Is Fareed Zakaria Souring on India?

CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria is known to be among the loudest cheerleaders for India and a sharp critic of Pakistan. While he still refuses to say anything that could even remotely be considered positive about Pakistan, it seems that he is souring on his native India.

Fareed Zakaria

Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

 Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the  world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6.  What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.

It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:

https://youtu.be/KpAMVLwBJkM

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Comment by Riaz Haq on August 22, 2020 at 4:27pm

#India, #Brazil, and #SouthAfrica will face the 'harshest' #economic impact from the #coronavirus as they're corrupt and badly run. These 3 economies lie at the very bottom of risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft's "Recovery Capacity Index" on #COVID19. http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/1029525418

The G-20's "least-resilient" nations are set to face far worse economic consequences than wealthier ones in the aftermath of the pandemic, according to a report by global political risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.
India, South Africa, and Brazil will experience the "harshest repercussions" as they attempt to recuperate economic losses this year, analysts David Wille and Joshua Cartwright wrote.
G-20 countries in Western Europe and East Asia have the capacity to recover more rapidly than emerging market members, the report said.

More affluent countries adopted strict lockdowns and managed to support citizens when their economies entered a "self-induced coma," the report found, while poorer G-20 members could not launch such widespread programmes, it added.
The clear outlier was found to be the US with the "least effective pandemic response of any developed market" due to a politicized re-opening of state level eceonomies, which allowed the virus to keep spreading, the report said.
However, it added, as soon as a vaccine is developed, the high fiscal power of the US will lessen the impact of the downturn.
The G-20, which is made up of the EU and 19 of the world's most powerful economies, can expect its members to see a two-track recovery through Verisk Maplecroft's "Recovery Capacity Index."

The index measures a nation's ability to recover from a crisis.

India, South Africa, and Brazil lie at the very bottom of this index.
The three economies contribute to 20% of the world's population, 10% of the world's GDP, 3.7% of total trade, and 3.2% of foreign direct investment flows.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 23, 2020 at 5:45pm

#India #coronavirus cases cross 3 million with the 5th straight day of more than 60,000 new cases. Federal health ministry data showed, behind only the #UnitedStates and #Brazil. Deaths in India from #COVID-19 rose by 912 to 56,706. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://reut.rs/3j4lM2z

The number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 3 million mark with 69,239 new cases reported on Sunday even as the country opened up various sectors from a lockdown that ground businesses to a halt and hurt economic growth.

With the fifth straight day of more than 60,000 new cases, India’s tally stands at 3.04 million, federal health ministry data showed, behind only the United States and Brazil. Deaths in India from COVID-19 rose by 912 to 56,706.

India on Sunday issued guidelines to open up its media production industry with norms for social distancing, crowd management and sanitisation.

“The general principles behind the SOP will help create a safe working environment for cast and crew in the industry,” Prakash Javadekar, India’s union minister for information and broadcasting said in a tweet.

Top producers, distributors and actors from Bollywood, the movie industry in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, had said in May it would take at least two years for them to recover financially from the pandemic, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs.

Film production and theatres had been shut nationwide after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a more than two month long lockdown in March to curb spread of the virus.

While India has been slowly opening up some industries with specific regulations, containment zones - areas identified as most affected by the virus - still remain under lockdown.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 24, 2020 at 1:17pm

Has China Won by Kishore Mahbubani

Financial Times Book Review by John Thornhill

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8278279504304651957&po...


In Mahbubani’s telling, written before coronavirus struck, the US ruling classes think their rivalry with China is a rerun of the cold war with the Soviet Union — and they know how that movie ended. It is surely only a matter of time and political gravity before the liberty-loving, free-market superpower sees off the latest uppity communist dictatorship.

Mahbubani picks up on that cold war analogy. But this time, he argues, the roles are reversed: the US is the inflexible, ideological, systemically challenged superpower, while China is the adaptable, pragmatic and strategically smart rival. “America is behaving like the Soviet Union, and China is behaving like America,” he writes.

Like an overzealous proctologist, Mahbubani probes America’s most sensitive parts. In spite of the increasingly bellicose noises coming out of Washington, the US has failed to develop any coherent strategy to deal with a resurgent China, he argues. That is in glaring contrast with the patient strategy of containment articulated by the US diplomat George Kennan in 1946 at the start of the cold war. Mahbubani gives short shrift to America’s marginalised modern-day diplomats: there are, as the former defence secretary Robert Gates observed, more members of military marching bands than US foreign service personnel.


The former Singaporean diplomat adds that US politics has been captured by a short-sighted plutocracy that would not survive long if the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, criminalising bribery of officials abroad, applied at home.


Lacking any strategic brain, the US has become over-reliant on military muscle and entangled in perpetual wars in the Middle East. The US may account for half of global defence spending, but how much use is its military hardware in a software age? US aircraft carriers, which can cost up to $13bn to build, can be easily sunk by one of China’s DF-26 missiles, costing a few hundred thousand dollars.

Most tellingly, the US’s social and economic model has stopped delivering for most of its people. “America is the only developed society where the average income of the bottom 50 per cent of the population has gone down over the past 30 years. In the same period, the Chinese people have experienced the greatest improvement in their standard of living ever seen in Chinese history,” he writes.




It is in the nature of a polemic to maximise all evidence supporting an argument and minimise everything that contradicts it. So it is with Mahbubani: unsparing on the US’s failings, he glosses over China’s manifest flaws. The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, in which tens of millions died, merit one sentence. The current unrest in Hong Kong is dismissed as a struggle between the homeless and real estate tycoons.

Mahbubani is as effusive in his praise of China’s leaders as he is damning of their US counterparts. President Xi Jinping’s removal of term limits was necessary to counter factionalism and corruption. His rule delivers three public goods to the world: restraining Chinese nationalism; responding to climate change; and ensuring that China is a status quo power, not a revolutionary one. “There is a very strong potential that Xi Jinping could provide to China the beneficent kind of rule provided by a philosopher king,” he gushes.

In the end, Mahbubani ducks the question his book’s title poses. Despite his criticisms of the US, he recognises its many strengths: an individualistic culture; the best universities in the world; a magnetic attraction for the world’s best and brightest (including 351,000 Chinese students); and its strong institutions — although Donald Trump is working on that.

He concludes that a “geopolitical contest between America and China is both inevitable and avoidable”. Read this book to be provoked, if not convinced.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 25, 2020 at 1:31pm

HOW AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH PAKISTAN CAN HELP IT DEAL WITH TURKEY
AARON STEIN AND ROBERT HAMILTON

https://warontherocks.com/2020/08/how-americas-experience-with-paki...


Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air and missile defense system is a perfect example of Washington’s dilemma. In December 2017, Ankara finalized an agreement with the Russian Federation for the purchase of the S-400. In response, the United States removed Turkey from participation in the F-35 fighter aircraft program, because the S-400 can collect valuable electronic intelligence on the West’s newest jet. This outcome upended decades of Turkish planning for the future of its air force. While Ankara has plans to develop an indigenous fighter, any such program will likely be extremely expensive, face serious delays, and may not deliver enough fighter aircraft to replace its current inventory of F-16s. The problem now is to protect the F-35 from Russian exploitation — even after Turkey has taken ownership of the S-400 — while developing a mechanism to ensure Turkey can purchase new fighter aircraft.

America’s experience with another troublesome ally — Pakistan — might have valuable lessons for U.S. defense officials in dealing with Turkey. The United States has sold and upgraded F-16s to Pakistan since the 1980s despite Islamabad’s support for the Taliban and Haqqani Network, growing nuclear arsenal, and use of terrorist groups to attack India. In order to buy F-16s after 9/11, Pakistan agreed to a program that allows U.S. technical security teams to monitor the end-use of the aircraft. A similar program could serve as a model to keep tabs on any future Turkish use of the F-35 and ensure a highly circumscribed S-400 deployment. The application of this strategy to Turkey faces a number of challenges, particularly given the state of Turkey’s deteriorating relationship with the United States and other Western countries. However, it may be the only realistic approach to protect the F-35 program and America’s interest in a capable Turkish Air Force.

Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 ran afoul of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a bipartisan sanctions package passed in August 2017 to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift sanctions imposed on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. The legislation requires the president to impose secondary sanctions on countries or individuals that engage in a “significant transaction” with any entity linked to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

-----------

Pakistan was once described as “the ally from hell.” Even as Washington provided it more than $30 billion in aid after 9/11, Pakistan gave sanctuary to the Taliban and supported the Haqqani Network. Nevertheless, the United States was able to sell the Pakistan Air Force F-16s under strict end-use conditions. Washington should take a similar approach to Turkey — a problematic, but key NATO ally with whom it shares a number of interests.

Turkey and the United States have significant political differences over events in the region, but the health of NATO collective defense matters more than bilateral spats between two longtime allies. Ankara risked the security of the F-35 program with its S-400 purchase. There is a pathway to try and overcome this issue, but it will require creative thinking to verify the non-deployment and highly circumscribed use of the S-400. The Pakistan F-16 model is a realistic option and could provide a way to overcome a problem that can be solved with a mixture of technical cooperation and an onsite presence.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 25, 2020 at 5:01pm

WHO signals slowing of #COVID infections but #India cases still soaring, up by 1.5 million since start of August. India reported the highest number of new #coronavirus cases globally for 18th straight day climbing by 60,975 in the latest 24-hour period. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/aug/26/coronavirus-live...

India reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day. Infections rocketed by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking India’s total to around 3.1 million, more than in the US and Brazil. The rate of new cases in the country is increasing rapidly, climbing by 60,975 in the latest 24-hour period, according to the federal health ministry.

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#India Is in Denial about the #COVIDー19 Crisis. The country is headed for disaster as the #pandemic devastates health services and #livelihoods. #economy #jobs #health #Modi #BJP - Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/india-is-in-denial-about...

The Indian monsoon season is in full swing, drenching the streets of Mumbai and flooding the plains of Bihar. But dark clouds of another kind—disease, hunger and death—are also gathering fast.

India is now ahead of all other countries in terms of the number of new recorded COVID-19 cases per day—close to 70,000 in mid-August. That’s about one fourth of world-wide new cases. Only two countries are anywhere close: Brazil and the United States; and India has lagged behind those two countries in achieving a reduction in daily cases.

Further, recorded cases in India are likely to be a small fraction of all COVID-19 infections. That could be true in many countries, but the ratio of infections to recorded cases seems particularly large in India—at least 20:1, judging from two recent serological surveys, in Delhi and Mumbai respectively. This would mean that India already had more than 50 million COVID-19 infections, compared with a recorded figure of 2.5 million.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 25, 2020 at 5:09pm

#Indian #Muslims should form exclusive party, consider moving to Kerala. Zakir Naik says such a Muslim political party should join hands with #Dalits (#untouchables) who are not accepted by #Hindus (who are just 60% of population) as #Hindu. #Modi #BJP https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2020/08/22/indian-muslims-should-...

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik continues to reach out to his followers in India and across the world on a near-daily basis despite leaving for Malaysia in 2016. Even though India has demanded his extradition on charges of money laundering and incitement to violence, Zakir Naik continues to propagate his teachings via frequent videos, which are disseminated via social media.

On Friday, Zakir Naik's official Facebook channel uploaded a video of him responding to a follower's question on how Indian Muslims should respond to the "harassment and oppression" of the BJP government in India.

Zakir Naik claimed, "In last four-to-six years, there is an onslaught on Muslim minorities in India. There are lot of lynchings, attacks..." and alleged there was lot of oppression and persecution under the current government.

Zakir Naik categorised his response into two: Muslims as a whole and as individuals. Naik said Indian Muslims as a whole “should be united," noting they are divided on basis of "different sects in Islam, and belonging to different political parties and social organisations".

Zakir Naik declared the different Muslim groups in India "are fighting each other, criticising each other..."

Referring to the splintering of Muslim votes, Zakir Naik repeated a controversial claim about the Muslim population he has made previously. Naik claimed while official estimates put the Muslim population in India around 200 million, he believes there are "actually 250 million to 300 million Muslims", a figure that the “government supresses”. Naik declared India is the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Zakir Naik then declared, "Muslims should make another party, exclusively, only for Muslims". "This political party should join hands with other political parties that are not Fascist and not communal," he added. Zakir Naik opined that such a Muslim political party should join hands with dalits, adding "dalits are not Hindus".

Zakir Naik claimed "Babasaheb Ambedkar loved Islam, but unfortunately the Muslims didn't welcome him, so he chose the second best... he chose Buddhism". Zakir Naik argued such a political alliance of Muslims and dalits would represent nearly 600 million people and be a major force.

Zakir Naik declared Indian Muslims have lacked political leadership.

Referring to Muslims as individuals, Naik claimed if Indian Muslims could not practice their faith, they should do Hijira (flight to avoid religious persecution).

"If you have the means to go to a Muslim-majority country, that should be the best," Zakir Naik said, adding he did "not expect" all Muslims of India to leave the country.

Zakir Naik said Muslims who could not move out of the country could go to another state, "which is more lenient towards Muslims". Naik added that the "best state I can think of" is Kerala. Zakir Naik claimed that followers of all three major religions—Hindus, Muslims and Christians—each accounted for about one-third of the population of Kerala.

"The people of Kerala are not communal in nature. The people of different religions live harmoniously. There is no friction between different religions,” Zakir Naik argued. He also added "this government (BJP) doesn't have much hold in the state of Kerala". “So, one of the best options if you want to do Hijira to another state, I would say, is Kerala," Zakir Naik said.

He said the "less communal states" include "Bombay where I come from or Hyderabad". He said Uttar Pradesh was very communal. Zakir Naik also endorsed ghettoization, noting Muslims could consider moving to parts of cities. He cited Dongri and Byculla in Mumbai as options, emphasising the high population of Muslims in these localities.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2020 at 4:22pm

This week, #India saw the highest one-day world record of more than 77,000 since the #COVIDー19 #pandemic began. Model predicts India will shortly overtake #Brazil, putting it 2nd to the #UnitedStates in total cases. It could soon overtake the #US in cases https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/india-coronavirus...


India is recording around 1,000 deaths a day from the coronavirus, roughly the same as the United States and Brazil, and given the rising number of cases, that toll appears likely to continue or increase. In terms of deaths per million people, India has fared far better than the United States, Brazil and Italy, but not as well as neighboring countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

-------------

It took more than five months for India to reach the bleak milestone of 1 million cases of the novel coronavirus.

The next million came in just 21 days. The third million was faster still: 16 days.

The increase in cases is unlikely to ebb anytime soon, experts say, as a galloping outbreak spreads to new parts of the country and political leaders continue to reopen the economy. This week, India recorded the highest one-day jump in new cases — more than 77,000 — anywhere in the world since the pandemic began.

Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan who developed a model to predict India’s outbreak, said the country will shortly overtake Brazil, putting it second to the United States in total cases.

“The only question is whether India is going to catch up with the United States,” she said.

The virus has now spread throughout the world’s second-most-populous country, reaching even isolated Indigenous tribes in a far-flung Indian territory. The pandemic has also crippled economic activity — experts believe the economy contracted by 20 percent in the three months to June — with only anemic signs of recovery.

Yet there is little alarm and even less outrage. The coronavirus often slips off the front pages, and national health officials conduct briefings only once a week. Overall approval ratings for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remain sky-high, although a quarter of those polled in the same recent survey said the handling of the pandemic was his biggest failure.

Government officials regularly highlight India’s comparatively low rate of deaths as a percentage of cases to indicate their efforts are working. Testing has increased dramatically but remains far below many other countries on a per capita basis. Some find reassurance in India’s overall fatality figure of about 62,000, which is lower than in Brazil and the United States at similar points in their respective outbreaks.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 31, 2020 at 9:42am

#India presses ahead with reopening as #economy shrinks by 24% last quarter and daily #coronavirus caseload surges to record-breaking high. #COVID19 #Modi #BJP #lockdown https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/31/asia/india-reopening-coronavirus-sur...

India is entering a new phase of reopening that will see subway trains running for the first time in months, despite skyrocketing daily coronavirus infections that are showing no sign of slowing down.

The country of 1.3 billion people has reported more than 75,000 infections for five consecutive days -- the fastest growing caseload of any country in the world.
It recorded 85,687 new Covid-19 infections last Wednesday, the world's highest single-day spike since the pandemic began, surpassing the previous record of 77,255 cases set by the United States on July 16.
India's infection rate has increased exponentially in recent weeks. It took almost six months for the country to record 1 million cases, another three weeks to hit 2 million, and only 16 more days to hit 3 million.

------------

India’s #economy shrank by 23.9%, its worst slump since the country started releasing quarterly data in 1996. The #coronavirus #pandemic and a grinding #lockdown caused massive disruptions to economic activity during the quarter. #Modi #BJP
- BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-53973772


India's economy contracted sharply in the three months to the end of June, official data shows.
It shrank by 23.9%, its worst slump since the country started releasing quarterly data in 1996.
The coronavirus pandemic and a grinding lockdown caused massive disruptions to economic activity during the quarter.
Experts fear that India is staring at a recession - that will happen only if it reports contraction in the next quarter as well, which experts say is likely.
A country is considered to be in recession if it reports contraction for two successive quarters. India was last in recession in 1980, it's fourth one since independence.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 31, 2020 at 1:40pm

#Indian #Economy Shrinks By 24% As The Country Sees Its Highest #Coronavirus Numbers. Even before the #pandemic hit, #India's economy was already ailing. #Modi #BJP https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/08/31/90...

With the coronavirus spreading faster in India than anywhere in the world, the Indian government on Monday announced the country's biggest economic contraction in 24 years.

India's National Statistical Office said the economy contracted by 23.9% in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ended in June, compared with the same quarter the previous year. That's its worst performance since the government began publishing quarterly gross domestic product figures in 1996. And it's the worst decline among the world's major economies releasing GDP figures for that same quarter, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"This year, we are facing an extraordinary situation," India's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, told a conference last week before the GDP figures were released. "We are facing an act of God."

Even before the pandemic hit, India's economy was already ailing. In 2016, the government took 85% of paper money out of circulation as part of a demonetization policy that aimed to tamp corruption but also hurt small, cash-run businesses. The following year, a new goods and services tax scheme aimed to simplify the tax code but also hurt big manufacturers. Last year, unemployment hit a four-decade high.


In late March, with cases of COVID-19 still low in India, the government announced the biggest lockdown in the world. While white-collar workers adapted to working from home, hundreds of millions of impoverished laborers were stranded in urban centers and industrial zones with little to eat. The government scrambled to open shelters and food distribution centers for them, but not before dozens starved to death on roadsides.

Millions of migrant workers tried to walk back to their home villages, sometimes hundreds of miles away. Their exodus helped spread the virus all over the country.

In May, as his government began to ease lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $266 billion COVID-19 stimulus package, with aid earmarked for the poor. But manufacturing and consumer spending have yet to recover.

On Monday, India reported 78,512 new coronavirus infections — more than any other country. A day earlier, it posted the world's biggest single-day tally since the pandemic began.

The United States and Brazil still have more COVID-19 cases overall. India has ramped up testing in recent weeks, but it remains relatively low compared with other countries.

The central government continues to loosen lockdown restrictions to try to alleviate the sudden, widespread unemployment that came with the spring lockdown. Over the weekend, it issued new national guidance, saying that everything is allowed to reopen except schools, movie theaters, swimming pools and international flights.

State and municipal authorities still maintain certain restrictions in areas with the highest concentrations of infections.

India has seen a number of high-profile cases of coronavirus infection in recent weeks. Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan was discharged from the hospital earlier this month. Home Minister Amit Shah was hospitalized twice after testing positive, and was discharged again early Monday.

Also on Monday, the son of former President Pranab Mukherjee announced his father's death on Twitter. Mukherjee, 84, who had been hospitalized for weeks after brain surgery, was also diagnosed with COVID-19. A veteran politician with the opposition Congress party, he held several Cabinet posts and was president, a ceremonial post, from 2012 to 2017.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 31, 2020 at 4:18pm

#India’s #Economy Shrank Nearly 24% Last Quarter.....likely 40% decline in #GDP after the government takes the unorganized sector into account. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #COVID19 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/31/world/asia/india-economy-gdp.htm...

In late March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated one of the most severe lockdowns anywhere, ordering all Indians to stay inside, halting transportation and closing most businesses.

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The data released on Monday showed that consumer spending, private investment and exports had all suffered tremendously. The sector including trade, hotel and transport dipped 47 percent. India’s once mighty manufacturing industry shrank 39 percent.

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The only bright spot, though relatively faint, was agriculture. Thanks to strong rains this monsoon season, the sector grew 3.4 percent versus 3 percent in the previous quarter.
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Mr. Modi has said he wants his country to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024 — the next major election, in which he is expected to run for a third term. In 2019, India’s G.D.P. was around $2.9 trillion, making it the world’s fifth-largest economy, behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany. But next year, many economists believe, India’s economy could be 10 percent smaller.

The Indian economy contracted by 23.9 percent in the second quarter, the most drastic fall in decades, as lockdown restrictions meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus wiped out jobs and businesses.

India’s decline was the worst among the world’s top economies, with the U.S. economy shrinking 9.5 percent in the same quarter and Japan’s 7.6 percent.

Data released by the Indian government on Monday showed the extent of the collapse in gross domestic product in the three months ending in June, with the construction, manufacturing and transport industries among the hardest hit. The figures reflect the onset of India’s deepest recession since 1996, when the country first began publishing its G.D.P. numbers.

India’s picture is further complicated by the fact that so many people here are “informally” employed, working in jobs that are not covered by contracts and often fall beyond government reach, such as rickshaw driver, tailor, day laborer and farmhand. Economists say that official numbers are bound to underestimate that part of the economy and that the full damage could be even greater.

“The strict lockdown led to a sharp contraction in activity in Q1 with job or income losses being faced by people,” said Aditi Nayar, an economist at ICRA, an investment and credit rating agency in New Delhi. “Less formal sectors could manifest in a deeper contraction when revised data is released subsequently.”

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Millions of workers who over the years had been drawn to the urban centers for jobs started returning home to rural areas. But as the ailing economy contracted even more, officials desperate to stimulate business lifted some of the lockdown restrictions, allowing more movement, which led the virus to spread wide and far. The country is now recording the world’s highest number of daily new infections.

Just a few years ago, India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, was one of the world’s fastest-growing large economies, clocking growth of 8 percent or more.

But even before the pandemic, the economy had begun to slow down. For example, car sales plunged 32 percent in August last year, the largest drop in two decades.

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    Posted by Sobia Anjum on September 22, 2020 at 11:25pm

    Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani: America Does Not Respect India

    "One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India",…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on September 21, 2020 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

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