Top One Percent: Are Hindus the New Jews in America?

Hindu Americans have surpassed Jewish Americans in education and rival them in household incomes. How did immigrants from India, one of the world's poorest countries, join the ranks of the richest people in the United States? How did such a small minority of just 1% become so disproportionately represented in the highest income occupations ranging from top corporate executives and technology entrepreneurs to doctors, lawyers and investment bankers? Indian-American Professor Devesh Kapur, co-author of The Other One Percent: Indians in America, explains it in terms of educational achievement. He says that an Indian-American is at least 9 times more educated than an individual in India.  He attributes it to what he calls a process of "triple selection".  

Hindu American Household Income:

A 2016 Pew study reported that more than a third of Hindus (36%) and four-in-ten Jews (44%) live in households with incomes of at least $100,000. More recently, the US Census data shows that the median household income of Indian-Americans, vast majority of whom are Hindus, has reached $127,000, the highest among all ethnic groups in America. 

Median income of Pakistani-American households is $87.51K, below $97.3K for Asian-Americans but significantly higher than $65.71K for overall population. Median income for Indian-American households $126.7K, the highest in the nation. 

Median Income of Asian-Americans. Source: USA Facts

Hindu Americans Education:

Indian-Americans, vast majority of whom are Hindu, have the highest educational achievement among the religions in America. More than three-quarters (76%) of them have at least a bachelors's degree.  This high achieving population of Indian-American includes very few of India’s most marginalized groups such as Adivasis, Dalits, and Muslims. 

By comparison, sixty percent of Pakistani-Americans have at least a bachelor's degree, the second highest percentage among Asian-Americans. The average for Asian-Americans with at least a bachelor's degree is 56%. 

American Hindus are the most highly educated with 96% of them having college degrees, according to Pew Research.  75% of Jews and 54% of American Muslims have college degrees versus the US national average of 39% for all Americans.  American Christians trail all other groups with just 36% of them having college degrees.  96% of Hindus and 80% of Muslims in the U.S. are either immigrants or the children of immigrants.

US Educational Attainment By Religion Source: Pew Research

Jews are the second-best educated in America with 59% of them having college degrees.  Then come Buddhists (47%), Muslims (39%) and Christians (25%).

Triple Selection:

Devesh Kapur, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of The Other One Percent: Indians in America (Oxford University Press, 2017), explains the phenomenon of high-achieving Indian-Americans as follows: “What we learned in researching this book is that Indians in America did not resemble any other population anywhere; not the Indian population in India, nor the native population in the United States, nor any other immigrant group from any other nation.” 

Kapur talks about what he calls “a triple selection” process that gave Indian-Americans a boost over typically poor and uneducated immigrants who come to the United States from other countries. The first two selections took place in India. As explained in the book: “The social system created a small pool of persons to receive higher education, who were urban, educated, and from high/dominant castes.” India’s examination system then selected individuals for specialized training in technical fields that also happened to be in demand in the United States. Kapur estimated that the India-American population is nine times more educated than individuals in the home country.
Hindu Americans rival Jewish Americans in educational achievement and household incomes. Hindus in America have joined the ranks of the richest people in the United States. They account for just 1% of the US population but they are disproportionately represented in the highest income occupations ranging from top corporate executives and technology entrepreneurs to doctors, lawyers and investment bankers. Indian-American Professor Devesh Kapur, co-author of The Other One Percent: Indians in America, explains it in terms of their educational achievement. He says that an Indian-American is at least 9 times more educated than an individual in India.  He attributes it to what he calls a process of "triple selection".  

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 10:42am

Jewish outreach to the Indian diaspora in the United States | The Jewish People Policy Institute

The formation of strong political ties between the Jewish and Indian leaderships and communities in the United States
In the last two decades, American Jewish groups have been very active in cultivating strong political links between the Jewish and Indian leaderships in the U.S., and between the Indian, American, and Israeli leaderships. Senior representatives of AIPAC and of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), among others, visit New Delhi on a regular basis and bring frequent delegations of Indian policy makers, think tank members, and journalists to the United States and Israel to discuss issues of common concern. In addition, the AJC has been at the forefront of endeavors to build bridges between Indian Americans and Jewish Americans. It has carried out a series of initiatives on the national and regional levels to expand dialogue and mutual understanding with the Indian community, as it has done in the past with the Latino and African American communities. It has also endeavored to forge business links between Indian Americans and Jews. In addition, AJC sponsored and participated in the interfaith dialogue of Jewish and Hindu leaders, and it coordinated several delegations of Indian Muslim leaders to Israel (more about this later).

American Jewish lobbies as models and partners of Indian lobbies in the United States
As Indian Americans recognized the success of American Jewish organizations in the political and other arenas, they began to look to these organizations as models and partners, and Jewish organizations were happy to respond. American Jewish lobbies have actively supported and contributed to the formation and success of Indian lobbies and have often served as organizational and developmental models. The Congressional India Caucus, now the largest caucus in Congress, the U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), the first and leading Indian lobbying group in the United States, and the Hindu American Foundation were all founded with the close support and encouragement of AJC and/or AIPAC. USINPAC continues to rely on many of the same methods and tactics used by AIPAC when lobbying Congress – including, for instance, letter writing campaigns and donations to targeted Congressional candidates. The Hindu American Foundation is also looking to ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for guidance in advocacy and lobbying. Emulating the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s work against anti-Semitic hate speech, the Hindu American Foundation released its own report in 2007 about online hatred and bigotry against Hindus.60 It also runs an internship program giving Hindu university students the opportunity to take their first steps as Congressional lobbyists in defense of Hinduism and global Hindu challenges. Other organizations, such as the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) have benefited from AJC and AIPAC support. In addition, the Indian community has emulated Jewish organizations at the grassroots level. India Community Centers, like Jewish Community Centers, offer a large number of educational, cultural, identity-building, and recreational programs to Indian communities.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 10:42am

China's best and the brightest stay at home. There's a lot of opportunity for them in China.

...part of the reason why you’ll see far fewer Chinese than Indians, not only as chief executives but also in the upper management tiers of large Western multinationals, is far from a positive for India. Rather, it speaks to the relative strength of the Chinese economy and areas where India continues to lag behind.

For example, large Chinese firms pay salaries to upper management that are roughly the same as or only somewhat less generous than those for similar positions in the United States, whereas Indian salaries, converted at the actual exchange rate rather than at the purchasing power of the Indian rupee, still lag behind. According to a 2014 survey by consulting firm Towers Watson, pay for top executives in China was on average more than double that in India when converted into dollars.

Also, perhaps surprisingly, despite concerns about pollution in China (though India’s is comparable, if not worse), China wins hands down as a favored destination for expats. In a 2013 survey by HSBC, China ranked No. 1 overall out of a total of 37 countries as a preferred expat destination.

In fact, firms in India seem to have little desire to tap the global labor market for top managers. Large Indian firms remain heavily dominated by local chief executives, often family members of the firm’s original management. Indian business even at the highest level — and among companies that are heavily globalized — remains largely autarkic and inward-looking. And there is good reason for this, though it does not necessarily speak well of the Indian economy.

A few years back, when Ratan Tata, head of the Tata conglomerate, stepped down after a protracted search for a replacement, his successor ended up being not a foreigner, as some had speculated, but Cyrus Mistry, a consummate insider and member of the extended Tata clan. If even the most cosmopolitan of Indian multinationals thought it wise to stick with a member of the family, rather than pick a star chief executive from abroad, then specific local knowledge and networks — including connections to powerful bureaucrats and government ministers — must remain hugely important at the top levels of Indian management. In this respect, India is much more similar to Japan or China than to the United States or United Kingdom.

So before Indians pat themselves on the back for exporting star chief executives, they might want to consider how this reflects the country’s failures. How can India produce a business environment that nurtures and provides incentives and opportunities to high-performing individuals like Nadella or Pichai, leveling the playing field with Western multinationals? And second, how can India foster a more competitive and innovative environment, one that produces new companies like Microsoft and Google?

While Indians bask in the reflected glory, the real winners are Indian-Americans. They’ll see role models they can emulate without worrying about a glass ceiling — a very American success story after all. And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would do well to reflect on this as he prepares for a visit to Silicon Valley next month.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 1:16pm

Excerpt from "The Other One Percent"

An interesting aspect of the construction of identity is the term “South Asian.” In multiple surveys, Indian Americans identify themselves in different ways, but few do so as South Asian. A small section of academics and activist groups, however, are as committed to the term as the population in question appears not to be. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an affirmative action case: Fisher v. University of Texas.111 Three Indian-American groups joined an amicus brief opposing race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin. They argued that “Asian Americans are the new Jews,” because policies to promote diversity through race-conscious admissions in college admissions in effect discriminated against them, drawing a parallel with past discriminatory policies that excluded Jews from many universities. Conversely, several South Asian organizations signed on to an amicus brief in Fisher supporting race-conscious policies, arguing that “Asian-Americans continue to face racial discrimination and benefit from race-conscious policies, which help to break down racial stereotypes by facilitating interactions between students of diverse groups.” The three organizations that signed on to the anti-affirmative action brief all emphasized “Indian” identity, while those that supported race-conscious policies preferred the “South Asian” designation.

Chakravorty, Sanjoy. The Other One Percent (Modern South Asia) (pp. 180-181). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 1:17pm

Excerpt from "The Other One Percent"

One of the reviewers of this manuscript had an intriguing question: did the coincidence of upper-caste status and high education and income among the India-born and their strong adherence to endogamy lead to an inadvertent creation by the U.S. immigration system of a new English-speaking super caste that was both upper caste and wealthy? We were intrigued by the boldness of this suggestion, but were hesitant to go so far as to endorse a “super caste” category. Not only did we not have the data to make such a big claim, but took note of some broadening of the selection base in India that may, over a longer run, create more class heterogeneity. This heterogeneity will almost surely not include India’s most marginalized groups—Adivasis, Dalits, and Muslims—in large numbers or anywhere close to their proportions in India, but is likely to reflect the pattern of political representation in the homeland in which the middle castes—similar to but not congruent with Other Backward Classes (OBCs)—are better represented.

Chakravorty, Sanjoy. The Other One Percent (Modern South Asia) (p. 313). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 4:15pm

It's time to impose an exit tax on the rich and educated who're fleeing India, says Bharat Jhunjhunwala, Business Professor IIM Bangalore

The report of the Afro Asian Bank says that one main reason for emigration from a country is safety. The rich like to migrate if they find that their families are not safe. Religious disturbances are said to be the second reason. The presence of religious disputes leads to agitations and endangers the security. The third reason is freedom of media and entertainment. This is important because the rich may want to live in a ‘free’ environment. They do not like that they may be prevented from obtaining information freely or may not be able to express themselves freely.

The fourth reason is the low rate of economic growth. We may understand this to indicate the less availability of opportunities, which again translates into social disturbances. The government must deal with these issues. The Indian economy has become like an inverted funnel that is sucking out the wealth and sending it to foreign countries. No wonder our GDP growth rate has been declining in the last six years. The government must consider the following steps to manage these reasons for emigration.

First, the government must institute external evaluation of all senior police officers. The Fifth Pay Commission had recommended the external evaluation of all Class A officers of the government. However, this was put in cold storage at the behest of the bureaucrats. The implementation of such evaluation would provide the government with better information regarding the police officers that are more efficient in controlling crime.

An Indian institute of religions

Second, the Prime Minister had expressed his resolve to make Varanasi the global spiritual capital. Followers of different religions live together peacefully in countries like Malaysia and states like Kerala in our country. One reason is that the followers are more aware about the beliefs of the other religions and do not consider them antagonistic to their beliefs. The government must establish an ‘Indian Institute of Religions’ on the lines of IITs and IIMs in each state. Departments of different religions may be stablished in these institutes so that a constructive dialogue takes place and better understanding is created between the religions.

Three, Kabir had said “Keep critics near you. They clean up your temperament without soap and water.” The government must give special advertisements to those print media and TV channels that engage in constructive criticism of the government. This will create an atmosphere of freedom in the minds of the rich. The rich will then not be afraid and not want to emigrate for this reason.

Four, our GDP growth rate has been declining in the last six years. At the same time the share markets have been rising and rising. The reason for these contradictory movements is that our economic policies are supporting large businesses and making it difficult for the small businesses to survive. This policy of killing small businesses and handing over their market to large business on a platter was supposedly to make it attractive for the rich to stay in India. It is having exactly the opposite effect, however.

Small businesses dying

The killing of small businesses is leading to less demand in the economy, lower growth rate and less opportunities for the rich even though they may be making more profits immediately. This is like the plentiful availability of chocolates but no bread. In the end, the rich are leaving despite making profits because they do not see the economy growing.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 26, 2021 at 4:23pm

The Rule of Divide: How the IITs have wastefully consumed the higher education landscape in India

Karan Sancheti

This budget has left many wondering whether the government would be able to walk the talk, but to give Mr Jaitley his dues, the budget brings fresh news for the development of the Indian Institute of Technologies. Development, not with respect to funding(or else that would be nothing short of acceleration of the brain drain), but in terms of opportunities and emphasis on other non-technical aspects of holistic education(detailed in subsequent paragraphs). The IITs were envisaged to be the pillars of science, technology and research, bearing an unique framework for the funding and administration, distinct from other institutes and universities. Pandit Nehru, the chief architect of these institutes, formed them, envisioning these institutions to be sources of valid and vital inputs for the industrial and social roadmap of this country, which unfortunately ended up as competitive caterers to the Multinationals.

The focus of the article is to deconstruct the myth of the IITs and where they went awry, as opposed to the goals with which they were created. Massive budgetary outlays, immense corporate thrust, and the competition with regards to seats and eventually job packages, are important factors facilitating this degradation of the “premier” institutions across the country.

At his first convocation address at IIT Kharagpur, Nehru put forth his idea of the IITians expanding Indian Industry specifically from

“We take all the trouble to put up this expensive Institute and train people here” which would be “fantastically stupid” if they were to be of no service to the nation and it’s technical growth. The IITs, primarily being specialized training institutes, have always been at the feeding hand of academic-industry relations,  much preferred by regulatory bodies. However these relations, took an unimaginable when students were made to consider employment as their primary goals, which multinationals and foreign technical companies began offering post liberalization of the economy. Moreover massive publicity given to students securing the highest packages, further reinforced the importance of job packages being an IITians’ foremost priorities. Moreover multinationals, consultancy services and financial bigwigs offered more lucrative salaries, luring students to move away from fields of their specialized learning at IIT. Nearly 41% of IIT Bombay graduates, who passed out before 2000,settled in the United States, some studies displaying figures of four on five IITians living in the United States. Recent trends show more migration towards Europe and South East Asian Countries, as well as an increasing number of graduates staying back. This curtailed migration can be attributed to the entry of companies like Godrej, Bajaj Auto and Videocon, hiring technical professionals on the basis of their field of study. The lure towards an MBA and a career in banking still exists rampantly amongst many IIT engineers, as again enviable money is still on offer there.


Screenshot (80)Migration of IIT-B graduates abroad

Pandit Nehru, anticipated a narrowing focus and hence laid emphasis on turning good engineers and good men and women. The Humanities and Social Sciences Departments were crafted with the human aspect in mind. Unfortunately only 7 of the IITs, the older ones have a HSS department. Most of these departments have been established only in the last decade and a half, and have been excessively commercialized. Economics turned into mathematical modelling, philosophy into logic, and psychology into HR. Moreover as the Indian economy grew in orientation towards a service sector economy, agriculture and manufacturing took a backseat, drawing most IITians towards finance and IT jobs.

The IITs have a significant role to play in the Indian Brain Drain, with massive budgetary allocations accorded to them, increasing every year. Most of these coveted institutes, receive a lion’s share of the education budget, perpetuating the divide between these institutes and other higher education universities run by the government. These figures, only go on to increase every year validated by the creation of new IITs, which do not live upto the standards set by the older ones. Few of the newer IITs have been constructed on disputed land, in dilapidated buildings. Until the budget for FY 17-18, the share of higher education funds diverted towards the 23 IITs and 31 NITs, grew every year for five years, leading to a trim down of accordance towards other premier institutions such as Delhi University, National Institute of Science, Education and Research (NISER), and IISc.


Screenshot (79) IITs consuming the Lion’s share of the higher education budget

Apart from the IITs, in budget 2017-18, only the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) saw an increase in it’s outlay, others being slashed massively.

The pre-election budget drawn up by Mr Jaitley and his team has some good news, with 18 new planning and architecture schools being set up, out of which 16 would be constituted in the IITs. Moreover, The allocations towards IITs have been reduced, commensurately, figures not being clear yet. Also, some students would be selected by the government to take classes for graduating batches, thus helping build a spiral generating effect. This, although falls sweet upon the ears, there’s a lot more to left to do to overcome the industry that IITs have become and cater to. Suicide Spates, Coaching Centre menaces, Increasing pressure of GPA and low funding towards research, deviated from what the Institute was supposed to create; skill development.

The IITs have their fair share of controversies around them, but still remain the most advanced technical institutes in the country. Understandably, these in institutes remain the top priority in the education sector, but to develop them at the cost of the general higher education standards in the country, would be a shame.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 27, 2021 at 9:56am

Why Indian Americans are not the new Jews by Razib Khan

Indians are not nearly as culturally coherent and cohesive as Jews. Genetically, Ashkenazi Jewish genealogies tend to coalesce 500-1,000 years ago. Indian genealogies for different communities coalesce 2 to 4 thousand years ago. Jewish Americans arrived in the United States with a common language, Yiddish. Only the more assimilated Jews were only fluent in the national vernacular. Indian Americans share one language, English, which is the same as that of the nation to which they migrated. The overwhelming majority of Jewish Americans in the 20th century remained Jewish if they were religious. A minority of Indian Americans are Muslim or Christian, and even among Hindus religion and caste distinctions are important enough there are North Indian and South Indian temples. Sikhs are overrepresented amongst the migrants. Jewish Americans tended to create their common American culture in a few large urban areas, in particular New York City. Though Edison and Cupertino have large Indian communities, the size and concentration of these communities are not analogous to Jews in terms of magnitude.

In short, Indian Americans don’t have what it takes to create a coherent catchall ethnic group similar to Amerian Jews except for the fact that outsiders perceive themselves as a singular group. I don’t think that “push” is ultimately that strong.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 27, 2021 at 10:03am

‘Indian-Americans are taking over the country’: Joe Biden at NASA meet

US President Joe Biden lauded the contributions of Indian Americans during a conversation with NASA scientists who were involved in the historic landing of Perseverance landing at Mars. ‘Indian- Americans are taking over the country. You (Swati Mohan), my Vice President (Kamala Harris), my speech writer,’ Joe Biden said. Indian-American scientist Swati Mohan leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA's Mars 2020 mission. The President further added that the achievement of the team was exemplary and thanked them for instilling a dose of confidence in the American people. Watch the full video for all the details.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 27, 2021 at 10:17am

India Has Undercounted Covid-19 Deaths by Hundreds of Thousands, particularly among #India’s vast population of #rural poor, who have little access to #healthcare or #COVID19 testing. #Modi #YogiAdityanath #BJP #Hindutva via @WSJ

According to statisticians, the official death count of 390,000 falls far short of the pandemic’s actual toll

As coronavirus cases rose rapidly across India in April, a 70-year-old woman died at her home in the eastern state of Bihar. A rapid antigen test for Covid-19 had been positive, and a lung scan had indicated viral pneumonia and the “possibility of Covid infection.”

But Shila Singh’s death hasn’t been counted among India’s Covid-19 toll.

The institute (for Health Metrics & Evaluation) modeling suggests the true Covid-19 death toll in India exceeds 1.1 million, close to three times the reported number. Dr. Murray estimates the scale of the undercount is similar to those in some countries in Latin America or Africa. He said the institute estimates India has detected only about 3% to 5% of all infections due to insufficient testing.

Murad Banaji, a mathematician at the Middlesex University in London who has been tracking the pandemic in India, estimates the country’s real death toll could be around five times the reported figure, based partly on mortality and serosurvey data, which shows the presence of antibodies in the population.


India has officially recorded more than 390,000 coronavirus deaths, but families who have lost loved ones, health experts and statisticians say that vastly undercounts the true toll. Families like Mrs. Singh’s have been left struggling to get compensation that some states have set up for Covid-19 victims.

India’s undercount has also left a huge gap in the world’s understanding of the impact of the Delta variant, which health experts believe helped drive one of the world’s worst Covid-19 surges in April and May. India was the first to detect the highly infectious variant, which has hopscotched around the world. It is fueling a surge in the U.K., and is expected to become the dominant variant in the U.S.

An accurate count of Covid-19 infections and deaths is “a very important part of understanding how big a threat new variants are,” said Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 27, 2021 at 6:41pm

Indian Americans and American Jews: Advancing a trilateral alliance
ndian-Jewish partnership in the United States isn’t a new story. It has been growing for years.
By JASON ISAACSON JULY 6, 2017 21:18

As an organization that has been deeply involved in promoting Indian-Israeli and Indian-US relations for a quarter- century, it was no surprise that American Jewish Committee played a role this week in the historic visit to Israel by the Indian prime minister – helping to organize programs at two Israeli think tanks, welcoming senior leadership of the Indian business community, and taking part in high-level meetings.
What may have been a surprise to some was the presence here of prominent figures in the Indian American community – notably M.R. Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is founder of the organization Indiaspora, and Dr. Bharat Barai, a Chicago physician and founder of the Global Indian- Jewish Relations Institute, who has been close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since before the Indian leader’s tenure as chief minister of Gujarat.

But Mr. Rangaswami, Dr. Barai and other Indian American leaders, true friends of Israel, were in exactly the right place. Both men, longtime partners of AJC in deepening Indian- Jewish intercommunal partnership in the United States, are committed advocates of the trilateral alliance – of India, Israel and the United States – that this week’s visit, combined with last week’s visit of Prime Minister Modi to Washington, promises to dramatically strengthen.
Indian-Jewish partnership in the United States isn’t a new story. It has been growing for years – the natural result of obvious cultural affinities and compatibilities, high-achieving minority group status, attachment to a distant ancestral homeland, and common fears of extremism. It has been championed over the years by US Indian and Jewish community activists, strategic thinkers, business leaders and political visionaries – including the late Rep. Stephen Solarz, the Brooklyn Democrat who once addressed the Indian parliament to a standing ovation, and former Rep. Gary Ackerman, driving force in the Congressional Caucus on India, who retired in 2013.
Together, a coalition of Indian Americans and American Jews that AJC was privileged to help assemble made the case to wary US lawmakers and nonproliferation activists for passage of the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, the turning point in strategic ties between New Delhi and Washington, which was sketched out by president George W.
Bush and prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005, announced in fuller detail in early 2006, but not adopted by Congress until late 2008. The long slog toward enactment, surviving international negotiations by nuclear regulators and breathtaking political brinkmanship in India, cemented working relations between the two communities.
Together, Indian Americans and American Jews have fiercely promoted the principles of pluralism and mutual respect – principles increasingly tested in the public arena.


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