India has one of the largest populations of illiterate people in the world at 266 million, amounting to 35 per cent of the global total. This is a huge concern for a developing country, which is expected to become the world’s second-largest economy by the year 2050 and which will have the youngest population in the world by next year. There is also a price to pay for such illiteracy in terms of unrealized potential – for India, that has been estimated at $53.6 billion per year.
By 2030, India is poised to become the world’s third-largest economy with the largest young, working population globally. The RTE could usher in rich dividends in its growth story and help it gain a huge advantage over arch-rival China and its rapidly ageing population. It is well timed (never a day early, actually), but could India, with 35 per cent of the world’s illiterate, leverage education to accelerate its development? The story of these children illustrates at once how the RTE has been an asset, while highlighting the challenges that are holding it back. [READ FULL ARTICLE]
On average, commuters in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata spend 1.5 hours more travelling each day than their fellow commuters in other Asian cities during peak hours, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Meanwhile, the number of vehicles on our roads – as a daily driver I am painfully aware of my own contribution – keeps rising, leading to further congestion and productivity losses.
The economic cost is enormous. Traffic congestion is costing us over $22 billion annually in major cities, to say nothing of the fuel being wasted by the stalled vehicles. [READ FULL ARTICLE]
Exit polls on Sunday evening predicted a second landslide win for the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, renewing a question that was asked repeatedly over the past few weeks: whether India can handle another five years of Modi. Here’s the short answer. Yes, it can. There’s a long answer too.
Mannu Lal, a farmer in Deora village of Jhansi district in UP, used the Kisan Card to take a loan of ₹42,000 after which he took a second loan of ₹1,07,000. He paid off his first loan and used the rest of the money towards agricultural expenses. Later, he would learn that the bank had hiked his limit by another ₹32,000. But the amount was taken out of the account soon after.
“I don’t know what happened to that ₹32,000. They will not explain it to me properly. I am uneducated, I don’t understand the technical terms that they throw at me. All I understand is that I didn’t get to use this money but I have to pay it back. And to pay it back, I will have to mortgage some of my fields,” he said, showing the documents.
What stands out in the Karbi Anglong video is unbridled, savage anger. It points to the unshakable fact that much of India has been overtaken by a sense of insecurity, fear and paranoia.
This anger is now targeted against anything that doesn’t fit our narrow definitions. The anger could be over differences in religion, caste, community, or merely way of life. In India, where no two people look the same or share the same language, unfamiliarity had always been exciting, or curiosity-provoking. Now it provokes fear and insecurity. [MORE]
On Monday, Amnesty International released an unusual statement asking the new chief minister of India’s largest state to publicly retract his anti-Muslim statements. The last such statement by the human rights organization directed at a popularly elected leader was aimed at President Trump.
Amnesty’s statement came after hard-line Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath took power last week in Uttar Pradesh, a state with a population of 200 million. (For reference, Brazil’s population is 200.4 million). As the largest state in India, Uttar Pradesh has great sway over national politics. It is also a volatile state, where in 1992 deadly riots over a disputed temple killed more than 2,000 people. [More]
If India is in competition with China for a toehold in Africa, as geopolitical experts say, the past week’s racist attacks on the streets near New Delhi must have set it back far behind its northern neighbor. For three years in a row, India has been in the news for racist attacks against African nationals. The latest came last week after a local boy died of suspected drug overdose in Greater Noida, a satellite town of the Indian capital. Police had detained five Nigerians after parents of the boy accused them of supplying the drugs. However, when they were released due to a lack of evidence, the local people turned on them. Hundreds of people joined the rampage. Another violent mob attacked two African students outside a shopping mall in Noida. [MORE]