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India Superpower?

February 12th, 2007 · No Comments

Fortune writes: “ndia should put aside pride about its growing economy and concentrate on improving the lives of average citizens.”

India is not a superpower, and in fact, that is probably the wrong ambition for it, anyway. Why? Let me answer in the form of some statistics.

* 47 percent of Indian children under the age of five are either malnourished or stunted.
* The adult literacy rate is 61 percent (behind Rwanda and barely ahead of Sudan). Even this is probably overstated, as people are deemed literate who can do little more than sign their name.
* Only 10 percent of the entire Indian labor force works in the formal economy; of these fewer than half are in the private sector.
* The enrollment of six-to-15-year-olds in school has actually declined in the last year. About 40 million children who are supposed to be in school are not.
* About a fifth of the population is chronically hungry; about half of the world’s hungry live in India.
* More than a quarter of the India population lives on less than a dollar a day.
* India has more people with HIV than any other country.

(Sources: UNDP, Unicef, World Food Program; Edward Luce)

You get the idea.

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