Mohammad Zainal Abedin:
Centering visit of US President Donald Trump Modi undertook a fantastic, but shameless initiative to conceal India’s ignominy and shame to show him that shining India is really a superpower that has the tallest tower and largest stadium of the world and whatnot. With that end in view, Modi cunningly ordered to construct a 4-feet high 12-mile long brick wall alongside the road through which Trump’s motorcade plied to reach the Motera Stadium, the reception venue.
A private company was hired to organize the reception event awarded to US President Donald Trump that incurred around Rs. 120 crores ($16,692,744.00), supplied by the government of Gujrat, the home of Modi and Amit Shah, the militant Home Minister of India.
Earlier Modi covered the same roadside hanging green-colored cloth when Chinese President Xi-Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to Ahmedabad. Modi did so to conceal the slum where over two thousand ill-fated Indians live for over 20 years.
Meanwhile, New Delhi authorities in India have been accused of attempting to hide poverty from Donald Trump after building a wall around a slum in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home town of Ahmedabad.
Officials in Ahmedabad claim, the wall is part of a “beautification drive” ahead of Trump and wife Melania’s stopover, but contractors associated with erecting it said its “true purpose” is to obscure the slum from Mr. Trump on his 12-mile ride into the city.
“Poverty and slums are a reality for us, but Modi’s government wants to hide the poor from Trump,” said Parvatbhai Mafabhai, a daily wage laborer who has lived in the slum with his family for more than three decades.
The far-right Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena, which rules the western Maharashtra state of which Mumbai is the capital declared that the 1,640ft-long, 4ft-high wall was an attempt by Modi to “hide India’s poverty” from Mr Trump. In an editorial in its newspaper ‘Saamana’, Shiv Sena asked whether the US was going to offer India loans to build similar walls across the country to conceal widespread poverty. It said erecting the wall to screen the slum, where some 800 families live, would neither offer a better life to the slum dwellers nor stop the decline in the value of the Indian rupee.
It also compared the welcome pageantry planned for Trump’s brief stopover in Ahmedabad to that accorded to British monarchs before India’s independence in 1947. “The kind of preparations going on from the taxpayer’s money for the arrival of Trump is similar to it,” the newspaper stated, bitingly adding that it also “reflects the slave mentality of Indians”.
The oldest and prestigious Bengali daily of India, ‘The Anandabazar Patrika’ in an editorial condemning Modi’s ill-motivated decision saying, a third-world country might have poor people. (Foreign) leaders of other countries are well-aware of it. So such an evil effort of concealing the ground reality undoubtedly uncovers inferior complexity (of Modi government). It also uncovers Modi’s inclination to avert his own accountability.
Trump, unfortunately, didn’t express his desire to move around India by train or car that deprived him of observing the beautiful real India where he could see men and women, young boys and girl, sitting side by side, defecate by the roadside and open field.
Modi, however, couldn’t conceal media outlets and organizations that uncover how rich and prosperous India is where its children lead shining life. ‘Anandabazar Patrika’ (February 24, 2020) India’s oldest and prestigeous daily said, in respect of child protection India is below 132 countries around the globe. India is far behind in child healthcare, education, nutrition, housing, sanitation in comparison to many other third world countries.
The daily said, not only he covered slums, Modi government carefully concealed the financial information. According to the daily, a study conducted by NSSO found that the percentage of unemployment in was 6.1 what was highest in four decades. Modi government tried to conceal that data. Protesting it two independent members of the National Statistical Commission resigned.
The tendency of hiding the undesirable and uneasy issues prompted the government to stop publication of the quadratic report (2018) of Labor Directorate. It wasn’t published after March of the same year. The daily added, the ground reality is that the per-capita income is decreasing; while the disparity between the rich and the poor is expanding.
India’s ‘Deccan World’ (September 17, 2019) quoting UNICEF report says, though every second Indian child is affected by some form of malnutrition, most of them don’t get the right kind of food and adequate nutrition.
Consumption of protein-based calories are negligible for Indian children and its intake share remains unchanged in the last two decades. In addition, there is a decline in calorie-share of fruits and vegetables, says UNICEF’s new State of the World’s Children Report 2019.
The signs of malnutrition are everywhere. In India, every second child is affected by some form of malnutrition – stunting (35%), wasting (17%), underweight (33%) and overweight (2%). Nearly 80 percent of kids (6-23 months) don’t receive minimum dietary. Almost half of the children are stunted in the worst-affected states compared with a fifth in the least-affected states. The country also houses the world’s maximum number of wasted kids, who are too thin for his or her height. The UNICEF report flags several examples of dietary imbalances experienced by Indian children and their mothers. Only 61per cent of children, adolescents, and mothers consume dairy products.
About one in six Indian city residents live in an urban slum with unsanitary conditions that are “unfit for human habitation,” according to the first complete census of India’s vast slum population. (https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-census-1-in-6-india-city-residents-lives-in-slums-2013mar22-story.html)
A Mumbai-based NGO ‘Child Rights and You’ provided some horrific statistics about Indian children. Census (2011) of India recorded there were 472 million children in India under the age of 18 years. This constituted 39% of the total Indian population. 1 in 4 children of school-going age is out of school – 99 millionf children in total have dropped out of school.
Out of every 100 children, only 32 children finish their school education age-appropriately (District Information System for Education (DISE) 2014-15)
Only 2% of the schools offer complete school education from 1st to 12th grade (Indian District Information System for Education (DISE > 2014-15). Fear of failure in examinations is the second highest cause of suicides in children (Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India ADSI 2014)
There are 10.13 million child laborers between 5-14 years in India. India had 33 million working children between the ages of 5-18 years. In parts of the country, more than half the child population is engaged in labor (Census 2011)
19.8 million children below age 6 in India are undernourished (ICDS 2015). Only 9.6% of children between 6-23 months in India receive an adequate diet (NFHS 4, 2015-16).
38% (1 in 3 )of children between 0-5 years are stunted in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16). 21% (1 in 5) of the children in the country suffer from wasting (NFHS 4, 2015-16). 36% of children under 5 years of age are underweight in India (NFHS 4, 2015-16). 58% of children between 6months – 5 years were found to be anemic in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
Only 21% of mothers (1 in 5) received full antenatal care in the country (NFHS 4, 2015-16). More than 50% of the pregnant women aged 15-49 years were found to be anemic (NFHS 4, 2015-16)
India’s ‘Business Standard’ says, nearly half (47.9 per cent) the Indian households that have more than five children are severely deprived of shelter, water, sanitation, health and education as compared to 7.8 per cent of poor families without children, according to the latest Indian Human Development Survey released on May 11, 2019.
Up to 24 per cent of the world’s poor live in India, the fifth largest country by gross domestic product in 2017, according to the World Bank. India’s richest 1per cent held 58 per cent of the country’s total wealth, which was higher than the global figure of about 50%.
Times of India (August 7, 2016) said: While India’s economy continues to boom since the last so many decades and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) entering into the second year, it’s 360 million poorest citizens remain among those living in some of the most dilapidated conditions in the world. The slums have become the indispensable and dark side of our country, which we can’t boast of.
It added: The world doesn’t look like what you think it looks like. It’s so strange that just a few kilometers can make a place so different from our normal world. As Keep India Beautiful (KIB) team got deep inside, it got to experience what HELL could be like. Dirty stagnant water, clogged drains, narrow lanes, cramped houses, heaps of garbage and strong stink welcomed us. This all was very overwhelming as we could feel thousands of eyes staring at us with suspicion ——–. But soon we realized that all of them are very friendly as they gathered around us sharing their grievances and how each & every single day for them is filled with so many struggles for small and basic things.
Let us have a peep into the economy of Modi’s shining India. Indian Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on February 14 (2020) said, while the position on the food front is comfortable with total foodgrains production at 283.37 million tonnes… India ranks 102nd in the global hunger index. This is a matter of concern,” Addressing the 58th convocation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Naidu “— rued that politicians, political parties and Parliament were not paying attention to the problem of the galloping population of India that poses many challenges, including for food security.
Diagnosing the core diseases of India’s policy Naidu suggested, “The policymakers, politicians, parliamentarians, agricultural universities and farm scientist must be “seriously concerned why we are still at 102nd rank in the global hunger index”. “Is there something lacking in policy, in action, in implementation, in prioritization, we must all introspect seriously and address this concern,” Naidu questioned.
‘The Economic Times’ quoting the Reserve Bank of India said, external debt stood at USD 557.4 billion in the June quarter, an increase of USD 14.1 billion over the quarter ended in March 2019.
India’s external debt increases in one hand and the internal mega business faces continuous loss on the other what is an alarming signal for so-called superpower India.
Meanwhile, out of 10 leading business houses nine face bank bankruptcy. Air India is on the verge of collapse due to consecutive loss. The authority bids to sell it, but none is ready to buy this burden.
One of India’s biggest telecoms firms, Vodafone India, has posted record second-quarter losses of 510bn rupees ($7bn) further exacerbating fears about the state of the industry. Economist Vivek Kaul explains further.
Bharti Airtel posted a consolidated net loss of 230.4 billion Indian rupees ($3.23 billion) after the telco took charge of a one-time $4.3 billion.
Air India posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20, according to senior officials.
A disgraceful and defamatory report was disclosed around the globe. India’s ‘Economic Times’ also carried the same report that said, 9 UAE-based banks are understood to be in the process of initiating legal action against Indian defaulters to recover around $7bn.
The victimized banks include UAE-based Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. A few other lenders such as Doha Bank, National Bank of Oman and National Bank of Bahrain, that have exposure to Indian entities or citizens through their branches in Dubai or Abu Dhabi also have either already moved courts in the UAE.
The said banks sued in Indian Court to recover their money. It is a serious setback and defamation for Modi’s superpower India. Rich Indians are branded as thieves. So Modi has no face to justify or show Trump that India is a superpower.
The miseries and shortcomings that I mentioned aren’t even a drop of water of the Bay of Bengal not to speak of the Indian Ocean. How many loopholes and diseases Modi will fix or cure. Indian advancement on several fields cannot keep pace with its ever-expanding problems. So the green screen or brick wall or the certificate of Trump or anyone is a cruel fun to the ill-fated Indians, who are the majority in number.*
- Dated: February 25, 2020