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Women's suicide rate in Gujarat, two other states rises, as India's goes down by 23%: Wither UN's SDG targets?

By Rajiv Shah
In an important revelation, a recent study in one of the world’s most renowned health research journals, “Lancet”, has found that “model” Gujarat is one of the three states where the Suicide Death Rate (SDR) among women has gone up. The other two major states, whose women’s SDR has shown an upward trend during the 26-years study – 1990 to 2016 – period are Bihar and Rajasthan.
Pointing out that between 1990 and 2016 women’s SDR has increased by 4.1%, the data in the journal show that crude SDR for women in Gujarat 1990 was 15.4 per 100,000, which reached 16.0 per 100,000. The data is significant, because all other states but these three witnessed a sharp fall in women’s SDR.
What is equally significant is that, women’s all-India SDR stood at 19.4 per 100,000 in 1990, which was above that of Gujarat. However, in 2016, things turned topsy-turvy: The all-India women’s SDR in 2016 was 14.9 per 100,000, much lower than that of Gujarat, 16.0. Overall, India experienced a whopp…

Just 12% Gujarat households say Modi govt "committed" to fighting corruption, national average 31%: Survey

By Rajiv Shah
A 13-state survey carried out a Delhi-based non-profit organization, CMS India, has found that in “model” Gujarat’s just about 12% households households feel that the Narendra Modi government is “committed” towards reducing corruption, which is the lowest of all states, with the sole exception of Andhra Pradesh, where just about 2% of feel that way.
Things no better insofar as the Gujarat government, headed by chief minister Vijay Rupani, is concerned. The survey, involving a sample of 160 households from each of the 13 states, covering 10 to 12 rural and urban locations, finds that Gujarat’s 13% households feel that the state government is committed to reducing corruption. Only two states perform worse than Gujarat – Andhra Pradesh (1%) and Rajasthan (11%).
The survey report, titled “CMS-India Corruption Study 2018”, says, “Compared to previous year (2017), in 2018 round, the percentage who feel Union government is committed to rein duce corruption (31%), should be a mat…

India's 7% GDP growth leads to less than 1% job growth: 14-16% youth, highly educated are unemployed

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study “State of Working India 2018”, prepared by the Centre for Sustainable Employment of the Azim Premji University, has said that if in 1970s and 1980s, when GDP growth was around 3-4%, employment growth was around 2%, but “since the 1990s, and particularly in the 2000s, GDP growth has accelerated to 7% but employment growth has slowed to 1% or even less.”
Pointing out that today the situation has reached a point where a 10% increase in GDP would lead to “less than 1% increase in employment”, the study says, it calculates unemployment rate as “the share of the labour force that is not part of the workforce” – the reason being that “those above the age of 15 may be looking for work but are unable to find it for at least six months of employment.”
Calculated thus, the study says, in 2015 the unemployment rate was 5%, and stood at 5.7% in June 2018.
However, according to this study, “The unemployed are disproportionately young”, adding, “More than 60% of the…

India's Human Development Index loss due to inequality higher than most South Asian, BRICS countries

By Rajiv Shah
Fresh data released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), released this month, show that while India ranks 130 out of 189 countries in human development index (HDI), with HDI value of 0.640 on a scale of 1, this is “below the average of 0.645 for countries in the medium human development group”, even though it is “above the average of 0.638 for countries in South Asia.”
The briefing note on India for the UNDP’s “2018 Statistical Update” says, however, that when one adjusts inequality, things below South Asian average. Thus, while India’s overall HDI for 2017 is 0.640, “when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI (which is called Inequality-adjusted HDI or IHDI) falls to 0.468, a loss of 26.8 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices.”
The note underlines, as against India’s 26.8 percent loss, the “average loss due to inequality for medium HDI countries is 25.1 percent and for South Asia it is 26.1 percent.”
According…

India's top human rights defenders are facing reprisal for cooperating with United Nations: UN annual report

By Rajiv Shah
The United Nations (UN) secretary-general’s annual report to the ongoing 39th session of the Human Rights Council has taken strong exception to the manner the Government of India has been using “reprisals” against the human rights defenders who have been “cooperating” with the United Nations’ (UN’s) different panels.
Citing four major cases, the report says, one of them – reported by the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights this year – is of Khurram Parvez, who was detained under the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Public Safety Act, 1978, because his activities were allegedly “prejudicial to public order.”
The report recalls, in 2017, too, the secretary-general, had referred to “intimidation and reprisals” against Parvez, chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, and programme coordinator of Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS), in relation to his cooperation with the Human Rights Council, the Working Group on E…

India playing "wily games", it is seeking to overtake China with US help, says Chinese Communist Party daily

By Rajiv Shah
The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's powerful English language daily "Global Times" has taken strong exception to what it has called "twice-postponed two plus two ministerial dialogue between the US and India", which took place on September 6 in New Delhi, saying the meetings suggest "India views China as the main threat to its rise."
Referring to the talks held by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis with their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister Sushma e and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a strongly-worded opinion piece, "India playing wily game with US, Russia and China", the daily says, the aim of the dialogue is to not only "counterbalance and contain China with help of US strength", but also to "overtake China."
Written by Liu Zongyi, associated with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, …

Pellet guns have pushed hundreds of Kashmiris into darkness forever: Testimonies in "Time" report

By Rajiv Shah
The well-known American journal "Time", in a report exclusively focussed on the controversial use of the pallet guns to quell disturbances in the Kashmir Valley in 2016, taking the testimony of nine victims, has said that all of their scars, caused by what are called "non-lethal" weapons, have pushed them, as also hundreds others, fully or partially into "darkness."
"At first glance, their scars look like pockmarks. Some have their eyes closed; others have a far-away look, eyes glazed over. They could be gazing out at a distant view", the report by "Time" journalist Billy Perrigo, quoting testimonies collected by a freelance photographer from Italy, Camillo Pasquarelli, says, adding, "These Kashmiri men, women and children aren’t looking at anything. The darkness that surrounds them in Camillo Pasquarelli’s photographs surrounds them in life, too."
Recalling that in the seven months following militant leader Burha…

India third highest in gun-related deaths, firearm mortality rate "beats" China, Pakistan, Bangladesh: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A just released study has found that India has the distinction of having the third highest number of gun-related deaths out of 195 countries surveyed. Published by the American Medical Association, the study, released on August 28, shows that a total of 26,500 firearm-related deaths took place in India in 2016. Brazil tops the list with 43,200 deaths, followed by United States 37,200.
No doubt, India being the second most populated country in the world, it's firearm-related mortality rate per 100,000 is just 2.1 as against the Brazil's 18.4 per 100,000, and the United States' 10.6 per 100,000. However, interestingly, the firearm-related mortality rate per 100,000 in China, which is the most populous country in the world, is just 0.2, with absolute number of firearm deaths estimated at 2,910 in 2016.
Titled "Global Mortality From Firearms, 1990-2016", authored by Dr Mohsen Naghavi of the Global Health Department, Institute for Health Metrics and Evalu…

India's "missing" women: 52% women live with less than US$3.10/day, but it's 1 man out of 3, says US research

By Rajiv Shah
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in early 1990s, referring to fact that there are far more men than women in India, relative to developed countries, dubbed this as "the missing women phenomenon". The reasons he cited included sex-selective abortion and excess female mortality at early ages due to parental preferences for sons.
Conceding that Prof Sen's work was undoubtedly "seminal", a fresh research by an American scholar, taking the " missing women" phenomenon a little further, has sought to argue that close to half of missing women in India are of post-reproductive ages, i.e., 45 and above.
According to this researcher, "Unlike the missing girls phenomenon, excess female mortality at older ages in India has not received much attention and remains a puzzle", one reason why she seeks to explain the puzzle by examining "the critical connections" between women’s age and intra-household bargaining power, impacting health and …