Report documents widespread frustration, alienation of Pakistan’s youth

By Ali Ismail by WSWS
9 December 2009

A new report commissioned by the British Council reveals widespread dissatisfaction and frustration among Pakistani youth. Based on interviews with 1,500 18-29 year-olds from across Pakistan, the report also sheds light on the bleak socio-economic prospects facing the vast majority of young people due to unemployment and underemployment and the lack of basic public services, including quality schooling.

The report warns that unless Pakistan drastically increases access to education and creates millions of new jobs for its young people, social and political upheavals are almost inevitable in coming years.

Currently, Pakistan’s official unemployment rate is about 8 percent, but over 70 percent are employed in the informal sector, where basic labor standards do not apply. The report found that among men who have left school, only 22 percent have full-time jobs. About one-fifth describe themselves as unemployed and most of the rest have unstable jobs. Among women, only 6 percent have a job and the vast majority of the rest describe themselves as housewives.

The report begins by highlighting the disastrous and rapidly deteriorating state of the Pakistani economy and its impact on the general population. The report cites a government assessment of the future of Pakistan’s economy which states, “Pakistan’s economy still faces pressures from an uncertain security environment, higher inflation driven by a spike in food prices, acute power shortages, a bewildering stock market, perceptible contracting in large-scale manufacturing and a slowdown in the services sector; lower than anticipated inflows and growing absolute financing requirements.”

Last year Pakistan borrowed $7.6 billion from the IMF after a steep decline in its currency reserves and the resulting loss of confidence in its debt. Now the outstanding loan is over $11 billion which amounts to over 6 percent of GDP. The IMF recently stated, “Pakistan’s economic program is subject to an unusual degree of uncertainty associated with security problems and the depth and duration of the global slowdown.” The IMF says massive external assistance is necessary to increase growth and spending on social services. However, the IMF is demanding Pakistan implement austerity measures that will make day-to-day life even more difficult. One of these measures involves an increase in the power tariff, another the elimination of gas price subsidies.

In a country where 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day, the global economic crisis has had a tremendous impact on the lives of working people and has thrown millions more into poverty. The British Council report states, “Blackouts are crippling industry and having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary people. Without electricity, hospitals cannot function and water cannot be pumped. High food and fuel prices have made the necessities of life increasingly expensive. Around 7 percent of the population has fallen back into poverty due to the combined food, energy, and economic shocks.”

Economic issues are the main concern of the average Pakistani in spite of the worsening security situation across the country. The report notes, “72 percent of Pakistanis say their personal economic situation has got worse in the past year. Only one in ten expect things to get better in the near future.

“Of course, ordinary people are worried about terrorism and the security situation, but their main worries are day-to-day survival.” Most Pakistanis cite inflation, unemployment, lack of energy and water resources, and poverty as the most critical issues affecting their lives.

Access to education is also a serious issue confronting young Pakistanis, particularly the next generation. The report states, “In our survey, a quarter of respondents are illiterate and have never attended an educational institution. For girls, (wherever they live) and rural respondents (whatever their gender), this proportion rises to 36 percent. In Balochistan, nearly half the next generation has had no education at all.

“Cost is the main barrier keeping children out of school. Many children do not live near a government school, while even ‘free’ schooling requires parents to spend money on text books and uniforms. For girls, negative family attitudes to schooling are a major constraint.”

Many young people complain about the corruption and favoritism evident throughout the education system. The report cites one young man from Multan who commented, “There is no education. There is a culture of intercession and recommendations.” Another man from Lahore said, “Here, a student struggles day and night but the son of a rich man by giving money gets more marks than him. This curse has become widespread in society.”

Understandably, when it comes time to enter the labor market, many young Pakistanis do not feel they have the necessary skills to succeed. Around half the youths that were interviewed considered their qualifications to be inadequate and only a quarter of them believe they have the necessary qualifications for the job they desire.

According to the report, “Many have concluded there is little point in becoming educated if there are no jobs. In Narowal, reports one young man, ‘If you have an MA or MBA you do not get a job. People are roaming around with degrees in their hands.’”

The report notes that, “Many people have fears about their employment situation, believing that too few jobs are available and that prospects are getting worse. Almost half of those in work, moreover, took more than six months to find their jobs, while many find their working life disrupted by corruption and discrimination.

“Bias against people based on gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability is common, while favoritism is also rife. ‘These days,’ one of the next generation complains, ‘whichever jobs you get are through recommendation.’”

The report cites another young man from Karachi who said, “The environment these days is very bad. There are no jobs. Everything is getting expensive. The poor man’s life has become very difficult.”

Corruption and favoritism are not limited to the education system and the labor market.

Only 10 percent of respondents expressed a high degree of confidence in the national government of Pakistan and the majority of respondents believe the government continues to fail in every capacity. According to one respondent, “In every department of the government there is bribery. Unless you know someone nothing is done.”

There is also a deep lack of trust in the Pakistani courts, police forces, and local governments. The report found that the military is the only Pakistani institution trusted by the majority, but due to mass popular opposition Pakistan’s armed forces were forced to formally cede political power to a civilian government in 2008.

The report states, “Young people feel they have few platforms from where they can express themselves, while a failure to enforce basic civil liberties means that few young Pakistanis feel able to campaign for change. Disengagement from the political process is widespread. Just 2 percent are members of a political party, while only 39 percent voted in the last election and half are not even on the voters’ list.

“The political class is seen as selfish and corrupt: ‘Politicians are busy in their own fighting and no one even cares or bothers about the public,’ says one young man from Narowal, while another criticizes politicians.”

This alienation is further evidenced by the fact that only a small fraction of respondents—14 percent—strongly identify as Pakistanis, considering themselves Pakistanis first and Muslim second.

The report warns that time is running out for the Pakistani elite to collect the country’s “demographic dividend,” which refers to a rise in economic growth due to an increase in the percentage of a country’s population of working-age.

According to the report, “The stakes are high. Pakistan could derive benefits from its young population that will endure into the next century. Or it could miss the opportunity, suffering damage that will take a century or more to repair.” David Bloom of Harvard University adds, “It’s no good turning out educated people if they can’t find work. Nothing is more likely to breed unrest than armies of under-employed young people.”

In order to prevent massive unemployment in the near future, Pakistan must create at least 36 million jobs over the next ten years, but is currently on pace to create only 10 million jobs. The global economic crisis, the lack of basic infrastructure, and the crisis of the Pakistani state, which has become embroiled in the US’s occupation of Afghanistan, make it highly improbable Pakistan will be able to create anywhere near enough jobs.

Pakistan’s GDP is projected to grow by just 2 percent in 2009 and 2010. This is far short of the 6 percent minimum annual growth said to be necessary to create enough jobs for the increasing number of young and working age people.

The British Council report constitutes a devastating indictment of the Pakistani bourgeoisie and its reactionary communal-national project. 60 years after “independence,” life for Pakistani workers and the youth remains defined by poverty and inequality. The decision to partition India into two independent bourgeois states was a betrayal of the mass anti-imperialist movement that swept across the subcontinent in the first half of the 20th century and has done next to nothing to provide basic democratic freedoms and a decent standard of living for the working class and rural toilers. Today, billions of dollars are wasted by the military and looted by corrupt politicians while the elite refuse to provide Pakistanis with the most basic necessities of life.

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Report documents widespread frustration, alienation of Pakistan’s youth

  1. PMA

    “…….report constitutes a devastating indictment of the Pakistani bourgeoisie and its reactionary communal-national project……..

    ………..60 years after “independence,” life for Pakistani workers and the youth remains defined by poverty and inequality……

    ……..The decision to partition India into two independent bourgeois states was a betrayal of the mass anti-imperialist movement that swept across the subcontinent in the first half of the 20th century…….

    ……….and has done next to nothing to provide basic democratic freedoms and a decent standard of living for the working class and rural toilers……

    ……….Today, billions of dollars are wasted by the military and looted by corrupt politicians while the elite refuse to provide Pakistanis with the most basic necessities of life………………”

    Repeat.

    “………….while the elite refuse to provide Pakistanis with the most basic necessities of life.”

    Gentlemen, we have met the enemy. The enemy is us. The elite that refuse to provide our brothers the most basic necessities of life.

  2. vajra

    @PMA

    Sir, might one ask with the greatest respect, did it take a British Council report to bring home this fact?

    The left is discredited all over the world, not just the sub-continent. Unfortunately, they are the only portion of the political spectrum that has been pointing to this development of the compradors into a ‘national’ bourgeoisie with the consequences that follow. It is difficult to believe that Pakistan is radically different from the semi-feudal semi-capitalist formulation that was evolved as far back as the 1960s to describe objective conditions.

    Unless you bring in sweeping and sustainable reform of land ownership, and unless unbridled capitalism is curbed, what has been described in the article will only grow. Feudalism will stay long past its European use by date.

    There are elements in Indian society that want a suspension of labour laws and protection of workers, blue-collar or white-collar, in the interests of foreign firms who want to set up business in India but also wish to exit quickly the day it turns out that a cheaper deal is available in Sri Lanka or in Bangladesh. Having watched what happens within the full protection of the laws as they stand, I shudder to think of the consequences of this suspension. Be aware that this demand will come up in Pakistan as well, sooner or later.

    Unbridled, predatory capitalism is the other blade of the scissors, and that too will cost people’s lives and livelihood as it is practised today.

  3. sun

    Reasons
    1.Kashmir dispute
    2.Discrimnation against muslims
    3. Book says ” everything happens with the will of allah”..so blame it on him
    OR as one of bhakti saints Kabir says
    Boi ped babul ka to ambua kahan se hoi

  4. pankaj

    hi all this is my first post.
    having only recently started pakistani news papers
    i feel sad for pakistan’s common man ,who like his
    Indian counter part only wants development and
    economic growth

    however pakistan’s people are totally held in a vice like grip by the three power centres of pakistan
    namely army , religious groups and the rich elite.

  5. Milind Kher

    Only those societies can progress which value their women and value education. A lot can be written on this subject, but as of now I am merely making a statement.

    There is a crying need for the quality of life to improve, else people will obey whoever can feed and pay them. Which means the jihadis..

  6. ravinder

    Run time December 10, 2009…05:10 pm

    Report documents widespread frustration, alienation of Pakistan’s youth – Start time December 10, 2009…02:02 am – 5th comment on December 10, 2009 at 09:23 am – Total comments at run time 6 on December 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm – Most people commenting are Indians focused mostly………. Missing – Pakistanis and sense.

    nisar-teri-gallion-pay-ai-watan – Start time December 7, 2009…04:07 pm – 5th comment on December 8, 2009 at 06:19 pm – Total comments at run time 5 – Most people commenting a mix match of Indians and Pakistanis focused mostly on how the Scientist was wronged by the society. Missing – Scientists work and developments along those lines.

    in-pakistan-a-sex-industry-has-begun-to-boom – Start time July 20, 2008…05:48 am – 5th comment July 20, 2008 at 09:18 pm – Total comments at run time 98 on November 22, 2009 at 05:28 pm – Mostly Pakistanis and probably a non-subcontinental. Focus – request you to discern yourself, but looks like still going strong.

    The Demons that Haunt the Pakistanis – Start time December 6, 2009…09:48 pm – 5th comment December 7, 2009 at 06:41 am – Total comments at run time 17 – 17th on December 9, 2009 at 09:24 pm – Most people commenting a mix match of Indians and Pakistanis. Focus – request you to discern yourself..I am not a disinterested party but does look like it already cooled off.

    The oscar/booker/pulitzer (take you pick) surely goes to you guys.

    I am sorry i was so aggressive. Wont be next time.

  7. Majumdar

    Actually the only interesting thing in the BC report is this:

    only a small fraction of respondents—14 percent—strongly identify as Pakistanis, considering themselves Pakistanis first and Muslim second.

    As a very sweet young lady on chowk had once told me, “Pakistani Muslims wud sacrifice their whole nation for a single grain of sand of Mecca and Madina” or something to that effect

    Regards

  8. It does not come as a surprise.The Pak.Govt.’s approach seems to be an one point agenda in running the administration, that is to engage India either verbally and militarily, at least from the eyes of the Indians.
    No developmental activities are noticed.Any development in infra structure seems to be only increase in military hard ware.Politics seems to be a game of saving oneself from cases,and executing vendetta against each other.
    Pakistan does not seem to have come to terms with its independence in that it is ambivalent in choosing their rulers,whether it is to be military or civilian.
    Add to this frenzied religious extremism,you have a recipe for disaster.
    Unless the educated, elite and the media wake up from their slumber, Pakistan will find it difficult to stay as a sovereign nation.
    As an Indian, I can definitely say Pakistanis are no less intelligent than us and it pains us to see Pakistan tottering.
    I would like to add here many of the comments on various topics in this site, seem to be dedicated to score over another and for vilification of either country.
    I believe the forum should be used to promote good will among people of both countries, focusing on their positive aspects.

  9. Milind Kher

    There are the occassional fanatics that come on from time to time, which leads to a slanging match, but on the whole thre is a fair amount of rapport amongst the participants.

    The forum is very open and very tolerant of Non Muslim views too.

  10. Suv

    @Vajra
    I don’t agree with you on labor laws in India. I am not sure what they are in Pakistan but in India the biggest problem is this : It is almost impossible to fire your workers. It means that if things go wrong you cannot reduce the workforce and keep the company running which ultimately results in company bankruptcy. It also means that people never hire all the workers they want because they fear that in bad times these worker cannot be laid off which means they are creating less jobs than they can. The creation of less jobs works against workforce which is largely in informal sector as labor laws apply only to formal sectors of economy. Almost 80% of workforce in India is in informal sector which means a vast majority of people are having lesser avenues because of labor laws.

    In fact labor laws along with poor infrastructure does not allow India to compete with China in manufacturing and is keeping millions in poverty.

  11. hossp

    ramanan50

    “No development activities are noticed. Any development in infrastructure seems to be only increase in military hardware”

    Obviously you have a limited knowledge of what is going on in Pakistan. I think currently the four lane highway system and even inner city roads in some of the cities of Pakistan can easily match some European countries and cities. And this development is on going in pretty much every city. Power lines have penetrated more that 70% of the land, a solid achievement considering the difficult terrain in the northern and southern Pakistan. Despite the chronicle power shortages in some cities, most rural areas have an uninterrupted power supply. On average and compared to other neighboring countries, including Iran, Pakistan has more airports in the country based on number of cities and the average population. The coastal Highway that connects Gwadar port to Karachi passes through a difficult terrain; same is the case with the KK highway up north.

    I think Pakistan has made great progress in developing its infrastructure and it bodes well for future investment. A great highway system is the key in integrating the country economically. I am not too sure of the numbers but exports from Pakistan are approx $20 billion compared to India’s non IT related exports of roughly $15 billion.
    So I don’t think there is any lack of effort as for as the infrastructure goes in Pakistan.

    Pakistan certainly is passing through a difficult period and some frustration is understandable. But to say that it is unique to Pakistan would be a gross exaggeration. Many countries have seen worst crises and pulled through them.

    Just look at Iraq which is in the worst situation currently and is under foreign occupation but Iraqis are generally holding up well. Afghanistan too is under occupation and is in turmoil for the last 30 years but the Afghanis too are coming thorough.

    Vajra,

    Land reforms spur the economic activity is just a cliché. In most of the developing countries where land reforms were used as a vehicle for progress had at best mixed results. In fact I would say most of them were failures. The results of land reforms in India show a dramatic failure in agriculture output and also in increased migration to bigger cities that overwhelmed the resources. I think the amount of population pressure we see on large Indian cities is a direct result of politically motivated land reforms without considering the downsides.

    I believe a large farm holdings with industrialization of agriculture is a better approach.

  12. stuka

    “There are elements in Indian society that want a suspension of labour laws and protection of workers, blue-collar or white-collar, in the interests of foreign firms who want to set up business in India but also wish to exit quickly the day it turns out that a cheaper deal is available in Sri Lanka or in Bangladesh. Having watched what happens within the full protection of the laws as they stand, I shudder to think of the consequences of this suspension. Be aware that this demand will come up in Pakistan as well, sooner or later”

    And what Vajra Saab wants by implication is the protection of the miniscule minority of organized labor at the expense of un and underemployed unorganized labor for whom there is no opportunity what so ever. Why does manufacturing still exist in Germany under circumstances far more capitalist friendly than India if it is so much more expensive? Because they add value to their services.

    The Indian Left is so underconfident of the capabilities of Indian Labor that they would rather block the flow of foreign capital and expansion of industry now than take a chance of that capital flowing out later. The Indian left operates on the assumption that Indian labor is so worthless that the only competitive advantage they can offer is price alone. Not scale, not value added manufacturing, not access to growing domestic markets, simply cost.

    Keep in mind that the only victims of these outdated industrial policies are potential workers themselves. China holds a massive lead in industrial manufacturing because of the betrayal of India by it’s domestic left.

  13. hossp

    Sorry, the export numbers in my previous post were wrong.

  14. stuka

    HOSSP: I have seen at least road infrastruture in Rural and Urban Pak so I agee with you. I am not sure if your knowledge of the power situation is dated. At least some Pakistani commentaters say differently.

    The key issue though is that Pakistani economy has been growing at 3-3.5% at last count. Why is that so low? India has a much larger base and is growing at 8%, with a downturn year growth touching almost 7%. This is not IT alone, it is combination of non farm and farm growth as well.

    In Pakistan we are now seeing shortage of commodities where at least it had reached self sufficiency in 1960s. Obviously investment is very low and inflow of capital is leading to consumer based consumption rather than investment and growth.

  15. stuka

    “The results of land reforms in India show a dramatic failure in agriculture output and also in increased migration to bigger cities that overwhelmed the resources. I think the amount of population pressure we see on large Indian cities is a direct result of politically motivated land reforms without considering the downsides.

    I believe a large farm holdings with industrialization of agriculture is a better approach.”

    I strongly disagree. India saw a dip and then a rise in Farm output. The biggest advantage of land reform was self sufficiency and effectiveness in preventing starvation / famine. It also led to division of labor where one person migrates to the cities and sends home remiitances which in addition to local agricultural output help lift a percentage of population out of poverty. There was an excellent article on domestic migration in India and it’s attendant benefits to society. It leads to visible ugliness in the cities but that is simple aesthetics. Surveys show that a family where one person has migrated to the city actually is better off than the family where no one leaves.

  16. Sameet

    Hossp,

    The export numbers are not far off as far as Pakistan is concerned. Pakistan has exports of $18 billion in 2008, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Pakistan) close to what you claimed in your post of $20 billion. India’s exports 2008 was $176 billion (too lazy to find out proportion between IT & non IT, and anyway why the distinction?). Thats somewhat more than $15 billion non IT exports that hossp claimed ( and to his credit, clarified was wrong in a subsequent post).

    Intrestingly, if we take Pakistan’s population at 200 million (Wikipedia Zindabad), then each pakistani contributes $90 as exports while each Indian contributes $156 (India’s population around 1.16 billion).

  17. vajra

    @Suv

    I note that you do not agree with me on labour laws. Perhaps our respective experience has been in different sectors. Perhaps.

    My work experience spans thirty-five years. During this period, I have worked in the traditional industrial sector for twelve years. One of my early assignments was to manage a processing shop in a northern state. In order to avoid the application of the laws, in flat contradiction of the Abolition of Contract Labour Act, all the work was done by a contractor with contract labour. On one occasion, his labour went on strike against him. The labour commissioner was apprised of this by the manufacturers who took the critical output from our processing shop, and with his connivance, the 135 workers were fired overnight and fresh ones inducted. Productivity fell for a period of two months, and went right back to where it was thereafter.

    During the latter ten years, before a crisis of conscience compelled a change, it was required to be the employer or the employer of record in the case of nearly 1,300 workers in the IT sector. In each and every company except the first during that period, dismissing a worker was easy and effortless. In many cases, they were dismissed for less than their statutory dues in terms of wages, as defined by the letter of appointmen. Just to remind you, both this and the BPO sector at some times during the boom employed many more people than it needed.

    There is a contradiction in your analysis, or a gap in my reading comprehension. You say
    It also means that people never hire all the workers they want because they fear that in bad times these worker cannot be laid off which means they are creating less jobs than they can. The creation of less jobs works against workforce which is largely in informal sector as labor laws apply only to formal sectors of economy. Almost 80% of workforce in India is in informal sector which means a vast majority of people are having lesser avenues because of labor laws.

    Would you care to explain the logic of arguing that labour laws are at fault for underemployment in a sector where labour laws do not apply?

    May I suggest that labour laws are ferocious and well-armed on paper only, and that the reality is radically different. Ask any trade union organiser, not chamber of commerce representatives.

    Your final line rings hollow in my unpractised ears. I am glad that we are unable to emulate China, whose lack of protection for labour has led to its manufacturing boom. In some segments, there has been a slowdown. Those employees were promptly severed, and are according to the reports of western journals not known for their communist tendencies, a deeply disgruntled mass of displaced rural people with no jobs and no prospects.

    @Hossp

    I do not know where there have been sustainable land reforms, reforms that have not promptly subverted, outside West Bengal and Kerala. I can take you to see farms extending over several hundred acres in the Terai zone of the UP, in the Punjab, in Haryana and in Rayalaseema. I am not personally familiar with the situation in other states. So it is not clear what reason there can be to argue that the benefits of this non-existent reform have been negative.

    @Stuka

    the protection of the miniscule minority of organized labor at the expense of un and underemployed unorganized labor for whom there is no opportunity what so ever.

    What protection? In practical terms, except in some deeply industrialised and well-established pockets, and in the old manufacturing segments, there has been little or no protection. So how can we blame the possibility of such protection, a possibility regarding which I have shared with you my own experiences, for the reality of lack of investment of capital?

    Why does manufacturing still exist in Germany under circumstances far more capitalist friendly than India if it is so much more expensive? Because they add value to their services.

    Would it not be fair to compare the ratio of capital equipment to labour in these two economies?
    =======

    On the other hand, I have to agree with your assessment of the role of the conventional left in economics and in politics.

  18. hossp

    Stuka,

    There is an abundance of articles available on the net supporting my point.

    mainstreamweekly.net/article859.html
    Food Crisis Exposes Failings of India’s AgriculturalReforms
    Saturday 2 August 2008, by Afsar Jafri

    docstoc.com/docs/5543462/Politics-of-Land-Reforms-in-Post-Independence-India
    Politics of Land Reforms in Post-Independence India

    It is just not in India but in some South American and African countries land reforms met the same fate.

    The pattern in India is that most of families leave rural areas for the urban areas together. In isolated instances, after one person the whole family follows. But mostly the whole family just leaves the rural area to wherever they can find some employment.

    Power supply in Pakistan
    “The Pakistani government is anticipating the energy crisis to worsen in the coming two years due to a 50% increase in the demand and a rather slow improvement in the supply, the leading Pakistani newspaper DAWN reported Monday.
    The power shortage, estimated to be 1000 to 2000 MW during the current year, is likely to hit 3000 MW next year and to increase to about 5300 MW by 2010, said the report.”

    The reason for the crisis is not that the Power grid is not available but the power supply is short. I will find the coverage numbers to show the penetration of the power grid. Simply if there is no power grid the question of supply is moot. The problem is that the grid penetration has heightened the expectations but there is not enough production to meet the demand. The power grid is infrastructure not the power supply.

  19. Sameet

    why is my comment awaiting moderation for over 24 hours???

  20. Bloody Civilian

    @sameet

    your comment is up there now. sorry about the wait.

  21. Suv

    @Vajra
    I probably did not illustrate my point well enough so there is confusion. I will try to do using your example, especially the law you quoted in your example.

    One of the biggest pain in the neck is the Abolition of Contractual Labor Act which is applicable to any industry having more than 250 employees. Take an example of an industry say maker of ice creams. This industry may be doing 5X amount of business in summer and X amount of business in winter and let us assume that it requires labor force proportional to amount produced. If we abolish contract labor , it means that either company keeps 5 times labor than required in winter which may makes it an unprofitable company or it may keep 3X times labor throughout the year which means 2X from informal sector are denied employment.

    Even if we assume that labor laws are not applied that rigorously it does not absolve them of their irrationality. In case of hypothetical industry that I mentioned above, let us say it manages to evade the law and keep contract workers. But I am sure they will have to pay substantial bribes to labor commissioners/police/politicians to make this happen which reduces the amount of capital available for investment and expansion which in turn results in job losses.

    Also the example you gave of the IT is perhaps not a very suitable example in this debate because Govt has kept its hands off this sector thankfully. None of these companies has a union and I have not seen anyone approach a labor commissioner when he/she loses their job.

    Just to illustrate my point further, bad laws are bad. In license permit raj also people like Reliance were flouting norms and producing more than permitted. But this law did make Indian manufacturing week as bribes had to be paid. Same is the case with labor laws, even if they are not enforced they result in corruption which undermines job creation.

    Also I want to clarify I don’t believe in doing slave labor like China. But fact remains that manufacturing is the only way to use our human resources effectively. There is no denying the fact that Indian agriculture faces a chronic problem of underemployment which is further exacerbated by diminishing land due to family division leading to farmer suicides and wholesale poverty. Only way to employ them gainfully employ them is to put them in manufacturing as most of them are either illiterate or semi-literate. China has now 15.9% living below $1.25 poverty line while India has 42.6%. I believe that doing well in mabufacturing in extremely critical as millions will need to be absorbed in it to escape crushing poverty in India. Focusing on Services only will create islands of prosperity with most of population underprivileged. Therefore I strongly recommend that India does away with labor laws, provide infrastrcuture and uninterreupted electricity at reasonable rates to manufactruing so that we can compete with China and take our millions out of inhuman poverty and starvation.

  22. Suv

    @Hossp
    I won’t comment on success or failure of land reforms elsewhere but I can explain to you the Indian experience.

    Failure to do land reforms in large states like UP, Bihar and MP has created resentment and caste conflict. There are private militias like Ranvir Sena for landowners and CPI ML for landless laborers which are out to kill each other. Compare that to states like Kerala and J&K (from where I belong) where land reforms were done with a good degree of success. There is much less caste conflict and abject poverty.J&K for example has just 5% living below poverty line despite conflict , which is the lowest in India and caste based struggles are unknown in J&K.

    Also your point on migration to cities. First of all I don’t think it is bad. There is no developed country in the world which did not have this phenomenon. It happened in London in 1800s , Korea in 1960s . Virtually every developed country has taken people away from farming to sectors like manufacturing and services so it is a natural phenomenon. Secondly we are in fact seeing more migration from Bihar and UP than from states where land reforms are successful. This is because the landless laborers are brutally exploited by zamindars and are never given fair wages. Since they have no assets and virtually nothing to lose, they are the first to migrate to cities.

    I am not surprised by infrastructure being good in Pakistan because Pakistan between 1947 and 1991 Pakistan grew by 5% on an average while Indian growth rate was 3%. Even now per capita gdp is quite close: 2760 (India) vs 2624(Pakistan)

  23. vajra

    @Suv

    You have argued effectively in support of your recommendation to abolish labour laws, but my question is then who will prevent the kind of mayhem that prevails in, say, the mining industry in India? Specifically in the stone quarries? Labour laws were not brought in, after all, because a bureaucrat on a pleasant autumn morning started making idle scribbles on his blotter. There were exploitative situations, that prevail even today, and ordinary workers needed protection against the exploiters. On abolition of the labour laws, are we expected to believe that the employer will overnight change his appetite for profits into a conviction, firmly held, that he is merely a custodian of wealth?

    This is a spontaneous and not an economic answer, and I crave your indulgence to frame a more academically suitable reply in reasonably short order.

    I was delighted to read your remarks on land reforms, btw.

  24. Laxmi

    Hello sir,
    I am a IV sem MBA (HR) student. Really inspired by the way you write and the content of your blogs.
    Looking forward to more real and touching blogs.

    Regars.

  25. Tenzin

    @Laxmi
    you might want to check another blog where vajra frequents.
    http://cataphract.wordpress.com

    Ten

  26. skeptic sam

    o bhai kuch India kee youth per bhee likho na…wo kahan ja rahi hey…Pakistan k kacchey chatthey kholney hein to koi India k bhee kholey. Pakistan k peechey parey huey ho…topic hath aaya hua he sab k…ganga beh rahi hey…nahaney lagey huey hein andar sab k sab.