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Tag Archives: Development

We can still hold on to the shards of hope that the RBI Gov has given us…he says we will continue to grow at 8% even in the worst case scenario. I believe we are supposed to heave a huge sigh of relief ! Very well. It is not easy being the Governor of the Central Bank in India. He has to give the ‘right signals’ to the ‘right people’ in the ‘right manner’. So, now we can rest easy.

We are going in the right direction, and will continue to do well, even if it means that people worldover ( including ours ) go without food. We don’t need to bother about the food crisis as of yet. We can still blame Bush and the corn getting diverted towards biofuels. It doesn’t matter if the farmers commit suicide. We have waived off their debts and now we don’t need to worry till after the elections. It doesn’t matter if inflation is also touching the 8 % mark, aren’t we still going to grow at 8% ?

Since not being an economist, I have the luxury of looking at issues at its face value and not reduce it to theories of supply & demand (Bottomline…I can still ramble, without sounding stupid, whereas if you are an economist, you don’t have that luxury, I guess ! I must admit though, I respect economists who can wade through theories and still have some semblance of sense around them ! ).

While looking at the latest Human Development Index data for India, I read this :

The Estimated Earned Income for a female in India ( at PPP, US $ )  is 1620 $.

We are at rank 125 out of 169 countries, in this parameter. ( excluding some of the countries for which there is no information provided).

Norway is at the top of the list, with a woman’s annual estimated income at 30,749 $. There are 44 countries with incomes above 10,000 $.

We are worse off than most of the countries which we know of, and would consider when we talk of economic development.

According to India’s last census report, we have 127 million female workers, out of a total of 402 million workers. That makes it 31% of the total worker population. It also converts to 26% of the total women population in India. As against the 52% male workers as against the total male population.

The ratio of Estimated female to male earned income for India is 0.31 ( Norway is 0.77, Kenya is 0.83 ) . We have only 13 countries below us.

There may be technicalities involved, because of which this may not be the correct parameter to measure women’s status in society or their improving economic liberation. But still, the very poor performance of our country in terms of the economic progress of women does merit a pause and some thought.

P.S. To all Indians, Bush feels that we are all eating too much of Rice ( the edible variety ) and thats why there is a food crisis in the world. So all Indians are now supposed to go “fasting” towards better distribution of the Edible Rice and yes, our politicians think that it is a compliment to the way they have “well -fed” the masses 🙂







Mumbai is a city of extremes…it will show you the starkness of the poverty amidst all that talk about the economy growing at 9% , and I cannot help thinking about how much and how soon all this development will percolate to people at the lowest rung in the society ( I am not an economist, so I think in layman’s terms about all this, and not from any theoretical perspective, which makes it all the more difficult to digest some of the things that you witness…)

One of the biggest paradoxes of our country is the huge amount of aid that is being pumped in to eliminate poverty, improve health services, educate more people etc etc etc…But the recent World Bank DIR reveals a lot of corruption in the handling of these multi-million projects. Frankly, I am not surprised at this revelation…I am surprised at the naiveness of the lenders in assuming that these projects would not be the target of corruption, not to undermine the intellect or the efficiency of these world bodies, but still, knowing the culture and the current mechanisms existing in the governance, one should assume that such projects need a much stricter supervision and evaluation mechanism !

Definitely, we know that the poor receive less than 5% of any money set aside for their development ( the figure may be debated, but the truth remains that they get next to nothing…) Its not about pumping in more money, its about making it reach where it matters, that needs attention and focus.

Will leave you with a couple of interesting articles to read on poverty and development….

The Arithmetic of Poverty by Praful Patel, World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia region

Foreign Aid when the problem is government failure by Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist of the South East Asis at the World Bank.