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Newsletter. Issue 17. August 14 , 2010



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India's Growth Story -A Story of Rural India.
Agnelo Pinheiro | Posted on www.goanet.org | Fri, 06 Aug 2010

I am in awe to the various positive reviews India is getting for its resilience to Global Economics Crises. Many prominent economist and bankers has lauded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Government for successfully steering India away from the economic woes the world is experiencing. We are constantly feed through electronic and print media that India's GDP is growing at 8 % to 9 %. But, one must cross hands and put in on the poor man chest and feel the pulse of the India's growth story. I guess there will be a different growth story to tell, a story that has not changed since 1947. In the year 1947, the population of India was estimated at 345 million today it is 1.173 Billion. From 1951 to 2007, we have eleven five year plans to manage our economy. India adopted many economic structures and yet we have more poor people now then we had in 1947. The hard realities of India today are:

  1. 37 percent of Indian (434 million) live below the international poverty line (As per World Bank revision of 2005 $ 1.25 = Rs 60 based on purchase-power parity or PPP)

  2. 48.6 percent of farmers are in debt and only 27 percent have access to formal credit.

  3. 296 million are illiterate and 233 million are undernourished.

  4. 72 percent of Indians are living in villages whose livelihood depends on farming.

  5. Only 10 percent of Indian living in village applies for housing loan.

  6. 6 doctors per 10,000 people against 12 in Brazil, 14 in China and 43 in Russia.

  7. 421 million poor Indian living under the MPI (Multi-dimensional Poverty Index) covering 8 north Indian states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The 26 poorest African nations have 410 million which far less then just 8 Indian States.

Why even after 63 years of independence from British Empire, India have such a large number of people under poverty? What has gone wrong in our Five Year Plans that has actually increased the number of people living under poverty? Why the so-call economic growth of 8-9 percent has not transformed into economic and social development of the India?

There are many factors that have worked against our growth story but the key factors are, caste based reservation policies, inability to invest in education, bureaucracy and corruption. After independence the educated elite - the bureaucrats, has ensured the reservation policy benefit few in power. The dalits and schedule caste leaders' amassed huge personal wealth and left poor to feed for themselves. There is a systematic approach to deny education to the poor Dalits and Schedule Caste. Education and poverty in Indian is in direct proportion to Indian economic growth. Un-educated population corresponds to India's Below Poverty Line (BPL) population. Dandevada- Chhattisgarh, which was in news for Moaist violence is the least literate district in India. Today, every political party is playing Dalit card to ensure the poorest of poor remain poor. If reservation policies were based on economic merits rather than caste merit, the growth story would have been inclusive growth story of India.

Post economic liberation, there is yet one more attempt to keep the poor suppressed by large scale corruption in the name of development. The 72 percent of Indian population lives in villages and directly rely on farming. As per latest report of The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) India's real GDP stand at 8.1 (agriculture 4.6, Industry 8.5 and services sector 8.7), this means 72 percent of population who are farmers; life is not as rosy as it is projected. There is a big rush to invest $500 billion in infrastructure in the eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2011). Is this what the 72 percent of population which lives in villages need?

Economic liberation in India has opened another avenue for the corporate players to loot and plunder the resources of our country. The corporate houses in collusion with the political establishment have unleashed a silent economic occupation worst then the British East India Company. The premier institutions of the country such as The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) are infiltrated by corporate houses. Their research work has now raised eye-brows as some of the key research works are sponsored by corporate houses. One recent example is "Infrastructure Development in India: An Assessment of Status and Strategies" was sponsored by Holcim who has affiliation with ACC & Ambuja Cement. The research suggests concrete houses in villages in place of traditional house thereby creating concrete jungles in natural jungle.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi "A society must be built in which very village has t be self sustained and capable of managing its own affairs. Independence begins at the bottom". These words of wisdom from Father of our Nation are fallen on deaf ears of our government. India needs bottom-up planning strategy. It is the need of today and tomorrow if the growth story has to reach the common man the 'Aam Aadmi'. Government has to invest in rural development, in education, Health, Farming and small scale industry. The current development is focused on urban population, and, by denying investment in rural India we force unchecked migration from villages to town and cities. If there is rural development then the migration will be reduce considerably as peoples needs and wants will be fulfilled within with local environment and they will see no need to migrate to town and cities. This will in turn save our overburden urban infrastructure. If the government strengthens local government bodies and invest in rural development the need for big investments will be reduced. There will be less movement of people, as they will be self reliant within the local environment thereby reducing road, rail and air travel. This will in turn save hydro-carbon resources, save oil import bills and reduce environmental pollution. We will not require investment in the projected 50 plus Greenfield airports in India which are bound to cause serious environmental damages. The Food Security Bill may become a reality but only on paper if we do not save our Rural India - Heart of India. India needs development of the rural India, where every person will have access to education, health and employment. Without which, envisioned project such as Multipurpose National Identity Card or Unique Identification card (UID Card) will be meaningless. India needs development that was envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi - Father of our Nation - Empowerment of Rural India. Only then the world will know the true Indian Growth Story.


Rising power India ranks low in quality of life index

New Delhi: The quality of life in India continues to be appalling with the country ranked poorly at 134 among 182 countries on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that was released globally on Monday.

The ranking clearly shows India has slipped in comparative terms in ensuring a better quality of life for its citizens as in the previous index, published for 2007 and 2008 together, it ranked 128, while the position the year before was 126.

Published annually since 1990, the index goes beyond a nation's gross domestic product (GDP) to measure the general well-being of people under a host of parameters, such as poverty levels, literacy and gender-related issues.

"Overall, however, India has made steady progress on the Human Development Index (HDI). Its value has gone up from 0.556 in 2000 to 0.612 in 2007," said Patrice Coeur-Bizot, the resident representative of UNDP in India. Among the countries in the neighbourhood, China, Sri Lanka and Bhutan rank higher than India at 92, 102 and 132, respectively, while Pakistan at 141, Nepal at 144 and Bangladesh at 146 rank lower.

Norway continues to top the chart, while Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan make up the top 10. The US is ranked 13, while Britain and Germany are further down at 21 and 22.

This year, the report focuses on migration--Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development-- to cast a new light on some common misconceptions on the subject and propose a series of policies to increase people's freedom and improve their lives.

It was released in India by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and goes on to highlight that nearly one billion of the world's estimated 6.7-billion population are migrants with women making up for almost half of that.


Kerala -Hand chopping case: radical leader summoned
Posted By cninewsletter On August 9, 2010

Police in Kerala on Monday summoned the state unit president of radical Muslim group Popular Front of India (PFI) in connection with chopping off the hand of a Catholic college professor last month.

Naserudeen Elamaram has been asked to appear before the Muvattupuzha police Aug 12. Another top PFI functionary T. Koya has been summoned Aug 16, sources said. Eighteen activists of PFI have so far been arrested for the attack.

Suspected PFI activists chopped off the hand of T.J. Joseph on July 4 for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed in question paper.

Joseph, who taught Malayalam at the Church-run Newman College in Thodupuzha, on bail for preparing the alleged inflammatory question paper. The decision to summon the PFI president comes on a day when two office bearers of PFI — P. Abdul Hameed and Ashraf Moulavi — failed to appear before police. The duo has sought a week’s time to appear before police, news agency IANS reported.

In a related development, a court in Muvattupuzha on Friday ordered the confiscation of all assets belonging to a man called Nassar, believed to be the mastermind in the attack on Joseph. The state revenue officials Monday began the procedure for confiscation of assets belonging to Nassar, who has been on the run ever since the incident.

Joseph was attacked while returning from church with his sister and aged mother. His right palm has since been sewn back. Doctors say only time will tell if his hand will be normal again.

Source: google/IANS


Innovative Clean Water Plant Opening in India
By: Miral Sattar | STR New / Reuters

Did you ever expect ocean water to end up in your drinking glass?

An Indian company is opening up a desalination plant which begins operations on Saturday in Chennai, India. The plant will purify and remove minerals from 237 million liters of sea water a day to convert to drinking water.

Not only is the water competitively priced at $1 for every 1000 liters, it is environmentally friendly.

"We are using the advanced reverse osmosis technology. We are purifying the water by filtering it under high pressure. Unlike other desalination plants we are not boiling the water and as a result we are saving a lot of energy," Natarajan Ganesan, Joint General Manager of the Chennai Water Desalination company told the BBC.

The plant will produce 100 million liters of drinking water a day, and is the biggest plant of its kind in South Asia. The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has already committed to buying the purified water for the next 25 years.

Chennai, largely dependant on monsoon rains, has suffered from water droughts and shortages for years. If this plant is a success it might mean cleaner water for other coastal cities and help India in its war over clean water. (via BBC)

Click here to

New Indian Coin


India to reintroduce cheetahs into grasslands
Nirmala George, The Associated Press | 02 August 2010 08:46

NEW DELHI - The Indian government plans to import cheetahs from Africa and introduce them into the country's grasslands, six decades after the fleet-footed feline was hunted here until it disappeared, officials said Monday.

Two wildlife groups have already carried out a feasibility study on bringing the cats to three reserves that will total more than 4,500 square miles (about 12,000 square kilometres) in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan states, India's ministry of environment and forests said Monday.

The cheetah, the world's fastest land animal, roamed the wilds of central and western India until, in the face of relentless hunting by trophy-seekers and poachers, it vanished from here about 60 years ago.

The Asiatic cheetah - the sub-species that once lived in India - no longer exists in the wild, though some survive in zoos. So scientists will import 18 wild cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa, said a ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The three wildlife habitats are now inhabited by small cattle farmers and shepherds, who would have to be relocated to other parts of the country. The government plans to spend around $6 million relocating inhabitants and readying the wildlife reserves, an official said. Scientists expect that within two decades the cheetahs would number around 60, he said.

India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh said that bringing cheetahs back would help restore India's grasslands - as villagers would no longer be cutting the grass to use as fodder - and eventually help stabilize the populations of other endangered native species.

"The way the tiger restores the forest ecosystem, the snow leopard restores the mountain ecosystem, the Gangetic dolphin restores waters in the rivers, the cheetah will restore India's grasslands," Ramesh said.

But conservation experts were skeptical, citing India's poor record of protecting the tiger. Despite expensive protection campaigns, the Indian tiger population has dropped from nearly 3,600 seven years ago to about 1,400 today.

"We have been unable to save and protect big cats such as the tiger. I am not sure if it's wise to divert funds and attention from the big cats," said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

Wright also questioned the wisdom of introducing an African sub-species of the cheetah. "If these were Asiatic cheetahs, the chances of survival would be greater," Wright said.

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