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BPO Backlash
<b>US bank withdraws offers from H-1B grads</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It did not take long for the chilling effect of new restrictions on hiring skilled foreign workers on H-1B visas to be felt. <b>Bank of America has withdrawn job offers to foreign MBA students set to graduate from U.S. business schools</b>.

<b>“Recent changes made it necessary for Bank of America to rescind job offers it had made to students requiring H-1B sponsorship,” </b>bank spokeswoman Sara Bloomquist told HT.

The $787-billion stimulus bill virtually bars banks and other companies receiving bailout money from hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas if they have laid off Americans.

The Financial Times said the number of international students affected by the move is thought to be no more than 50. But other banks could follow suit. The restrictive language was inserted by Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo: Obama</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hitting hard at the current taxation system, to which he had been very critical since his election days and as a Senator, Obama said: "It's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York."

Reiterating his campaign rhetoric, the US President said: "The way we make our businesses competitive is not to reward American companies operating overseas with a roughly 2 per cent tax rate on foreign profits; a rate that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year."

Obama said he wants US companies to remain most competitive in the world. "But the way to make sure that happens is not to reward our companies for moving jobs off our shores or transferring profits to overseas tax havens," he argued.

Announcing a set of proposals to crack down on illegal overseas tax evasion, close loopholes, and make it more profitable for companies to create jobs in the US, Obama said his series of tax reforms would save $210 billion in the next 10 years.

This flows from Section 9 of the Income-Tax Act, which says, “income accruing or arising directly or indirectly, through or from any business connection in India, shall be deemed to be income accruing or arising in India, and hence, where the person entitled to such income is a non-resident, it will be includable in his total income”. A BPO can be treated as a business connection.
[size="4"][/size][color="#FF0000"][/color]In voice, many customers prefer the Philippines, a country that has been a US naval base and is hence culturally far closer to the US than India has been. India has already lost tens of thousands of jobs to this Pacific Ocean nation.

India had over 3 lakh call agents in 2007 when the Philippines had just half of that. Today, India and the Philippines have an equal strength of 3.5 lakh people in voice BPO.

[url="http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/jan/25/slide-show-1-h-1b-visa-holders-being-deported-from-port-of-landing.htm"]H-1B visa-holders being deported from port of landing![/url]
Quote:George Joseph in New York

Several Indians who arrived with an H-1B visa at Newark and John F Kennedy airports were deported based on a new rule, immigration attorneys and activists have reported.

The new rule stipulates that those who arrive on a work visa should 'arrive at the place of work'.

The rule could seal the fate of thousands of Indians who have applied for Green Card too.

[size="5"]It could bring an end to consultation, termed by some as 'body-shopping'[/size]. Airport deportations have frightened those on work visas and many have canceled their travel plans, too.

"The airport deportations," Morley Nair, an immigration attorney based in Philadelphia, "have sent shockwaves through the H-1B community. H-1B employers, employees and their attorneys alike are flabbergasted by this brazen act of official highhandedness where individuals arriving on H-1B visas were singled out even before their primary immigration inspection, put through sham questioning, forced into making coercive statements, issued expedited removal orders, and sent back."
Quote:New York attorney Cyrus Mehta explained what happened in Newark in his column. 'On one fateful day, January 11, when Continental Airlines Flight 49 landed in Newark from Mumbai, we know that CBP officer Matt McGirr and his colleagues, hunted through the lines for Indian H-1B workers even before they showed up for primary inspection. Their minds were made up. No detailed questions were asked.'

'The moment they found Indian H-1B workers who uttered that they were working at a client site in the IT field, their fates were sealed. They were subjected to expedited removal (ER) orders and sent back to India. Some were luckier and escaped the ER order, but still had to withdraw their applications for admission to the US. Nevertheless, they were all coerced into making statements under threat of being detained. Officials also made remarks as to why the H-1B workers, earned more than US workers and (said) should not be paid so much.'

When one is sent back by an ER order, he cannot come back for another five years. Those who withdraw their application to enter the United States and go back with their money can come back soon with a new visa stamp or for a new employer. Attorneys have decided to take up the issue with the authorities.
Hello everyone!

I'm a British final year MSc IT student writing my dissertation on:-

"How attractive will offshoring of IT to India be over the next 5 years?"

If you work in IT, ITES, BPO, KPO or similar offshoring/outsourcing related fields or you have an insight into offshoring/the Indian economy I'd love to hear from you.

Firstly, I need to collect data on the views of the firms, experts and workers involved in offshoring to India. For this purpose, I've devised a survey.


I may also want to interview people who have a specific or detailed insight.

I could also do with a little help finding people to contribute.

If it's of interest to you, I'd be happy to share my research results as a thank you.

Please contact me: philblakeman@hotmail.co.uk

And thank you!

Phil Blakeman
[quote name='Phil Blakeman' date='17 June 2010 - 02:07 AM' timestamp='1276720173' post='107009']

Hello everyone!

I'm a British final year MSc IT student writing my dissertation on:-

"How attractive will offshoring of IT to India be over the next 5 years?"

If you work in IT, ITES, BPO, KPO or similar offshoring/outsourcing related fields or you have an insight into offshoring/the Indian economy I'd love to hear from you.

Firstly, I need to collect data on the views of the firms, experts and workers involved in offshoring to India. For this purpose, I've devised a survey.


I may also want to interview people who have a specific or detailed insight.

I could also do with a little help finding people to contribute.

If it's of interest to you, I'd be happy to share my research results as a thank you.

Please contact me: philblakeman@hotmail.co.uk

And thank you!

Phil Blakeman


Thank you for your interest.

From what I have read the global share of IT in India is still very small (~5%), so I expect continued growth. I expect the Indian outsourcing industry to keep growing at atleast 16% or so each year (which is slower than before, but that was from a much lower base). Also remember that India's GDP will grow from $1.5 Trillion in 2010 to $4.5 Trillion in 2020. The Indian IT industry will also start shifting from being heavily export oriented to supporting this huge internal economy.
Thanks for the post. There's a wealth of literature out there which I've spent months reading - NASSCOM reports have been especially useful. So I already have what I think is a reasonably extensive literature view. I have to say India is a fascinating country <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />

What I really need to do is conduct original research in a structured manner - hence the survey.

The personal opinions of Indian IT/ITES/BPO, etc workers is essential in providing a balanced view. I have lots of views from 'experts' (many now living in USA, UK, Australia, etc), I need to hear from the people who are actually there doing this kind of work!

Please check out the survey, express your views and tell anyone else who might want to get involved.


[url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/US-senator-s-remarks-on-Infosys-unfortunate-Govt/H1-Article1-584816.aspx"]US senator's remarks on Infosys unfortunate: Govt[/url]
Quote:He was responding to a concern raised Shantaram Laxman Naik (Cong) on the remarks by Democrat Senator of New York Charles E Schumer.

Sharma said while MPs and senators in different countries have right to make observations, "Indian IT industry has made notable contribution and has acknowledged global presence."

Participating in a debate on the Trademark bill, Naik said, "The US senator referred to our company as a 'chop shop'. We never called US a 'banana republic' when it was facing the worst global economic crisis...we could have called Union Carbide as 'slaughter house', but we didn't say so."

Criticising companies outsourcing American jobs, Schumer had last week described Infosys as a "chop shop", a place where stolen cars are dismantled and parts sold separately.

Chucky is just looking for Hafta from Infosys. Infosys, just hire Chucky lobby firm and relax. <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Big Grin' />
"In FY 2009, Indian tech companies used 4,809 new H-1B visas, which equals to 0.003 per cent of the US civilian labour force, less than 1/100th of 1 per cent," it said, adding "Moreover, H-1B use by Indian companies has declined by 70 per cent between 2006 and 2009."

The new H-1Bs used by Indian companies represented only about six per cent of total initial beneficiaries (new employment), according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the report said.

"When information technology services companies whether Indian or non-Indians perform work in the United States it is only because US companies believe such work makes their businesses more profitable," it said.

Read more: India not taking American jobs: US Chamber - International Business - Business - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/busin...z0wl8v0GAy

Dr S. Chakraborty

A. P. C Ray Polytechnic




Representing a market with cost-demand-supply curve, I think its only a generalization. I tried with feedback control loop and I found a better structure. I put cost, supply, demand and feedback (negative or positive feedback) factors as sets the blocks so that cost of a product is the input, supply as the feed- forward factor and feedback parameters as the closed loop feedback factors.

The feedback parameters are suggested as:

1) Production cost (production, advertisement & shipping).

2) Government intervention, technology viability and appraisal.

3) Company goodwill.

4) Profit.

5) Market ethics ( honest or dishonest)

6) Monopoly or oligopoly

7) Target people

8) Social welfare

9) Improvement of product quality, future speculation

10) Downstream industries

11) Political compulsions

12) Worker education, ethics & welfare

13) User’s market education

… and so many.

I feel such a network can ever be demonstrated and solved by closed loop feedback or feed- forward network.

Immediately, I found something very striking. If each person is considered to be an intelligent neuron, he will elect or reject a product from other person ( another neuron) depending on all those parameters describe earlier. So, a network is grown up with each moment as new neurons will join it with completely new selection or rejection procedures of a product.

Definitely, this structure will be more matured day by day with novelty of intelligent solutions.

Moreover the more intelligent persons joining the network, well, I see the first globally unified and fully man made intelligent entity.

I can’t exactly tell you what will be the probable convergence of the network. But, one thing I know that I have grown up from a child to an independent man at every next instant of my life as I became more and more matured.

I represent a country where nearly free market economy lasted for over 3500 years, until it ended due to the one cause of excessive obsession of Indian economy to a few particular type of products.

This network when grown up needs no monitoring and believes in the exchange of products and thoughts of each unit to another unit at every next instant reaching a new maturity level.

Lastly, to me, the more each man will pay respect to each and every other man’s selection and rejection procedure of a product the more quickly the network will reach maturity with enhanced sustainability.
Here is the result of free market:

"There was a time when my family used to start making Diwali products two to three months before the festival. People now are more interested in fancy and cheap lights from China," says Lal. According to traders, the popularity of China-made fancy lights is because of their cheap prices and the wide variety available.

A Chinese string of 100 tiny bulbs can be bought in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 70. Lights in the shape of pineapples, pomegranates, rice and net stars among others are seen to be popular among buyers. http://news.in.msn.com/national/article....335&page=4
[url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/IT-industry-cries-foul-over-latest-US-visa-fee-increase/H1-Article1-642471.aspx"]IT industry cries foul over latest US visa fee increase[/url]
Quote:The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, passed by the US Congress late on Wednesday, aims to raise $4.3 billion over the next five years by taxing goods and services sourced from countries like India, China and Thailand.

"The move is inconsistent with the statements exchanged during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India," Wipro executive vice-president Suresh Senapathy said.

The visa fee on Indian techies was hiked earlier in August to fund border security. The new healthcare law seeks to meet the treatment costs for people who fell ill while clearing the World Trade Centre debris at Ground Zero in New York.

"As long as unemployment is high, there will be pressure on politicians and government to do something. Unfortunately, their focus is on immigrants," Gopalakrishnan said.

"The consolation is the new Act will be applicable for five years (till 2015) as against the 10-year timeframe stipulated in the bill," Senapathy said.
[url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/americas/Thousands-of-H-1B-visas-lie-unused/Article1-642860.aspx"]Thousands of H-1B visas lie unused[/url]
Quote:The US Congress may hope to offset costs for providing health care for 9/11 responders through extending the penalty on companies where more than half the employees are on H1B or L1 work visas and through an exports cess, but at least in the case of the once-coveted H1B that move may already have boomeranged.
[size="3"] I did not find any other thread focused on this aspect, and so[/size][size="3"] am starting this topic with the idea of collating news and views on political manipulation of indicators ([/size][size="3"]data/statistics)[/size][size="3"] of economics and socioeconomics to the detriment of the common people and/or the national economy.

International news related to this topic can also serve to highlight various facets of such gaming.

[size="3"]X-posting my post from thread Demographic Politics And Population Growth - 2

[size="3"][url="http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-10-01/edit-page/30230007_1_underweight-children-maternal-mortality-mortality-rate"]The child malnutrition myth[/url]: TOI, [/size][size="3"]Oct 1, 2011[/size]

[indent][size="3"][quote name="ARVIND PANAGARIYA (Professor, Columbia University)"]In the early 2000s, when the 55th (1999-2000) round of the expenditure survey showed a surprisingly sharp decline in poverty over its predecessor survey, the reform critics descended on the finding like a ton of bricks. Their critique eventually led to a healthy debate, important new research and eventual downward revision in poverty reduction numbers by the reform advocates themselves.[/size]

[size="3"]In total contrast, almost no objections have been raised to the absurdly high estimates of malnutrition in India trumpeted by journalists, NGOs, politicians and international institutions within and outside India. Not a day goes by without some TV channel or newspaper running the headline that the world's fastest growing economy suffers worse malnutrition than sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).[/size]

[size="3"]In terms of vital statistics such as life expectancy at birth, infant mortality and maternal mortality, India fares better than all except one or two of the SSA countries with comparable or lower per capita incomes. So it is puzzling that, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, it suffers from higher proportion of underweight children than every one of the 48 SSA countries and higher rate of stunting than all but seven of them. Such countries as the Central African Republic, Chad and Lesotho, which have life expectancy at birth of just 48 years compared with India's 65, have lower rates of stunting and underweight.[/size]

[size="3"]If you still do not believe the absurdity of these malnutrition numbers, compare Kerala and Senegal. Kerala exhibits vital statistics edging towards those in the developed countries: life expectancy of 74 years, infant mortality rate of 12 per 1,000 live births and maternal mortality rate of 95 per 1,00,000 live births. The corresponding figures for Senegal are far worse at 62, 51 and 410, respectively. But nutrition statistics say that Kerala has 25% stunted children compared to 20% of Senegal and 23% underweight children relative to 14.5% of the latter. In Punjab, which has a life expectancy of 70 years and is the breadbasket and milk dairy of India, 37% of children are stunted and 25% underweight.[/size]

[size="3"]To make sense of this nonsense, we must look at how the stunting (and underweight) rates are calculated. To classify a child of a given age and sex as stunted, we must compare his height to a pre-specified standard. The WHO sets this standard. In the early 2000s, it collected a sample of 8,440 children representing a population of healthy breastfed infants and young children in Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the United States. This "reference" population provided the basis for setting the standards.[/size]

[size="3"]As expected, when comparing children of a given age and sex even within this healthy sample, heights and weights differed. Therefore, some criterion was required to identify stunting and underweight among these children. In each group defined by age and sex, the WHO defined the bottom 2.14% of the children according to height as stunted. The height of the child at 2.14 percentile then became the standard against which children of the same age and sex in other populations were to be compared to identify stunting. A similar procedure applied to weight.[/size]

[size="3"]The key assumption underlying this methodology is that if properly nourished , all child populations would produce outcomes similar to the WHO reference population with just 2.14% of the children at the bottom stunted and underweight. Higher rates of stunting would indicate above normal malnutrition. So the million-dollar question is whether this assumption really holds for the population of children from which the estimate of half of Indian children being stunted is derived?[/size]

[size="3"]As it happens, the answer to the question can be found buried in a 2009 study published by the government of India. The latest estimate for stunting in India has been derived from the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3). The report draws a highly restricted sample from the fuller NFHS-3 sample consisting of 'elite' children defined as those 'whose mothers and fathers have secondary or higher education, who live in households with electricity, a refrigerator, a TV and an automobile or truck, who did not have diarrhoea or a cough or fever in the two weeks preceding the survey, who were exclusively breastfed if they were less than five months old, and who received complementary foods if they were at least five months old'.[/size]

[size="3"]If the assumption that proper nutrition guarantees the same outcome as the WHO reference population is true, the proportion of stunted children in this sample should be 2.14%. But the study reports this proportion to be above 15%! The assumption is violated by a wide margin.[/size]

[size="3"]The implication of this and other facts is that Indian children are genetically smaller on average. A competing hypothesis - which says that nutrition improvements may take several generations - fails to explain how, without a genetic advantage, the far poorer SSA countries, which lag behind India in almost all vital statistics, could have pulled so far ahead of India in child nutrition. Moreover, the trend of the stunting proportions based on WHO standards, available for India since the late 1970s, would suggest that nearly all those born in the 1950s or before - the writer included - are stunted![/size]

[size="3"]Either way, the statistic that half of Indian children today are stunted needs to be viewed far more sceptically and investigated more deeply. The right treatment requires a right diagnosis.[/size]


[size="3"][url="http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/right-and-wrong/entry/everyone-loves-a-good-poverty-business"]Everyone loves a good poverty business[/url] : TOI, 09 October 2011

[indent][size="3"][quote name="SWAPAN DASGUPTA"]It is bad form to see the farcical side of an issue as grave and distressing as India’s poverty line: the grim Jacobins of the National Advisory Council would promptly call for the tumbril. Yet, there are two inescapable conclusions from last week’s angry debate over the Planning Commission’s affidavit identifying the poverty line as a spending capacity of Rs 26 and Rs 32 for rural and urban India respectively.

The first, which is likely to be seen as absolutely heretical for a country that has become the world’s foremost supplier of economists, should be obvious: managing the economy is too serious a matter to be left to economists.

It certainly didn’t need a familiarity with complex econometric models and either Keynes or Hayek to realize that the Planning Commission’s extrapolation from the Suresh Tendulkar method of poverty measurement was just another example of economists living in a make-believe wonderland. The wise men of Yojana Bhavan had once again demonstrated to the public’s satisfaction that after lies and damned lies comes statistics.

The second conclusion is one that should, ironically, give enormous satisfaction to the beleaguered Montek Singh Ahluwalia who has been charged by irate NAC members with harbouring notions of the infallibility of World Bank economics. Why, it needs to be asked, does India need a Planning Commission? The question is not necessarily related to the obvious redundancy of an institution that was empowered to implement India’s transition from colonial backwardness to a ‘socialistic’ pattern of society. This becomes more relevant in the context of tell-tale evidence that the empirical basis of planning is horribly flawed.

Many years ago, professor Jagdish Bhagwati—a refugee from the stifling left-wing consensus in the economics departments of Indian universities—had argued that “any elementary mistake in economics can be turned into a profound truth by ingenuously making the right assumptions to deduce what you want.” India, he went on to suggest, “suffered the tyranny of anticipated consequences from the wrong premises.” In plain English this meant that India was practising voodoo economics.

Those with long memories may recall the curious debate that preceded the introduction of colour TV to coincide with the 1982 Asian Games. The Planning Commission questioned the wisdom of apportioning Rs 300 crore to a “low priority” scheme. The scepticism was based on the assumption that the initial demand for colour TV sets would not exceed 10,000. However, Yojana Bhavan underestimated the initial demand by more than 1,000%—a testimony of its understanding of popular aspirations.

What the country has been witnessing over the past week is an elaborate ideological game aimed at putting brakes on the growth of a market economy. Never mind the patent absurdity of the Planning Commission’s poverty line, what is equally unseemly is the competitive poverty hunt involving economists, NGOs and politicians. Concern for India, it would seem, is being measured by a grotesque head count of the “poor and vulnerable”. The more you count, the better for the soul.

Subscribing to the Planning Commission’s 26-32 measure is, of course, the ultimate proof of heartlessness, since it assumes that poverty has actually been declining, from 48% in 1990 to 32% in 2011. At the midway point of the index of radicalism is the estimate by a committee headed by NAC member N C Saxena that suggests 50% of India lives below the poverty line. Finally, for those completely unreconciled to the dismantling of the pre-1991 regime of controls, there is the report by the late Arjun Sengupta, a Congress econocrat of the socialist variety, that damns the retreat from the licence-permit raj by putting the numbers of the “poor and vulnerable” at a whopping 77%.

It is a commentary on the claims of economics to be a “social science” that estimates of the poor in India range from 32% to 77%. The scale of inexactitude isn’t surprising and can be explained by the social entrepreneurship potential of the poverty business. It is soul destroying to be poor but it is criminal to keep people in poverty because it suits the permanently aggrieved.[/quote]

[size="3"][url="http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/entry/soya-magic-and-desi-marie-antoinettes"]Soya magic and desi Marie Antoinettes[/url] : TOI, 09 October 2011

[indent][size="3"][quote name="SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR"]Many idealists and TV anchors favour highly subsidized rice and wheat for all consumers, not just the poor. They draw no lessons from Indira Gandhi’s failed attempt to do exactly this in her Garibi Hatao phase.

India’s nutritional indicators are terrible. Child malnutrition, anaemia and vitamin deficiency are among the worst in the world. However, in NSSO surveys only 2% of Indians say they don’t get enough to eat. Malnutrition is a bigger problem than hunger.

The populist notion that everybody is entitled to subsidized food is wrong. Why on earth should Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata have such entitlements? Or even our burgeoning middle class, which has done so well in the last two decades?

“Cheap food for all” is a regrettable populist slogan. It sounds idealistic, but in practice means continuing with a failed public distribution system that engenders monumental waste and corruption.

Cash transfers to the poor could combat malnutrition better. However, activists are right in saying that targeting the poor is problematic—unworthy folk get included and many of the poor get excluded. The answer, surely, is self-targeting--providing benefits that only the needy will apply for. Historically, this has been the logic of rural employment schemes too.

In the case of food, self-targeting should aim for universal provision of highly nutritious but unfamiliar foods. One example would be a 70:30 mix of wheat and soya flour, fortified with iron and vitamins. Better-off people will not opt for such an unfamiliar food, but the needy will do so and benefit greatly. Diversion to the open market will fetch little profit, and so decrease.

Many people are dead against this. They say the poor should not be asked to eat things like soya and husk. Alas, this simply reflects ignorance and prejudice against soya.

It may be an unfamiliar food, but to equate it with husk and agricultural waste is ridiculous. The Chinese make bean curd from soya, and bean curd is served in 5-star hotels. Again, 5-star hotels have dishes like tofu salad, also made from soya. Chinese and American millionaires eat soya. Only in India do people view it, wrongly, as fit only for animals.

After extracting oil, soya meal has 48% protein, twice as much as dal and four times as much as wheat. This extremely nutritious food can combat widespread protein deficiency. Best will be a soya-wheat mix, fortified with iodine, iron and vitamin A (to combat goitre, anaemia and vitamin deficiency). Unlike rice or wheat, this fortified mix will attack nutritional deficiencies, which are far bigger problems than hunger.

Soya-wheat rotis will resemble missi roti, made of wheat and dal flour, and widely eaten in Uttar Pradesh. Missi roti is a superior food, costing much more than plain roti. So, a soya-wheat mix can be popularized as missi soya roti.

India started growing soyabeans only in the 1980s, mainly for its oil. After extracting oil, the solid residue was mainly exported, or used as animal food precisely because its high protein content increased meat and milk production. But in a poor country with massive malnutrition this represents a terrible waste of a highly nutritious food, which is also viewed as a high-class food in China and the US. It should be the duty of activists to popularize this valuable food to combat malnutrition. Instead many of them incorrectly view soya as fit for animals.

Middle class idealists favoring rice and wheat say on TV that we should all eat the same food. This is deeply hypocritical. Most of these idealists are rich enough to eat chicken, mutton and fish. If they really believe in everybody eating equally, they should offer tandoori chicken and fried fish to the poor. Rather like Marie Antoinette.

It’s wrong to provide subsidized rice to all. Rice is the most expensive cereal, so a basic right to rice is halfway to a basic right to cake (favoured by Marie Antoinette). Rice guzzles water and lowers the water table terribly in states using tubewell irrigation. So, drinking water wells used by the poor go dry, and shallow tubewells of small farmers also run dry. Thus, rice has impoverishing side-effects. Subsidizing its cultivation and consumption is ethically wrong, not just bad economics.

Populist politicians, TV anchors and activists nevertheless back rice over soya to satisfy consumers unaware or dismissive of the nutritional and environmental consequences. This may mean more malnutrition, but it will also fetch far more votes and media attention. Thus does good sense get trumped by populism. When so many influential people implicitly favour malnutrition, why be surprised at its high prevalence?[/quote]

[size="3"][url="http://dailypioneer.com/pioneer-news/oped/11531-design-behind-counting-the-poor.html"]Design behind ‘counting’ the poor[/url]: The Pioneer, 07 October 2011

[indent][size="3"][quote name="JAYSHREE SENGUPTA"]The Planning Commission's Rs 32 absurdity was not a simple academic exercise, but smacked of Soviet-era hoodwinking. By keeping hundreds of millions out of the ‘poverty zone’, UPA-II hoped to reduce subsidies for the purpose of presenting a more ‘balanced' Budget [/size][size="3"]
It is futile to count the poor or divide them into categories because in India all the people who are poor suffer from multiple deprivations. Yet this exercise of defining the poor by drawing a poverty line has been undertaken many times in the past and according to the last officially accepted count — the Suresh Tendulkar Committee report —37.2 per cent of the population is poor at 2004-05 prices. In a bid to reduce the number of poor who are eligible for State support in food and health, the Planning Commission has recently come up with a benchmark in its affidavit to the Supreme court which states that anyone earning `32 a day or above in a city is not to be regarded as poor and a rural person with a daily income of `24 is, likewise, not poor. The Supreme Court wanted to know the Planning Commission’s response to a Public Interest Litigation moved by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, which had wanted to make the thresholds higher for defining poverty, whether it applies caps (cut off points) in estimating the number of below-poverty-line households, and what was the rationale for such caps. Fortunately, this ridiculously low estimate will not be used in determining the eligibility for entitlements under various centrally-sponsored poverty alleviation schemes and the government is going to wait for the Socio-Economic caste data collected by the NSSO for identifying the poor.[/size]

[size="3"]Though the Planning Commission went by the Tendulkar formula, `32 and `24 look extremely low at today’s prices and high inflation, and especially if we take into account that these amounts include other items of daily life like education and health . We also cannot say that someone is not poor just because he or she has a mobile phone, or has a few decent clothes, a small TV and is not actually starving. Today the poor are rather invisible in big cities because they usually do not live within the city prescient. They commute in buses, cycles or trains to cities and do menial jobs as domestic helps, construction workers, labourers and cleaners. They can be seen in buses and railway stations, in crowded bazaars and construction sites. Just because we cannot see them around us, it does not mean that there are fewer poor. They not only earn meager wages, they earn nothing when sick. Their children do not get regular schooling and if they are ill, they have to queue up in public hospitals for hours. In villages, the poor lead dreary, unbearably hard lives.[/size]

[size="3"]But one can understand why the government is so keen to proclaim that India is not a poor country and that extreme poverty is on the decline. This is because in the aftermath of the recent global financial crisis the main winners seem to be India and China. While China is lacking in democracy, India is still burdened with corruption and many shades of poverty and human deprivation. The economic reforms have made millions richer and have created a huge middle class in India. But they have not benefited the poorest of the poor. And millions of SC/ST and OBC population still belong to the deprived and poor category. That India still officially has nearly 400 million poor is a blot on India’s growth story which is hard to explain and difficult to accept. China, on the other hand, has been able to reduce poverty drastically to 2.8 per cent and is able to give basic public goods and amenities to a vast majority of the population. It has almost 100 per cent literacy and its labour force is disciplined and skilled. All these crucial ingredients are lacking in India right now and could derail India’s bid for global economic power.[/size]

[size="3"]Poverty is not just a lack of adequate daily cereal consumption which, incidentally, is also declining according to some noted economists. It is also about the low quality of food and protein intake which impairs body and brain development. Food inflation of the last few years is going to take a toll on the proteins consumed by the poor and this is going to further increase the number of malnourished children in the future. India has the highest number of malnourished children under the age of five in the world, much worse than sub-Saharan Africa. [/size]

[size="3"]Clearly for the government, malnutrition of children, and the growing inequality of income are sources of worry and fear. For years there have been poverty alleviation programmes and the government has given subsidies to the poor that have been termed as a drain on public expenditure. [/size][size="3"]Subsidised food, fertilisers and healthcare never seemed to reach the real poor.[/size][size="3"] Now the government is afraid of sovereign debt like in Greece, Spain and Ireland. It is interested in reducing subsidies and the fiscal deficit. Perhaps one of the reasons behind showing that India has less number of poor is the government’s obsession with balancing the budget and it feels that if it could “prove” that there are fewer poor, it may be free to cut subsidies. [/size][size="3"]Already the target for public expenditure has been exceeded and the fiscal deficit crossed 66 per cent of the yearly target in just five months of the current financial year. The government would have to go in for `528 billion in public borrowing. Also, after the financial crisis of 2008, the government first gave sops and incentives and stimulus packages. But when it led to inflation, it resorted to monetary and fiscal tightening. This has resulted in the recent industrial slowdown.[/size]

[size="3"]Monetary tightening has hit small enterprises hardest because interest rates have been raised 12 times in the past 18 months and has made loans very expensive. Many marginal farmers are facing serious problems because of high cost of farm inputs. Reeling under inflation many poor and marginal farmers are becoming poorer. There are 93 million people living in slums and have very poor quality of life. They have little access to clean drinking water, sanitation and sewage. They also spend a good part of their incomes on bribing public authorities. They would welcome subsidised food in order to save money for something else which is important to them like education of children and better private healthcare. Everyday some family or other is receding into poverty due to some unforeseen calamity or illness. One big illness can lead a family to below poverty line and 20 million people are becoming poor every year due to such illnesses. Even if it is only for academic reasons, setting absurdly low cut off points to demarcate the poor, the Planning Commission has undertaken an insensitive exercise.[/quote][/size]

[size="3"][url="http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Government-project-prevents-1-lakh-fresh-HIV-cases-in-five-years/articleshow/10308234.cms"]Government project prevents 1 lakh fresh HIV cases in five years[/url] : TOI, Oct 11, 2011

Quote:NEW DELHI: About 100, 000 fresh HIV cases among the general population were averted in India in five years by targeting the most vulnerable section. [color="#9932cc"]{ oh reallyeeee...? } <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='<_<' />[/color]

A study - conducted jointly by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) - has found that Avahan successfully slowed the transmission of HIV among the general population by raising the coverage of prevention interventions in high-risk groups like female sex workers, their clients and partners, men who have sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug users and truck drivers.

Launched in 2003, Avahan received $258 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and complemented the government's own efforts on HIV prevention. The programme was implemented in four large states - Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu - and two small northeastern states of Manipur and Nagaland.

[color="#9932cc"]{----------- Gate's father served on the board of Planned Parenthood and was a leading eugenicist. The Gates Foundation funded the cervical-cancer vaccines in AP and Gujarat which led to complications and a few deaths -----------}[/color]

These six states were estimated to have the highest HIV prevalence in India in 2003, and a total population of 300 million.

The study, "Assessment of population-level effect of Avahan, an HIV-prevention initiative in India," published in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, says interventions like safe-sex counselling by peers, clinical services like treatment for sexually transmitted infections, distribution of free condoms and needle and syringe exchange programmes among the most-at-risk population prevented the virus from spreading among the general population.


... India has an estimated 2.4 million living with HIV, making it one of the largest infected populations in the world. [color="#9932cc"]{ sez who? oh the UN !! [Image: i-bow-to-thee.gif] }[/color]


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