Saturday, October 23, 2010

Indian miracle will help outpace Chinese economy: Economist - Yahoo! India News

Indian miracle will help outpace Chinese economy: Economist

Tue, Oct 5 11:41 AM

Washington, Oct 5 (IANS) India may have a long way to go before becoming as rich as China but its economy will soon start growing faster, thanks to a young workforce and a brand of capitalism that outweighs its much derided democracy, says The Economist.

'Despite the headlines, India is doing rather well. Its economy is expected to expand by 8.5 percent,' the magazine says in its latest cover story, referring to the bad press the country received ahead of the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

'It has a long way to go before it is as rich as China - the Chinese economy is four times bigger - but its growth rate could overtake China's by 2013, if not before,' the magazine says.

'Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years. Rapid growth in a country of 1.2 billion people is exciting, to put it mildly,' it adds in the article: 'How India's growth will outpace China's.'

The magazine says horrible toilets, stagnant puddles buzzing with dengue-spreading mosquitoes, collapsing masonry, and lax security and a terrorist attack did not fetch India ahead of the Games, suggesting it may remain a 'second-rate' power.

'Or does it?' the magazine asks, saying the first reason for its conclusion is the benefit Indian economy will derive from its 'demographic dividend' that has powered many of Asia's economic miracles.

'India is now blessed with a young and growing workforce. Its dependency ratio - the proportion of children and old people to working-age adults - is one of the best in the world and will remain so for a generation,' it says.

The second reason, the magazine says, is the much-derided democracy, despite the notion elected governments retard development in poor countries, are biased towards interest groups and indulge in endless debates and delays on even the most urgent matters.

'No doubt a strong central government would have given India a less chaotic Commonwealth games, but there is more to life than badminton and rhythmic gymnastics. India's state may be weak, but its private companies are strong.'

The magazine says Indian capitalism is driven by millions of entrepreneurs furiously doing ahead with this task, and thriving small businesses with many world-class ones whose English-speaking bosses network confidently with the global elite.

'They are less dependent on state patronage than Chinese firms and often more innovative: They have pioneered the $2,000 car, ultra-cheap heart operation and some novel ways to make management more responsive to customers,' the magazine says.

'Ideas flow easily around India, since it lacks China's culture of secrecy and censorship. That, plus China's rampant piracy, is why knowledge-based industries such as software love India but shun the middle kingdom,' it says.

'India's individualistic brand of capitalism may also be more robust than China's state-directed sort,' the magazine adds, but also warns against unemployable workforce and rickety infrastructure.

Yet there is hope. 'The Indian government recognises the need to tackle infrastructure crisis, and is getting better at persuading private firms to stump up the capital. But the process is slow and infected with corruption,' it says.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Hindu : News / National : Force of faith trumps law and reason in Ayodhya case via @AddThis

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All hopes frittered away - Hindustan Times

All hopes frittered away - Hindustan Times

New Delhi’s handling of Kashmir has been emblematic ever since Jawaharlal Nehru took the issue to the United Nations (UN) over 60 years ago in 1948. Some call Delhi’s amnesia on the matter callousness, others complacency. But forget about the clich├ęd UN resolutions. In recent times, every Indian Prime Minister, from P.V. Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh, has conveniently forgotten the promises made to the Kashmiris.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee and, now, Singh have sought to temper things over with so-called ‘economic packages’. Neither of them has been consistent in capacity-building or turning the strife-torn state’s constituency of development into a real stake for residents.

Babri title verdict: Last attempt at reconciliation?

Babri title verdict: Last attempt at reconciliation?

The court on Tuesday passed the order on the application of Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, a defendant of a suit moved for deferment of the verdict slated to be pronounced by the full Lucknow bench of the High Court on September 24 next.

One of the three judges hearing the case, Justice DV Sharma, had directed the OSD of the court HS Dubey to register the application and list it before September 24, directing the counsels of the parties concerned to appear before the bench to resolve the dispute amicably through reconciliation.

The court fixed September 17 to call the lawyers of the parties to the dispute to find ways for resolving the case through reconciliation, failing which the bench would pronounce its judgement on September 24.

Justice Sharma also said in his order that "Thus before delivery of judgement by this court, to my mind, every endeavour have to be made to settle the dispute as per the prayer made by the applicant Tripathi and with hope that if the matter is settled through compromise, then it shall be in the interest of everybody".

Read more at:

India debates whether to continue receiving British aid

BBC News - India debates whether to continue receiving British aid
An internal memo - written by Mrs Rao and leaked to a local newspaper - appeared to suggest that India had already decided it did not want any more development aid from Britain after April next year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Naidu slams Jagan over house with helipad

Naidu slams Jagan over house with helipad

As Exhibit A, Naidu refers to Reddy's palatial house, helipad included, built on the outskirts of Bangalore. Naidu estimates the house's worth at 100 crores -money, he says, that YSR made illegally during his term as chief minister.

"How did he get the money because before 2004, they wanted to sell their house here because they didn't have money. He wanted to pay his debts. After 2004, he constructed a big house in Bangalore, one more in Hyderabad and two more in Kadapa. Where did you get all that money from?''

In the 2009 elections, Jagan declared assets worth Rs. 77 crore. As a successful industrialist

Read more at:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's the sense of Caste Enumeration in India ?

The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : What's the sense of it?
At best, fresh caste enumeration can provide only marginal benefits because, as sociologist Nandini Sundar points out, it holds out only an “illusory promise of formal employment.” The long-term societal benefits of reservation — in terms of making a constitutionally sanctioned statement against social inequality and actually providing educational and economic opportunity to historically and socially disadvantaged or oppressed communities — are there for everyone to see. But with the majority of India's workforce languishing in the informal sector and the state's role in providing jobs declining over the past two decades, it is clear that reservation is becoming less and less potent as a countervailing force.

But the objections to the Cabinet's nod for a “focussed,” standalone house-to-house caste headcount between June and September 2011 are not only political-ideological. They are also practical. As any modern sociologist knows, answers to the question, ‘What is your caste?' can be notoriously variable, subjective, and influenced by contingent factors. Caste has an elusive arithmetic in a country that is home to a staggering number of sub-castes, where caste names vary depending on context (for marriage or for religious rituals), and where the social implications of a caste tag vary from region to region.

Caste census: senseless separation

The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : Caste census: senseless separation
The government's decision to collect caste data in a separate census threatens to nullify the potential benefits of the historic and progressive policy shift towards enumerating caste announced earlier. The Group of Ministers' recommendation to enumerate caste during the house-to-house census enumeration phase in February 2011 and not at the biometric camps was a welcome one. However, the Union Cabinet's present decision to schedule the caste census as “a separate exercise” is deeply disturbing. In its 140 year-history, the census has never collected caste data in a separate exercise.

If caste data collection is done as a stand-alone exercise in June 2011, it will generate only a headcount of castes. It will not be possible to integrate the caste data with the socio-economic, educational and demographic data like literacy, education, marital status, life expectancy, occupation, etc gathered during the census headcount. If all we get is a headcount of castes, then the entire exercise is futile. The main reason to enumerate caste is to enable the distribution of national resources and opportunities to be informed by reliable empirical evidence on the socio-economic levels of different communities now and in future. Without such evidence, all the problems blocking the implementation of social justice policies will remain unsolved.

Other reasons

There are other strong reasons against collecting caste data in a separate census from June 2011. June-September is not a suitable time for conducting a nation-wide census, since summer will be intense in most of India and monsoon will be on in the South. Since schools in most states will have reopened, the 21 lakh teacher-enumerators will not be available. Further, it will not be practically possible to mobilise the gigantic field organisation once again in June, within two months of the close of the census enumeration in February-March 2011. The whole exercise will be patchy and unsatisfactory.

Further, the separate caste census in June 2011 is expected to cost Rs. 2,000 crore as against the entire 2011 Census reported cost of Rs. 2,240 crore. When the caste data can be collected simultaneously in the census enumeration phase without added cost, duplicating this effort at such a high cost and with doubtful success is not the right decision.

If the government does persist with a separate caste census — and we hope it will not — it is imperative that the Office of the Registrar General of India ensures the integration of the caste data with the other indices collected during the census enumeration in February 2011, because only this will allow for correlating the data gathered by the separate caste census with the socio-economic, educational and demographic data collected in Census 2011. But this will still be less than satisfactory since a sizable section of the population (about 20 per cent) will be non-comparable due to shifting dwellings/seasonal migration.

The Cabinet's decision to constitute an Expert Group to “classify the caste/tribe returns after the enumeration of caste” does not address the real concern. A group of empowered real experts is indeed needed to monitor the process of caste enumeration and to safeguard it against possible confusions and derailment, but it should be appointed right now to oversee the entire process of caste enumeration and not merely for tabulating the collected data.

It has been alleged that collecting caste data will “compromise” the “integrity” of the census and “distort” the “population count itself.” The allegation that every family will inflate its numbers just to increase their caste strength is baseless because the census collects full details (including name, sex, education, marital status, occupation, etc) of every member returned and non-existent persons cannot be simply added at will. Further, the legal safeguards as well as verification checks built into the system will prevent the collection of false data. Also, in its experience of collecting and publishing caste data from 1871 till 1931, and the data on the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) from 1951 till 2001, the census has not reported any instance of the numbers being inflated or distorted.

The way out

The collection of caste data can be easily done and without any extra expenditure through the schedule used in the house to house census enumeration in February 2011 by just rewording the column for SC-ST as ‘Caste.' This will straightaway ensure correlation with all the other data and make for quick and simultaneous processing and publication of caste data along with the other 2011 Census tables. The advance enumeration scheduled in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in October 2010 can be postponed to the summer of 2011, giving enough time from now till next February to finalise, print and distribute the census schedules and manuals.

The arguments against conducting such a gigantic exercise twice within a few months are so many and so compelling that one wonders how they can be ignored. A separate census for caste in June 2011 cannot be defended in administrative, logistical, or financial terms. If the intended policy benefits of the proposed caste data collection are to be achieved, a decision to effect a course correction is required urgently.


Dr. M. Vijayanunni, Former Census Commissioner & Registrar General of India; Prof. Satish Deshpande, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics; Prof. Yogendra Yadav, Political Scientist, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman, University Grants Commission; Prof. S. Japhet, Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion, National Law School of India, Bengaluru; Dr. Chandan Gowda, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion, National Law School of India, Bengaluru; Prof. Ravi Varma Kumar, Senior Advocate and former Chairperson, Karnataka Backward Classes Commission.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pune to be developed as e-district: Pilot

Pune to be developed as e-district: Pilot
Pilot said over 1,000 mobile and 3G base stations will be added in the western part of the state during the year, taking the total number of the stations in the region to over 3,000. “To ensure that villages enjoy the same level of connectivity as the urban areas, BSNL has been committed to provide village public telephones. Of the 6,615 inhabited villages in Western Maharashtra, 6,508 have already been provided with subsidised public phones. In the areas where conventional connectivity is not possible, three satellite phones

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will be installed in the current financial year,” said Pilot. He added broadband services would be delivered to rural areas through WiMAX technology.

Pilot said in the department of posts 27 post offices have been taken up for delivering world class services under project Arrow programme of the department of posts. “The postal department is expanding its offerings to include enabled products like instant money orders, online tracking of speed post among others,” he said. Minster said the government is determined to improve communication connectivity in hinterlands of the country particularly in Naxal hit areas and tribal belts. He said the government is going in a fast pace to provide high-speed broad band connectivity in all panchayats by 2012.