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Showing posts from June, 2015

Warning bells ring for India's top policy makers: IMF declares against trickledown theory, labour reforms

By Rajiv Shah
In an important research paper having major policy implications for India, International Monetary Organization (IMF) has declared that the “trickledown theory” -- which believes that economic growth would take care of poverty alleviation – is proving to be counter-productive. Top pro-Narendra Modi economist Arvind Panagariya, new vice-chairman of Planning Commission’s fresh avatar Niti Ayog (Policy Commission), and his Columbia University mentor, Prof Jagdish Bhagwati, are well known advocates of trickledown.
The IMF admits in its study, which encompasses both developed and developing countries, including India, that earlier IMF work had shown how income inequality “matters for growth and its sustainability”. But the top bankers now say, “Our analysis suggests that the income distribution itself matters for growth.”
The paper is titled “Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective”, and authored by Era Dabla-Norris, Kalpana Kochhar, Frantisek Ricka, N…

Gujarat's coastal management authority "fails" to act against corporates, is "indifferent" towards local people

By Rajiv Shah
A recent study by an independent Delhi-based policy research institute has pointed to complete failure of Gujarat government’s coastal management authority to act against top corporates’ open violations of environmental norms in the coastal region. Giving instances of coastal projects undertaken by industrial groups of Adani, Reliance and Essar, the study says, though the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) may take cognizance of some violations, it would generally “drop” the cases citing “various reasons.”
Providing figures to prove its point, the study, sponsored by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environmental Justice Program Centre for Policy Research, “CZMAs and Coastal Environments: Two decades of regulating land use change on India’s coastline”, says that the minutes of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) suggests in 2013 Gujarat’s state authority identified least number of cases of violations – 14 -- as compared to anywh…

Govt of India resettling Narmada dam oustees based on "flawed" calculation of possible massive floods in river

By Rajiv Shah
In a major revelation, an independent Fact-Finding Team on Sardar Sarovar Project's (SSP's) submergence areas has said, on the basis of its recent field visit to SSP-affected villages, that Government of India (GoI) has completely ignored in its calculations several of the areas in Madhya Pradesh which may face massive submergence because of unprecedented floods.
Official calculations have estimated that "backwater levels" because of extraordinay flooding (once in 100 years) in the area on the upstream of Narmada dam, when it reaches the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres, would never go beyond 144.92 metres. Based on this, only those who lived below the 144.92 level were allowed resettlement and rehabilitated.
Finding the calculations flawed, the team, which visited villages situated between Indore and and Badwani off Mumbai-Agra highway, by the banks of Narmada river, said in its report that, contrary to the calculation made by the GoI agency Central W…

Gujarat social sector spending poor, not commensurate with economic growth: RBI

By Rajiv Shah
Gujarat government’s claim that its social sector expenditure has been on a radical upswing – an urgent requirement considering the state’s known poor performance in health, education, water resources and poverty alleviation – appears to have gone phut. If the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) document “State Finances: A Study of Budgets 2014-15”, is any guide, Gujarat ranks 14th among 18 non-special category states in spending funds for the social sector, despite a high rate of growth.
Measured as proportion to Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the state’s social sector expenditure in 2014-15 was 6.4 per cent of the GSDP in the financial year 2014-15, RBI data show. As per cent of GSDP, the poorer states have performed much better, suggests RBI, with Bihar topping the list with 15.1 per cent of the GSDP, followed closely by Chhattisgarh (14.7 per cent).
On the other hand, “richer” states, following Gujarat, have equally formed poorly -- Maharashtra speding 6.1 per cen…

Screened around the world, film on Indians taken as slave labourers by British to far away Jamaica has few takers in India

By Rajiv Shah
While it is well known that Africans were taken as slave labourers to Americas in 18th and 19th century, few know that the British enslaved Indians, too, taking them all the way to Jamaica to work in sugar and banana plantations. A unique documentary, “Dreadlocks Story”, written, directed and produced by Linda A├»nouche, ethnographer-researcher and cultural analyst, has highlighted this unknown fact by tracing the cultural roots the Indians who over the last about two centuries have mixed with the Africans in Jamaica, a Caribbean island.
Screened in Holland, the UK, the US, the Cayman Islands, Hungary, Croatia, Belize and Poland, but still unable to find audience in India, a writeup on the film says, the documentary highlights the culture of the enslaved Indians in a new light. It particularly shows the “spiritual history” behind the dreadlocks hairstyle, pointing towards how it has its roots into the Indian sadhu tradition and how it became a symbol of fight against enslav…