via HinduBusinessLine: ‘Agriculture dependent population in India grew by 50% during 1980-2011’’

‘Agriculture dependent population in India grew by 50% during 1980-2011’’

According to a report of the Worldwatch Institute, the economically active agricultural populations of China and India grew by 33 and 50 per cent respectively due to overall population growth.
According to a report of the Worldwatch Institute, the economically active agricultural populations of China and India grew by 33 and 50 per cent respectively due to overall population growth.
WASHINGTON, FEB 27:

The agricultural population of India grew by a whopping 50 per cent between 1980 and 2011, the highest for any country during this period, followed by China with 33 per cent, while that of the US dropped by 37 per cent as a result of large-scale mechanisation, a latest report has said.

“Between 1980 and 2011, the economically active agricultural populations of China and India grew by 33 and 50 per cent respectively due to overall population growth,” the Worldwatch Institute said in a report.

“The economically active agricultural population of the US, on the other hand, declined by 37 per cent as a result of large-scale mechanisation, improved crop varieties, fertilisers, pesticides, and federal subsidies —all of which contributed to economies of scale and consolidation in US agriculture,” it said.

The global agricultural population — defined as individuals dependent on agriculture, hunting, fishing, and forestry for their livelihood — accounted for over 37 per cent of the world’s population in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.

This is a decrease of 12 per cent from 1980, when the world’s agricultural and non-agricultural populations were roughly the same size.

Although the agricultural population shrank as a share of the total population between 1980 and 2011, it grew numerically from 2.2 billion to 2.6 billion people during this period, writes Worldwatch Senior Fellow Sophie Wenzlau in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend.

According to the report, between 1980 and 2011, Africa’s agricultural population grew by 63 per cent, and its non-agricultural population grew by 221 per cent.

Oceania’s agricultural population grew by 49 per cent, and its non-agricultural population grew by 65 per cent.

Asia’s agricultural population grew by 20 per cent, and its non-agricultural population grew by 134 per cent, it said.

The combination of movement to cities and agricultural consolidation caused agricultural populations to decline in Europe and the Americas between 1980 and 2011: by 66 per cent in Europe, 45 per cent in North America, 35 per cent in South America, 13 per cent in Central America, and 7 per cent in the Caribbean, the report added.

(This article was published on February 27, 2014)
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via Reuters: U.N. Sounds Alarm on Worsening Global Income Disparities

U.N. sounds alarm on worsening global income disparities

BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU

UNITED NATIONS Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:50am EST

Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), speaks during a news conference after launching a report on ''Water Governance in the Arab Region'' in Manama November 28, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), speaks during a news conference after launching a report on ”Water Governance in the Arab Region” in Manama November 28, 2013 file photo.

CREDIT: REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED

(Reuters) – The U.N. Development Program warned in a report on Wednesday that income disparities in countries around the world have been worsening, posing new risks for global economic and political stability.

The UNDP warning echoes remarks from U.S. President Barack Obama in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, in which he said there was a widening gap between rich and poor in the world’s biggest economy and that while the stock market has soared, average U.S. wages have barely budged.

The UNDP report said income inequality increased by 11 percent in developing countries over the two decades between 1990 and 2010. The majority of households in developing countries — more than 75 percent of those nations’ populations — are living today in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s, the report said.

 The UNDP says this is a global trend that, if left unchecked, could have dire consequences since it “can undermine the very foundations of development and social and domestic peace.”

The widening income gap comes as some major developing countries – such as China andIndia – have seen strong economic growth and an overall increase in national wealth. But that wealth has not been evenly distributed, which has contributed to greater inequality in those societies.

“The sharpest increases in income inequality have occurred in those developing countries that were especially successful in pursuing vigorous growth and managed, as a result, to graduate into higher income brackets,” the UNDP report said.

“Economic progress in these countries has not alleviated disparities, but rather exacerbated them,” it said.

In an interview with Reuters, UNDP chief Helen Clark made clear that this negative trend is reversible and that one of the key components is creating quality employment opportunities.

“The key thing is the focus on jobs – jobs, jobs, jobs,” Clark said, adding that it was important for governments to pay attention to ways of improving the skills of its labor force.

She also touched on the subject of the widening income disparities in countries like Chinaand India, which have seen significant levels of economic growth in recent decades.

“It’s the nature of the growth,” she said. “If it’s uneven growth … it does create tensions within society because people can see that others are doing much better than them.”

“The China example shows that you get fast growth and poverty reduction, but you also get the growing inequalities,” Clark said. “And this is of concern to China’s leadership.”

The report said there was evidence that increases in inequality over the last two decades were mainly due to trade and financial globalization processes that weakened the bargaining position of labor.

Clark said one of the problems with globalization is that it “has proceeded in a very deregulated world.” She advocates more regulation of international trade and financial flows but without eliminating risk and the ability of companies to generate profits.

“It’s a balance,” she said. “You have to leave room for risk.”

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau, editing by Tom Brown)

UN: 6.6 Million Children Under 5 Died Last Year – ABC News

UN: 6.6 Million Children Under 5 Died Last Year

LAGOS, Nigeria September 13, 2013 (AP)

By CARLEY PETESCH Associated Press

Childhood death rates around the world have halved since 1990 but an estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 5 still died last year, the U.N. children’s agency said Friday.

Nearly half of all children who die are in five countries: Nigeria, Congo, India, Pakistan and China, it said in a report.

“Progress can and must be made,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s executive director. “When concerted action, sound strategies, adequate resources and strong political will are harnessed in support of child and maternal survival, dramatic reductions in child mortality aren’t just feasible, they are morally imperative.”

The top killers are malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea, the report said, taking the lives of about 6,000 children under age 5 daily. A lack of nutrition contributes to almost half of these deaths, the U.N. said.

Eastern and Southern Africa have reduced their death rates for children under 5 by more than 50 percent since 1990. West and Central Africa are the only regions not to have at least halved the number of children under 5 dying over the past 22 years, the U.N. said.

Nigeria bears more than 30 percent of early childhood deaths for malaria and 20 percent of the deaths associated with HIV. Globally, the country accounts for one in every eight child deaths, the U.N. said.

While these numbers are grim, the rate of improvement globally seems to have plateaued at about 4 percent improvement per year since 2005, the report said. The estimated numbers are based on solid data from about half the world’s countries. And for regions with the biggest problems, they had to rely on modeling techniques.

Countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Brazil showed tremendous progress, due in part to increased community health care. Affordable and increased interventions — like treated mosquito nets, medicines, rehydration treatments and improved access to safe water — helped improve the early childhood death rate in other countries as well.

But improvements were not as bold in countries like Nigeria, Congo, Sierra Leone and Pakistan, the report showed.

Lake said a new sense of urgency was needed to improve the figures.

“Yes, we should celebrate the progress,” he said. “But how can we celebrate when there is so much more to do?”

via UN: 6.6 Million Children Under 5 Died Last Year – ABC News.

CNN: Where have India’s females gone?

Via: CNN.

Where have India’s females gone?

By Carl Gierstorfer, Special to CNN
September 11, 2013 — Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)

Editor’s note: Carl Gierstorfer is a journalist and filmmaker with a background in biology. He has produced and directed documentaries for German public broadcaster ZDF, Discovery Channel and the BBC. His work on violence against women in India was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
His website is www.carlgierstorfer.com.

(CNN) — The New Delhi rape case left the whole world wondering why India is treating its women so badly. In fact, discrimination against women already starts in the womb: India has some of the most distorted sex-ratios in the world. There are regions where fewer than 800 girls are born for every 1,000 boys. For many reasons Indian culture prefers sons. An expensive bride-price, or dowry, is only one of them.

Carl Gierstorfer is a journalist and filmmaker, focusing on violence against women in India.

Carl Gierstorfer is a journalist and filmmaker, focusing on violence against women in India.

So day-by-day, thousands of parents circumvent rarely enforced laws and have their baby daughters aborted after an ultrasound scan has revealed the sex of the fetus. It is estimated that India has been losing up to 12 million baby girls over the last three decades.

I wanted to find out what it means for a society if such a significant number of women are missing.

In one village just two hours drive outside Delhi, I met Narinder, a schoolteacher, and his family. He had three brothers and only one of them got married. There weren’t enough brides, because the village has been aborting their daughters for decades.

Narinder told me that he had already reached out to an agent who would find him a bride from afar. In fact, he planned to share this bride with his brothers.

I felt sorry for Narinder, because he totally understood that his misery was due to the fact that his village has been actively selecting for sons. Still, in a quiet moment, he confided to me, that if his purchased wife would be pregnant, he’d make sure it was a son. I was perplexed. Everyone in this village knew it was wrong to prefer sons over girls, everyone experienced the problems firsthand.

And still, like sleepwalkers, they continued their way, because culture dictates that sons are a blessing and daughters a curse.

After the Delhi rape case, the whole world looked at India in disbelief, its urban middle class took to the streets. I returned to India to meet Shafiq Khan, a former Maoist rebel, who realized that violence is not the way forward. Shafiq now uses his wit and bravery to make inroads into rural India’s patriarchal societies.

Shafiq Khan’s organization

We hit the dusty streets, down to Haryana where Shafiq introduced me to women who do not have a voice, women for whom nobody demonstrates. They are abused and raped and sold like cattle and nobody cares. They are called Paro, or strangers. They are the sort of women Narinder will buy — those who make up for the scores who are never born.

Akhleema and Tasleema, two sisters from Kolkata, were born into a poor family, before her aunt sold them via an agent to two brothers in Haryana, who could not find a bride. Within weeks, Akhleema was beaten so hard by her husband, that she lost hearing in her left ear. Both spend their time cooking, cleaning and tending the fields. They have no rights, no voice and, most shockingly: there is no way back. They have children with their men and it is culturally unacceptable to leave them behind.

But where are all these trafficked women coming from? In a cruel paradox, it’s the poor northeastern states of India, like West Bengal or Assam, where sex-ratios aren’t that skewed, that make up for large parts of all the missing women.

Assam is beautiful, even during the dry season. The Brahmaputra winds its way through the plains, quietly and peacefully.

“But don’t be mistaken”, Shafiq says. Because during the rainy season, the river erupts over its banks, destroys fields and villages. In these already poverty-stricken regions, flooding takes away the little people have. Thousands of families are pushed into poverty and helplessness. They end up in flood shelters, vulnerable and easy prey for traffickers, like Saleha and her husband Husain. Their daughter Jaida went missing two years ago. They saw a man entering the hamlet and talking to Jaida. She vanished without a trace.

In a remote village on the dusty floodplains we meet Halida. She had just turned 14, when a man kidnapped her while fetching water. For two days he raped Halida, told her that he would bring her to Delhi in order to sell her. Halida could escape, but now she cannot go to school anymore, because all the children know of the rape and tease her. The parents, day-laborers, cannot find work anymore, because they are ostracized by the whole village. The rape destroyed the family.

While the trafficker may have lost his prey, it’s unlikely that he will ever be punished. The police are corrupt and the more destruction there is, the easier it will be for him to find new victims.

Thus closes a vicious circle in which millions of India’s women are trapped. The prejudices against women are so deeply engrained in the cultural fabric, that only a combined effort, old and young, urban and rural, will be able to break it once and for all.