering a "fully scripted" and "rehearsed" television interview to Ms Radia's client, India's richest man Mukesh Ambani - says he was "just stringing her along".

Ms Radia works as a lobbyist for two of India's biggest industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata.

Since the leaks, Mr Tata has gone to court saying that conversations between him and Ms Radia were "personal" and that the leaks violated his right to privacy.

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

Unknown said...

so it means that India despite being home to 1.2 billion people is doing better albeit slightly than its much smaller counterparts.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from's Soutik Biswas's blog about Azim Premji's $2 billion donation for rural education and development in his native India:

Mr Premji remains an exception in the world of Indian business. India has some 60 billionaires. The wealth of its top 10 billionaires equals 12% of its GDP, compared to just 1% in China, 5% in Brazil and 9% in Russia. The combined net worth of India's 100 wealthiest people is about a quarter of its GDP. But the philanthropic record of India's rich is spotty.

A few like the Tatas - who built and run the city of Jamshedpur and have a decent record in what is called corporate social responsibility - appear to have been more generous than the others. In recent years, India's billionaires have given away money to their alma mater, mostly foreign universities. A mobile phone giant has set up a foundation for underprivileged children; a tyre company has invested in containing HIV/Aids. The chairman of a leading software company has said he would set aside 10% of his wealth for philanthropy. A tea company has adopted several hundred villages. But one suspects that it all does not add up to much, considering the enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of India's rich and the power they wield.

Are Indians then too greedy to be philanthropic? Americans, for example, are known to be generous, giving away some $300bn - or 2% of the nation's GDP - to charity. There are no figures available for India - a much poorer country - but I am sure they will not be anywhere close.

I don't think some people are hardwired for altruism and others aren't - an act of charity is often spurred by an incentive of publicity and media coverage. Readers always responded handsomely whenever a magazine I used to work with launched a donation drive following a devastating flood or an earthquake. "You give not only because you want to help but because it makes you look good, or feel good, or perhaps feel less bad," write economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner in SuperFreakonomics. So, traditionally, India's businessmen have felt that they have contributed enough to society by giving away a lot of money towards building of temples.

Many believe that India's rich are not generous enough and flaunt their wealth vulgarly in a country where the majority are poor. One reason could be that most Indian businesses are run by families and have mercantile origins. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once appealed to businessmen to share their profits with the common man, maximise profits "within levels of decency" and refrain from ostentatious display of wealth because such "vulgarity insults the poor". Gurcharan Das, a writer and management guru who has worked with some of India's top companies, believes that Indian capitalism has begun to flower in the past few decades and wealth is "now being created" in plenty. He believes that the rich will begin to contribute to social causes in a big way soon, and Mr Premji's $2bn charity for education sets an "important" precedent. Time will tell whether Mr Das is being too optimistic.

Riaz Haq 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

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times report titled "Necessity Pushes Pakistani Women Into Jobs and Peril":

KARACHI, Pakistan — Dinner at Rabia Sultana’s house is now served over a cold silence. Her family has not spoken to her since May, when Ms. Sultana, 21, swapped her home life for a cashier’s job at McDonald’s.

Her conservative brother berated Ms. Sultana for damaging the family’s honor by taking a job in which she interacts with men — and especially one that requires her to shed her burqa in favor of a short-sleeved McDonald’s uniform.

Then he confiscated her uniform, slapped her across the face and threatened to break her legs if he saw her outside the home.

Her family may be outraged, but they are also in need. Ms. Sultana donates her $100 monthly salary to supplement the household budget for expenses that the men in her family can no longer pay for, including school fees for her younger sisters.

Ms. Sultana is part of a small but growing generation of lower-class young women here who are entering service-sector jobs to support their families, and by extension, pitting their religious and cultural traditions against economic desperation.
“It’s not just the economic need, but need of the nation,” said Rafiq Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of KFC Pakistan, who has challenged his managers to double the number of women in his work force by next year. “Otherwise, Pakistan will never progress. We’ll always remain a third-world country because 15 percent of the people cannot feed 85 percent of the population.”

Female employment at KFC in Pakistan has risen 125 percent in the past five years.

Several chains like McDonald’s and the supermarket behemoth Makro, where the number of women has quadrupled since 2006, have introduced free transit services for female employees to protect them from harassment and to help persuade them take jobs where they may face hostility. “We’re a society in transition,” said Zeenat Hisam, a senior researcher at the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research. “Men in Pakistan haven’t changed, and they’re not changing as fast as our women. Men want to keep their power in their hand.

“The majority of the people here believe in the traditional interpretation of Islam, and they get very upset because religious leaders tell them it’s not proper for women to go out and to work and to serve strange men.”

More than 100 young women who recently entered service jobs told of continual harassment.
So far, the movement of women into the service sector has been largely limited to Karachi. Elsewhere across Pakistan, women are still mostly relegated to their homes, or they take jobs in traditional labor settings like women-only stitching factories or girls’ schools, where salaries can be half of those in the service industry. Even the most trailblazing of companies, like KFC, still employ 90 percent men.

Pakistan ranked 133rd out of the 134 countries on the 2010 Global Gender Gap Report’s list of women’s economic participation.

While there is no reliable data on the number of women who specifically enter the service sector, Pakistan’s female work force hovers around 20 percent, among the lowest of any Muslim country.

Some women, like Saima, 22, are forced to lead secret lives to earn $175 a month. Her father’s shopkeeper’s salary does not cover the family’s expenses. Without a university degree, the only job Saima could find was at a call center of a major restaurant’s delivery department. But she impressed the manger so much that he offered her a higher-paying waitress job at a branch near her home.
But the employed women are also approached by admiring young women who want to follow their lead.

“Girls envy us,” said Bushra, a KFC worker. “We are considered the men of the house, and that feels good.”

Mayraj said...

The End of Men
Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an opinion piece by Amartya Sen published in The Hindu:

... I managed to resurrect the memory of having said in passing, in a meeting of TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) in Delhi in December, that it is silly to be obsessed about overtaking China in the rate of growth of Gross National Product (GNP), while not comparing ourselves with China in other respects, like education, basic health, or life expectancy. Since that one-sentence remark seems to have been interpreted in many different ways (my attention to that fact was drawn by friends who are more web-oriented than I am), I guess I should try to explain what that remark was about.
Let me look at some numbers, drawing from various sources — national as well as international, in particular World Development Reports of the World Bank and Human Development Reports of the United Nations. Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years; in India it is still 64.4 years. Infant mortality rate is 50 per thousand in India, compared with just 17 in China, and the under-5 mortality rate is 66 for Indians and 19 for the Chinese. China's adult literacy rate is 94 per cent, compared with India's 65 per cent, and mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China. In our effort to reverse the lack of schooling of girls, India's literacy rate for women between the ages of 15 and 24 has certainly risen, but it is still below 80 per cent, whereas in China it is 99 per cent. Almost half of our children are undernourished compared with a very tiny proportion in China. Only 66 per cent of Indian children are immunised with triple vaccine (DPT), as opposed to 97 per cent in China. Comparing ourselves with China in these really important matters would be a very good perspective, and they can both inspire us and give us illumination about what to do — and what not to do, particularly the glib art of doing nothing.
Life expectancy in Bangladesh is 66.9 years compared with India's 64.4. The proportion of underweight children in Bangladesh (41.3 per cent) is a little lower than in India (43.5), and its fertility rate (2.3) is also lower than India's (2.7). Mean years of schooling amount to 4.8 years in Bangladesh compared with India's 4.4 years. While India is ahead of Bangladesh in male literacy rate in the youthful age-group of 15-24, the female rate in Bangladesh is higher than in India. Interestingly, the female literacy rate among young Bangladeshis is actually higher than the male rate, whereas young females still do much worse than young males in India. There is much evidence to suggest that Bangladesh's current progress has much to do with the role that liberated Bangladeshi women are beginning to play in the country.

What about health, which interests every human being as much as anything else? Under-5 mortality rate is 66 in India compared with 52 in Bangladesh. In infant mortality, Bangladesh has a similar advantage, since the rate is 50 in India and 41 in Bangladesh. Whereas 94 per cent of Bangladeshi children are immunised with DPT vaccine, only 66 per cent of Indian children are. In each of these respects, Bangladesh does better than India, despite having less than half of India's per-capita income.
And perhaps more worryingly, this group of relatively privileged and increasingly prosperous Indians can easily fall for the temptation to treat economic growth as an end in itself........

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on pregnant women's deaths in Rajathan due to tainted UV fluids:

..The (three) doctors have been charged with negligence and irregularities in purchases of medicines.

The women died after they were given infected intravenous (IV) fluids at two hospitals in Jodhpur city.

Laboratory tests had confirmed that IV fluids supplied by a local company were "tainted", officials said.

The women died after severe haemorrhaging after they were administered with the IV fluids, authorities say.

India accounts for the highest number of maternal deaths in the world, with tens of thousands of women dying every year due to pregnancy-related problems.


Here's a Deccan Herald story on tainted medicines in India:

It is said that roughly 10 per cent of the medicines available in the market are counterfeit, contaminated or substandard. Profits are huge in the trade. This is a massive racket that involves not just illicit manufacturers but a long chain that includes distributors and then, of course, the shops and hospitals through which these spurious medicines are pushed. It is alleged that pharmacists selling counterfeit drugs profit from doing so. If manufactures are able to push their contaminated drugs easily, it is because hospital authorities are not vigilant. They prefer to purchase medicines from those who grease their palms rather than trusted manufacturers. The problem of contaminated medicines is not one that is confined to allopathic medicines. Testing of some samples of ayurvedic or homeopathic medicines has revealed presence of toxic metal.

Indian pharmaceutical companies export medicines to Africa and Latin America. Therefore, the manufacture of substandard drugs and contaminated fluids poses a grave public health threat that extends far beyond India’s borders. Stern action against those responsible for Jodhpur tragedy is welcome. But it must not stop there. The government must act against other manufacturers of counterfeit and contaminated medicines. The crime they are engaging in is not a minor one. It cannot be brushed aside as mere negligence as they are causing the death of people. They cannot be allowed to play with people’s lives. It is undermining the legitimacy of our medical system.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story of Pakistan's 100,000 ladies health workers reaching out to rural communities:

KARACHI, Mar 16, 2011 (IPS) - At eight in the morning 30-year-old Sultana Solangi steps out of her house ready for her day’s work. Wearing a black gown that shows only her eyes, she is shod in comfortable slippers and lugs a large black bag.

She will walk through this city’s poorest communities, visiting as many as 10 homes everyday, helping to raise awareness and improve maternal and child health.

In her bag is an assortment of medical supplies: Paracetamol tablets and oral rehydration salts, bandages, condoms, contraceptive pills, iron and folic acid tablets, eye ointments, and antiseptic lotion.

Solangi, the sole breadwinner in her family of four, works as a lady health worker (LHW), employed by the government’s National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health Care.

Launched in 1994, the programme now has a veritable army of 100,000 LHWs covering 60 percent of the population - the biggest outreach intervention in South Asia.

These women venture where few doctors dare to go, from congested cities to far-flung and underdeveloped rural areas, acting as the link between communities and the public health system.

Over the years, their work has expanded to include health campaigns like administering polio drops to children under five, plus neonatal tetanus, measles, tuberculosis, and malaria control.

LHWs are particularly important in the rural areas where three-quarters of Pakistan’s population live, and where a trip to a health centre may require a hike of a couple of hours to as much as a day. Illiteracy is widespread in these areas and often customs prevent women from seeking health services without being chaperoned by a male family member.

Solangi cited the case of Zahida Sanghi, a woman Solangi’s age but already a mother of seven. Sanghi lives in People’s Colony, a community in Larkana city in Sindh province, some 322 kilometres from the southern port city of Karachi, which is part of Solangi’s coverage area.

"Zahida Sanghi was very weak and would not have survived another pregnancy. The husband is jobless. It took close to two months to convince her mother-in-law that it was all right for her to get a tubal ligation done since her family was complete. This is all part of my job," she said.

Every day, Solangi and her colleagues cover between five to 10 houses and talk to women like Sanghi about the importance of antenatal check-ups, vaccinations, safe delivery, the use and making of oral rehydration salts, and modern methods of family planning.

They also hold about eight group sessions each month where they discuss with local women issues related to mother and child health.

Yet despite the LHW programme, Pakistan remains a maternal and infant health hotspot.

The Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS), conducted from 2006 to 2007, shows an infant mortality rate of 78 deaths per 1,000 live births. It also shows a mortality rate of children under five years old of 94 deaths per 1,000 live births. This means one in every 11 children born in Pakistan dies before reaching his or her fifth birthday.

The maternal mortality rate of 276 per 100,000 live births is also far too high, and has remained virtually unchanged since 1991.

Sadiqa Jaffery, president of the National Committee on Maternal and Neonatal Health, said the statistics would be much worse without the LHWs on the ground.

"It’s been established that where LHWs are present family planning services and routine immunisation is better. The problem is that the coverage is not blanket," Jaffery said.

But Farid Midhet, founder of the Safe Motherhood Pakistan Alliance, remains unconvinced of the impact of LHWs. "Family planning is the cornerstone of women’s health services and it still eludes millions," he said.