Monday, September 25, 2017

How Has Bangladesh Left Pakistan Behind in Per Capita Income?

A headline in the Economist magazine's recent issue screams: "Bangladesh's GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan's". Let's examine this development to understand its causes.

Per Capita GDP:

The Economist article explains its headline as follows: "Last month revealed a remarkable turnaround. Bangladesh’s GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan’s. Converted into dollars at market exchange rates, it was $1,538 in the past fiscal year (which ended on June 30th). Pakistan’s was about $1,470....Strange as it may sound, Bangladesh jumped ahead because of an advance in Pakistan. On August 25th Pakistan released the results of its census, updating earlier population estimates. They showed that the country has 207.8m people, more than 9m more than previously thought. It may now have the fifth biggest population in the world, surpassing Brazil’s. But the new count also lopped 4-5% off Pakistan’s GDP per person, the arithmetic consequence of revealing so many more people."

Savings Rate in Pakistan Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Pakistan Growth By Decades. Source: National Trade and Transport Facility

Economic Growth Trends:

One can quibble with the Economist on details of its report but the fact remains that Bangladesh's economy has been growing significantly faster than Pakistan's for about a decade. To understand why, it's important to look into savings and investments, population growth trends and security situation in the two countries. Let's examine each in a little more detail.

Investment as Percentage of GDP Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Savings and Investment:

There's a strong relationship between investment levels and gross domestic product. The more a country saves and invests, the higher its economic growth.  A State Bank of Pakistan report explains it as below:

"National savings (in Pakistan) as percent of GDP were around 10 percent during 1960s, which increased to above 15percent in 2000s, but declined afterward. Pakistan’s saving rate also compares unfavorably with that in neighboring countries: last five years average saving rate in India was 31.9 percent, Bangladesh 29.7 percent, and Sri Lanka 24.5 percent..... Similarly, domestic savings (measured as national savings less net factor income from abroad) also declined from about 15 percent of GDP in 2000s, to less than 9 percent in recent years. Domestic savings are imperative for sustainable growth, because inflow of income from abroad (remittances and other factor income) is uncertain due to cyclical movements in world economies, exchange rates, and external shocks".

Net Foreign Direct Investment Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Population Trends:

The total fertility rate (TFR) in Bangladesh has declined faster in Bangladesh than in Pakistan in the last few decades. Currently, Bangladesh is at 2.17 children per woman while Pakistan is at 2.62 children per woman.

As a result of reduced birth rates and more female labor participation rates, a larger percentage of Bangladeshi population is in the work force than Pakistan's. There are now more wage earners and fewer dependents in each Bangladeshi household. This demographic trend has helped boost Bangladesh's per capita income faster than Pakistan's. 

Rising working age population and growing workforce participation of both men and women in Pakistan will significantly boost domestic savings and investment. Increased foreign direct investment such as Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor over the next several decades will help fill the gap between the national savings rate and investments required to reach 7% annual GDP growth to create over 2 million jobs a year.

Security Issues:

Pakistan has paid a heavy price for its proximity to and involvement in "war on terror" in Afghanistan. It has cost Pakistan dearly in terms of loss of thousands of precious lives and lower investments due to investors' security concerns. Recent operations by Pakistan Army have helped turn the tide against terrorists, bringing more hope and greater confidence in Pakistan's future. Rising FDI in CPEC-related projects in the last couple of years are an indication of this confidence.


Pakistan is now experiencing the demographic dividend that Bangladesh has seen in the last few decades in terms of more of its population earning and fewer dependents. Pakistan's labor force is growing at 3.6% a year, much faster than its population growth rate of 2.34%. This should help boost Pakistan's per capita and its domestic savings rate.

At the same time, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects are bringing more foreign direct investment, thereby speeding up the economic growth in the country. Pakistan's GDP growth is accelerating from less than 5% two years ago to 6% forecast for fiscal 2017-18.  In its latest economic growth projections, Kennedy School's Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University expects Pakistan's annual GDP growth to average 5.97% over the next 8 years, ranking it as the world's 6th fastest growing economy. It is within the realm of possibility that economic growth in Pakistan could exceed 7% in the next couple of years.


Pakistan has fallen behind Bangladesh and India in per capita income as its growth rates have slipped in recent years mainly due to declining savings and investment rates and security issues.  Demographic trends and improved security situation now favor Pakistan's future growth as its workforce grows and household sizes shrink.


Akbar said...

This is sad. Before 1971, west Pakistan was the richest region in all of South Asia and many thought it will drive the economy of the entire region. South Koreans came to learn about agriculture growth and economic well being with almost no poverty!

Ahmad F. said...

Low savings and investment has been a chronic problem for Pakistan all along. Almost intractable.

Mayraj said...

GDP bias towards rich. Bangladesh GDP over Pakistan masks that. Most of economy is based in Dhaka-sonce over 80% of exports are from textile industry. That reveals how ltd its economy is. Worse: Dhaka is becomin a dystopia.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Low savings and investment has been a chronic problem for Pakistan all along. Almost intractable."

True but it's gotten a lot worse since Musharraf's departure in 2008. You can see it in the graphs.

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "GDP bias towards rich. Bangladesh GDP over Pakistan masks that. Most of economy is based in Dhaka-sonce over 80% of exports are from textile industry. That reveals how ltd its economy is. Worse: Dhaka is becomin a dystopia."

Yes, higher inequality does increase domestic savings in both Bangladesh and India. The super rich tend to save a lot more while the relatively poor end up spending most of their income to meet their needs.

And it's true that Bangladeshi economy is heavily dependent on textiles for growth.

However, BD still has the bigger investable savings pool to diversify their industrial base in the future.

If BD fails to diversify, their growth will slow as the Harvard Kennedy School projects that Bangladesh growth will slow to 2.82% average over the next 10 years, much lower than Pakistan's 5.97%.

Mayraj said...

Yes Bangladesh can use those savings;but hasn't expanded industry. May not do it as this was started under the military regime. And you know are not even taking initiative because this industry get orders via Hong Kong still!

Bangladesh's problem is that it was part of the starved Bengal Presidency. So it needs to do a lot more. These textile mogul's are keeping wages lowest in textile industry. So how can people even become consumers? You need to make local workers better off.

GDP can mask struggling economy also see for example CT with highest GDP of any state in US!

Anonymous said...

In its latest economic growth projections, Kennedy School's Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University expects Pakistan's annual GDP growth to average 5.97% over the next 8 years, ranking it as the world's 6th fastest growing economy. It is within the realm of possibility that economic growth in Pakistan could exceed 7% in the next couple of years.---

This is not possible. For a diversified economy, the typical Incremental Capital to Output Ratio (ICOR) is about 4.

Bangladesh & India have saving-investment levels of 30%. So they can do 7-8% sustained growth rates.

Pakistan has NEVER reached that level of savings-investment. Pakistan peak national savings rate was 16% and peak foreign savings importation rate was 4%, giving it a peak investment rate of 20%. This limits Pakistan's long-term growth rate to about 5% at best.

Pakistan will never be able to match Bangladesh & India. This is not possible without MAJOR structural reform that changes the very basis of the economy.

With its low domestic savings rate, Pakistan is very susceptible to repeated bouts of capital flight induced economic crises. Given the high level of NET external debt (external debt minus foreign exchange reserves), it is only a matter of time before Pakistan goes back to the IMF. This is not an issue for Bangladesh & India. Look at the data--

Bangladesh external debt: 26 billion $
Bangladesh forex reserves: 32 billion $
===Bangladesh NET external debt: -6 billion$

India external debt: 470 billion $
India forex reserves: 405 billion $
===India NET external debt: 65 billion$

Pakistan external debt: 83 billion $
Pakistan forex reserves: 21 billion $
===Pakistan NET external debt: 62 billion$

This level of NET external debt cannot be sustained. Pakistan is now close to default.

Tashmul said...

US $

Bangladesh 510
India 557
Pakistan 893

B 848
I 1165
P 1851

B 1369
I 2019
P 2700

B 4207
I 7153
P 5375

Economic Story of South Asia 1980-2017

Neal said...

Pakistan's per capita will turn out to be higher as soon as Pakistan uses a more up to date base year. Do you know when this might happen?

I don't know why exactly Pakistan got cold feet the last time it was investigating doing so (I have heard every kind of reason from certain markers doing worse or certain vested interest sectors coming under pressure from it) but Pakistan must address this, more for a greater relevant snapshot of current Pakistan economy (for policy planning) rather than solely to push up the nominal size (that is really more of a side effect any country experiences).

The real important number is realised consumption (which only gets distorted when you have to go through market exchange rates of the currency) and markers that measure that (PPP is a good example of one that aggregates and standardises it). They are not held back/helped by base year effects as much because they do their own sampling strategy. Pakistan per capita on that is lot better than BD.

However Pakistan has to address its gross capital formation % of GDP and credit availability % of GDP to its private sector. They are still very low. There is next to no reason (even accounting for war on terror) why (credit to private sector) is at 16% and not at least twice that. Depressed GCF I can kind of understand its impact given the investment is diverted to military/security spending (which have little long term GDP materialisation given next to 0 multiplier effect) + what gets physically destroyed by war etc...but even that seems really low to me (15%) all things considered (because Pakistans numbers here were pretty depressed well before WoT began). Some big term banking/credit reform is needed and Pakistan needs to improve its finance and regulatory institutions....there is definitely something structurally bad. There is only some buffer spring that coming out of the WoT scenario would afford, it has to be harnessed to fix the underlying structural problems that existed well before and continue to do so.

Riaz Haq said...

Neal: "Pakistan's per capita will turn out to be higher as soon as Pakistan uses a more up to date base year."

State Bank: Pakistan's Actual GDP Higher Than Official Figures Show

"In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM." State Bank of Pakistan Annual Report 2014

Economists have long argued that Pakistan's official GDP figures significantly understate real economic activity in terms of both production and consumption.

M. Ali Kemal and Ahmed Waqar Qasim, economists at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), explored several published different approaches for sizing Pakistan's underground economy and settled on a combination of PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) consumption data and mis-invoicing of exports and imports to conclude that the country's "informal economy was 91% of the formal economy in 2007-08".

And now the State Bank of Pakistan has focused on the production side of the economy in its annual report for Fiscal Year 2014. The nation's central bankers have singled out the economic activity in large scale manufacturing sector as their focus in the latest report. They say that the existing LSM (Large Scale Manufacturing) index was based on Census of Manufacturing Industries (CMI) that was conducted in 2006 which included only those sectors which had significant value addition to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the time of census.

In the years since 2006 CMI (Census of Manufacturing Industries) census, Pakistan has seen a significant expansion of its middle class along with rapidly growing consumer demand in sectors such as processed foods and fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG). It's one of several major new sectors whose growth is not reflected in the official GDP figures.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's exports up just 1.2%. Share of #India's #exports in #GDP at 14-year low of 19.4%. #Modi #BJP

The share of export in India’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined to a 14-year low during the first quarter (Q1) of the current financial year (FY18). Growth in export of goods and services has remained below overall economic growth since FY15. Exports were up only 1.2 per cent at constant prices during the first quarter of FY18, against 5.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in GDP during the period. In value terms, India’s exports has been stagnant at around Rs 24 lakh crore (at 2011-12 prices) in the past three years, against 24 per cent cumulative ...

Majumdar said...

Brofessor sahib,

Yeh kya hua, kaise hua? It seems just the other day (2007 if I recall) that you walked into our humble abode on and gave us Hindoos a bloody nose. You could produce at the drop of a hat a whole range of indices- from A to Z- where Pakistan could be seen to be beating India (let alone puny BD) hollow. And now doing tu tu main main with BD....

Time to remind CO of Brigade 111 of his patriotic duty, sir?


Riaz Haq said...

Belt and Road: Xi’s initiative finds momentum and meaning in south Asia By: Elliot Wilson Published on: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 BRI may be hard to define, but it is already working wonders in parts of a region crying out for good infrastructure. Global and regional lenders are happy to go along for the ride.

The genius of China’s sprawling attempts to rework globalization in its own image is that, for now at least, it defies any attempt at clarity. Ask any two people to define the Belt and Road Initiative and you receive utterly different answers. Nawaz Sharif, former premier of Pakistan, a country that stands to benefit handsomely from the initiative, has described the BRI as a “game-changer” for his homeland. Matthew Oxenford, a research associate at Chatham House’s global economy and finance team in London, sees it as Beijing’s “flagship branding exercise”. He draws comparisons between the BRI’s nation-building efforts and the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era US agency that put jobless men to work building much-needed roads and public buildings. This lack of clarity is often more help than hindrance. “Even if no one understands what BRI is, which they don’t, everyone does understand infrastructure,” notes Fraser Howie, author of ‘Privatizing China’. “Belt and Road allows you to justify pretty much any infrastructure development in any country along its route. BRI is a magic word that explains any project to investors, bankers, or multilaterals.”

Nayana Mawilmada, head of investments at Megapolis, a scheme to rebuild Sri Lanka’s western provinces, says: “Even when a project isn’t tacitly part of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is part of the pitch process. Just saying that something is Belt and Road-related opens up new conduits of financial resources.”

Take the example of south Asia, which is the only part of the world in which the ‘belt’ and the ‘road’ interconnect, and which has benefited more from the initiative than any other region. China’s push into the subcontinent began back in 1962, when a border dispute drove a wedge between it and India. Beijing turned to Pakistan, which became a willing buyer of Chinese-made military equipment, and more recently a direct-aid recipient: in April, the Chinese government gave Islamabad $1 billion in loans to stave off a currency crisis. China’s presence in Pakistan accelerated from 2009. First, it built and secured control over a new industrial port and naval facility in Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. This granted Beijing unfettered access to the Indian Ocean, with its busy shipping lanes, but also its lack, as the historian Robert Kaplan noted in his book ‘Monsoon’, of entrenched superpowers. From there, China pushed north, building infrastructure as it went. A 2,280-acre free-trade area sprang up in Gwadar, controlled by China Overseas Port Holding. Beijing is building new power plants, coalmines, hydroelectric dams, nuclear reactors and a highway linking Karachi on the Indian Ocean with western China via the Karakoram Pass. New pipelines built, funded and, importantly, controlled by mainland institutions, will convey Middle Eastern crude oil overland to China and send liquefied natural gas in the other direction, easing Pakistan’s constant energy and power shortages.


Neal said...

do you know when Pakistan starts using a more recent base year? It seems almost criminal for it not to and I don't understand why it has not done so for so long now. Population census was a good step, but its high time for better base year too. It can be instrumental in attracting foreign investment and also help debt-load numbers etc.

Riaz Haq said...

Neal: " do you know when Pakistan starts using a more recent base year?"

Not anytime soon. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is preoccupied with defending himself against corruption charges in courts right now.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan targets import curbs to ward off currency crisis

Abbasi to impose fresh curbs on luxuries in effort to avoid devaluing rupee

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Pakistan plans to tighten curbs on luxury imports to ward off a foreign currency crisis without devaluing the rupee, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the prime minister, has said.

Mr Abbasi said he would rather place further controls on imports in an effort to preserve fast-dwindling foreign reserves than allow the rupee to fall against other currencies.

Some experts believe Pakistan will have to request another bailout from the International Monetary Fund within a year.

In March, the Pakistani government made it harder to import non-essential items such as vehicles, mobile phones, cigarettes and jewellery by insisting buyers put down 100 per cent of the cash upfront.

The measure drew criticism that it would encourage people to trade instead on the black market. The IMF said it had been told by Pakistani officials that the restrictions would be removed within a year but Mr Abbasi told the FT his government was planning to impose more.

“We can put regulatory duties on certain items, especially luxury finished goods, that’s possible,” he said. “We probably will do more of that, yes definitely, to discourage imports.

“Currency devaluation is not on the table, it’s not. A lot of people thought it was . . . [but] it is important to have stability for the rupee,” said Mr Abbasi.

Pakistan is running out of foreign currency as exports and payments from Pakistanis abroad fall while imports rise.

The central bank had $14.3bn of foreign reserves as of September 15, according to the most recent data — enough to cover exports for about three months. That is down from a high of $18.9bn last October.

Pakistan has been importing more than it exports for some time, but the problem has been exacerbated by having to buy Chinese supplies for projects as part of the $55bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

While the scheme is aimed at improving Pakistan’s energy supply and transport networks, many economists believe that in the short term it will push Islamabad back towards the IMF.

“We will have to go back to the IMF any time now,” said Muhammad Zubair Khan, a former commerce minister who worked at the IMF for more than a decade. “The current situation is not sustainable.”

Sakib Sherani, a former economic adviser to the government, warned: “From a balance of payments crisis, we will have a full-blown macroeconomic crisis, where private sector sentiment is hit, growth stalls, inflation is high, and the central bank has to act.”

As well as restricting imports, the country has also borrowed money at short notice from various international lenders to pay off its debts. In 2016 and early 2017, Pakistan borrowed $1.2bn from state-backed Chinese banks.

Many economists believe the only long-term way out of the crunch is to allow the rupee to fall, encouraging exports and discouraging imports.

But doing so has become politically sensitive, with ministers insisting on a strong currency while central bankers warning of the likely consequences.

In July, the rupee suddenly fell 3 per cent, having traded in a narrow band since 2015. Central bank officials said they had backed away from shoring up the currency, but the move drew an angry response from the government, which stepped in to boost its value again before replacing the acting governor.

Abdul said...

BD is planning a base year too. We're still using 2005-6 base year. When it is moved to 2015-16 you'll see per capita incomes making a jump too. Considering that BD's nominal per capita according to latest IMF reports have increased to 90% of India's and India is using 11-12 base year BD's nominal GDP might actually get very close or even ahead of India's.

Neal said...

Abdul: "BD is planning a base year too. We're still using 2005-6 base year. When it is moved to 2015-16 you'll see per capita incomes making a jump too."

Won't happen (to degree you are thinking). BD is very much more a single industry kind of (export dependent) economy compared to even Pakistan, forget India. This means much much less in BD is hidden from US dollar exchange rate (also similar reason why %wise BD realised more of its PPP into nominal compared to India and Pakistan). Countries that get highest rebasing effect normally have large increases in their stock market total cap and also indices in the time period in question. BD simply has not experienced the same here that Pakistan and India have, especially if you look at the types of companies that made the most gains in all of them and how that relates to the base year snapshot composition.

Also Per capita in nominal (as useless and irrelevant the concept is in the first place to consumption and socioeconomic development esp when its below 5k threshold ), you are more like 80% of India, not 90%:,534&s=NGDPDPC&grp=0&a=

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC Lifts #Pakistan Up In #WEF World #COMPETITIVENESS Rankings via @forbes

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is still a work in progress, but it has already helped Pakistan's economy climb several notches on the global competitiveness scale.

That's according to a just published World Economic Forum Report (WEFR), which placed Pakistan 115th out of the 137 countries ranked. (Bangladesh is ranked higher at 99)

While this ranking is still low compared to neighboring countries, it’s a big improvement from the 122th position the country occupied last year, and the 133th position back in 2014

One reason for this improvement is Pakistan’s progress in the infrastructure “pillar” of the report, where the country is ranked 110th.

Paradoxically, while Pakistan climbed in the infrastructure “pillar,” its CPEC partner moved in the other direction. China’s score for the infrastructure pillar decreased for the second year in a row, due in part to a decline in the quality of port infrastructure and the reliability of electricity supply.

That’s certainly not a good sign for the future of the CPEC partnership. It raises doubts as to whether the project will ever be completed without leaving Pakistan deep in debt. Besides, CPEC faces other challenges -- like India’s claims over areas crossed by the enormous project, and from the persistence of corruption on both sides of the partnership, as was discussed in a previous piece.

It’s these doubts, together with the persistence of corruption, that have tempered investor enthusiasm over the country’s climb in the global competition scale.

In fact, Pakistan’s equities have been headed in the opposite direction to that of the country’s competitiveness. The Global X MSCI Pakistan shares lost 5.40 percent over the last twelve months, as iShares S&P India gained close to 11 percent—see tale.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan boasts the world's fastest growing retail market. Growing middle class & youth bulge are big reasons why.

Middle class expected to surpass U.K., Italy over 2016-21
By Faseeh Mangi
September 28, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT
Nearly two-thirds of Pakistan population under 30 years old
Pakistan’s retail stores forecast to grow by 50% in 5 years
Pakistan’s burgeoning youth and their freewheeling attitude toward rising incomes have turned the nation into the world's fastest growing retail market.

The market is predicted to expand 8.2 percent per annum through 2016-2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International. The size of the middle class is estimated to surpass that of the U.K. and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Pakistan's improving security environment, economic expansion at near 5 percent and cheap consumer prices are driving shoppers to spend up big. Almost two-thirds of the nation's 207.8 million people are aged under 30, according to the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“We have a new millennial shopper at hand. They don’t mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they would like,” said Shabori Das, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. “It’s not like the Baby Boomer generation where savings for the future generation was important.”

Pakistan is bucking the trend in the U.S. -- where stores are closing at a record pace as e-commerce undermines bricks-and-mortar. It's also attracting foreign operators: Turkish home appliance maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV entered the market last year via acquisitions. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and Renault SA are all building plants in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan’s retail stores are expected to increase by 50 percent to 1 million outlets in the five years through 2021, Euromonitor said. Its three biggest malls, Lucky One in Karachi and Packages Mall and Emporium Mall in Lahore, opened in the past two years.

Pakistan is mirroring what India went through about four years ago. Both countries have young populations with more income and less inclination toward saving which is a distinct difference to what retailers elsewhere are dealing with, said Das.

Jibran said...

I know you try to show only the positive of Pakistan economy but you should read ADB report on Pakistan. I don't like PML-N because they are thinking only short term growth. In 2-3 years Pakistan will start falling behind even more. Only if you show problems of the economy then you can try to fix it.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #India is now detached from the world, sitting out the global recovery in growth and jobs? #Modi … via @TOIOpinion by Ruchir Sharma

In the global jobs picture, India stands out as even more of a sore thumb. The worldwide unemployment rate, as calculated by JP Morgan research, is almost back to its pre-2008 crisis low of 5.5 per cent. Developed economies from the UK to Japan have the lowest unemployment rates seen in many decades. In emerging economies, the unemployment rate has been falling since 2014 and this year even countries such as Russia and Brazil, which experienced deep recessions, are seeing a marked improvement in the labour market. In India, meanwhile poor quality data makes it difficult to put a number on the job woes, but the available data is grim and news stories about jobs losses abound.


The best explanation lies in recent domestic policy moves, as until last year both India and emerging markets broadly were slowing down in sync. A disconnect began late last year when growth in emerging markets started recovering and India kept slowing.
The first of the policy moves was the unique demonetisation experiment. The second was the Goods and Services Tax, which was supposed to bring India in line with global standards but instead added typically Indian layers of complexity. These policies disrupted local businesses, including exporters. Imports have surged to meet consumer demand, widening the trade deficit and cutting into GDP growth.
It is disappointing that India is missing out on the global revival in economic growth, but perhaps even more troubling that it is missing out on jobs growth – a trend that precedes the GDP slowdown but has also gotten worse over the past year.
Many commentators are blaming these troubles on global forces. In India, especially, it is popular to talk about how automation is taking jobs away from humans. But the global jobs boom suggests that there is little evidence for such losses. At any point in time technology is destroying some traditional jobs, and creating them in new industries.
India’s apologists also point to “premature deindustrialisation”, the idea that it is increasingly difficult for countries to export their way to prosperity, because of a more competitive environment for manufacturing globally and slumping world trade. Even though trade volumes have perked up this year, they are well below the pace seen before 2008. And competing in global manufacturing, which was always the most important path to mass employment, is harder now following the rise of China.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s Growth Slowdown. #Modi #Achhedin #BJP … via @WSJOpinion

Narendra Modi promised Indians acche din, Hindi for good times, when he became Prime Minister in 2014. So an economic slowdown that has seen real GDP growth tumble to 5.7% in the second quarter threatens his popularity. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is now debating how the government went wrong and how to boost growth ahead of the 2019 general election.

NBRX said...

The slowdown is temporary according to the comprehensive ADB report released last month. Demonetization and GST enaction has brought a chunk of businesses into the tax net. The success of demonetization is otherwise debated but it has made more Indians paying taxes, from 12 to 17%!
Fundamentals are on a strong footing and the economy is set for a rebound - 6months to 12 months

Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

“Every statistic has improved and we have managed to increase gross domestic product growth rate and at the same time contained the budget deficit and inflation,” said Ismail. Pakistan’s economy expanded to $313 billion, the highest in history.


Ismail admitted problems on the external front and expressed the hope that the recent two devaluations of the rupee against the US dollar would help narrow down the widening current account deficit. He said that the government did not want to curtail imports but was trying to bridge this gap by increasing exports and remittances.


Investment and savings

The investment-to-GDP ratio stood at 16.4% against the five-year target of 22.8%. This ratio was slightly better than last year’s revised rate of 16.1%. Savings slipped below last year’s level of 12% and stood at 11.4% of GDP, far below the five-year target of 21.3% of GDP.

Fixed investment remained at 14.8%. Public investment increased to 5% of GDP, which was better than the previous year. The target of private investment was also missed by a wide margin, which stood at 9.8% of GDP against the five-year target of 16.7%. Results for private investment are worse than last year when they had been estimated at 10%.

GDP growth

The PML-N government claimed to achieve an economic growth rate of 5.8% in its last year in power that is the highest over the past 13 years. But it is significantly lower than the 7% target the incumbent government wanted to achieve when it came to power in 2013.

However, the current growth rate is decent enough to give a political advantage to the ruling party in the upcoming general elections.

In 2012-13, which was the last year of the PPP tenure, the economic growth rate was 3.7%.

Just under than two-thirds of growth — 66.4% to be precise — came from the services sector, which performed slightly better than the expectations. The government achieved growth targets for services and agriculture sectors but missed the industrial sector growth target again.

Despite a better economic performance, the growth rate was still insufficient to absorb the youth bulge — Any pace of growth below 7% rate would increase unemployment.

Riaz Haq said...

Bangladesh is indeed doing well but its economy is a one-trick pony. Bangladesh is heavily dependent on ready-made garment manufacturing (RMG) exports for economic growth. "Many low-income countries, including Bangladesh, Venezuela, and Angola have failed to diversify their knowhow and face low growth prospects. Others like India, Turkey, and the Philippines have successfully added productive capabilities to enter new sectors and will drive growth over the coming decade,” said Sebastian Bustos, a lead CID researcher in trade and economic complexity methods."

Unknown said...

Watch out for BD -- in all probability it's going to emerge within the next few years in the world market with diversification of exports in pharmaceuticals,leather-products, agri-products, light-industrials, soft-wares, data-servicing, ship-building and so on.

Riaz Haq said...

UP's fertility rate nearly halved from 4.82 in 1993 to 2.7 in 2016 - and it's expected to touch 2.1 by 2025, according to a government projection.

Given the falling rates, "incentivising sterilisation is counterproductive", Ms Muttreja added, because "70% of India's increase in population is going to come from young people. So, what we need is non-permanent, spacing methods".

Fertility rates have dipped below replacement levels - 2.1 births per woman - in 19 out of India's 22 states and federally administered territories for which data has been released in the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS). Data from the remaining nine states, including UP, is not ready yet.


Increased awareness, government programmes, urbanisation, upward mobility and greater use of modern methods of contraception have all contributed to this.

Nearly half of the world's countries have seen an extraordinary decline in fertility rates. By 2070, the global fertility rate is expected to drop below replacement levels, according to the UN.

China's fertility rate had dropped to 1.3 in 2020, while India's was 2.2 at the last official count in 2016.

Will the world's 'first male birth control shot' work?
Why do Indian women go to sterilisation camps?
So, why implement this rule now?
One reason, according to demographers, is the differing rates across India.

Six states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh - that are home to roughly 40% of India's population also have fertility rates higher than the replacement level, 2.1. This is in sharp contrast with Kerala (1.8), Karnataka (1.7), Andhra Pradesh (1.7) or Goa (1.3).

"Also, our cities are overcrowded and ill-planned. They convey an image of over-population," Dr KS James, director of International Institute of Population Sciences, said.

Political analysts also believe UP's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, has an eye on state elections slated for next year. And, with such a drastic move, he hopes to signal a development agenda that is removed from his controversial image as a divisive right-wing Hindu nationalist.

This is not a new idea either. In 2018, more than 125 MPs wrote to the president asking for the implementation of a two-child norm. The same year the Supreme Court dismissed several petitions seeking population control measures as it could lead to a "civil war-like situation". In the last year, three MPs from Mr Adityanath's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) introduced bills in parliament to control population.

Since the early 1990s, 12 states have introduced some version of the two child-policy.

Did it work?
It's hard to say because different states implemented different versions of it - some left loopholes and others introduced financial incentives alongside the punitive measures.

There has been no independent evaluation either but a study in five of the states showed a rise in unsafe and sex-selective abortions, and men divorcing their wives or giving up their children for adoption so they could contest polls.

But the results are mixed - four states revoked the law; Bihar started in 2007 but still has the country's highest fertility rate (3.4); and Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have all seen a remarkable drop in fertility rates with no such norms in place.

"India is at a perfect stage as far as population distribution is concerned," Niranjan Saggurti, director of the Population Council's office in India said.

Experts say India has entered a demographic dividend - the ability of a young and active workforce to catapult economies out of poverty. How India can harness this, especially in populous states like Uttar Pradesh, remains to be seen.