Category Archives: Poverty

INDIA: Why is the eradication of malnutrition a mission impossible?

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

The success of the first phase of Chandrayann-1, undertaken on Tuesday, 21 October 2008, entitles India to claim membership in the elite club of countries that have proved their technological and financial capabilities in sending a mission to the moon.  According to the Indian government, the project that is estimated to have cost 78 million USD stands as proof of India’s scientific advancement and financial standing. Among other studies to be carried out, Chandrayaan-1 will put a probe on the moon’s surface to explore the possibility of the presence of water there.

India’s mission to the moon is not merely the culmination of the dreams of a few individuals. Persons ranging from the former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, an accomplished scientist, to politicians and millions of ordinary Indians have dreamt about it. A successful moon mission will be a true acknowledgment of expectations that will satisfy the dreams of many citizens.  It will be the proof that when India has the will, it can deliver. Continue reading

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Why Indigenous People of the World are Losing Out

From Surind blog

Why Indigenous People of the World are Losing Out

Source: NST

Most of the clashes between indigenous peoples, governments and international financial institutions have arisen due to differing interpretations of the term “development”. For indigenous peoples, the key issues include not just the right to protect and preserve their ancestral lands, but also often their very survival as a community, notes Terence Gomez.

Last month, members of the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS) tried unsuccessfully to submit a memorandum to the king urging, among other things, that the government honour its commitment to abide by the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People (Undrip).
The incident, on the first anniversary of Undrip, raised an urgent question: why is it that, despite the burgeoning number of international charters and national laws across the world that assert and protect their rights, the majority of indigenous peoples find themselves increasingly subjected to discrimination, exploitation and dispossession? Continue reading

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Pakistan: IMF Programme needs to be debated

Raza Rumi’s oped published in the NEWS (Pakistan)

The not-so-inevitable is about to happen. After weeks of groping in the darkness of global financial mess, the Pakistani government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund. Admittedly, Pakistan’s options are limited, given its intractable dependence on oil imports for survival. The civilian government moving from one crisis to another has elevated indecision to a policy status. This does not imply that we start echoing the unwise cacophony of impatience with an elected and far more legitimate government than the eight-year-long authoritarian regime. But then who cares: if recent history is a guide, PPP governments come with a brand or at least get branded as incompetent comprising coteries of cronies, as if the rest of the country is a fair, rule-based haven.

The plain truth is that the power-wielders of Pakistan have been following a set of disastrous policies for decades that have now put the survival of the state, or as we knew it, in question. From the great hunts for strategic depth and Jihad, and from nurturing domestic oligarchies and pampering a delinquent industrial sector at the expense of land tillers and equitable irrigation, we are now paying the price for policy making by the elites for the sustenance of the elites. Continue reading

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1.4 billion are still very poor

The World Bank’s has published new poverty figures and revisited the $1 poverty line and set a $1.25 poverty line according to 2005 prices.

On the basis of the new poverty line, 1.4 billion very poor people live in this world, of which 337 million live in East Asia and 596 million in South Asia. The Asian continent is the home for more than two thirds of the World’s poor.

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EU aid study critical of efforts to fight poverty

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — A food crisis and economic turmoil are threatening to scuttle U.N. goals to halve extreme poverty around the world by 2015, according to an EU report released Friday.

The report, written by a group of researchers from European and U.S. universities, urged top global donors such as the 27-nation EU bloc, the United States and others to meet their aid promises and make sure their aid is spent effectively.

At a time of tight national budgets and the U.S. financial crisis, “Progress needs to be accelerated and this requires stronger policy coherence at all levels,” said Francois Bourguignon, from the Paris School of Economics, who chaired the group. Continue reading

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Pakistan: Poverty & Inequality

By Raza Rumi

(An op-ed first published here)

As I sipped the tenderly brewed coffee facing the lush green golf course of a relatively new Lahore Country Club, the new reality of Pakistan became a little clearer. The sprawling premises of the club were a preserve of the Railways Department until the inefficient Pakistan Railways could not manage it and doled it to the new, oligarchic big business of Pakistan. Much ado was made when the land owned by the Railways was privatised and questionable deals were transacted in that moderately unenlightened era. Nothing came out of the public questioning and today a lavish country club, far removed from its downmarket environs, has sprung out for the affluent and the upwardly-mobile classes of Lahore and Punjab.

The classic barriers to entry created by the cliques that lord over Pakistan’s elite clubs is being undone. Pay a handsome fee now (way over a million rupees) and you are a member to this new “club” built on the ashes of the Raj steelframe, albeit, reminding one of the nasty remarks of Churchill on how the brown, rapacious Rajas would appropriate the space created by the wise and just colonists. As my host elaborated on the entry procedures to Lahore’s richy-rich club, I could not help but remember the compensation to a suicide bomber that has also increased over the years and now hovers between one to two million rupees. A grossly-overlooked fact is that the grinding poverty in the pockets of Pakistan, seemingly unaffected by the consumerist prosperity, is the key to our current turmoil and violence. Continue reading

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West Bengal completes rural e-governance project

Published by Indo-Asian News Service on Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The West Bengal government, in association with microprocessor manufacturing major Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Monday announced successful completion of rural e-governance programme in the state.

To bridge the digital divide, the programme was targeted at providing effective governance through computer penetration within the Panchayati Raj institutions, covering 210 rural local bodies across 19 districts. Continue reading

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