India is full of WIN.
But, they have some problems to solve. They have the brains to solve them. How do we know this? They have a huge number of software developers.
Now read this:
March 4 (Bloomberg) — Until May 2007
Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place.
Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with the Taj Mahal in plain view.
With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians.Devi looks back on her routine with pain and embarrassment.
“As a woman, I would have to check where the males were going to the toilet and then go in a different direction,” says Devi, 37, standing outside her one-room mud-brick home.“We used to avoid the daytimes, but if we were really pressured, we would have to go any time of the day, even if it was raining.During the harvest season, people would have sticks in the fields.If somebody had to go, people would beat them up or chase them.”
In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300- million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency.From the stream in Devi’s village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent.Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September.
Illness, lost productivity and other consequences of fouled water and inadequate sewage treatment trimmed 1.4-7.2 percent from the gross domestic product of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2005, according to a study last year by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.
Sanitation and hygiene-related issues may have a similar if not greater impact on India’s $1.2 trillion economy, says Guy Hutton, a senior water and sanitation economist with the program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Snarled transportation and unreliable power further damp the nation’s growth.Companies that locate in India pay hardship wages and ensconce employees in self- sufficient compounds.
The toll on human health is grim.Every day, 1,000 children younger than 5 years old die in India from diarrhea, hepatitis- causing pathogens and other sanitation-related diseases, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
For girls, the crisis is especially acute: Many drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate lavatories, depriving the country of a generation of possible leaders.
“India cannot reach its full economic potential unless they do something about this sanitation crisis,” says Clarissa Brocklehurst, Unicef’s New York-based chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, who worked in New Delhi from 1999 to 2001.
When P.V.Narasimha Rao opened India to outside investment in 1991, the country went on a tear.For most of this decade, India has placed just behind China as the world’s fastest- growing major economy.Revenue from information technology and outsourcing jumped more than 300-fold to $52 billion a year as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Technologies Ltd. and other homegrown giants took on computer-related work for Western corporations.
Annual per-capita income more than doubled to 24,295 rupees ($468) in the seven years ended on March 31, 2008, before the full force of the financial meltdown kicked in.Even during the current global recession, India’s economy will expand 5.1 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund projects.
Yet India’s gated office parks with swimming pools and food courts and enclaves such as the Aralias in Gurgaon, outside New Delhi, which features 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) condominiums, mask a breakdown of the most basic and symbolic human need — hygiene.
Devi, who installed her neighborhood’s first toilet, a squat-style latrine in a whitewashed outhouse, created a point of pride in a village where some people empty chamber pots into open drains in front of their homes.Like most of Kachpura’s residents, more than half of India’s 203 million households lack what Western societies consider a necessity: a toilet.
India has the greatest proportion of people in Asia behind Nepal without access to improved sanitation, according to Unicef.Some 665 million Indians practice open defecation, more than half the global total.In China, the world’s most populous country, 37 million people defecate in the open, according to Unicef.
‘It’s an Embarrassment’
“It’s an embarrassment,” says Venkatraman Anantha- Nageswaran, 45, an Indian working in Singapore as chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at Bank Julius Baer & Co., which managed $234 billion at the end of 2008.“It’s a country that aspires to being an international power and which, according to various projections, will be the third-largest economy in 20-30 years.”
India has the highest childhood malnutrition rates in the world: 44 percent of children younger than 5 are underweight, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
“Malnourished children are more susceptible to diarrheal disease, and with more diarrheal disease they become more malnourished,” says Jamie Bartram, head of the World Health Organization’s water, sanitation, hygiene and health group.“If we collectively could fix the world’s basic water and sanitation problems, we could reduce childhood mortality by nearly a third.”
Half of India’s schools don’t have separate toilets for males and females, forcing young women to use unisex facilities or nothing at all.Twenty-two percent of girls complete 10 or more years of schooling compared with 35 percent of boys, a national family health survey finished in 2006 found.
Devi says she was concerned that her 14-year-old daughter would suffer the indignity and infections she herself endured due to poor menstrual hygiene.That was a major reason she bought a toilet, taking out a 7,000 rupee, interest-free loan from the U.S.Agency for International Development, which enabled her to pay for her new latrine over 18 months.
The agency also gave her a 3,000 rupee grant and a 2,500 rupee-a-month job with its Cross-Cutting Agra Project, which promotes hygiene and sanitation in her village.Until then, she, like her husband, was unemployed.Her daughter’s situation has also improved, Devi says.
“When she has her period, it’s especially difficult for her to go out into the fields,” she says.“It’s better to have a toilet at home — as it is for every female.”
Barriers that keep girls from equal education compromise the nation’s future, says Renu Khosla, director of CURE India, a New Delhi group that works to improve water and sanitation for the poor, including in Kachpura.
“We will have a less skilled population of youth,” she says.“Every year of schooling reduces household poverty by bringing down the family size and increasing skill levels.”
So far, companies looking to locate in India haven’t been turned off by the sanitation shortcomings, says Anshuman Magazine, chairman of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.’s South Asian unit, which manages about 62 million square feet of property in the country.“India is a completely different planet,” he says.
As such, employees know not to drink tap water, and employers provide clean washrooms.
“As far as offices are concerned, I have never come across anyone raising these concerns.Businesses run on making money and opportunities.Since 2004, we have seen huge interest from foreign investors and businesses.”
After reading that, do you REALLY believe that India needs….
ID CARDS FOR OVER ONE BILLION PEOPLE?
Astonishingly, in a country with some of the best software developers in the world, Israeli companies are bidding for the contract!
The whole world has gone NUTS.
This article has an idea:
Why The SIM Card Should Be India’s National ID Card
By Guest Author Sanjay Swamy, CEO, mChek
Imagine India as a country where 100% of the population is uniquely identified, has connectivity for telecom services and also has access to structured financial services. Imagine secure, personalized, anytime-anywhere healthcare services, government disbursements, loan disbursements and repayments! Imagine – the SIM card can become the government issued voter ID card – and one could even “vote” from the convenience of one’s mobile phone.
Which is echoed in this company’s idea. I strongly recommend that you read that last link. Mobile phones are like the biblical thief in the night.
In any case, India DOES NOT NEED ID CARDS, in my humble opinion. Of course, if ‘they’ want them its their business, and not any of mine or anyone else’s. One would have thought that after being a colony for 250 years, you would not want to be the slave of another master. Go figure. Your mileage may vary. Subject to change without notice. Your statutory rights will be affected. Not valid as a part of any other offer.
I was told when discussing this subject two days ago, that in India, births registration of births is not compulsory. My Google-Fu failed to confirm wether this is true or not. India is now one of the most powerful nations on earth, set to become even more powerful. Quite why they want to derail their success is anyone’s guess. And giving out ID Cards to everyone is a backwards step… at least, that is what it looks like from here, which is nowhere as far as they are concerned.
Meau graciously fills in the blanks with his Google-Fu in the comments… registration WAS voluntary and was made compulsory in 1969… there have been problems in getting everyone to respond to compulsion it seems….read below!