A picture worth a million words

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Indian bureaucracy rated worst in Asia

 Singapore: Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia with a 9.21 rating out of 10, according to a report by a prestigious consulting firm based in Singapore.

 India fared worst than Vietnam (rated at 8.54), Indonesia (8.37), Philippines (7.57) and China (7.11), said the report released on Wednesday by Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd.

Singapore remained the best with a rating of 2.25, followed by Hong Kong (3.53), Thailand (5.25) Taiwan (5.57), Japan (5.77), South Korea (5.87) and Malaysia (5.89).

The report said India’s inefficient bureaucracy was largely responsible for most of the biggest complaints that business executive have about the country.

The complaints included inadequate infrastructure and corruption, where officials were willing to accept under-the-table payments and companies were tempted to pay to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain government favours, the report claimed.

The report also highlighted onerous and fickle tax, environmental and other regulations that could make business in India “so frustrating and expensive”.

It said dealing with court system in India was an unattractive option for companies, and would be best to avoid it.

The bureaucrats were rarely held accountable for wrong decisions and it would be extremely difficult to challenge them when there were disagreements, it said.

“This gives them (bureaucrats) terrific powers and could be one of the main reasons why average Indians as well as existing and would-be foreign investors perceive India’s bureaucrats as negatively as they do,” said the report.

But there were plus points when India was compared to countries within the economic development group.

In the 2011-12 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, India ranked behind China but ahead of Russia and Brazil for the burden of government regulations as well as for the burden of customs procedures.

India was also second to Brazil but well ahead of China and Russia for the quality of regulation and supervision of the securities exchange, said the report.

India was also better than Brazil, Russia and China as the fastest place to set up a new business and to deal with construction permits, and was the second fastest place to deal with export and import procedures, the report said.

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Putting Growth In Its Place

It has to be but a means to development, not an end in itself
Is India doing marvellously well, or is it failing terribly? Depending on whom you speak to, you could pick up either of those answers with some frequency. One story, very popular among a minority but a large enough group—of Indians who are doing very well (and among the media that cater largely to them)—runs something like this. “After decades of mediocrity and stagnation under ‘Nehruvian socialism’, the Indian economy achieved a spectacular take-off during the last two decades. This take-off, which led to unprecedented improvements in income per head, was driven largely by market initiatives. It involves a significant increase in inequality, but this is a common phenomenon in periods of rapid growth. With enough time, the benefits of fast economic growth will surely reach even the poorest people, and we are firmly on the way to that.” Despite the conceptual confusion involved in bestowing the term ‘socialism’ to a collectivity of grossly statist policies of ‘Licence raj’ and neglect of the state’s responsibilities for school education and healthcare, the story just told has much plausibility, within its confined domain. Click here to read complete article.

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Making Aid More Effective: Base it on People Power!

At the end of November, leaders of rich and poor countries from around the world will gather in Busan, South Korea, to discuss how they can make aid more effective.

As set out in our earlier blog posts, this is an important meeting, as it tries to set a course for Governments on how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The meeting in Busan follows up on early summits on this issue, in particular the 2005 Paris Declaration and the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, which were organised as aid donors realised that the current donor landscape is not conducive to delivering on the MDGs. Click here to read remaining article.

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Poverty rate: Three years on, govt decides to redraw the line

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: As pressure mounts on the government to spill out the number of people living below the poverty line, it has finally agreed to bring a three-year drought to an end.

After dragging its feet for over three and a half years, the government surrendered to the demand of firming up latest poverty figures, an exercise that may establish how much Pakistan Peoples Party led-government did for the welfare of masses.

“The Planning Commission will analyse data collected by the Statistics Division and may firm up poverty numbers in a couple of months,” said Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque while talking to The Express Tribune. He said the government will hire competent people to carry out the analysis, as the Planning Commission does not have required expertise.

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CGD Pakistan Report criticises U.S. over lack of aid transparency

A report released yesterday by the Center for Global Development (CGD) has brought to light the United States’ lack of aid transparency in its activities in Pakistan. The report notes that despite widespread agreement from State Department and USAIDleaders on the benefits of transparency, very little progress has been made: “Transparency has not been a priority, and the lack of clear information generates scepticism and mistrust in Pakistan.” (Page 1)

It continues, “No one is sure what the United States is trying to accomplish in the development space. Because of a debilitating lack of transparency in the aid program, no one is even sure what the United States is doing.” (Page 4)Click here to read complete article

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Ex-Blair mandarin earning £4,400 A DAY in austerity Britain to advise on foreign aid

By JASON GROVES, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:

A former aide to Tony Blair was paid an ‘obscene’ £5,505 a day to advise the Government on doling out its vast foreign aid budget.

However the Department for International Development (DFID) has negotiated a discount with Sir Michael Barber, and he is now working for a bargain £4,404 a day.

Details of the deal with Sir Michael, head of the Downing Street ‘delivery unit’ under Mr Blair, have been leaked to the Daily Mail. A whistleblower at the DFID said it was appalling evidence of how the department was ‘losing its focus’ on helping the world’s poor.Click here to read remaining article

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