Gujarat ModelThe Dynasty-trio; the spokespersons of the DDC (Dynasty-Driven Congress); the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, slam-all-abuse-all, lying-is-my-birth-right Delhi-deserters AAP; the sundries like the SP, RJD, JDU fearful of wipe-out; and, of course, the LIDS (Leftist Intellectual Deformists ventilating their Socialistic/Nehruvian, Staid, Stale, Self-Serving, 'Secular' claptrap) infesting the academe, NGOs, media have been busy slamming the Gujarat Model to somehow shore up the chances of the Congress.
the Dynasty Model
the Dynasty Model
They are adopting Goebbelsian techniques of the Hitler era: keep repeating the lies, and it seems like “truth”, or at least some of it would stick, especially because most voters don’t have the time to know and examine all the facts.
Proof of pudding being in the eating, to cut the crap, rather than talking of the models in general that lead you nowhere, let’s examine the net results of the two models: the Dynasty Model, and the Gujarat Model.
First, let’s look at the model being panned, the Gujarat Model.
Out of the many, many positive end-results of the Gujarat Model, highlighted here are a few for the sake of illustration:
- 24-hour electricity for all rural and urban households, thanks to sweeping power-sector reforms post-2001. When Modi took over in 2001, Gujarat’s power sector was in the ICU; but thanks to the turn-around under Modi, Gujarat’s electricity companies are in profit (in 2000-01, Gujarat Electricity Board had made a loss of Rs 2246 crores), even as the cumulative losses of DICOMs (electricity distribution companies) in India are over rupees 2 lakh crores!! In 2010, the Jyotigram Yojana of Gujarat bagged the Innovation for India Award of the Marico Innovation Foundation.
- Innovative practices in solar electricity generation, including canal top and roof top solar panel projects. Gujarat Solar Park, Charanka, is the single largest such installation in Asia.
- Gujarat’s Tidal Based Power Projects at Gulf of Kachchh near Mandvi and at Gulf of Khambhat near Hajira with a 200 MW to 300 MW capacity are coming up.
- Gujarat's power utility companies and its officials have bagged three awards at the 7th Enertia Award 2013 for sustainable energy and power. Gujarat has won award for being India's top investment and infrastructure excellent state for energy and power. It is for the sixth consecutive time since the introduction of this category in 2008 that the state has won award in this category.
- Piped drinking water-supply; drinking-water to all.
- Good roads—even to villages. A 2009 letter from the World Bank stated that “the Governance frame work and institutional arrangement in the Gujarat Road Sector were found exemplary”. Another report in August 2010, ‘Good Governance in Highway Sector: Learning from Gujarat’, said, “The exemplary reforms in Gujarat’s roads sector should be replicated by other states.” A Times of India report of 10 October 2010 stated: “In its latest report, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank has said that Gujarat state highways' International Roughness Index (IRI)— the commonly used method worldwide for evaluating quality of road—is better than the internationally desirable level.
- Increasing industrialisation, leading to job-creation. Manufacturing growth accelerated under Modi, compared to pre-Modi period.
- Services sector growth also accelerated under Modi, compared to pre-Modi period. It climbed to 10.7%.
- Over 5 lakh water-management structures. Increase in ground-water level—compared to depletion elsewhere.
- Over 10% agricultural growth has been a boon to farmers and agricultural labourers. This massive, inclusive growth has benefitted lakhs of poor.
- Compared to the other states, the tribals have fared much better in Gujarat: against an all-India decline of 22 ppt (percentage point) in poverty among the ST since 1999-00, the decline in Gujarat has been 29 ppt.
- In the Modi period, wages of the “rich” (non-disadvantaged) group increased at an annual rate of 2.2 ppa (percent per annum) compared to a higher 3.5 ppa rate for the poor, as per Surjit S Bhalla’s article “Gujarat’s inclusive growth” in The Indian Express of 12 April 2014.
- Gujarat has been having the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
- Grand Sabarmati Riverfront. KPMG has included the Project in the list of ‘100 Most Innovative Projects’ towards urban regeneration that make cities liveable as well as sustainable.
- BRTS: Bus Rapid Transport System. The Ahmedabad’s BRTS was chosen as a part of UN’s Lighthouse Project.
- Writes Surjit S Bhalla in his article “Lessons from the Gujarat model” in The Indian Express of 26 October 2013: “The latest 2011-12 NSSO data radically changes the conclusions and interpretation of the nature of inclusive growth in Gujarat. The sharpest decline in poverty between 2009-10 and 2011-12 is observed for Muslims, the very community against which a Gujarati-Modi bias is assumed and presumed. The poverty ratio for Muslims, which had not shown much change between 1999-2000 and 2009-10,now collapses to only a 11.4 per cent level from the high 37.6 per cent level observed just two years earlier. At this level, the Muslim poverty rate is marginally below the 12.4 per cent poverty rate of the non-disadvantaged group consisting of OBCs and upper-caste Hindus... For Gujarat,the non-disadvantaged have a poverty decline of 15 percentage points (ppt) between 1999-2000 and 2011-12. For SC/STs,the poverty decline is 28 ppt for the same period. So the excess poverty decline for SC/STs is 13 ppt,and this is the third-largest excess decline in the country for SC/STs. In the case of Muslims, Gujarat was the second best performing state... Election 2014 should be about development, and about the aspirations and improvement in the lives of the bottom 40 per cent of the population... If one looks jointly at poverty reduction and poverty levels, the preliminary conclusion has to be that the Gujarat model of development seems to have performed much better than most models on offer.”
- Communal peace for over a decade. Compare this with hundreds of riots in UP ruled by the “pro-minorities” SP during the last two years; and many riots in Rajasthan and Assam ruled by the “secular” Congress.
Awards Unlimited: Gujarat government under Modi has won many awards from the government and non-government organisations—too many to be enumerated here. Those who pan the Gujarat Model must explain why has Gujarat then won so many Indian and international awards. As per The Times of India report of 6 February 2013: “The Gujarat government seems to be on a roll these days. Following the urban development ministry asking other states to follow Gujarat models for urban infrastructure projects, the BJP-ruled state has now bagged four of the 16 national awards for e-governance initiatives. No other state got more than two. One of the awards for Gujarat was for its Online Voting System (OVS), implemented successfully in the state local body polls, showing others how such a system can be useful in getting people to vote in the internet age.” Gujarat’s Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra, the flagship scheme of the Directorate of Employment and Training to enhance skill development among the people won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2011-2012. Gujarat Tourism has bagged three National Tourism Awards for best tourism film, innovative use of information and technology and one of the best States for comprehensive development of tourism in the country. Gujarat received Krishi Commendation Award for excellent food grain production.
Overall: Gujarat Model has proved to be a very successful model for massive inclusive growth.
Rider: True, not everything is hunky-dory in Gujarat. Modi himself does not claim that. What more can be done in a decade. Modi has done enough, but there are still many more things to be done.
Comparison with Other States: What is worth acknowledging is that if Modi has not yet done “x” things in Gujarat, most states haven’t yet done “2x to 20x or more”; if he has achieved “y”, others have achieved only “y/2 to y/20 or less”.
Now, let’s look at the Dynasty model.
Even though The Economist wrote some nonsense recently in the context of the Indian elections, here is what it had to say in it issue of 29 June 2013: “AS A conundrum it could hardly be bigger. Six decades of laudably fair elections, a free press, rule of law and much else should have delivered rulers who are responsive to the ruled. India’s development record, however, is worse than poor. It is host to some of the world’s worst failures in health and education. If democracy works there, why are so many Indian lives still so wretched? Social indicators leave that in no doubt. A massive blackout last summer caught global attention, yet 400m Indians had (and still have) no electricity. Sanitation and public hygiene are awful, especially in the north: half of all Indians still defecate in the open, resulting in many deaths from diarrhoea and encephalitis...Twice as many Indian children (43%) as African ones go hungry. Many adults, especially women, are also undernourished... Compared even with its poorer neighbours, Bangladesh and Nepal, India’s social record is unusually grim...State-provided education, too, is in a shocking state. One survey of state schools in seven big northern states found no teaching activity in half of them. But sacking a teacher in India is hard. Teachers are well paid and many new schools have been built. Yet quality of instruction, the authors say, remains generally ‘horrifying’. Even the poor prefer private tuition; at least the teachers show up...”
That about sums up the net results of the Dynasty Model which has reigned supreme in India for over five decades.
As per the article “World’s Only RDC” in India Today’s issue of 12 August 2013, Japan, which had almost the same GDP as India in the early 1950s, grew so fast that by 1980, India’s GDP was a mere 17% of Japan’s. Japan grew at massive 18% annually during the 15-year period starting 1965 and took its GDP from 91 billion dollars to a mammoth 1.1 trillion dollars by 1980. In 1982, India’s per capita income was 39% higher than China’s; but, by 2012, it had become mere 24% of China’s—during the period China’s per capita income grew 30 times, while India’s grew mere 5 times. South Korea’s per capita income is currently 1400% that of India, although at the time of our Independence it was on par! While India is variously terms as a Developing Country or as LDC, Less Developed Country, or as UDC, Under Developed Country, the article finds India uniquely as a RDC—Refusing-to-Develop-Country.
That Japan achieved what it did, and so also South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, was because their leaders refused to follow the politically convenient and self-serving populist socialistic path to nowhere. Thanks to the wisdom that dawned upon China, it junked its communistic economic past, tremendously improved its governance, and is now a super power both economically and militarily. That India remains an RDC is thanks solely to our politicians, economists and intellectuals of the socialistic/leftist/Nehruvian variety.
Of course, the DEDs (the unabashed Defenders and apologists of the Establishment and the Dynasty) would point to various items of progress and development. Some progress would anyway be made with the passage of time. The point is whether the progress was as much as it could or should have been. For example, say 5 IITs were opened in the first 17 years after independence. Could or should they have been 50? Were only 5 out of the possible 50 opened? That has to be evaluated. We have to compare ourselves with nations who were about as good or as bad as us, or were worse off than us, around the time India got independence—like China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore (formed later), and so on—but are now far ahead of India. How is it that all of them have long since been part of the first-world, while we plod along as a third-rate, third-world country? Could we not have been part of the first-world by say 1980 itself or earlier (with poverty a distant memory), had proper policies been followed?
When you look at their (countries listed above) airports, their roads, their metros, their city-buses, their well laid-out cities, their infra-structure, their cleanliness, their everything, you wonder why you have remained a country of crumbling roads, overcrowded locals, overhanging scary ugly mess of mesh of electrical, TV and internet cables blotting the skyline and brutally assaulting even the “chalta hai” sense of terribly intolerable tolerance of the “have given up” generations; a country of absent pavements or encroached pavements or pavements that stink from the use they are not meant for, and where mercifully for the walkers this is not so, they are but patches of broken down pavers, punctuated by uncovered, or partially covered, or precariously or deceptively covered man-holes, awaiting their catch; a nation of stinking slums and impoverished villages, open drains and sewers, rotting garbage, squalor and stink all around, children and men defecating by the road-side—all testimony to criminal absence of the very basics of being civilised.
And all this unmitigated misery despite the overwhelming advantage of India as a nation with first-rate people, plentiful natural resources, relatively better position in all fields—infrastructure, trained manpower, bureaucracy, army—at the time of independence compared to all other nations who have since overtaken us, grand civilisational heritage, rich culture and languages, and unmatched ethical and spiritual traditions.
Why did we fail to leverage such rich assets of a gifted country?
That’s because India has been at the mercy of the Dynasty Model for over five decades. Let’s examine the net results of the various sub-models of the Dynasty Model for various segments.
As one studies, one finds that the Dynasty-driven Nehruvian-socialistic-populist-babudom-dominated dynacratic India rarely disappoints in scoring the top grade—when it comes to the negatives.
Let’s first start with what the Dynasty-driven Congress makes maximum noise about.
Like many unresolved problems, the minority-problem too continues.
Among the very basics expected from any government is safety for its citizens, particularly the vulnerable sections like the minorities, dalits, women and children. This is fundamental. Other things come later. People should not feel vulnerable to communal, caste, gender or domestic violence. They should be able to breathe freely and live fearlessly—otherwise what is the point of gaining independence. Safety is what independent India should have firmly ensured within the first five to ten years of its existence. Not a difficult goal to achieve at all, given the desire and the will. The safety and social justice should have been ensured whatever it took: persuasion, education, publicity, unbiased and empathetic governance and criminal-justice system—even violence where needed.
Doing so requires desire, determination, uncompromising commitment against injustice, ideas, planning, well thought-out strategy, reforms and action. But, have things changed much in the last 66 years? No. The heartless anti-weak and anti-poor and corrupt criminal-justice-police system continues as in the colonial days. There is no reform or replacement.
What actions have been taken to ensure safety? Verbiage. More verbiage. Keep talking of secularism and protection of minorities and dalits. Let them feel insecure and vote for you in the hope that perhaps one day you might translate your promises into action.
Strangely, being secular and non-communal is considered as something very special: “That leader was totally non-communal!...This party is thoroughly secular!!...” The fact is about 99.99% of the Indians are indeed secular and non-communal. So, it is a very common quality and a feature of the Indian society. Why then tom-tom about it? If you are not communal, so are the other 99.99%. What’s the big deal? But, no. With little worthwhile practical achievements on the ground to beat the drums about, and on the self-serving presumption that “all those” are communal, I have at least one thing to show off—I am secular!
However, for a political leader, is it sufficient to be personally non-communal, but do little to ensure communal harmony? If communal riots continue to take place, if the minorities, the dalits and the weaker sections continue to be on the receiving end, what’s the use of your being personally non-communal or pro-weaker sections. The real test of secularism or pro-weak for leaders is what they did to achieve communal or caste harmony on the ground, and what was the actual record of communal and caste incidents under their watch. India and its rulers since independence cut a sorry figure on this aspect. How can you hail Nehru’s secularism or his being non-casteist when reportedly 243 communal riots happened between 1947 and 1964 and there were hundreds of anti-Dalit incidents; and no worthwhile robust system was put in place to ensure their non-recurrence and give confidence and a feeling of safety to the minorities and the weak. Things did not improve under subsequent secular leaders. Therefore, is it enough for a leader to be just personally secular?
If universal education up to class 10 had been made compulsory after independence, if people had been specifically educated on secularism, anti-casteism and women’s rights, the post-independence generation would have been different. Simultaneously, the colonial bureaucratic, police and criminal-justice system should have been thoroughly overhauled to make them empathetic and responsive to the minorities, the weak and the vulnerable. Had these steps been taken, dalits and women would have regained their dignity and the term “secularism” would have become redundant by 1960.
Take Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew managed to create a unique Singaporean identity within the umbrella of multiculturalism in just the first 15 years of his rule, despite the fact that Singapore never had a dominant culture to which locals and immigrants could assimilate. They have ensured religious and racial harmony through the decades. Singapore has consistently been ranked as the safest country in the world; and among the top five in the Global Competitiveness Report in terms of its reliability of police services.
Most Indians wish the communalism had been firmly curbed within a decade of independence, and secularism and communalism were made non-issues by 1957. Had Congress done the actual work on the ground of overhauling our criminal-justice-police system and babudom, launched vigorous educational campaign on the issue, held netas and those in administration and police accountable for disturbances and riots, punished the guilty and made examples of them, and adopted a non-compromising attitude to the issue, the curse of communalism and of ill-treatment of dalits would have vanished within a decade of independence. It was not an unachievable target. But, when you yourself allocate seats and win elections on communal, religious and caste considerations, where is the remedy? Most of the so-called secular parties have been great talkers, but, non-doers. They want to keep the secular, communal and casteism pot boiling to win votes, because, in practical terms on the ground, they are incapable of solving any real issues. Our “tryst with destiny” rather than taking us to achievable and fondly wished-for heights, sank us into a quagmire of violence and misery.
Rather than making secularism-communalism-casteism a non-issue by instruments of good governance and strictly enforcing the “rule of law” within a decade or two of independence, the Nehruvians, the Congress and other hypocritical people, groups and parties, have turned it into a weapon to commend or condemn parties or people right since the Nehruvian times—they even went to the extent of casting aspersions on one of the greatest sons of India and a leader and freedom fighter head and shoulders above all others, next only to Mahatma Gandhi—Sardar Patel.
Mere words and labels should fetch them votes—work or action on the ground is unnecessary.
Communal harmony is a function of functioning “rule of law” and is directly proportional to it. It has little relationship with people and parties professing and brandishing their secularism or communalism.
The real issue is “governance”, which includes enforcing “rule of law”. If a party claims to be secular, the touchstone of its credentials is “governance”. If its “governance” is poor it is unfit to be called a “secular” party. Like one measures GDP, per-capita income, literacy, poverty, human development index (HDI), quality of living index and so on, one needs to measure GI, “Governance Index”, for each of the states and for the central government. It is this GI which would actually reflect the SI—“Secularism Index”. SI can’t be measured by your decibel levels and your protestations. It has to be measured by your real actions on the ground—a tough call. By this yardstick, which indeed is a real genuine measure, most “secular” governments would score pathetically low on Governance Index (GI), and hence on Secularism Index (SI).
If riots happen in a state where Congress is the ruling party, hush it up. Don’t talk about it. If riots happen in a state ruled by non-Congress party, rake up the issue. It’s all political. There is no genuine concern for ensuring peace and rooting out communalism.
Communal riots were a regular feature under the Congress rule in Gujarat—some riots went on for months on end. There have been severe communal riots in Assam and Rajasthan during the last two years under the watch of the Congress. The worst incident of the post-independent India was the anti-Sikh attacks of 1984 under the Congress. Anyone punished?
We have the largest number of poor—a third of the world's poor! As per the World Bank’s estimate for 2011, while 69% Indians live on less than US$2 per day, 33% fall below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day.
In terms of GDP per capita, India stands at 129 among 183 countries as per IMF tabulation for 2011. Per capita income in India is little more than half that of Sri Lanka, about a sixth that of Malaysia, and a third that of Jamaica.
Says Darryl D’Monte in an article, Living off the land, that appeared in the Hindustan Times of 7 August 2012: “In 2010, Oxford University and the UN Development Programme brought out a Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI which replaced the Human Poverty Index. The researchers analysed data from 104 countries with a combined population of 5.2 billion, constituting 78% of the world’s total. It found that about 1.7 billion people in these countries live in multidimensional poverty. If income alone is taken into account, at less than $1.25 a day, a standard measure throughout the world, this amounts to 1.3 billion. The startling fact that emerges from this analysis, which made headlines throughout the world, is that using the MPI, just eight Indian states have more poor people than the 26 poorest African countries combined. These sub-Saharan countries—like Ethiopia—are considered the worst-off in the world, with pictures of starving children there becoming symptomatic of a deep malaise.”
Murshidabad used to be one of the richest areas in India in the pre-British times. While the British, the foreigners, did wreck Murshidabad and Bengal, have the Indians, the natives, done any better since independence. Whether it was the Congress or the CPM—these socialists of different hues—they both further took it to dogs. The 12 August 2013 issue of the India Today magazine has a special report titled “A day in the life of India’s poorest”, with a sub-title, “In Murshidabad, India’s poorest district, survival is a daily burden and hope is a luxury afforded only by faith”.
Things are so pathetic even after over six decades of independence, ruled predominantly by the Nehru Dynasty, that while the politicians and babus and businessmen have stashed away millions in black money here and abroad, handouts of mere 100 days of subsistence wages per poor rural household—not even per person—under the MNREGA, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or meagre cash transfers in lieu of subsidies in kind are considered “game changers”, something that can fetch votes for the descendents of the Nehru-Gandhi clan! Such is the level of destitution, thanks to their gross misgovernance and policies that are effectively anti-poor! Forget about providing steady monthly income, even if measly, and a stable employment even after more than 60 years of independence, we can’t even provide 100 days of manual work per needy rural adult!
The Hunger and Malnutrition (HUNGaMA) report by the Naandi Foundation points out that 42 per cent of under-fives Indian children are severely or moderately underweight and that 59 per cent of them suffer from moderate to severe stunting.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) computed each year by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger globally and by country and region. If you look at the GHI global colour map displayed at the IFPRI web-site, you find only India and certain countries in Africa are painted dark yellow indicating the status as “alarming”! India ranks 15th among 57 nations ranked (those who have eliminated hunger—and there are many—are not included in the list), rank-1 being the worst-case. That is, out of 57 nations still afflicted, 14 are worse than India and 42 are better off than India. Even countries like Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria are much better than India!
The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks countries based on a mix of parameters that include economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, and social capital. For 2012, India ranks 101 among 142 countries. Countries like Algeria, Bosnia, Armenia, Albania, Ghana, Lebanon, Sri Lanka were ahead of India!
The latest “Doing Business” Report of the World Bank for June 2013 ranks 189 countries on various ease of doing business parameters, rank 1 being for the country with the most conducive environment for business. The report is available @ www.doingbusiness.org. As per the report, the overall ranking of India is 134. Singapore is at number 1, USA at 4, and even countries like Azerbaijan are ahead of India at 70, Mongolia at 76, Sri Lanka at 85, Vietnam at 99, and Pakistan at 110! The report also gives 10 sub-rankings like for ease of “starting a business”, “enforcing contracts”, “dealing with construction permits”, etc. India ranks shockingly low at 179 (11th from the bottom) on “ease of starting a business”, 182 (8th from the bottom) on “ease of dealing with construction permits” and 186 (4th from the bottom) on “ease of enforcing contracts”. Why so? Pathetic, incompetent political management, governance and babudom, and all-pervading corruption.
While the developing countries of SE-Asia, which had been far behind India in 1947, raced ahead at over 9% growth and became highly prosperous, with infra-structure rivalling western countries, India plodded along at what was derisively referred to as the Hindu rate of growth of just 3%, and became a basket-case, begging aid and food from all.
However, the term "Hindu rate of growth" is highly inappropriate and unfair, besides being derogatory. The low rate of growth was thanks to Nehru-Indira-Rajiv’s policies. If rather than the “Hindu rate of growth” it was called the "Nehruvian rate of growth" or "Nehruvian socialistic rate of growth" or “NIDP [Nehru-Indira-Dynasty policies] rate of growth", one would have no quarrel.
Indian politicians and bureaucrats never wanted to admit that the fault lay with the socialistic apparatus. Why blame self? Especially, why blame something on which you have fattened yourselves? The leftists, socialists and communists got prized slots in the government or government-aided organisations, societies and universities, and dominated the intellectual discourse in India: professors, historians, economists, journalists, and so on. Socialism and Marxism could not be wrong—what was required was more of it! The whole band, be it politicians or bureaucrats or intellectuals, didn’t mind the blame shifting to the religious-cultural heritage.
For certain class of intellectuals the touchstone of secularism is whether you can be abusive to Hinduism. The term “Hindu” in “Hindu rate of growth” serves that purpose. It serves for them the double purpose: camouflage the ills resulting from socialism, and be also hailed “secular” the cheap way—by casting a slur on Hinduism.
Post Narsimha Rao and Vajpayee, with the Dynasty back in the saddle in UPA-I and II, the growth rate and the economy again took a beating.
Transparency International, TI, ranks countries annually on the Corruption Perceptions Index, CPI, on a scale from 100 for very clean to 0 for highly corrupt. In 2012, India ranked 94 among 176 countries, with a CPI score of 36. Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for the first place of the least corrupt with a score of 90. Sweden, Singapore and Switzerland were ranked 4th, 5th and 6th with scores of 88, 87 and 86 respectively. Countries like Zambia, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Rwanda were ahead of us, being less corrupt.
Maplecroft (maplecroft.com), a Global Risk Analytics company, also evaluates risks associated with doing business in a country on account of the prevalent levels of corruption there—encapsulated in Corruption Risk Index (CRI). It categorises countries as Low-Risk, Medium-Risk, High-Risk and Extreme-Risk based on levels of corruption. India is consistently categorised under Extreme-Risk. As per the latest index, India ranks as 69th worst (rank-1 being for most-corrupt) among 197 nations. That is, 128 countries are better off (less corrupt) than India, and 68 worse off. India is in the ‘august’ company of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea and the like, ‘proudly’ sharing its Extreme-Risk categorisation with them.
Maplecroft highlights the consequences of corruption for the concerned countries: detrimental effect on the economic performance and political environment; public disillusionment with government corruption; rising levels of societal unrest, and so on. The World Economic Forum estimates that corruption adds up to 10% to the total cost of doing business globally and up to 25% to the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries. Corruption also raises the cost of capital by worsening a country's risk rating. That is, corruption is criminal not merely because it makes the dishonest rich and facilitates dishonest win elections or get unfairly ahead in business; but because it adversely affects economy, and therefore, its people in general.
Increasingly, it is making foreign companies vary of investing in and doing business in a country like India, for it exposes them to high risk of complicity when conducting business with government officials and local partners, potentially resulting in reputational damage and legal repercussions under extraterritorial anti-corruption legislation, such as the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Thanks to our corrupt and shameless babudom and politicians, we have now reached a stage that the little check (vis-a-vis at least foreign companies and investments from the UK and the US) that would be on our corruption would be thanks to foreign laws and their strict implementation by foreign countries. In so far as we are concerned, we would not only not do anything effective against corruption, we would continue to throttle messengers.
Thanks to Nehru and his dynasty’s policies, we have no friends in the neighbourhood and have unsettled borders with the two major neighbours, forcing us to spend disproportionately massive amounts on defence and security. The problems are mostly self-created, rather, dynasty-created. Kashmir, and hence Pakistan-problem, is thanks to Nehru. China problem is also thanks to Nehru’s Tibet policy and to his ill-informed border policy. Sri Lankan problem too is thanks to Nehru having ignored the Tamil question, and not having attempted a solution in the fifties.
The internal security situation is alarming. You are unable to tackle the unrest and the insurgency in the northeast and in Kashmir. On top of it, the red corridor now straddles nine states—106 of the total of about 600 districts, that is, about 18%, are worst-affected! Why? Because the tribal districts were neglected and left to fend for themselves since independence. Nobody bothered about them. They were ungoverned. If an interest was shown about them, that was only from the mining angle. When now questioned, it is claimed that one is unable to develop them on account of the Maoists. Well, were Maoists calling the shots there right since independence? Further, are other tribal areas that are free from Maoists witnessing progress and development?
Further, it is not just tribal areas that are neglected and ungoverned. There are vast swathes of countryside and small towns in UP, Bihar and many other states that are hopeless, depressing, lawless, dangerous Omkaralands.
There have been a large number of terror attacks, but you neither had the preventive mechanisms in place, nor the measures to deal with the attacks or its aftermath: 26/11 totally exposed your gross incompetence. You just don’t care if people die. Yes, there would be commotion for a few days. Then, it would be life as usual. There was an IBN Live report titled ‘Five years after 26/11 attacks, coastal security remains vulnerable’.
India earns merely USD 8 billion in tourism compared to USD 54 billion by France and USD 49 billion by China! It affects employment too, for tourism is a labour intensive industry. According to the World Economic Forum, tourism accounts for nine per cent of global gross domestic product and is projected to represent one in every 10 jobs by 2022.
States Tavleen Singh in an article, Two Ideas of India, in the Indian Express, Mumbai of 10 February 2013: “Some of our poorest states are poor only because they have not understood how to use pristine beaches, high mountains and magnificent temples as their unique selling point. The real advantage of using tourism as a tool for economic growth is that the infrastructure tourism needs benefits local people even more. Roads, modern telecommunications and high standards of civic infrastructure are not things that benefit only tourists. But, since tourists do not come to places that do not have them, state governments investing in tourism build them with speed.”
The “Incredible India!” tourism campaign by the Government of India seems to be a sarcasm on itself: incredibly awful security environment for tourists; incredibly ill-behaved auto and taxi wallas out to fleece their clients, with no control by the concerned government agencies; incredibly ill-maintained government-owned resorts, hotels and tourist places; incredibly filthy surroundings; and incredibly pathetic infrastructure.
Most of the Indian towns, cities and metros are dirty, foul smelling and hideous. They look like a defacement of spaces and a blot on the landscape. Cities in the West, SE-Asia, China and elsewhere get better, cleaner, smarter and spiffier year after year, while ours get worse, more congested, more difficult to live in and more squalid.
When you have visitors from abroad, you try to avoid taking them around—you feel so embarrassed. With what face to take them around on pot-holed roads through traffic-jams to witness dirt and filth all around? Living in Indian cities is an ordeal, and not a pleasure.
Worldwide rankings for 2012 by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey lists 49 cities. No Indian city makes the grade. Mercer City Infrastructure Ranking, 2012 lists 50 cities. No Indian city appears in the list.
As per the Cities of Opportunity 2012 report of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Mumbai is considered to be the worst city to live in. The report ranked 27 cities across the world based on variables such as cultural vibrancy, quality of living, working age population and traffic congestion.
Government’s recent housing survey reveals that 53% of Indian homes are without toilets, 68% are without access to clean tap water, 39% do not have indoor kitchens, and 70% make do with one or two room homes. Figures don’t reveal the real horror. Of course, all—men, women and children—suffer; but, the main sufferers are women: having to defecate in the open in the absence of toilets, having to fetch water in the absence of tap-water at home, having to cook without a kitchen!
There are nearly 97 million urban poor living in 50,000 slums in India, 24% of which are located along nallahs and drains and 12% along railway lines. And, thanks to our lack of planning and neglect, the number of slums and the slum population is on the rise. The worst affected are the children—our future—in these slums.
Two cities in India, Sukinda and Vapi, rank 3rd and 4th in the world as the most polluted cities!
Even our water bodies and rivers, including the most sacred ones, get dirtier by the year. The sacred rivers have been reduced to sewers. The waters of the Ganga are pure and sparkling when it starts from Gangotri, with a BOD, that is, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, of zero, and a DO, Dissolved Oxygen, of over 10. Water with BOD level of less than 2mg per litre can be consumed without treatment; that with BOD level between 2 and 3 mg per litre can be consumed, but only after treatment; and that with BOD level above 3 mg per litre is unfit even for bathing. Ganga-Yamuna water at Sangam in Allahabad has a BOD level of 7.3 mg per litre! It is totally unfit even for bathing!! Such is the state of affairs even after spending more than rupees 8,000 crores over the years on various schemes to clean the Ganga-Yamuna waters. Where does all the money go?
Reportedly, over 10 million took a dip in the Sangam this Kumbh—in waters far, far more polluted than the level that make it unfit even for bathing!
To summarise a ToI report, "A pitcherful of poison: India's water woes set to get worse", India ranks third-lowest, a lowly 120, in a list of 122 countries rated on quality of potable water. By 2020, India is likely to become a water-stressed nation. Nearly 50% of Indian villages still do not have any source of protected drinking water. Of the 1.42 million villages in India, 1.95 lacs are affected by chemical contamination of water. 37.7 million are afflicted by waterborne diseases every year. Nearly 66 million people in 20 Indian states are at risk because of excessive fluoride in their water. Nearly 6 million children below 14 suffer from dental, skeletal and non-skeletal fluorosis. In Jhabua district, bone deformities are common among children. Arsenic is the other big killer lurking in ground water, putting at risk nearly 10 million people. The problem is acute in several districts of West Bengal. The deeper aquifers in the entire Gangetic plains contain arsenic. In UP's Ballia district, the problem is so acute that almost every family has been affected—most people are suffering from skin rashes, some have lost their limbs; many are dying a slow death due to arsenic-induced cancer. Bacteriological contamination, which leads to diarrhoea, cholera and hepatitis, is most widespread in India.
The HDI, Human Development Index, is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices and was published by the UNDP, United Nations Development Programme. In 2011, India ranked 134 on HDI among 187 countries, below even Iraq and Egypt!
Singapore and Finland recruit teachers in schools from among the brightest 10% of graduates and offer them salaries on par with engineers. And, in India?
Quality of graduates from engineering and management colleges is so poor many remain unemployable. Our education system—it is a mess.
In literacy, India is 183 among 214 countries—below many African countries.
Reports The Economic Times of 18 January 2013: “The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2012) by NGO Pratham shows that the number of Class V students who could not read a Class II level text or solve a simple arithmetic problem has increased. In 2010, 46.3% of kids in this category failed to make the cut and this shot up to 51.8% in 2011 and 53.2% in 2012...In 2010, 29.1% children in Class V could not solve a two-digit subtraction problem without seeking help. This proportion increased to 39% in 2011 and 46.5% in 2012.”
Not a single Indian university or institute of higher learning, including the premier IITs, figure in the top 200 universities of the world, listed by the QS World Rankings 2012! The only ones close to the best are IIT-Delhi at 212, IIT-Mumbai at 227 and IIT-Kanpur at 278. India remains the only BRICS nation without a university in the top 200.
As per another study released on Mother’s Day, India ranks 76th among 80 “less developed countries” in the world on Mother-care Index, that is 5th worst.
Health-care system—we beat even the poorest countries in Africa in infant mortality rates! The rate is a measure of number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births. Among 221 countries, India ranks 50—rank 1 being the worst—with an infant mortality rate of 46. That is, among 221 countries, 171 countries are better off than India. China’s infant mortality rate is 15.62, Singapore’s 2.65, while India’s is 46.07. Over 400,000 newborns die within the first 24 hours of their birth every year in India, the highest anywhere in the world, a study by an international non-government organisation, “Save the Children”, has declared.
Take MMR, the Maternal Mortality Rate, which is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management. The MMR includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy. India ranks 52—rank 1 being the worst—among 183 countries, with an MMR of 200 deaths per 100,000 live births. MMR is 37 for China and just 3 for Singapore.
By 2020 the average age of the Indian population would be 29, in comparison to 37, 45 and 48 for China, Western Europe and USA respectively. We would be the youngest nation! There have been talks of India reaping the demographic dividend to become rich and powerful. But, would merely being young yield the dividends? Given the way we are “caring for”, “cultivating”, “educating” and “training” the young, rather than converting this demographic dividend into social and economic dividend, we would most likely have a huge demographic liability upon us, as the current dismal statistics show. As per Tehelka issue of 20 April 2013, 20% of children have low birth weight; over 40% are underweight and stunted; 70% of children below five are anaemic; only 43% of children below two receive all their immunisation—compared to 90% in Bangladesh. Of the 27 million children who enrol annually in primary schools only 5.4 million, that is, only 20%, make it to class XII.
India is at the bottom or near the bottom of the heap. India ranked 134 out of 187 countries in terms of women’s well-being as per a UN index of 2011—below even Saudi Arabia and Iraq!
The Global Gender Gap Index depicts the disparity between male and female population of a country on a scale of 0 to 1—0 for total inequality to 1 for total equality.
The index is worked out on four broad criteria of national gender gaps on (1)Economic participation and opportunity, (2)Educational attainment, (3)Political empowerment—representation in decision-making, and (4)Health and survival/ life expectancy. 14 variables are used to create the index, 13 of which are from publicly available ‘hard data’ indicators.
The index was introduced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2006. Its 2013 report is available at www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2013.
The 2013-report covers 136 countries. India ranks a lowly 101. That is, 100 countries are better off than India, that even include Mauritius at rank 98, Bhutan at 93, Kenya at 78, Bangladesh at 75, Sri Lanka at 55 and Uganda at 46! Compared to the three highest indexes of 0.8731, 0.8421, 0.8417 for Iceland, Finland and Norway respectively, India’s score is just 0.6551. However, even this low rank is inflated on account of the relatively higher political empowerment score, which is misleading—having had a female president and some ladies in high political positions does not really amount to women’s political empowerment. India ranks (1) 124 on Economic Participation & Opportunity, (2) 120 on Educational Attainment, (3) 135 on Health & Survival, and (4) a high 9 on Political Empowerment. That is, if Political Empowerment component is excluded, India ranks near the bottom on all the other parameters—a shocking 16th-worst on Educational Attainment, 13th-worst on Economic Participation & Opportunity and 2nd-worst in the world on Health & Survival!!
Then there are those aspects that don’t make headlines or that are not indexed or ranked or widely taken cognizance of—early marriage and motherhood that kills aspirations, forces young girls to play the onerous roles of wife and mother, making hell of their young lives and condemning them to life-long drudgery. As per 17 April 2013 report of The Times of India, Mumbai, India has the largest number of child brides in the world: 47% of girls are married off below the legal age of 18—that’s almost half! The Indian Express, Mumbai of 18 July 2013 reports that in eight states of India over half the women are married as children. The shocking figures are 64% for Bihar, 60% for Jharkhand, 58% for Rajasthan, 56% for Andhra Pradesh, and so on.
As per The Times of India, Mumbai of 14 October 2013: “India, the world’s child marriage capital, has once again failed its underage brides. The country has refused to sign the first-ever UN-led global resolution on early and forced marriage of children." 107 countries have supported the resolution, including even countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Chad, Guatemala, Honduras and Yemen—but not India! Continues ToI: “India has the record of having the highest absolute number of child brides: about 24 million. This represents 40% of the world’s 60 million child marriages. The percentage of women between the ages of 20 and 24, who were married before 18 years of age, has decreased from 54% in 1992-93 to 43% in 2007-08, thus showing a reduction of 11% in 15 years. The improvement though is far too little, experts say.” Says The Centre for Reproductive Rights as quoted in ToI: “Child marriage does not constitute a single rights violation—rather, every instance of child marriage triggers a continuum of violations that continues throughout a girl’s life. Further, women and girls married as children are often denied educational opportunities, are isolated from society and face a lifetime of economic dependence.”
The insecurity faced by half the population of India given our pathetic record of violence against women is alarming! This insecurity does not just affect women in India, it severely affects inflow of international tourists and hence the economy.
Talking of security of women and tourists, well, security has been usurped by the VIPs and VVIPs! As per a newspaper report, 61% of the Mumbai's 46,000-strong police force has been assigned the job of protecting VIPs and VVIPs, a whopping 1,184 per cent jump in deployment since 2007! As per another newspaper report, in Delhi, out of a sanctioned force of 83,000, only 30% is deployed for general public!! What does this show? Utter selfishness of the politicians and their total apathy and contempt for the public.
The fate of the aged is no better. India happens to be among the worst countries to grow old in. Global AgeWatch Index 2013 (www.helpage.org/global-agewatch) ranks India at 73 out of 91 countries it studied. India has the dubious distinction of being far below Brazil at rank 31, China at 35, Sri Lanka at 36, Philippines at 44, and Vietnam at 53. India’s overall score is 35 compared to the massive score of 89.9 of Sweden at rank 1. Almost 90% of the Indian elderly of about 100 million have to continue to work to survive.
The Global Slavery Index 2013 report (available on the web) published by the Australia-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation (‘Walk Free’), committed to ending all forms of modern slavery by mobilising global activist movements, generating highest quality research, enlisting businesses, raising funds and driving changes, includes slavery and slavery-like practices—debt bondage, forced marriage, sale or exploitation of children, human trafficking and forced labour, and other practices described in key international treaties, voluntarily ratified by nearly every country in the world—under Modern Slavery.
As per the report, which surveyed 162 nations, of the 30 million across the world living in conditions of modern-day slavery, nearly half (14 million) are in India!
Following far behind India at 14 million are China at 2.9, Pakistan at 2.1, Nigeria at 0.7, Ethiopia at 0.65, Russia at 0.51, Thailand at 0.47 million, and so on.
The status of the shelter homes for women and children, and hostels for Dalits and Adivasis is pathetic. So many horrid reports appear on TV and in the newspapers from time to time. There is nothing that our babus cannot mismanage. There was a Times of India of 4 February 2013 titled, “Drugs, sex abuse of kids rampant at juvenile homes”.
As per a report titled “Haryana cops raped us: Children's home inmates” of 6 June 2012 in The Indian Express: “Inmates of the Apna Ghar shelter in Rohtak told a four-member committee that visited them today that they were gangraped by Haryana Police officials, who made them dance naked and forcibly took them out of the home.”
If you go through the reports on the juvenile homes, shelters for women and children, and hostels for Dalits and Adivasis, you feel that if there were to be an Indian Charles Dickens or Charlotte Brontë, they could write real-life stories that would make David Copperfield, Oliver Twist or Jane Eyre appear like fairy tales in comparison. India of the 21st-century is competing with England of the 19th-century!
News headlines such as “Dalit boy beaten to death for...”, “Dalit tortured by cops...”, “Dalit 'witch' paraded naked in...”, “Dalit killed in lock-up at...”, “...Dalits burnt alive in caste clash”, “Dalit huts burned down in...”, “...Dalits lynched in ...”, “Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked” are common place. The daily humiliation heaped upon the Dalits even after over six decades of independence is alarming! At many places Dalits are not allowed to drink from the same wells, attend the same temples, or drink from the same cups in tea stalls. As per a report, 85% of the Dalit women have the most arduous occupations and work as agricultural labourers, scavengers, sweepers, and disposers of human waste. Many of them are forced to work for minimum wages, and when they refuse, they face open violence, humiliation, beatings, rape, and jail.
Colonial. Keep the system colonial, and unsuited to independent India’s requirements.