Posts

Showing posts from September, 2011

India Back to "Hindu Growth Rate" in 2012?

Image
The "Hindu rate of growth" is a derogatory description of the low annual growth rate of the pre-1991 Indian economy, which stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged 1.3%. In what appears to be an exaggeration, the Financial Times in its latest issue has an article titled "India’s abject return to talk of Hindu growth rates".

Written by James Lamont, the FT story says that "India trails in terms of attracting foreign capital and beating inflation.... some economists and industrialists fear India’s economy could shrink back towards what was derisively called the “Hindu rate of growth” from initial projections of 9 to 7 per cent this year."



With the India story unraveling due to big corruption scandals and governance deficit this year, the FDI fell by 28%, the second consecutive year of decline and the first such large decline since the opening up of the economy in 1991-92. As a result of this decline, the present leve…

Should Pakistan Tell America to Take its Aid and Shove it?

Image
"Aid only postpones the basic solutions to crucial development problems by tentatively ameliorating their manifestations without tackling their root causes. The structural, political, economic, etc. damage that it inflicts upon recipient countries is also enormous.” These words were written in a letter to UN to refuse aid by Finance Minister Berhane Abrehe of Eritrea which is the 7th poorest nation in the world.

Can Pakistan (per capita annual income of $3000) do what Eritrea (per capita annual income of less than $700) has already done with UN aid? Say "No" to foreign aid?



Pakistan Movement for Justice party leader and cricket hero Imran Khan thinks so. Echoing the sentiments of the Eritrean minister, Imran Khan told the BBC recently that "if we don't have aid we will be forced to make reforms and stand on our own feet."



Let's examine in a little more detail the proposition that Pakistan should tell the United States to take its aid and shove it:

1…

Pakistan Led South Asian Jobs Growth in 2000-2010

Image
Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".



Total employment in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan and Bhutan) rose from 473 million in 2000 to 568 million in 2010, creating an average of just under 800,000 new jobs a month. In all countries except Maldives and Sri Lanka, the largest share of the employed are the low‐end self-employed.



The report says that nearly a third of workers in India and a fifth of workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan are casual laborers. Regular wage and salaried workers represent a fifth or less of total employment.

Analysis of the labor productivity data indicates that growth in TFP (total factor productivity) made a larger relative contribution to the growth of aggregate labor productivity in South Asia during 1980–2008 than did physical and human capital accum…

Pakistani Researchers at CERN Lab in Switzerland

Image
One of the most important discoveries in Physics since Einstein's Theory of Relativity has possibly just been made at CERN and dozens of Pakistani scientists have contributed to it.

Scientists at CERN claim that they have discovered the Higgs field, also nicknamed the "God particle" that travels faster than light, thereby proving Einstein wrong, according to the Associated Press reports.

"The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," the AP story quotes James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research.



The most high-profile effort to find "God Particle" is taking place about 300 ft below ground in a tunnel at the French-Swiss border. Buried there is a massive particle accelerator and super collider called LHC (Large Hadron Collider) run by the Swiss lab CERN (European Organization of Nuclear Research), which has two beams of particles racing at nearly the speed of light in opposite …

Pakistan Ready to Part Ways With IMF

Image
Citing significant improvements in Pakistan's current account balance, Pakistan's Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that his government would not waste its energy on reviving the currently suspended IMF program that began in 2008, or seek a new IMF bailout, according to a report in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

Pakistan's decision follows the latest State Bank report of a current account surplus equivalent to 604 Million USD in the second quarter of 2011.



The surplus is the result of rising exports from Pakistan and growing remittances from Pakistani diaspora, the 7th largest in the world.

Pakistan's exports in the first two months of the current fiscal year (2011-12) surged by 20.26 percent over the corresponding period of last year. Exports during July-August (2011-12) were $4,167 million as compared to the exports of 3,465 million during July- August (2010-11, according to a GeoTV report citing data from Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS).



According…

Growing Water Crisis Poses Existential Threat to Pakistan

Image
Pakistan has increasingly been suffering from cycles of severe droughts followed by massive floods in the last few years. This recurring pattern of shortage and excess of water gives us a preview of the growing challenge of climate change. This situation calls for a comprehensive water management effort to deal with a potentially existential threat to Pakistan.

Flood-Drought Cycles:

Before the summer floods of 2010, the Indus had turned into a muddy puddle in parts of Sindh. Britain's Financial Times reported at the the time that "angry farmers marched through villages in Sindh demanding access to water. Those who can no longer turn a profit in the fields are increasingly resorting to banditry or migrating to urban shanties".

Earlier, there was a 2009 report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center saying that the melting Himalayan glaciers have exacerbated Pakistan’s shortages. And the World Bank warned that Pakistan could face a “terrifying” 30-40 per cent drop in rive…

Pakistan Set to Unveil New Renewable Power Policy

Image
Pakistan is set to raise feed-in tariffs (FITs) requiring electric supply companies to purchase electricity that guarantee up to 18% return to private producers of wind and solar power. This latest effort is to improve incentives over an earlier 2006 policy for individual consumers installing solar panels in their homes and for larger investors.

Ms. Rukhsana Zuberi, a fellow NEDUET alumnus and PPP senator, is pushing the required legislation through Pakistan's parliament for the new FIT policy.



In addition to her legislative efforts, Zuberi is also taking the lead in installing solar panels in several public buildings across the country. Some of high-profile locations where solar panels have so far been installed include the tombs of Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah and PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, University of Engineering Technology in Lahore, Abdullah Shah Ghazi's shrine, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Karachi, Prime Minister's …

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Image
While Fareed Zakaria, Nick Kristoff and other talking heads are still stuck on the old stereotypes of Muslim women, the status of women in Muslim societies is rapidly changing, and there is a silent social revolution taking place with rising number of women joining the workforce and moving up the corporate ladder in Pakistan.



"More of them(women) than ever are finding employment, doing everything from pumping gasoline and serving burgers at McDonald’s to running major corporations", says a report in the latest edition of Businessweek magazine.



Beyond company or government employment, there are a number of NGOs focused on encouraging self-employment and entrepreneurship among Pakistani women by offering skills training and microfinancing. Kashf Foundation led by a woman CEO and BRAC are among such NGOs. They all report that the success and repayment rate among female borrowers is significantly higher than among male borrowers.



In rural Sindh, the PPP-led government is empo…

Pakistan On Tenth Anniversary of Sept 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

Image
Here are a few facts about Pakistan's role in the "war on terror" since Sept 11, 2001:

First, none of the terrorists who carried out the 911 attacks on the United States were from Pakistan.

Second, the former Pakistani President Musharraf condemned the 911 attacks and quickly allied his country with the United States in the coalition to fight the US-led "global war on terror".

Third, Pakistanis continue to pay the heaviest price among the US coalition partners ten years after 911.



Would Pakistanis have been better off if President Musharraf had kept his country neutral after President George W. Bush delivered the following ultimatum to the entire world: "You are either with us, or against us?" Before answering this key question, let us examine the heavy toll the "war on terror" has taken on Pakistan:

1. Before 9/11, Pakistan had suffered just one suicide bombing — a 1995 attack on the Egyptian Embassy in the capital, Islamabad, that killed 15 pe…

Pakistani Diaspora's Role in National Development

Image
Nearly 5 million Pakistani emigrants make up the world's 7th largest disapora, according to the World Bank Factbook 2011. Adding the foreign-born children of these Pakistani emigres to the tally pushes the total figure up to about 7 million. The top five nations that the Pakistani diaspora calls home include the United Kingdom (1.2 million), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1.2 million), the United Arab Emirates (1.1 million), the United States (700,000) and Canada (300,000), according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

The nations ranking ahead of Pakistan are Mexico at #1, India at #2, Russia at #3, China at #4, Ukraine at #5 and Bangladesh at #6. Both the UK and Pakistan are tied at #7 with 4.7 million emigres, according to the World Bank.

World's Top 10 Diasporas:

Here are the top 10 national diasporas:

1. Mexico 11.9 million

2. India 11.4 million

3. Russia 11.1 million

4. China 8.3 million

5. Ukraine 6.6 million

6. Bangladesh 5.4 million

7. Pakistan 4.7 million

7. United King…