Multidimensional Poverty: India is Home to 75% of World's Population Deprived of Basic Living Standards

Over 75% of the world's poor deprived of basic living standards (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing) live in India compared to 4.6% in Bangladesh and 4.1% in Pakistan, according to a recently released OPHI/UNDP report on multidimensional poverty.  Here's what the report says: "More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing). Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile". 

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2022. Source: OPHI/UNDP

Income Poverty in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Source: Our World in Data

The UNDP poverty report shows that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh. In terms of the population vulnerable to multidimensional poverty, Pakistan (12.9%) does better than Bangladesh (18.2%) and India (18.7%)  However, Pakistan fares worse than India and Bangladesh in multiple dimensions of poverty. The headline multidimensional poverty (MPI) figure for Pakistan (0.198) is worse than for Bangladesh (0.104) and India (0.069). This is primarily due to the education and health deficits in Pakistan. Adults with fewer than 6 years of schooling are considered multidimensionally poor by OPHI/UNDP.  Income poverty is not included in the MPI calculations. The data used by OHP/UNDP for MPI calculation is from years 2017/18 for Pakistan and from years 2019/2021 for India. 

Multidimensional Poverty in South Asia. Source: UNDP

The Indian government's reported multidimensional poverty rate of 25.01% is much higher than the OPHI/UNDP estimate of 16.4%. NITI Ayog report released in November 2021 says: "India’s national MPI identifies 25.01 percent of the population as multidimensionally poor".

Multidimensional Poverty in India. Source: NITI Ayog via IIP

Earlier this year,  Global Hunger Index 2022 reported that  India ranks 107th for hunger among 121 nations. The nation fares worse than all of its South Asian neighbors except for war-torn Afghanistan ranked 109, according to the the report. Sri Lanka ranks 64, Nepal 81, Bangladesh 84 and Pakistan 99. India and Pakistan have levels of hunger that are considered serious. Both have slipped on the hunger charts from 2021 when India was ranked 101 and Pakistan 92.  Seventeen countries, including Bosnia, China, Kuwait, Turkey and UAE, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.

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Dreze said…
UNITED NATIONS: Five out of six multidimensionally poor people in India are from lower tribes or castes, according to a new analysis on global multidimensional poverty released by the United Nations on Thursday.

The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative said this in its latest report on poverty.

“In India, five out of six multidimensionally poor people are from lower tribes or castes. The Scheduled Tribe group accounts for 9.4 per cent of the population and is the poorest, with 65 million of the 129 million people living in multidimensional poverty. They account for about one-sixth of all people living in multidimensional poverty in India,” it said.

Following the Scheduled Tribe group is the Scheduled Caste group with 33.3 per cent -- 94 million of 283 million people -- living in multidimensional poverty.

The report further said that 27.2 per cent of the Other Backward Class group- 160 million of 588 million people -- live in multidimensional poverty, “showing a lower incidence but a similar intensity compared with the Scheduled Caste group.

“Overall, five out of six multidimensionally poor people in India live in households whose head is from a Scheduled Tribe, a Scheduled Caste or Other Backward Class,” it said.
Riaz Haq said…
Every second ST, every third Dalit & Muslim in India poor, not just financially: UN report
At around 27% of the country's population, India has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world, says the report.

In a damning reflection of how India’s most vulnerable sections continue to remain at the bottom of the pyramid, fresh data shows that the so-called ‘lower’ castes, tribals, Muslims, and children aged below 10 are among the poorest in the country.
Riaz Haq said…

In 2021, Pakistan was ranked 153rd in the Global Gender Gap Index. In 2020, it had ranked 154th on the Human Development Index, with 38 percent of its population living with multidimensional poverty.

So, after one complete year, Pakistan’s ranking has improved just one notch. Keeping the lofty target in mind this is just enough. Population growth is one of the biggest challenges Pakistan is facing. It is hindering the development process and it will remain an issue for the projected future.


The government of Pakistan is working on the SDGs through its Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.

There are several issues. According to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Index ranking 2021, Pakistan ranked 129th out of 165 countries, with an overall score of 57.7 percent, mainly for its progress on one of the 17 goals – climate action.

The country saw moderate improvements in the goals for poverty, health and well-being, water and sanitation, decent work, peace and justice and partnership, but it has made no progress on zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, clean energy, innovation, sustainable cities and communities. It went backwards on life below water.

According to Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), the main contributors to multi dimensional poverty in Pakistan are years of schooling (29.7 percent), followed by access to health facilities (19.8 percent) and child school attendance (10.5 percent). Deprivations in education are the largest contributor to the MPI (42.8 percent), followed by living standards (31.5 percent) and health (25.7 percent).

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution promised free and compulsory education to all 5–16-year-olds as a fundamental right according to Article 25A. Its implementation has been slow.

With 2.2 million out-of-school children, how can the target be achieved in the absence of appropriate budgetary allocations and weak monitoring methods?

Several studies have highlighted the hazardous impact of political instability on direct foreign investment, which pushes the country further into poverty and away from achieving the SDGs.
The Covid-19 pandemic directly impacted 42m children from the pre-primary and primary-to-higher secondary and degree college levels. Mobility constraints, non-availability of the internet, lack of access to tele-schooling facilities had an adverse impact on the most vulnerable groups.

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

Even before Covid-19, Pakistan had a weak healthcare system with insufficient facilities to meet the needs of its growing population. There is on average one hospital bed available for over 1,680 people.

Some of the dimensions of the health sector are closely related to education and awareness. The relatively high levels of maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate, low nutritional status and disparities in immunisation rates are related to the social status and education of women. These factors need to be kept in mind while making policies and implementation plans.

Pakistan has a booming private health sector. Due to high levels of poverty and illiteracy, frequent natural disasters and a tense security situation, people have to face the challenges of accessing good quality and equitable health services.

Another big issue is the cost of good medical facilities. Private facilities are often too expensive for the common man to avail quality healthcare facilities.

The governments have been initiating healthcare initiatives. These include health cards, a national health insurance programme, but the quality and accessibility of the facilities is far from uniform.

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires investment in adequate infrastructure.
Riaz Haq said…
Of the 10 most #polluted cities in #Asia, 8 are in #India. #Guragaon, #Lucknow, Anandpur, Begusarai, #Bhopal, Dewas, Khadakpada, Kalyan, Darshan Nagar & Chhapra, #China's Xiaoshishang Port in Luzhou and Bayankhoshuu in #Mangolia’s Ulaanbaata. #pollution

As the winter season is around the corner, as many as eight Indian cities on Sunday made it to the list of top 10 polluted cities in Asia. As per the data released by the World Air Quality Index, eight Indian cities recorded the worst air quality in Asia, while just one city - Rajamahendravaram in Andhra Pradesh - managed to feature in the list of top 10 cities with the best air quality.

Gurugram made it to the top of the list with an air quality index (AQI) of 679 on Sunday morning, followed by Dharuhera near Rewari in Haryana with an AQI of 543 and Muzaffarpur in Bihar with an AQI of 316.

According to data available on, Delhi's AQI was recorded at 194 on Sunday.

Other cities that come on the list are Talkator, Lucknow (AQI 298), DRCC Anandpur, Begusarai (AQI 269), Bhopal Chauraha, Dewas (AQI 266), Khadakpada, Kalyan (AQI 256), Darshan Nagar and Chhapra (AQI 239).

Apart from Indian cities, China's Xiaoshishang Port in Luzhou (AQI 262) is also in the list of stations with worse air quality. Bayankhoshuu in Mangolia’s Ulaanbaata also featured in the list.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan( #48) ranks ahead of #India (#60) among 121 countries in Gallup Survey of "Secure Countries". #Singapore tops, #Afghanistan last. Overall, countries in East #Asia, the #MiddleEast and North #Africa showed a positive trend. #safety #LawAndOrder

India ranked 60th of 121 countries in the Gallup Law and Order Index for 2021, scoring 80 on an index that ranges from 1 to 100, with a higher score indicating that more people in a country feel secure. Singapore ranked the highest with a score of 96, while Afghanistan was at the bottom of the list with 51.

Tajikistan, Norway, Switzerland and Indonesia were ranked in the top five after Singapore, while Venezuela in South America and Sierra Leone, Congo, and Gabon in Africa were among the bottom five.

Pakistan ranked 48th in the list, recording a score of 82, on par with Laos, Serbia, Iran and New Zealand.

The United States, Italy, and Germany all scored 83, while Australia scored 84, and Canada 87.

The polls found that as many as seven in 10 people globally feel safe walking alone at night where they live and have confidence in their local police. The report said that overall, the security metrics have remained stable between 2020 and 2021.

The annual Gallup survey interviewed around 1,27,000 persons over 15 years of age, in more than 122 countries and areas in 2021 and early 2022. In each country, around 1,000 respondents participated via telephone or face-to-face. Without explaining the methodology, Gallup said the index is a composite score based on the responses to four questions to measure their sense of security and faith in law enforcement.

The questions are as follows: 1) In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force?; 2) Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?; 3) Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?; 4) Within the past 12 months, have you been assaulted or mugged?

As per the report, 71% of the respondents said they felt safe walking alone at night where they lived and 70% said they had confidence in their local police. Additionally, 11% said they had property stolen from them or other household members in the past year, and 6% said they had been assaulted or mugged.

Overall, countries in East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and the Caribbean showed a positive trend in their answers.

Countries like the United States, Canada and Western Europe, which have seen several protests against the police and government, unsurprisingly showed a downward trend in their responses to queries on faith in local police. In 2020, for instance, prior to the George Floyd killing, 82% of respondents in the US said they trusted the police. In 2021, this number fell to 74%.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan( #48) ranks ahead of #India (#60) among 121 countries in Gallup Survey of "Secure Countries". #Singapore tops, #Afghanistan last. Overall, countries in East #Asia, the #MiddleEast and North #Africa showed a positive trend. #safety #LawAndOrder

Gallup Global Law and Order rankings (not full list):
Singapore — 96
Tajikistan — 95
Norway — 93
Switzerland — 92
Indonesia — 92
United Arab Emirates — 92
Canada — 87
Japan — 86
France — 85
Australia — 84
United States — 83
Italy — 83
Germany — 83
Iran — 82
Pakistan — 82
New Zealand — 82
Sri Lanka — 80
India — 80
Iraq — 80
United Kingdom — 79
Bangladesh — 79
Russian Federation — 77
Brazil — 71
Sierra Leone — 59
Republic of the Congo — 58
Venezuela — 55
Gabon — 54
Afghanistan — 51
Riaz Haq said…
India scored 80 points on the table, below its neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka with a marginal difference but was placed above the United Kingdom and Bangladesh.

Gallup's Law and Order Index 2022 - a report by global analytics firm Gallup -- has positioned Taliban-captured Afghanistan as the least secure country for the third year. Region-wise, the report has declared East Asia as the most secure while Southeast Asia came second to it. Gallup’s survey which takes into consideration four questions to gauge “people’s sense of personal security and their personal experiences with crime and law enforcement” said it has interviewed about 127,000 people in over 120 countries to compile the list.

The five most secure countries on Gallup’s index

Singapore 96
Tajikistan 95
Norway 93
Switzerland 92
Indonesia 92
The five least secure countries on Gallup's index

Sierra Leone 59
DR Congo 58
Venezuela 55
Gabon 54
Afghanistan 51

India scored 80 points on the table, below its neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka with a marginal difference in points but was placed above the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. As per the reports, Southeast Asia was home to the largest gains in confidence - due to contributions from Singapore and Indonesia’s improved police services.

Afghanistan which maintained the lowest score in the last two surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019 too (survey was not conducted in 2020 due to pandemic) - improved its score relatively due to a drop in violence following the end of the Taliban’s insurgency as it had completed the takeover from US troops. The report also said that North America and Western Europe have lost ground mainly due to people’s falling confidence in the police, especially after the high-profile police shootings including the killing of George Floyd which sparked a racial injustice movement.
Riaz Haq said…
Survey ranks India 5th most dangerous country to live in the world: Top factors that weighed down ranking
Among the top findings of the survey are that India comes in the top 10 countries for personal finance, expats with full-time jobs in India work 3.8 hours per week more than the global average, and 83% of respondents rate the quality of the environmentally negatively.

India has been ranked as the fifth most dangerous country in the world for expats. In a survey — Expat Insider 2019 — that covered and interviewed people who live and work abroad, India has been placed at 60 of 64 countries on safety and security. According to the survey which was conducted by InterNations, over four men in ten respondents reported negative feelings about the peacefulness in the country and 27% were displeased with their personal safety — three times the global average of 9%.

“A US American expat, for example, does not like “always having to keep my guard up — as a female, I don’t feel safe. As a resident, I often feel taken advantage of at work and outside work,” the survey said.

The expats also rated negatively to the question of political stability in India. “Almost double the global average (32% vs 17% worldwide) rate the political stability of the country negatively. An Australian expat shares that ‘politics has become hardline, and there are social tensions’,” the survey found.

Riaz Haq said…
Young girls being sold in #India to repay #debt, says #humanrights body. #Indians living in many rural areas in India often have to borrow money from fellow villagers when a family member falls seriously ill and needs medical treatment. #poverty #slavery

Young girls in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan are being sold as “repayment” for loans their parents cannot afford, the national body that protects human rights has said.

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the state government demanding a police inquiry and answers within a month to what it called an “abominable” practice.

People living in many rural areas in India often have to borrow money from fellow villagers when a family member falls seriously ill and needs medical treatment.

Local media reports say that in half a dozen districts around Bhilwara, if a family cannot repay a loan, the aggrieved creditor has complained to the “caste panchayats” or caste councils.

By way of “settlement”, the councils have ordered the family to hand over their daughter – sometimes more than one depending on the size of the loan – so that the creditor can sell her to a trafficker to recoup his money.

In its notice, the commission said that if the family refuses to sell their daughter, “their mothers are subjected to rape on the diktats of caste panchayats for the settlement of disputes”.

Among the cases highlighted by the commission is that of a man who borrowed 1.5m rupees (£15,800) from a neighbour who was forced by the panchayat to sell his sister and 12-year-old daughter to settle the debt.

In another, a man who borrowed 600,000 rupees (£6,300) when his wife fell ill and needed hospital treatment was unable to repay it. The panchayat compelled him to hand over his young daughter to the creditor, who later sold her to a trafficker in Agra. From there, “she was sold three times and became pregnant four times”, the commission said.

The commission has sent an official to Rajasthan to investigate the cases. The Bhilwara district collector, Ashish Modi, said the crimes were the first of their kind. “They are total illegal. The police are investigating and we will make sure the victims get justice and the guilty are punished,” Modi said.

Panchayats are often a profoundly regressive force in rural India, acting as kangaroo courts. They have ordered so-called honour killings of couples who have defied tradition by marrying into a different caste or faith or ordered brutal punishments for couples suspected of adultery.
Riaz Haq said…
Gallup Law and Order Survey 2021 shows that Pakistan (score 82) is safer than Bangladesh (79) and India (80) and Sri Lanka (80). Gallup’s survey is based on responses to four questions to measure “people’s sense of personal security and their personal experiences with crime and law enforcement”. The questions are as follows: 1) In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force?; 2) Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?; 3) Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?; 4) Within the past 12 months, have you been assaulted or mugged? Gallup interviewed 127,000 people in 120 countries to compile the report.

In terms of safety in South Asia region, Islamabad (50) ranks the highest followed by Lahore (103), Colombo (110), Chennai (112), Hyderabad (130), Mumbai (140), Karachi (188), Bangalore (200), New Delhi (216) and Dhaka (232).

On quality of life in South Asia, Islamabad ranks 144 followed by Bangalore 167, Hyderabad 195, Chennai 218, Lahore 219, Karachi 237, New Delhi 239, Mumbai 246, Colombo 251 and Dhaka 252.
Riaz Haq said…
India's growth to slow in 2023 on fading reopening impact-Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs expects India's economic growth to slow to 5.9% next year, from an estimated 6.9% growth in 2022, as the boost from the post-COVID reopening fades and monetary tightening weighs on domestic demand.

"We expect growth to be a tale of two halves in 2023, with a slowdown in the first half (due to dwindling reopening effects)," Santanu Sengupta, India economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a note on Sunday.

India's growth in the seven months since March 2022, which Goldman Sachs considers the post-COVID reopening, was faster than most other emerging markets in the first seven months after they reopened, the U.S. investment bank said.

"In the second half, we expect growth to re-accelerate as global growth recovers, the net export drag declines, and the investment cycle picks up," Sengupta said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), last week, pegged the domestic growth rate at 7% for 2022-23.

Sengupta expects the government to continue its focus on capital spending and sees signs of the nascent investment recovery continuing, with conducive conditions helping the economy pick up in the second half.

Goldman Sachs expects headline inflation to drop to 6.1% in 2023, from 6.8% in 2022, saying government intervention was likely to cap food prices and that core goods inflation had probably peaked.

"But upside risks to services inflation are likely to keep core inflation sticky around 6% year-on-year," Sengupta added.

Goldman expects the RBI to hike the repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) in December 2022 and by 35 bps in February, taking the repo rate to 6.75%. The forecast is more hawkish than the market consensus of 6.50%.

On India's external position, Sengupta reckons the worst is over, with the dollar likely near the peak. He expects the current account deficit to remain wide due to weak exports, but said growth capital may continue to chase India.

Sengupta pegs the USD/INR INR=IN at 84, 83, and 82 over 3-, 6- and 12-month horizons, respectively, compared with 81.88 currently.
Riaz Haq said…

Table 1: Pakistan Key demographic indicators
Indicator Pakistan
Total area, in sq km, million 0.796
Population (2017), thousand d 197,016
Migrant population (2017), thousand d 3,398
Migrant population (2017), % total population d 1.7%
Urban Population (2017), % of total b 36.4%
Population Growth rate (2017), annual % b 1.9%
Human Development Index (2017) c 0.562
Country Rank out of 189 c 150/189
Unemployment (2017), % of labour force c 4.0%
Youth Unemployment (2017), % ages 15-24 c 7.7%
Multidimensional Poverty Headcount (2015), % 38.8%
Gini Coefficient (2010-2017)
c 30.7
Foreign Direct Investment (net inflows, 2017), current USD, billion b 2.815
Net Official Development Assistance Received (2017), current USD, billion b 2.953
Personal Remittances Received (2017), current USD, billion b 19.698
Personal Remittances Received (2017), % GDP b 6.5%
Source: b World Bank, 2018; c UNDP, 2018; d UNDESA, 2017;
e UNDP and OPHI (2016).
Riaz Haq said…
From Times of India:

The decline in India’s rankings on a number of global opinion-based indices are due to "cherry-picking of certain media reports" and are primarily based on the opinions of a group of unknown “experts”, a recent study has concluded.
A new working paper titled "Why India does poorly on global perception indices" found that while such indices cannot be ignored as "mere opinions" since they feed into World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGI), there needs to be a closer inspection on the methodology used to arrive at the data.

The findings were published by Sanjeev Sanyal, member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Aakanksha Arora, deputy director of (EAC to PM).

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three o ..

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three
opinion-based indices: Freedom in the World index, EIU
Democracy index and Variety of Democracy.
They drew four broad conclusions from the study:
1) Lack of transparency: The indices were primarily based on
the opinions of a tiny group of unknown “experts”.

2) Subjectivity: The questions used were subjective and
worded in a way that is impossible to answer objectively
even for a country.

3) Omission of important questions: Key questions which
are pertinent to a measure of democracy, like “Is the head of
state democratically elected?”, were not asked.

4) Ambiguous questions: Certain questions used by these
indices were not an appropriate measure of democracy
across all countries.

Here's a look at the three indices examined by the study:
Freedom in the World Index

India’s score on the US-based Freedom in the World Index —
an annual global report on political rights and civil liberties
— has consistently declined post 2018.

It's score on civil liberties was flat at 42 till 2018 but dropped
sharply to 33 by 2022. It's political rights score dropped from
35 to 33. Thus, India’s total score dropped to 66 which places
India in the “partially free” category – the same status it had
during the Emergency.

The study found that only two previous instances where
India was considered as Partially Free was during the time of
Emergency and then during 1991-96 which were years of
economic liberalisation.

"Clearly this is arbitrary. What did the years of Emergency,
which was a period of obvious political repression,
suspended elections, official censoring of the press, jailing of
opponents without charge, banned labour strikes etc, have
in common with period of economic liberalisation and of
today," the study asked.
It concluded that the index "cherry-picked" some media
reports and issues to make the judgement.
The authors further found that in Freedom House's latest
report of 2022, India’s score of the Freedom in the World
Index is 66 and it is in category "Partially Free".
"Cross country comparisons point towards the arbitrariness
in the way scoring is done. There are some examples of
countries which have scores higher than India which seem
clearly unusual. Northern Cyprus is considered as a free
territory with a score of 77 (in 2022 report). It is ironical as
North Cyprus is not even recognised by United Nations as a
country. It is recognised only by Turkey," the authors noted.
Economist Intelligence Unit
In the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index,
published the research and consulting arm of the firm that
publishes the Economist magazine, India is placed in the
category of “Flawed Democracy”.
Its rank deteriorated sharply from 27 in 2014 to 53 in 2020
and then improved a bit to 46 in 2021. The decline in rank
has been on account of decline in scores primarily in the
categories of civil liberties and political culture.
The authors found that list of questions used to determine
the outcome was "quite subjective", making objective
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Market Monitor Report - November 2022


• Headline inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased in October 2022 by 4.71% over September 2022 and increased by 26.56% over October 2021. CPI food inflation in October 2022 increased by 36.24% over October 2021.

• In October 2022, prices increased for staple cereals including wheat flour (+7.4%), wheat (+3.8%), rice Irri-6 (+7.0%) and rice Basmati (+1.6%) compared to September 2022.

• Among non-cereal food commodities, price increased for pulse Moong (+2.4%) from the previous month.
On the other hand, prices decreased for pulse Masoor (-12.0%), live chicken (-3.4%), cooking oil (-2.4%), pulse Mash (-2.1%), vegetable ghee (-1.7%) and pulse Gram (-1.1%) from September 2022.

• A comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (October) prices of some food commodities indicated huge increase in prices; for instance, tomatoes increased by up to 199%, onions 79%, pulse moong 48%, potatoes 43% and wheat flour 38%.

• Average Terms of Trade (ToT) for October 2022, measuring the amount of wheat flour that can be purchased with one-day of casual unskilled labour wage, worsened by 6.5% from the previous month. It was recorded at 12.5 kg of wheat flour compared to 13.4 kg the previous month.

• The retail prices of automotive fuels in comparison to September 2022 decreased during October 2022 i.e.,
Super Petrol (-4.7%) and High-Speed Diesel (-4.9%).
Riaz Haq said…
Having access is not the same as actual use of toilets

Why millions of Indians don't use the toilets they have

Oct 5, 2019 — According to Census 2011, 69.3% of rural households didn't own a toilet or latrine, but by June 2019

Roshani Bhandari takes short, quick steps and disappears behind shrubs near a natural spring in her village in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district. After answering nature’s call, the 48-year-old starts her km-long trek back home. Like other families in her village of Malna, Roshani has a toilet at home — one she seldom uses. “The toilet at home has no water. Sometimes, we store water in cans but it is not enough for the entire family. It’s easier in the open where water is readily available.”

Water-scarce Malna was among Indian villages that saw toilets being built at an unprecedented pace under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). From a mere 37,112 toilets in rural areas of Uttarakhand in 2014, the number now stands at 4,86,362. All 35 families in Malna have had a toilet since 2015, but lack of water means not everyone is using these. It’s the same story in Kharwada village in Rajasthan’s Sirohi district, where toilets without water are being used to store discarded items. Both Rajasthan and Uttarakhand were declared open defecation-free as early as 2018.
Virginia Raines said…
India had 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in 2021, of which about 750 million are smartphone users.

Tackling Open Defecation in India | Our Stories - LIXIL
Jan 21, 2022 — As a consequence, an estimated 800 children under the age of 5 die every day from diarrheal diseases caused by a lack of safe water and sanitary living conditions.

Experts draw attention to India's open defecation problem
Nov 18, 2021 — Even though India was declared open defecation free by the government in October 2019, a report of the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply ...

No latrines and drinking water for more than half of India ...
Nov 30, 2020 — More than half of rural households in India don’t have toilet infrastructure and drinking water facilities within their homes, according to latest statistics released by the government.

At 732 Million, India Tops List on Number of People Without Access to Toilets
Nov 16, 2017 — India, the world's second-largest country by population, has the highest number of people (732 million) without access to toilets, ...

India spent $30 billion to fix its broken sanitation. It ended up with more problems
Sep 11, 2020 — Swachh Bharat has made huge gains so far, but many challenges remain. Let's run through them.

Charities Aid Foundation rolls out challenge for sanitation ...
Jul 2, 2015 — To address this problem of sanitation, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India has rolled out a unique challenge to involve more people in the ...

Here's Why India Is Struggling to Be Truly Open Defecation Free
Oct 28, 2021 — India built over 9.5 crore toilets across the country and was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in October, 2019. Three years later, a walk in the village, Bargadia in Uttar Pradesh shows a different reality.

Indian toilet charity renames village after Trump | Reuters
Jun 23, 2017 — A toilet charity has renamed an Indian village after U.S. President Donald Trump as part of a promotional push to raise cash and support ...

Virginia Raines said…
First of all, a country with nearly 1.4 billion people - 1 billion Hindus, 80% of the population - clearly has never undergone a genocide. Lies, lies and propaganda about that from the howling yackals.

Second. my previous empathy for the people (all the people) has been destroyed by more than a decade of learning about the realities there, including a revulsion to their vile "Hindu religion".

Third, Hindutva is based on myth and lies from the outset. It takes no more than a few minutes using a google search to learn that.

Fourth, I started checking on India's reputation when Donald Trump started yammering about "shit hole" countries. This is what the developed world knows about it:

Is India a shithole country? |
I've never seen anywhere come even close to being as filthy as India. It's literally one giant shit hole.

Drowning in liquid filth – in 21st century India | New Internationalist
Mar 25, 2016 - India. A dalit manual scavenging. Dalit ... Imagine the indignity, the sheer horror, of drowning in shit. Imagine the ...

'The Dump Killed My Son': Mountains of Garbage Engulf India's Capital
Jun 10, 2018

It Snowed In India! Just Kidding - 1.5 Billion Liters Of Shit Turned An Entire River Into A Toxic Foam Pit
Sep 27, 2018 - The Yamuna, along with India’s holiest river, the Ganges, are considered among the most polluted in the world. Activist Brij Khandelwal once described the Yamuna as “ecologically dead.” Sewage from Delhi and other cities, chemical waste from manufacturing plants and pesticide runoff are all part of the problem.
Virginia Raines said…
The most common form of prion disease that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Prion diseases are rare. About 300 cases are reported each year in the U.S.

Prion Diseases | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Genetic PrP Prion Diseases - CSH Perspectives

A Clear Fix for a Common Birth Defect in India

Birth defects in India: Hidden truth, need for urgent attention

Child malnutrition in India: A systemic failure - Down To Earth
Apr 15, 2021 — Despite decades of investment to tackle this malaise, India’s child malnutrition rates are still one of the most alarming in the world.

Malnutrition in India is a worry in a modern scenario - The Hindu

Why Does a Quaint Town in India Have the World's Highest Suicide Rate?
Feb 28, 2019 — The ubiquity of suicides and suicide attempts here only serves to normalize it.

Gravitas: India's suicide deaths at all-time high - YouTube
Sep 2, 2022 — India's suicide deaths hit an all-time high in 2021. Student suicides surged 4.5% compared to the previous year. How must India deal with this worrying trend Palki Sharma tells you.
Riaz Haq said…
بلوچستان: دیہی خواتین کا اسلام آباد سے آن لائن علاج

ایک غیر سرکاری ادارے نے بلوچستان کے 14 شہروں میں ٹیلی ہیلتھ سینٹرز قائم کیے ہیں، جہاں دوردراز علاقوں سے آنے والی خواتین کا علاج اسلام آباد میں بیٹھے ڈاکٹر کرتے ہیں۔

بلوچستان کے ضلع موسیٰ خیل کے پہاڑی گاؤں لوغی سے تعلق رکھنے والی عمر رسیدہ خاتون بی بی سارہ اپنی حاملہ بہو کو شہر لائی ہیں، جہاں کے طبی مرکز میں اسلام آباد سے ایک گائناکالوجسٹ ان کا آن لائن معائنہ کرتی ہیں۔

روایتی بشتون لباس میں ملبوس 50 سالہ بی بی سارہ نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ ان کے گاؤں کے کلینک میں ڈاکٹر نہیں ہوتے بلکہ غیر تربیت یافتہ دائیاں علاج کرتی ہیں، جو ان سے پیسے بھی لیتی ہیں۔

انہوں نے مزید بتایا کہ ’یہاں ڈاکٹر بھی بڑی ہے اور پیسے بھی نہیں لیتے، علاج بھی بہت اچھا ہوتا ہے۔‘

بی بی سارہ ان ہزاروں خواتین میں سے ایک ہیں، جو علاج کے اخراجات برداشت نہیں کرسکتیں اور نہ ہی علاج کروانے کے لیے کسی متصل بڑے شہر کا سفر کر سکتی ہیں۔

بلوچستان میں دو ہزار کی آبادی کے لیے صرف ایک ڈاکٹر موجود ہے۔ اس خلا کو پورا کرنے کے لیے نیم سرکاری ادارے پیپلز پرائمری ہیلتھ کیئر انیشی ایٹو (پی پی ایچ آئی) کی جانب سے ٹیلی ہیلتھ سینٹر کا قیام عمل میں لایا گیا ہے، جہاں بچوں اور خواتین مریضوں کا وفاقی دارالحکومت اسلام آباد کے ماہر ڈاکٹروں سے ویڈیو لنک کے ذریعے معائنہ اور علاج کرایا جاتا ہے۔

مرکز میں کام کرنے والی ایل ایچ وی زرمینہ کا کہنا تھا کہ یہاں ان کے پاس گائنی، سکن اور دیگر امراض کے مریض آتے ہیں۔

’ہم مریضوں کی ہسٹری لے کر ڈاکٹر کو بھیجتے ہیں، وہ ادویات تجویز کرتی ہیں، جس کے بعد فارمیسی سے مریضوں کو مفت ادویات فراہم کی جاتی ہیں۔‘

ڈسٹرکٹ سپورٹ مینیجر پی پی ایچ آئی سید امان شاہ نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ ٹیلی ہیلتھ سینٹر کا قیام گذشتہ سال جون میں عمل میں لایا گیا، جس کا بنیادی مقصد صوبے کے دور دراز علاقوں میں لوگوں کو ان کی دہلیز پر طبی سہولیات فراہم کرنا ہے۔

انہوں نے بتایا کہ ’صوبے میں قائم 14 ٹیلی ہیلتھ سینٹرز میں گائناکالوجسٹ، ماہرامراض جلد، جنرل فزیشن اور دیگر ڈاکٹرز موجود ہیں۔‘

جنوبی پنجاب سے متصل ضلع موسیٰ خیل کا شمار بلوچستان کے ان پسماندہ و دور دراز اضلاع میں ہوتا ہے، جہاں کے لوگ صحت، تعلیم اور پینے کے صاف پانی سمیت تمام بنیادی ضروریات زندگی سے محروم ہیں۔

اس ضلع میں سڑک اور ٹرانسپورٹ کی سہولت کی عدم موجودگی کے باعث زچگی کے دوران اکثر خواتین دم توڑ جاتی ہیں، جبکہ نوزائیدہ بچوں میں غذائی قلت کی شرح بھی دیگر اضلاع سے کئی گنا زیادہ ہے، جس کی بنیادی وجہ غربت اور کم شرح خواندگی بتائی جاتی ہیں۔

Riaz Haq said…
Concern grows in Modi's India over hunger deaths, food aid, and data gaps

The government is accused of failing to log starvation deaths, while the safety net isn’t catching all it should.
The government hasn’t logged a single death from starvation since 2016, but Mrinalini Paul, who works with the Right to Food and Work Network (RTFWN), a local NGO, said it’s clear Sardar’s death should have been recorded as one, as should many others.
The Sardar family was eligible for 35 kilos of rice and grain monthly from a government-run aid programme but had been approved for just two kilos because they lacked the right ID documents, according to Paul. “They had been without even these minimal benefits for six months,” she told The New Humanitarian.

Sunil Agarwala, the district magistrate of Jhargram, refuted the allegations, telling The Hindu newspaper they were "baseless", while insisting that Sardar’s death “was due to illness, TB, and other reasons”.

According to the World Health Organization, undernutrition is a key driver of TB, while malnutrition also makes TB therapy less effective and raises the risk of TB-related death.

The recently published Medical Certification Cause of Death (MCCD), 2020 report found that fewer than a quarter of the 81,15,882 registered deaths in India that year had known causes. Hunger activists are alarmed that a country with 1.4 billion people can only verify the causes of 22.5% of its documented fatalities.

Swati Narayan, assistant professor at the School for Public Health and Human Development at O.P. Jindal Global University, told The New Humanitarian that medical workers are unlikely to catch if the cause of death is starvation given how post-mortems are typically carried out.

She said it was crucial to also consider the person's socioeconomic position and the condition of their body, including the weight of their organs, visceral fat, and diseases brought on by a weaker immune system and malnutrition.

“The post-mortem reports are not an accurate reflection of hunger or starvation deaths in the country,” Narayan said. “Oral autopsies are much better at determining if the cause of death was hunger.”

Worsening hunger and the fight for a stronger safety net
Question marks around Sardar’s death and others like it – a similar case involving three “hunger deaths” in the same family went before the high court last month in Jharkhand, which borders West Bengal to the east – come amid signs of growing food insecurity in India.

The 2022 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 107 out of 121 nations, six places lower than its previous ranking, and below the likes of Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

While India remains in the “serious” category rather than “alarming” or “very alarming”, it recorded the highest percentage (19.3%) of any country of children under five who are “wasting”, meaning they’re below average weight for their height.

The pandemic made hunger worse, but income losses and rising debt continued to drive it up long after the worst of the health crisis had passed. A survey by the Right to Food Campaign in late 2021/early 2022 found that nearly 80% of respondents faced food insecurity, and almost half had run out of food the previous month.

However, the hunger problems also pre-date COVID. India’s last National Family Health Survey, which used data from 2019, found that stunting – a sign of chronic malnutrition – had risen in 11 out of the 17 states. In 13 states, wasting had also increased.

Riaz Haq said…
Postponing India’s census is terrible for the country
But it may suit Narendra Modi just fine

Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such. And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data.


Three years ago India’s government was scheduled to pose its citizens a long list of basic but important questions. How many people live in your house? What is it made of? Do you have a toilet? A car? An internet connection? The answers would refresh data from the country’s previous census in 2011, which, given India’s rapid development, were wildly out of date. Because of India’s covid-19 lockdown, however, the questions were never asked.

Almost three years later, and though India has officially left the pandemic behind, there has been no attempt to reschedule the decennial census. It may not happen until after parliamentary elections in 2024, or at all. Opposition politicians and development experts smell a rat.


For a while policymakers can tide themselves over with estimates, but eventually these need to be corrected with accurate numbers. “Right now we’re relying on data from the 2011 census, but we know our results will be off by a lot because things have changed so much since then,” says Pronab Sen, a former chairman of the National Statistical Commission who works on the household-consumption survey. And bad data lead to bad policy. A study in 2020 estimated that some 100m people may have missed out on food aid to which they were entitled because the distribution system uses decade-old numbers.

Similarly, it is important to know how many children live in an area before building schools and hiring teachers. The educational misfiring caused by the absence of such knowledge is particularly acute in fast-growing cities such as Delhi or Bangalore, says Narayanan Unni, who is advising the government on the census. “We basically don’t know how many people live in these places now, so proper planning for public services is really hard.”

The home ministry, which is in charge of the census, continues to blame its postponement on the pandemic, most recently in response to a parliamentary question on December 13th. It said the delay would continue “until further orders”, giving no time-frame for a resumption of data-gathering. Many statisticians and social scientists are mystified by this explanation: it is over a year since India resumed holding elections and other big political events.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan remains a lower-middle income country and will continue to be vulnerable to fluctuating energy prices, warns a UN report released on Monday.

The report also places India and Bangladesh among lower-middle-income countries despite their economic gains and urges the entire South Asian region to reduce its energy consumption. Nepal is also placed in the same category, although Afghanistan is listed among low-income countries.

The report by the UN labour agency warns that finding a decent and well-paid job will be harder in 2023 than it was in 2022, thanks to the continuing global economic downturn.

The report notes that South Asia has not been affected by the Ukraine war as it has few direct links with Russia and Ukraine. But it is “very vulnerable to the higher global commodity prices that have resulted from the conflict.”

According to this report, South Asia “remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters, for example on the flood plains of Pakistan and Bangladesh.” Countries such as Pakistan “are also increasingly held back by very high levels of energy subsidies, which weigh heavily on public finances and are failing to reduce poverty effectively.”

The report argues that recent high and volatile energy prices have shown South Asia’s vulnerability to energy imports, and underlines “a clear need to become less dependent on these imports.”

The UN labour agency predicts that the number of people unemployed around the world would rise slightly to 208 million in 2023. This corresponds to a global unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent — or 16 million people — according to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) World Employment and Social Outlook Trends report. Today’s economic slowdown “means that many workers will have to accept lower quality jobs, often at very low pay, sometimes with insufficient hours,” the report adds.

The UN agency notes that this already happening in Europe and other developed countries, thanks to the Ukraine war and the continued disruption of global supply chains, both of which are counteracting the robust stimulus packages implemented to ride out the Covid-19 crisis. “Real wages we project for 2022 to have declined by 2.2pc in advanced countries and of course, Europe makes up a significant proportion of advanced countries, versus a rise in real wages in developing countries,” says Richard Samans, Director of ILO’s Research Department. The report also predicts a setback to the informal economy, which will adversely affect efforts to help the world’s two billion informal workers join the formal employment sector.

As prices rise faster than wages, the cost-of-living crisis risks pushing more people into poverty, the report adds, pointing out that the trend follows significant declines in income during the Covid-19 crisis, which affected low-income groups most, in many countries. Some 214m workers live in extreme poverty today, “in other words with $1.90 a day.

From a gender perspective, the unequal development of the global jobs market continues to be concerning. There are 290 million youth who are not in employment, or in education or training and “young women are faring much worse,” the report warns.

Majumdar said…
Brofessor sb,

"while Pakistan's are from 2017/18"

Pakiland would have slid further in 2022! The 2022 data as and when they are available will show Pakiland as even worse off.

"Besides, Modi's numbers are not trustworthy"

The GHI calculations for India are also based on the source data provided by the Govt of India. You have no difficulty in believing Modi's numbers for hunger, but not for others! Very strange.
Riaz Haq said…
Majumdar: "The GHI calculations for India are also based on the source data provided by the Govt of India. You have no difficulty in believing Modi's numbers for hunger, but not for others! Very strange"

So why is the Modi government questioning GHI India's low ranking on hunger?

The Global Hunger Index report of 2022, published in mid October, shows India’s place to have fallen to 107 from the previous year’s 101, out of 121 countries. Once again, the Government of India has questioned the survey’s methodology and sample size and accused the authors, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, of bias. In a statement almost identical to that of last year, the Women and Child Development Ministry alleged that a consistent effort was on to tarnish India’s image.

GHI calculations are based on four indicators: undernourishment in adult and child populations, under-five mortality, stunting (low height for age) and wasting. Undernourishment, measured against adequacy of food access, was used as a lead indicator of international hunger eradication targets, including the Sustainable Development Goal number 2. Child stunting and wasting went beyond adequate calorie availability and were used as indicators for child nutrition. Child mortality reflected the most serious consequence of hunger. Critics of the report argued that there was no concrete evidence to establish the connection between hunger and these four indicators.

For the 2022 report, data from 136 countries were analysed. There were sufficient data from 121 countries to calculate GHI scores and rank them. India was ranked 107 with a GHI score of 29.1, considered as “serious”. In South Asia, India was ahead of only Afghanistan (109).
Riaz Haq said…
#India, soon world's most populous nation, doesn't know how many people it has. Critics of PM #Modi have accused his gov’t of delaying the census to hide data on politically sensitive issues, such as #unemployment, ahead of national #elections due in 2024.

Experts say the delay in updating data like employment, housing, literacy levels, migration patterns and infant mortality, which are captured by the census, affects social and economic planning and policy making in the huge Asian economy.

Calling census data "indispensable", Rachna Sharma, a fellow at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said studies like the consumption expenditure survey and the periodic labour force survey are estimations based on information from the census.

"In the absence of latest census data, the estimations are based on data that is one decade old and is likely to provide estimates that are far from reality," Sharma said.

A senior official at the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said census data from 2011, when the count was last conducted, was being used for projections and estimates required to assess government spending.

A spokesman for the ministry said its role was limited to providing the best possible projections and could not comment on the census process. The Prime Minister's Office did not respond to requests for comment

Two other government officials, one from the federal home (interior) ministry and another from the office of the Registrar General of India, said the delay was largely due to the government's decision to fine-tune the census process and make it foolproof with the help of technology.

The home ministry official said the software that will be used to gather census data on a mobile phone app has to be synchronised with existing identity databases, including the national identity card, called Aadhaar, which was taking time.

The office of the Registrar General of India, which is responsible for the census, did not respond to a request for comment.

The main opposition Congress party and critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have accused the government of delaying the census to hide data on politically sensitive issues, such as unemployment, ahead of national elections due in 2024.

"This government has often displayed its open rivalry with data," said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. "On important matters like employment, Covid deaths etc., we have seen how the Modi government has preferred to cloak critical data.”

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesperson, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, dismissed the criticism.

"I want to know on what basis they are saying this. Which is the social parameter on which our performance in nine years is worse than their 65 years?" he said, referring to the Congress party's years in power.

The United Nations has projected India's population could touch 1,425,775,850 on April 14, overtaking China on that day.

The 2011 census had put India's population at 1.21 billion, meaning the country has added 210 million, or almost the number of people in Brazil, to its population in 12 years.

India's census is conducted by about 330,000 government school teachers who first go door-to-door listing all houses across the country and then return to them with a second list of questions.

They ask more than two dozen questions each time in 16 languages in the two phases that will be spread over 11 months, according to the plan made for 2021.

The numbers will be tabulated and final data made public months later. The entire exercise was estimated to cost 87.5 billion rupees ($1.05 billion) in 2019.

Riaz Haq said…
"India is Broken" writes Princeton Economist Ashoka Modi. Says #Indians, mostly illiterate and poor, hunger for freedom and prosperity but their politicians from #Nehru to #Modi have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. #BJP via @WSJBooks

Ashoka Mody, who was for many years a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the sort of quietly efficient global technocrat who retires to a professorship at a prestigious school—in his case, Princeton. Yet he’s different from his faceless ilk of briefcase-bearers in one astonishing way: 13 years ago, an attempt was made on his life. The alleged assailant, thought to have been passed over for a job at the IMF by Mr. Mody, shot him in the jaw outside his house in Maryland.

He recovered with remarkable verve, his intellectual drive intact. Yet a mood of gloom and pessimism is unmistakable in “India Is Broken.” Today, 75 years after independence from Britain, Mr. Mody believes that India’s democracy and economy are in a state of profound malfunction. The book’s tale, he writes, “is one of continuous erosion of social norms and decay of political accountability.” You might add that it is also a tale of an audacious political experiment on the brink of failure.

India started its post-independence journey, says Mr. Mody, as “an improbable democracy” whose citizens, mostly illiterate and poor, hungered for freedom and prosperity. Generations of Indian politicians—from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister, to Narendra Modi, the present one—have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. India’s democracy no longer protects fundamental rights and freedoms in a nation over which “a blanket of violence” has fallen. A belief in “equality, tolerance and shared progress” has disappeared. And the country’s collapse isn’t just political and economic; it’s also moral and spiritual.


A notable weakness in Mr. Mody’s analysis is his denial that the economic policies of Nehru and his successors were socialist. He writes of Nehru’s “alleged socialist legacy” and adds that it is a “mistake to identify central planning or big government as socialism.” Socialism, he insists, “means the creation of equal opportunity for all,” which India’s policy makers weren’t doing. Ergo, India wasn’t socialist.

If these protestations are almost laughable, Mr. Mody’s solution also invites some derision. Hope for India, he says, lies in making it a “true democracy.” And how can that be done? “We must move to an equilibrium in which everyone expects others to be honest.” This “honest equilibrium,” he says, will promote enough trust for Indians to work together “in the long-haul tasks of creating public goods and advancing sustainable development” and awakening “civic consciousness.” Mr. Mody, it is clear, has a dream. It is naïve, and it is corny. India, alas, will continue to be “broken” for many years to come.
Riaz Haq said…
UNICEF Pakistan Humanitarian Situation Report No. 10 (Floods): 28 February 2023

Moving into 2023, urgent and significant humanitarian needs remain which require continued focus and support, even as reconstruction and rehabilitation begin under the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Resilient, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF).

The 2022 flood was equivalent to nearly 2.9 times the national 30-year average – and a combination of riverine, urban, and flash flooding led to a record flood in which 94 districts were declared calamity-hit. The widespread flooding and landslides resulted in major losses of human lives and damage to property and infrastructure. Around 33 million people were affected, nearly 8 million people were reportedly displaced, and as per UN Satellite Centre imagery around 4.5 million people are still exposed to or living close to flood water. As per the last NDMA situation report, 1,739 people lost their lives (of which 647 were children), 12,867 were injured (including 4,006 children) and more than 2.28 million houses were damaged (partially damaged: 1,391,467 and fully damaged: 897,014).

An estimated 20.6 million people, including 9.6 million children, need humanitarian assistance. Many of the hardest-hit districts are amongst the most vulnerable districts in Pakistan, where children already suffer from high malnutrition, poor access to water and sanitation, low school enrolment, and other deprivations. Moreover, the effects of the floods have worsened pre-existing vulnerabilities to key child-protection issues and gender-based violence (GBV). Children, particularly those living in poverty, are at a higher risk of being forced into child labour, child marriage and violence. The affected area in need of community-based psychosocial support and specialized interventions. As per the PDNA, beyond the increase in monetary poverty, estimates indicate an increase in multidimensional poverty from 37.8 per cent to 43.7 per cent, meaning that an additional 1.9 million households will be pushed into non-monetary poverty. This entails significantly increased deprivations around access to adequate health, sanitation, quality maternal health care, electricity, and loss of assets. Multidimensional poverty will increase by 13 percentage points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), followed by 10.9 in Balochistan, and 10.2 in Sindh province.

As per the latest available reports, more than 5.4 million people do not have access to safe or potable water in flood-affected districts. An estimated 1.1 million people are at risk of sliding from acute food and livelihood crisis (IPC3) situations to humanitarian emergency (IPC4) food security situations due to insufficient support. Malaria outbreaks have been reported in at least 12 districts of Sindh and Balochistan. Over 7 million children and women need immediate access to nutrition services. An estimated 3.5 million children, especially girls, are at high risk of permanent school dropouts.
Riaz Haq said…
India slipping on way to meeting UN-mandated SDGs: CSE-DTE

Country (India) facing challenges in 11 of the 17 SDGs; states’ individual performances ranked as well (Pakistan facing challenges in 12 of 17 SDGs)

India has been stumbling over meeting the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG). Over the past five years, it has slipped nine spots — ranking 121 in 2022, according to an annual report by Down To Earth, the fortnightly magazine by New Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment.

India is behind its neighbours Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh and Pakistan was lagging close behind at 125. The deadline for the goals is 2030, which is looming ahead — but India is facing challenges in 11 of the 17 SDGs, according to State of India’s Environment 2023 (SoE), released on March 23, 2023.

The 2023 report covered an extensive gamut of subject assessments, ranging from climate change, agriculture and industry to water, plastics, forests and biodiversity.

The report looked at states’ performances as well. “An alarmingly high number of states have slipped in their performance of SDGs 4, 8, 9, 10 and 15,” said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of DTE and one of the editors of the SoE.

These numbers refer to the goals on quality education; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; and life on land, respectively.

In SDG 4 (quality education), for instance, 17 states saw a dip in their performance between 2019 and 2020. SDG 15 — life on land — has 25 states performing below average.

The goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) has become more distant for 15 states, while 22 states are slipping in SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

Concurrently, there has been improvement by states as well in several goals — SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 12 (responsible consumption and production).

“All the data that we are using here is from credible, and in many cases, from the government’s own sources,” said Mahapatra.

DTE’s research team says that India’s ranking has been taken from the SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2022 by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the time period 2017-2022.

The state-level ranking is based on the government think tank NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index Report 2020-21. Here, the DTE team has analysed the 2020 and 2019 scores.

Riaz Haq said…
Adani’s business empire may or may not turn out to be the largest con in corporate history. But far greater dangers to civic morality, let alone democracy and global peace, are posed by those peddling the gigantic hoax of Modi’s India. Pankaj Mishra

Modi has counted on sympathetic journalists and financial speculators in the West to cast a seductive veil over his version of political economy, environmental activism and history. ‘I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region,’ Roger Cohen of the New York Times wrote in 2019 after Modi annulled the special constitutional status of India’s only Muslim-majority state and imposed a months-long curfew. The CEO of McKinsey recently said that we may be living in ‘India’s century’. Praising Modi for ‘implementing policies that have modernised India and supported its growth’, the economist and investor Nouriel Roubini described the country as a ‘vibrant democracy’. But it is becoming harder to evade the bleak reality that, despoiled by a venal, inept and tyrannical regime, ‘India is broken’ – the title of a disturbing new book by the economic historian Ashoka Mody.

The number of Indians who sleep hungry rose from 190 million in 2018 to 350 million in 2022, and malnutrition and malnourishment killed nearly two-thirds of the children who died under the age of five last year. At the same time, Modi’s cronies have flourished. The Economist estimates that the share of billionaire wealth in India derived from cronyism has risen from 29 per cent to 43 per cent in six years. According to a recent Oxfam report, India’s richest 1 per cent owned more than 40.5 per cent of its total wealth in 2021 – a statistic that the notorious oligarchies of Russia and Latin America never came close to matching. The new Indian plutocracy owes its swift ascent to Modi, and he has audaciously clarified the quid pro quo. Under the ‘electoral bond’ scheme he introduced in 2017, any business or special interest group can give unlimited sums of money to his party while keeping the transaction hidden from public scrutiny.

Modi also ensures his hegemony by forging a public sphere in which sycophancy is rewarded and dissent harshly punished. Adani last year took over NDTV, a television news channel that had displayed a rare immunity to hate speech, fake news and conspiracy theories. Human Rights Watch has detailed a broad onslaught on democratic rights: ‘the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government used abusive and discriminatory policies to repress Muslims and other minorities’ and ‘arrested activists, journalists and other critics of the government on politically motivated criminal charges, including of terrorism’. Last month, as the BJP’s official spokesperson denounced the BBC as ‘the most corrupt organisation in the world’, tax officials launched a sixty-hour raid on the broadcaster’s Indian offices in apparent retaliation for a two-part documentary on Modi’s role in anti-Muslim violence.

Also last month, the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was expelled from parliament to put a stop to his persistent questions about Modi’s relationship with Adani. Such actions are at last provoking closer international scrutiny of what Modi calls the ‘mother of democracy’, though they haven’t come as a shock to those who have long known about Modi’s lifelong allegiance to Rashtriya​ Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation that was explicitly inspired by European fascist movements and culpable in the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948.
Riaz Haq said…
Why Prof. Ashoka Mody Believes India is Broken | Princeton International

I have long felt that that upbeat story is completely divorced from the lived reality of the vast majority of Indians. I wanted to write a book about that lived reality, about jobs, education, healthcare, the cities Indians live in, the justice system they encounter, the air they breathe, the water they drink. And when you look at India through that lens of that reality, the progress is halting at best and far removed from the aspirations of people and what might have been. India is broken in the sense that for hundreds of millions of Indians, jobs are hard to get, and education and health care are poor. The justice system is coercive and brutal. The air quality remains extraordinarily poor. The rivers are dying. And it's not clear that things are going to get better. Underlying that brokenness, social norms and public accountability have eroded to a point where India seems to be in a catch-22: Unaccountable politicians do not impose accountability on themselves; therefore, no one has an incentive to impose accountability for policy priorities that might benefit large numbers of people. The elite are happy in their gated first-world communities. They shrug their shoulders and say, “What exactly is the problem?”


Prof Ashoka Mody interviewed by Barkha Dutt
Riaz Haq said…
Standard of Living by Country | Quality of Life by Country 2023

Numbeo Quality of Life

Finland 178.5

Oman 168.82

Japan 164.06

US 163.6

UK 156.94

UAE 156.94

Morocco 105.04

China 103.16

India 103

Pakistan 102.15

Russia 97.91

Egypt 87.21

Kenya 76.92

Bangladesh 64.54

Iran 63.6

Nigeria 54.71
Riaz Haq said…
Excerpt of "India is Broken" by Princeton Economist Ashoka Mody

Just as Modi’s demonetization and GST rollout heightened India’s job challenge, the policies likely also increased Indian poverty. On poverty, the data fog is even greater than that for GDP and employment. The only reliable estimate of those below the poverty line is from a 2011–2012 survey. An embarrassing official report for 2017–2018 appeared in late 2019, which the Modi government promptly threw out. The data, however, leaked. Using that data, S. Subramanian, a member of the World Bank’s Commission on Global Poverty, estimated the extent of Indian poverty, as defined by the Indian Planning Commission’s subsistence norm of 32 rupees (at 2011–2012 prices) per person per day in rural areas. The share of rural residents living in poverty had risen from 31 percent in 2011–2012 to 35 percent in 2017–2018. In starker terms, 320 million rural Indians lived in severe poverty in 2017–2018, which was fifty million more than just six years earlier. And in 2017–2018, 160 million rural Indians lived barely above the poverty line—sixty million more than six years earlier—spending between 32 and 38 rupees a day on their consumption needs. The Modi government insisted that the survey’s estimates of consumption were not credible because they were much lower than the per capita consumption implied by National Account Statistics. This was an old and unfounded argument. National account data in all countries show higher consumption than survey data, presumably because people underreport their consumption in surveys. But the underreporting is concentrated in richer households and does not influence the poverty estimates. Additionally, India’s national account statistics were suspect. Indian authorities did not directly measure the size of the informal sector; instead, they assumed it moved in tandem with the formal sector. After the Modi-inflicted blows to the informal sector, this procedure likely significantly overstated the income and consumption of those in the informal sector.

Mody, Ashoka. India Is Broken (pp. 352-353). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
India is open defecation free. Not near where the prime minister lives

Every day, Suman, 32, wakes up early, fills up a lota or a plastic water bottle and walks out to the forest adjoining the Kirby Place slum in central Delhi to relieve herself. As do hundreds of men, women and children from the slum. Kirby Place is supposed to be “open defecation free”, like, according to a declaration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Gandhi Jayanti in 2019, all the rest of India.

Kirby Place is barely 10 km from the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi.

The slum is under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Cantonment Board, a municipal body administratively controlled by the defence ministry’s Directorate General Defence Estates. Delhi Cantt is not merely open defecation free, the website of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan declares, all its community and public toilets are “functional and well maintained” and its sewage is “safely managed and treated”.

It’s a far bleaker reality on the ground, however.

Although the Delhi Cantonment Board has stationed mobile toilets in Kirby Place, most aren’t functional or usable, compelling hundreds of nearly 3,000 residents to use the outdoors.

“Only a few of the toilets are operational. So the people have no option but to go to the jungle,” said Bhanu Prasad, 40, a resident who works as a security guard in South Delhi.

The mobile toilets are also difficult to access. Most lack stairs and even doors. “How can women climb up there?” Bhanu Prasad asked, pointing to a mobile toilet, a minitruck with 10 toilet seats. The doorway is nearly four feet from the ground.

“The stairs get stolen and we all have to suffer,” Bhanu Prasad said. “We don’t know who steals them.”

Another problem is the lack of cleanliness. “The condition of the toilets isn’t really good. They are often too dirty and there are no stairs to go up,” said Suman, a housewife whose shanty is barely 50 metres from a mobile toilet station. “So, we all go to the jungle.”

Which is no less a challenge, said Suman’s neighbour Roshan, 35. “Everyone goes to defecate in the jungle. So it has become very dirty and stinky. But what else can we do?” said Roshan, who doesn’t use a second name like most people in the slum, the majority of whom she said belong to “the downtrodden castes”.

Parvati, another neighbour, said that sometimes men sit near where women go, “making it weird and uncomfortable”. “So we try to go as early as possible,” she added.

The Kirby Place slum as well as the neighbouring Brar Square are built on defence ministry land, so most residents aren’t allowed to raise any concrete structures, including toilets. “We do not even have electricity here,” said Umma, another neighbour of Suman’s.

A Delhi Cantonment Board official who helps oversee its sanitation work confirmed that “no concrete structures can be built in the area”. “So, we provide them mobile toilets,” added the official, who asked to speak anonymously because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the press.

There are 16 mobile toilet vans in Kirby Place, six in Brar Square, and one each in Naraina and Poultry Farm nearby, the official said. Five of them aren’t functional and a couple are used by the army. Newslaundry, however, found 20 toilet vans in Kirby Place and four in Brar Square. In Kirby Place, the vans are stationed at two spots. At one spot, only one of the six vans are usable. “Five vans are unusable. Some do not have doors and storage tanks leak,” said Rajendra, a Kirby Place resident. At the other spot, Newslaundry found nine of the 14 vans to be functional.

“Five of the vans at this spot have not been in use for months. So, I have to clean only one,” said Pinto, a sanitation worker who cleans the toilets.
Riaz Haq said…
The Economist exposes Modi's fudged numbers to show lower multidimensional poverty.

It deals with the definitions used by the Modi government......such as the definitions of village electrification and open defecation.

Modi government claims the entire village is electrified with "only public buildings and 10% of households" electrified.

Modi gov't also calls villages "open defecation free" even when millions of people are still defecating in the open.

All of this false "multi-dimensional" data manufactured by Modi gov't is used by the UNDP report. That's reflected in a dramatic reduction in India's "multidimensional poverty" on Modi's watch.

"Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such"

"And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data"

Riaz Haq said…
Will This Be the ‘Indian Century’? Four Key Questions
By Alex Travelli and Weiyi Cai

India is a country primed to work. More than two-thirds of all Indians are between the ages of 15 and 59. The country’s ratio of children and retirees to working-age adults is remarkably low.

But this opportunity comes with huge challenges. That “demographic dividend” could instead become something like a disaster. In some recent years, India has squeaked past China to claim the title of fastest-growing major economy. But it has never expanded fast enough to produce sufficient formal employment for everyone. The country needs about nine million new jobs every year just to keep pace; the annual shortfall helps relegate many to India’s old standby, agricultural work.

Most people in India lack the means to be “unemployed” – in the work force but without a job. Underemployment is the more discreet danger. Wages have been stagnant for eight years, according to an analysis by Jean Drèze, an economist at Delhi University. Economic growth without an equivalent increase in jobs makes India’s massively unequal society even more so, raising the potential for unrest.

India has one of the world’s lowest rates of formal employment for women: about one in five. China’s is almost double that rate, higher than the United States’ and the world average. An economy cannot meet its potential when it draws on the contributions of so few women.

Also worrisome, the rate has actually declined in India even as most of the country’s economic conditions have improved. The explanation favored by economists is that the jobs most women take are so poorly paid that as soon as a family can do without the extra income, wives stop working outside the home.

That does not mean women in India do not work hard. They are a visible presence in the 41 percent of society that is still in agriculture, and they carry nearly all of the household burdens. But so long as these women remain outside the formal work force, they cannot enter its most productive categories, in industry and services. Improved access to family planning, better education, efforts to change societal attitudes and measures to ensure women’s safety could help more women take on formal work.


India’s economic story, however it turns out, will not be a repetition of China’s. There are many ways in which India can rise, especially with industrial manufacturing no longer occupying the central role in the world economy that it once did.

Services now make up a huge and exciting part of the Indian economy, augmented by a low-cost digital infrastructure that India developed on its own. Other glimmers are also emerging: Chip makers are looking to India as a high-end substitute for China; online services are allowing millions of young Indians to work abroad without leaving home; and even life in India’s villages is becoming more urbanized by the year.

The only certainty about the new biggest country in the world is that it will be unlike any that came before it.
Riaz Haq said…
No census in #India. No one knows for sure how many Indians are there today, how many have #jobs, do they have access to #food, #healthcare and #sanitation and what is their level of #education? Is #Modi government lying about its achievements?

This week, the United Nations informed the world that India was now its most populous nation. According to the UN, there are now 1.428 billion people in India, as opposed to a mere 1.426 billion in China. When asked about this, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson sounded dismissive: “I want to tell you that population dividend does not depend on quantity but also quality.”


In 2020, however, pandemic-hit India postponed the census and claimed at first it would shift online — as was tried in the US, for example. Yet things have returned to normal, in India as elsewhere, and there’s no sign of preparations for a census, online or off.

India’s current government has a somewhat difficult relationship with data. Various surveys and calculations, from the national income accounts to household consumption patterns and jobs data, have been cancelled or reviewed over the past seven years.

This census was set to be even more politically explosive. In famously diverse India, the census provides the last word on the relative sizes of various groups. And those numbers don’t just determine their voting power in democratic India, but also the distribution of welfare and public services. Without an accurate census, Indian policymakers are fumbling in the dark.

Unfortunately, the demographic composition of Indians — what caste they were born into, where they live, and what religion they profess — is now exceptionally controversial.

Consider caste, for example. Not since 1931 has India determined the exact caste composition of its population. And yet our huge affirmative action system — with job and educational quotas earmarked for various caste groups — is based on that data. Any big shifts in the numbers would certainly impact caste-based political mobilization, and the government is unwilling to do the counting.

Then there’s religion. If minorities’ numbers have increased “too much,” there would be an outcry from the right-wing; if they haven’t, it becomes harder for politicians to tell Hindus that they are in demographic danger.


Even more potentially problematic are the numbers for language groups and state origins. India is a country of two halves: one with a rapidly growing population, and the other aging just as rapidly. By 2041, according to government estimates, the northern state of Bihar will have added 50 million people to its strength of 104 million in the 2011 Census. The southern state of Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, will have begun to shrink. Worse, the shrinking states are mostly ruled by strong regional parties, don’t speak the same language as the north, and are much richer.

New population numbers may mean that these states’ share of seats in the national parliament will decline, leaving them with little voice in New Delhi’s decisions. Inter-regional transfers in India, already high, will increase. One state finance minister has complained that sending local taxes north is “like throwing money down the well.”

Finally, there’s employment. India has no reliable data about how many jobs are being created for its hundreds of millions of young people. Two government surveys that estimated unemployment were shut down in 2017 and 2018. But the 2011 Census did tell us that 28% of households had somebody “seeking or available for work,” and that there were 47 million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24, a youth unemployment rate of 20%. If that rate has increased, it would be very bad news for a government that pitches itself to aspirational, young India.

Riaz Haq said…
India Has Bigger Population, China Has Better Technocrats

by Pankaj Mishra

The country may have more people than China. But it won’t become a major economic, scientific and technological power without more technocrats.

In a historical shift, India is surpassing China to become the world’s most populous country. But the question of whether India can realize its demographic dividend and outperform ageing China economically does not go far enough. More attention is due to a fundamental and oddly neglected issue: whether India’s government has the technocratic capacity to transform the country into a major economic, scientific and tech power like China.

For more than half a century since Mao Zedong’s calamitous Cultural Revolution, well-educated leaders have mapped China’s trajectory to modernization. Mao devised quack solutions for China’s challenge of rapid industrialization, such as making steel in family backyards. But his colleagues began to check his ideological excesses even while he was alive. Since Deng Xiaoping’s momentous tenure, China has seemed able to tap its available intellectual potential no matter who is in power. Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, argues in a forthcoming book that Chinese President Xi Jinping, considered more autocratic than his predecessors, has empowered a new generation of experts in IT, aerospace, 5G, robotics, AI and more. Many of these technocrats have experience competing globally at China’s state-owned enterprises.

Observers of India will struggle to find a comparable consolidation of talent at the highest levels of the country’s political and economic leadership. India’s civil service, unlike China’s, is a legacy of British rule. Originally meant to enforce law and order and collect revenue, it implements welfare schemes and development plans now. Though increasingly diverse, this bureaucracy does not seem as well-equipped as China’s to tackle complex challenges.

This is hardly because India lacks talent. A handful of educational institutions in India have produced arguably the most impressive global intelligentsia of any non-Western country. Indians today occupy senior positions across Western academic, financial and corporate institutions. Indeed, the Chinese diaspora in the West, though longer established, can’t match the impact and visibility of the Indian diaspora. Yet, it would be misleading to draw a picture of India’s intellectual capacity and potential by looking at Sundar Pichai of Google and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Indeed, they are a reminder of how much Indian talent exists outside of India (or is eager to leave).

The occasional homecoming is rarely successful. Take, for instance, Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. Invited in 2013 by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to head the Reserve Bank of India, Rajan returned to the US in 2016. His criticism of crony capitalism and ideological extremism in India did not endear him to the regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since Rajan’s departure, new appointees appear to have compromised the independence of India’s central bank, with other major institutions, from financial regulatory bodies to universities and security and intelligence agencies, are not faring much better.
Riaz Haq said…
India Has Bigger Population, China Has Better Technocrats

by Pankaj Mishra

Facts and data in India often appear increasingly fudged; political expediency seem to have blocked even a routine national census that would shed light on India’s population. Today, it’s questionable whether a system of government that hinges on power of the kind Modi wields can help accelerate India’s modernization beyond a point, no matter how many infrastructure projects he inaugurates. Nor can this essential task be left to the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. China has powerfully demonstrated that nations that start belatedly on the task of economic modernization need long-term policy and coordinated action by a dedicated national elite consisting of bureaucrats and technocrats as well as political leaders.

Modi’s own educational credentials aren’t the issue. Nor is his Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindu nationalism an obstacle by itself. Pragmatic-minded nationalists can learn on the job. But the regime displays elements of Mao-style, arbitrary decision-making, illustrated pointedly by India’s devastating policy of demonetization. The ruling party also seems to have prioritized its own cultural revolution against India’s previous, highly educated ruling class above all else. After nine years in power, references are still made to the BJP being victimized by entrenched secular elites. What are seen as bastions of social and educational privilege often come under fire.

Rather than catching up with China, India seems to be replicating China’s past, when ideological fervour and indoctrination of the masses disastrously took priority over social stability, political cohesion and economic growth. The world’s new largest country may need fresh leaders before it can realize its immense intellectual as well as demographic dividend.©bloomberg
Riaz Haq said…
#India's now most populous! In 1990 India & #China had about the same per capita annual income of $350. China’s is now 6X as large as India’s: $12,550 to $2,250. On #Modi’s watch India now lags farther. Can India now reap the #demographic dividend? @WSJ

For the first time since the mid-18th century, China isn’t the world’s most populous nation. According to United Nations projections, India claims that mantle this month as its population touches 1.425 billion.

Many in the West would like India to catch up economically with China and emerge as a powerful democratic counterweight in Asia. But for this dream to become reality, India must do a better job of educating its people and industrializing its economy.

Not long ago, educated Indians largely considered the country’s burgeoning population a liability, not an asset. But many now argue that India’s young population gives it an edge over China that will persist for decades. China’s population has already begun to decline. The United Nations projects India’s to peak at 1.7 billion in 2064.

To a large extent, optimism about India hinges on the idea of a “demographic dividend.” The theory, Mr. Eberstadt explains, is that this is a once-in-history chance for a population to move swiftly from short life expectancy and big families to long life expectancy and small families. In India, the labor force is growing more rapidly than the total population, which could translate into higher savings and investment rates and more rapid economic growth. South Korea and Taiwan are examples of Asian countries that swiftly made this transition from poor to rich.

Before India can dream of emulating their success, or China’s, it must acknowledge the size of the challenges it faces. Only about three-fourths of India’s population is literate, a level that China surpassed about 40 years ago. According to Mr. Eberstadt, this makes India the only country in history to have a vast pool of college graduates living amid hundreds of millions of working-age people who have never been to school. Moreover, over the past three decades regional disparities have widened. Kerala in the south has human-development indicators akin to Brazil. Bihar in the north looks worse than Cambodia.

Or take female labor-force participation, another measure of economic development. In China it’s more than 60%—roughly the same as in the U.S. and other wealthy countries. In India it has declined from 28% in 1990 to 23% in 2021. More than two-thirds of Chinese live in cities, which tends to boost productivity. India remains overwhelmingly rural—only about a third of the population lives in cities.

Industrialization also matters. Apart from a few resource-rich countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all rich nations have successfully moved large numbers of people from farms to factories as they developed. Despite Mr. Modi’s calls to “Make in India,” manufacturing as a percentage of Indian gross domestic product declined from 16% in 2011 to 14% in 2021. As a proportion of employment, India’s industrialization peaked in 2002. Almost half of the Indian workforce makes subsistence livings on small family farms, compared with only about 25% of Chinese and 1% of Americans. In 2019, amid persistent protests, Mr. Modi rolled back ambitious agricultural reforms that would have helped modernize farms.

On the upside, India has massive room for improvement. If the country gets everything right it could grow robustly for decades. But to catch up it will need to redress many of its failures. “The critical thing to remember,” Mr. Eberstadt says, “is that demographic dividends don’t always get cashed.”

Riaz Haq said…
Why #India will continue to lag behind #China as a global #economic power. Unlike China, India had no #revolution: its old power structures & vested interests prevent change. Plus lack of investment in #education, #health, #infrastructure. #Modi #BJP

by David Dodwell

a further factor has been America’s remorseless efforts to slow China’s rise, and to reduce the ever-widening range of Chinese goods on which US manufacturers and consumers have come to rely. Every attempt to devise a credible decoupling, diversification or derisking strategy points Joe Biden’s team inevitably to India – the only economy with a big enough market and workforce to develop the economies of scale needed to have a hope of competing against China.
But India, for more than 40 years, has remained a miracle about to happen. Back in the 1980s, along with thousands of other Western companies, my then-employer the Financial Times was wrestling with how best to focus its Asian expansion plans: prioritise Hong Kong, focused on the China market, or in Mumbai, focused on India?

For FT bosses, the answer was obvious: India was the world’s largest English-speaking market, the world’s most populous democracy, and home to one of the world’s largest equity markets. It also had long-standing links with Britain.
Arguments that China’s leadership was far more pragmatic and seriously committed to opening up to international trade and investment, with the foundations of an urban-industrial psychology that contrasted with India’s profoundly rural-agrarian mindset, were brushed aside. To the best of my knowledge, the FT is still battling to publish in India.

My deep doubt that India can become a top-table power that might serve as a democratic counterweight to China was forged in the 1970s by social scientist Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.
In asking why India failed to succumb to a Marxist revolution after independence in 1947, while China emerged under Mao Zedong as a radically transformed Marxist power, Moore identified a wide range of powerful inertial forces in India that prevented revolution and shackled economic change – and continue to do so even today.
Perhaps most important were the rural power structures cemented around caste, which still exert more influence over social and economic development than most economists recognise.

In China, revolution swept away ancient power structures, entrenched corrupt networks and ossified vested interests. Corrupt networks could regrow but the inertial undergrowth that had for a century choked change in China had been cleared, opening the country to a potential for change.
The absence of revolution in India left in place existing power structures and long-standing vested interests, along with the corruption they nurtured, blocking the radical political or economic changes that turbocharged China’s economic growth from the late 1970s. Corruption remains a scourge in India and a nagging obstacle to growth.

Riaz Haq said…
Why #India will continue to lag behind #China as a global #economic power.

by David Dodwell

There is magical thinking among forecasters who talk of an “Indian century”, with Modi’s India set to overtake China, not simply in population but as a dynamo for global growth.
Alok Sheel, a former secretary of India’s Economic Advisory Council, injected some much-needed realism: “If India were to grow at the very optimistic, and currently unlikely, rate of 9 per cent going forward, and China were to slow down to 4 per cent, the Indian economy would be 70 per cent of China’s size by mid-century.”
So many factors sit in the way of sustainable strong growth in India. Nearly 43 per cent of the population works in the farming sector, compared to 25 per cent in China. Underemployment, much of it informal and undocumented, hampers any pathway to higher productivity.

While India’s education spending is higher than in China (as a percentage of government expenditure), literacy remains at 74 per cent, compared with 97 per cent in China, with almost 27 per cent of India’s population lacking any formal education. Women account for a large share of the illiterate, contributing to the reality that just 19 per cent of women participate in the workforce, compared with 61 per cent in China.
A failure to spend adequately on education, health, social welfare and other key infrastructure also shackles progress. Just 46 per cent of Indians have access to safe sanitation (compared with 70 per cent in China), and only 43 per cent have access to the internet (70 per cent in China).
One can juggle data ad nauseam, but the reality of the past 40 years remains unchanged: Indian progress is welcome but slow, and the country will continue to lag behind China.
The rising economic heft of the Global South will give India a seat at top tables like the G20, but there is no way Biden can magically think away the reality of China as a global economic force. The 21st century may not be India’s century, but it is almost certainly Asia’s century, and Washington needs to come to terms with that.
David Dodwell is CEO of the trade policy and international relations consultancy Strategic Access, focused on developments and challenges facing the Asia-Pacific over the past four decades

Riaz Haq said…
Unemployment in India

High #Unemployment in #India: While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022. #Modi #BJP #economy #poverty #hunger Hindutva #Islamophobia

Too few jobs, too many workers and ‘no plan B’: The time bomb hidden in India’s ‘economic miracle’

Sunil Kumar knows all about working hard to achieve a dream. The 28-year-old from India’s Haryana state already has two degrees – a bachelor’s and a master’s – and is working on a third, all with a view to landing a well-paid job in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

“I studied so that I can be successful in life,” he said. “When you work hard, you should be able to get a job.”

Kumar does now have a job, but it’s not the one he studied for – and definitely not the one he dreamed about.

He has spent the past five years sweeping the floors of a school in his village, a full-time job he supplements with a less lucrative side hustle tutoring younger students. All told, he makes about $85 a month.

It’s not much, he concedes, especially as he needs to support two aging parents and a sister, but it is all he has. Ideally, he says, he’d work as a teacher and put his degrees to use. Instead, “I have to do manual labor just to be able to feed myself.”

Kumar’s situation is not unusual, but a predicament faced by millions of other young Indians. Youth unemployment in the country is climbing sharply, a development that risks undermining the new darling of the world economy at the very moment it was expected to really take off.

India’s newfound status as the world’s most populous nation had prompted hopes of a youthful new engine for the global economy just as China’s population begins to dwindle and age. Unlike China’s, India’s working age population is young, growing, and projected to hit a billion over the next decade – a vast pool of labor and consumption that one Biden administration official has called an “economic miracle.”

But for young Indians like Kumar, there’s a flip side to this so-called miracle: too few jobs and too much competition.

In contrast to China, where economists fear there won’t be enough workers to support the growing number of elderly, in India the concern is there aren’t enough jobs to support the growing number of workers.

While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an independent think tank headquartered in Mumbai, which publishes job data more regularly than the Indian government.

Some analysts have described the situation to CNN as a “time bomb”, warning of the potential for social unrest unless more employment can be created.

Kumar, like others in his position, knows all too well the frustrations that can build when work is scarce.

“I get very angry that I don’t have a successful job despite my qualifications and education,” he said. “I blame the government for this. It should give work to its people.”

The bad news for people like Kumar, and the Indian government, is that experts warn the problem will only get worse as the population grows and competition for jobs gets even tougher.

Kaushik Basu, an economics professor at Cornell University and former chief economic adviser for the Indian government, described India’s youth unemployment rate as “shockingly high.”

It’s been “climbing slowly for a long time, say for about 15 years it’s been on a slow climb but over the past seven, eight years it’s been a sharp climb,” he said.

“If that category of people do not find enough employment,” Basu added, “then what was meant to be an opportunity, the bulge in that demographic dividend, could become a huge challenge and problem for India.”
Riaz Haq said…
USAID Announces Funding to Support Flood-Affected Communities in Pakistan

Today in Sindh, Pakistan, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman announced $16.4 million in additional development and humanitarian assistance to support the resilience of communities in Pakistan that experienced 2022’s historically severe floods, which impacted an estimated 33 million people and had a devastating impact on infrastructure, crops, livelihoods, and livestock throughout the country.

This new funding will reach over 20 million flood-affected individuals to assist in their recovery, risk reduction, and resilience. The assistance will address worsening food insecurity and malnutrition and help curb the spread of disease. In addition, this funding will support humanitarian partners to provide nutritious food to mothers and their children, help families rebuild local infrastructure to protect them from future disasters, and increase protection services to prevent gender-based violence and support survivors.

Following severe monsoon rains and resultant floods in Pakistan during mid-2022, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to lead the U.S. humanitarian response and rapidly provide aid to affected communities. This included working with partners to quickly scale-up vital humanitarian assistance, including through partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense to successfully complete an air bridge that delivered nearly 630 metric tons of life-saving relief commodities to Pakistan.

The U.S. is one of the largest donors to Pakistan, providing more than $200 million in humanitarian and development assistance since 2022’s catastrophic floods. The United States continues to stand with the people of Pakistan as they recover from the impacts of the historic floods.
Riaz Haq said…
Ultra-rich individuals are projected to keep leaving India in 2023. Why do the rich migrate from a country?

According to the latest edition of the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report (2023), India is expected to witness a net outflow of 6,500 ultra-rich. The more technical term for these ultra rich is High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and it refers to people so rich that they have an investable wealth of US$1 million or more. In rupee terms that threshold means Rs 8.2 crore or more. Investible wealth refers to an individual’s net investable assets, namely, all their investable assets (property, cash and equities) minus any liabilities.

India’s likely net outflow (net of inflow and outflow) in 2023 will make it the second worst performer on losing HNWIs after China. In 2022, India saw an outflow of 7,500 such individuals.

“The top five destinations for net inflows of high-net-worth individuals in 2023 are projected to be Australia, the UAE, Singapore, the USA, and Switzerland. On the flip side, the largest net outflows of millionaires are expected to come from China, India, the UK, Russia, and Brazil,” writes Andrew Amoils, the Head of Research at New World Wealth, the organisation that provides the data for this report (SEE CHARTS 1 and 2 for countries witnessing biggest net outflows and inflows).

To be sure, as of the end of 2022, India was among the 10 richest countries in the world — ranked 10th in the so-called W10 grouping — if one goes by the HNWI population. India has 3,44,600 HNWIs, 1,078 centi-millionaires (those with wealth exceeding $100 million) and 123 billionaires (those with wealth exceeding $1 billion or Rs 8,200 crore). India has a population of 1,428 million.

For comparison, China has 7,80,000 HNWIs and 285 billionaires while the US (with a population of just 340 million) has 52,70,000 HNWIs and 770 billionaires. The W10 includes (in order of HNWIs in each country) the US, Japan, China, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, France, and India.

Explaining what motivates the world’s wealthiest to migrate from one country to another, Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, writes:

“Affluent families are extremely mobile, and their transnational movements can provide an early warning signal in terms of a country’s economic outlook and future country trends. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, they alert us to dangers that may lie ahead as they are more sensitive to potential threats to their wealth and usually have the resources to take a corrective course of action to preserve their legacies. An increasing outflow of millionaires often points to a drop in confidence in a country, since high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals have the means to leave and are usually the first to exit and vote with their feet when circumstances deteriorate.”

What are the top priorities of the wealthy?
Steffen writes that “political stability, low taxation, and personal freedom have always been key metrics for millionaires when it comes to deciding where to live. However, the priorities of affluent individuals are shifting to the intangible but equally vital elements that impact; their children’s prospects, the quality of their lives, and the legacies they leave.”

He points out that apart from being a safe haven for wealth, security is also a key factor, “which is why so much private wealth is flowing into countries that offer a robust regulatory environment where the rule of law is respected, and economic freedoms are guaranteed.”

Riaz Haq said…
Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

While campaigning for the U.S. presidency, Joe Biden sharply criticized the Modi government’s human rights record, writing how two of its landmark laws are “inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy.” Today, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads a country that is suddenly at the center of U.S. strategy in Asia. And Biden has changed his tune, inviting the prime minister to a state visit this week.

It’s widely understood that when U.S. elites refer to India having a functional free press, judiciary, and democracy, they are either dishonest or in denial about how the country’s political system has developed under Modi. But the same is true when they praise India’s economy. The U.S. government seems to be operating under the assumption that Modi’s India can sustain the country as it decouples from Chinese manufacturing. There is little reason to believe that is true.

Modi’s “Gujarat model” shot him to the prime ministry in 2014. As chief minister in Gujarat, he had led a developmentalist state: midwifing new industries, repairing bureaucracies, and making huge electricity and infrastructure investments. The state’s growth rate boomed as subsidies were given to politically connected conglomerates and to state-owned players.

But the model has failed when extended to the national stage. While Modi has succeeded in selling himself to his constituents and the world as India’s great modernizer, builder, and attractor of capital, the country’s growth under Modi has flagged. Heaps of praise from foreign India watchers might lead one to think otherwise. India’s boosters point to Modi’s “Make in India” 2014 electoral pledge to boost manufacturing to 25 percent of Indian GDP and his government’s all-in bet on capital investments in airports, along with roads and rail—11 percent of its 2023 budget—to create a larger internal market.
Riaz Haq said…
Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

Though Modi promised to add 100 million manufacturing jobs, India actually lost 24 million of those jobs between 2017 and 2021. COVID-19 was only the last straw: 11 million jobs had already been lost before the pandemic hit, as state banks cloggedwith nonperforming assets followed by a shadow bank crisis led to a crunch in construction. In India, more people are out of work now than in 2011. Job prospects in cities are so dismal that agriculture now employs a greater share of workers than it did 5 years ago. In 2019, 12.5 million people applied for 35,000 railway jobs.

The failure to add manufacturing jobs is especially stark when India is compared with similar economies in Vietnam and Bangladesh. Both nations doubled their share of manufacturing employment between 2000 and 2020, while India’s share barely rose 2 percent. Now, Vietnam exports approximately the same value in manufactured goods with its 100 million people as does India with its 1.4 billion.

As for Modi’s bet on logistics and transport, it has largely failed to inspire domestic investment. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has pleadedwith Indian capitalists to invest in India, saying, “I want to hear from India Inc: what’s stopping you when countries and industries abroad think this is the place to be now?” Instead, they tend to offshore their profits and show a preference for financial assets.

Indian capitalists blame lack of demand for their refusal to invest. Modi’s crony capitalism has produced a massive upward distribution of wealth while failing to generate a middle-class consumer base large enough to entice investors to expand. Every index of private consumption of India’s vast working and middle class—sales of fast-moving consumer goods, two-wheelers, entry-level cars, even rail travel—has stagnated over the last decade, as Vivek Kaul has documented.

As the Economist reported, private investment in 2019-20 was only 22 percent of GDP, down from 31 percent in 2010-11. Investors also privately admitted to fearing Modi’s unstable and capricious use of tax authorities, which his government uses to punish political foes.

This is a development model that privileges huge, politically connected Indian incumbents—foreign firms have to seek partnerships with them to succeed. And contrary to its image of global economic openness, the government has also hikedtariffs on various goods—including goods from the United States, as highlighted by arguments over Harley Davidson during the courtship between Modi and the Trump administration.

Pollution also shortens life expectancy for 248 million residents of northern India by an estimated eight years. Cleaning up pollution reduces morbidity and increases people’s productivity, making it a vital investment in economic growth. In 2019, the Modi government declared a so-called war on pollution but allocated a scant $42 million to the effort. Modi simply will not take steps employed in countries around the world to fight pollution by taking on powerful opponents. In contrast, China’s war on pollution, launched in 2014, has significantly cleaned up its air. The Indian government has even gone so far as to label environmental activists in Greta Thunberg’s Fridays For Future organization as terrorists, arresting them under India’s draconian sedition laws.

Institutionalized sexism also severely hampersIndian economic growth. Female employment rates (ranging from formal work to self-employment to informal labor) have been dropping for over three decades, with only 7 out of 100 urban women now employed, placing the nation behind even Saudi Arabia in terms of female labor participation. The Modi government’s low funding of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2023 further hurts working women; conversely, boosting rural employment and creating urban employment guarantee schemes would be an easy growth (and electoral) win.
Riaz Haq said…
Don’t Believe Modi's Indian Economic Success Story

Modi’s deft use of direct benefit programs—such as the installation of toilets in homes, electricity hookups, and distribution of cooking gas—has certainly improved his citizen’s lives. While these programs do little to redistribute wealth or change India’s economic trajectory, the tangibility of these home-based benefits has redounded to Modi’s personal popularity and helps to explain his slight electoral edge with women.

But these programs, together with Modi’s Hindu nationalist stunts—such as the construction of a massive Hindu temple on the remains of an ancient mosque, which was destroyed by Hindu nationalist mobs in 1992—also help to distract his supporters from his government’s myriad failures. This combination of institutionalized anti-minority violence, authoritarian crackdowns on free press and critics, youth unemployment, and soaring inequality, is explosive in Modi’s India.

Modi’s Gujarat model of using capital-intensive infrastructure as a primary engine for growth has derailed—even for Gujarat. India is now stuck in a jobless growth trap that prioritizes capital but generates low labor participation and low human capital. As the economist R. Nagaraj concludes, “Never in the past seven decades has India witnessed such an economic reversal, and the gravity of the problem is perhaps yet to sink into the minds of policymakers and the public.”
Riaz Haq said…
Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate) - Pakistan, India | Data

Bangladesh 54%

Pakistan 54%

India 74%


Sandeep Manudhane
Why the size of the economy means little
a simple analysis

1) We are often told that India is now a $3.5 trillion economy. It is growing fast too. Hence, we must be happy with this growth in size as it is the most visible sign of right direction. This is the Quantity is Good argument.

2) We are told that such growth can happen only if policies are right, and all engines of the GDP - consumption, exports, investment, govt. consumption - are doing their job well. We tend to believe it.

3) We are also told that unless GDP grows, how can Indians (on average) grow? Proof is given to us in the form of 'rising per capita incomes' of India. And we celebrate "India racing past the UK" in GDP terms, ignoring that the average Indian today is 20 times poorer than the average Britisher.

4) All this reasoning sounds sensible, logical, credible, and utterly worth reiterating. So we tend to think - good, GDP size on the whole matters the most.

5) Wrong. This is not how it works in real life.

6) It is wrong due to three major reasons
(a) Distribution effect
(b) Concentration of power effect
(c) Inter-generational wealth and income effect

7) First comes the distribution effect. Since 1991, the indisputable fact recorded by economists is that "rich have gotten richer, and poor steadily stagnant or poorer". Thomas Piketty recorded it so well he's almost never spoken in New India now! Thus, we have a super-rich tiny elite of 2-3% at the top, and a vast ocean of stagnant-income 70-80% down below. And this is not changing at all. Do not be fooled by rising nominal per capita figures - factor in inflation and boom! And remember - per capita is an average figure, and it conceals the concentration.

8) Second is the Concentration of power effect. RBI ex-deputy governor Viral Acharya wrote that just 5 big industrial groups - Tata, Birlas, Adanis, Ambanis, Mittals - now disproportionately own the economic assets of India, and directly contribute to inflation dynamics (via their pricing power). This concentration is rising dangerously each year for some time now, and all government policies are designed to push it even higher. Hence, a rising GDP size means they corner more and more and more of the incremental annual output. The per capita rises, but somehow magically people don't experience it in 'steadily improving lives'.

9) Third is the Inter-generational wealth and income effect. Ever wondered why more than 90% of India is working in unstructured, informal jobs, with near-zero social security? Ever wondered why rich families smoothly pass on 100% of their assets across generations while paying zero taxes? Ever wondered how taxes paid by the rich as a per cent of their incomes are not as high as those paid by you and me (normal citizens)? India has no inheritance tax, but has a hugely corporate-friendly tax regime with many policies tailor-made to augment their wealth. Trickle down is impossible in this system. But that was the spiel sold to us in 1991, and later, each year! There is no incentive for giant corporates (and rich folks) to generate more formal jobs, as an ocean of underpaid slaves is ready to slog their entire lives for them. Add to that automation, and now, AI systems!

Sadly, as India's GDP grows in size, it means little for the masses because trickle-down is near zero. That is because new formal jobs aren't being generated at scale at all (which in itself is a big topic for analysis).
So, our Quantity of GDP is different from Quality of GDP.
Riaz Haq said…
Income of poorest fifth plunged 53% in 5 yrs; those at top surged | India News,The Indian Express

In a trend unprecedented since economic liberalisation, the annual income of the poorest 20% of Indian households, constantly rising since 1995, plunged 53% in the pandemic year 2020-21 from their levels in 2015-16. In the same five-year period, the richest 20% saw their annual household income grow 39% reflecting the sharp contrast Covid’s economic impact has had on the bottom of the pyramid and the top.


A new survey, which highlights the economic impact of the pandemic on Indian households, found that the income of the poorest 20 percent of the country declined by 53 percent in 2020-21 from that in 2015-16.

The survey, conducted by the People's Research on India's Consumer Economy (PRICE), a Mumbai-based think tank, also shows that in contrast, the same period saw the annual household income of the richest 20 percent grow by 39 percent.

Conducted between April and October 2021, the survey covered 20,000 households in the first stage, and 42,000 households in the second stage. It spanned over 120 towns and 800 villages in 100 districts.

Income Erosion in All Households Except the Rich Ones
The survey indicated that while the poorest 20 percent households witnessed an income erosion of 53 percent, the lower-middle-class saw a 39-percent decline in household income. The income of the middle-class, meanwhile, reduced by 9 percent.

However, the upper-middle-class and richest households saw their incomes rise by 7 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
The survey also showed that the richest households, on an average, accumulated more income per household as well as pooled income in the past five years than any other five-year period since liberalisation.

While the richest 20 percent accounted for 50.2 percent of the total household income in 1995, the survey shows that their share jumped to 56.3 percent in 2021. In contrast, the share of the poorest 20 percent dropped from 5.9 percent to 3.3 percent in the same period.

While 90 percent of the poorest 20 percent in 2016 lived in rural India, the figure dropped to 70 percent in 2021. In urban areas as well, the share of the poorest 20 percent households went from 10 percent in 2016 to 30 percent in 2021.

"The data reflects that casual labourers, petty traders, household workers, among others, in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities got hit the most by the pandemic. During the survey, we also noticed that while in rural areas, people in the lower middle income category (Q2) moved to the middle income category (Q3), in the urban areas, the shift has been downwards, from Q3 to Q2. In fact, the rise in poverty level of the urban poor has pulled down the household income of the entire category," reported The Indian Express, quoting Rajesh Shukla, MD and CEO of PRICE.

Most Middle-Class Breadwinners Are Illiterate or Have Primary Schooling
The survey further shows that while a majority of the breadwinners in 'Rich India' (top 20 percent) have completed high-school education (60 percent, of which 40 percent are graduates and above), nearly half of 'Middle India' (60 percent) only have primary education.

As for the bottom 20 percent, 86 percent are either illiterate or just have primary education. Only 6 percent are graduates and above.

(With inputs from The Indian Express, ICE360 2021 Survey.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)
Riaz Haq said…
One-tenth of India's population escaped poverty in 5 years - government report
By Manoj Kumar

NEW DELHI, July 17 (Reuters) - Nearly 135 million people, around 10% of India's population, escaped poverty in the five years to March 2021, a government report found on Monday.

Rural areas saw the strongest fall in poverty, according to the study, which used the United Nations' Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), based on 12 indicators such as malnutrition, education and sanitation. If people are deprived in three or more areas, they are identified as "MPI poor."

"Improvements in nutrition, years of schooling, sanitation and cooking fuel played a significant role in bringing down poverty," said Suman Bery, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, the government think-tank that released the report.

The percentage of the population living in poverty fell to 15% in 2019-21 from 25% in 2015/16, according to the report, which was based on the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey.

A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released last week said the number of people living in multidimensional poverty fell to 16.4% of India's population in 2021 from 55% in 2005.

According to UNDP estimates, the number of people, who lived below the $2.15 per day poverty line had declined to 10% in India in 2021.

India's federal government offers free food grain to about 800 million people, about 57% of country's 1.4 billion population, while states spend billions of dollars on subsidising education, health, electricity and other services.

The state that saw the largest number moving out of poverty was Uttar Pradesh, with 343 million people, followed by the states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, according to the report.

Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Conor Humphries
Riaz Haq said…
Unhappy With Data Sets,' Modi Govt Suspends Director of Institute Which Prepares NFHS

See how BJP manipulates data — gives fake reality
Modi suspends Director of Institute that said:
1. India was nowhere close to being open defecation free.
2. 40% households did not have access to clean cooking fuel
3. Anaemia in India is on the rise .


The Union government has been known for its very uneasy relationship with data. It has missed a deadline for the decadal Census. Its handling of Consumption Expenditure series and then the timing of the release of unemployment data has been strongly criticised in the past.

New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the Union government has suspended the director of the International Institute for Population Sciences, K.S. James, citing an irregularity in recruitment, sources have told The Wire.

The International Institute for Population Sciences or IIPS prepares the National Family Health Surveys and does other such important exercises on the behalf of the Indian government. The IIPS comes under the Union health ministry.

The Wire reached out to the ministry but has not received a response yet. The story will be updated as and when the ministry responds.

However, an IIPS source at the department of public health and mortality studies has confirmed to The Wire that a suspension letter has been issued and that further details would come on Monday.

Sources told The Wire that James had been asked by the government to resign earlier as the government was not happy with certain data sets that came up in the surveys conducted by the IIPS.

However, he was reluctant to step down for reasons being given, they said.

he letter of suspension was sent to James on the evening of July 28, today.

nconvenient data?

For a government that believes in strong and ‘positive’ data, to work in tandem with its political campaign for electoral victories, the NFHS-5 had thrown up several data sets inconvenient for the government.

For example, it showed that India was nowhere close to being open defecation free – a claim that this government, including the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, often makes. Nineteen percent of households do not use any toilet facility, meaning that they practice open defecation, the NFHS-5 had pointed out. There is not a single state or Union Territory, except for Lakshadweep, where 100% of the population has access to a toilet, it had said.

The NFHS-5 had also showed that more than 40% households did not have access to clean cooking fuel – thus questioning the claims of success of the Ujjwala Yojana. It said in rural areas, more than half the population, 57%, does not have access to LPG or natural gas.

The NFHS-5 had also said anaemia in India was on the rise, and there have been some recent reports that the government was mulling to drop the anaemia measurement for NFHS-6.

Recently, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, Shamika Ravi, had written an op-ed in the Indian Express claiming that data collection for NFHS and other such surveys was flawed. Her article was criticised in another op-ed by Amitabh Kundu and P.C. Mohanan, published in the newspaper.

James was appointed the director of the Mumbai-based institute in 2018. He has a postdoctoral degree from Harvard Centre for Population and Development. Prior to joining the IIPS, he was professor of population studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has held a couple of leadership positions.

Serious questions over data and Union government

Riaz Haq said…
The Union government has been known for its very uneasy relationship with data. It has missed a deadline for the decadal Census. Its handling of Consumption Expenditure series and then the timing of the release of unemployment data has been strongly criticised in the past.

The Union government has been in the news often for a very uneasy relationship with data.

It’s trashing of its own Consumption Expenditure Survey in its first term led to adverse commentary and raised eyebrows.

The government withheld unemployment data in January 2019 and released it only after the general elections were over. This led to resignations of members of the National Statistical Commission. This included the acting chairman of the apex statistical body, P.C. Mohanan.

“We were feeling the commission was not being taken seriously and it has not been effective. Some of the decisions of the commission were not also considered. We thought we were being sidelined. Hence, we have sent our resignation to the President of India on Monday,” Mohanan had said said.

Both Mohanan and the other member J.V. Meenakshi’s terms had been valid till June 2020.

The decadal Census which was due in 2021, is yet to be conducted by this government. This is the first time in 150 years that the Census has been postponed.

Riaz Haq said…
India's impressive GDP data has some puzzling elements

Tepid consumption

After posting year-on-year growth of 2.2 percent in October-December, private final consumption expenditure did pick up some pace in January-March, but only to 2.8 percent. According to Rahul Bajoria, managing director and head of emerging markets Asia (ex-China) economics at Barclays, the rise in private consumption "appears weaker" than what high-frequency indicators suggest.

Further, this weakness "does not reconcile with the robust value-added growth of consumption-led sectors like Trade, Hotels, Transport and Communication services", Madhavi Arora, lead economist at Emkay Global Financial Services, said in a note.

The 'Trade, Hotels, Transport, Communication, and Services related to broadcasting' segment posted gross value added (GVA) growth of 9.1 percent in January-March, second only to the 10.4 percent expansion reported by construction.

GDP-GVA divide

If GDP growth sharply surprised on the upside, GVA growth outperformed even that, coming in at 6.5 percent in January-March.

GDP is the sum of GVA and indirect taxes, net of subsidies. As such, higher GVA growth is suggestive of a contraction in net indirect taxes.

However, the latest data from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) shows the Centre's expenditure on major subsidies was Rs 1.8 lakh crore in January-March—up only 3 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, indirect tax collections increased by 7.3 percent over the same period. On a net basis, indirect taxes were 6 percent higher last quarter. It is only if Integrated Goods and Services Tax collections are excluded that the indirect tax mop-up is lower by 1.4 percent in January-March on a year-on-year basis.

Rising discrepancies

A curious subhead of the GDP data is 'discrepancies', used to explain any difference between the GDP calculated through the income and expenditure methods.

In January-March, the discrepancies amounted to a negative Rs 1.28 lakh crore, implying that the GDP arrived at from the expenditure side is greater than that from the income side. Whether this is indicative of demand being overestimated is anybody's guess.

What can be said without uncertainty is that the size of discrepancies, whether negative or positive, is rising, with its absolute value now at a six-quarter high. This leaves plenty of room for future revisions in the headline GDP growth number.

Constant revisions

This conveniently brings us to where we started: How did all economists not read it right?

"The reason everybody got this wrong is the alarming regularity with which the data is getting revised," noted Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale.

"The release of October-December data saw a revision of data for the previous quarters over the past three years. The latest release once again saw a revision of recently revised quarterly data, making forecasting a rather hazardous task," Kundu added.

Constant revisions have indeed been the bane for policymakers as well as economists. After data for October-December, released in February, showed weak private consumption growth in the quarter, V Anantha Nageswaran, the chief economic adviser to the government, was at pains to point out that "data revision to the prior years has made a 6 percent growth rate come down to 2 percent".

Riaz Haq said…
The poverty in Pakistan increased within one year from 34.2% to 39.4% with 12.5 million more people falling below the poverty line of $3.65 per day income level, according to the WB.


According to the World Bank, over 40% of India's population lives in moderate poverty, which is defined as $3.65 per person per day. This is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, with real GDP growth of 7.7% in Q1-Q3 FY22/23.

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