India shining?

Published: May 30, 2011

NIDDERAU, GERMANY: This is with reference to Kuldip Nayar’s contributions to your newspaper, in particular his piece of May 30 titled “Fluctuating fortunes of Manmohan Singh.” He is a good writer and and is also very open and sympathetic to Pakistan and India having good ties. This is something that we Pakistanis should appreciate at a time when the whole world seems to ganging up against us.

I admire India’s road to democratic maturity and the fact that democratic process has not been disrupted once since 1947, something that unfortunately has not been the case with Pakistan. More important is the economic development taking place there. It is home to over 200 million Indians whose standard of living can be compared with those who live in the rich nations of the world.

That is one reason why many developed countries get into this market. However, there is another side of India, which needs immediate attention. Earlier this month, India’s Planning Commission, which helps sets economic policy, told the Supreme Court that the poverty line for the nation’s cities was INR 578 ($13) per person a month. The revelation has set off an angry debate in a country with soaring economic growth that has brought Ferrari dealerships and Louis Vuitton stores to cater to the new urban rich, but left hundreds of millions of others struggling without access to adequate food and clean water. The World Bank‘s global poverty line, at $1.25 a day or about $38 per month, is three times higher than India’s urban level. Local activists say a better name for India’s standard would be “the starvation line”. According to another report, over 40 per cent of India’s children are undernourished.

My point is that unless the leadership does not tackle such imbalance with more vigour, the progress can be halted and other more radical parties will emerge to upset the process.

Sharif Lone

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (3)

  • G. Din
    May 31, 2011 - 12:40AM

    The writer is absolutely right. Today’s news: 68% of India’s population to qualify for subsidized food. On the face of it, it would seem to be a good piece of news but it hides the fact that so many people need this kind of assistance. One should, however, keep the things in perspective. India has seen this kind of prosperity perhaps in a millennium or so. She just does not have the experience of dealing with such a situation. It is imperative that India pay much more attention to equitable distribution of the created wealth otherwise the writer’s fears may materialize soon.Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    May 31, 2011 - 4:54PM

    @G. Din:
    First you need to create wealth to distribute it.Recommend

  • sajjida
    Jul 18, 2011 - 10:28PM

    Indian tax collections have fallen during the boom period.
    Please see:
    Over the years, Central transfers to States as ratio to GDP stagnated and consequently, in view of the growing
    expenditure needs the dependency on own revenues increased. However, the growth of own tax
    revenues of almost all the States has been on the decline which has aggravated the pressure on the fiscal balances, and in course of time, became responsible for the decline in the quality of expenditure.
    Also aside from massive tx evasion, large segment (agriculture sector) is not taxed.
    Further the Govt’s spending priorities mean precious funds it has are spend on on wasteful things like nuclear power plants (obviously they never heard of WPPSS default in US) and its military sending boom and that space program.
    So where will the money come from to aid the majority of the poor. The reason poverty line is not accurate is too keep the mouths that have to be fed lower. You should have figured that out by now.


More in Letters