Sunday, March 30, 2008

East is East, and West and West...

...and never the twain shall meet !!

Rudyard Kipling might have written his ballad for modern India.

Omakar Goswami's CERG Advisory compiled detailed data from Census 2001 on rural India, going down to the level of its around 600 districts, tehsils and villages. The findings were published in Business World about 2 years back

The data ranked every single Indian district in terms of household ownership of, and access to eleven assets or amenities. These were:

  1. whether a household has a bank or post-office account,
  2. whether it has a permanent or pucca house,
  3. whether it has an electricity connection,
  4. whether it owns a television set,
  5. whether it owns a scooter or motorcycle,
  6. whether it uses LPG for cooking,
  7. whether its drinking water source is either in the homestead or within 500 metres,
  8. whether it has a separate kitchen within the homestead,
  9. whether it has a separate toilet,
  10. whether it has a separate enclosed bathing place and
  11. whether whether it has a telephone.

Needless to say, if the majority of households have access to these assets and amenities, the region would be more economically prosperous.

What emerged was this picture:

Is there a learning in this map?... Think about it!!!

Update: On second thoughts, here are some indications....

A Map of Mineral Resources and Forest Cover in India:

A report Rich Land, Poor People by Center for Science and Environment, noted that:

  • If India's forest, mineral bearing areas, regions of tribal habitation and watershed are all mapped together, they will overlay each other on almost the same areas....

  • The three tribal-dominated states of Orissa, Chattisgarh, and Jharkhand... account for 70% of India's coal reserves, 80% of its high-grade iron ores, 60% of its bauxite and almost all its chromite reserves...

  • Of the top 50 mineral producing districts in the country, almost half are tribal. The average forest coverin these districts is 28%, much more than the national average of 20.9%... etc.

    Earlier in the report, is a paragraph:

    "Minerals, however, are essential for a nation which stands on the threshold of a promising future, and must be extracted. Which means the land, its resources and people must make way for the miners. Enamoured by mining industry's promises of progress, Indian planners and lawmakers have achieved this with clinical and brutal precision. Forests are razed, waterways polluted and clogged, farmland transformed into wasted tracts, and mining dust hangs neavy in the air. As for the people, they are summarily evicted with little prospect or promise of compensation and rehabilitation.... Most mining areas of the nation remain mired in grinding poverty and deprivation."

    ... which perhaps may explain this last map:

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