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Showing posts from December, 2018

Noteban: Harvard, Goldman Sachs scholars bemoan lack of "authentic" growth data

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp observation, scholars of a recent high-profile study, "Cash and the Economy: Evidence from India's Demonetization", whose results have been widely reported, have bemoaned: That there is lack of authentic official data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the Government of India, forcing them to use “nightlights data”, a methodology usually adopted by top international scholars to assess socio-economic growth in highly underdeveloped countries of East Africa and parts of Asia, where no authentic ground level surveys are available to assess development.
Under this methodology, statisticians the world over use satellite images of earth’s nightlights to measure social and economic activity and provide data that can help determine socioeconomic indicators when no other reliable information exists where economic accounting systems are weak, or when satellite images are more frequently available than such data.
Says an Asia Development Bank (ADB) expert, …

Fading Hindutva? Changing times "impact" vulnerable participants in Gujarat riots

By Rajiv Shah
Has unease finally begun creeping into the majoritarian psyche, which got swayed under the powerful Hindutva wave that followed the 2002 Gujarat riots? It would seem so, if journalist and film-maker Revati Laul’s just released book, “The Anatomy of Hate”, is any indication. The book does not say so in so many words, yet suggests that disconcerting traits for the Sangh Parivar have even sneaked into those who directly or indirectly participated in the violence which engulfed the state 16 years ago.
The book, written in a narrative form, tells the story of the riots and their aftermath through three random but vulnerable individuals, two of whom, Suresh and Dungar, actually participated in the riots, in which more than 1,000 people, majority of them Muslims, were killed. While Suresh was served a 31-year jail sentence in 2012 for murder and rape in the Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad, Dungar, a Bhil adivasi from a village in Godhra district, has sent to prison on “charges o…

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.
I have known Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PRO Jagdish Thakkar, who passed away in New Delhi at the age of 72 on December 10, a Monday, after prolonged illness. I found him a PRO of a different type. One who was picked up to work as PRO by Congress’ Amarsinh Chaudhary, who was Gujarat chief minister between 1985 and 1989, he remained on the post, without a break, till Modi came to power.
Thakkar’s …

India's CO2 emissions projected to grow 6.3% in 2018, highest in the world: Study

By Rajiv Shah
An international interdisciplinary journal, “Earth System Science Data (ESSD)”, has raised the alarm that global fossil CO2 emissions in India grew at a rate of +5.2% per year on an average during the last one decade (2008-17), and are expected to grow even higher in 2018. Suggesting that this growth is higher than China’s CO2 emissions, an increase of +3.0%, an article in the journal says, while the global average for the decade was 1.5 % per year, the emissions decreased in the European Union (EU) countries by −1.8%.
Published by Copernicus Gesellschaft mbH, based in Göttingen, Germany, the research study by more than 50 scholars from across the world, led by Corinne Le Quéré, titled “Global Carbon Budget 2018”, however, says that even today India’s overall CO2 emissions contributed 7% to the global CO2 emissions in 2017, which was just below that of China (27 %), US (15 %), the EU (10%), with the rest of the world contributing 42%.  According to the study, if the CO2 em…

India's lag in doubling farm income vis-a-vis China, South-East Asia? Go authoritarian!

By Rajiv Shah
This should sound some music to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters: More than four years after he took over reins of power, the view appeared to have strong at an international scholars’ conference, held in Anand, Gujarat, that Modi should set aside democratic ways to achieve his declared intention to double farmers’ incomes, and instead adopt the type of means adopted by China to attain higher earnings.
Receiving surprising claps from the scholarly gathering from across India and abroad, though causing embarrassment to a section, which seemed shell-shocked, Dr Uma Lele, considered an “international policy expert” on water-related issues, approvingly quoted a Chinese expert with whom she interacted to say why democracies cannot work for achieving the lofty goal.
“I asked the expert why China could achieve such higher income levels and not India, and the reply I received was this – that in China there was no democracy, no vote bank politics, the Communist Par…