Obama: Quickest Route to Indian Unity is Expressing Hostility Toward Pakistan

Discussion on India in President Barack Obama's memoir titled "A Promised Land" reveals what the former US President thought about India, particularly Indian hostility against Pakistan. Obama also reveals that President-elect Joseph R. Biden opposed the US Navy Seals raid to kill Usama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011. Biden was Obama's Vice President at the time. 

Obama's Book Excerpts: 

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.  

"Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”. 

All politics and violence in India revolve around "religion, clan and caste". 

"Despite genuine economic progress, India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers". 

Indians take "great pride in the knowledge that India had developed nuclear weapons to match Pakistan's, untroubled by the fact that a single miscalculation by either side could risk regional annihilation".  

"(Manmohan) Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after the (Mumbai) attacks, but his restraint had cost him politically. He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)" 

"Across the country (India), millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied". 

“Joe (Biden) weighed in against the (Usama Bin Laden) raid (on compound in Pakistan)”

Deaths From Poor Sanitation in South Asia. Source: Our World in Data


Biden-Trump Debate: 

In his first debate with Democratic Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, President Donald Trump questioned India's coronavirus data while responding to Biden's accusation that his opponent has badly mishandled the pandemic. About 21 minutes into the debate, Trump said: "And, by the way, when you talk about numbers, you don’t know how many people died in China. You don’t know how many people died in Russia. You don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t exactly give you a straight count, just so you understand". 

Talking about climate change, Trump accused India of being a leading polluter. About an hour into the debate, Trump said: "China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does. India does. They all do". There are reports suggesting India has surpassed China as the world's top polluter. Images captured by the Dutch space instrument, Tropomi, show high concentrations pollutants like Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone and other pollutants produced by car traffic, industry and power stations in India, according to a Business Insider report.

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on India:

"One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India", adds Ambassador Mahbubani. It's not just Mahbubani who suspects the United States leadership does not respect India. Others, including former President Bill Clinton, current US President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria have expressed similar sentiments. 

Trump and Clinton:

There is some evidence to support Ambassador Mahbubani's assertion about America's lack of respect for India. For example,  ex US President Bill Clinton said in 1990s that India has a Rodney Dangerfield problem: It can’t get no respect, according to his deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott. In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Hillary Clinton referred to India as "a self-appointed frontrunner for a permanent UN security council seat."

More recently, US President Donald Trump mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Indian contribution to Afghanistan.  Trump said he got along very well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan". "That's like five hours of what we spend... And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan," Trump said.

Western Media:

Indians were justifiably very proud of their great scientific achievement when the India Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the nation's Mars Mission back in 2013. The New York Times, America's leading newspaper, mocked India with a cartoon depicting the country as a dhoti-wearing farmer with his cow knocking on the door of the Elite Space Club. 

New York Times Cartoon


In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Fareed Zakaria: 

CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria is known to be among the loudest cheerleaders for India and a sharp critic of Pakistan. While he still refuses to say anything that could even remotely be considered positive about Pakistan, it seems that he is souring on his native India.

Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

 Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the  world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6.  What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.

Summary: 

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”, writes former US President Barack Obama in his memoir titled "A Promised Land.  Obama goes on to add: "Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”.  Singaporean diplomat, analyst and writer Kishore Mahbubani has argued in his latest book "Has China Won?" that America does not really respect India. Others, including ex US President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria, have expressed similar sentiments. It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:

https://youtu.be/KpAMVLwBJkM





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review


India's Hostility Toward Pakistan

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Fareed Zakaria Never Misses Any Opportunity to Bash Pakistan

Retired Justice Markanday Katju on Modi's India

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

73 Year After Independence, Caste-Ridden India Dominated By Brahmins

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

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Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Comments

Anonymous said…
Modern day-India, Mr Obama writes, was a "success story, having survived repeated changeovers in government, bitter feuds within political parties, various armed separatist movements, and all manner of corruption scandals".

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-54941867

But despite the thriving democracy and the freer economy, India still "bore little resemblance to the egalitarian, peaceful, and sustainable society Gandhi had envisioned". Inequality was rife, and violence "remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life".

Mr Obama writes that after leaving Mr Singh's residence on that November evening he wondered what would happen when the then 78-year-old prime minister left office.

"Would the baton be successfully passed to Rahul, fulfilling the destiny laid out by his mother and preserving the Congress Party's dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP?" he wonders.

"Somehow, I was doubtful. It wasn't Singh's fault. He had done his part, following the playbook of liberal democracies across the post-Cold War world: upholding the constitutional order; attending to the quotidian, often technical work of boosting the GDP; and expanding the social safety net."

"Like me, he had come to believe that this was all any of us could expect from democracy, especially in big, multiethnic, multi-religious societies like India and the United States."

But Mr Obama also found himself "asking whether those impulses - of violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance, the all-too human desire to beat back our own uncertainty and mortality and sense of insignificance by subordinating others - were too strong for any democracy to permanently contain."

"For they seemed to lie in wait everywhere, ready to resurface whenever growth rates stalled or demographics changed or a charismatic leader chose to ride the wave of people's fears and resentments."

Mr Obama's question was answered in 2014, when Narendra Modi led the Hindu nationalist BJP or Bharatiya Janata Party to a sweeping victory.

Mr Obama visited again in 2015 when Mr Modi was prime minister, becoming the first US President to visit India twice while in office.

But the first half of the former president's memoirs ends with with the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

The second part is likely to contain his impressions of Mr Modi.
Riaz Haq said…
Obama says he had never been to India before his Presidential visit in 2010, but the country had "always held a special place in my imagination".

Spent childhood years listening to Ramayana and Mahabharata in Indonesia: Obama in Book In "A Promised Land".

"...Pakistani and Indian college friends who'd taught me to cook dahl and keema and turned me on to Bollywood movies"


https://english.mathrubhumi.com/books/books-news/spent-childhood-years-listening-to-ramayana-and-mahabharata-obama-in-book-1.5214016
Riaz Haq said…
Giving a blow-by-blow account of the Abbottabad raid by American commandos that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist on May 2, 2011 in his latest book “A Promised Land”, the former U.S. president said that the top secret operation was opposed by the then Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the President-elect.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/certain-elements-inside-pakistan-military-had-links-to-al-qaeda-obama-on-raid-that-killed-osama/article33114312.ece


“Based on what I’d heard, I decided we had enough information to begin developing options for an attack on the compound. While the CIA team continued to work on identifying the Pacer, I asked Tom Donilon and John Brennan to explore what a raid would look like,” Mr. Obama writes in his memoir.

“The need for secrecy added to the challenge; if even the slightest hint of our lead on bin Laden leaked, we knew our opportunity would be lost. As a result, only a handful of people across the entire federal government were read into the planning phase of the operation,” he said.

“We had one other constraint: Whatever option we chose could not involve the Pakistanis,” he wrote.

“Although Pakistan’s government cooperated with us on a host of counterterrorism operations and provided a vital supply path for our forces in Afghanistan, it was an open secret that certain elements inside the country’s military, and especially its intelligence services, maintained links to the Taliban and perhaps even al-Qaeda, sometimes using them as strategic assets to ensure that the Afghan government remained weak and unable to align itself with Pakistan’s number one rival, India, Obama revealed,” added Mr. Obama

“The fact that the Abbottabad compound was just a few miles from the Pakistan military’s equivalent of West Point only heightened the possibility that anything we told the Pakistanis could end up tipping off our target.”

“Whatever we chose to do in Abbottabad, then, would involve violating the territory of a putative ally in the most egregious way possible, short of war — raising both the diplomatic stakes and the operational complexities,” he wrote.

In the final stages they were discussing two options. The first was to demolish it with an air strike. The second option was to authorise a special ops mission, in which a select team would covertly fly into Pakistan via helicopter, raid the compound, and get out before the Pakistani police or military had time to react.

Despite all the risks involved, Mr. Obama and his national security team opted for the second option, but not before multiple rounds of discussions and intensive planning.

The day before he gave the final approval for the raid, at a Situation Room meeting, Hillary Clinton, the then Secretary of State, said that it was a 51-49 call. Gates recommended against a raid, although he was open to considering the strike option, he said.

Joe (Biden) also weighed in against the raid, arguing that given the enormous consequences of failure, I should defer any decision until the intelligence community was more certain that bin Laden was in the compound.

“As had been true in every major decision I’d made as President, I appreciated Joe’s willingness to buck the prevailing mood and ask tough questions, often in the interest of giving me the space I needed for my own internal deliberations,” Mr. Obama wrote.

After the successful Abbottabad raid, Mr. Obama made a number of calls domestically and internationally, the toughest of which he expected to be that with the then Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, he wrote.

I expected my most difficult call to be with Pakistan’s beleaguered president, Asif Ali Zardari, who would surely face a backlash at home over our violation of Pakistani sovereignty. When I reached him, however, he expressed congratulations and support. ‘Whatever the fallout,’ he said, ‘it’s very good news. He showed genuine emotion, recalling how his wife, Benazir Bhutto, had been killed by extremists with reported ties to al-Qaeda, Mr. Obama wrote.

Riaz Haq said…
Biden speaks with leaders of #Israel, #India. Both #Netanyahu and #Modi have recognized #Biden as president-elect. #Trump and Modi participated in a “Howdy Modi” rally in #Houston last year where Modi endorsed Trump by saying "Apki Bar Trump Sarkar". https://thehill.com/homenews/news/526382-biden-speaks-with-leaders-of-israel-india#.X7SBXciK2hs.twitter

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday spoke with the leaders of Israel and India, among other countries, as he shores up support from key global allies before entering office in January.

Biden's conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi come as President Trump continues to challenge the results of the election. While Trump has refused to concede, both Netanyahu and Modi recognized Biden as president-elect.

In his conversation with Netanyahu, Biden thanked the prime minister for his congratulations and reiterated “steadfast” support for Israel’s security, its future as a Jewish and democratic state and pledged to work closely on many challenges confronting the two countries, according to a readout of the call released by his transition team.


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Trump during his time in office has also maintained a friendly relationship with Modi, who was similarly elected on a populist platform. Trump traveled to India earlier this year before the explosion of the coronavirus pandemic, in what will likely be his last foreign trip as president. He and Modi participated in a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last year that mirrored one of the president’s signature campaign rallies.

Trump has refused to acknowledge the election results and his campaign has filed a number of lawsuits that experts view as highly unlikely to impact the results in any one state.

Mirza said…
Worth repeating this excerpt:
"recently, US President Donald Trump mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Indian contribution to Afghanistan. Trump said he got along very well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan". "That's like five hours of what we spend... And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan," Trump said."

However, Mr Haq, there are other excerpts from Obama's memoirs that require analysis by Indians:
""Would the baton be successfully passed to Rahul, fulfilling the destiny laid out by his mother and preserving the Congress Party's dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP?" he wonders.
"Somehow, I was doubtful. It wasn't Singh's fault. He had done his part, following the playbook of liberal democracies across the post-Cold War world: upholding the constitutional order; attending to the quotidian, often technical work of boosting the GDP; and expanding the social safety net.
"Like me, he had come to believe that this was all any of us could expect from democracy, especially in big, multiethnic, multi-religious societies like India and the United States."
But Mr Obama also found himself "asking whether those impulses - of violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance, the all-too human desire to beat back our own uncertainty and mortality and sense of insignificance by subordinating others - were too strong for any democracy to permanently contain.
"For they seemed to lie in wait everywhere, ready to resurface whenever growth rates stalled or demographics changed or a charismatic leader chose to ride the wave of people's fears and resentments."
Mr Obama's question was answered in 2014, when Narendra Modi led the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a sweeping victory."



India's destiny is laid bare. Obama and his ally Biden agree on BJP being "divisive". Phraseology such as "violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance", "charismatic leaders riding waves of resentment over demographic change".

One has to conclude that Obama was prophetic on this. India is well aware that Biden is an Obama-ite, nothing less. Modi's best chance is to suck up submissively and play the Kamala card early. Otherwise Biden will brow beat them silly.

Riaz Haq said…
Indian-American analyst Ashley Tellis talking with Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel:

US-India nuclear deal is one-in-a-lifetime achieving

Chinese policymakers do not believe India's goal of "strategic independence" will prevent a real alliance with US against China

India has huge advantage over China in air and on the sea

In terms of ground forces where India spends its biggest chunk of defense budget, the best India can achieve vis-a-vis China or Pakistan is a stand-off (38 minutes)

https://youtu.be/mBEL-z5_6AA

Riaz Haq said…
After #BabriMasjid verdict, #ArnabGoswami bail and failure to protect #Indian & #Kashmiri #Muslims' basic #humanrights, #India's Supreme Court is no longer universally regarded as a reliable and impartial defender of constitutional rights. #Hindutva #Modi https://www.ft.com/content/5ddc4de6-90a4-4f18-83b0-0366e50bc67b

by Marina Wheeler

I wonder what they would make of the increasing alarm I hear from my Indian lawyer friends. Each week, it seems, some new outrage amplifies their anxiety that the rule of law in the country is being eroded. Questions are being asked about the impartiality of judgments at all levels of the system. The latest episode involved a decision by the Supreme Court to intervene in the case of Arnab Goswami, a rightwing television news presenter and founder of Republic TV, which is widely seen as supportive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government. The country’s highest court ordered Mr Goswami — arrested in a suicide case — be released on bail after a lower court refused his petition. On its own, this decision would not have warranted much attention. But critics noted that the court found time to sit over a holiday recess — while many journalists, lawyers, writers and activists critical of the government have been arrested and still languish in jail, awaiting their hearings. Away from the headlines, there is a deeper fear that the justice system itself is failing, under the pressure of political abuse and manipulation. Many Indians revere their constitution, which dexterously balances the rights and aspirations of a hugely diverse population. In its drafting, BR Ambedkar — who was a Dalit, from the lowest caste — kept the minorities and disadvantaged very much in mind. But in Mr Modi’s India, with its rightwing Hindu majority, the protections he crafted seem flimsier than ever. The Goswami decision was not an isolated case. There are other signs that the Supreme Court is no longer universally regarded as a reliable and impartial defender of constitutional rights. In January 2018, four of the court’s judges themselves raised concerns about administrative interference in the assignment of sensitive cases. Last year, the court decided a bitter dispute over a contested religious site at Ayodhya, revered by many Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Ram. In December 1992, a mob tore down a 16th-century mosque on the site. But the court accepted the argument that some kind of structure predated the mosque and sanctioned the construction of a Hindu temple there. Fears that the judgment would be met by rioting were misplaced. Instead, there was resignation from opponents of the decision and celebration from the Hindu right. Increasingly, it feels as though the secular foundations of the republic are being dismantled and that religious minorities, whom the constitution declares equal before the law, are losing their voice. In 1947, the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India as a semi-autonomous state. The constitution protected its special status until August 2019, when Mr Modi’s government revoked it and ordered a clampdown on the region, putting local political leaders under house arrest and closing communications. Meanwhile, nearly 2m mainly Muslims in Assam state have been excluded from a citizens’ register, and in effect declared “irregular foreigners”. Petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court challenging both the citizenship act and repression in Kashmir — but they are as yet unheard.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s #Economy to Struggle With Effects of #CoronaVirus Through 2025. #IMF predicts #Indian #GDP will shrink 10.3% in the year to March 2021 as #Modi’s sudden #lockdown paralyzed activity. #BJP #Hindutva https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-19/india-s-economy-to-struggle-with-effects-of-virus-through-2025

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1329575202204782595?s=20

HSBC Holdings Plc said India’s potential growth could drop to 5% in the post-pandemic world from 6% on the eve of the outbreak and more than 7% before the global financial crisis.

“All supply-side factors feel the effect, with only human capital’s contribution unchanged from the pre-virus baseline,” Kishore said. “Capital accumulation takes the biggest hit because we expect balance-sheet stresses to worsen following the crisis, lengthening the investment recovery cycle.”

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India will be worst-affected among the world’s major economies even after the pandemic wanes, with output 12% below pre-virus levels through the middle of the decade, according to Oxford Economics.

Balance sheet stress that had been building before the coronavirus outbreak will probably worsen, Priyanka Kishore, head of economics for South Asia and South-East Asia, wrote in the report. She projects potential growth for India at 4.5% over the next five years, lower than 6.5% before the virus.

“It’s likely that headwinds already hampering growth prior to 2020 -- such as stressed corporate balance sheets, elevated non-performing assets of banks, the fallout in non-bank financial companies, and labor market weakness -– will worsen,” she said. “The resulting long-term scars, probably among the worst globally, would push India’s trend growth substantially lower from pre-Covid levels.”

The contraction hasn’t deterred Prime Minister Narendra Modi from reiterating his target of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025 from $2.8 trillion. While the government has announced a slew of measures to support growth, they have fallen well short of expectations to boost demand, leaving the central bank to do much of the heavy-lifting. A paper published by the Reserve Bank of India last week predicted Asia’s third-largest economy has entered a historic technical recession. Official data is due Nov. 27.

The International Monetary Fund predicts GDP will shrink 10.3% in the year to March 2021 as Modi’s sudden lockdown paralyzed activity. While a sharp rebound is forecast as economic activity resumes, there are lingering scars.
Riaz Haq said…
Poor #sanitation causes the highest percentage of deaths in #India in #SouthAsia region. #Bangladesh and #Pakistan fares much better. #WorldToiletDay2020 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://ourworldindata.org/sanitation#:~:text=An%20estimated%20775%2C000%20people%20died,unsafe%20sanitation%20across%20the%20world.

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1329650312659886082?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
The World Bank links one in ten deaths in India to poor sanitation. From contaminated groundwater children pick up chronic infections that impair their bodies' ability to absorb nutrients. Almost 44m children under five, says the bank, have stunted growth, and every year over 300,000 die from diarrheal diseases.

https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2017/09/24/why-it-is-so-hard-to-fix-indias-sanitation
Riaz Haq said…
The United Nations marks November 19 annually as World Toilet Day to raise awareness about access to hygienic toilets and the human costs of unsafe sanitation.

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-world-toilet-day-2020-and-the-state-of-sanitation-in-india-7057610/


The chart below explains the annual number of deaths by risk factors in India. “Poor sanitation, unsafe water sources, and no access to hand washing facilities” are among the top factors in the country; the list being topped by high blood pressure, air pollution, high blood sugar and smoking.

The chart below shows how the share of deaths due to unsafe sanitation has changed over the years. In India, this share has been higher than its neighbours such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The reason why so many die from unsafe sanitation is that, in India, a high proportion of the population does not have access to “improved sanitation”. Improved sanitation is defined as facilities that “ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact”. This includes facilities such as flush/pour flush (to piped sewer system, septic tank, pit latrine), ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine, pit latrine with slab, and a composting toilet.


In 2015, 68% of the world population had access to improved sanitation facilities. In other words, almost one-third of people did not have access.

In India, only 40% of the population had access to improved sanitation. This is much lower than its next-door neighbours such as Sri Lanka (95%) and Pakistan and Bangladesh (both over 60%). At 40% access, India is clubbed with countries such as Zimbabwe and Kenya, and is below countries such as Zambia and Senegal.

The economic impact of poor sanitation

According to the World Bank: “A lack of sanitation also holds back economic growth. Poor sanitation costs billions to some countries”.

Don’t miss from Explained | What is the economic cost of being ‘filthy India’?

In India’s case, the most oft-quoted study is a World Bank one from 2006 when such costs were pegged at $53.8 billion or 6.4% of India’s annual GDP. Even if this percentage (of GDP) has stayed the same, at current-day GDP, the losses (a rough approximation) would be close to $170 billion (or Rs 12 lakh crore).

“The economic losses are mainly driven by premature deaths, the cost of health care treatment, lost time and productivity seeking treatment, and lost time and productivity finding access to sanitation facilities,” according to the World Bank.

According to the World Health Organization, “every dollar spent on sanitation yields about $9 in savings on treatment, health-care costs and gains from more productive days”.



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“World Toilet Day celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation and is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030,” the UN website says.

The annual event was adopted by the UN in 2013. This year, World Toilet Day focuses on sustainable sanitation and climate change.

As per UN Water, sustainable sanitation begins with a toilet that effectively captures human waste in a safe, accessible and dignified setting, which then gets stored in a tank, which can be emptied later by a collection service, or transported away by pipework. The next stage is treatment and safe disposal.

Safe reuse of human waste helps save water, reduces and captures greenhouse gas emissions for energy production, and can provide agriculture with a reliable source of water and nutrients.

Riaz Haq said…
Rebooting Economy 41: India's growing poverty and hunger nobody talks about

Latest estimate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports - World Economic Outlook: A Long and Difficult Ascent, October 2020 and Fiscal Monitor: Policies for the Recovery, October 2020- shows that 90 million people globally would slip into "extreme poverty" (surviving on $1.9 a day) due to the pandemic. This is in line with the World Bank's June 2020 estimate ("Projected poverty impacts of COVID-19") which estimated 70-100 million to slip into extreme poverty.

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Earlier this month, the Global Hunger Index 2020 report ranked India at 94 (of 107 it mapped for the 2020 report), far below neighbouring Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This index is based on four component indicators: (i) undernourishment (insufficient caloric intake) (ii) child wasting (under 5 years) (iii) child stunting (under 5 years) and (iv) child mortality (under 5 years).

India's progress has been very tardy compared to its neighbours as the following graph shows. Its "child wasting" (low weight for age reflecting acute undernourishment) and "child stunting" (low weight for age reflecting chronic under-nutrition) is particularly poor. The hunger index scores are measured on a scale of 0-100, where '0' represents zero hunger.

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The inept and callous handling of the pandemic and the untimely and unplanned lockdown has jolted India like no other country. Its GDP growth for the April-June 2020 quarter tanked to minus 23.9% - the highest among major economies. The RBI estimates the GDP growth for the entire fiscal to be minus 9.5%, as against the IMF's estimate of minus 10.3%, while its global average is estimated to be minus 4%. (To know why read "Rebooting Economy 37: Do high-frequency data suggest V-shaped recovery? ")
Also Read: Rebooting Economy VIII: COVID-19 pandemic could push millions of Indians into poverty and hunger

India would account for 40 million of the 90 million the IMF says would turn extremely poor or 44.4% of all. The following graph from the IMF's Fiscal Monitor report shows that in India (extreme left), their number would rise from 80 million in 2018 to 120 million in 2020.


https://www.businesstoday.in/opinion/columns/indian-economy-coronavirus-impact-indias-growing-poverty-and-hunger-due-to-covid19-pandemic-effect/story/420575.html

https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/09/30/world-economic-outlook-october-2020

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