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Showing posts from February, 2018

Gujarat's developmental expenditure to grow 2% in 2018-19, non-developmental by 20%: State budget papers

By Rajiv Shah
Gujarat budget papers released by the state government in the assembly on Tuesday suggest that while the “developmental” expenditure for the forthcoming financial year, 2018-19, would rise by just about 2.46% over the previous year, 2017-18, the “non-developmental” expenditure, on the other hand, would grow by a whopping 20.2%.
If the budget papers are any guide, while making allocation for the developmental sector, the government has to set aside funds for such sectors like education, health, water supply and sanitation, welfare of scheduled castes and tribes, labour welfare, nutrition, agriculture and rural development, irrigation and flood control, energy, industry and mines and science and technology.
On the other hand, the funds allocated for non-developmental sector go towards the payment of mainly interest on loans taken by the government, payment of public debts, pension and other retirement benefits, and so on.
Interestingly, developmental expenditure is shown to ha…

Dalit women are top victims of domestic violence; more women justify husband beating wife than men: GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India (GoI) report, likely to create a major flutter among sociologists, women's rights activists and feminists, as also those claiming to be Dalit and tribal rights activists, has said that a whopping 24.6% scheduled caste (SC) women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence during the 12 months preceding a survey carried out to ascertain empowerment issues they face.
Suggesting that is the highest among all communities, the report reveals, 18.9% of scheduled tribe (ST) women experienced physical violence, which is the next highest, followed by other backward classes (OBCs) 21.1%. Data in the report further show that 12.8% Hindus, categorised as "Others", presumably other than SC, ST and OBC, experienced violence, which is lower compared to Muslims and Christians, both 14.9%, and Sikhs 14.4%.
Just about 11.8% Buddhist or neo-Buddhist women experienced violence, and even lower percentage of Jain women (8.7%) experienced violence, says the c…

As 23% of India’s population is still thirsting for electricity, USfoundation calls it a private business opportunity

By Rajiv Shah
At a time when the Government of India (GoI) has claimed that 99.4% of the country's villages have been electrified, but the GoI's powerful thinktank electrification, Niti Aayog, has pointed out that there are 304 million people who still lack access to electricity in its draft National Energy Policy (NEP), released in mid-2017, top US business interests have begun to see it as an opportunity.
Dr Rajiv J Shah, current president of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), who served as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2010 to 2015, has strongly pitched for "the fundamental role of public-private partnership to lift millions of Indian households out of poverty" by providing them electricity.
Shah was speaking at the India Energy Access Summit in Delhi on February 12, following which, a day later, he met Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar. At both the spots, he stressed on the need for strong private partnership …

Gujarat's 22% rural girls fail to attend school, worse than all states, including UP, Bihar: Govt of India report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India (GoI) report, released recently, has found that, despite much hype around girl child education through Kanya Kalavani Mahotsav – the annual school enrolment event launched by Narendra Modi as chief minister in Gujarat way back 2004 – the “model” state’s rural girls fare worse among all 21 major Indian states in schooling.
Based on a survey of all Indian districts (640 as per 2011 Census), the data in the report reveal that Gujarat’s 77.9% rural girls in the age group 6-17 attended school in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the years of the survey. This is worse than any other state, with Uttar Pradesh faring the next better. While the best performer is Kerala (97.7%), all so-called Bimaru states perform better than Gujarat.
The percentage of rural girls attending schools, for instance, is 82.9% in Jharkhand, 82.3% in Bihar, 81.1% in Odisha, 80.2% in Odisha, 79.9% in Madhya Pradesh, 79% in Rajasthan, and 78.5% in Uttar Pradesh – the states known for their allegedly…

Child care? Gujarat No 1 in institutional deliveries, but one of the poorest in other health indicators: GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
In a curious disclosure, a top Government of India (GoI) study, “Healthy States, Progressive India Report on the Ranks of States and Union Territories”, has found that, while “model” Gujarat ranks No 1 in institutional delivery of babies, in sex ratio at birth it is one of the worst – 854 girls as against 1000 boys.
Prepared by the GoI’s powerful policy-making body headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Niti Aayog, with the “technical” support of the World Bank, the report has found the “proportion of institutional deliveries” in Gujarat is a whopping 97.8%, much higher than Kerala (92.6%).
However, as for sex ratio, only two major Indian states perform worse than Gujarat: Uttarakhand (844/1000) and Haryana (831/1000).
The top policy-making body – which is headed by Amitabh Kant, a high-flying bureaucrat, who replaced well-known Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya – does not say what the reason is for this odd paradox.
Yet, the data do suggest that in under-five…

Top ex-Swiss diplomat Vögele deported from Ahmedabad airport as Modi opposed protectionism at WEF, Davos

By Rajiv Shah
A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted a powerful defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland (January 23), in a little known development, India's immigration officials deported a veteran Swiss ex-diplomat from Ahmedabad airport, allegedly without providing any reason as to why they were doing so.
Without naming US President Donald Trump, Modi had said, “Instead of globalization, the power of protectionism is putting its head up.
Bringing the "surprising" incident to light, Kurt Vögele, 75, in his letter dated January 29, 2018, to Sibi George, Indian Ambassador in Switzerland, Berne, says, "While arriving at Ahmedabad Airport I had an awfully bad experience: My visa, which I had obtained by end of December 2017 in Berne, was rejected by the immigration officials."
The letter, copies of which he has sent to Dr I Cassis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation; A Baum, Ambassador of Switzer…

More underweight, stunted children in Ahmedabad, Surat than other top Indian cities: Industry-sponsored study

By Rajiv Shah
A top Indian industrial house-sponsored study has found that, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “model” city Ahmedabad, 19.4% children aged 0-59 months are stunted, which is the highest among the 10 cities studied – Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, Pune and Jaipur.
Called “Urban HUNGaMA (hunger and malnutrition) Survey”, the study was recently released by Naandi Foundation, a Hyderabad-based non-profit.
Meaning “prevented from growing or developing properly”, Chennai fared the best of all the 10 cities, with 10% stunted children. Next to Ahmedabad is Delhi with 18.9% stunted children, followed by yet another Gujarat’s “model” city, Surat, with 16.9%, Hyderabad 15.7%, Mumbai 14.2%, Jaipur 13.7%, Kolkata 13.3%, Bangalore 12.8%, and Pune 12.3%.
Conducted to assess the nutrition status of children, the survey, sponsored by industrial house Mahindra & Mahindra and Swiss non-profit foundation Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN…