Indians should never ask where on earth Gabon is

As the media exults over the Bombay Sensitive Index climbing the 19,000 peak, P. SAINATH digs up an alarming set of numbers in an article in The Hindu on how India id est Bharat is doing on the indices that matter, and they blow your mind away.

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# According to the Global Hunger Index, India stands at number 94 of the 118 countries computed. Ethiopia—the country that inspired Bob Geldof‘s Live Aid show—came in at 93; Pakistan at No. 88 and China at No. 47. According to the State of Food Insecurity Report, between 1995-97 and 2000-02, hunger grew in India at a time when it fell in Ethiopia. And the 2004 showed that India had added more people to the “newly hungry” in the planet than the rest of the world together.

“In the world of the media, though, only one index matters: the Sensex. Watching which has spawned a whole little industry in itself. The numbers who pronounce on and debate it (in the media, anyway) are impressive. The oracles reading equity’s entrails for omens. Maybe we need a media relevance index. An MRI scan of mass-produced mediocrity.”

# According to the World Health Organisation, of the 536,000 women who died in childbirth in 2005, every fifth one of them was an Indian. That is, 117,000 of them. A total that could only be matched by Nigeria, Afghanistan and Congo together.

“A study done for the WHO in six Indian States found that 16 per cent of households it looked at were pushed below the poverty line by heavy medical costs. Nearly 10,000 families from lower income groups were covered by the survey for the years 2002-05. Some 12 per cent had to sell their assets to meet health expenses. Over 43 per cent had to resort to loans for the same reasons.”

# According to the Human Development Index of the United Nations, India ranks 126th among the nations of the world, below Bolivia, Guatemala and Gabon.

“One study found that if we were to derive the HDI for our tribes only, they would rank in the worst off 25 nations of the world. The study also found things to be worse by the region. The tribes of Orissa, it reports, fall below even the low end of the HDI of sub-Saharan African nations.”

Read the full article here: Indexing inhumanity, Indian style