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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Using products made from recycled material saves a lot of greenhouse emissions..

Recycling of paper, plastic, glass etc. reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons, that contribute to global climate change. 

Recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for four hours. 

Manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans uses 95 percent less energy than creating the same amount of aluminum with bauxite. 

Calculated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions saved due to recycling were as much as 8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for 1 ton of aluminium cans and aluminium foil collected for recycling.

The avoided GHG emissions from the recovery of high frequency materials such as LDPE, PET, textiles and steel cans are also notable. 

In general, reusing plastics saves nearly 40 % GHG emissions compared to using virgin plastic. Even recycling of paper saved half a ton of CO2 equivalent GHGs per ton of recycled paper. 

Composting and recycling rates in California state of America are at about 48%. The state hosts 4,300 recycling and reuse establishments that employ over 84,000 people.

The products made from recovered material can either serve the same purpose (e.g. from bottle to bottle) or fall into a different category of application than the primary product (e.g. from glass to fibre).

India still does not recycle 40 % of its plastics. The plastics mixed with wet wastes also keep india from composting. 

How every aspect of our lives is being made poorer by climate change..

The relative impact of climate change will be far different in the developed and developing worlds. A study examined the relative impact of climate change in the context of a single infrastructure element, paved and unpaved roads. Roads have a significant impact upon communities in terms of maternal health, level of education, poverty, gender equity, economic development and transport.

The potential degradation of roads due to climate change presents a significant economic threat, particularly in developing countries. Roads are a lifeline to alleviating poverty since investment in access to rural areas and transport improves the living conditions of the poor.

The potential for road damage and the inability to invest in new road infrastructure could impact the economic stability of communities.

The critical question that needs to be addressed is how climate change affects countries in terms of their ability to absorb the predicted costs.

The study found that a developing country - Bolivia could treble its paved road network by 2100 if expenditures were not diverted to adapting to climate change. However, in comparison
, a developed country - Italy's paved road network expansion would be impacted only 4 %. Values in similar range were found for other countries studied. 

The study also showed the difference between adapting to climate change and foregoing adaptation. For example, if Bolivia foregoes adaptation, then it will incur approximately $310 million of impact versus $138 million of impact if adaptation policies are put in place. Similar percentages of savings of adapting to climate change vs. not adapting are obtainable for other countries studied.

Relative impact can also be analysed in terms of expenditure percentages. In the study, the developed countries never exceed 1% of expenditures for climate adaptation in any decade of the 21st century. In contrast, the developing countries regularly experience double-digit expenditures during each decade.

The lower-income countries suffer from a dual issue. First, these countries cannot afford to expend as much resources as is required on their road infrastructure. For example, Bolivia expends just 0.36% of GDP or $163 million on roads while Japan expends 4.33% of GDP or $179 billion on its road infrastructure. To compensate, many lower-income countries depend on unpaved or gravel roads as the basis for the country infrastructure.

This lack of spending leads to the second related issue, the dependence on the roads in place. Since the road network in lower-income countries lacks the density (0.06 km/km2 in Bolivia) of that found in higher-income countries (3.16 km/km2 in Japan), communities are overly dependent on the minimum number of roads in place. Thus, the value of each road in terms of dependence is higher where the road network lacks sufficient density

A stark illustration is here in these figures : in 1997, all of Africa (excluding South Africa) had 171 000 km of paved roads, about 18% less than Poland - a single, middle income country of Europe.
In summary, the total expenditure on climate change was found to not reflect the relative impact of climate change on the selected countries, as developed countries spend far more on road infrastructure - but the impact of climate change on their road network will impact their economies much less. Rather, the opportunity to further develop road infrastructure is the measure which reflects the importance of the expenditure shift to the selected countries.

Developing countries will be forced to transfer a significant amount of annual expenditures to offset the effects of climate change on road infrastructure. 
This poses a question whether they can continue on a designed development path rather than being forced to reduce or abandon these plans due to the need to redirect funds to climate change adaptation.

Acknowledgement : The blog post above has been sourced from this article.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Did you know Bangkok is predicted to largely be under water by 2030 ?

Bangkok faces a problem of skyscrapers pushing down on water-depleted soils. A study released by the city government in 2015 predicted it could be entirely underwater within 15 years. Bangkok has taken some action to preserve groundwater, such as the Ground Water Act of 1977 that restricted the amount of groundwater extracted. The city is now sinking at a slower rate than before, and water is being pumped back into the ground, but it is not enough to save the city from rising seas.

“The most rigorous solution and the best one is to stop pumping groundwater for drinking water, but then, of course, you need a new source of drinking water for these cities. But Tokyo did that and subsidence more or less stopped, and in Venice, too, they have done that."Other recommendations include the construction of a seawall to protect the greater Bangkok area from rising seas, estimated to cost 14 billion U.S. dollars.

As a demonstration for innovative ideas, an 11 acre park has been built in bangkok to collect floodwaters. The architect of this park says : “We want to re-introduce permeable surface back into the city, through a network of public green spaces projects, like small parks, urban farms, and canals. Urban porosity is critical to managing water stress in Bangkok." Another park, three times as large, is also under development.

The Park is also a welcome glimpse of grass in a metropolis that has just 3.3 sq m of green space per resident. That compares with 27 sq m in London and 66 sq m in Singapore. In fact, in the past 20 years the amount of green space in Bangkok has dropped from 40% of total land to less than 10% – exacerbating flood risk.

The city government of bangkok says it is building flood barriers and underground tunnels, and canals are being dredged and expanded. A “green zone” east of Bangkok is already used to retain water for the city. Since 2013, he says, flood concerns have been better addressed by building regulations. There must now be space for water to absorb into the ground of new-builds.

Attention was drawn to Bangkok's vulnerability after the 2011 flood event, which cost the nation US $46 billion in repairs and rehabilitation. More than 800 deaths were recorded and 13 million people were affected by the flooding.

A warning for other poor countries..

A worldbank report in 2012 showed how Yemen (a country below Saudi Arabia in the Middle East) typifies the future impact of a warming world - groundwater levels were plummeting by six meters a year in some parts. In the capital Sana’a, people have piped water once a week at most. Otherwise, they have to buy it, and for the ordinary worker, it’s pricey.

The Yemeni government had earlier enacted policies that actively encouraged the depletion of the existing water supply, including subsidizing cheap diesel and funding irrigation for water-heavy cash crops.

A recent National Geographic article was headlined : ‘The World has left Yemen to Die’. It is not an exaggeration - Half the population of Yemen – 14 million of the total 28 million, are in a pre-famine condition in 2018. 19 million Yemenis don’t have access to clean water and sanitation.

A war among rebels and a weak government with absentee leader has dragged on for four years with outside support. The war is a continuation of a long-standing conflict between the Yemeni government and marginalized northern tribes, which escalated thanks to a gradual decline in the legitimacy and competence of the central government

We may not remember India's ties with Yeman that well : In 1839, Aden became part of the British Empire and was administered by the Bombay Presidency. A garrison of Indian soldiers was established in Aden and the Indian Rupee was made the official currency. In 1855, a fortnightly steamer service with Bombay was initiated.

It was in Aden in Yemen, that Dhirubhai started his entrepreneurial journey. Even the name of his company - Reliance, is based on the name of the store of his friend in south Yemen that he opened there in the 1950s.

India had actively supported Yemen’s independence from the British and was one of the first countries to recognize Yemen in 1962.

During an earlier civil war there in 1994, Indian doctors and nurses were perhaps the only expatriates who stayed behind and rendered humanitarian services to the people of Yemen.

Yemen's foreign trade, which once represented more than 80% of GDP, died out with the civil war, reaching a mere 28% of GDP in 2016. India had been one of the countries with whom Yemen had strong trade links. The Bank of India had opened a branch in Aden in 1950 which was incorporated into the National Bank of Yemen in 1970.

In 2015 after the outbreak of the current war in Yemen, the Indian Armed Forces evacuated 5000 Indians and a 1000 people of other nationalities from Aden, Yemen's port.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Beat It !

"Beat It" has been cited as one of the most successful, recognized, awarded and celebrated songs in the history of pop music; both the song and video had a large impact on pop culture. The song is notable for its famous video, which featured Jackson bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance. The album thriller in which this song features, became the best selling album of all time.

"Beat It" was composed by Michael Jackson. "Billie Jean", another song by Jackson, and "Beat It", occupied Top 5 positions at the same time, a feat matched by very few artists. The music video for "Beat It" helped establish Jackson as an international pop icon.[33][34] The video was Jackson's first treatment of black youth and the streets. Both "Beat It" and "Thriller" are notable for their "mass choreography" of synchronized dancers, a Jackson trademark.[35]

The video, which cost Jackson $150,000 to create after CBS refused to finance it,[30][36] was filmed on Los Angeles' Skid Row—mainly on locations on East 5th Street[37]—around March 9, 1983. To add authenticity to the production but also to foster peace between them, Jackson had the idea to cast members of rival Los Angeles street gangs Crips and Bloods.[38] In addition to around 80 genuine gang members,[36] the video, which is noted for opening up many job opportunities for dancers in the US,[39] also featured 18 professional dancers and four breakdancers.

A closer look at emissions of gasses that warm the atmosphere..

India's per capita Carbon-di-Oxide (CO2) emissions climbed from 1 ton in 2005 to 2 tonnes in 2016.

The per capita CO2 emissions of the richest 10 per cent Indians are about 4.4 tonnes.

The average monthly household income of the top 1% Indians could be as high as Rs. 1.17 lakh while that of the top 10 % could be Rs. 62,574.

It seems logical to me to assume that the CO2 emissions of the top 1 % of Indians then could be double that of the top 10 % of Indians, and thus at 9 tonnes per capita.

The EU per capita CO2 emissions in comparison are 7 tonnes a year. 

In 2016, China, US, EU28, India, Russia and Japan were the world’s largest emitters in decreasing order of CO2 emissions. They showed different trends though, with 2% decreases for US and Russia, a 1% decrease for Japan, constant emissions for China and EU28 and a 5% increase for India. India does not show yet any decoupling of their emissions growth from their economic growth, unlike Brazil, where emissions fell by 6%.

In 2016, nearly 40 % of CO2 emissions worldwide were due to the power industry. 22 % CO2 emissions were on account of other industrial combustion (such as by use of fuels for industry). 22 % emissions were on account of transport. 8 percent emissions were for buildings (such as for heating) and another 8 % for non-combustion use (such as for plastic products and fertilizers). 

Another, 2014 assessment of global emissions from greenhouse gases (GHGs - all of which contribute to global warming and which consist of methane and nitrous oxide, besides CO2), found that 25 % of GHGs were emitted for electricity and heat production, 24 % by agriculture and forestry, 21 % by industry, 14 % for transportation, 10 % for fuel extraction and refining, and 6 % for heat and cooking in buildings. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Climate Change and the Poor..

Energy use alone is responsible for nearly three quarters of global greenhouse emissions, and most energy is consumed by the rich: to drive their cars, heat their buildings and manufacture goods such as refrigerators, air conditioners and televisions – all of which then demand more energy throughout their lifetime. Globally, the wealthiest 10% of people may be responsible for more than 50% of emissions.

Though high-income households bear more responsibility for climate change, its most severe impacts will be felt by the poor, who are more likely to live in areas exposed to environmental hazards, such as floodplains or steep slopes, and whose homes may also lack basic infrastructure that might reduce the impacts of extreme weather, such as drains to safely carry away storm-water.

In the aftermath of natural disasters, it is the poorest in society who struggle to access the financial resources they need to rebuild their homes and lives, thus turning a storm into a catastrophe.

Having reviewed more than 700 studies on transport, buildings and waste management, a research team found that choosing low-carbon options would not only improve public health, create jobs, enhance productivity and cut energy bills, but that many of the gains would be mostly enjoyed by low-income urban residents. Those most vulnerable to climate change are therefore also those who would benefit most from climate action.

A report shows that climate change is an acute threat to poorer people across the world, with the power to push more than 100 million people back into poverty over the next fifteen years. And the poorest regions of the world – Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – will be hit the hardest. 
In India alone, an additional 45 million people could be pushed back over the poverty line by 2030, primarily due to agricultural shocks and increased incidence of disease.

Even in the US, climate change will hit low-income communities the hardest even as it takes a toll on the U.S. in general.

We have the ability to end extreme poverty even in the face of climate change, but to succeed, climate considerations will need to be integrated into development work. And we will need to act fast, because as climate impacts increase, so will the difficulty and cost of eradicating poverty.

The report demonstrates that ending poverty and fighting climate change cannot be done in isolation – the two will be much more easily achieved if they are addressed together,

In the longer term, only immediate and continued efforts to reduce global emissions will save poor people from climate impacts, according to the report. To be successful, governments should design mitigation policies so that they protect, and even benefit, poor people. And action can be taken to reduce the burden of policies that would impose new costs – such as by strengthening social protection and assistance, or using cash transfers

One analysis of 20 developing countries showed that collecting and redistributing energy taxes would benefit poor people despite higher energy prices, with the bottom 20 percent of the population experiencing a net $13 gain for each $100 of additional tax. Well-designed emissions-reductions programs that strengthen the productivity of agriculture and protect ecosystems could benefit 20-50 million low-income households by 2030 through payments for ecosystem services.

European Union's successful carbon cap and trade system..

The EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. It is the world's first major carbon market and remains the biggest one.

The EU ETS works on the 'cap and trade' principle.

A cap is set on the total amount of certain greenhouse gases that can be emitted by installations covered by the system. The cap is reduced over time so that total emissions fall.

Within the cap, companies receive or buy emission allowances which they can trade with one another as needed.

After each year a company must surrender enough allowances to cover all its emissions, otherwise heavy fines are imposed. If a company reduces its emissions, it can keep the spare allowances to cover its future needs or else sell them to another company that is short of allowances.

Trading brings flexibility that ensures emissions are cut where it costs least to do so. A robust carbon price also promotes investment in clean, low-carbon technologies.

The EU ETS has proved that putting a price on carbon and trading in it can work. Emissions from installations in the system are falling as intended :

In 2020, emissions from sectors covered by the system will be 21% lower than in 2005.

In 2030, under the revised system they will be 43% lower.

As of 2014, the EU ETS covered approximately 13,500 stationary installations in the electric utility and major industrial sectors and all domestic airline emissions in the EU’s twenty-eight member states

Worsening impacts of a warming world..

The UN warns that for every increase of one degree globally, grain yields fall by about five per cent.

Advances in technology and management have meant that total yields of maize, wheat and other major crops have increased, but they would have increased more — by 40 megatonnes per year between 1981 and 2002 — in the absence of climate change.

That implies that already in 1981, the world grew 3 % less grain and in 2002, 2 % less grain, than it would have, but for a warming world.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2040.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

To limit ourselves to 1.5°C with no overshoot, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions should reduce by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and should reach net-zero around 2050. We also need serious cuts to non-CO2 emissions. Both methane and black carbon need to be reduced by 35 per cent or more of 2010 levels by 2050.

If strong action to curb use of fossil fuels isnt taken, decline in crop yields, unprecedented climate extremes and increased susceptibility could push poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050.

We have prioritized Road Transport over Rail..

Railways' share in total interregional freight traffic came down from 89% in 1951 to 65% in 1979 and 30% in 2008. this consistent and unchecked fall in the share of railways through the years was estimated to have caused the Indian economy 16% of the total transport cost in the year 2008.

The share of roads in passenger traffic carried by rail and road together has increased from 32 % in 1951 to about 90% in 2012.

Dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) have been envisaged to augment rail freight transportation capacity, particularly on the eastern and western corridors. DFCs are expected to ensure that long run traffic demand is met adequately and efficiently. the diversion of freight to DFCs on trunk routes will free up the existing network for the kind of capacity expansion needed for passenger movement.

DFCs will double railways’ freight carrying capacity. The Western DFC is running behind schedule and now expected to be complete in 2020. But The proposed east-west Dedicated Freight Corridor of the Indian Railways to connect Kolkatta and Mumbai through Rourkela is yet to see the light of the day.

In 2012, there were 1.32 lakh publicly owned buses in India, and 15.45 lakh buses owned by private companies.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sensible Transport Policy Guidelines for India..

The revised National Urban Transport Policy of 2014 referred to ‘Avoid, Shift and Improve’ in transport planning as advocated by the Asian Development Bank.

This means ‘avoid’ increase in demand for travel both by reducing the number and length of trips. Promote a shift from personal vehicles to other MRT and non-motorized transport modes to reduce energy demand and hence pollution in cities. Improve strategy includes use of clean fuels and clean vehicle technology.

The revised policy goes on to say : Attention should be paid to channel the future growth of a city around a pre- planned UT network rather than develop UT after uncontrolled sprawl has taken place.

Planning should, therefore, enable a city to take an urban form that best suits the geographical constraints of its location and also one that best supports the key social and economic activities of its residents. All urban development and planning bodies in the States would be required to have in house transport planners as well as representation from transport authorities in their management.

A 2008 Report says that most cities do not have a long-term comprehensive urban transport strategy. Accordingly the proposals for specific projects are often not integrated with other urban transport measures or with land use patterns. Guidelines for developing Comprehensive Mobility Plans (CMP) were developed in 2008 and a 2016 report says 25 cities, more than half of them in Karnataka, have developed such plans.

Conventional urban transport plans focused on addressing issues relating to vehicles and often recommended extensive infrastructure development such as road networks and flyovers. The improvement of vehicle flows in this approach, however, is often achieved though decreased mobility of pedestrians, Non Motorized Vehicles (NMV) and public transport users. Consequently, mobility of people as a whole has not been appropriately addressed.

The CMP, on the other hand, focuses on mobility of people to address urban transport problems, to promote better use of existing infrastructure, improvement of public transport, pedestrian and NMV facilities. It also emphasizes integration of land use and transport development.

Why are Metro systems being planned for under-40 lakh population cities ?

Under the smart cities programme, the cities are required to build efficient urban mobility and public transportation by creating walkable localities, as well as promoting a variety of transport options. However, there is no clear guideline for developing a sustainable public transportation system.

Some of the new metro systems are still facing issues with building ridership; for example, Jaipur Metro carries only 17,000 passengers a day compared to the 2.1 lakh passengers daily that had been envisaged in this city of 30 lakh people by the Jaipur Development Authority.

Many Jaipur residents commented that the route was not planned on the busiest, most under-served areas of Jaipur and there is lack of last mile connectivity. Many feel a metro was not required for Jaipur at all. After Rajasthan Urban Infrastructure Development project (railway overbridge at all crossings) road connectivity in Jaipur has increased a lot so people prefer taking their own vehicles.

Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation earns 67 lakh after spending about Rs 3.5 crore monthly for operations. Unlike other state Metros, the operational losses of Jaipur Metro are being borne by residents since the state government is raising money for Rajasthan Transport Investment Development Fund by levying cess on several services. Perhaps more weightage was given by the then Congress Government to political reasons rather than financial or even practical viability.

It's not entirely the fault of states, however. The National Urban Transport Policy of 2006 provided for metros in all cities with over 20 lakh people. As per the policy, even such small cities as Bhopal, Chandigarh and Ludhiana were fit for metro transit systems.

But many experts fear it may be a burden to cities with populations on the lower side of 40 lakh. At least 25,000 passengers must take one side of the journey every hour for a metro to recover its running costs. That is about 8 lakh passengers a day.

The Delhi metro is one of only 5-6 metros in the world which are not running on loss. But it's not that they are minting money.

The Delhi metro has cost nearly Rs 70,000 crore to build so far. And even with an average daily ridership of over 25 lakh, its operational profits have dipped over the years due to rising electricity tariffs. Most of what it earns goes to paying interest on capital loans.

The Indore metro is proposed to be a 108-km network - the Jaipur metro is 9.63 km long - and is expected to cost Rs 22,000 crore.

Even if the state and the Centre agree to bear half the cost, the project would require loans of Rs 11,000 crore. So, it would have to pay about Rs 550 crore a year, at 5% rate, in interest alone. Add operational and capital costs, and the project seems unviable.

In even smaller cities that are mulling metros, Varanasi, Agra, Patna, Meerut and Guwahati - all with populations under 20 lakh -- the projects would just crumble under their own financial weight.

The Comprehensive Mobility Plan toolkit had been prepared by the Ministry of Urban Development in 2008, but was evidently not used while assessing whether Jaipur needed a metro or not on the specified route. As the toolkit makes clear that under 5000 passengers per hour per line in each direction should have only a city bus. 

The Story of Two Indian States..

Two south Indian states, namely Kerala and Tamil Nadu, stand out as having developed more extensive transport facilities that have helped restrain the use of personal vehicles.

The bus and train network, the backbone of the public transport system, meets the transport requirements of 31 % of the workforce engaged in industry and services in Kerala and 26 % of the workforce in Tamil Nadu.

In contrast in 2011, the public transport system provided commuting facilities to only 18 % of the workforce at the national level. More than 50% of the workforce (excluding domestic and agriculture) continue to work at home or travel to their workplace by foot in the absence of adequate transport facilities. Citizens are largely dependent on private transport. 

The public transport system in Tamil Nadu and Kerala thus carries a higher percentage of workers than even in metros like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, where the public transport systems cater to the needs of 25 %, 22 % 26 % and 25 % of the workforce.

Only Mumbai has a much larger public transport system than these two southern states. This is because the train network which transports 25 % of the workforce in Mumbai adds to the facilities offered by the bus transport system which carries another 16 % of the w
orkforce and pushes up the total share of the public transport network in Mumbai to 41 %, which is the highest share in the country.

The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the first rail system in India which began services in Mumbai in 1853. It transports 6 million passengers daily and has the highest passenger density in the world.

 pushes the public transport network in Kerala and Tamil Nadu behind that in Mumbai is the minimal share of the train networks which carry only 2% of the workforce in these states. With the train network under the exclusive jurisdiction of the central government, the two states have hardly any leverage to expand train facilities until very recently when metro rail projects began to be implemented in the cities. However, the bus transport network in Kerala and Tamil Nadu is vastly superior to that in the other states or even in the metros.

Thus while the bus transport network in Kerala carries 29 % of the workforce, that in Tamil Nadu carries 23 % - while the share is only 11 % at the all India level.

The share of bus transport in these two states are also substantially larger than the bus transport facilities even in the metros where its share is 22 % in Delhi, 16 % in Mumbai, 19 % in Chennai, 22 % in Kolkata and 24 % in Bengaluru.

In fact, the rural public transport system in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which carries 28 % and 29 % of the rural workforce in these states, are even better than that of the metros.

The extensive public transport facilities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu has helped them reduce their dependence on vehicles of personal use like two wheelers and cars. Thus we find that though Kerala and Tamil Nadu have much higher incomes than the all India average, the share of their workers using four wheelers like cars, van, taxi and tempos are either si
milar or sometimes even much lower than the all India share.

he scenario is also the same in the case of two wheelers with the use of bicycles for commutating in Kerala and Tamil Nadu lower than in the country as a whole.

India has ended up prioritizing roads and private motorized vehicles for transport

At 0.66 km of highway per square kilometre of land the density of India's highway network is higher than that of the United States (0.65) and far higher than that of China's (0.16) or Brazil's (0.20). About 65% of freight and 80% passenger traffic is carried by roads in India. Average growth of the number of vehicles has been around 10 % per annum over recent years.

Increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport sector is highest among all other sectors in India.

Indian cities are experiencing an explosive motorisation phase. It had taken 60 years – from 1952 to 2008 – for the number of registered vehicles in the country to reach 105 million.

But thereafter, the same number was added in a mere six years – between 2009 and 2015. At the same time, the share of public transport in overall transportation modes is expected to decrease from over three-fourths in 2000-01, to less than half in 2030-31.

Bhopal, Kolkatta and Mumbai topped the ranking of 14 Indian cities recently on how public transport contributes to air pollution and energy use. The first modern rapid transit in India is the Kolkata Metro which started its operations in 1984.

Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad score poor in the ranking of 14 cities.

Roads are jammed with traffic 60-70 % of the time in Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkatta.

Cities need policies to stop urban sprawl; reduce distances between residence, jobs and recreation through compact urban forms; scale up integrated public transport, walking and cycling; and put restraints on use of personal vehicles to avert pollution and climate crisis.

At least 13 people die every hour i
n road accidents in the country. In the year 2007, road accidents claimed more than 130,000 lives in India, overtaking China. Sadly, 54 % of people killed in road accidents are in the 15-34 years age group. It is estimated that the economy lost around 3% of GDP (1999-2000) due to road mishaps.

Oil and gas industry in India imports 82% of its oil needs and aims to bring that down to 67% by 2022 by replacing it with local exploration, renewable energy and indigenous ethanol fuel.

Cost of logistics in India is 14% of GDP, which is higher than the developed nations, and government reforms aim to bring it down to 10% of GDP by 2022. Although India's rank in the annual logistics performance index isnt bad at no. 44 in 2018 (out of 160 countries).

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Please Wake up to Water Scarcity..

Nearly 600 million Indians (around 40 % of India's population) face high-to-extreme water stress, a June 2018 report has said.

Rapid groundwater depletion is coupled with decline in average rainfall and increasing dry monsoon days. In the winter cropping, or rabi season, average rainfall has declined, from ~150 mm in 1970 to about 100 mm in 2015.

With nearly 70% of water contaminated, India ranks 120th of 122 countries in a global water quality index.

A water management index by the Niti Aayog evaluated states on nine broad sectors and 28 indicators, including groundwater, irrigation, farm practices and drinking water. 

In 2015-16, 14 of the 24 states analysed, scored below 50% on water management and have been classified as “low performers”. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan, have all been classified as low performers.

Several water-stressed states are only 'medium preformers' - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Punjab.

Just the Latest studies on Climate Change..

Researchers found recently that glaciers in Himalayan ranges are melting more rapidly than at any point in the last 10,000 years. This means that the water supply in parts of Pakistan, China, India and Nepal will decline soon.

By 2100, the best case scenario is that half of the ice will disappear. Worst-case scenario: two-thirds of it will.


In 2017, 153 billion hours of labor were lost worldwide because of heat, with the largest share in vulnerable rural communities in countries like India. That’s 64 billion more lost labor hours than in 2000.

By mid-century, “Prevalence of heatstroke and extreme weather will have redefined global labor and production beyond recognition,” The Lancet warned in an accompanying editorial. “Multiple cities will be uninhabitable and migration patterns will be far beyond those levels already creating pressure worldwide.”

Though the world still produces more than enough food to feed itself, rising temperatures and extreme weather events are affecting food production. Crop yields are diminishing in 30 countries, reversing a trend of rising agricultural productivity and threatening food security around the world and in the United States.


More than two-thirds of life on Earth died off some 252 million years ago, in the largest mass extinction event in Earth’s history.

Researchers have long suspected that volcanic eruptions triggered “the Great Dying,” as the end of the Permian geologic period is sometimes called, but exactly how so many creatures died has been something of a mystery.

Now scientists at the University of Washington and Stanford believe their models reveal how so many animals were killed, and they see frightening parallels in the path our planet is on today.


A study recently said that agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by mid-century in the US due to climate change.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Story of Oil...

A fourth of the world's oil is produced in Africa, South America and the Asia-Pacific put together. 20 % of the world's oil is produced in Europe and Eurasia and another 20 % in North America. The remaining 35 % of the world's oil is produced in the Middle East.

The US is the largest producer of oil in the world, accounting for 20 %, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The Asia-Pacific Region consumed 35 % of the world's oil in 2016. North America consumed nearly 25 % and Europe / Eurasia, 20 %. South America and Africa together consumed 12 % and the Middle East 10 % of the world's oil consumption for 2016.

The single largest oil consumer is the United States, with over 10,000 TWh per year. The USA is followed by China (at 7000-8000 TWh), and India at just under 2500 TWh.

Just because we source more of our energy from sources other than fossil fuels, does not mean we bring down our consumption of them

A World Bank data set shows that the world has gone from 94 % of all energy being sourced from fossil fuels in 1960, to 80 % in 2015, in the world as a whole. 

While that is great, the world consumed 40,900 TerraWatt Hours (TWh) equivalent of fossil fuels in 1965. This shot up to 131,100 TWh in 2015, an increase of more than three times. So what we have to really look for is countries that reduced their consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Sweden sourced just 27 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 2015 compared to 75 % in 1960 (it also reduced its fossil fuel consumption by 20 % from 1965 to 2015).
  • The Czech Republic sourced 76 % of its electricity from fossil fuels in 2015 (it also reduced its fossil fuel consumption by 19 % from 1965 to 2015).
  • Denmark sourced 66 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 2015 compared to 100 % in 1960 (what is commendable is that it also reduced its fossil fuel consumption by 11 % from 1965 to 2015). 
  • Germany sourced 80 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 2015, compared with 99 % in 1960 (but it increased its fossil fuel consumption by 2 % from 1965 to 2015).
  • France went from sourcing 96 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 1960 to 47 % in 2015 (but it also increased its fossil fuel consumption by 21 % from 1965 to 2015).
  • Estonia sourced just 12 % of its energy from fossil fuels in 2015 !
  • Belgium sourced 76 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 2015 compared to 100 % in 1960 (but in another dataset from 1965 to 2015, it increased its fossil fuel consumption by 25 % in that period). 
  • Switzerland sourced half its energy needs from fossil fuels in 2015 compared with 75 % in 1960 (but it increased its fossil fuel consumption by 44 % between 1965 and 2015).
  • The US sourced 96 % of its energy needs from fossil fuels in 1960 compared to 83 % in 2015 (however it increased its use of fossil fuels by 60 % between 1965 and 2015).
  • Finland sourced 40 % of its energy from fossil fuels in 2015 compared with 45 % in 1960 (however it nearly doubled its use of fossil fuels from 1965 to 2015).
  • Austria sourced 66 % of its energy from fossil fuels in 2015, compared to 84 % in 1960 (however it nearly doubled its use of fossil fuels from 1965 to 2015).
  • Even bad boy Canada (for its shale oil !) has gone to sourcing 74 % of its energy from fossil fuels in 2015, compared to 83 % in 1960 (sadly, it increased its use of fossil fuels by nearly 2.5 times from 1965 to 2015).
  • Chile sourced 73 % of its electricity from fossil fuels in 2015 (but its use of fossil fuels went up nearly 4 times from 1965 to 2015).
Some countries went the other way though - they sourced more of their energy needs from fossil fuels in recent years than they did decades ago :
  • India went from 35 % of its energy needs sourced from fossil fuels in 1971 to 74 % in 2014.
  • China went from 56 % of its energy needs sourced from fossil fuels in 1971 to 88 % in 2014.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fossil Fuel Production - and Consumption climbed dramatically - but some countries reduced their consumption !

The 20th century saw a large diversification of fossil energy consumption, with coal declining from 96 percent of total production in 1900 to less than 30 percent in 2000. Today, crude oil is the largest energy source, accounting for around 39 percent of fossil energy, followed by coal and natural gas at 33 and 28 percent, respectively.

The world's total production of fossil fuels grew from 54,000 Terrawatt Hours (TWh) in 1970 to 130,000 TWh in 2014 : 
  • India's production of fossil fuels climbed in the same period from 600 to 3900 TWh. 
  • Australia has a similar trajectory of 500 TWh in 1970 to 3900 TWh in 2014.
  • Indonesia's production went up from 500 to 4700 TWh in 2014. 
  • Iran's production went up from 2400 to 3900 TWh in 2014.
  • And that of the US from 16000 TWh in 1970 to 21,000 TWh in 2014. 
  • Russia moved from 9800 TWh in 1970 to 14800 in 2014. 
  • China moved from 2400 TWh in 1970 to 22900 TWh in 2014. 
  • Saudi Arabia was a real surprise - its production in 2014 was about double that of India at 8000 TWh, up from 2200 TWh in 1970.
  • Canada from 1600 TWh in 1970 to 4600 TWh in 2014.  
  • Qatar went from 200 TWh to 3000 TWh in 2014.
  • UAE went from less than 500 TWh in 1970 to 2700 TWh in 2014.
Total consumption levels of fossil fuels in higher-income countries have typically peaked, and are now declining as they transition towards lower-carbon energy sources. For example, the United Kingdom's total fossil fuel consumption is at its lowest level in the last 50 years. In many lower-income countries, total consumption of fossil fuels continues to increase as a result of both population growth and rising incomes (resulting in higher per capita energy demands). Global fossil fuel consumption crossed 1.3 lakh TWh in 2014 :
  • China's consumption of fossil fuels grew from 2900 TWh in 1970 to 30,900 TWh in 2014.
  • India's fossil fuel consumption climbed from 670 TWh to 7120 in 2014.
  • Iran's consumption grew from 161 to 3,000 TWh in 2014.
  • USA's grew from 18,200 in 1970 to 23,000 TWh in 2014.
  • Australia's consumption grew from 500 to 1500 TWh in 2014.
  • Brazil increased its fossil fuel consumption from 320 to 2400 TWh in 2014.
European Countries that REDUCED their consumption from 1970 to 2014 (!) :
  • Sweden reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 362 in 1970 to 202 TWh in 2014, thus down by 44 %.
  • Denmark reduced its consumption from 240 to 154 TWh in 2014, a decline of 36 % !
  • Romania reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 430 to 280 TW in 2014, a decline of 35 %. 
  • The Czech Republic reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 521 to 364 TWh in 2014 (a reduction of 30 % !).
  • Bulgaria reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 202 to 147 TWh in 2014 - thus down by 27 %.
  • UK's fossil fuel consumption declined from 2400 to 1900 TWh in 2014, a decline of 21 %.
  • Germany's fossil fuel consumption declined from 3500 to 2900 TWh in 2014, a reduction of 17 %.
  • Hungary reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 213 in 1970 to 184 TWh in 2104, thus by 14 %.
  • France's consumption declined from 1600 to 1400 TWh in 2014, thus lower by 13 %. 
  • Belgium reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 534 TWh in 1970 to 529 TWh in 2014 (but in another dataset from 1965 to 2015, it increased its fossil fuel consumption by 25 % in that period).
  • Slovakia reduced its consumption from 135 TWh to 123 TWh in 2014. 
  • Switzerland reduced its dependence on fossil fuels from 154 to 153 TWh in 2014.
The former Soviet countries reduced even more in 28 years from 1988 to 2014 -  64 % for Ukraine, 39 % for Belarus and 24 % for Russia :
  • Ukraine reduced its fossil fuel consumption by 64 % from 2590 TWh in 1988 to 920 TWh in 2014.
  • Belarus reduced its consumption from 488 TWh in 1988 to 296 TWh in 2014, a decline of 39 %.
  • Azerbaijan reduced their fossil fuel consumption from 248 in 1988 to 163 TWh in 2014, a decline of 34 %.
  • Russia reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 9400 TWh in 1988 to 7100 TWh in 2014, a decline of 24 %.
  • Kazakhastan reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 830 TWh in 1988 to 750 TWh in 2014, a decline of 10 %.
The European Union as a whole reduced its fossil fuel consumption from 14200 TWh in 1970 to 14000 TWh in 2014. 

The relative mix of coal, oil and gas in total consumption also varies by country. China, for example, sources more than 70 percent of fossil fuel consumption from coal. In contrast, Argentina sources less than two percent from coal, with gas accounting for nearly 60 percent.

The Story of Coal..

The United Kingdom was the first large-scale coal producer - we see its long-run trend growing, peaking just prior to the First World War, and its gradual decline throughout the 20th century. Its production levels are now comparable to those at the beginning of the 1700s.

Today, China dominates global coal production, accounting for nearly half of total output. This growth has been rapid since the 1960-70s. However, Chinese coal production appears to have peaked, with continued decline in the years since. This decline is likely to have been a key contributor to the apparent global peak in 2013.

Driven by continued population growth and economic development, India's coal consumption grew more than four-fold from 1960 to 1990, and has more than doubled from 1990 to today.

However, the per capita use of coal remained the highest in China in 2015, at over 15 Megawatt Hours (MWh) per person per year. The US, Germany and Japan were between 10-15 MWh and the UK and India, below 5 MWh.

In 2016, nearly three-fourths of the world's coal production was in the Asia-Pacific Region. 
Asia Pacific was also the dominant coal consumer, accounting for nearly three-quarters of global consumption. Europe & Eurasia accounted for 13 % of the world's coal consumption and North America for 10 %. The Middle East, South America and Africa accounted for just 2 % of the world's coal consumption in 2016. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Hindu Right and Cultural Export..

RSS man Hosabale said in a gathering recently : ‘India sent saints and diplomats to other countries. It sent Gautam Buddha to China and by this ruled China culturally and spiritually for 20 centuries without using a weapon. This heritage of India needs to be reclaimed.’

1. What is this right wing need to ‘rule over’ other countries ?

2. No one ‘sent’ Budhism to China. A monk called Bodhidharma, who may have been originally a Brahmin born to a Pallava king in South India, travelled to China in the 5th century and spread the ideas identified with Budhism. It is credit to the Chinese of the time that they saw value in those ideas and adopted them in conjuction with their own contemperaneous religions – Taoisma and Confucianism.

3. In contrast, Budhism sharply declined in india from the 6th century onwards because the rulers patronized Hinduism and Brahmins more.. Islamic invasions thereafter destroyed the Budhist monastries. Even today only a little over 0.5 % of the population are budhist in india, and only about 15 % of them originally Budhist. The rest are Ambedkerite Budhists who converted from Hinduism.

4. Hosabale says above : ‘This heritage of India needs to be reclaimed’. I guess he is talking about India being a regional and global cultural power. He hasn’t noticed that Bollywood has already influenced countries around the world, primarily through the films of Shahrukh and Aamir Khan, the very individuals people like Hosabale demonise.

5. Hosabale may also have at the back of his mind the BJP’s use of yoga as a cultural weapon. BJP’s commandeering of Yoga is actually quite off-putting – like insisting I must use only ayurved therapies for illness. Whether someone walks or swims or does dieting for health or uses Yoga, are not things to be prescribed by political parties. Ofcourse in reality the right wing is not interested in my health, only in my vote !

Friday, December 14, 2018

The BJP Lie Factory...

A relative sent me this :

Excellent info on RBI Governors from Pramod Kumar Singh - Editor - The Pioneer

Dr YV Reddy had resigned during UPA-1(Sep 05, 2008).

Remember how A Ghose resigned within 20 days after his appointment (Feb 4, 85) after differences with Rajiv Gandhi Government.

M Narasimham (May 02, 1977 Nov 30, 77) had resigned after being for just 6 months in office as RBI Gov. Before Narsimhan, NC Sen Gupta (May 19,75 to Aug 19,75) tendered his resignation as RBI Gov after 3 months.

Even venerable Dr Man Mohan Singh didn't complete his 3 yr term as the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had removed him on January 14, 1985. Amitav Ghosh took his place only up to within 20 days before RN Malhotra took over.

Dr Manmohan Singh as the then Finance Minister in Narasimha Rao Govt had removed S Venkitaramnan as RBI Governor. Venkitaramnan an ex IAS had to go in 1 yr only as MMS wanted C Rangarajan as RBIGovernor

So the keyboard & whatsaoo economists and experts, don't talk without data & research.

🤔 So much happened over the years! But, why Modi and his government are criticized now, as if the Institution (s) are loosing their "autonomy" now only!🙏🙏


I wrote him back :

Please be aware that almost everything you send on the subject of India’s development and politics is a mish-mash of lies and half-truths. I know you may simply be forwarding what the BJP lie factory sends you. Are you really convinced India can be developed on lies, lies and more lies ?

1. Pramod Kumar Singh is not the Editor of Pioneer. He is a City Edior – a very different job.

2. There is no article that I can find on Pioneer pertaining to the information you sent. This information is on Pramod Kumar’s Twitter feed.

3. Pramod starts his twitter thread thus : ‘A crash course for journalists calling #UrjitPatel 's resignation as 1st ever by an RBI Gov.’ So he is saying here that this is not the first such resignation and that such a thing routinely happens !

4. He writes Dr YV Reddy had resigned during UPA-1(Sep 05, 2008). Ofcourse not : Dr. Reddy completed a 5-year term as RBI governor.

5. All the other people mentioned in Pramod's twitter thread as quitting their role as RBI governor (true or not, I havent checked) are more than 33 years ago ! Rajan was the first Governor pressurized to quit since India liberalized her economy and Patel the second.

6. As an aside, Pramod Kumar also says Venkitamanan had to go as RBI governor in 1 year. Incorrect – his tenure lasted two years and in the pre-liberalization era. And you respect this ‘journalist’ enough to forward his nonsense dribble ?

IAS, First-past-the-post, and Article 356..

The higher civil services of India in which the Indian administrative service is the senior body, are recruited through stiff competitive examination. so the principle of merit obtains in recruitment, modified by the operation of reservations - although subsequent promotion is based very largely on seniority. the IAS is an all India service and the practice of allocating large numbers of outsiders to a state cadre is intended to secure a higher level of impartiality.

India's first past the post electoral system, creates a situation whereby a small swing in the percentage of votes can produce a large swing in seats, thereby encouraging brinkmanship behaviour among politicians. parties tend to gamble that their opponents might be decimated in the next election; they do not assume that will be negotiating with the same party leaders in a few years, as would be the case in a more stable proportional representation system. the intentions of the coalition partners are often not to establish a stable cabinet that can facilitate good governance. coalitions are formed with very short term goals in mind positioning themselves to be ready for the next election and to be in power long enough to reap some patronage benefits from that as well.

President Narayanan and his predecessor Shankar Dayal Sharma, did much to ensure that the use of article 356 of the Constitution, authorising president rule, has come closer to the position Dr BR ambedkar intended for it - "a matter of last resort". more generally and most importantly, these two presidents found constitutional grounds and appropriate occasions to act independently of the union executive in the public interest.
Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

The Congress and the Muslim League..

The adherence of pre-independence era Indian National Congress to both the electoral politics of legislative council on the one hand and mass agitation on the other hand, had ensured that it was not merely an oppositional force, but had produced leaders schooled in the arts of government. Finally, the post independence ability to oversee nation building was enhanced by the legitimacy of its leaders who had been prepared to spend years in prison as part of their sacrifice for the greater cause of freedom.

The movement for Pakistan, like that for Indian Independence, was to provide an important political inheritance. It was not however, to exert as favourable an impact for future democratic consolidation and nation building. The Muslim league was not as firmly institutionalized as Congress. Neither did its leaders possess a similar experience of Government.

Within the ranks of the Muslim league there was much greater opportunism and lack of a public service ideal than was evident in congress. The party was thus less well equipped on a number of counts to perform the task of political development.

Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

India and Pakistan...

Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah never wished for a homogenous Muslim state. That was the result of the partition violence that led to the total transfer of the Hindu and Sikh populations from Western Punjab to India and of the entire Muslim population from Punjab to Pakistan.

Despite Jinnah's declaration that Pakistan was to be a secular state, not a Muslim state, the result has been the opposite. Although in fact, most Pakistanis, like most Indians, do not wish to see Pakistan become a state based on religion, the circumstances of Pakistan's creation have enhanced the influence of the ulema in policy formation and encouraged the proliferation of intolerant islamist political movements.

Nehru and his successors sought to formulate a distinctive Indian foreign policy in relation to the world system, namely non alignment. But whatever india did, Pakistan did the opposite, in this case turning towards outright alignment with the United States in the cold war. This in turn influenced India's own policies, which increasingly then tilted towards semi alignment with the Soviet Union, culminating in the 1971 friendship treaty, which also arose at a time when India was about to go to war to dismember Pakistan.

Trade relations and even travel from one state to the other have often been highly restricted in South Asia, the least integrated region in the world.

Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

Federalism and the Judiciary in South Asia...

Federalism, combined with various forms of local self government, has been the method of choice for India, but it has been resisted in all other states in the region.

Failure to adopt a federal solution as a means of accommodation, was an important factor in the ultimate breakup of Pakistan, with the separation of the Eastern wing and the formation of Bangladesh.

India has developed distinctive forms of federalism, in which state and national politics have been intertwined and in which the balance of powers between the centre and the states has undergone significant changes over time. In fact federalism in India, perhaps more than in any other federal system, has involved continuous negotiation concerning the relations between the centre and the states.

There has been gradual assertion and reassertion of the authority of the supreme court to oversee and limit, albeit rarely to invalidate, laws passed by parliament. after many setbacks, including strong efforts to control, suppress, and overturn its judgements and interfere in its functioning, especially during Indira Gandhi's years in power, it has emerged with a stable, authoritative position in the Indian political order.

Once again, the contrast with Pakistan is Stark. Where as, in India, the supreme Court has gradually asserted it's separate domain of authority against attempts to undermine it, in Pakistan, in contrast, the supreme court, and the judiciary in general continue to struggle to formulate a set of criteria that would enable it to challenge effectively and consistently, the repeated assumptions of executive power over it.

And in Sri Lanka, the three successive constitutions have, in several ways, limited the powers of the judiciary, especially with regard to judicial review of laws passed by Parliament and the powers of the president.

Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Beneath the veneer of conventional parliamentary democracy in India..

India has long passed the conventional tests of a stable, functioning democracy, namely, frequent passing of power to alternative political formations, complete and unchallenged civilian control over the military, and massive popular participation in electoral politics.

Beneath the veneer of conventional parliamentary democracy in India is a political-electoral order increasingly based on money and muscle. The primary aim of most elected representatives is to gain control over public institutions in order to enrich themselves. In many states a further degradation of the political order is happening through the outright criminalisation of politics. The move away from non violent protest movements to mobilizations that lead to considerable violence, often intended, is persceptible. In some ways there is an increased reliance of politicians on social identities of caste and religion to Garner votes. Most importantly, the ability of poor people to benefit from the political process, even to achieve a measure of dignity and self respect, is still limited.

In the early years after independence, upper castes dominated as candidates and voters (often bringing their lower caste dependents along with them). The backward and lower castes now are well represented by persons from their own groups and dominate state governments in many of the Indian states.

The drive to garner benefits of all sorts available from state agencies on the part of caste groups, and the increased capture of State power by leaders from castes newly incorporated into the political process, has been central to the politicization of the Indian population. There is a high degree of cohesive voting on the part of particular caste groups for persons from their own cast as they feel that that alone can be relied on to accommodate their needs and demands.

Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

Three trajectories in South Asia..

I found this interesting in a study on South Asia : Profound were the differences in the nationalist movement that brought independence to each country upon the withdrawal of the British. There are three trajectories : 1. The non-violent Congress movement built over three quarters of a century on the basis of a strong, nearly subcontinent wide organisation led by Gandhi during the quarter century preceeding independence. 2. The militant Pakistan movement led by Jinnah with the history of a mere decade of organisation. 3. The peaceful granting of Independence to Sri lanka that limited the building of a strong nationalist movement there.

Nepal on the other hand, never experienced direct British rule.

All three countries arrived at Independence with shared commitment to slogans of 'democracy' and 'secularism', although they differed on other fundamentals. The latter included for example, the centrality of the state in development : greatest in India, least in Sri Lanka where the state commitment was not to development in the Indian sense, but rather to social welfare; and Pakistan, lacking any ideology of state development, rather more concerned with building an army capable of confronting India as needed.

In all states in the region, the original commitment to secularism as an ideology has been battered and largely displaced with the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, recognition of Islam as the state religion and the rise of Islamic movements in Pakistan, and budhist demands for official recognition in Sri Lanka, accepted soon after independence.

Nepal, on the other hand, which was an officially Hindu state from 1962 to 2006, has, with the establishment of a secular republic, gone In the other direction.

Acknowldegement : Excerpted from the Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics.

From a study : The first major-scale Hindu-Muslim riot in independent India..

The tragedies of the Partition and the violence which swept Northern India from 1946 to 1948 came as a shock to the young Indian nation.

The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948 was a watershed moment for India. It put an end to the murdering frenzy and to mass violence that ensured around partition. Law and order could be restored. 

After the dramatic exchanges of populations which had taken place during Partition, Hindu refugees had finally adjusted rather well. Muslims, however, had not. In the eyes of their Hindu neighbours, they were 'the guilty' - those who had divided the Motherland. Those who had not left for Pakistan (which meant the majority of Muslims and most definitely the poorest among them) were left high and dry, even more so because their patrons, upon whom they depended, were no longer present. The only thing they could do was to concentrate on their day-to-day survival. Nearly four years proved necessary to reach a certain degree of peaceful coexistence between the communities concerned.

But major riots occurred again in the 1960s as Nehru's grip weakened.. The first major-scale Hindu-Muslim riot in independent India occurred in 1961. The riot was reportedly sparked by the elopement of the daughter of a prominent Hindu businessman of the bidi industry (small cigarettes) with the son of his Muslim rival. The Hindu press described the elopement as a rape attempt. The Hindu–Muslim rivalry in the bidi industry polarized the situation even more.

The army was called in on February 5 to control the situation. But when the army left on February 7, Hindu activists attacked and looted Muslim properties (while carefully sparing Hindu houses). Fifty-five people died according to official reports, but unofficial accounts put the death toll at more than 200. Violence propagated to nearby villages causing six deaths in Sagar on February 8 and 9, and two deaths in Narsimhapur on February 8. The Urdu press reported many stories of police atrocities.