Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

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Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Rahul M » 02 Jan 2012 18:13

I am increasingly feeling that we need a separate thread for discussing these issues.

Here are some links for background reading (keep suggesting any others you may find)

1. Website of Census Bureau
http://censusindia.gov.in/

2. Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation
http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/site/home.aspx

3. Planning Commission
http://planningcommission.nic.in/

4. Population Statistics Thread @ SSC-I (a little all over the place but good info and sources)
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1062195

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby gakakkad » 11 Jan 2012 07:41

Thanks Rahul Mullah for opening this Dhaaga .

I ll now post the fundamental concepts of demographics and health statistics so the users can Interpret the data more meaningfully .

CONCEPT 1 --DEMOGRAPHIC CYCLE-



A nation’s population passes through 5 phases during it’s development. They are:

High stationary

Birth rate and death rates are high and cancel each other
Population size remains stationary
India was in this phase till 1920

Early expanding

The death rate starts declining
Birth rate remains high
Birth rates may even increase due to improved health conditions and decreased period of breast feeding\
Many countries in South Asia and Africa are in this stage


Late expanding

Death rate continues to fall
Birth rate also starts falling
India is currently in this stage . So is Panda and Unkil* .

Low stationary

Both birth rate and death rate are low and almost equal
Population size remains constant
Austria recorded a zero population growth in 1980-85
Most industrialized nations are in this phase. (all except Unkil )

Declining

The birth rate falls below death rate
The population size starts falling
Some of east European countries like Germany and Hungary are in this phase.


* Some sources consider Unkil in stage 4. But unkil's population is growing at 0.9% per annum , mostly due to immigration . India's growth rate is 1.34 % per annum.


Image


Next part -

Rates , rations and proportions in Biological and sociological statistics -

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Re: Indian Economy: News and Discussion (Apr 1 2011)

Postby A_Gupta » 28 Jan 2012 02:15

shiv wrote:cross post from viewtopic.php?p=1233753#p1233753
A_Gupta wrote: peer group of countries.

You are right. Plenty of argument here. What parameters are chosen to select a "peer group" for India. Actually, India is basically peerless.

But there is a curious geopolitical dynamic at work here.

If you look at an "ideal fair world" Indians would be interested in uplifting their people and other countries would not choose to use sanctions, arming of neighbors and other means to slow India down.

But it is neither an ideal nor a just world. What we find is a world that deliberately chooses to put hurdles in India path after which that same world reaches judgement about the "rate at which India is doing something" and say "Hey India is not keeping up with its peer group." The right response in my view is to tell those people to stuff their opinions where the sun don't shine.


Any Indian without reference to the outside world, could ask, is the general welfare** increasing in pace with the economic growth, and the numbers would answer - No!

By general welfare, I mean things like - life expectancy, babies born underweight, infant mortality, children dying under the age of 5, vaccination rates, primary school enrollment rates, etc.

Then the excuse would be trotted out that the problems are huge, etc.

Fact of the matter is that there is some mix of wrong priorities, poor implementation, and corruption because countries with fewer resources per capita still manage the general welfare better.

Then is trotted out "India has no peer". Yes, the educated class in India has no peer in making excuses. China was a peer of India, but has long since surpassed India. Yes, the smaller countries are often no larger than a single Indian state.

Sanctions and arming of neighbors? That is a ridiculous excuse. Indian defense spending is not an issue. India spends less than 3% of GDP on defense, and the general trajectory has been for defense to take up an ever-smaller percentage of GDP. Perhaps all of the money is not spent as efficiently as it might be; but there is no case to make that escalating defense needs is sucking away development rupees.

The economic disparity problem cannot even be talked about, cricket is more interesting, and in any case, India is shining, there are all the glossy magazine covers and there is some kind of auto-magic autopilot, some NGOs and some hidden babus in some government ministry that will make the story have a happy ending.

Please note: I'm not saying things aren't getting better. But with exactly the same resources, they could be getting better much faster, and more millions of people, even though born into extreme poverty, need not end their lives in it. But the nation may have a war-like urgency about Pakistan because some scores of people were killed; but the war-like urgency about the economy and its performance for the Aam Aadmi? Perish the thought. We gleefully calculate how Pakistan is going down hill, when there is a small integer multiple of that number of people in India for whom the outlook is rather bleak.

PS: Shiv, you mentioned when you were very young, you thought the fires you saw from the train were people having picnics or camping or something. Now, Shiv, be thou a shatterer of illusions :) If there are people seriously thinking that some time soon India will be a Singapore, then there are illusions galore to be shattered.
Last edited by A_Gupta on 28 Jan 2012 02:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Rahul M » 28 Jan 2012 02:17

thanks kakkad sahab.

sorry for neglecting this thread so far.

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Re: Indian Economy: News and Discussion (Apr 1 2011)

Postby Dhiman » 28 Jan 2012 09:28

A_Gupta wrote:Any Indian without reference to the outside world, could ask, is the general welfare** increasing in pace with the economic growth, and the numbers would answer - No!

By general welfare, I mean things like - life expectancy, babies born underweight, infant mortality, children dying under the age of 5, vaccination rates, primary school enrollment rates, etc.

Then the excuse would be trotted out that the problems are huge, etc.


Personally, the statistic that I find most important are:
1) %age of population that has access to 24x7 clean water in their place of residence and
2) %age of population that has 24x7 access to electricity in their place of residence.

Wondering if anyone has sources that would quantify these over the years? Otherwise, I would bet that growth rate for these two stats is either negative or stagnant.

At least to me, these two stats are better measure of development of country rather than GDP.

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Re: Indian Economy: News and Discussion (Apr 1 2011)

Postby shiv » 28 Jan 2012 20:10

A_Gupta wrote:
Any Indian without reference to the outside world, could ask, is the general welfare** increasing in pace with the economic growth, and the numbers would answer - No!

By general welfare, I mean things like - life expectancy, babies born underweight, infant mortality, children dying under the age of 5, vaccination rates, primary school enrollment rates, etc.

Then the excuse would be trotted out that the problems are huge, etc.

Fact of the matter is that there is some mix of wrong priorities, poor implementation, and corruption because countries with fewer resources per capita still manage the general welfare better.

Then is trotted out "India has no peer". Yes, the educated class in India has no peer in making excuses. China was a peer of India, but has long since surpassed India. Yes, the smaller countries are often no larger than a single Indian state.

Sanctions and arming of neighbors? That is a ridiculous excuse.


Guptaji let me put it this way. When intelligent people look at India and want to point out things about poverty they produce "human condition" statistics like maternal mortality, infant mortality etc. Then they make a list of countries and a rank and say how low India is on that rank. After that they berate India for not being higher up like a father berating his son for not coming first in class. I have seen going on this for 40 years.

What I have really begun to love about their exercise is that Indians who listen to all this are supposed to bow their heads in shame and offer no excuse. Any excuse about how work is going on continuously and that problems are huge are put down exactly as you have put them down. I offered the excuses precisely to provoke you into making the standard cliched "no excuse" argument to which you have promptly trotted out .

I have gradulally begun to understand is that the right answer to criticism such as the one you have levelled is "Bugger off. India will develop at its own pace and you are welcome to keep whining and complaining". No personal insult intended to you but no one is going to be "satisfied " with India's figures anytime soon. There are too many people who want too many things done and imagine that if they berate India things are going to change. They are not. It is possible that India's human development figures will stay behind for the next century or more, if India survives. But India's survival is as important as meeting other people's timelines. The thing to do for Indians is to stop listening to people who whine and complain about rate of change and get on with the job as is being done.

There are no set rules about how developed" India needs to be except the rules made by some Indian visionaries - you are aware of that I suppose. Will tell you if you don't know. You are dead right in saying India ain't gonna be a Singapore. India ain't gonna be a lot of places. India will be India, with disparities. It is better to get used to that.

So what was all that about arming and funding Pakistan. Let me explain that. The very same people who whine, moan, complain and criticise India for not improving its "human development statistics" are also the people who typically bring up topics like "defence expenditure" and "atomic weapons etc to show how this idiotic country with such poor human development is spending so much on defence and atomic weapons.

You see, weapons is yet another "excuse" which you have beaten down with your smart argument. You refuse to see the connection between defence expenditure and poor human development. Maybe you think India needs to spend on defence and nuclear weapons. But tell me, don't you think India could have more money available for human development if it did not spend too much on defence?

There is too much about India to be dissatisfied about and little to be happy about. But paradoxically there is also a lot to be happy about. Indians do not need to be continuously berated by people about its faults. Balls to the whole lot. Let them stuff their opinions where the sun don't shine. India and Indians are doing what needs to be done at their pace. If someone does not like the rate of change its just tough.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 28 Jan 2012 20:56

I do not mean to digress, but excuse me if I do and I will not persist

Exactly who decides what "maternal mortality" should be? Who decides what "infant mortality" should be?

I will answer that. The theory is that the death of a mother from childbirth or the death of an infant within 1 year of birth is a tragedy that must be avoided at all costs because they cause unhappiness and sorrow, and unhappiness and sorrow are to be minimized or eliminated.

Using this definition the ideal maternal and infant mortality should be zero. No mother should die at childbirth. No infant should die. This idea is debatable in Indian philosophy but I will ignore that for the purpose of this post

In the last one century it was discovered by modern science that there are preventable causes of maternal and infant mortality

A. Maternal mortality
Pregnant women could die because of
1. Anemia ("less blood or thin blood"). Foetuses suck the iron and vitamins out of a mother so frequent childbirths, poor nutrition and anemia caused by worm infections (hookworm rampant in India) led to anemia causing young mothers to die.

2. Puerperal sepsis: When the waters break at childbirth dirt from where the woman is lying (if the place is dirty) can enter the vagina into the uterus and cause a sever infection causing death.

3. Prengancy complications: Even under the best circumstances there are some unavoidable complications like as pregnancy related high blood pressure, abnormal positions of the placenta (placenta praevia), abd abnormal foetal positions (Transverse lie and breech) can lead to maternal death.

All these can be discovered early, treated and solved. But it requires a slew of developmental efforts including spacing of children (birth control), trained midwives to follow up each and every pregnant woman in every one of India's 640,000 villages; ultrasound to detect foetal and placental abnormalities (road, electricity, clinic and trained sonologist); regular pre-natal check up clinics for detection of anemia and finally delivery in a dedicated clean hospital.

Women and families cannot be forced into this. they have to appear voluntarily. if they choose to deliver at home in a dirty environment it could result in death.

B. Infant mortality: Infants die because
1. Low birth weight due to maternal anemia or maternal malnutrition

2. Umbilical sepsis when the navel gets infected by the cutting of the cord with an unsterile instrument

3. Diarrhoeas and infections

4. Malnutrition because weaning is not done soon enough and brast feeding continues too long (povetry. too many children)

5. Infectious diseases due to lack of immunization. Every child needs to be immunized at birth for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough etc - which are all killer diseases.

All these are preventable or treatable, but they require two separate things to work
I. Horse must be taken to water:
Each village must have roads, access for medical or health care personnel, education of mothers in clinics/schools, medicines, power supply for fridges for vaccines, referral hospital for severe illness.

II. Horse must drink the water:
People have to attend the clinics and see help early and not resort to traditional cures that may be ineffective. People must come and get their children immunized in time. People must understand an implement the healthcare instructions they are given and agree that the "traditional method" as advised by mother or mother in law or grandmother is wrong (or may be wrong)

India has both problems. in some places the horse has not yet been taken to water. but in many places where the horse is near water it won't drink because of superstitions and lack of education that cause resistance to the application of existing methods.

Other than deciding that all this needs to be achieved soon, timelines to achieve results cannot be fixed. Only people who are aware of what is happening on the ground in india can say why there are hold ups. Naturally not even 1% of Indians (or non Indians) are aware of what I have written about. I am happy if someone learns.

And when all this is done well guess what we will have? fewer deaths so more people. For those more people we need schools, colleges and later jobs, if we are not to become Pakistan.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby A_Gupta » 28 Jan 2012 21:51

I'll address the main point which is that development which leads to better welfare of people does not lead to more people, it usually results in a sharply falling fertility rate. The development which merely enables people to survive, but barely so, is the type that results in population booms. This is something that you can infer from the demographic curves of so many countries - or even looking at different states within India.

Oh, I forgot, India is somehow unique.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 28 Jan 2012 22:03

A_Gupta wrote:I'll address the main point which is that development which leads to better welfare of people does not lead to more people, it usually results in a sharply falling fertility rate. The development which merely enables people to survive, but barely so, is the type that results in population booms. This is something that you can infer from the demographic curves of so many countries - or even looking at different states within India.

Oh, I forgot, India is somehow unique.


Oh yes I have heard both these things before.

It is true that "development" leads to falling fertility in the current developed countries. But it is currently leading to increased population in developing countries requiring "more quotas", "more demands' and more timelines to bring down fertility.

The falling fertility in India is not comparable to the falling fertility in say Germany or the UK. In India it is because of successful "family planning" and birth spacing programs. Female literacy is also linked to falling fertility. But what makes you think falling fertility is good? The argument that fertility must be reduced is only secondary to increased survival and increased longevity. Why should fertility rates be reduced by actions like family planning? I will answer that. Because high fertility leads to frequent childbirths, increased maternal and child mortality, increased demands on resources and increased poverty. Since everyone is demanding that maternal mortality, infant mortality and poverty need to be reduced, the only way you can push that further down is to reduce fertility so you have fewer women getting pregnant fewer times and fewer kids. That is called "development". What sort of development is it that leads to reduced fertility in a population?

Can you point me to population studies of animals that show that reduced fertility is good for an animal population in the long term? What is good about reduced fertility?

All this "science , and all these "quotas" and timelines that India is required to meet are based on "Let fewer people die and then reduce the number of people being born to balance out the number and then try and increase longevity to aspire for immortality. No death allowed." This is the idiotic philosophy that hundreds of of thousands of medical and public health personnel are working for all over the world. Tell me about it. I live my goddam life wondering where this stupid science is heading. It is heading exactly nowhere.

Modern science is leading to increased longevity by increasing survival of people who had fatal diseases that would kill them early in the past. It is also leading to the survival of genes that would otherwise have died out in childhood long before the person carrying those genes reached an age where he or she could survive and reproduce to propagate basically unsurvivable genes. Humans are undoubtedly healthier, but they are fatter as well and more demanding of the environment and the environment is being changed to suit those humans. One consequence of all this is the "solution" of reduced fertility. Reduced fertility is encouraged in literate populations and then that reduced fertility is being touted as a consequence of development. This is a clear case of not understanding the difference between cause and effect. This business is debatable at best and certainly not unquestionably right. India has no need to blindly copy and implement what is being done in "developed" nations. We can certainly strike out a new path of our own. But currently Indian intelligentsia are too overawed by western mores to even think of raising original voices and original questions. And they will remain defensive and apologetic for being unable to meet the societal norms set by the "developed' west as they are berated for inefficiency and sloth.

Yes absolutely India is unique. It is astounding that people are reluctant to admit that. Absolutely no need for sarcasm if any was intended. It can only be ignorance if anyone has not figured that out.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 28 Jan 2012 22:44

A_Gupta wrote:The development which merely enables people to survive, but barely so, is the type that results in population booms.


This is not true at all. Much of Europe went into stable low birth/death population when living conditions were very marginal. As did Japan in the 30's. Even in India much of South and West India went into a similar transitions when living condition were in survival mode.

All studies indicate that the #1 factor is to free women from male chauvinistic control over fertility. When women can decide for themselves is when the switch gets turned off. Often to such a degree that as Shiv points out the very social structure starts failing. Development, GDP, one child, etc are mere red herrings. Hard to believe, but when given a choice, women refuse to replace the species, esp. when it kills them in such numbers.

----------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile...

Has anyone looked at the Hungama report on mal-nutrition. This is the one that got MMS' panties in a bunch. The latest poverty wallah antic. I know mal-nutrition is bad but I'm curious about the methodology. How does measuring height and weight and comparing to age decide malnutrition. Especially when so many don't even know their DOB in the countryside and everyone wants to be older.

http://www.naandi.org/CP/HungamaBKDec11LR.pdf

I'm esp. curious about the fact that the mid arm measurement statistics indicate only a 5%-10% mal-nutrition rate. The report completely ignores this positive real physical trend and focuses on the height to age ratio which in my mind is more likely to be skewed.

Any doctors here can take a look and comment.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Dan Mazer » 29 Jan 2012 00:42

^ Criticism of the 'stunting' statistic and the response

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/ju ... a/899861/0

Another issue, which has been written about earlier in this newspaper, has been the proposition that there might be a problem with the reference sample that is used by the WHO in its age-weight standards for malnourishment. This argument is being made by Arvind Panagariya of Columbia University who has been proposing that the WHO norm to calculate undernourishment or stunting is based on averages drawn from populations that are taller and heavier than Indians. He has noted that the WHO trend suggests that nearly all Indians born in the 1950s or before are stunted! Panagariya uses a restrictive sample from NHFS 3, a sample of ‘elite’ children, and says that 15% of these children are stunted according to the WHO standards, which draws some scepticism to the very basis of the data. However, Shreeranjan says that the government has been taking cognisance of such propositions and that’s why rather than completely accepting the WHO standards, only the age-weight standards have been adopted, and not weight-height and age-height standards. “We have taken cognisance of it and have had informal discussions with nutritionists as well on these concerns. But it is important for us to streamline our data as per some international benchmark so that similar scan be compared. From our end we have taken care by only going for the age-weight standard. But it remains a matter for further research,” he said.


Another FE article about a forthcoming book by Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati claiming to bust some myths in the development vs growth debate:

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/co ... i/896282/0
Essential reading for Sonia Gandhi: Sunil Jain

India may have been shining but Bharat most certainly isn’t. Despite all the evidence of increasing consumption levels in rural areas, that remains the essential dialogue of all political parties. And the evidence of this that is most often cited are various reports from the World Bank (22% of the world’s ‘missing’ women are in India), IFPRI (in terms of malnutrition, India is on a par with Timor-Leste) and other respected international organisations. The reason for this, as P Sainath (the only journalist Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju thinks is doing a good job) has told us often enough, is that Indians just aren’t getting enough calories any more and that farmer suicides are also rising. That, by the way, is also the reason for why Sonia Gandhi wants to bring in the Food Security Bill, to eradicate the widespread food hunger that is a huge blot on any country, let alone one that has pretensions to becoming a global power. We could go on, but you get the gist.

An absolutely essential read in this context is a book (out by March) by noted economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya. While the book has the usual prescriptions on how India needs to reform more and the costs of not doing so, that is not the main reason why you need to read the book—the reasons are well-argued, not surprising given the lineage of the authors, but a large part of this is familiar stuff, even for journalists. The chapter that’s really a must-read is the one on various myths that characterise India’s development-versus-growth debate (sadly, the ‘versus’ is the way it is positioned) since what the authors have done it to put down 19 ‘myths’ and busted them using official data—would be a good idea to confront all the povertywallahs with the data and see if they can explain it away.

Space doesn’t permit getting into all the myths plus, as James Lamont of the FT put it at a pre-publication discussion on Thursday, if the myths had been kept to a smaller number, the impact would have been greater. This column will take up just three of the myths in the interests of space and time (see graphics only if you want to save even more time!)

Reforms have bypassed the socially disadvantaged: Since the book uses data only till 2004-05, this column uses the later NSS data available till 2009-10, and the results show the fall in poverty levels have been the fastest for the Muslims and the Scheduled Tribes, followed by the Scheduled Castes. Data using the NCAER sample survey show that income levels for each group, from upper class Hindus to Scheduled Tribes, rise as they move from agriculture to industry and services, from rural areas to small towns and large metros, from being illiterate to being graduates—since economic growth causes, and is caused by, all these changes, it’s not surprising that disadvantaged groups are benefiting the most.

Farmer suicides are on the rise: A further rider is added to this narrative—with the rise in cultivation of BT cotton, suicide levels have risen further. Bhagwati and Panagariya take data from the National Crime Records Bureau (the only official publication that’s available) which really begins from 1997 and find that while suicides have increased for the general population, they have fallen for farmers, in both relative and nominal terms—and as a proportion of the population, levels of farmer suicides are lower than those for the general population! In the BT cotton states like Gujarat, the number of farmer suicides were the lowest and even these fell a bit during the years BT cotton cultivation was rising.

Food hunger is on the rise: To begin with, Bhagwati and Panagariya report the NSS data on the replies given when people were asked if they had enough to eat every day of the year. Only 81.1% of the respondents in rural areas and 93.3% in urban areas answered in the affirmative in the 1983 NSS survey. By 2004-05, however, this had risen to 97.4% and 99.4%, respectively.

But what about the falling calorie intake, surely that’s a sign of the rising problem of malnutrition? The authors use the same NSS data to show that the consumption of fats is rising—that’s certainly unhealthy but doesn’t point to a problem of hunger. In any case, rising levels of food hunger don’t gel with the rising incomes for each decile.

Related to this is the problem of malnutrition and stunting (http://bit.ly/w8w5ra)—the proportion of children under 3 who are underweight, Bhagwati and Panagariya quote one authority as saying, haven’t changed between 1998-99 and 2005-06, hovering around 50%. But the WHO norm used to calculate undernourishment or stunting, it appears, is based on averages drawn from populations that are taller and heavier than Indians. How this distorts the result is best appreciated from the fact that by this norm, 37% of kids in Punjab are stunted and 25% underweight. Indeed, an ‘elite’ sample was drawn from the Indian data—parents had done secondary schooling and they had an automobile and a refrigerator at home and yet 15% of the kids were stunted!

But why blame politicians, few economists and even fewer journalists ever highlight such facts.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby neel » 29 Jan 2012 02:33

A lot of the misconceptions about the conditions in India come from a lack of good data, both because people lie about how much money they have when asked by government officials and because there was no comprehensive data collection effort on par with international standards until the past 5 years. I expect that as we get more data, we will find that most of what people think of as characterizing Indian poverty is exaggerated.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 29 Jan 2012 03:03

Dan,

Thanx for the news posts.

But I' specifically talking about the statistics in that particular report. Take a look at Page 21. OK I'v attached a chart.
To me this seems realistic. But the report goes out of its way to completely ignore and not comment on this chart. Why? Anyone?

Image

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 29 Jan 2012 06:42

Theo_Fidel wrote:
http://www.naandi.org/CP/HungamaBKDec11LR.pdf

I'm esp. curious about the fact that the mid arm measurement statistics indicate only a 5%-10% mal-nutrition rate. The report completely ignores this positive real physical trend and focuses on the height to age ratio which in my mind is more likely to be skewed.

Any doctors here can take a look and comment.



Theo, pardon the digression. I will read and comment if I have anything to comment. But I do have a comment on "doctors and nutrition". I want to point out that doctors in the world really don't have a friggin clue about nutrition. "Doctors" keep changing their views about nutrition continuously. If you set aside the current ranting about malnutrition in India, doctors don't really have a clue about why everyone in wealthier countries (including wealthy India) is tending towards overnutrition. Why is everyone getting fat? It's not just sedentary lifestyles and increased availability of food. People are still getting fat.

Clearly something is missing. One of the problems may be the overemphasis on drawing a baseline for under-nutrition. You take children in India and compare with a baseline of children in Denmark and say 88% are undernourished. But heck if you look at the causes of undernourishment it is usually a combination of lack of quality food supply, late weaning and infections (diarrhoeas/worm infestations). If you remove other life forms from the human environment - life forms like bacteria (antibiotics), viruses (vaccines) and worms (de-worming) , humans get bigger and and healthier.

Humans have evolved like other animals. Until about 200 years ago a percentage of all humans died early and so a successful population is geared to overcome the loss of numbers by increased fertility. Of the people who survived - many would be afflicted by disease such as infections as well as seasonal shortage of food from droughts/bad crops. Human genes that have caused humans to survive have evolved to allow survival under such stress. That means putting on weight when food is plenty and life is healthy, to losing weight during shortages and while fighting infections. Human and animal genes have evolved to follow this yo-yo pattern, but the cost is high with ill health and early deaths. So human infant and maternal mortality, like that of wild animals was high, and longevity was low. What modern science has done is to prevent deaths from infections AND prevent shortage of food. The yo-yo of weight loss and weight gain is replaced by constant weight gain in these populations. This is called "health"

If you take populations that are best protected from infections and have no food shortages - they are the fattest and longest living (healthiest) Now people in these fat, long living populations look at other human populations and say "Hey. These humans are not fat enough (undernutrition) and are not living long enough. So you need to reduce infections (clean water, healthcare) and improve food supply so you too can become like us. We are fatter and longer living and this is the right way to be for human beings.

Really? Is that true. Fatter and longer living is what all humans need? Who decided that? How fat? How long? And you need to reduce the numbers of humans being born to compensate for the fact that more are staying alive for longer periods? I mean I'm alive and I need so much of the world's resources, so I don't wants kids to be born and compete with me for resources so that I can enjoy this life more? What sort of science is that? This is science you know. It may not be common sense or ethics. In fact couples having fewer and fewer kids and the envious references of others to "DINK" - Double Income No Kids are a perfect example of "My kids compete with me for my resources that I want to keep for myself. This is being pushed as science?

The more I look at it, the more it seems to me that modern science is leading humans to a situation where they have to eliminate all other forms of life that live near them that compete in the slightest way with humans for resources, to the ridiculous extent that modern science is calling for fewer humans to be born so that those humans compete less for resources as the existing ones live too long and need all those resources. What is going on?

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby gakakkad » 29 Jan 2012 22:31

>>But I' specifically talking about the statistics in that particular report. Take a look at Page 21. OK I'v attached a chart.
To me this seems realistic. But the report goes out of its way to completely ignore and not comment on this chart. Why? Anyone?

Will try and explain soon . Very busy these days. last months of residency taking their toll . In fact I was going to write about malnutrition here.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby A_Gupta » 29 Jan 2012 22:51

http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/columnis ... 57902.html

Middle India relentlessly cribs about being ashamed of the state of governance but is not shamed enough to act. It is not pained enough by the spectacle of deprivation. India spends `1300 crore every day on social sector and poverty alleviation programmes. If there is true shock and outrage, middle India must demand accountability—if not for the pain of others then for the hard-earned money paid as tax. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby A_Gupta » 29 Jan 2012 23:17

Shiv,

Either more people is good or it is not. In the case of India, it is not; per capita arable land availability, water availability, etc., is too low; the pressure on even renewable resources at any reasonable quality of life is too high. Therefore it is good for the fertility rate to go down.

The fertility rate going down does not mean women (and men) are increasingly sterile and infertile. It means that they choose to have fewer children. So your "what is good about reduced fertility", "show me population studies of animals that show reduced fertility is good for the population in the long term" are misplaced questions, and given your obvious knowledge and intelligence, seem to me to be willfully obtuse.

But currently Indian intelligentsia are too overawed by western mores to even think of raising original voices and original questions. And they will remain defensive and apologetic for being unable to meet the societal norms set by the "developed' west as they are berated for inefficiency and sloth.


This is among the most idiotic of statements I've seen on Bharat Rakshak. And I was under the illusion that you are one of the best on this board, the main reason I stayed on for so long. It is not a "western more" that a reasonable quantity of clean water be easily available to all. I'm sure even Chanakya's Artha Shastra recommends it. Nobody, certainly not me, is asking about everyone having a four bedroom house and two cars in the garage - the so-called American dream. Just that children have a chance of growing up without being stunted by malnourishment and disease. The societal norms Gandhiji talked about are not being met, not some norms set by "the developed west".

Anyway, this has been illusion-shattering, though not in the way I expected. Somewhere else I read that India doesn't need to protect free speech, because free speech is, in effect, a "western norm". In general, if you look for economic, social, legal justice of any kind, and for whatever reason, it is lacking in India, the answer is "the idea of such justice is imposed on us by the west, when we come up with our original bharatiya ideas, the need for such justice itself might go away". Rather than the answer, "we are spending a hell of a lot on trying to achieve such justice, and the results are paltry, and the reason is that 80% of such expenditure is eaten up by corruption and misdirected schemes and so on. How do we organize to hold the appropriate people accountable?".

It does not raise an eyebrow that someone can naively think that India is within a few years of matching Singapore. No one replies to such a person, why are you imposing "western norms" on us by even asking such as question. Anything to presever the illusion.

Shankkar Aiyar puts it well
http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/columnis ... 57902.html

At this point, I really have to think that even if I have something useful to say on BRF, whom would I say it to?

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby A_Gupta » 29 Jan 2012 23:28

I'll point out one last thing - India's failures or less than expected performance is usually not because of a lack of talented or competent people putting in a lot of effort. It is usually a systemic effect. It has to do with the way people are organized, the incentives and disincentives, the hierarchy of authority, etc., etc. Setting the right organizational culture has, for instance, been responsible for the successes of an I.S.R.O. I'm sure there are more examples, even in business areas where India otherwise does not have an apparent competitive advantage over other countries.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Karan M » 30 Jan 2012 00:20

A_Gupta, excellent posts. Not getting in the way of your "disagreement" with Shiv, but the points you make about the utter failure that is the Govt of India, across the board, and the sheer lack of awareness and apathy, that is the Indian public that lets such mendacity slide all too often, are very valid. Only a handful of technocratic organizations have been able to succeed with Govt intervention, this because they have clear and measurable goals with which they are measured by, stuff like products, or programs that are tracked closely. The rest has become bogged down in a neta-babu mishmash of redtape and corruption, for which there is no accountability. While Shiv's point about what metrics need to be measured for success is well taken - and that India should devise its own metrics of success, perhaps, instead of blindly aping what other countries follow, there is still no getting away from the reality that the Indian system needs a drastic reform. It says a lot about the Indian pysche, that they expect some deus ex machina like Anna Hazare to solve their problems as versus constant improvement and accountability from their bureaucrats and leaders. India is punching way below its weight, and that is the reality. The amount of corruption and misplaced allocation of resources faced by most Indians from the lower economic strata who have to interact with the Indian state is staggering. And those resources are grabbed from the middle class in the way of taxes. Its one huge scam and one of the reasons the Indian state is not held accountable by common citizens is the near complete criminalization of politics. Protest and either the state targets you (as Anna & others discovered) or the common lumpen elements attack you and threaten you. The middle class is hence passive and prefers candle light vigils instead of aggressive activism against corrupt and criminal folks

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 30 Jan 2012 03:07

No government can ever fix what is wrong with society. People are organized in certain ways because that is the way they think. There are now several communities in India with Zero poverty, Zero illiteracy, Zero infanticide, world class health statistics and minimal over population. Several of these communities were extremely deprived as recently as 100 years back. A couple less than 50 years ago. No government had to tell them what to do or what was the right thing to do. How did they succeed in the same environment where PHD educated Haryanvi's were aborting girl children.The answer lies in the key to that reality.

Every year things get a little better. This year we eliminated Polio. We have made such massive strides in population control, that decline is happening almost automatically now. Many states are now in negative territory. We are concerned but don't agonize about it to the extent we did earlier. Right now we are attacking mal-nutrition. Trying to force it back down into the sub 10% range.

I fear we are still treating symptoms. Not root cause.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby anjan » 30 Jan 2012 04:04

shiv wrote:Can you point me to population studies of animals that show that reduced fertility is good for an animal population in the long term? What is good about reduced fertility?
You would expect animal populations to be different. We don't have natural predators. And saving for disease, wars, and general accidents there is nothing to bring the population down. Since we're actively tampering with the ways populations come down it only makes sense to atleast make some plans for long -term stabilization/reduction of population by other means.

All this "science , and all these "quotas" and timelines that India is required to meet are based on "Let fewer people die and then reduce the number of people being born to balance out the number and then try and increase longevity to aspire for immortality. No death allowed." This is the idiotic philosophy that hundreds of of thousands of medical and public health personnel are working for all over the world. Tell me about it. I live my goddam life wondering where this stupid science is heading. It is heading exactly nowhere.
So is your argument that we should just dispense with medicine and let people die as and when whatever disease strikes them? Surely that's not an Indian way either. Medicine has really old roots in India. Lacking that how do you resolve the pressure on resources? And the presure applies at multiple levels; natural resources down to the family unit. Service delivery is also adversely affected by huge populations. For that matter population control has really old roots in India too. That old brf favorite, Chanakya, has things to say about it. Unless you can feed, house and educate a massive population it becomes a burden more than a strength.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 30 Jan 2012 04:32

I think only a man can look at reduced fertility as having no benefits to the species. Women who have borne the burden of 'dying' for the purpose of increased fertility would never say so. Historically women have lived in abject fear of fertility and pregnancy.

But I think what Shiv is talking about is more subtle, in evolutionary terms. Maybe too subtle to pick up. Rapid breeding in evolutionary terms has proven useful to rapidly eliminate diseases and adapt to environment. A slow breeding species needs a stable unchanging environment. A rapidly changing environment needs a rapidly breeding species. The one exception is humans, long life and low breeding benefit our technologic ability and hence the ability to deal with a rapidly changing environment. It takes 30 yeas+ to create a fully trained and skilled modern worker. What would be the benefit in killing him early so the next generation takes over.

A 200 kg tiger becomes fully grown and ready to breed at Age 3-4. A human take five times as long to mature. Studies have shown that the development of humans is deliberately slowed genetically to allow the brain to develop. As it is, the size of the human brain has killed more women than all our wars put together. I for one am glad that slower development has meant small skulls in birth canal.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby KLNMurthy » 30 Jan 2012 06:39

shiv wrote:
A_Gupta wrote:I'll address the main point which is that development which leads to better welfare of people does not lead to more people, it usually results in a sharply falling fertility rate. The development which merely enables people to survive, but barely so, is the type that results in population booms. This is something that you can infer from the demographic curves of so many countries - or even looking at different states within India.

Oh, I forgot, India is somehow unique.


Oh yes I have heard both these things before.

It is true that "development" leads to falling fertility in the current developed countries. But it is currently leading to increased population in developing countries requiring "more quotas", "more demands' and more timelines to bring down fertility.

The falling fertility in India is not comparable to the falling fertility in say Germany or the UK. In India it is because of successful "family planning" and birth spacing programs. Female literacy is also linked to falling fertility. But what makes you think falling fertility is good? The argument that fertility must be reduced is only secondary to increased survival and increased longevity. Why should fertility rates be reduced by actions like family planning? I will answer that. Because high fertility leads to frequent childbirths, increased maternal and child mortality, increased demands on resources and increased poverty. Since everyone is demanding that maternal mortality, infant mortality and poverty need to be reduced, the only way you can push that further down is to reduce fertility so you have fewer women getting pregnant fewer times and fewer kids. That is called "development". What sort of development is it that leads to reduced fertility in a population?

Can you point me to population studies of animals that show that reduced fertility is good for an animal population in the long term? What is good about reduced fertility?

All this "science , and all these "quotas" and timelines that India is required to meet are based on "Let fewer people die and then reduce the number of people being born to balance out the number and then try and increase longevity to aspire for immortality. No death allowed." This is the idiotic philosophy that hundreds of of thousands of medical and public health personnel are working for all over the world. Tell me about it. I live my goddam life wondering where this stupid science is heading. It is heading exactly nowhere.

Modern science is leading to increased longevity by increasing survival of people who had fatal diseases that would kill them early in the past. It is also leading to the survival of genes that would otherwise have died out in childhood long before the person carrying those genes reached an age where he or she could survive and reproduce to propagate basically unsurvivable genes. Humans are undoubtedly healthier, but they are fatter as well and more demanding of the environment and the environment is being changed to suit those humans. One consequence of all this is the "solution" of reduced fertility. Reduced fertility is encouraged in literate populations and then that reduced fertility is being touted as a consequence of development. This is a clear case of not understanding the difference between cause and effect. This business is debatable at best and certainly not unquestionably right. India has no need to blindly copy and implement what is being done in "developed" nations. We can certainly strike out a new path of our own. But currently Indian intelligentsia are too overawed by western mores to even think of raising original voices and original questions. And they will remain defensive and apologetic for being unable to meet the societal norms set by the "developed' west as they are berated for inefficiency and sloth.

Yes absolutely India is unique. It is astounding that people are reluctant to admit that. Absolutely no need for sarcasm if any was intended. It can only be ignorance if anyone has not figured that out.


shiv, you write as if the choice is between blindly adopting "western" norms and condoning systemic failures to organize to set and achieve measurable goals. In fact, both choices are manifestations of the same basic problems that plagues Indian culture in general: aside from the communists and some varieties of Muslim segments, we seem to be overall poor at organizing, and, including communists and Muslims, we tend to be close-minded and rather smug about it. In particular, superciliously telling others, "well this is India, you can't hope to understand, so just shut up" is a manifestation of this smugness that borders on bullying. It is not acceptable. Both flawed and mindless studies that generate misleading figures about prevalence of AIDS, or nutrition, and the stonewalling "indian uniqueness" defence, are the results of intellectual smugness and laziness.

India is probably the most interesting country on the planet, but it is still a human society and culture, with people having human bodies, and it is not, in any fundamental sense, unique. It is possible for Indians to harness their wealth and labor so that Indians live well, in a sense that nearly every human being on the planet can instinctively identify as "living well". We are not accomplishing this because we have some collective character flaws, on the lines I indicated above. These flaws can be acknowledged and corrected, and they should be. All other matters you dragged in, unto metaphysics and ethics and so on, are irrelevant to the question of quality of life of Indian people.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 30 Jan 2012 07:08

A_Gupta wrote:The fertility rate going down does not mean women (and men) are increasingly sterile and infertile. It means that they choose to have fewer children.


er Guptaji, I will not echo the post-fluffing comments about my personal estimates of you or anyone but I would ask for a modicum of intellectual honesty here. Sorry. Maybe I am being unfair - but I think you just don't know. You only think you know.

When you reduce the death rate the population increases. The population increases because people do not magically "choose" to have less children. This is where you are possibly bluffing yourself based on sociological studies of western populations that suggest that literacy and wealth lead to a "choice" of fewer children. To be frank, I haven't heard so much bullshit in my life but I cannot blame you for ignorance. People will keep on having more children until they are told that they have a choice reducing the number of children by contraception.

What modern science has done is to offer humans with more living children and then populations all over the world are being coaxed and cajoled into using contraception to have fewer children based on the promise that those fewer children are more likely to survive.

No contraception (rhythm method/loop/pills/condom) there will be no birth spacing. No education and incentives/coercion(China/India) about contraception, there will be no automatic or voluntary reduction fertility. Where on earth did you pick up this little bluff that you are pushing that more surviving children will "automatically" reduce fertility. It does not. Not in most human populations. Not in India (will explain why if you ask)

A_Gupta wrote:This is among the most idiotic of statements I've seen on Bharat Rakshak. And I was under the illusion that you are one of the best on this board, the main reason I stayed on for so long. It is not a "western more" that a reasonable quantity of clean water be easily available to all.


Thank you sir. You are playing a bait and switch game. Please point me to where I said anything about water.

If you want me to explain what I mean, just ask. No need to have a rant.

It is a perfectly western idea to help reduce death rates, and then blame burgeoning "developing" populations for not managing to provide food and nutrition for the burgeoning population and say that "enough is not being done". The little lie that is being pushed here is something that you seem to have missed. Amazing how one can remain blind with eyes wide open.

Populations are burgeoning because death rates have been reduced. Maternal mortality and infant mortality have all come down steadily because of better availability of food, water, nutrition, and healthcare. (These are the easiest to provide. Please ask why they are the easiest before you throw your next rant at me. Clearly you don't have a clue.)

Once maternal and infant mortality come down because of implementation of the very measures that are needed (including ensuring better water quality - you won't know how. Ask and I will explain) - sorry I digress, once maternal and infant mortality come down because of implementation of the very measures that are needed the population starts increasing at a very rapid pace. This then requires either coercion about family size reduction (as in China) or voluntary means/incentives (India). if family size reduction is not done (it will not happen magically as you suggest) then the new populations can outstrip the supply of food/water/healthcare. This is what is happening in India. It is the success of reduction in maternal and infant mortality (leading to a burgeoning population) and relative lack of success in causing a reduction in family size (birth spacing) that is leading to slow improvement in the two parameters infant and maternal mortality.

If you are ignorant I request that you inform yourself before you start cursing.


A_Gupta wrote:Anyway, this has been illusion-shattering, though not in the way I expected. Somewhere else I read that India doesn't need to protect free speech, because free speech is, in effect, a "western norm". In general, if you look for economic, social, legal justice of any kind, and for whatever reason, it is lacking in India, the answer is "the idea of such justice is imposed on us by the west, when we come up with our original bharatiya ideas, the need for such justice itself might go away". Rather than the answer, "we are spending a hell of a lot on trying to achieve such justice, and the results are paltry, and the reason is that 80% of such expenditure is eaten up by corruption and misdirected schemes and so on. How do we organize to hold the appropriate people accountable?".

This is an off topic, post fluffing rant. Totally unnecessary.

A_Gupta wrote:At this point, I really have to think that even if I have something useful to say on BRF, whom would I say it to?


Are you asking me a question?

My reply would be, if you have something to say, say it boldly and do not get upset by criticism. You may not be wholly right. There are other viewpoints.

I di not for one minute suggest that we should not bring maternal or infant mortaility down.

I am asking hard questions about what the hell is the model we are folowing.

We are following a model that was developed in the west where they reduced infant and maternal mortality and their populations burgeoned and they successfully checked that by reducing fertility. I see very very few studies of what consequences this action will have on future human populations. The counter argument offered is the most stupid I have heard in my life, on BRF or off BRF. Anyone who questions the long term wisdom of artificially reducing human fertility is asked if he is mad or stupid.

That means people are implementing this experimental policy of decreasing deaths (by reducing infant mortality) and then reacting to that by contraception to reduce the birth rate to match the reduced death rate and increased survival rate. This is being implemented blindly all over the world with absolutely no debate on the ethics of doing that.

What is not planned for is how will the birth rate automatically increase in say 200 years time if 4 billion people die in a catastrophe like a meteor hit? Human populations are being experimented with and no one is thinking. Everyone is following this western social experiment like lemmings. I am sorry if you don't understand Guptaji. You are actually one of the few people who could, if you put your mind to it. You are certainly made of superior stuff.
Last edited by shiv on 30 Jan 2012 08:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 30 Jan 2012 07:43

KLNMurthy wrote:
shiv, you write as if the choice is between blindly adopting "western" norms and condoning systemic failures to organize to set and achieve measurable goals. In fact, both choices are manifestations of the same basic problems that plagues Indian culture in general: aside from the communists and some varieties of Muslim segments, we seem to be overall poor at organizing, and, including communists and Muslims, we tend to be close-minded and rather smug about it. In particular, superciliously telling others, "well this is India, you can't hope to understand, so just shut up" is a manifestation of this smugness that borders on bullying. It is not acceptable. Both flawed and mindless studies that generate misleading figures about prevalence of AIDS, or nutrition, and the stonewalling "indian uniqueness" defence, are the results of intellectual smugness and laziness.


For a minute set aside the criticisms of India as being what you feel India is. That requires a separate discussion.

Just examine what is being demanded by saying that India is not meeting "infant mortality" and "maternal mortality" targets. It means that too many Indian mothers and too many Indian infants are dying.

How many deaths is too many? In theory even one infant or maternal death is too many. (I hope we are in agreement so far.)

What happens when you reduce infant and maternal deaths? The number of surviving children and fertile mothers increases leading to a population explosion. Here is where I am in vehement disagreement with Guptajis contention that populations automatically stabilize and have less fertility as a consequence of better survival. That is wrong.

What I am saying is as follows:

1. When you decrease infant and maternal mortality, populations increase in size. This increased population then produces even more mothers and infants in a matter of 15 years after your program started. You program of decreasing infant mortality and maternal mortality then has to expand to cover the increased population of new mothers and infants. But this again leads to a further increase in population and your program has to get even bigger. As long as the population keeps on increasing, there is no end to this vicious circle. It stabilizes only when death rate equals birth rate. But you are trying to decrease the death rate in this program.

2. So what do you do. You cannot say "Oh let mothers and infants die" What you do is start teaching populations how to space (or stop) their births by using contraception methods like rhythm (temporary), loop (temporary), pills (temporary) and sterilization - (permanent but requires operation)

So what the entire world has started doing in the last 150 years is "showing compassion" by reducing infant and maternal mortality (who can argue against that) and then trying to reduce the number of children being born by contraception. The theory sounds good.

Now imagine a country that achieves the lowest possible infant and maternal mortality. In order to prevent runaway increase in population - someone has to die too. You allow old people to die. But allowing old people to die is not good enough. The population can still burst if you don't "control the birth rate". That means that you allow only so many children to be born as people are dying.

Now tell me, how does one achieve this? It has actually been achieved in some western countries where the fertility rate just about matches the death rate.

I would ask you (or anyone) to be serious and say
1. How do you achieve a rate of production of babies to match death rate? How can couples be asked to tailor their births to deaths of someone else? How can anyone claim that this will automatically occur? It is not occurring in India.
2. If births=deaths, apart from the advantage to a government in having a fixed number of people to cater for, are there an advantages to this system?
3. Does anyone have any clue about the disadvantages (if any) of this social experiment?

The question of measures that increase the population (infant and maternal mortality reduction) are inextricably linked with the question of measures to decrease the population. When you holler at India for not meeting targets of infant and maternal mortality, you are hollering without providing a credible answer to how and why people must stop producing the pride and joy of their lives - children to match the number of old codgers who are living on and not kicking the bucket?

No one even asks these questions while they blindly compare rates of various nations and say one is better than the other.
Last edited by shiv on 30 Jan 2012 08:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 30 Jan 2012 08:02

anjan wrote:You would expect animal populations to be different. We don't have natural predators. And saving for disease, wars, and general accidents there is nothing to bring the population down. Since we're actively tampering with the ways populations come down it only makes sense to atleast make some plans for long -term stabilization/reduction of population by other means.


"We don't have natural predators" is an interesting statement, but it is totally false. "We" (humans) have gradually eliminated our natural predators. Perhaps we started with tigers and wolves, but gradually we turned our attention to invisible natural predators like smallpox (eliminated) bacterial infections (tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis) controlled but not eliminated. Humans are eliminating or controlling/subjugating everything that kills them. In the current world the country that is the best at eliminating the factors that kill their people is the most advanced country with the best human living standards. You have to decide if you agree with that. I have not said anything about my views but have left them open.


anjan wrote: So is your argument that we should just dispense with medicine and let people die as and when whatever disease strikes them? Surely that's not an Indian way either.


No. That is not my argument. I have made no argument other than questioning what is being done. Do you have an alternative? I don't.

But tell me, if there is no alternative is it a perfect system to eliminate all human predators and then reduce human birth rates because predators are gone?

In another context this would sound like a stupid story to me. "I first kill all my enemies. Then I gradually strangle myself because I don't want too much of me" If this is the system I think it is stupid. I agree there is no alternative, but some alternative must be discovered.

Who is doing that? Everyone is merely jumping into the bandwagon suggesting that all humans follow the lead set by the developed nations .

The lead set by the developed nations is "Eliminate everything that causes human deaths. And then start eliminating the causes of increased human life by using contraception". This is the current definition of "good quality life" that everyone must follow without argument.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby anjan » 30 Jan 2012 11:13

shiv wrote:No. That is not my argument. I have made no argument other than questioning what is being done. Do you have an alternative? I don't.

But tell me, if there is no alternative is it a perfect system to eliminate all human predators and then reduce human birth rates because predators are gone?

In another context this would sound like a stupid story to me. "I first kill all my enemies. Then I gradually strangle myself because I don't want too much of me" If this is the system I think it is stupid. I agree there is no alternative, but some alternative must be discovered.
Unless your needs keep increasing beyond the point that the land can reasonably service, leading to an overwall worsening of parts of you. Increasing population beyond a point materially degrades the basic standards of living for everybody but the super rich.

And I don't believe this or any other system is perfect. We have the ability to extend people's lives by combating certain diseases. It seems ethically wrong then to deny them that. That leaves us in a state with increasing population and increasing burden on the land. Ultimately the only way out is moving to replacement/sub-replacement rates. I don't think you need to fawn over the west or be sold out to see that. Short of moving populations into space I'm not sure what we can do. Between the 50s and now our population has more than tripled. To pick just one, I wonder if the so many interstate water disputes would exist with lesser land under cultivation and lesser drinking water needs.

I can see what you mean about not blindly using western scales to judge Indian needs. Fair enough. In the case of population control at least I don't see it though. I'm not even talking about getting to be the next US. I'm merely talking about getting back to some prior state of India where people had drinking water atleast.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby vina » 30 Jan 2012 12:44

I'm merely talking about getting back to some prior state of India where people had drinking water atleast.


I would challenge that. I would argue, as of date, more people in india as a percentage of population AND in absolute number have more accesses to protected drinking water
EVER
in this country since the beginning of time and I would argue a similar thing with not just water, but every statistic (including toilets for eg). This "golden prior state" is sorry to say, just plain rubbish, sort of like a Ram Rajya / Time during the Prophet and his followers / whatever /take your pick. The future is better, not the past. So if you need to go "back", lets go "back to the future".

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 30 Jan 2012 22:21

anjan wrote:And I don't believe this or any other system is perfect. We have the ability to extend people's lives by combating certain diseases. It seems ethically wrong then to deny them that. That leaves us in a state with increasing population and increasing burden on the land. Ultimately the only way out is moving to replacement/sub-replacement rates.


With this being the theory that is sought to be put into practice, it would help to look at specific issues that India has that are unique to India before having a rant about how bad things continue to be.

Compassion demands the extension of life, but the same compassion demands that fewer people should be around so they can enjoy more of the resources they have. In India the reduction of mortality rates of women and children is not automatically leading to a reduction in fertility, and reductions in fertility are not always linked to the "usual factors" like wealth and literacy.

India is unique in at least two ways
1. India had 300 million people way back in the 1850s. That means that India of 1850 would still be more populous than all countries of the world today save China. Even way back in 1850 the amount of groundwork and infrastructure and education required to reduce infant and maternal mortality would have been more than what was done in all countries in the 20th century. The magnitude of that task when India took it up in 1947 is easily forgotten

2. In the 1930s - Indians had a life expectancy of about 40 years. That means that at least half of Indians probably lived for less than 40 years. What does that mean for a society that values family and makes it the duty of a family man to ensure his children are married. It is likely that a lot of Indian were married by 13 and women would have daughters of 11 or 13 years "marriageable age" by 25. Many people would be dead before their children were all married and "settled" The reason for this accursed "child marriage" is linked to the duties of Hindus in having a family and caring for their families and not some inhumane devilry.

If you look at modern objections to child marriage you find things like "child rights" "right to consent" etc. Child rights is a concept that has come up in the last century or so. None of these existed or were relevant to Indian society where people lived short lives and died early.

Coming back to the subject of maternal and infant mortality and fertility, India has multiple issues that lead to these things but one significant factor is early marriage. Early marriage was probably India's society's way of dealing with "living an entire life" of less than 40 years. They are societal traditions that cannot be broken down easily if you do not coerce.

Given that changes can take decades to spread through society, I don't see the point in picking up some random statistics comparing some nation with India and saying "Look how bad india is compared with nation X". India is not nation X, India has its own unique issues.

It is one thing if no action were being taken to address these issues in india. But given that huge efforts are being made a rant about how slow things seem to be is ill informed at best in the absence of any insight or acknowledgement of why things take time. There are plenty of studies available if an interested person wants to inform himself. Life itself in India is linked up with a population that has lived for centuries with high infant mortality, high maternal mortality, low life expectancy and high birth rates. Society itself is geared to cope with each of these factors because they have been constant for centuries.

Now suddenly modernity comes along to one of the biggest population collections in the world and say "OK, we want to 1.Decrease mortality and 2. Decrease birth rate." This is a very difficult trick to achieve without coercion in the world biggest non-coerced population. You are turning society's rules upside down. It is easy to convince people that children can be made to live longer or that others can survive. But convincing people to change the habits that produce more children is trying to change a basic "survival meme" in Indian society. In India children are valued as assets (even if they are malnourished) and people will marry early and have lots of kids as part of the survival meme.

What absolutely amazes me is that the task is difficult and slow, but the act of saying that it is difficult and slow is criticised. What is the exact reason for being critical of honesty? is there a fundamental suspicion that Indians are liars and excuse makers anyway?

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Bade » 30 Jan 2012 23:11

There is a thesis often quoted that stressed populations increase their fertility levels even if temporarily. WWII times and even post 9/11 has been quoted in US media where they saw these blips in affected communities.

It is easy to extrapolate from that and claim that in the case of Indian society too today it is in a perennially stressed state, and hence the high fertility irrespective of improved medical care over the last 50 years at least. No one really knows what the longevity stats are for India in previous centuries. Maybe there was a dynamic balance of low birth rate and low death rate with a stable population as implied by the first few posts in this thread for those times.

Humans have passed through various bottlenecks caused by natural calamities out of their control at various episodes of our history, and it seems to have not adversely affected us as a species. So why worry about low fertility rates imposed from the outside, even if by human needs and beliefs of the times.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby SwamyG » 31 Jan 2012 00:04

shiv wrote:Really? Is that true. Fatter and longer living is what all humans need? Who decided that? How fat? How long?
<snip><snip><snip>

The more I look at it, the more it seems to me that modern science is leading humans to a situation where they have to eliminate all other forms of life that live near them that compete in the slightest way with humans for resources, to the ridiculous extent that modern science is calling for fewer humans to be born so that those humans compete less for resources as the existing ones live too long and need all those resources. What is going on?

It was a great joy reading your thoughts on this subject. I have long held a similar, though highly uncultivated and nascent, thoughts about what modern medicine has done to our lifestyle. The new economic model that European ushered in to the globe is what has conqered the minds of global citizens, crushing other economic models and changing other lifestyles for the good and bad.

However, answering your question on longetivity, by means of another question - Doesn't each individual, an animal, have the instinct to survive and extend his or her life as much as possible? I know the word 'possible' is a key word, because that is the one that brings the baggage of cost to the self, the family, the society and the planet.

Though you wanted to avoid the Indian Philosophical angle, currently our perspective of "Development" is that one from the 'material' perspective. Is it right or wrong? I do not know. But as a human being, I can tell I want to live healthy and as long as I possible. I desire the same for my family and friends (and probably all good people). Sometimes I have argued in the Indian Economy dhaaga about the obsession on numbers. On several times, I have found gratification when I hear solid good numbers - from the Western perspective. Can one make the case against pure numbers only philosophically? It is tough to philosophize, because we all have similar feelings that Markandeya's parents had and are Markandeyas ourselves too, no?

Thanks for bringing & rasing the awareness in several areas.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby KLNMurthy » 31 Jan 2012 03:51

@shiv I am not one who believes reduced population or fertility is inherently good. If contraception and education about is easily available, and females are free to make childbearing choices, they will probably make microeconomic-based decisions: if they have low-end expectations and resources, they will tend to have more babies; for mid-level resources and higher expectations they will have fewer babies, and with high resources they will tend to have more babies, per my intuition.

There is scope for govt to do macroeconomic manipulation by controlling subsidy of services and goods like healthcare, education, food, housing etc. , which will influence where people place themselves in this hierarchy.

This is a separate issue from whether Indian ruling classes are lazy, excuse makers etc for macro level planning & implementation. There is some prima facie evidence that they might be those things.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 31 Jan 2012 07:32

SwamyG wrote:It was a great joy reading your thoughts

SwamyG - joy aside I think we are up against a fundamental philosophical divide akin to the religion-science debate in the west.

No one can argue with the need to relieve distress and give life rather than take life. But there is absolutely no debate on whether individual human life is more important than society or even all life forms on earth. The reason these questions are important is because they are important to the way life and society is viewed in India. I will try and explain my thoughts.

What we call as "modern science" evolved from largely Christian Europe and science developed on basic human premises offered by the Christian philosophies of the day. This put man as the highest being and all animals in a lower tier (Heck even some humans were put in a lower tier but that was probably not "Christian" per se.). Furthermore life was viewed as just this one life. Life today and either heaven or hell tomorrow. So making today's life pleasant was important. Life was "precious" because God gave life and humans were to preserve that human life. Animal life did not matter that much - they were lower beings because man was the dominant creature, made by God in His image. Anyone who observed/developed science in Europe had to study it from this box. The idea that animals were important and that humans were part of the earth and not designed to dominate the earth were not given much thought. From the 1800 to the 1960s science developed with the thrust on using the forces of nature and then dominating nature. Since man was anyway a superior being there was nothing against the Church/religion to try and help man to live more comfortably and happily. If that meant removing trees or animals - that was not a problem. Man was paramount, not animals. But from these beginnings, science in the West went on to develop human life in ways by which God was no longer necessary. Science started doing things that God did not do or intend. Heavier than air flight. Exploration of outer space. Atomic power. Replacement of organs etc. In the west - God and religion were sidelined by science. Science would give joy and comfort where God was AWOL. But the original concepts that man was paramount and could "conquer" nature and dominate nature were already deeply established as fundamental premises in western scientific thought.

Indians come from a completely different system of beliefs/philosophy. Man was part of nature, not superior to nature. Man had no automatic, God given right to dominate nature or take animal life wantonly. Death was not the end of life, it was part of life and part of a cycle of birth and rebirth. This is no way stops Indians from absorbing and practising good science, but the differences in attitudes show up in some areas - especially in life-death decisions regarding humans. Examples abound but let me relate a personal perspective. Decades ago I would be called upon to try and restart a stopped heart on a dying patient in a ward reserved for Tetanus patients in India. Tetanus is a terrible killer disease and sufferers are in great agony and once the disease sets in death is likely and the chances of recovery are bleak. That is why immunization to prevent tetanus starts at birth. Anyhow - the regular ward boys and ayahs had spent years in the ward watching 90% of patents leave as dead bodies and had seen generations of young enthu doctors like me trying to practice our resuscitation skills. In the middle of a vigorous cardiac massage, seeing that the heart was not re starting, I demanded that someone hand me a vial of adrenaline to be injected directly into the heart as a desperate measure. While someone complied with the order, an elderly orderly told me in Tamil "Saar. Ponaal pohuttum poda". This is a particularly poignant and tragic tear jerker of a Tamil song about a dead person "Let the man who has already gone continue on his journey" (It's a journey, not the end) It sums up a choice that Indians make when they see suffering and helps them make the choice that death is preferable to the indignity of two weeks of painful spasms in the ward followed by a death delayed by a young doctor who is stupid enough to hold this suffering man back for a few more minutes or hours.

As an aside I want to point out that all my doctor friends and I (and most doctors) have a kind of unwritten agreement with each other. It is an agreement that society does not allow doctors to reach about other people. We tell each other - "if I come with <xyz disease> and you see me, just let me die. Do not try and save me". I am not sure if "human friendly" laws in some countries even allow this. But it is OK in India. The line between life and death has to be drawn somewhere. Indians draw the line at a point that is different from western societies.

What does all this have to do with "development statistics"? Simple. Development statistics are an indicator of multiple individual decisions made by millions of Indians. Millions of Indians are faced with life-death choices and take a call on what to do next. For example - a joint family may have a girl who has given birth to an underweight newborn child who has fallen sick with diarrhoea and pneumonia at the age of 1 month. Perhaps there is a 50 % chance of saving that child if she is admitted to an children's ICU and given the best of care (in case that is available). If you leave aside the illiterate and poor families who have to make this choice and look at the literate wealthy urban ones, the doctor is often asked by a family representative "Doctor, if you do all this can you guarantee that the child will live. The doctor says no, and the family may opt against further treatment. Infant mortality notches up one more death.

An infant mortality figure reflects thousands of individual family decisions made in this way. I am not arguing to say that those decisions are good or bad. Many may be bad decisions but they are decisions made by Indian families based on their individual philosophies about life and death.

That brings me to the criticism of India's figures and comparison with say sub-Saharan Africa or Denmark.

In the 1960s India's infant mortality was over 145 per thousand

When I studied medicine in the 1970s it was 125 per thousand (this is what I mugged up for my exam in 1977)

Today it varies from 30 per thousand in the best states to over 60 per thousand in the worst states.

But the "most advanced" countries in the world have rates of less than 10 per thousand. Now given Indian views on life and death and choices made by Indians how many more decades are we going to spend cursing India for not achieving 10 per thousand. Does India have to match the Denmark figure? Will India ever be able to match those figures given Indian views on life and death. These things do matter. Indians are different, Indians are unique.

If you look at the stupendous achievement in India in dropping rates from 150 plus to what it is now in 50 years in the largest human population in the world without coercion (unlike China)- it is something for pride not criticism. It needs encouragement not cursing. India will develop its own standards and its own world view based on the collective wisdom of its people. It is high time educated Indians understood that there is something innately Indian that does not require to be cursed as bad or praised as good. It's just different

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby SwamyG » 31 Jan 2012 09:54

Some of the posts I made in the past that shows where my thoughts lie on the side of the debate:

viewtopic.php?p=615998#p615998 (on GHP in 2008)
viewtopic.php?p=1076786#p1076786 (on GHP in 2011)
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=5901&p=1094017&hilit=gdp#p1094017 (cursory mention of GNH in 2011)
viewtopic.php?p=1077138#p1077138 (questioning metrics and kind of progress in 2011)

I agree that Indians come from a different angle towards the question of life and death. However, it does not mean that Indic believing in rebirth gladly welcomes death in his or her young age. Death and despair is welcomed only when it is inevitable. Well some people in the sub-continent valued, and continue to value, 'honor' more than death. One often hears about 'Honor killing' in some cases. I have heard stories about how people working in wards seeing death and misery get so hardened that sometimes their actions can be interpreted as inhuman. I had a friend who lost his brother and the body was in the GH; he had to bribe the compounders and ward boys to move the body, all the while crying.

I agree with most of you say, and disagree with one thing - that families make decisions based on Indian philosophy on life and death. I believe many, are, also done based on necessity and because they do not have many choices. I also believe India will always be a glass half empty and half full from a Western perspective.

Maybe India should step up, like Bhutan, and announce different development metrics. Incorporate happiness and spiritual development, no? How should we measure ourselves? Maybe the question you might ask is why even measure?

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 31 Jan 2012 21:48

SwamyG wrote:Maybe India should step up, like Bhutan, and announce different development metrics. Incorporate happiness and spiritual development, no? How should we measure ourselves? Maybe the question you might ask is why even measure?


Swamy this is a different topic - more suitable for he burqa inferiority thread.

Statistics are essential, but annual or decadal statistics are like a still photograph of a moving scene. You need to take several years statistics to get a picture. In the absence of that one may be talking rubbish - like looking at a still photo where a seated man is leaning to one side and interpreting that as the pose of a man who is passing gas from his rectum, when in reality he was just shifting his position and the photo was clicked as he leaned to one side.

This is what I have read in the media since the 1970s when I became aware of these statistics:
1970 - Infant mortality = 150. Worse than Denmark. India bad. Not getting better. Worthless corrupt country.
1980 - Infant mortality = 125. Worse than Denmark. India bad. Not getting better. Worthless corrupt country.
1990 - Infant mortality = 100. Worse than Denmark. India bad. Not getting better. Worthless corrupt country.
2000 - Infant mortality = 75. Worse than Denmark. India bad. Not getting better. Worthless corrupt country.

This is what i am treated to in the lay media and on BRF as well. What is it with us?

There is no comment on the fact that hundreds of millions of mothers and children in over 650,000 villages, towns and cities have been educated, touched and vaccinated to get the figure to what it is. Think of the number of people and the organization it took to do that. The nurses, the social workers, the midwives, the lab technicians, the volunteers giving vaccines, the drivers an so many other people quietly working in India for decades making a difference, unrecognized, unsung - only to be cursed and dismissed as useless.

Look at this graph
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... graphy.png
India had a population of 450 million in 1961, and 1 billion in 2001, an increase of 550 million in 40 years

In 1961 Literacy in India was 28%. That means less than 150 million of 450 million were literate
In 2001 Literacy in India was 65%. That means 650 million were literate in 2001

Now look at this, in the 40 years from 1961 to 2001 the number of literate people increased from 150 million to 650 million. Even if you assume that half the 1961 people were still alive in 2001 Indians have educated half a billion people. Now which other country in the world other than perhaps China has educated that many people in 40 years? That is more than the population of all other countries in the world save China. Are people unable to sense the immensity of the task? If Indians don't figure out what other Indians have been doing no one else is going to point it out to us an pat us on our backs, although that is what we seem to desire most.

And what do we hear in the media? "India has 300 million illiterate people in 2011 more than any other country in the world. You see half empty half full is great rhetoric. But surely there must be some agenda, or just plain idiocy and ignorance if one is unable to see what is done and chooses to mourn what has not yet been done as if nothing is being done and the whole country is asleep. Going by the rate of change of literacy India will probably end up educating the rest of the population in about 30 years (my guess).

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby vina » 01 Feb 2012 13:43

Going by the rate of change of literacy India will probably end up educating the rest of the population in about 30 years (my guess).


I hope it not by extrapolating the "trends" over the past few decades. The way these things work is funny. These things follow the "tipping point" / "critical mass" kind of phenomenon. Once you are over the proverbial hump, the ride downhill is really fast. So I would hazard that with the around $5000 per capita GDP correlation, the HDI statistics in India will see a massive jump in the home stretch we have ahead of us.

India has been huffing and puffing up the hill for the past 60 years and we are just about at or over the hump. I would argue that we will see the things getting to closure (forget about the last 1%, that is a monumentally difficult task and follows a different process) much earlier than the 30 years you think .

This is sort of like, if starting from zero, the 1st thousand is extrememly difficult to make, the next thousand comes in next to no time..the 1st crore takes a long time, the next crore in much less time kind of thing ..assuming you have a high and steady growth rate. Kind of like what happened to desi IT/Vity companies. Infy/Wipro took close to 25 to 30 years to get to $1b (around 2002 or so) and to get to say $10b from $1b they will take just another 10 to 15 years kind of thing.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 01 Feb 2012 23:07

^^^

This is absolutely right. All about Critical mass and accumulated capital.

It took us millenia to get to the first $1 Trillion. Took us 5 years for the next $1 Trillion. In the midst of the worst recession in 50 years no less. Our next Trillion will come in 3.5 years by 2015-16. The Trillion after that in 3 years by 2018.

BTW just a correction.

India literacy is 74% per the census of 2010. Hard data. Male literacy is higher than Female literacy and is over 80%. Considering this is now 2012 Literacy is more like 77%. Even in the slums of Chennai every kid has a neat school uniform and a book bag they carry to school every day.

Also infant mortality is now down to 46 per 1000 per latest census.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 02 Feb 2012 09:11

Socially, India has multiple issues. While Indians may be right in seeking to preserve many structures of Indian society, there are others that need addressing. But addressing problems can hardly be achieved by mining for data to produce statistics and then launching into a bitter caterwaul of criticism of the statistics. This in fact seems to be a favored Indian technique that occurs in the media. The fact that non Indians do it does not matter because other are supposed to do that. It makes everyone else feel good to be ahead of someone else.

But when there is statistical evidence that something needs to be addressed in India, a loud rant is less useful than looking at what has been done and what can be done.

Yesterday's newspapers had a loud caterwaul about ho India is the least safe place in the world for women. That headline, along with the associated statistics, makes it impossible to do anything but humbly accept the label that India is the most unsafe place in the world for women. Touche. What strikes me is the inability of the chatterati elite to go beyond the label and the pathetic statistic to see

1. If anything is being done
2. What is being done
3. Why it is not working
4. What can be doe further to make it work

What I have found is that most "analyses" of human development statistics in india are done by statisticians and economists who concentrate on expenditure, consumption, production, distribution etc. Very very few studies take the trouble to do a detailed local micro analysis of social factors that lead to gender inequality in India. Perhaps this is a reflection of the Indian education system that produces more accountants and statisticians than sociologists and psychologists. There is a medical subject that deals with this - but among medical students it is an unpopular speciality to take up as there is no money in it. Better to get an ultrasound machine and charge Rs 10,000 per scan to illegally detect female foetuses for selective abortion as a friend of mine as caught doing not far from here in Bangalore.

Here is some information about gender inequality in India
gender discrimination is most pronounced in the states of Punjab and Haryana, two of the most
prosperous states of India. In fact, one of the most disturbing developments in the 1990s was the decline
in the female-male ratios in the relatively prosperous states of India. The female-male ratio among children
declined from 945 girls per 1,000 boys (in the 0-6 years age group) in 1991, to 927 girls per 1,000 boys in
2001. This decline was mainly driven by a combination of social discrimination against female children and
the spread of prenatal sex-determination technology and sex-selective abortion. Since the largest declines in
the female-male ratios have occurred in the more prosperous states of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,
Punjab and Delhi, it appears that economic growth may have facilitated the spread of sex-selective abortion
by making sex-determination technology and sex-selective abortion more affordable. Though prenatal sex
determination has subsequently been banned by the government, given the social stigma, corruption and
availability of technology, it is difficult to say how effective the ban will be.


If you look at a typical rural Indian family (not yours, you eliteman) from 1950 you would probably find that the wife would keep on having children. Even if she knew about birth control, she would probably have more children to give birth to at least one boy in case her first one, two or three children were girls. Even among wealthy (eliteman) Indians in from the 1980s and 1990s I have seen a remarkable number of families with three daughters. It appears that these families have tried to have at least one son and failed. In the days before birth control and gender detection, you could find families with more girls and fewer boys as if the older children were girls.

Now why does an Indian family want a boy?
1. In the traditional joint family the eldest son takes over the role of the father/patriarch. He "inherits" the empire.
2. Because the above fact is true, the eldest daughter in law (the wife of the eldest son) is under pressure to produce a son, because her son, if the eldest, will then inherit the mantle of patriarch and controller of family wealth/resources.
3. Other daughters-in-law too are under pressure to produce a son. If they beget a son sooner than the eldest daughter in law, that son may be he oldest grandson making him the future boss. Female choices here are important too. The woman may initiate sex if she desires to have another child that she hopes will be a son. The man too may force himself on an unwilling wife to try an have a son. In every case - Indian laws that handed over property to the male heir only have been at fault.
4. Since daughters did not inherit property (before the law was changed in the 1990s) , keeping girls at home is a burden. Add the need to provide a dowry. Dowry itself is a way of compensating for the fact that a girl brings no share of family wealth as per traditional Indian laws.

Now how does all this pan out in an era of birth control, birth spacing and ante-natal health care to reduce maternal and infant mortality?

The family that used to have many children in the past is now being restricted to just 2 or 3. But if those 2 or 3 were girls, family wealth would inevitably pass to someone else. One needs to recall that in India "family wealth" is most often arable land or other real estate, then cattle/animals and finally jewels. Recall that 80% of Indians were rural when the 1971 war was fought and when India conducted its first nuclear explosion. That apart, the Hindu succession act was changed in 1956. It still did not give dauhters equal share, but it was an improvement. But it meant that anyone born before 1956 would fall under the older law. If you look at any lady who was born before 1956, you would expect her first children to be born by about 1970 and last children born around 1990. So we now have women born between 1970 and 1990 who fell under the old Hindu succession act. Those Indian women who were born between 1970 and 1990 and their husbands would all have made family decisions about boys and girls based on what they knew the law to be.

The advent of ultrasound (post 1980s in India) was a two edged sword. Ultrasound is a vital tool in the armamentarium of women's health care specialists. Lives are saved by ultrasound because it shows up abnormal foetal and placental positions so the mother can have a Casearean rather than risk death after prolonged labour. But as part of "birth control" unwanted pregnancies in India can be aborted legally. Fact is that it is safer to have a legal abortion in a clinic that an illegal abortion that becomes the norm when abortion is made illegal. It is possible for any quack to try and cause abortion, but saving a woman after that may not be possible, so legal abortion by specialists (called "MTP- or Medical Termination of Pregnancy) is always safer for birth control.

But ultrasound and legal abortions are misused with the connivance of doctors to detect the sex of an unborn child and abort. So what we are seeing in India is a consequence of attempts to play compassion with the population (reduction in infant/maternal mortality) resulting in society choosing to keep boys over girls.

Is anything being done? Yes. this is what I am aware of
1. Ultrasound to detect the sex is illegal. But making it illegal does not stop it.
2. As of 2005 the law has been amended to give girls equal property rights. (yes 2005!!! :eek: )
3. There are now moves to make education free for girls in some states

There may be other measures, that I am unaware of, but attitudes in society need to be moulded to favor the girl child, and I can see that being done although in my personal view TV serials and Bollywood have not been helpful in this regard. I may be mistaken. But remember that the gender ratios we see today are the choices made by couples who were married between 1970 and maybe 2000. Any change of attitude will reflect in statistics only after many years. Till that time expect to be told that "India is the worst place for girls" in addition to "Most cases of TB" and "Most people without access to toilets". But for an educated and concerned Indian it is IMO better to be informed than join the chatter-gossip club.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby sanjaykumar » 02 Feb 2012 10:07

The analyses above are more the conventional compound interest arguments.

I posit a synergistic model of development.

As an example, at an inflection point, assume $5000 yearly, quality and quantity of food increases,infant and child nutrition improves, vaccinations and antibiotic access is easier thus infant mortality, birth weight, childhood intellectual, physical and educational investments are easier for a family as individual child investments are intensified in smaller families. Which leads to greater value being placed on females, which corrects the gender imbalance which also further lowers fecundity. Eventually a female is appointed the Defence minister as well as the chief justice. Which reinforces a virtual circle.


I am sure there must be a mathematics of cooperativity that could describe such rapid transformations in society. It would seem that Per Capita income is a key, a strange attractor that generates a pattern we call development.

Such phase changes in the sociology of country can be described by children in school as the single most accessible data point. India does very poorly. I wonder what historical plot sfor western Europe and eastern Asia show.

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Re: Development Statistics : News and Discussion Jan 2 2011

Postby shiv » 05 Feb 2012 11:18

Here is an instance of how development statistics are used for politics and in this case domestic politics in Britain.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... r-aid.html

According to a leaked memo, the foreign minister, Nirumpama Rao, proposed “not to avail [of] any further DFID [British] assistance with effect from 1st April 2011,” because of the “negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by DFID”.

But officials at DFID, Britain’s Department for International Development, told the Indians that cancelling the programme would cause “grave political embarrassment” to Britain, according to sources in Delhi.

DFID has sent more than £1 billion of UK taxpayers’ money to India in the last five years and is planning to spend a further £600 million on Indian aid by 2015.

“They said that British ministers had spent political capital justifying the aid to their electorate,” one source told The Sunday Telegraph.

“They said it would be highly embarrassing if the Centre [the government of India] then pulled the plug.”

Amid steep reductions in most British government spending, the NHS and aid have been the only two budgets protected from cuts.

Britain currently pays India around £280 million a year, six times the amount given by the second-largest bilateral donor, the United States. Almost three-quarters of all foreign bilateral aid going to India comes from Britain. France, chosen as favourite to land the warplane deal, gives around £19 million a year.

Controversial British projects have included giving the city of Bhopal £118,000 to help fit its municipal buses and dustcarts with GPS satellite tracking systems. Bhopal’s buses got satellite tracking before most of Britain’s did.

In India, meanwhile, government audit reports found £70 million had disappeared from one DFID-funded project alone.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds was spent on delivering more than 7,000 televisions to schools — most of which did not have electricity. Few of the televisions ever arrived. A further £44,000 of British aid was allegedly siphoned off by one project official to finance a movie directed by her son.

Most aid donors to India have wound down their programmes as it has become officially a “middle-income country,” according to the World Bank.

However, Britain has reallocated its aid spending to focus on India at the expense of some far poorer countries, including the African state of Burundi, which is having its British bilateral aid stopped altogether from next year.

The decision comes even though India has a £6 billion space programme, nuclear weapons and has started a substantial foreign aid programme of its own. It now gives out only slightly less in bilateral aid to other countries than it receives from Western donors.

Supporters of British aid say that India still contains about a third of the world’s poor, with 450 million people living on less than 80p a day. DFID says its programmes — which are now focused on the country’s three poorest states - save at least 17,000 lives a year and have lifted 2.3 million people out of poverty since 2005.

The junior development minister, Alan Duncan, said last week that cutting off British aid to India “would mean that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, will die who otherwise could live.”

However, Mr Mukherjee told the parliament last August that foreign aid from all sources amounted to only 0.4 per cent of India’s gross domestic product. From its own resources, the Indian government has more than doubled spending on health and education since 2003.

Last year, it announced a 17 per cent rise in spending on anti-poverty programmes. Though massive inequalities remain, India has achieved substantial reductions in poverty, from 60 per cent to 42 per cent of the population in the last thirty years.


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