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Indian Medal Hopes in the London Olympics 2012

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Archery has the best chances to fetch India a medal. In the three World Cup events this year, Indian Men bagged two silvers and the Women bagged a Silver and a Gold. The Men’s team is ranked no. 5 in the World, while the Women’s team is ranked second. Archer Deepika Kumari, who won the gold in one of the World Cup events, is highest ranked Archer right now. Even last year, Indians bagged several medals in World Cup events. It’s notable that only recurve Archery is included in Olympics.

Shooting is getting most media coverage this time, due to Bindra’s feat in last Olympics. It’s important to note that the only Indian to be ranked within top 10 in ISSF’s ranking list is Ronjan Sodhi (#10 in Double Trap), no other shooter is in Men’s or Women’s top ten list. However, the competition is intense and performance on the day matters more than consistency in case of shooting. For example, Bindra didn’t get a Gold in WC’s a year before or after he hit the top position in the Olympics 2008, even fellow Gagan Narang had higher ranking and more consistency than what he had. Same way, India did bag a gold and a bronze in 2010 ISSF World Cup despite not having anyone in the top ten ranking. So, we can cross our fingers and wait for the day.

India has a medal hope in Badminton too. Saina is currently ranked 5th and she was the winner of last 4 out of 7 tournaments played. Kashyap (ranked #21), the other contender, doesn’t have ranking to back him, but he reached semis in a couple of recent tournaments. Indian doubles pairs though don’t have any recent glory (last one goes back to 2011 World Championship).

Boxing is another medal hope. In last men’s world cup (2011), India bagged a solitary bronze (Vikas Yadav), as in the last Olympics. But a few others also came close. Devendro Singh, Manoj Kumar and Jai Bhagwan reached QF while Dinesh lost to the eventual Champion. In women’s section though, only Mary Kom has a chance although in the 2012 World Cup she lost in the QF. It’s notable the women’s boxing has only three categories in this Olympics.

What could have been a certain medal, now looks more uncertain in Tennis. The legendary partnership of Bhupathi-Paes is broken but a third rising star in form of Bopanna (ranked #13) can bring a medal for India partnering Bhupathi (ranked #15). In mixed doubles, in form Paes (ranked #5) is partnering Sania Mirza (ranked #18) – who recently had a lot of success with her mixed doubles partner Bhupathi. However chances in Men’s singles and Women’s doubles are slim. This time, matches will be played in Grass which is not the favorite turf for Indians as per the recent performances. There are a couple more factors – a lot of pairs appear in the Olympics who are not traditional doubles player – such as Roger Federar in Olympics 2008. They are a genuine threat to established doubles pairs.

India bagged a bronze in 2008 Olympics when Sushil Kumar had the bronze medal from wrestling. However, the chances of a medal from wrestling this time is not so bright. No Indians finished in top six in their individual categories in World Championship Wrestling 2011. However, in Women’s wrestling, Geeta narrowly lost in QF of 55kg category can can be considered as a medal hope. If you go a year back, Sushil won gold in the same tournament in 66kg category.

Even though a lot of media focus is on Indian hockey and they actually are playing well at times, I don’t expect them to have a podium finish. I will be very happy if Indian hockey team makes through Champions’ League, i.e. finishes within top six. They are currently ranked #10 and a finish within top 6 should be a realistic success story.

In many other events, Indians will just add the numbers and diversity. I don’t expect a medal from Weightlifting, Athletics, Table Tennis, Rowing or Judo. Among these, woman weightlifter Chanu finished 7th in World Cup but the gap between her and the bronze medalist was significant.

From 1984, India have never performed worse than its last outing. If they can maintain that trend, they should at least get a gold and some more  medals. Given India’s population, it might appear that we are under-performing but I believe it has a regional effect. India’s neighbors are doing equally poorly as that of India. So, chances of a rapid recovery is slim, unless we build up some sports infrastructure at home.

Written by Diganta

July 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

Bangladesh vs Myanmar : The Maritime Arbitration – Conclusion

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I wrote the article on Bangladesh-Myanmar maritime arbitration while it was in progress. The verdict is out in March and because of busy schedules, I was not been able to put up a decent informative article to follow up on the same. However, since I’m writing a couple of months later, I’ll focus less on the verdict itself, but more on the implications and reactions.

When I wrote about this arbitration, I was in confidence that Bangladesh will get something better than what was on offer by Myanmar’s negotiation on EEZ. But at the same time, I thought Bangladesh would get favorable verdict in continental shelf as well. I was right on the first one, where Bangladesh got better than equidistant but to my surprise, the continental shelf was also split into half. On the territorial waters front, Bangladesh didn’t have a strong claim and they didn’t win it. So, overall it was a mixed verdict for Bangladesh though more of victory and less of defeat.

Image courtesy a news article -

Bangladesh Myanmar settlement map

Bangladesh Myanmar settlement map

Why is this a Bangladesh victory?

The decision on EEZ was the most crucial one since that’s where potential of economic recovery of gas and oil resources are. So any shift of maritime boundary should be seen as a big win. The territorial waters are important but only a small part of the dispute. The continental shelf area is far away from the mainlands and more important as a fishing resource than gas-blocks.

The allegations against this common idea are centered around the fact that no major gas blocks from Myanmar are changing hands. One blogger from Myanmar also used the same argument (picture – see the red line for verdict, another source) to explain the same his countrymen. Indian media was also happy to note that Indian stake at Myanmar blocks are intact. To answer this, I would say Myanmar didn’t allocate blocks aggressively to the disputed areas and kept some buffer space in case the verdict didn’t go for them.  So an adjusted line was also out of their allocated blocks.

The second is more important one. A lot of people in Bangladesh argued that Bangladesh lost a proposed area as per their 1974 law named “The Territorial & Maritime Zones Act”. I mentioned it before also that 1974 law didn’t have any basis. It was declared unilaterally based on a floating baseline concept that never made into final UNCLOS in 1982. When the arbitration is fought on a law based in 1982, the local declaration of 1974 doesn’t add much of value. Unfortunately a string of misleading articles has been published in support of this view and I wrote against these claims long back. Bangladesh, understandably, did not argue anything on “floating baseline” in the arbitration and reduced their claim beforehand in order to get a favorable verdict. This strategic move definitely paid off. As I warned in the article before, the opposition will not be convinced of that approach so easily. That’s why most of these arguments are primarily motivated by political calculations.

A third team argued that the delimitation didn’t happen as per “equitable” rules, rather they happened on adjusted equidistant method. However, this allegation is attributed to lack of knowledge only. Equitable allocation often is synonymous with adjusting equidistant allocation with relevant circumstances. The only pitfall here is the adjustment didn’t happen to the extent Bangladesh wanted.

The extent of this victory

There are news sources quoting Bangladesh ministers (Dipu Moni) on getting more than what Bangladesh has asked for. This is not true. ITLOS verdict drew a line in Bay of Bengal to partition the rights of Bangladesh and Myanmar. However, the claims of Indian mainlands and archipelago will have its own claim and the area will be adjusted downwards. From the verdict (pg 141-143, para 499) we see

“The Tribunal notes that its adjusted delimitation line (see paragraphs 337-340) allocates approximately 111,631 square kilometres of the relevant area to Bangladesh”

However, it noted earlier that the relevant area was does not have anything to do with claims.

“The fact that a third party may claim the same maritime area does not prevent its inclusion in the relevant maritime area for purposes of the dis-proportionality test. This in no way affects the rights of third parties.”

And para 462 notes -

“The Tribunal therefore decides that the adjusted equidistance line delimiting both the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf within 200 nm between the Parties as referred to in paragraphs 337-340 continues in the same direction beyond the 200 nm limit of Bangladesh until it reaches the area where the rights of third States may be affected.”

That means the claims made by the minister is exaggerated and based on wrong assumptions. I found one more scholarly article is quoting the same.

Interestingly, part of news media in Bangladesh assumed that Bangladesh has won as per 1974 claim and published articles/pictures based on those.

Avoiding the effect of St Martin Island on EEZ

While calculating EEZ, it seems that the effect of St Martin Island was not taken into consideration. This means India’s near-equidistant demarcation with Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand makes sense. For the sea-boundary with those three countries, Indian claim was based on Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These islands would have got same or similar status of that of St Martin, had there been any real arbitration. Of course, someone can also argue that islands of Myanmar and Thailand were also given full effect while drawing the lines.

Some of the opponents in Bangladesh claimed that Bangladesh has lost its partial rights on the same island based on this verdict. That’s again an exaggeration as Bangladesh retained territorial waters surrounding the same island.

Impact on the other Bay of Bengal Case

Bangladesh and India are fighting to fix the rest of the boundary. Unfortunately, due to lack of public domain documents on that case, I won’t write on it. Still, there are few points I can think of  -

1) Bangladesh won’t be able to argue anymore that they don’t have the access to  international waters. That was their crux of argument in ITLOS. Now, they got it by the virtue of this verdict.

2) Bangladesh will be able to argue for similar regime for delimitation, i.e. an angular bisector at the river Haribhanga, that separates India from Bangladesh. However, learning from the court exercise, Bangladesh may also claim an adjusted equidistant line. The adjustment will be claimed showing lower economic status of Bangladesh (LDC country) and higher population density.

3) India will argue for an equidistant line. The proposed adjustment of Bangladesh will be resisted by India citing high-population, limited access of North-East India to sea and concavity of Orissa coast. India may also claim that Orissa and Bihar are India’s poorest states and they depend on the portion of EEZ in contention.

4) The court will probably draw an equidistant line and will make decision (based on strength of arguments) whether to adjust the line.

5) The amount of EEZ in dispute will be much less than that of Myanmar-Bangladesh dispute. The settlement area (area lost or gained) will probably be even less.

6) If Bangladesh doesn’t get satisfactory result from this dispute and if Awami League is running Bangladesh at that time, there will be a claim of treachery from the opposition.

7) The case will also decide on continental shelf delimitation. Now that we know of it in details, I believe the same line drawn for delimiting EEZ, will most likely be extended to delimit the continental shelf also.

Elsewhere

When China and Philippines are facing same or similar issue on sea limit delimitation, Bangladesh and Myanmar settled it in the court. Unlike India, China has said “No” to any court settlement and is pursuing hard-handed solutions to its neighbors and claims it has no obligation to go to the court. The difference of approach is significant since in the new world order, China has been seen as a semi-pole in what we call a Uni-polar world. To know more about the dispute, one can refer to this wiki entry, though the English wikipedia is largely banned in China. Apart from Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei are part of the same dispute.

References

1. International Maritime Boundaries, Volumes 2-3

2. View from Myanmar newspaper – link  and summary

3. The verdict

4. Prothom Alo report

5. Read an old article (second one) and understand what Bangladesh used to claim.

6. China’s invented history :) link

Written by Diganta

June 5, 2012 at 12:52 am

Post-Colonial Disparity

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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.

Colonies vs Masters in last 50 years

Colonies vs Masters in last 50 years

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.

Update -

Bangla Version with a lot of discussion.

Written by Diganta

June 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

The Endless Blood

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I will go over all three major causes for India-Bangladesh border killings. I have summed up a few facts and possible directions.

Cattle count in India Pakistan and Bangladesh

Cattle count in India Pakistan and Bangladesh

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.

Facts -

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 Beef Export

India Beef Export

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.

Update -

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.

Update 2 

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 -

1. http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/oct/13bdesh.htm

2. http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/livestock-poultry-ma/livestock-poultry-ma-10-14-2011.pdf

3. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/92095/2/6-Anjani-Kumar.pdf

4. All chart data are from FAO database.

5. http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/01/27/border-violence-tests-fragile-peace-on-india-bangladesh-frontier/

6. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/holy-cow-india-is-the-worlds-top-beef-exporter/257793/

7. http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDFfMjlfMTNfMV8yXzE1ODQyNA==

Written by Diganta

January 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Bangladesh, Economy, India, Stats

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Week of Shame

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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.

Update : Now BGB (Bangladesh Border Guards) does what BSF is known to do – shoot and kill. BSF repeats the same to prove that they didn’t learn and will not learn.

Written by Diganta

January 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

Kishanganga : The new arbitration between India and Pakistan

with one comment

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.

KHEP (India) and NJHP (Pakistan)

KHEP (India) and NJHP (Pakistan) - Courtesy Briscoe

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

Ramaswamy Iyer response – http://www.indiawaterportal.org/sites/indiawaterportal.org/files/Briscoe%20on%20the%20Indus%20treaty_A%20response_Ramaswamy%20Iyer_EPW_2011.pdf

wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishanganga_Hydroelectric_Plant

Case update – http://www.pca-cpa.org/showpage.asp?pag_id=1392

Interim order – http://www.pca-cpa.org/upload/files/16.%20Order%20on%20Interim%20Measures%20dated%2023%20September%202011.pdf

Written by Diganta

December 30, 2011 at 12:54 am

India and Bangladesh Media : A Statistical Look

with 4 comments

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.

India Bangladesh Mutual Media Importance

India Bangladesh Mutual Media Importance

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).

Keyword Media Importance for a few keywords

Keyword Media Importance for a few keywords

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”).

.Country Media Importance for Iraq, China and Pakistan

Country Media Importance for Iraq, China and Pakistan

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.

Written by Diganta

May 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Govt sizing – too little or too large?

with 3 comments

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.

Per Capita GNI rank vs Govt Size rank Graph

Per Capita GNI rank vs Govt Size rank

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 -

Per Capita GNI rank vs Govt Size rank graph

Per Capita GNI rank vs Govt Size rank

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 -

Top 10 vs Bottom 10

Top 10 vs Bottom 10

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.

Written by Diganta

April 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

How many Bangladeshis live in India?

with 5 comments

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.

Reference :

Politics and Origin of India-Bangladesh Border Fence (updated link)

The Hindu report on IMDT

India Census Data

Problem of Bangladeshi migrants : Politico-economic study in historical context

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation

Case of Razia Begum

Written by Diganta

February 10, 2011 at 12:49 am

Indian Films – Quality or Business?

with 3 comments

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)

Name Director Language Award Year
Manjadikkuru Anjali Menon Malayalam 2008
The Fortunate One (Sonam) Ahsan Muzid Monpa 2007
Kramasha Amit Dutta Hindi 2007
Painted Rainbow Gitanjali Rao English 2007
Ore Kadal Shyamaprasad Malayalam 2007
AFSPA, 1958 Haobam Paban Kumar Manipuri 2006
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara Jahnu Barua Hindi 2006
Talnabami Dhananjoy Mandal Bengali 2006
Amu Shonali Bose English 2005
Nizhalkkuthu Adoor Gopalakrishnan Malayalam 2003
Margam Rajiv Vijayaraghavan Malayalam 2003
Titli Rituparno Ghosh Bengali 2002
Mankolangal Subrahmanian Santakumar Malayalam 2001
My Friend Su Neeraj Bhasin English 2001
Deveeri Kavitha Lankesh Kannada 2000
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) -

Name Director Language Award Year
Paruthiveeran Ameer Sultan Tamil 2008
Final Solution Rakesh Sharma Hindi 2004
Bariwali Rituparno Ghosh Bengali 2000

Written by Diganta

February 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

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