Wednesday, February 17, 2010

we are a hungry country

Baawara introduced me to Malthusian Catostrophe, it basically states that once the population growth has outpaced the food production growth over a sufficient period of time the human's will be forced to return to survival techniques (hunting and gathering etc). The Malthusian essay also talked about the impact of this phenomena on the limits of economic growth.

These conversations encouraged me to do some research on how India is doing on this front, given the fact that our agri sector has not been doing too well. The land holdings are getting smaller, productivity is falling even in Punjab, which has comparatively large land holdings and seems more oriented to technology aided farming. The data that I got hold of food availability is shocking. Here are some facts

1. Per capita availability of food grains has drastically decreased from 495 grams
per capita per day (1989) to 422 grams per capita per day (2005).
2 Cereal intake of the economically poor (bottom 30% of the population) continues
to be disproportionately low compared to the cereal intake of the economically
better off (top 30% of the population).
3 The cereal intake of the economically poor has continued to decrease: In 1993
cereal intake was 12kg per month and by 2005 it had fallen to 11.3 kg.
4 Unemployment among agricultural labour households has sharply increased from 9.5%
in 1993-94 to 15.3% in 2004-05(Planning Commission 2006).
5 Between 1998 and 2006 there was virtually no change in the statistic that 47% per
cent of children (0-3 years old) were underweight.
6 More than 50% of women and 75% of children in India are anemic (no decline in
eight years).
7 A pregnant Indian woman gains only 5kg, whereas the world average gain is 10 kg,
This is a leading cause of babies being dangerously underweight, and high infant
and mother mortality rates.

Have not been able to dig more recent data, but am not sure how different it will be. More to come.

@Prasanth dude try to exprience hunger once and than u will get the answer to ur questions of So What?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Remembering Tank Man

Monday, April 13, 2009

Psychophants Unlimited

I think that flattery is so strongly ingrained in our DNA that it refuses to go away. The "mai baap" mentality from which most of us suffer is so blatantly obvious that people accept and applaud it. A few events that have led me to this hypothesis

1. Impact probe from Chandrayaan hitting the moon surface on 14th November

2. Indian media obsession with the question "When will Rahul Gandhi become the prime minister?"

3. The way ppl fawn at Priyanka Gandhi and make every two bit she utters into a breaking news. In another nation I bet she would have had a hard time getting on a news channel unless she was caught shop lifting or driving drunk. Times of India is running this story on its home page. ( Someone is describing Priyanka's 5 & 7 year olds as born charmers, well someone should tell this person every kid in that age is a charmer and the paper should note that these children are not "Gandhi's" they are "Vadera's", hardly the 5th Generation Gandhi's news paper report claims. The reporter I guess was too busy being charmed by the kids rather than paying attention to factual details)

4. Constituiencies voting MP's from same family in each election

5. Every third road in this country is named after a politician, most of them not worth the concrete on which their name is written today.

There are a host of other incidents where I have seen this phenomena unfold right in front of my eyes. Students sucking up to mediocre teachers, interview candidates flattering prospective employers, hell sometimes there is not even a positive outcome expected people just doing it so they don't lose the habit of flattering others.

Sometimes i am able to laugh it off, but most of the times incidents like these leave me bewildered, thinking if I should join the gang or watch them engage in this orgy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Youngsters in Politics

I don't know the break up of the Lok Sabha hopefuls by age group, but it would not surprise me if a big majority of them are like over 50 yrs in age. The second hypothesis that I am putting forward is that most of the under 40 yrs candidates have a political legacy running in the family. They are like lesser versions of Rahul, Varun, Jai, Sachin, Jyotiraje etc etc. all but who did not screw up like Rahul Mahajan.

Monday, March 30, 2009

US Toxic Asset Buy Back

US buy back of toxic assests is turning out to be the largest ever government investment plan, with the US government now planning to buy approximately $1.2 trillion worth of toxic assets (not all of this money will come from the governement, they are planning to fool some private investors into this as well). I understand the need for this measure, but this also points to a desperation on part of the US government to artificially prop up some financial institutions that are not healthy enough to survive. The policy makers in US smoothly transitioned from being staunch capitalists to socialists in a span of about 11 months. As a result of these actions the countries worldwide now feel that US is no longer the role model when it comes to managing the financial makets and economy. In the forth coming G-20 summit we will see loud calls from some countries for more say in how the global financial makets work. Countries across the world are sitting up and taking notice of the fact that US will be running budget deficits for sometime to come (some estimates put the budget deficit at $500 billion in 2013, with no balanced budget in sight for a long time to come). Russia and China are already talking about the idea of a new global reserve currency.
Here are a few observations about the plan
  1. US government seems to be putting in good money to buy bad money
  2. US governemnt did not let free markets work as it selectively propped up sick
  3. US dollar could lose its status as a global currency as a result of this plan
  4. US government will enjoy disproportionate power over the private sector players receiving government money for some years to come (GM CEO was made to resign today)

Whats interesting in this huge plan is that the governement does not seem to have any idea of the timeline, ask them by when they expect a turn around and u will see blank faces. Heads are gonna start rolling all around if we dont see some positive indicators in the next 6-8 months or so.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Healing a wound by burying the ghost

we buried the ghosts of 1999 today as the master provided us with balm

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Feeling Helpless

Am still to recover from the scenes of mindless violence in Mumbai. What has shocked me is the sheer cold-blooded manner in which innocent lives were cut short. Its one thing placing a bomb and leaving the place before the mayhem strikes, its another thing killing people and spending good 60 hours in the place where the victims lifeless bodies are littered. Not to say that bombings are better or worse than shooting incidents.

How do you fight these people who are devoid of remorse or guilt? Voice of reason does not seem to be an answer because these people seem to have a very different value system. Detection and prevention of such incidents is tough given the state of our political, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. An armchair enthusiast can come up with a plan to fight this menace but whatever said I find it very hard to be optimistic about fighting this new age terror in the light of systemic deficiencies that plague India
  1. Highly unstable and weak governments in all neighboring countries (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal),
  2. Large disenfranchised population in India
  3. Multicolored social and religious fabric
  4. Low IQ law enforcement personnel
  5. Centralized power structure
  6. Politicians interested in only guarding power and making money
The list goes on. For once i don't see light at the end of the tunnel. We are all safe until one dark day we find ourselves in middle of something like 26/11.