2019 started off as a promising year for Pakistan who ecstatically outdid her neighboring countries in a phenomenal way in terms of happiness and patriotism. Interestingly, Pakistan came out as the most patriotic nation in Asia in World Index’s latest report. Also, despite of being the direct affectée of GWOT and a war stricken country for many years, Pakistan yet managed to outwit its neighbor, the self-proclaimed Shinning India, big time with a stark difference in the happiness ranking which came as a big surprise to some emerging market observers.
The ranking puzzled the observers as India’s economy has been outperforming Pakistan’s in a number of metrics, like world competitiveness, GDP size and growth, and inflation rates. So, what have Pakistanis done better than Indians in the pursuit of happiness? It’s hard to say. The World Happiness Report combines quantitative data (such as per capita GDP growth) and qualitative data (such as social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption) to rank 156 countries. Where most of the variables included in the calculations are qualitative, and therefore, prone to specification and measurement errors. Still, the gap between the rankings of the two countries is too big to be ignored.
The report ranks Pakistan in the 67th position, and India in the 140th position nearing her to the bottom of the list of 156 countries included in the survey. Most notably, the gap between the two countries has widened compared to two years ago, when Pakistan ranked in the 80th position, and India in the 122nd position.
Udayan Roy, Professor of Economics at LIU POST, suggests that it might be other metrics, like income inequality and poverty that matters more than per capita GDP when it comes to well-being of the masses. While in India the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
His take comes consistent to the World Inequality Report 2018 which asserts that India’s top 1 percent earners’ share of the country’s income rose to 22 percent meanwhile the income share of the bottom 50percent earners declined to 15 percent over the last four decades. Similarly, as per the Standardized World Income Inequality data measured by the Gini coefficient of income inequality, India’s income inequality is much higher than that of both Pakistan and Bangladesh. Besides, poverty rates are higher in India than they are in Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to the World Bank.
Wait, there’s more. It’s called the economic freedom. Published by the Heritage Foundation, the Economic Freedom report measures such things as trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and the degree of property rights protection in 186 countries. Though the two countries have ranked closely in the last couple of years, Pakistan’s ranking has consistently beaten India’s over longer periods. In fact, a closer look at the ranking components of the two countries reveals that Pakistan has fared better than India in the area of government spending, which matter a great deal when it comes to providing on welfare programs. Simply put, Pakistan has been getting ahead of India in spreading the wealth to the masses.
These statistics are from a country commonly referred to as the worlds’ emerging market. The figures actually bust the myth of Incredible and Shining India by exposing the extreme grim situation at home. India has an estimated population of about 1.2 billion people. As per SOS statistics, More than 800 million people in India are considered poor. 68.8 percent of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. More than 200 million people including 61 million children don’t have sufficient amount of food to eat thus making India one of the world’s top countries with regard to malnutrition. Such poverty and hunger leads to severe health issues. With 2.7 million Indians being HIV positive; about 220,000 of them are children, the tendency is on the rise. Moreover statistics from World Health Organization claims that India accounts for more than half of the leprosy cases which are reported every year in the world.
There’s worse. Debt and draught continue to overwhelm farmers all around India. As per recent figures, Four hundred thirty farmers and farm laborers committed suicide during last year in agriculture rich Punjab alone. As per Guardian report, nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers committed suicide over the past three decades. In 2015 alone, about 12,602 farmers committed suicide across India. The suicides cases are on the rise in Indian Army also with the recent 2 suicides reported 4 days back when only a day after a Sub-Inspector of Indo-Tibetan Border Police committed suicide in north Kashmir, another trooper of the paramilitary force shot himself dead in Srinagar on the next morning.
With such a miserable state of affairs, no wonder the Modi led BJP government in India needed some staged shows like border escalations with Pakistan with overt and covert hate messages instilling war hysteria in masses. This was all done in order to overcome the not so supportive statistical data at the time of elections which are scheduled from 11 April to 19 May. In the same course, a new flattering but factually questionable biopic Bollywood movie on Indian Premier Narendra Modi has recently been released. The film which portrays Modi ji as some sort of superhuman with divine powers is taken as a political propaganda by the critics, with the primary intent of influencing the voters. This is the 3rd consecutive movie in the run-up to elections, glorifying the BJP party rule eras, ratcheting things up to a level haven’t seen before. Though his actions in the last five years as prime minister proves otherwise still the effects of such gimmicks on a common Indian will be seen as the elections ensue.