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India Republic Day: Largest Democracy Tops World Slavery Charts

India, often described as the world's largest democracy, is home of 18.3 million slaves, the highest number of people trapped in modern slavery anywhere in the world, according to Global Slavery Index 2016 report.

Global Slavery Chart

The report says ten countries with the largest estimated absolute numbers
of people in modern slavery include some of the world’s most
populous countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Uzbekistan, North Korea, Russia, Nigeria, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, and Indonesia.

In terms of percentages, North Korea (4.37%) tops the slavery list followed by Uzbekistan (3.97%), Cambodia (1.6%), India (1.4%), Qatar (1.3%), Pakistan (1.1%), Democratic Republic
of the Congo (1.1%), Sudan (1.1%), Iraq (1.1%), Afghanistan (1.1%) and Yemen (1.1%).

The Global Slavery Index defines modern slavery as a situation where “a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception, with treatment akin to a farm animal.” Others in the category of modern slavery include victims of human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children.

In addition to the 18.3 million slaves in India, there are hundreds of millions of Indians trapped in abject poverty in one of the most unequal societies in the world today.  Depth of deprivation in India can best be judged by Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) that comprehends 10 indicators, with equal weighting for education, health and living standards. Indian farmers are among the worst affected with a farmer committing suicide every 30 minutes. An OXFAM report on inequality released by the World Economic Forum 2017 at Davos, Switzerland, said the richest 1% of Indians own 58% of the country's wealth.

In spite of India's serious socioeconomic problems of slavery and poverty, the country now boats the world's third largest military budget. India's leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi is flexing his nation's military muscles with nuclear missiles, fighter jets, attack submarines and helicopters on Republic Day celebration in New Delhi today.

While India ranks 3rd in the world in military spending, it spends just 0.72% of GDP on social safety net,  ranking lower than its neighbors Pakistan (1.89%) and Bangladesh (1.09%), according to the World Bank.



In the new Trumpian world of "alternative facts", India stands out as a leader in "post-truth" era described by Indian writer Ranjit Goswami, Vice Chancellor of RK University in Gujarat, India. Here's an excerpt of what he recently wrote in "The Conversation" journal:


"....as the US and UK wake up to this new (post-truth) era, it’s worth noting that the world’s largest democracy (India) has been living in a post-truth world for years.

From education to health care and the economy, particularly its slavish obsession with GDP, India can be considered a world leader in post-truth politics.

India’s post-truth era cannot be traced to a single year – its complexities go back generations. But the election of Narendra Modi in 2014 can be marked as a significant inflection point. Ever since, the country has existed under majoritarian rule with widely reported discrimination against minorities.

India’s version of post-truth is different to its Western counterparts due to the country’s socioeconomic status; its per capita nominal income is less than 3% of that of the US (or 4% of that of the UK). Still, post-truth is everywhere in India.

It can be seen in our booming Wall Street but failing main streets, our teacher-less schools and our infrastructure-less villages. We have the ability to influence the world without enjoying good governance or a basic living conditions for so many at home.

Modi’s government has shown how key decisions can be completely divorced from the everyday lives of Indian citizens, but spun to seem like they have been made for their benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than with India’s latest demonetization drive, which plunged the country into crisis, against the advice of its central bank, and hit poorest people the hardest.


Despite the levels of extreme poverty in India, when it comes to social development, the cult of growth dominates over the development agenda, a trend that Modi has exacerbated, but that started with past governments.

The dichotomy of India’s current post-truth experience was nicely summed up by Arun Shourie, an influential former minister from Modi’s own party. He disagrees with the prime minister, just as many Republicans share sharp differences of opinion with President Trump.

Shourie said the policies of the current administration were equal to his predecessors’ policies, plus a cow."

https://youtu.be/OzdGIgV7edE




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Inequality in India and Pakistan

India's Military Budget is World's 3rd Biggest 

Modi's Demonetization Disaster

India Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illite...

Abject Poverty in India

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India

Farmer Suicides Continue Unabated in India

Views: 228

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 26, 2017 at 8:04pm

India is the second most unequal economy in the world, according to an Oxfam report released recently at the World Economic Forum. Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal tells Himanshi Dhawan that demonetisation has only aggravated this inequality with no significant long-term benefits. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/the-interviews-blog/57-bil... Oxfam’s new report ‘Economy for 99%’ claims that since 2015, eight men own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world. In India, the richest 1% control 60% of the total wealth. Your comments? In 2016, India is the second most unequal economy after Russia. Inequality is fracturing our economy and the reality is that today 57 billionaires control 70% of India’s wealth. Even International Monetary Fund recently warned that India faces the social risk of growing inequality. As per IMF, India’s Gini coefficient rose to 51 by 2013, from 45 in 1990, mainly on account of rising inequality between urban and rural areas as well as within urban areas. India is currently too dependent on a regressive tax structure of indirect taxes and should move towards a more progressive taxation system that raises more tax revenues from the wealthy to fund more public expenditures on health and education to create a more equal opportunity country. What have been the reasons behind this growing inequality? Would you say successive governments have failed to address the concerns of the 99%? Over the last 25 years, the top 1% has gained more income than the bottom 50% put together. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are being sucked upwards at an alarming rate. Like many other countries, in India too policies have not focussed on raising the incomes of the poorest. India’s liberalisation in the early 1990s has seen an explosion in inequality since it created opportunities in a few high end sectors such as banking, IT, telecom and airlines that only created a handful of jobs for the highly skilled and educated. Not many policy reforms have happened either in agriculture or labour intensive manufacturing that could have created millions of jobs and raised incomes of the poor. Furthermore, not much effort has been made to raise more revenues and spend on basic education and health so that the poor could benefit from the opportunities being created.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 28, 2017 at 10:48am

Can, #religion, #caste be banned from #India's politics? #BJP #congressparty #Modi #Hindu #Sikh #Dalit #Muslim

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/01/india-supreme-cour...


India is a nation of caste and religion. It is a nation where caste is policy. Upper caste policy is to move upwards, while lower castes continually struggle in their lowly status.

Everything that happens here is based on caste. At every stage of our life caste becomes important. We are unable to understand what is going on in the country if we disregard caste. We also see Justice T S Thakur, who delivered the court ruling, through the eyes of caste because the surname, Thakur, also represents a caste.

When caste is so integral in our society how can we separate caste and religion - a solid foundation - from politics and elections?

There are three main parties in India today: the Congress Party, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party. The Congress and BJP are outwardly "secular" parties. The BJP promotes itself as the party for Hindus, and on caste issues it says it is "secular". However they choose to self-define, if we search further, we find that the soul of these parties is brahminical, i.e. belonging to the highest caste.

The prominence of caste also applies to politics before India's independence. Priestly Brahmins who controlled the Bania caste - which had close business connections with them - have unjustly benefited from the new political reality, and that is why India's politics is called Brahmin-Bania politics.

-----------

In the first days of this year, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of India banned political candidates from seeking election on the basis of caste, religion and language. On the surface, this ruling seems to be appealing to secular voters, upholding the secular values of the constitution and implementing the principles of democracy.

But it also seems to be contradicting a 1995 Supreme Court ruling which considered "Hindutva" (Hindu nationalism) and "Hinduism" a "way of life", rather than an ideology that belongs to a certain caste or religion. The court has been silent on reviewing the Hindutva issue.

There has been praise from seculars on the ruling and respect for the judiciary has further increased among ordinary people. But while the verdict is indeed an important new development, there are still questions about its practicality because caste, like religion, remains an integral part of Indian society.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 28, 2017 at 9:12pm

Stratfor: Why #India will continue to misfire against #China and #Pakistan. #kashmir #NSG

https://www.stratfor.com/sample/geopolitical-diary/can-ambitious-in...

discussion of India's ambitions must be measured against the reality of its constraints. India's fiscal limitations stymie investment into the infrastructure projects it needs to spur growth. It is weighed down by an unwieldy parliamentary system that struggles to channel the demands of its billion-citizen polity into coherent policies. And it must contend with the persistent security threat from archrival Pakistan, which has prompted it to commit resources to support a strong military presence in Indian-held Kashmir, in turn undercutting the integration of South Asia's economies.

India also suffers from demographic shortcomings that limit its economic development. About 70 percent of Indians live in rural areas, and up to a quarter of the population is impoverished. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to grow India's manufacturing base and employ more of its large pool of semiskilled labor remain hamstrung by the lack of land and labor reform in the country. Even if India could implement land and labor reforms, however, it would still struggle to develop a globally competitive manufacturing sector in this era of increasing automation. For India, then, a further embrace of multilateralism could give it a path not only to compensate for those shortcomings and earn the investments it needs to bolster the economy but also to help it place a check on Pakistan.

Even as Jaishankar alluded to the uncertainty that colors New Delhi's view of U.S. intentions under President-elect Donald Trump, he sees an opportunity as the new U.S. administration takes power for India to increase its international engagement as a way to overcome its limitations. Sensing that Washington will grow more reluctant to throw itself into the affairs of distant nations, India wants to fill the vacuum by assuming a greater global leadership role of its own.

Historically, Indian policymakers have generally honored the call by Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister, to avoid entangling alliances. But the country has grown discontented with remaining aloof. In the past year alone, it has demonstrated the scope of its vision by engaging with every major region in the world. To wit, India hosted both the India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and the BRICS summit and ratified the United Nations climate change protocol in Paris. Modi addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress in June and embarked on a four-nation tour to Africa in July. He also hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May in what was her first visit outside of the European Union since taking office, and on Jan. 26, he will host Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nuhayyan, Abu Dhabi's crown prince, as the chief guest for India's annual Republic Day parade..

Yet for all of its diplomatic fervor, India bickers over foreign policy with its northern neighbor, China. Despite protestations and support from Washington, India has been unable to persuade China to place Masood Azhar, the leader of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, on a U.N. blacklist. Similarly, an 11th-hour diplomatic pitch in June and support from Washington failed to earn India a vote needed from China that would have allowed it to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-member body whose members share nuclear technology with one another. At the Raisina conference, Modi took a jab at China, saying that if Beijing wants its regional connectivity projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through Kashmir, to be successful, it must respect India's sovereignty.


Source: http://defence.pk/threads/stratfor-why-india-will-continue-to-misfi... 


Comment by Riaz Haq on May 8, 2017 at 1:19pm

Ishaq Dar: #Financing partnerships paving way forward for #Pakistan #infrastructure - Nikkei Asian Review #IFC
http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Financing-partnersh...

Finance minister sees 6% GDP rise as cash flows where it's needed most

GO YAMADA, Nikkei senior staff writer
TOKYO -- Pakistan is determined to funnel more money toward infrastructure, small businesses and the poor, and the government has found an array of international partners to make it happen. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar recently spoke with The Nikkei about the development drive and the federal budget for the coming fiscal year through June 2018, which he said will focus on generating 6% gross domestic product growth.

Dar is arguably the most influential member of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's cabinet. When Sharif was in exile during the rule of Pervez Musharraf, who led the country from 1999 to 2007, Dar was a key caretaker for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party.


Talking about the forthcoming federal budget, to be announced on May 26, Dar said, "After [achieving] macroeconomic stability, we have fully focused on higher GDP growth that brings a better life to people, better per capita income, job opportunities and fills the gap in infrastructure demand."

Next fiscal year, he said, "our efforts will give [growth] another boost. Some fiscal measures and policies will be introduced."

Dar pointed to a recent agreement with the U.S.-based International Finance Corporation to partner on creating a Pakistan Infrastructure Bank. 

The PIB will provide financing for infrastructure projects by the private sector, he explained, describing the new lender as an "equal partnership by the Pakistan government and IFC for 20% each." Other stakeholders from around the world will account for the rest, he said.

The bank is expected to have paid-up capital of $1 billion.

And the PIB is just one piece of the puzzle. "With partnerships with the U.K.'s Department for International Development and the German government-owned development bank KfW, we have created the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company," Dar said. This entity's three-year business plan calls for boosting the number of "beneficiaries of microfinance from the current 4 million to 10 million," he added.

Meanwhile, the government, the DFID and KfW are teaming up on a Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, with their respective shares to come to 49%, 34% and 17%.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 5, 2017 at 8:09am

#Modi government advised to ‘discredit’ #slavery research that shows half of the world's slaves are in #India. #BJP

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/05/indian-government-adv...

Prime minister Narendra Modi pressured to condemn Australian report on modern slavery over fears it could tarnish India’s image

The government of India has been advised to launch a campaign to “discredit” research into the country’s modern slavery problem because it has the “potential to substantially harm India’s image and exports”, according to an Indian news report.

The Walk Free Foundation, an anti-slavery organisation established by Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, was specifically singled out in a memo reportedly prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), an Indian security agency, and obtained by the Indian Express.

It was produced days after the release of a report last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Forrest’s Walk Free Foundation that estimated the global population of modern slaves at 40.3m in 2016.

India was not specifically mentioned but successive research has estimated the number of modern slaves in the country to be between 14m and 18m people –the most in the world.

Modern slavery refers to people involved in forced labour, people trafficking, debt bondage, child labour and a range of other exploitative practices affecting vulnerable populations.

According to the Indian Express, the Indian security agency wrote to the prime minister’s office and other high-level government departments advising them to “discredit” the September report and to pressure the ILO to disassociate itself from Walk Free.

The foundation was established by Forrest, one of Australia’s richest men, in 2012. It produces an annual estimate of the number of slaves worldwide, lobbies governments to strengthen and enforce labour laws, and invests in frontline social programs.

The intelligence memo claimed that researchers were increasingly “targeting” India as a modern slavery hub, according to the news report.

It said estimates such as those produced by the ILO and Forrest’s foundation had “potential to substantially harm India’s image and exports and impact its efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8.7” – a target for eradicating forced and child labour, and human trafficking.

The security agency also said the scale of India’s modern slave population was based on “questionable statistics”, citing the fact the ILO-Walk Free survey interviewed 17,000 people in India but only 2,000 in countries such as Russia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the report said.

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