Posts tagged ‘Madhya Pradesh’

02/09/2016

Jobs elusive as India clings to fastest-growing economy tag | Reuters

It’s been two years since India emerged as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, but the rapid expansion has done little to improve the lot of Ashok Kumar.

Parked up and sitting on the kerb, the 25-year-old truck driver is going nowhere fast. He is the sole breadwinner for the 13 people in his extended family and his monthly salary is stuck at $150.

With new, better-paid jobs hard to come by, Kumar lacks options. He fears becoming unemployed like his elder brother, who recently returned to their village in Uttar Pradesh after months of searching in vain for work.

Data out on Wednesday showed India’s economic growth slowed to 7.1 percent in the quarter to June, a 15-month low. That is faster than other major economies, but not fast enough to create enough new jobs to absorb all the one million people who join the workforce every month.

A government survey found that job creation fell by more than two-thirds in 2015. Analysts at HDFC Bank estimate that for every percentage point the economy grows, employment now adds just 0.15 of a percentage point – down from 0.39 in 2000.

It’s a major challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has promised to create 250 million jobs over the next decade.

“For one job, there are at least 20 candidates,” said Kumar. “If you want the job, you can’t afford to bargain.”

Nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people are under 35 years old. This rising demographic “bulge” will create the largest working-age population in the world. At the same time China, which has long curbed family size, will age as a society.

Whether this so-called demographic dividend will translate into the kind of economic gains seen in Japan and Korea, or lead to upheavals, depends on India’s ability to generate jobs.

Yet, despite average annual growth of 6.5 percent between 1991 and 2013, India added less than half the jobs needed to absorb new job seekers.

MORE WORKERS, FEWER JOBS

Under Modi, India has opened up further to foreign investment, hoping to generate more manufacturing jobs. A loan scheme for small businesses has been set up and there are plans for a $1.5 billion fund for startups.

Modi has also launched a programme to train over 4 million people in different skills in six years.Pronab Sen, country director for the International Growth Centre, a British-backed think tank, said such measures were “laudable”, but they aimed at boosting supply when more demand was needed.

“India has become a demand-starved economy,” Sen said. “If there is no demand, there will be no incentive to produce more which, in turn, will mean no new jobs.”

The level of desperation for work is staggering. In August, nearly half a million people, including post-graduates, applied for 1,778 jobs as sweepers in the city of Kanpur.

This was not a one-off. Last year, in Uttar Pradesh, 2.3 million people sought 368 low-level government jobs that required a primary education and ability to ride a bicycle.

Competition for such jobs has become fiercer as the public sector’s share in formal employment is declining.

Two years of drought has caused distress in farming, while the construction business has suffered a prolonged downturn – making work scarcer in the two sectors that employ the bulk of India’s unskilled workforce.

Satellite cities around the capital, like Greater Noida were, until recently, bustling with construction activity.

Now, Greater Noida’s skyline is dotted with half-built, abandoned, high-rises. Cranes and diggers stand idle.

In Delhi and the surrounding National Capital Region, housing starts fell 41 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, according to consultancy Knight Frank. Across India, starts were down 9 percent from a year earlier.

Bhuwan Mahato, a contractor who supplies workers to construction projects around Noida, says demand for labour is down by at least 25 percent.

“I wish I hadn’t joined this business,” said Mahato, a 30-year-old migrant from the state of Bihar. “But, truthfully, there are no other opportunities, either.”

Source: Jobs elusive as India clings to fastest-growing economy tag | Reuters

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08/06/2016

This Is How Many Years Air Pollution Will Cut From Your Life Expectancy in India – India Real Time – WSJ

Living in India’s capital city New Delhi could shorten your life by six years because of the intensity of the air pollution there, a new report says.

Inhaling tiny air pollutants reduces the life expectancy of Indians by an average of 3.4 years, with Delhi residents losing 6.3 years, the most of all states, according to a new study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

Those living in West Bengal and Bihar, which have high levels of air pollution, face a reduction in life expectancy of 6.1 years and 5.7 years respectively.

The study, which used data from the latest population census of 2011, found that exposure to particulate matter 2.5 results in 570,000 premature deaths each year with an additional 12,000 caused by exposure to ozone.PM 2.5 is tiny particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The air pollutants, originating from dust, soot and smoke, can penetrate deep into the lungs, increasing the risk of heart and lung diseases.

Source: This Is How Many Years Air Pollution Will Cut From Your Life Expectancy in India – India Real Time – WSJ

03/06/2016

India May Have Won the Battle With Food Inflation Before the First Drop of Monsoon Rain – India Real Time – WSJ

Around this time every year, farmers and economists look to India’s skies, hoping for the arrival of the monsoon rains.

Late and less rain hurts crops and triggers inflation, goes the traditional worry, so every day of delay or deficit in downpours threatens to derail the country’s fragile growth.

The problem with this annual, rational worry, however, is that it’s just, plain wrong.

Good and bad monsoons in recent years have had limited effect on growth or even on food inflation, according to a report this week from Nomura. What is much more important in determining how fast food prices rise, the report says, is the minimum support prices New Delhi sets for certain crucial commodities.

So instead of looking to the skies, central bankers and other inflation fighters should be looking to New Delhi.

This year the monsoon is predicted to be above normal but much more importantly, the weather over the capital is looking promising. On Thursday, India’s weather department upheld its monsoon forecast and said it expects rainfall to be 106% of the long-term average.

On Wednesday the government announced the minimum support prices for the most basic Indian staples–dal and rice—and capped the increases at less than 10%. In some years when the government looked to help farmers it has ratcheted up the prices more than 15%, triggering inflation.

Source: India May Have Won the Battle With Food Inflation Before the First Drop of Monsoon Rain – India Real Time – WSJ

24/05/2016

Unholy woes | The Economist

AT THE dawn of time Lord Vishnu made gods and demons join in churning the milky oceans to extract an elixir of eternal life. After cheating the demons of their share, Vishnu spilled four drops of the precious nectar. Where they fell sprang up sacred rivers whose waters wash away sins, now sites for mass Hindu pilgrimages called Kumbh Mela.

For a lunar month every 12 years it falls to Ujjain, a town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, to host the Kumbh Mela by the revered Shipra, whose waters meander north into the mighty Ganges and eventually eastward to the Bay of Bengal. By the time the full moon reappears on May 21st tens of millions of bathers, among them thousands of bearded ascetics known as sadhus (pictured), will have worshipped on Ujjain’s teeming riverbanks.

What few are aware of is that the water is no longer the Shipra’s. Urbanisation, rising demand and two years of severe drought have shrivelled the sacred river. Its natural state at this time of year, before the monsoon, would be a dismal sequence of puddles dirtied by industrial and human waste. But the government of Madhya Pradesh, determined to preserve the pilgrimage, has built a massive pipeline diverting into the Shipra the abundant waters of the Narmada river, which spills westward into the Arabian Sea. Giant pumps are sucking some 5,000 litres a second from a canal fed by the Narmada, lifting it by 350 metres and carrying it nearly 50 kilometres to pour into the Shipra’s headwaters. To ensure clean water for the festival, the Shipra’s smaller tributaries have been blocked or diverted, and purifying ozone is being injected into the reconstituted waters in Ujjain itself.

The pilgrims and merchants of Ujjain are happy. But down in the Narmada valley there is little cheer. “They are wasting water on sadhus…while our farms go dry,” says Rameshwar Sitole, a farmer in the hamlet of Kithud. Since March the canal, which feeds his 2.5 hectares of maize and okra along with the farms of 12 other hamlets, has been bone dry. Mr Sitole’s crops have withered and died: a loss, he reckons, of some 50,000 rupees ($750). The government insists the water will return once Ujjain’s pilgrimage ends, but he is not so sure. “They turn it on when we protest, and then take it away again,” Mr Sitole shrugs. Meanwhile, over the hills, industrial users near Ujjain are lobbying loudly to exploit the fancy new water sources.

Poor monsoons are not unusual, but the back-to-back shortfalls, linked to the El Niño effect, which India has experienced in the past two years are very rare. Ten out of 29 states, with a population of some 330m, have been badly hit, with the worst-affected areas in the centre of the country. India is suffering its gravest water shortage since independence, says Himanshu Thakkar, a water expert in Delhi, the capital. Every day brings news of exhausted rivers and wells, destitute farmers migrating to the cities or even committing suicide, water trains being dispatched to parched regions—and of leopards venturing into towns in search of a drink.

The central government has responded with make-work programmes for afflicted areas, emergency shipments of water, and many promises. In February Narendra Modi, the prime minister, pledged to double farm incomes by 2022. Other ministers speak of massive irrigation projects, and have dusted off an ambitious water-diversion scheme for parched regions that is priced at $165 billion and involves no fewer than 37 links between rivers. Most links would be via canals—some 15,000km of artificial waterways in all.

Source: Unholy woes | The Economist

06/11/2015

Xiaomi’s Big Bet on Indian Internet Revolution Starts to Pay Off – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The sales are a significant rise compared with the three million phones the company said it sold in its first year of business in India.

Xiaomi aims to sell 80 to 100 million smartphones this year and has been valued by investors at $46 billion. But increasing competition at home, from companies who mimic Xiaomi’s business model of selling high-end phones at low prices, will make it tough to meet its sales target. So the five-year-old startup is setting its hopes on growth in India. Xiaomi found success in China by combining razor-thin profit margins on hardware with glitzy product launches that helped build its fanbase.

The closely-held company needs to prove that it can export its business model to other countries to continue to justify its high valuation.

Xiaomi introduced its first model, the Mi 4i, outside China, at a launch in New Delhi in April. In August, it said it would begin assembling its entry-level Redmi 2 Prime in India.

Xiaomi’s recent success in India shows that its model can work there, said the company’s Vice President Hugo Barra. Since January, sales in the South Asian country increased 45% quarter-over-quarter, on average.

The firm’s Indian office is tweaking Xiaomi’s model of Internet flash sales, designed to boost demand and cut costs. During the company’s sale for the Hindu holiday Diwali, items were sold for as little as a rupee. “Some people bought a Mi TV for one rupee,” Mr. Barra said. One rupee is equal to $0.02. The heavily discounted deals meant that Xiaomi spent nothing on marketing. “This is an idea the India team came up with that you will see reused in other markets,” he said. The company still faces challenges in India.

While Xiaomi says it sold three million phones in its first year in India, market leader Micromax Informatics Ltd. says it sells three million phones a month. While the Chinese company relies mostly on online sales to cut costs, the majority of Micromax’s sales are in brick-and-mortar retail outlets, where most Indians still shop.

It remains unclear how much India can help bolster Xiaomi’s balance sheet. While smartphone sales are booming in India, the market is still tiny.

Xiaomi’s Mr. Barra says the company will slowly add to its catalogue of products in India, which currently includes phones and a handful of accessories like headphones and a fitness tracker. In China, Xiaomi sells everything from water purifiers to power strips.

Next up could be the company’s line of Internet routers, Mr. Barra said, which includes a model with six terabytes of storage.

“We are looking at bringing the router family to India,” he said. But don’t expect the smart bathroom scale to show up in India right away, or even the company’s newest gadget: a cut-price Segway-like device. “We carefully select things that will sell in India in good volumes. We have to be thoughtful and plan carefully.”

Source: Xiaomi’s Big Bet on Indian Internet Revolution Starts to Pay Off – China Real Time Report – WSJ

21/07/2015

Traveling on India’s Roads Is Getting More Dangerous – The Numbers – WSJ

Traveling on India’s roads is getting more dangerous. In 2014 there were 141,526 deaths due to road accidents in the country, up from 137,423 a year earlier.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is set to introduce the Road Transport and Safety Bill in the upcoming 18-day session of Parliament, which starts Tuesday.

It would be India’s first separate legislation to govern road safety. Counter-intuitively, the legislation would reduce penalties for offenses such as drunken driving or speeding, but road-safety campaigners say that would make the law more likely to be enforced.

Until then, some numbers from the National Crime Records Bureau that show how safe it is (or isn’t) to travel on India’s roads.

39.2%

The percentage of India’s accidental deaths in 2014 that were the result of traffic accidents.

May

The month in 2014 in which the most traffic accidents were reported in India. Accidents that month accounted for 9.2%, or 44,106 out of 481,805 of the total traffic accidents that year.

3 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The time the largest number of traffic accidents were reported in 2014, making up a total of 34.2% of traffic accidents that year.

2.9%

Amount fatalities from road accidents increased by in 2014, from a year earlier. Road accidents overall increased by 1.8% in 2014.

31.39%

Percentage of road accidents in India in 2014 where at least one person died.

Two wheelers

Type of vehicle most often involved in fatal road accidents. More than one in four (26.4%) of accidental deaths on roads involved motorbikes, scooters and other two wheelers, followed by trucks and lorries at 20.1%, cars at 12.1% and buses at 8.8%. The statistics do not say if this included bicycles.

National highways

Roads which saw the highest number of accidents, contributing to 27.5% of total road accidents. These roads makes up just 1.58% of India’s total road network. State highways had a share of 25.2% of total accidents. The national highways also saw the most fatal accidents – accounting for more than 32.5% of the total deaths on India’s roads in 2014.

Uttar Pradesh

The state with the most road traffic accident deaths in India in 2014 –16,284. Perhaps not surprising, since it is India’s most-populous region. The state was closely followed by Tamil Nadu at 15,190 deaths and Maharashtra at 13,529 deaths.

Speeding

The cause of most road accidents in India in 2014–accounting for 36.8% of total accidents, causing 48,654 deaths and injuring 181,582 people. Dangerous, careless driving or overtaking caused 137,808 road accidents, the data showed, resulting in 42,127 deaths and injuring 138,533 people. Poor weather caused 3.2% of road accidents, while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol contributed to 1.6% of total road accidents

via Traveling on India’s Roads Is Getting More Dangerous – The Numbers – WSJ.

03/07/2015

Fridges, Cellphones and Divorce Rates: Independent India’s First Socio Economic and Caste Census – WSJ

India on Friday released the results of a census that gives the first large-scale picture of India’s caste and socio-economic makeup since 1932.

The numbers from the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 reveal where Indians live, what work they do and what kind of products they own. They are separate from the Census of India that is carried out every 10 years, and highlight major gaps in education and job opportunities.

Here are 10 key numbers, all relating to houses in rural areas, from the census.

TAX

4.58%

The percentage of households where someone pays income tax.

Less than 10% of households get their income from a salaried job. Of these, around 5% are employed in government jobs, just over 1% in the public sector and 3.5% in private entities.

In only 8% of households, the highest earning member makes Rs. 10,000 ($157) or more a month. It is hardly a surprise then, that fewer than 5% pay income tax.

REFRIGERATORS

11.04%

The percentage of households with a refrigerator. Whether they have the electricity to run it is another question.

Goa has the highest percentage of households in rural areas with a fridge–at 69%. By contrast, in Bihar, only 2.61% of households in the countryside have a fridge.

NO PHONES

50 million

Households that don’t own a landline or a mobile phone. Roughly 70% of the 179 million rural households in India own cellphones.

But 27% have neither a cellphone nor a landline. The eastern states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa, home to some of India’s largest indigenous populations, have the lowest access to telecommunications.

DIVORCEES

1,052,210

Divorced people living in rural areas. That’s just 0.12% of the population. Divorce is very rare in India.

FAMILY SIZE

4.93

Average household size in rural areas. Though in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most-populous state with 200 million people, the average number of people in a rural household is 6.26.

WOMEN HEADS

12.83%

The percentage of households headed by a woman.

MANUAL SCAVENGERS

180,657

The number of people who carry out manual scavenging, a practice of collecting human waste from primitive dry latrines by hand, which is outlawed but persists.  Manual scavengers are usually from the lowest rungs of the Hindu caste system (Indian Muslim communities have similar low-status members who perform this job) and women, according to U.S. human-rights group Human Rights Watch.

MECHANIZATION

4%

Of households own mechanized equipment with three or four wheels for carrying out manual labor through which they earn a living.

Nearly 40% of households don’t own land and earn wages through casual, manual labor. Agriculture is tough work, with 40% of rural land still lacking irrigation facilities.

LEARNING

35%

More than 35% of rural Indians are illiterate, with the highest numbers of those who can’t read or write coming from the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

MAKESHIFT HOUSING

45%

Nearly half of rural households still live in what are called “kuccha” houses, which include structures made of materials such as thatch, mud, plastic and wood.

via Fridges, Cellphones and Divorce Rates: Independent India’s First Socio Economic and Caste Census – WSJ.

09/06/2015

Modi to launch India’s biggest labour overhaul in decades | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to launch India’s biggest overhaul of labour laws since independence in a bid to create millions of manufacturing jobs, at the risk of stirring up a political backlash that could block other critical reforms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves towards his supporters during a rally in Mathura, May 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Three officials at the central labour ministry told Reuters that the ministry was drafting a bill for the upcoming parliamentary session that proposes to loosen strict hire-and-fire rules and make it tougher for workers to form unions.

The changes, if approved by parliament, will be the biggest economic reform since India opened its economy in 1991, but it is likely to meet stiff opposition in parliament and from labour activists.

The prime minister enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha, but not the Rajya Sabha, hobbling his ability to pass politically contentious measures.

That handicap has stymied his efforts to make it easier for businesses to buy farmland and convert Asia’s third-largest economy into a common market.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said Modi had little option but to push ahead with the measures.

“Without these reforms, the economy would stagnate, and frustrated investors would look elsewhere,” he said.

“You cannot make political opposition an excuse for not taking tough decisions.”

Since taking office in May last year, Modi has taken a series of incremental steps to make labour laws less onerous for businesses, but fear of a union-led political backlash made him leave the responsibility for unshackling the labour market with Indian states.

He let his party’s governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh take the lead in this area.

Encouraged by a successful and peaceful implementation of the measures in those states, the federal labour ministry now intends to replicate them at the national level, one of the ministry officials said.

Manish Sabharwal, one of the brains behind Rajasthan’s labour reforms and co-founder of recruitment firm Teamlease, said the federal administration would have been better off without attempting these changes.

“Let states carry out these changes and save your political energy for other policy reforms,” he said.

via Modi to launch India’s biggest labour overhaul in decades | Reuters.

20/11/2014

Cheap Electricity for Poor Squeezing Out Solar in India – Businessweek

The villagers of Dharnai in northern India had been living without electricity for more than 30 years when Greenpeace installed a microgrid to supply reliable, low-cost solar power.

Cooking By Candlelight

Then, within weeks of the lights flickering on in Dharnai’s mud huts, the government utility hooked up the grid — flooding the community with cheap power that undercut the fledgling solar network. While Greenpeace had come to Dharnai at Bihar’s invitation, the unannounced arrival of the state’s utility threatened to put it out of business.

“We wanted to set this up as a business model,” said Abhishek Pratap, a Greenpeace campaigner overseeing the project. “Now we’re in course correction.”

It’s a scenario playing out at dozens of ventures across India’s hinterlands. Competition from state utilities, with their erratic yet unbeatably cheap subsidized power, is scuppering efforts to supply clean, modern energy in a country where more people die from inhaling soot produced by indoor fires than from smoking.

About as many people in India are without electricity as there are residents of the U.S., and the number is growing by a Mumbai every year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to bring electricity to every home by 2019 by leapfrogging the nation’s ailing power-distribution infrastructure with solar-powered local networks — the same way mobile-phones have enabled people in poor, remote places to bypass landlines.

via Cheap Electricity for Poor Squeezing Out Solar in India – Businessweek.

07/08/2014

One lakh children go missing in India every year: Home ministry – The Times of India

On February 5, 2013, a Supreme Court bench, angry over 1.7 lakh missing children and the government’s apathy towards the issue, had remarked: “Nobody seems to care about missing children. This is the irony.”  (Ed note: 1 lakh = 100,000)

English: Children in Raisen district (Bhil tri...

English: Children in Raisen district (Bhil tribe), MP, India. Français : Enfants dans le district de Raisen (tribu Bhil), M.P., Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Close to one and a half years later, government data show over 1.5 lakh more children have gone missing, and the situation remains the same with an average of 45% of them remaining untraced.

Data on missing children put out by the home ministry last month in Parliament show that over 3.25 lakh children went missing between 2011 and 2014 (till June) at an average of nearly 1 lakh children going missing every year.

Compare this to our trouble-torn neighbour Pakistan where according to official figures around 3,000 children go missing every year. If population is an issue, then one could look at China, the most populous nation, where official figures put the number of missing children at around 10,000 every year.

National Crime Records Bureau, in fact, deciphers missing children figures in India in terms of one child going missing in the country every eight minutes.

More worryingly, 55% per cent of those missing are girls and 45% of all missing children have remained untraceable as yet raising fears of them having been either killed or pushed into begging or prostitution rackets.

Maharashtra is one of the worst states in terms of missing children with over 50,000 having disappeared in the past three and half years. Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh are distant competitors with all recording less than 25,000 missing children for the period.

Worryingly, however, all these states have more missing girls than boys. In Maharashtra, 10,000 more girls went missing than boys. In Andhra Pradesh, the number of girls missing (11,625) is almost double of boys (6,915). Similarly, Madhya Pradesh has over 15,000 girls missing compared to around 9,000 boys. Delhi, too, has more girls (10,581) missing compared to boys (9,367).

via One lakh children go missing in India every year: Home ministry – The Times of India.

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