Posts tagged ‘Hindu temple’

19/04/2015

Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist

IN 2013, when foreign capital suddenly rushed out of emerging markets, India was one of the worst-affected countries. There were plenty of reasons for investors to panic. GDP growth had slumped. The public finances were a mess. And inflation was hovering around 10%. A year earlier a power cut had plunged hundreds of millions of Indians into darkness.

It is a testament to the country’s enduring promise that within a year investors were once again scrambling for a stake in its future—this time tempted by the pro-growth promises of Narendra Modi, who won a resounding victory in elections last May. India’s population rivals China’s in size, but has a far younger complexion. That India is so much poorer in most other regards seems only to add to its allure. Those who missed out on China’s boom might still catch the wave in India.

“Restart” by Mihir Sharma, a columnist for the Delhi-based Business Standard, is a reliable and readable guide to India’s stop-start economy. It is admirably clear on what has to change if India is to taste the high living standards enjoyed in other parts of Asia. Each year 13m Indians join the workforce. Jobs must be found for them. But the giant factories that hummed with baby-boomers in other places are scarce in India, because it is so difficult to do business there.

Mr Sharma applies regular doses of rueful humour as he explains why some of the toughest job-protection laws in the world have ensured that there are few decent jobs in India. The jokes are a necessary feature in a book that contains as many unpalatable truths as this one. They are also a mask for the author’s anger at India’s poverty, at the nation’s failure to match the development of its Asian neighbours and at the self-delusion of its policymakers. “It’s almost as if we genuinely believe all the lies about ourselves we tell foreign investors,” he writes.

Mr Sharma is at his funniest (or angriest) when listing the ludicrous regulations that business must adhere to. Complying with them all is impossible, so officials routinely extort bribes for breaches. Businesses are required, among many other things, to keep an abstract of the 1948 Factories Act to hand. Pass it to a visiting labour inspector, allow him a moment to reflect and “he will find a violation”, notes Mr Sharma. The wisecrack has a painful sting. To avoid a shakedown, businesses stay tiny and inefficient. And India remains poor and woefully short of decent jobs.

Where did India go wrong? Mr Sharma picks the leftward lurch in 1969—when Indira Gandhi nationalised banks to outflank opponents in her own party—as a moment when things shifted. Manmohan Singh’s famed budget of July 1991 was badly flawed because the reforms it contained were incomplete. Mr Singh opened up goods markets to competition but did nothing to free markets for land, labour and capital. A ban on selling farmland to industry remains; labour inspectors can still prey on factory owners; and without a bankruptcy law, capital stays trapped in dying firms. New factories could not readily spring up to compete with imports, and manufacturing has been in relative decline since the mid-1990s.

Mr Sharma thinks factories can still be India’s salvation. But manufacturing-led growth has become harder to pull off. Modern factories use more machinery and less labour than in the past. While India was making half-hearted reforms, China was securing its position in global supply chains. It is now tougher for aspiring nations such as India to break in. It is perhaps for this reason that others look for hope in India’s vibrant services sector. Hindol Sengupta is one such author. His “Recasting India” is a paean to the commercial flair of millions of hawkers and small shopkeepers plying for trade in India. Yet the small-scale service enterprises celebrated by Mr Sengupta are a developmental dead end. They are a sign of economic weakness and not vitality, as Mr Sharma rightly argues. Small traders seem less impressive in other countries only because the best entrepreneurs have been able to grow bigger.

via Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist.

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17/11/2012

* Muslims help in construction of Hindu temple in Bihar

It is gratifying to learn that Hindu-Muslim relationships are not always about antipathy and violence.

Times of India: “While violence over the expansion of a Hindu temple near Charminar in Muslim-dominated Hyderabad’s Old City is hogging media attention, in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, Muslims have been quietly helping Hindus construct a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, ahead of the Chhath festival.

Muslims help in construction of Hindu temple in Bihar

“Muslims are not only donating money for temple construction, they are also actively involved in ensuring that it should come up soon,” Rajkishore Raut, president of the Shiva Temple Construction Committee, told IANS.

Raut, a school teacher, said the construction of the temple was a fine example of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.

Mohammad Sadre Alam Khan, a villager, said that dozens of Muslims, including village head Akbari Khatoon, have contributed in one way or another for the construction of the temple.

“This is a positive development for the village as a whole,” Khan said.

Another villager, Lalbabu Sah, said that villagers of both the communities were working jointly for the construction of the temple.

“The construction of the temple will strengthen harmony between the two communities and pave the way for greater cooperation in future,” Sah told IANS.

Sitamarhi town, which had a history of communal conflict, witnessed rioting in the mid-1990s. Muslims comprise around 16 percent of the 105 million people of Bihar.

Just months ago, Muslims observing Ramadan helped in the construction of a Jain temple in Bhagalpur town in the state.

Mohammad Janeshar Akhtar even demolished a portion of his house in Bhagalpur to enable the movement of a 70-foot truck laden with a granite stone block meant for an idol in the temple.

Other Muslims had helped widen the street so that the vehicle could reach the temple without difficulty.

Earlier this year, some Muslims had helped in building a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Bihar’s Gaya district.

Muslims there not only donated money but engaged in the actual construction of the temple.

Earlier, a Muslim had donated land for a temple dedicated to god Shiva in Begusarai district. Mohammad Fakhrool Islam had given his land for the temple in the Muslim-dominated Bachwara village.

via Muslims help in construction of Hindu temple in Bihar – The Times of India.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/indian-tensions/

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