Underlying the debate raging over British aid to India is the myth that the subcontinent’s strong, market-driven growth of the past two decades has pulled hundreds of millions out of poverty. The economy is taking off; its people no longer need much aid, it is said.
In reality, since 1991, during which time India has experienced the highest growth in recent history, there has been no significant reduction in poverty or hunger. Two in every five children remain malnourished. A third of adults have an abnormally low body-mass index. Half of women of childbearing age are anaemic, a proportion far higher than in sub-Saharan Africa.… Seguir leyendo »
As crucial climate talks begin in Durban, attention is focused on the likely role of the major country groupings. The outcome of the UN climate conference will be largely decided by the interplay of forces between the Basic (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) group formed two years ago, the EU, and the umbrella group of developed countries, led by the US and comprising Russia, Japan, Canada, Australia and others who oppose legally binding climate commitments.
For the first of these groups three issues are critical: the pressure on members to undertake binding obligations in the near future (which it opposes because of its developing world status); the fate of the Kyoto protocol, the world’s only effective legal agreement on climate; and the performance of the developed states of the global north regarding their pledges to finance the south’s climate actions.… Seguir leyendo »
India’s general election, which began last week, is as full of variety and dauntingly complicated as the country itself. The polling spreads over five phases lasting a month, with 714 million voters using more than 828,000 polling booths and 1.3m voting machines, which demand 6.1 million civilian and security personnel.
This time the scale of the enterprise isn’t matched by its political content, with no grand issues at stake, no major ideological contentions, and no fault lines. But there is unprecedented horse-trading and political promiscuity. This is in contrast to the last election, five years ago, which became a referendum on the communal politics of the rightwing Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata party – most horrifically expressed in Gujarat’s anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002 – and its claim that India was “shining”.… Seguir leyendo »