Archive for the ‘India’ Category
I have been reading for a while about post-colonial world and how colonies were able to turn things around. The blog post from Jyoti Rahman made me think twice. Was it all correct?
Being Indian, the version I read and heard a hundred times from my childhood, was that Indian subcontinent along with a lot of other former European colonies were hammered quite heavily by colonialist masters. The sole reason of our current state of poverty seems to be related to our history, which has a couple of hundred years of colonial rule in its timeline. During this period, our raw resources were taken away and were used in factories across Europe to produce items for consumption of rest of the world. On the other hand, our local small industries were bulldozed with high restrictions and they soon mired into oblivion – leaving us a nation full of poor people. Little or no investment in Agriculture and food-distribution caused several famines during colonial rule. No effort for public education system left a bunch of illiterate people. To add on top of that, ever since we became independent, we are doing better and better, with more food, some industries and now the services industries to cheer about. There are multiple examples around us to justify this pattern. (Read an article by Amartya Sen on this topic)
To question this understanding, the first graphics I would refer to, is simply of growth of some of the countries post-independence. If I have to assume that it was raw materials from colonies that caused the growth in masters, then there should be an economic effect of increased availability of those resources in colonies post independence. And a scarcity of the same should be causing growth to limp in the masters.
But the graph above shows absolutely the opposite. In last 50 years, colonies might have got little improvement of per-capita growth, but the gap between colonies and their former masters has expanded at a rapid pace. This makes me comment that rather than we demanding our independence, the masters should have voluntarily freed our nations.
But then comes the next question, why is this disparity, even after the decolonization? There are two answers – one in the side of the masters, the other was from the colonies. After world-wars, the European nations were better of without colonies because they avoided one of the core reasons of their disputes – ownership of colonies. Post-world-war, Germany developed rapidly and this time they didn’t have a problem with other European countries, as they didn’t vie for colonies. There are no intra-state war (not even a proxy one) among Western European colonialists after the colonialism ended. Rather the cold-war kept them united.
The second reason would probably be attributed to a successful shift of their economy to tertiary one, which these countries already doing good at. With higher level of average education and skills in Science, they were bound to lead the world in services and innovation driven economies.
On the other hand, most of the colonies inherited better institutions than their previous native rulers have built (Indian institutions were far better in 1947 than what was left by Mughals in 1757). However, for most of these countries, strong nationalist sentiments drove them to success in the form of independence. These sentiments, coupled with fear from recent-past experiences, made these countries extremely business-unfriendly. They became inward looking, anti-foreign-investment and invested most of the resources into less-productive sectors such as Agriculture and small-scale industries. However, standard of living were improved in these countries in the form of health, education and social indices went up and towards the end of the graph, those start to yield some good results for them.
Now going back to where I started, were these colonies better off being never fallen into the grips of masters? I see point for and against it clearly. The points in favor of this view are discussed in the beginning. The points against it are also becoming clear. For example, between 1750 and 1947, the growth in the World economics were mostly fueled by manufacturing. There were new innovations all along the Europe and an active patent system to protect interest of investment on innovation. Indian rulers before the British did never thought of value of innovation, nor did they encourage it with more business. The culmination of pre-Raj Indian empires were said to be Akbar’s rule that created space for peaceful existence, but not even an iota of industrialization and literacy drive that one would expect in contemporary Europe. If you look at Akbar’s EU contemporaries, you’ll find Elizabeth of England and she appears to be much more farsighted than Akbar. Long later in 1857, Indians started their first war of independence with an objective of getting their old Mughal-Maratha rulers back but not for democracy, literacy, separation of church and state or modernization of infrastructure and institutions. India didn’t yet have enough decision-makers to think in those terms.
In summary, I feel we got what we deserved. Even if there were no such thing named colonization (which again was inevitable) or we were never colonized, we were having roughly the same standard of living that we have today. Whether we named our country as India, or were we have 20 different countries instead of three – are different questions and I can not address them. Guided by democracy with no political setup or autocracy with an extension of Mughal-Maratha-like empires would not have taken us far beyond where we are today.
Bangla Version with a lot of discussion.
I will go over all three major causes for India-Bangladesh border killings. I have summed up a few facts and possible directions.
Cattle trade has become the major root cause behind the regular border killings at India-Bangladesh border. In my first part, I will cover major causes of this illegal trade, possible way forward and some facts around it.
1. India has the world’s largest cattle herd but hardly consumes any beef. Only two of the large Indian states allow cow-slaughter – Kerala and West Bengal.
2. Bangladesh cattle herd is stagnant over decades but people do consume beef.
3. These two factors make a natural direction of cattle flow from India to Bangladesh.
4. Approximately 1.5 million cows cross border every year. (Of course this statistics can not be verified.)
Given all these factors, it will be difficult to stop the trans-border cattle trade through an otherwise porous border. But there are a couple of scenarios which could put a break in illegal business.
First one, the cattle trade to be made legal and let market forces to guide it. This will mark the end of illegal cattle trade across the border. It will also allow cattle-owners to get fair price out of their cattle. The availability and business along with new investments in the cattle sector of India will be up. BSF, the major accused border guards of India, is a strong supporter of this.
However, this will face challenges, especially in India.
First, it will be a massive religious hurdle to cross. Predominantly Hindu India worships cow as a god and it will be politically challenging to implement this proposition. On the other hand, the fact that India exports cattle to Pakistan now-a-days, shows this religious forces are not as strong as people think of.
Second, it may hurt Indian beef and leather exports and will face anticipatory lobbying against this decision from those two sectors. It will be vehemently opposed by West Bengal, which sources 55% of Indian leather exports and 30% of Beef exports. Export of cattle will eventually mean export of leather and beef. If an excess of cattle crosses the border, then both of these industries will have to compete harder to ensure their supply of raw materials.
Now let me move to the next scenario. This would be a good one for India and the data indicate India is trying to move towards this. However, it would be a difficult-to-cope scenario for Bangladesh.
Under this situation, India becomes a large beef and leather exporter and the cattle doesn’t cross the borders at all. Instead they end up in large processing houses in West Bengal and be exported thereon as beef and leather. Since the cattle owner gets more from a standard licensed beef trader than an illegal cross border cattle trader, the majority of cattle doesn’t reach the borders. Along with this, enforcement at different levels should help divert the flow of cattle. Following is the beef export chart of India for last few years -
India is currently the fourth largest beef-exporter, ahead of the USA. But given the low consumption and huge cattle fleet, in no time they can become the top beef exporter. The dual utilization of cattle will also ease the pressure of price for the leather industry which exports $5bn a year. On the other hand, Bangladesh would have to import beef at a higher price as they have to compete with global prices (or prices in the Middle East – the major export destination of Indian beef). The leather industry, the second highest foreign currency earning sector of Bangladesh, would suffer from price pressure.
Given these two scenarios, it would be better for both Bangladesh and India to agree on a time-limited export quota of cattle, as India is exporting to Pakistan a maximum of 1 million per year from 2005. Meanwhile, Bangladesh should work on their domestic cattle and do the same that Pakistan did. It’s not that difficult in these days to multiply cattle and replace Indian supply with their domestic one. The border population can themselves be engaged in raising cattle. Self-sufficiency has no alternatives and that will lead to best possible result.
1. Indian Planning Commission has already suggested to remove all barriers against beef-export (but not cattle export) in the next five-year plan. Indian right-wing Hindu organizations are already protesting it, but I will be surprised if protests gather steam. source : News
2. Indian beef exports to continue growing and India will become the third highest beef-exporter by 2012. It also notes that South-East Asia, North Africa and Middle-East are main destinations of Indian beef. source – News
3. I got hold of 11th Planning Commission report. It states -
“Since slaughter is a state subject, the actual processing of meat for exports as well as for domestic demand follow the laws of the individual states, which are at variance with each other. The country needs to have consistent and uniform slaughter policy across different states to make the industry competitive.”
It looks like India is going to become a large beef-exporter sooner that I thought of.
India is on course to become largest exporter of beef in 2012. The amount expected to be exported is 1.5 million tonnes, against 500,000 tonnes shown in the graph (year 2008). The addition comes through the export of buffalo-meat.
Further readings/sources -
4. All chart data are from FAO database.
In the shadows of back-to-back innings defeat at Australia, the national week of shame looms large on India. I was mentally prepared to write three different pieces to address them but snow in Seattle made me think otherwise. Lacking time, I have to compromise and settle down with a few words on each.
The Andaman Islanders were forced (lured?) to dance naked in front of tourists. I were probably more ashamed of this incident than if I were to do the same. What else could I say? These tribes were once lord of their own lands. Now, their land is gone, and the occupier is a client of capital. In this harsh world, they understood their asset and probably reciprocated. State is lawless? No, the law favors the deep-pockets.
A Bangladeshi cattle-trader was beaten like an animal failing to pay sufficient bribe to Indian Border guards (aka BSF). The captured video was allegedly distributed among villagers to install fear. The Human Rights gate-keepers engaged into worst violation of human (or even animal) rights and also allowed illegal operations to continue (as seen on video). To make it worse, BSF has decided to suspend the constables only after it was released by media. A part of media is now cooking up story that somewhere Pakistan is associated with this (don’t know how). Will an exemplary punishment (such as this) curb this kind of incident? Unlikely …
Coming back to the last one, the back to back innings defeats in Australia. The Indian media has spent far more newsprint on this one than that of the other two combined. Unfortunately, I don’t see much of tragedy in this. Cricket is by far a non-standard game, where the home team starts with a massive advantage. A defeat at home might be shameful, but a team of equal rank will probably beat the other at home. The same is true about the other two ongoing series – South Africa vs Srilanka and Pakistan vs England. Unless ICC takes some steps to standardize the pitches, these home-and-away-differences is going to stay. This is one more reason ODIs are better – at least most pitches follow some generic rules.
Only silver lining is that of journalism. I would thank a few fearless human-journalists to bring these to masses, especially to MASUM for creating awareness against BSF atrocities. But, one similarity between all of the above is more shameful. They are all going to repeat. Even if it may not in the same form, but in other forms – luring landless aborigines, torture by forces and away defeat in Cricket are going to stay as a part of Indian history and will take decades to fix. Till then we should prepare ourselves with a piece of cotton in ears.
India and Pakistan has yet another dispute to resolve. This time it is on a water project known as KHEP or Kishanganga Hydro-Electric Project. It is a run-of-the-river project involving a 37m tall dam to divert water through a tunnel and eventually into Wular Lake which is fed by the Jhelum River. It is similar to another project in Pakistan, known as Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Project that Pakistan is working on.
In 2010, Pakistan appealed to the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA), complaining that the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant violates the Indus River Treaty by increasing the catchment of the Jhelum River and depriving Pakistan of its water rights. Therefore, a commission was established and the arbitration went underway. In an interim order, the court asked India late September to stop constructing any permanent works that would inhibit restoration of the river. While India cannot construct the dam, they can continue on the tunnel and power plant in hopes that the court will allow the project.
The complaints of Pakistan -
1. Whether India’s proposed diversion of the river Kishenganga (Neelum) into another Tributary, i.e. the Bonar Madmati Nallah, being one central element of the Kishenganga Project, breaches India’s legal obligations owed to Pakistan under the Treaty, as interpreted and applied in accordance with international law, including India’s obligations under Article III(2) (let flow all the waters of the Western rivers and not permit any interference with those waters) and Article IV(6) (maintenance of natural channels)?
2. Whether under the Treaty, India may deplete or bring the reservoir level of a run-of river Plant below Dead Storage Level (DSL) in any circumstances except in the case of an unforeseen emergency?
The related treaty articles as mentioned by Pakistan -
Article III(2) : India shall be under an obligation to let flow all the waters of the Western Rivers, and shall not permit any interference with these waters, except for the following uses, restricted in the case of each of the rivers, The Indus, The Jhelum and The Chenab, to the drainage basin thereof: (a) Domestic Use; (b) Non-Consumptive Use; (c) Agricultural Use, as set out in Annexure C; and (d) Generation of hydro-electric power, as set out in Annexure D.
Article IV(6) : Each Party will use its best endeavors to maintain the natural channels of the Rivers, as on the Effective Date, in such condition as will avoid, as far as practicable, any obstruction to the flow in these channels likely to cause material damage to the other Party.
Comments – the first one above is very generic and clearly comes with exception clauses attached with it. Hence, in case India mentions something from those exception areas Annexure C and D, this article won’t be of any use. However the second one is interesting because it talks about natural channels of the rivers – something that India is not willing to maintain wholly. Interestingly, the downstream project in Pakistan is also guilty of the same offence – it’s also avoiding the natural channel. However, Pakistan’s obstruction won’t cause material damage to India but the reverse is not true. This asymmetry puts this article in the favor of Pakistan. India may still argue that Indian obstruction won’t have “significant” damage downstream and this is a “best effort” clause (i.e. asks the “as far as practicable”), but Pakistan can battle that vigorously. A couple of more significant factors determining the outcome of this verdict are whether Pakistan started their project first and if so, how large was it proposed initially. Pakistan can not upscale it after knowing about Indian project and then claim damages. The second one is what percent of river water is actually diverted – various reports suggest it to be between 10 to 33%. The court would probably have a cap on % water usage in its final verdict.
The treaty articles mentioned by India -
Annexure D, para 15 :
15 . Subject to the provisions of Paragraph 17, the works connected with a Plant shall be so operated that (a) the volume of water received in the river upstream of the Plant, during any period of seven consecutive days, shall be delivered into the river below the Plant during the same seven-day period, and (b) in any one period of 24 hours within that seven-day period, the volume delivered into the river below the Plant shall be not less than 30%, and not more than 130%, of the volume received in the river above the Plant during the same 24-hour period : Provided however that :
(i) where a Plant is located at a site on the Chenab Main below Ramban, the volume of water received in the river upstream of the Plant in any one period of 24 hours shall be delivered into the river below the Plant within the same period of 24 hours ;
(ii) where a Plant is located at a site on the Chenab Main above Ramban, the volume of water delivered into the river below the Plant in any one period of 24 hours shall not be less than 50% and not more than 130%, of the volume received above the Plant during the same 24-hour period ; and
(iii) where a Plant is located on a Tributary of The Jhelum on which Pakistan has any Agricultural Use or hydro-electric use, the water released below the Plant may be delivered, if necessary, into an – other Tributary but only to the extent that the then existing Agricultural Use or hydro-electric use by Pakistan on the former Tributary would not be adversely affected.
Comments – Annexure D clearly supports water diversion using tunnels but with restrictions. As I discussed earlier, this will be enough to negate the first article proposed by Pakistan. Interestingly, the treaty specifically mentions about Agro and Hydro uses, i.e. environmental impacts won’t probably affect the outcome of the case, unless the treaty is re-interpreted. Furthermore, the article (iii) scopes down to “existing” use and excludes “planned” use, favoring India. However, these are minor clauses and could be reinterpreted to maintain consistency in the treaty.
The other part of the arbitration has reference to same old dead storage level related issue that was deemed to be the core one in Baghlihar case. The World Bank expert actually supported Indian view on that and allowed India to go ahead with sediment control spillways. This theoretically provides India with more control over the water, but also makes the dam operation consistent with current knowhow.
Related cases -
I could only find one similar case between France and Spain. The summary of the case history and judgement goes like this -
“Lake Lanoux is situated in southern France near the border of Spain. The lake is fed by several streams that all originate in France. Water flows out of the lake in a single stream that joins the Carol River before crossing into Spain. In the 1950′s, France began developing a plan to divert water from Lake Lanoux over a 789 meter drop to generate hydroelectric energy. Even though France promised to return the diverted water to the Carol River, Spain pressed France to arbitrate the dispute because Spain believed the plan would violate its water rights under a series of treaties signed in 1866. The arbitration tribunal issued an award in 1957, which rejected Spain’s arguments because the French plan promised not to alter the volume of water entering Spain through the Carol River. Although France would not have been allowed to unilaterally promote its legitimate interests at the expense or injury of neighboring states, the tribunal did not identify a foreseeable injury to Spain. Further, the Tribunal stated that the 1866 treaties did not constitute a reason to subjugate the general rule that standing and flowing waters are subject to the sovereignty of the state where they are located.”
This supports Indian position, although the treaty between India and Pakistan is different from the same between Spain and France. The facts related to injury to Spain, not altering volume of water delivered to Spain and run-of-the-river plants – all similar logic can be reapplied in this case.
Possible Outcomes -
I personally think this arbitration judgement would go the same way as that of its earlier counterpart. As Baghlihar suggested, making compromises on a few technical parameters (dam height, pondage and in this case water diverted) would make India happy to settle the case with Pakistan. A less likely verdict will provide upper hand for Pakistan and will call for an injunction on KHEP. India have to deal with a set back and prepare more thoroughly going forward.
Some more reads :
Briscoe presentation - http://www.acus.org/files/SAC/Briscoe_ACUS_Presentation.PDF
Case update - http://www.pca-cpa.org/showpage.asp?pag_id=1392
When we search something in Google, it shows how many search results it got along with the search results. Google search results numbers, in these days, tend to be the best measure of the number of occurrence a keyword has in a website. Though, Google claims the number is a “best guess” only and it could be distorted by duplicates but to get an idea of number of occurrences, this is probably the best possible way.
Using this feature in Google, I went onto collect data about Indian and Bangladeshi media. The data I collected are from different sphere of News media – including how they view each other and how each of them cover the rest of the world.
To begin with, let me see how they cover each other. I prepared a normalized statistics based on the view that each newspaper puts most importance on local items, i.e. Indian newspapers would mostly have Indian news, covering Indian cities and Indian leaders. I chose four newspapers of two countries, namely – The Times of India and The Hindu from India and The Daily Star and Prothom Alo from Bangladesh. I tried to see what fraction of keyword India, the keyword Bangladesh does occur in an Indian newspaper and what fraction of keyword Bangladesh, the keyword India does occur in Bangladesh media. For Prothom Alo, I have to use Bengali equivalents of the keywords. I had similar search results in comparing Delhi+Kolkata against Dhaka+Chittagong and Manmohan (Singh) against (Sheikh) Hasina. Let me term this as “Mutual Media Importance”, or MMI.
It is obvious from the numbers that India gets much more importance in Bangladesh media compared to what it puts on Bangladesh. It also indicates that the importance is mostly on National level and not that much on the level of cities.
The second set of data looks at how a set of important keywords figure in these news media. These are related to the issues on which newspapers are supposed to publish articles. Since cricket is a popular keyword in both India and Bangladesh, I will use the search results for that term in to normalize my search results. Incidentally, it’s the highest occurring keyword except for one of these newspapers – Times of India. The relative occurrence of a keyword can be termed as Keyword Media Importance (“Cricket”) or KMI(Cricket).
All of the newspapers have very low coverage of keyword literacy (may be because all newspaper readers are literate). One the other hand, Bangladesh media covers Indian cinema world (Bollywood) quite well.
In the third and last set of data looks at how media sees some different countries. I would have been happy to include data about US too but the fact is the data related to US is not reliable – since the country is referred to by a lot off abbreviations and names. So, the current data looks at China, Pakistan and Iraq. Let me term it Country Media Importance (“Cricket”).
A notable mention – Pakistan gets more coverage in Bangladesh than it gets in India. This is most likely because of shared past and horrors of 1971 are discussed regularly in newspapers.
Let me add a disclaimer that the data I collected is prone to errors and I didn’t even try to calculate any scientific error margin for any of the parameters. Still, I believe this provides the reader with an idea of what the media publishes in India and Bangladesh – especially on the topics I covered in three sections. I hope I would cover more sections in future with a better tool to measure the keyword occurrences.
I came across the quantitative measurement of a country’s economic freedom in a report presented by Economic Freedom of the World. The report concludes that “Countries with more economic freedom have substantially higher per-capita incomes”, with their chart at page 17.
This shows that the least free countries also lags in per capita income and the most free ones have high income.
To derive to a Economic Freedom index, the Journal of Economic Survey assigned numerical marks to each country in each of the categories. There are four basic categories they classify their numbering into – Size of Govt, Legal Structures, Access to money, Freedom to trade, Regulations (Credit, Labor and Business). The one I am going to discuss now, is basically the first one, i.e. Size of Government: Expenditures, Taxes, and Enterprises.
As per their description, this category has four further sub-categories -
- General government consumption spending as a percentage of total consumption
- Transfers and subsidies as a percentage of GDP
- Government enterprises and investment
- Top marginal tax rate
Their basic argument goes like this (quoted from the report) -
“When government spending increases relative to spending by individuals, households and businesses, government decision-making is substituted for personal choice and economic freedom is reduced. … When government consumption is a larger share of the total, political choice is substituted for personal choice. Similarly, when governments tax some people in order to provide transfers to others, they reduce the freedom of individuals to keep what they earn. … They (Govt Capital) often operate in protected markets. Thus, economic freedom is reduced as government enterprises produce a larger share of total output. … Such rates (High income tax rates) deny individuals the fruits of their labor. Thus, countries with high marginal tax rates and low income thresholds are rated lower. … countries with low levels of government spending as a share of the total, a smaller government enterprise sector, and lower marginal tax rates earn the highest ratings in this area.”
But does it translate to prosperity? Does it at all contribute towards higher per capita income? Surprisingly, the statistics shows a negative correlation between Govt size and Per capita income. I tried to come up with a chart where I list out 20 countries with highest rating in Govt. size and their rank in World Bank per capita income list.
So, we’ve got an interesting list. Most of these countries are poor, except for tax havens and Singapore. Besides, the top ranked Hong Kong’s Military and Foreign relations are managed by Mainland China that scores poorly in the Govt size index.
Now let’s see how it looks like for the countries who are rated poorly. The bottom 20 of Govt size countries are -
So that becomes interesting, the list includes countries such as Scandinavian ones, Benelux members – countries those offer highest freedom to their population. And more interestingly, on an average, the average rank of these 20 countries is 99.5 in the per capita GNI compared to that of 123.85 for top 20 countries.
So, the end chart of top-10 vs bottom-10 looks like this -
FYI, the Top 10 avg drops to 12,502 if we keep Hong Kong out of the list.
Now let’s revisit the facts and hypothesis. Fact one – more Govt intervention/size is correlated to higher per capita GNI. Fact two – more economic freedom is correlated to higher per capita income. However, the hypothesis, as per the report, is that less govt intervention/size should contribute towards higher economic freedom!! How good is the hypothesis then? Doesn’t it falsify the conventional wisdom of higher Govt intervention implies less prosperity? In other words, doesn’t it falsify the neo-liberal economists and World Bank/IMF dogmas?
GNI Per Capita incomes are collected from World Bank Website.
The data about Economic Freedom Index are collected from Free the World website.
This is often debated at various different forums and studies. To be truthful, neither India nor Bangladesh can afford to have a proper documentation in place in order to count the number of migrants. So, there’s always a place for right wing political leaders to exploit the facts and try to use their own statistics to gain political mileage.
In India, the lack of documentation and the ethnic similarity between Indian and Bangladeshi population creates trouble in getting close to any actual figure. The most reliable figure produced from Indian side is from the Census report. It reports the number of people of Bangladeshi origin (i.e. place of birth is in Bangladesh) to be 3.08 million (Total 5.1 million and 2.5 million in West Bengal). So, this becomes the official figure of Bangladeshis living in India. However, one should remember that India had treaties with Pakistan and subsequently with independent Bangladesh to legalize Bangladeshis in India who entered the country before 25th March, 1971. Most of these population had actually migrated to India before 1971 and thus they are legal Indian citizens now. My father, who migrated to India in 1967, falls under this category.
A more detailed look at the same data provides some detailed insight. The number of Bangladeshis who migrated to India (thus deemed to be illegal) in last 20 years amount to around 880,000 among whom 600,000 came between 1981 and 1991, where only 280,000 came between 1991 and 2001. This drop of 53% can clearly be explained by growth of Bangladesh economy and establishment of democracy in Bangladesh.
There are a couple of caveats in the census data. The first one is that the data is voluntary, i.e. the chances of cross-referencing or verification of claimed country of birth is clearly very low. So, it totally relies with census official, who sometimes is convinced to change the country of origin and put them as internal migrants (or vice versa). It is understandable that a lot of migrants won’t be willing to disclose their country of origin. On the other hand, census official may put anything on their country of origin, merely by suspecting their origin. More often, a recent immigrant can always claim that he/she has actually migrated only a few years back, a technique used by most of my relatives who moved over in late 1980s. West Bengal, the Indian state that culturally resembles Bangladesh, has the majority of Bangladesh immigrants, amounting around 75-80% of them.
There are many incidents where an Indian Bengali is identified as a Bangladeshi, especially in Mumbai and Delhi. A report was published by Irfan Engineer on this issue where he identified a lot of similar cases. A tug of war between Govt of Maharashtra and West Bengal initiated in 1998 when a set of people to be deported were identified to be Bengalis of West Bengal.
There are couple of other official sources of data. The number of Chakmas living in Arunachal Pradesh is 60,000. However, they are granted Indian citizenship in 2004 and the Election Commission subsequently started enrolling them as voters.
The statistics on deportation is also interesting. The Supreme Court of India struck down the IMDT Act in Assam in 2005. Citing documentation, the court said that 489,046 persons were deported between 1983 and November 1998 from West Bengal under the Foreigners’ Act. On the contrary, IMDT was able to deport only 10,000 persons although 300,000 more allegations were in process.
A word of caution for whoever reads too much into the Foreigners’ Act because it is used not only for deporting illegal entrants, but also persons who overstayed in India. Unless we have a detailed documentation or break up on who was deported for what, any conclusion from this data can be misleading. Due to bureaucracy, a lot of Bangladeshis who come to visit India have to overstay as getting long term Indian visa is a nightmare for them.
That brings us to the conclusion – getting Bangladeshis to India legally should solve a lot of illegal immigration. A quota for Bangladeshi qualified engineers to have work visa for a certain period is absolutely necessary. The visa process for Bangladeshis who come to India for education or health should be eased. Along with all these, the improvement of economic and democratic processes in Bangladesh should reduce the flow of migrants.
Indians are proud of Bollywood – the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai. The gross earnings of some of the Hindi movies are really impressive. It is also instrumental in creating direct and indirect job opportunities for millions of Indians – not only as actors, actress and directors, but also as crew and ‘extra’s. Of course all these prove that Indian films are accepted well in the market.
However, when we take a different look at the same industry and try to look at how Indian films are received by the critics, we get an entire different picture. It is well known that none of the Indian films has ever won an Oscar. The only entries of Oscar from India are Satyajit Ray (Academy Honorary Award – 1991) and A. R. Rahman (Best Original Score and Best Original Song – 2009) (won’t count Slumdog Millionaire as the director was not Indian). The Cannes Film festival, one of the most prestigious film award winning spot, has awarded only 7 films so far. None of these happened in last 10 years. It seems 1950s were the best of the films, getting 3 out of these 7. The most prestigious award of Palme d’Or was awarded to only a single Indian film – named Neecha Nagar in 1946. It was directed by Chetan Anand, brother of famous film actor Dev Anand. Pather Panchali, possibly the best Indian film ever made, had the award of Best Human Document in 1955. The last award was on Camera work – Murali Nair won it in 1999 for his film Marana Simhasanam. The list of 7 has 3 Hindi, 2 Bengali and 1 each for Marathi and Malayalam films, one of the Hindi films (Do Bigha Zamin) is actually a remake of a Bengali film.
The failure is not limited to awards only. Last ten years, Indian films seldom have make a cut in the nominations list. The list of entries have Udaan(2010) and Pattiyude Divasam(2001) and Arimpara(2003) and the latter ones are from the same Keralite director – Murali Nair. I should rather say that Indians did better to be a part of the jury since three Indians made it to the jury list – Arundhati Roy, Aishwarya Rai and Nandita Das. In Asian Film Festival (Hong Kong) only a couple of awards went to India in last four years – Amitabh Bachchan won the Lifetime Achievement award and Om Shanti Om won the best composer award.
The failure is even more prominent for the entire South Asia, which produced only a couple of awards in last ten years (Sulanga Enu Pinisa from Srilanka in Camera d’Or – 2005 and Matir Moina from Bangladesh won FIPRESCI award in 2002). With a population of 1.5 billion and such success in commercial movie industry – this is one huge gap one should try to fix. The region has enough stories to tell the world, but it is really unfortunate that those ones seldom get to the screen.
Interesting to see in the list below – the presence of Hindi films in the list is quite rare given the number of films produced each year in Hindi. Two of the three Hindi films mentioned here are actually made by non-Hindi speaker Directors and the last one is a documentary co-produced in Hindi and English.
A list of Indian Films awarded by FIPRESCI (2000-2010)
|The Fortunate One (Sonam)||Ahsan Muzid||Monpa||2007|
|Painted Rainbow||Gitanjali Rao||English||2007|
|AFSPA, 1958||Haobam Paban Kumar||Manipuri||2006|
|Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara||Jahnu Barua||Hindi||2006|
|My Friend Su||Neeraj Bhasin||English||2001|
|Vanaprastham||Shaji N. Karun||Malayalam||2000|
|Paromitar Ek Din||Aparna Sen||Bengali||2000|
|Oru Cheru Punchiri||M.T. Vasudevan Nair||Malayalam||2000|
The next one is the list of NETPAC awards (2000-2010) -
|Final Solution||Rakesh Sharma||Hindi||2004|
I tried to collect a few statistics on how Bangladesh fares against other Asian countries in terms of trade balance. This is my follow up article on India Bangladesh trade imbalances. In my previous article I tried to analyze the reason behind the trade imbalance against Bangladesh. The World Bank report provided valuable insight into the same matter.
The statistics shows that Bangladesh runs huge trade deficit against almost all Asian economies. It definitely includes industrial powerhouse Japan and Korea, rapidly developing India and China and even underdeveloped countries such as Myanmar and Nepal. While I considered only 25 top countries in the order of trade volume, I am sure similar statistics would prevail with most of the other Asian countries. Here’s a quick look at top 15 trading Asian countries in terms of export and import (2009), in Euros :
So, how big is the trade imbalance? Even though there’s an argument saying Bangladesh exports are hampered by restrictive policies or Non-Trade-Barriers of all these countries, it’s difficult to digest that all these countries adopt similar policies against Bangladesh.
The other argument says Bangladesh has lopsided trade record against India and China. The prescribed remedy is to “fix” these two trade imbalances to get Bangladesh reduce its trade deficit. Again, if “lopsided”-ness is the solo measure of “bad”-trade, then we can look at top 25 Asian countries in terms of Bangladesh import % in total trade. To make this index more clear, the higher the number is – the “worse” the trade is for Bangladesh (i.e. more lopsided in favor of the other partner).
Well, in this figure, Uzbekistan gets the top spot. Bangladesh imported 269 million Euro worth of goods while exported 2 million Euro worth of goods. In that list India comes at 11th (score of 82), just before the other neighbor Myanmar. China, which runs the highest trade surplus against Bangladesh, figures at third slot, with a score of 95, just behind Kuwait at 96. Ah, the “lopsidedness” of India-Bangladesh trade is better than at least 10 other Asian partners!!
Now, comping back to the “lopsidedness” issue. Let me dig deeper on Uzbekistan-Bangladesh trade. As per this news source -
“Bangladesh imports over 40 percent of its annual 4.0 million bales of cotton requirement indirectly from Uzbekistan, the world’s third largest cotton exporter.”
The trade between Uzbekistan and Bangladesh is normal – Uzbekistan has a lot of surplus cotton bales to export because it doesn’t have the surplus manpower to produce garments out of it. Bangladesh is always looking for cotton to keep its garments and textile industry growing with its active labor force in action. So the win-win fuels such a huge “lopsided” trade deficit for Bangladesh. The import of cotton bales from Uzbekistan enables Bangladesh to avoid importing the same from its competitors – India and China. That in turn enables the textile industry to be more competitive (import of raw materials from competitor means losing competitiveness). So, trade imbalance is not a bad thing, after all.
Should there be a concern over all these trade imbalances? There’s no fixed answer. Currently Bangladesh finances its imbalance by higher export to developed EU+US market and by remittances from Bangladeshis working all over the world (especially in the Middle-East). But, the fact that Bangladesh is running a trade deficit against less industrialized countries such as Myanmar, shows the lack of industrial presence.
There are some figures those are worse that that. Bangladesh exports goods worth of only 35 million Euro to Singapore, 24 million Euro to Malaysia and 24 million Euro to Thailand (corresponding Indian figures are 3.6bn, 1.6bn and 1.1bn Euro). All these countries are located quite close to Bangladesh and are relatively developed. There’s a good opportunity for Bangladesh to increase exports to these countries and participate in labor intensive component manufacturing industries of these nations. Similarly, Bangladesh exports 5 million Euro worth of goods to Kuwait and 4 million Euro worth of goods to Qatar. Given that these two countries have highest per ca-pita income in the region (and of the whole world too) and a large number of Bangladeshi migrants are living in those countries, Bangladesh should do more to increase its export to those.
So, there are lots of food for thought for Bangladesh policymakers in terms of trade relations. Since the center of gravity for World Trade is slowly but surely moving towards Asian countries, and given that most of the Asian countries may not need “cheap-labor” as the developed countries look for these days, Bangladesh could be in trouble if it relies too much on export to developed nations only. It certainly needs to “do more” to increase exports to other parts of Asia. Otherwise, there’s a chance to lose out in the race to globalize.
Source for Bangladesh Trade Statistics : EU Report
I few days back I happened to watch a video depicting Indian Army atrocities on Kashmiri children. In the video, 5 children were arranged in a row and were shot dead. Today, when I was browsing NYT, I came across the snapshots of a similar video with a different tag line. With a few more searches, I found a CNN news clip showing the same video under Pakistani Army killing Pashtuns in Swat. The twist in the tale is that the specialists are saying that the Arms and Uniforms suggests that it was a band of Pakistani soldiers.
As my point goes, the incident is one and it can not be depicting both. So one of these two has to be wrong. But, given the comments posted in both the videos, it appears that at least a few people watching either video have no doubts about the veracity of the video they watched. Some people supported it, some others did condemn and some others tried to create panic.
The highlights of my writing was that – people would believe what they want to believe. And conspiracy theorists would publish what people want to believe. In the world of conspiracy theory, understanding what people want to watch is the ultimate skill. Welcome to the world of conspiracy theories …
Update : Pakistan Army has denied charges and blamed Taliban to doctor this video. (source : Aljazeera)