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Showing posts from July, 2017

Reliance thinktank report: Low calorific coal "required" for India's high economic growth, energy security

By Rajiv Shah
A top-ranking think tank attached with one of India's foremost business houses has warned that, despite the Government of India target have ensure that 40% of the energy needs would be fulfilled by renewable sources in about a decade, this is not going to happen over the next two decades or more.
Worse, the think tank report says, the use of coal, which currently accounts for 67% of India's energy needs, would go down maximum by 7%, reaching 60% about 20 years later. Rest of the 40% of the energy needs would, therefore, be met by not just renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.), but also by nuclear and hydro power plants.
The report approvingly quotes the International Energy Agency (IEA) as saying even the coal that would be used in India would be of low calorific value, producing high levels of greenhouse gases. It says, “The production of high and mid-energy coal (more than 4,200 kcal/kg) has stagnated in India, while the production of low energy coal (less than 4,…

The wavering Vaghela

By Rajiv Shah
It was April-end 2009. As part of a journalists’ group taken to “cover” Lok Sabha elections on the polling day, we visited Vasania, known more as Shankirsinh Vaghela’s village, about 20 km north of Gujarat capital Gandhinagar. Brisk polling was on. Talking to the villagers, we were pretty impressed: While Vaghela himself was fighting from a constituency which is about 150 km away, here everyone seemed to vote Congress, the party he quit his 77th birthday, July 21. A local scribe rushed out of the polling booth and told me: “Do you know? There is no BJP polling agent in the booth! All are Vaghela men. So no vote for the BJP!”
His “information” made me curious. I began inquiring from the Congress people, mostly youth, sitting a little way from the polling booth on what the reality was. One of them, whose main job was to provide slips to those going to the polling booth, told me quietly: “BJP people wouldn’t dare enter the polling booth. They dare not put up their tables outs…

Inequality index: India ranks 132nd among 152 countries because of "woefully low" health, education spending

By Rajiv Shah
A top international report has said that India fares “very badly, ranking 132 out of 152 countries in its commitment to reducing inequality – a very worrying situation given that the country is home to 1.2 billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.”
Compared to India, among the neighbours, Nepal ranks 81, Sri Lanka 138, Pakistan 139, and Bangladesh 141. Sweden ranks No 1, followed by Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Finland, Austria and France. United Kingdom ranks 17, South Africa 21, United States 23, Russia 85, and China 87.
Insisting that “unless they take concerted action now”, India and other countries ranking equally badly “will fail to end poverty and fail to make sustainable economic progress that benefits everyone in society”, the report, prepared by well-known UK-based NGO Oxfam in collaboration with the US-based Development Finance International, says that if India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be…

Payment to urban workers in Gujarat's small, petty enterprises worse than national average: NSSO

By Rajiv Shah
A new Government of India survey has revealed that urban Gujarat’s “unincorporated enterprises” – those which are not registered under the Companies Act, 1956 – are poor pay masters compared to as many as 10 states. Conducted in 2015-16 by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), the survey shows that Gujarat’s hired workers earned on an average Rs 90,146 per person per annum, which is less than the national average of Rs 92,441.
According to the survey, there are as many as 15,99,681 workers hired in urban Gujarat’s unincorporated enterprises, which is 7.5% of urban India’s hired workers (2,12,31,016) in the same category. The survey covers non-agricultural enterprises belonging to three manufacturing, trade and other services sectors, excluding construction.
In the Gujarat’s rural areas, there are 3,34,741 falling in the same category, forming 4.07% of India (8,20,4501). Ironically, Gujarat’s rural workers in these enterprises earned more than double the amount ea…

Noting 193% rise in India's military spending vs Pakistan's 111%, report finds 4 point rise in India's global peace index

By Rajiv Shah
In what may sound music to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Sydney-based non-profit organization, Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has said that over the last one year “India has moved up four positions in the overall ranking from 141st to 137th” in Global Peace Index (GPI).
Claiming that “this has largely been due to a reduction in level of violent crime, driven by increased law enforcement” within India, the EIP report, “Global Peace Index: 2017”, which has ranked 163 countries, however, believes that India’s continued poor ranking is on account of what it calls unrest in “Indian-administered Kashmir” in mid-2016, which “raised tensions between India and its neighbour Pakistan”.
The report comes amidst a sharp rise in protests across India against lynching incidents, leading to increasing concern of insecurity among minorities, especially Muslims.
Compared to India’s 137th ranking, among the neighbouring countries, Bhutan ranks 13th, Sril Lanka 80th, Bangladesh 84t…