Posts

Showing posts from December, 2011

India Ranks Near Bottom on Education

Image
Indian students rank near the bottom on PISA, a global test of learning standards conducted in 74 nations this year. TIMSS, another standardized international test, produced similar results earlier in 2003.



This is the first time that Indian students participated in PISA. Students from Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, coordinated by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Prior to this participation, students from Indian states of Orissa and Rajasthan took a similar test called Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 2003.

Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh rank high on human development indicators among Indian states. The India Human Development Report 2011, prepared by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), categorized them as “median” states, putting them significantly ahead of the national average. IAMR is an autonomous arm of India's Plann…

IBA Study Ignores Grassroots Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Image
A recent report by the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) finds that Pakistanis are less entrepreneurial than their counterparts in the majority of 59 member nations of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), according to Express Tribune newspaper. The report says that the new business ownership rate, which is the percentage of owner-managers of a business that is three to 42 months old, is 2.7% in Pakistan, "considerably less" than the average rate for factor-driven economies (11.8%).

The results of this IBA CED study, as reported by the media, run counter to the findings of a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia" which shows that 63% of Pakistan's workforce is self-employed, including 13% high-end self-employed. Salaried and daily wage earners make up only 37% of the workforce.

Even if one chooses to consider just the 13% who are high-end self-employed as entrepreneurs,…

Economic Comparison Between Bangladesh & Pakistan

Image
Economic gap between East and West Pakistan in 1960s is often cited as a key reason for the secessionist movement led by Shaikh Mujib's Awami League and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. This disparity has grown over the last 40 years, and the per capita income in Pakistan now stands at 1.7 times Bangladesh's in 2011, slightly higher than 1.6 as it was in 1971.



Forty years after the Fall of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh on Dec 16, 1971, there's still much talk about it. The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, has published a piece on the subject by Akbar Ali Khan marking the 40th anniversary of Bangladeshi independence. In his Op ED, Mr. Khan argues that "political independence provided much more conducive environment for growth in Bangladesh than united Pakistan. Though economic growth in East Pakistan was revived during Ayub Khan's so-called decade of reforms, growth rate in erstwhile East Pakistan was much lower than that of West Pakistan".



In…

Pakistani-American Makes History as First Non-white NFL Owner

Image
NFL owners are the oldest and whitest of old white guy clubs. Drew Magary
Pakistani-American Shahid Khan made history this week by becoming the first minority owner of a National Football League team. All 31 other owners of NFL teams are white. The deal to purchase Jacksonville Jaguar is for an estimated $760 million and the ownership transfer will be complete Jan. 4, 2012, according to Associated Press. Earlier, Khan agreed in February 2010 to buy a controlling interest in the St. Louis Rams before billionaire Stan Kroenke exercised an option to purchase the 60 percent of the club he didn’t own.

NFL has highly lucrative business because of the extraordinary popularity of football in the United States. Over nine years, starting in 2014, CBS, Fox and NBC will together will pay an average of about $3 billion a year, more than 50 percent higher than their current deals, according to a report in New York Times. Altogether, the four networks, in addition to DirecTV, which pays $1 billion…

Hospital Fire Casts Shadow on India Medical Tourism

Image
A deadly hospital fire claiming 91 patients' lives in India last week is raising serious concerns about the safety of foreigners being wooed by the nation's growing medical tourism industry.

The fire swept through AMRI, a 180-bed, state-of-the-art facility regarded as one of the best hospitals in India. There were no exit doors or evacuation plan, the windows were sealed, and the local fire department took more than 90 minutes to arrive. Trapped, many of the patients died from smoke inhalation, according to a report in Christian Science Monitor. Most died in their beds, unable to escape the inferno that raged for hours. Residents living in the neighborhood accused the hospital guards of not taking any measures to control the fire and of even preventing others from rushing to the rescue of the victims who were abandoned by the hospital staff. The hospital is known to attract many foreign patients. However, it's too early to tell if any foreigners died in the blaze because m…

India "Time of Reckoning" as its Economy "Explodes"

Image
For at least two years in a row, BRIC has, in the words of SGS's Albert Edwards, stood for Bloody Ridiculous Investment Concept, not an acronym for populous emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China as Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill saw it ten years ago.

In fact, O'Neill has himself expressed disappointment in India, one of the BRICs, a designation that has boosted foreign investment in India and helped accelerate its economic growth since 2001.

"All four countries have become bigger (economies) than I said they were going to be, even Russia. However there are important structural issues about all four and as we go into the 10-year anniversary, in some ways India is the most disappointing," said O'Neill as quoted by Reuters.

Noting India's significant dependence on foreign capital inflows, Jim O'Neill went further and raised a concern about the potential for current account crisis. "India has the risk of ... if they're not careful, …

Lahore Company Recycles Waste Profitably

Image
Asif Farooqui is making millions of dollars by turning thousands of tons of waste in Lahore into liquefied petroleum products and fertilizer for farmlands.

Words like "clean" and "green" are not usually associated with the streets of major South Asian cities, but Farooqui's Waste Busters, a successful waste management business, is slowly changing the image of the Pakistani city of Lahore, according to an Aljazeera report.



The business started modestly a few years ago with just six donkey carts and a few workers to collect the trash and manually process it. Today, it has 200 garbage collection vehicles, several waste management plants and employs over 3000 people. Its plants separate garbage in to organics, plastics and metals to produce LPG products, fertilizer, and recyclables for reprocessing and reuse. And it is being done profitably.

An example of reprocessing and reuse is a Lahore-based company called Green Earth Recycling which turns shopping bags and other…