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Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Has malnutrition soared in India?

Posted by Charles II on January 11, 2012

The headline at DemocracyNow blared Child Malnutrition Soars in India:

New figures show child malnutrition in India has reached more than 40 percent, almost double the rate of sub-Saharan Africa. The figures contrast with India’s global image as a beacon of economic development. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said child hunger is a matter of “national shame.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: “The problem of malnutrition is a matter of national shame. Despite impressive growth in our GDP, the level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high. We have also not succeeded in reducing this rate fast enough. What concerns me and what must concern all enlightened citizens is that 42 percent of our children are still underweight. This is an unacceptably high occurrence.”

Now, 42% underweight children is not good, especially considering the rise in Indian GDP. But there is a difference between underweight and actual malnourishment, and there’s a real question as to whether malnutrition is increasing or simply decreasing much too slowly. One of the better sources I found was Agence France Press in Dawn, a Pakistani paper. It adds this context:

The research found the proportion of under-fives who are underweight had declined 11 percentage points in seven years, but Singh said it remained “unacceptably high” at 42 per cent.

Rohini Mukherjee, from the Naadi Foundation, one of NGOs that produced the report, said the wealth created in a country estimated to have 57 billionaires last year had not trickled down fast enough to the impoverished masses.

Measured by the prevalence of malnutrition, India is “doing worse than sub-Saharan Africa,” she said, echoing observations made by UN children’s agency Unicef.

This is despite the world’s biggest government programme for early childhood development, called the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, which is seen as riddled with corruption and inefficiency.

One of the findings in the new research was that malnourished children in India were rarely hungry, merely badly fed due to widespread ignorance about nutrition among Indian parents.

“It is very clear that in Africa (malnutrition) is a result of absolute poverty. They are starving,” Mukherjee said.

“In our case, to me it seems it is about eating and feeding practices. We have a big gap there.

One of the big problems is that colostrum is regarded as either impure or to be given as a religious sacrifice. Kids are not getting enough protein.

Just a reminder that one should read all media, not just corporate media, skeptically. In this case, it’s pretty clear that India needs better management of its food programs, with a greater fraction devoted to education of parents. Just dumping more money into the program will not be as helpful as better leadership.

Posted in India, media, poverty | Comments Off on Has malnutrition soared in India?

China and India jockey for power in South China sea

Posted by Charles II on October 17, 2011

China and Vietnam are regional rivals, and Vietnamese take considerable pride in having resisted Chinese invasion attempts. Vietnam is, of course, by far the weaker of the two.

The South China Sea, with its oil and gas, is a point of regional tensions. China wants to claim it all. Vietnam is having none of that. The Chinese are taking the better part of valor, and offering to cooperate with Vietnam in developing the oil fields. Vietnam, smart enough not to rely on China completely, has brought China’s primary rival India into the equation.

Oil is not all that is at stake. As Prokhor Tebin says in ATimes:

Sea-trade is foundation of global economy: 90% of world’s commerce travels by sea. It [the South China Sea] is the second most used sea lane in the world – over 50% of the annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the Strait of Malacca, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait. The Strait of Malacca accounts for nearly 10 millions barrels of crude oil every day. There are enormous mineral and fishing resources, and the South China Sea is estimated to hold about 7 billion barrels of oil and 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

This area, contested by “China, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei” is a flashpoint on par with the Middle East.

Posted in China, India, Oil | Comments Off on China and India jockey for power in South China sea

The Infosys H1B Scandal

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 22, 2011

Yet more proof that the “oh we can’t find these tech workers at home so we must import them” line is nonsense:

A giant Indian outsourcing company with thousands of employees in the
United States is facing an expanding federal investigation prompted by
claims from an American whistle-blower that it misused short-term
visitors’ visas to bring in low-cost workers from India.

Accusations that the company, Infosys Technologies, repeatedly violated the terms of business visitor visas were first raised in a lawsuit filed in February in Alabama by Jack Palmer, an Infosys project manager. Aside from Mr. Palmer, at least two other Infosys managers in the United States have submitted internal whistle-blower reports pointing to Indians on business visitor visas who were performing longer-term work not authorized under those visas, according to internal
and current Infosys managers.

In May, Infosys acknowledged that it had received a subpoena from a
federal grand jury in Texas seeking information about the company’s use
of the visitor documents, known as B-1 visas, which are easier to
obtain. This month, N. R. Narayana Murthy, an Infosys founder, expressed
his concern about that investigation at a board meeting in Bangalore,
India, in his final address before he retired as company chairman.

“As I leave the board, I feel sad” about the subpoena, he said. “The
issue will be decided on its merits in due course,” said Mr. Murthy, who
is something of a legend in global business for building the company
over three decades from a $250 investment into an outsourcing powerhouse
with $6 billion in revenues.

The legal jeopardy isn’t the only one the divide-and-conquer-the-worker CEOs in both India are facing. Zoe Lofgren’s introduced a bill that would require US companies to increase the wages employers would have to pay H-1B workers, in an effort to ensure they do not undercut American tech industry workers as well as to eliminate the exploitation of overseas tech workers in the US; the measure targets Indian outsourcing companies. In addition, Congress last year added an extra $2,000 to the fee for H-1B visas, in another move aimed at the Indian outsourcing companies.

Posted in immigration, India, industry | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Shoving It Under The Rug

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 13, 2010

I’m not surprised to see the corporate mass media try to minimize the foreign donations story. They’ve spent more time (199,000 hits per Google) on the mistress of a man whose political career ended three years ago than on the mistress of the man who still is South Carolina’s governor (46,600 hits), even though both men were at once time seriously considered to be presidential candidate material.

And there are only 19,000 Google hits for “katrina leung parlor maid republican”, even though the story concerns, at its root, how a longtime deep-cover spy for Communist China was not only a chief officer of and fundraiser for the California Republican Party, but was the mistress of James Smith, the FBI agent who was the key actor in movement Republican judge Louis Freeh’s effort to gin up the “Chinagate” fauxgate against Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

But look! Over there! Rielle Hunter had a bowel movement! Quick, get the exclusive!

Posted in China, corporatists, corruption, election theft, GOP/Media Complex, India, IOKIYAR, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on Shoving It Under The Rug

US wages match India’s

Posted by Charles II on August 17, 2010

James Lamont and Joe Leahy of FT report that it now costs as much to hire someone in a US call center as in an Indian one. The owners of Indian call centers are now threatening to replace their workers with Americans. Suresh Vaswani, who is co-CEO of Wipro, says that his workforce will increase from 39% non-Indian to 50% non-Indian.

How much further can this farce run before the American people understand that they’re being taken advantage of?

Posted in abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, financial crisis, India, technology | 5 Comments »

Things Found En Route To Looking Up Other Things

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2010

Making mozzarella — in the microwave?

Hmmm. I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes. If all is well, my basil, thyme and tomatoes will have a nice accompaniment on top of the dosa.

Posted in food, India, Just for fun | 1 Comment »

Empire Rising

Posted by Charles II on April 17, 2010

The tragically-misguided response of the United States to Honduras is a clear sign of a declining empire, sowing long-term enmities for short-term economic and tactical gains. But a new order is rising. In fact, they held a meeting. Beatriz Bissio, IPS News:

In the space of one day, Thursday Apr. 15, two meetings destined to have broad repercussions were held in Brasilia: the summits of the leaders of the IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) groups.

The futuristic design of the Brazilian capital, which just turned 50, was the symbolic setting for the two conferences aimed at modeling a different future, with an emphasis on the defence of multilateralism and the need for reforms in the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

The fact that Brazil hosted the BRIC and IBSA gatherings confirms the influence of Brazil’s foreign policy and diplomacy and this country’s vocation to push debates on issues that were wiped off the international agenda by the neoliberal storm.

Some questions that have reemerged on the agenda are development with social justice, South-South cooperation, and the steady weakening of the dollar as a reference currency in trade transactions among emerging powers.

The coordination effort can also be interpreted as a determination to safeguard national interests and seek a new role in the formulation of proposals for overcoming the global financial and economic crisis that broke out in 2008.

IBSA and BRIC “are two important manifestations of a new order that is taking shape,” said Williams Gonçalves, a professor of international relations at the Rio de Janeiro State University and author of several books on the question.

Brazil has advantages in becoming the next rising world power. India and China are natural rivals. While India is truly a continental power, China has had periods of expansionism and is accordingly distrusted by nations like Japan and Vietnam (Japan, of course, had its own little experiment with expansionism). Russia is another of China’s natural rivals. But the only real rival of Brazil is the United States. And if the influence of the United States is declining, Brazil is the most likely of the emerging nations to fill the vacuum.

This is not to endorse this development. No earthly empire is benevolent. Terna Gyuse, IPS News:

“A part of the idea behind IBSA is to push for reform, but the reform is not about empowering smaller countries,” says Shawn Hattingh, a researcher at the International Labour Research Information Group in Cape Town.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, India | 4 Comments »

While The GOP/Media Idiots Were Babbling About Bowing…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 24, 2009

While the GOP/Media clowns were babbling about bowing, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao were hammering out a climate-change deal in advance of the great Copenhagen climate summit.

Because of this deal, President Obama is now able to go to Copenhagen with the following good news:

The news that President Obama will seek a emissions target at global talks in Copenhagen has animated a once-moribund meeting and given hope to environmentalists that something tangible can come from them.

The emissions target is expected to correspond to numbers that have been discussed on Capitol Hill, namely a reduction of 17 to 20% below 2005 emissions levels by the year 2020.

This is a direct result of the meeting with China’s Hu Jintao and was expected by those news outlets that were actually paying attention instead of freaking out over bows. As I mentioned last week, both the US and China have now agreed to stop playing climate-change chicken.

And it’s not just China that’s agreed to join the US in working to curb emissions. Obama has met with the leaders of India as well, and got commitments from them on this.

This may be the most significant news of the last decade.

[UPDATE: And no, it’s not too late. The economic downturn has bought us an extra 21 months in which to retool our economies to lower emissions. That’s 21 extra months for China to retool the older, grossly inefficient and polluting steel factories it has idled because of the downturn. That’s 21 extra months for India to do similar upgrades to its factories. That’s 21 extra months for the US to do the same thing with its factories. Considering that these three nations account for 56% of the world’s CO2 emissions, that’s not a small thing.]

(Crossposted at The Seminal.)

Posted in China, climate change, energy, environment, India, industry, international, President Obama, saving the earth | 6 Comments »

Congress sweeps

Posted by Charles II on May 17, 2009

Steve Hynd at Cernig’s Newshoggers reports that the Congress party has swept the Indian elections. That’s good news, since the alternative is the BJP (Hindu fundamentalist party).

Posted in India | 3 Comments »

Would you pay $12 for a laptop?

Posted by Charles II on February 3, 2009

…with 2GB Ram and wireless connectivity? Randeep Ramesh, The Guardian:

The credit crunch computer is set to arrive tomorrow in India when officials unveil the 500 rupee (£7.25) laptop. In an attempt to bridge the “digital divide” in the country between rich and poor, the government will show off the prototype, low-cost laptop as the centrepiece of an ambitious e-learning programme to link 18,000 colleges and 400 universities across the country.

The computer, known as Sakshat, which translates as “before your eyes”, will be launched as part of a new Rs46bn “national mission for education”. This envisages a network of laptops from which students can access lectures, coursework and specialist help from anywhere in India, triggering a revolution in education.

Designed by scientists at the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and the state-controlled Semiconductor Complex, the laptop has 2Gb of Ram and wireless connectivity. In an attempt to keep costs low, experts say it is unlikely to use familiar Microsoft Windows software.

Personally, I think they should charge extra for delivering a Windows-free box.

Update: I been p3wned!

Posted in computers and software, India | 5 Comments »

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