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Editor Imtiaz Alam

Contents Globalization and Particularism


In this Issue


South Asian Dilemma of Particularism and Globalization Dr. Pramod Kumar


Nepal: Public Health under WTO Shiv Raj Bhatt


Pakistan I. A. Rehman

India's Regional Trading Arrangements Prof. Sujata Jhamb


Sri Lanka Sharmini Boyle

Bangladesh Poverty Alleviation Strategy Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley


Sustainable Agriculture and Eradication of Rural Poverty Engr. Abdul Waheed Bhutto


Currency Union for South Asia: A SWOT Analysis J Ravikumar Stephen


Farmers' Suicides in India Some Sociological Reflections Dr P. Radhakrishnan


Resurgence of Islam in Bangladesh Politics Sayeed Iftekhar Ahmed


Indo-Nepal Water Resource Negotiation Rakesh Tiwary


From Margin to Mainstream: Barriers to the Integration of Women into Indian Armed Forces Capt Deepanjali Bakhshi


Water Management and Reservoirs in Pakistan Dr Zaigham Habib


Deputy Editor Waqar Mustafa Consulting Editors Bangladesh Reazuddin Ahmed India K. K. Katyal Nepal Yubaraj Ghimire

Publisher Free Media Foundation Facilitator South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Designed by DESIGN 8 Printer Qaumi Press Editor’s Post E-mail:

Address 09-Lower Ground, Eden Heights, Jail Road, Lahore, Pakistan. Tel: 92-42-5879251; 5879253 Fax: 92-42-5879254 Email: Website :

Globalization and Particularism As the globalization of capital, international standards and prices determine the pace of trade and investment around the world, nation-states and societies, with various degrees, resist adjusting to the new demands of market forces. Coupled with information and scientific and technological revolution eroding national and cultural barriers, and facilitated by opening of markets and crumbling of barriers, the globalization increasingly provokes particularism across the people in every continent. The dynamic of globalization and particularism can easily be discerned during the course of debates in various rounds of talks among competing interests groups and the angry demonstrators outside the most guarded conference halls waving diverse flags and posters seeking protection against one another. While every issue, even if not related to trade, is being pushed on the agenda, mobility of labour across the continents remains untouched leaving globalization lopsided and selective. Ever since the talks on General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) paved the way for the creation of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994, we have seen an upsurge in the preferential trade agreements across the globe with 300 free trade areas (FTAs) already in place. Although proponents of multilateralism abhor FTAs, creating a “spaghetti bowl”, this is what is being done to serve particular interests by all and sundry. Creation of G-20, African group and Carins Group of 17 agriculture-exporting countries, least developed countries (LDCs), the United States and the European Union show a diverse battle for protectionism from globalization and even playing field. Most protectionists, such as the EU, Japan and the US, are those who stand to benefit more from the advent of globalization as the developing countries stand to lose while preferring their particular concern over the overall good of seeking a legitimate share and place for the developing world. As the whole debate and negotiations are centred around subsidies and tariffs on agricultural and manufactured goods, a big tug of war continues on the four so-called Singapore issues (investment, competition policy, transparency and trade facilitation) being pressed by Japan and EU, trade-unrelated “fair trade pushed by the US, Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) and intellectual property.

end in a fiasco. The 50 LDCs stand to gain from duty-free and quota-free access to 97 per cent of imports by the European Union, Japan and the US from the LDCs by 2008, if the remaining three per cent do not distort trade in bananas, sugar and apparel. Although no commitment has been made on the remaining subsidies, tariffs and quotas on agriculture, some tangible movement has taken place on who is to cut how much subsidies on agriculture in both developed and developing countries and, in turn, lowering of tariffs on manufactured goods by the G-20 countries, including India and Brazil. However, an overall agreement remains to be reached with a deadline as close as April. The future of Doha Round of talks still remains quite bleak. Already the blue box, dealing with production-limiting subsidies, and the green box, which pertains to subsidizing farmers for environmental and live stock protection, are out of the purview of the WTO. There is no development on services. The differences between the most powerful members, the US and the EU, on the one hand, and large growing economies, such as China, India and Brazil, on the other, remain unbridgeable. If the EU refuses to budge from its protectionist position on farm subsidies, which the developing agrarian countries resent, India and Brazil are adamant to consider reduction in tariffs over their manufactured goods until the EU brings down its excessive subsidies on farm products. The conflict between the EU and the US, however, compelled the Union to provide access to the goods of poor countries and America to withdraw subsidy on cotton. Pledges of aid for trade to compensate for the loss of developing countries is a good development. It is yet to be seen how far these promises are real. The effort to “buy off” the poor countries may not breed fruit since the measures so far announced to alleviate their concerns seem quite cosmetic. The developing countries also remain divided as interests of bigger developing economies are at variance with the LDCs. The developing countries of South Asia also acted divergently. The good point about the WTO is that the poor countries carry a veto and they must not squander it for little gains and avoid bilateral deals with the powerful. If trade has to be freed, that it must, it should be done on an equal basis. Globalization is inevitable and it cannot be reversed, nor should it be selective by leaving the mobility of the most important factor of production, labour, out of its ambit. It must create an even playing filed without any discrimination while alleviating the sufferings of those who continue to suffer most.

Doha Round of talks brought the issues of subsidies on agriculture at the centre of debate and the developing countries felt for the first time that their voice was being heard. And this was in Cancun that a great breakthrough took place with the creation of G-20, led by Brazil, India, China and South Africa. The group demanded of the EU and the US to come back with concessions on subsidies on agriculture. In the past, the US, EU, Canada and Japan used to set the agenda, but the creation of G-20 changed the equation marginally in favour of the developing countries who, in turn, are divided and tend to enter into individual deals. The World Trade Organization's ministerial in Hong Kong has barely survived due to elimination of export subsidies, amounting to $ 5 billion, on farm goods by the end of 2013 -- leaving little time for agreements on thornier issues. This is, however, of no consequence since most of the export subsidies have been phased out. Unlike previous rounds of talks at Seattle (1999) and Cancun (2003), the Hong Kong ministerial did not



evaluates the challenge in empirical terms and proposes a strategy of empowerment, nourishment, wellbeing, health, education and rewarding economic participation of the poor. Extending his argument to South Asia, he identifies areas of regional cooperation that can help overcome poverty from the region and in a doable way.

In This Issue (The views expressed in this journal are solely those of the authors)

South Asian Dilemma of Particularism and Globalization

Dr Pramod Kumar, a leading sociologist from India, explores the dialectic of globalisation and in its response the emergence of cultural and national identities that often take aggressive territorial and nationalist forms, which, in turn, often come into conflict with the rising aspirations of indigenous communities. The paradox of globalisation and political marginalisation, according to the author, accentuates intrastate conflicts which in some instances graduate to the level of interstate conflicts. Rejecting politics of mutually reinforcing violence, be that of state or non-state actors, Dr Kumar elaborates a democratic and human paradigm of multiculturism, pluralism and multilateralism while entirely replacing the state-centric security agenda with human security and the people as the real determinant of their fate in a broader South Asian context.

Nepal: Public Health under WTO

Shiv Raj Bhatt, an expert on development issues, reviews the implications, both negative and positive, of WTO for public health, pharmaceutical industry and R & D in Nepal. Taking a proactive position, the author sees greater benefits of WTO for public health while campaigning against the patent rights and monopolistic extension of multinationals. Although 90 percent of medicines are not patented, he takes a cautiously optimistic view of WTO membership and sees a lot of scope in taking measures safeguarding public health for which WTO provides ample room.

India's Regional Trading Arrangements

Prof. Sujata Jhamb, from NMIMS University, shows how trade liberalisation increased intraregional trade to the advantage of India in the context of its regional trading arrangements. Though SAFTA and BIMSTEC are in place, she says, trade within the region will not increase, due to higher tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Ms Jhamb shows that India's exports to its South Asian partners have increased while imports have remained stagnant. However, this may result in trade diversion.

Bangladesh Poverty Alleviation Strategy


Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley, a leading economist of Bangladesh, surveys poverty, encompassing deprivation in wellbeing, illiteracy, poor health, various vulnerabilities, caloric and food intake, across Bangladesh over the years. Keeping Millennium Development Goals as target, he

Sustainable Agriculture and Eradication of Rural Poverty

Currency Union for South Asia: A SWOT Analysis

Farmers' Suicides in India; Some Sociological Reflections

Engineer Abdul Waheed Bhutto, an academician, discusses growth and productivity trends in Pakistan's agriculture sector. Pinning his hopes on agriculture as a mainstay of economy and the largest and the most elastic sector for labour intensive productive activities, the author emphasizes the need for focus on agriculture with a primary aim to eradicate poverty. For that to happen, he says, the nexus between population growth, poverty alleviation and agricultural productivity and the needs of the poor will have to be tackled.

J. Ravikumar Stephen, a management consultant and a peace activist, argues in favour of creating an Optimum Currency Area (OCA) or a monetary union in South Asia, which suits the region most. Since a monetary union requires greater integration in fiscal, monetary and financial spheres and coordination among central banks, the author favours taking all-sided measures, including labour mobility and capital flows to achieve it. He supports a simultaneous approach, rather than sequencing monetary union after first creating a customs union, standardization, tariff rationalization and a free trade area.

Dr P. Radhakrishnan, a professor at Madras University, tries to unearth changing relations of production behind the tide of farmers' suicides in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere in India. Loss of the traditional, the author argues, and devastation imposed by the 'Green Revolution' under the tutelage of multinationals and globalisation have resulted in the pauperization of rural poor who were left at the mercy of rising cost of production and diminishing prices of their products. Although the conditions of the peasantry under the feudal system were no good, the author does not see any hope for the peasants under the new conditions of globalisation as well. What should be the alternative, the paper does not elaborate while pointing a heartrending situation of the peasantry.


Resurgence of Islam in Bangladesh Politics

Sayeed Iftekhar Ahmed, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Northern Arizona University, takes a historical view of the process of Islamization in Bangladesh, and shows how use of political Islam by the ruling elites and their failure to establish a secular hegemony over civil society, has helped Islamists to expand their space. The duality of identity, Bengaliness and Muslimness, the author argues, is being reshaped in favour of Islamic identity due to opportunism of the mainstream parties.

Indo-Nepal Water Resource Negotiation

Rakesh Tiwary goes into the background of the delay caused by the differences between India and Nepal over the interpretation of various clauses of Mahakali Treaty of 1996 and argues a case for removing them and undertaking measures for the most crucial border river project. Appreciating Track-II consultations between India and Nepal, the author proposes measures to promote cooperation between the two neighbours in harnessing water resources for water and human security benefiting the two countries equally.

From Margin to Mainstream

Capt Deepanjali Bakhshi (retired) takes a serious exception to the exclusion of women from permanent commission in the Indian armed forces and restrictions on their tenure and entering mainstream career. Rendered jobless after serving 14 years, Indian women soldiers are seeking an end to the gender bias in favour of men. Capt Bakhshi advocates allowing women to take the fighting career, like men, within the context of services, breaking the martial taboo that prefers men over women.

Debating Water Management and Reservoirs

Dr Zaigham Habib, an expert on water issues, says an upstream storage is a constraint on the water available at the location and downstream flood releases. Higher storage means higher flexibility. However, in the case of Indus Basin, variable storage supplies are not a good planning option, she pleads adding that the actual storage and release patterns of a reservoir are a real-time phenomenon and need sophisticated model studies. Against the backdrop of the current debate on Kalabagh Dam, she argues, not much water will be available downstream Kotri after constructing a reservoir and fulfilling existing environmental needs.

South Asian Dilemma of Particularism and Globalization Dr. Pramod Kumar Introduction Specific historical conditions in the countries of South Asia are throwing up new questions and challenges posed by the economic formations and developments in politics, culture and religion. The complex processes as observed in Europe or the United States of America, do not seem to be taking place in post-colonial countries of South Asia with any degree of regularity. In the post-colonial South Asia, political processes, neither their form nor manifestation of causal links like those between free market, private property, role of the peasantry or the industrial elite, are similar. The specificity of social institutions like the caste system, religious practices and beliefs, tribal social formations and gender relations provide sufficient conditions for the emergence of inter-state and intra-state conflicts. These conflicts have their basis in the quest for identity, re-allocation of scarce resources and competition for power. They have acquired alarming proportions and virtually engulfed every dimension of human existence. Nuclearization further adds to the culture of violence in the region, which has acquired greater legitimacy with the people. Consequently, many conflict situations are taking a violent form and have resulted in the violation of the rights of citizens. The South Asian region is experiencing intrastate conflicts which have invariably got intermeshed with interstate conflicts. The new reality of globalizing the world order is also shaping conflicts and throwing up challenges to a dominant worldview in South Asia, nurtured by the cold-war era where cultures, territories, identities and economies had fixed boundaries. These challenges have a bearing on issues relating to human security, environmental degradation, deteriorating ecological balance, population mobility, poverty, distributive justice contextualized in multicultural settings. There have been serious attempts to comprehend and analyse these issues, but these were vaguely and variously explained either as pre-capitalist practices or in terms of 'Asiatic' or 'oriental formations'. Attempts have also been made to understand issues thrown up by socio-economic formations with the help of 'borrowed' models and concepts. In other words, ideas developed by social science research on specific issues like nationalism were not, to a large extent, an expression and product of social realities, but were the product of a process of mere academic thinking or imitation. Cultural and ideological factors, including those relating to social relationship between groups and/or classes, were not given adequate weight and were not



subjected to a critical examination with historical-ideological framework of knowledge. In South Asia common heritage, ethnic contiguities, cross-country cultural ties, geo-political context, shared issues of poverty, illiteracy, disparate socioeconomic under-development are relevant factors in shaping the political and strategic dynamics within the region. To provide a brief overview of the region's common history and similar issues confronting national development, delivery of justice and the eruption of intra-state conflicts, one has to scroll back 5000 years. Illiteracy levels are high (except

in Sri Lanka) with an

The Indian subcontinent that post-colonially evokes the description of astounding number of people the South Asian region, draws upon a uneducated in India, civilizational evolution from the era of the Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indus Valley civilization1. Over time, a Nepal. A micro analysis would gamut of cultural affinities and religious further show that vulnerable faiths grew and the present population compositions in the South Asian countries sections such as migrants, reflect this diversity. Each country has Dalits, OBCs, minorities and representations of minorities, be they women constitute bourgeoning religious, ethnic, caste or migrant groups. numbers in the illiterate and For instance, Sri Lanka has a Buddhist majority of 70 per cent followed by Hindus poverty stricken groups. A (15 per cent), Christians (8 per cent) and cumulative index of the quality Muslims (7 per cent)2; Bangladesh has a of life and services available is Muslim majority (83 per cent) with reflected in the abysmally poor Hindus 16 per cent. Pakistan's Muslim majority is divided as Sunnis (77 per cent) and Shias (20 per cent). India is predominantly Hindu (81 per cent) with Muslims (12 per cent), Parsis (2.5 per cent); Christians (2.3 per cent), Sikhs (1.9 per cent). Nepal's population is largely Hindu (86.2 per cent), with Buddhists (7.8 per cent), and Muslims (3.8 per cent). Moreover, these religious representations are further compounded in terms of ethnic, caste, migrant identities. The Sri Lankans have Sinhalese (74 per cent), Tamil (18 per cent), Moor (7 per cent); the Bangladesh population of both Muslims and Hindus together becomes Bengali (98 per cent). The Pakistani Muslims, on the other hand, are divided in terms of Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Baloch and Muhajirs3. In India the religious demarcations are reconstructed in Dalits (16.20 per cent), Scheduled Tribes (8.19 per cent)4, other backward castes (50 per cent), besides other ethnic identities. These diverse identities both subdivide national populations and transcend state boundaries to find affinity across the borders. Developments within the political economy have ensured that diverse grouping continue to reflect within each nation while the GDP ranges from $ 1500 in Nepal to $ 4000 in Sri Lanka (India $ 3100, Pakistan $ 2200, Bangladesh $ 2200), populations below the poverty level range as high as 22 to 45 per cent of the total


population (Sri Lanka 22 per cent, India 25 per cent, Pakistan 32 per cent, Nepal 42 per cent and Bangladesh 45 per cent). Illiteracy levels are high (except in Sri Lanka) with an astounding number of people uneducated in India 40.5 per cent and 57 per cent in Bangladesh. Pakistan has 54.3 per cent and Nepal 54.8 per cent illiteracy. A micro analysis would further show that vulnerable sections such as migrants, Dalits, OBCs, minorities and women constitute bourgeoning numbers in the illiterate and poverty stricken groups. A cumulative index of the quality of life and services available is reflected in the abysmally poor HDI Index of these countries. Sri Lanka, ranked the highest in the group, stands at a poor 89, followed with a clubbing of the rest 124 India, 138 Pakistan, 140 Bhutan, 142 Nepal and 145 Bangladesh5.

Table 1 Overview of South Asian countries: Socio-Economic Indices Infant Mortality Rate

life Expectancy at birth



Sri Lanka

14.78 deaths/ 1,000 live births (2004 est)

72.89 years (2004 est)




64.32 deaths/1,000 live births

61.71 years




74.43 deaths/1,000 live births

62.61 years



57.92 deaths/1,000 live births

63.99 years




68.77 deaths/1,000 live births

59.4 years




102.56 deaths/1,000 live births

53.99 years




56.52 deaths/1,000 live births(2005 est.)

64.06 years (2005 est)

97.2 (2003 est)



Population living below the poverty

GDP - per capita #


Ethnic groups

purchasing power parity Sinhalese 74%, Tamil 18%, Buddhist 70%, Hindu 15%, $4000 Moor 7%, Burgher, Malay, and Christian 8%, Muslim 7% (1999) (2004 est.) Vedda 1% purchasing power parity 45% Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other Bengali 98%, tribal groups, $2000 (2004 est) 1% (1998) non-Bengali Muslims (1998) (2004 ) Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun purchasing power parity - Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir 32 % $2200 (immigrants from India at the 20%), Christian, Hindu, and (2000-01 est) (2004 ) other 3%) time of partition and their descendants) Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Purchasing power parity Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25% Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other $3100 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2002 est) groups including Buddhist, Jain, (2004 ) (2000) Parsi 2.5% (2000) Hinduism 86.2%, Buddhism Brahman, Chetri, Newar, Purchasing power parity 42 % 7.8%, Islam 3.8%, other 2.2% Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Rai, $1500 note: only official Hindu state in Limbu, Sherpa, Tharu, and (1995-96 est) (2004 ) the world (1995) others (1995) Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese Purchasing power parity - Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- 35% (includes Lhotsampas -$1400 and Nepalese-influenced one of several Nepalese ethnic Hinduism 25% groups), indigenous or migrant (2003 ) tribes 15% 22% (1997 est)


$3,900 (2002 est.)

Islam is the State religion and the Maldivians are Sunni Muslims

South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs

Source: Brainy Atlas #Turner, Barry (ed.) (2003) “The Statesman's Yearbook 2004�, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 'The World Factbook 2005'

The shared heritage and contiguity of socio-economic parameters extends to endowments of energy resources, grassroot institutions of governance, colonial administrative mechanisms and opportunities in market affiliations. While South Asia has a low rate of investment to the GDP ratio, a large potential of energy with complementary resources in these countries, the abundance of natural endowments, be it energy, water or tapping global markets through an economic transnational network, can address the economic, cultural and identity aspirations of its populations.

Regional Particularism And Dimensions Of Conflicts (i) Territorial Nationalism, Explosion of Identities and Mobility of Population


The common cultural and historical processes in interaction with the structural reality, nature of state and politics, path and pace of development transformed the reservoir of peace and co-operation into conflict. Politics in post-colonial South Asia was guided more by territorial concept of sovereignty and nurtured through appropriation of cultural capital leading to reinforcement of ultranationalism. The focus of nation-building project has been on monocultural and hegemonic nationality. Its interaction with a multi-cultural social reality produced conflicts which often took a violent turn. There is need for examining how far the multi-cultural character of societies in South Asia could find corresponding expression in the practice of politics and state structure. The denial of access to different cultural groups to their own language, culture and other resources due to the interactive relationship between the structural conditions and state apparatus has alienated a large section of the state from their culture, language and physical and material resource base. These redefined and reformulated national identities sometimes acquire fundamentalist overtones. They reinforce the 'traditional' purity of culture and project the perceived dominant culture as a threat. In other words, the denial of access to diverse linguistic and cultural groups to their own resources, culture and language may have caused conflicts based on identity assertion. The most obvious examples are the ULFA assertion in the North-East, the Kashmiris' movement in Jammu & Kashmir, Khalistan in Punjab in India, the ripples of ethnic Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka and Pakhtoon nationalism and Sindhi identity assertion in Pakistan. The explosion of these identities has a potential to cause disintegration of the whole of South Asia. The assertion of these identities transcends territorial boundaries. For instance, the assertion of Panjabi identity transcends the territorial boundary of India and Pakistan, the Tamil identity India and Sri Lanka, Bengali identity India and Bangladesh, Gorkha identity India and Nepal, Sindhi identity India and Pakistan. We need to illustrate the post-colonial state response to autonomy assertions within the same framework. For instance, the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelem's (LTTE) armed resurgence could not get the support of the Indian establishment in spite of the pressure put by the Tamil alliance partners in the Central Government. The arguments reported in the media were that such a support would result in a movement for a separate Tamil state in the region.


to nationalist myth-making by describing various assertions as Pan-Islamic, Hindutva and secessionism. The hyper sensitive response to territorial sovereignty in the context of cross-border linkages with the population having similar cultural and ethnic basis result in excessive state enforcement rather than drawing on collatral advantages. The claim to sovereignty is seen against in the backdrop of the capacity of the states to control immigration. Mobility of capital, goods and services transcends the conventional definition of sovereignty. But the mobility of human beings continues to be subjected to state controls and its inability to enforce the controls produces illegal immigration. The seeming inability of the states to control crossborder migration is seen as an evidence of a soft state. This process has nurtured a number of conflicts in the context of post-colonial South Asian countries. If the local communities have ethnic bondage transcending territories, the state's quest to preserve its territorial integrity gets compromised. Given the existing predisposition, the state has options like renegotiating with the local communities to insulate their social support systems vis-Ă -vis immigrants or negotiate the control mechanism with the sender countries or regiment its borders, as is the case between India and Bangladesh. The South Asian countries reflect a complex interdependence in terms of their politics carefully nurtured by colonial constructs. Their economies represent scarcities coupled with lack of resources, their culture blurs the distinction between domestic and foreign migration. Above all, migration, both legal and illegal, from Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, highlights the fact that there are channels such as cultural, economic and political which connect South Asian societies and which transcend the territorial concept of sovereignty and governmental channels. Conflict resolution strategies have to find answers to the multi-cultural needs in the South Asian context. The dichotomy between territorial nationalism and multicultural needs is leading to a fragile sovereign identity of the state as cultural similarities are transcending territorial boundaries and overactive violent reaction is meshed up with ultranationalism. (ii) Globalis1ation, Territorial Nationalism and Identities Globalization has provided a new context to identity conflicts in South Asia. Globalization of capital has been accompanied by localization of human capital (labour), their aspirations, culture, history, language etc. This has provided impetus to 'sons-of-the-soil' movements in different parts of the world and has led to the explosion of ethnic identities.

Similarly, in Kashmir, the Indian establishment presents it as an Islamic Jehad and Pakistan considers it as an unfinished agenda of the partition, rather than a movement for the preservation of the ethno-cultural identity of Kashmir. The fear is that this would, in turn, result in restructuring the territorial boundaries of the two countries.

This has led to manifold increase in intra-state conflicts in South Asia in the decade of 1990's. In South Asia cultural and ethnic identities transcend territorial boundaries and as a result intra-state conflicts acquire inter-state antagonism.

The assertion of these identities questions religion as well as communal-based identities. Therefore, expedient politics, in order to weaken the process of identity formation, excessively relies on communal and religious mobilisation. This leads

And in such a situation, the trend of globalisation has provided a new context to these conflicts. This shift has meant greater power and autonomy with the market forces. The escalation of violent conflicts in a post-cold war globalised world has


brought to the surface in an aggravated form what is a continuation of the dominant power philosophy. The nation-state has surrendered to the market both the path and pace of development. In certain spheres some states having comparative advantage may get higher investment from multinationals and experience greater autonomy. But the underdeveloped states, even if they achieve constitutional autonomy, will see their backwardness multiplied in real terms as the market forces acquire greater autonomy to transcend non-friendly economies. The developing countries are being integrated into the new global economic order without having any autonomy to dissent. Economic integration with political marginalisation is the end result. These countries are being coerced into signing economic agreements. Table 2 Interstate and Intrastate Armed Conflicts, 1993 2003 Type of conflict











20 02






Internationalised intra

- state



















































All conflicts

a. Revised ralative to earlier years. For a detailed list of conflicts dated back to 1946, see the armed conflict web pages. b. internationalised intrastate conflicts' were called “intrastate conflicts with foreign intervention”

addressing issues relating water, energy, technology, poverty eradication, gender etc. For example, non-resolution of disputes regarding water sharing and harnessing has contributed to escalation of deprivations leading to intra-state conflicts. There are about 11 large hydroelectric projects, including Baglihar, on which India and Pakistan could not come to an agreement making Pakistan seek World Bank mediation. Similarly, India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers. They could not resolve their dispute relating to eight rivers and water sharing of Ganges. Similarly, Nepal perceives that many treaties relating to water like Sharada Dam (1927), 1950 treaty and letters of exchange of 1950 and 1965, Koshi (1954), Gandak (1959), Tanakpur (1991) agreements and the Mahakali treaty (1996) are not just. Other issues, besides water sharing, are food security, poverty, environment and agriculture. The maintenance of domestic peace has also come within the realm of global political decision-making. Why has this happened and without much reaction from the people? “What was not brought to the surface was that this philosophy was a power philosophy, the common good turned out to be, both at the domestic and international levels, the common good as interpreted by the powerful” (Burton, 1990, p.42)7. In this scheme, superior position and knowledge to resolve conflicts has been attributed to the external “interventionist”. On the contrary, the conflicts are reinforced and conditions for their growth are nurtured. In politics, external interventions in the region are driven by market interests, whereas, regional politics is more sensitive to territorial considerations.

in the annual armed conflict updates prior to 2002 . in these conflicts, the government the opposition, or both sides receive military support from other governments. Source: Wallensteen, Peter; Kristine Eck and Mikael Eriksson (2004) 'States in Armed Conflict 2003', Uppsala University: Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Research Report 70.

Therefore, after the signing of WTO agreement, will the countries be autonomous enough not to abide by the terms of the agreement which adversely affect their national interests? It has given rise to a paradox. Failure to fulfil the national mandate, will result deligitimisation of the political system and will give a fillip to intra-state conflicts such as fundamentalist movements. Whereas, non-compliance of the global mandate will result in political isolation, and exposure to pressure both violent and 'peaceful' of the dominant global powers. It is paradoxical that in the new global economic order, economic integration and political marginalisation is simultaneously taking place and the political establishments yet to overcome the centrality of territorial nationalism. Political establishments in South Asia have given their own meanings to 'national interest', 'threat' and 'security'. For them national interest is to protect the 'territory' and not the political and economic sovereignty of the people. And 'threat' is perceived from the 'weak', Taliban', Jaish-e-Mohammad' and not from the powerful regimes that keep the developing countries on the margins of politics and economy. And, 'security' is to be sought from military deployment and nuclearisation rather than strengthening democracy6. The non-conventional sources of security i.e. poverty, population explosion, environmental degradation, water and energy resources which constitute comprehensive security do not merit the attention of political establishments. There is excessive emphasis on military security rather than


Threat and Need Paradox The post-colonial states are embroiled in a vicious circle: a paradoxical threat and the needs for democracy. Political actors feel threatened by the same institutions which legitimize their power and start subverting them. In the process, however, they become powerless. At best they realise the need for reviving these institutions. This cycle is experienced by almost all South Asian countries. It includes subversion of institutions which aggravates the conflicts. Some strata increasingly rely on a repressive state apparatus to freeze (“resolve”) these conflicts, and at the same time legitimise violence. The conflicts identified here are linked with the changed character of nation-states, the consolidation of democracy, questions of migration throughout the region, problems of national and human security as well as matters of identity, with special reference to gender in the context of globalization and nuclearization. For instance, strong emphasis on sovereignty means that there is little resort to outside third parties. At the same time conflicts are not resolved directly by the parties. The options are, therefore, restricted to ways which may impede creative solutions like evolving a South Asian identity. Existing Process of Conflict Resolution Conflicts are inevitable. These are pervasive in the realm of incompatibilities, contradictions and scarcities. Invariably, attempts are made to manage and resolve the manifest conflicts. In South Asian societies most of the conflicts remain dormant and are not seen as part of the conflict spectrum. It is so because a conflict is seen to


have evolved from interaction between the parties and actors. For instance, in Indian Punjab, the problem was identified as Sikh separatism and a counter-strategy was operationalised against the Sikhs, leading to attack on Sikh symbols, Operation Blue Star (attack on the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the most revered Sikh religious shrine) and victimisation and brutal killing of Sikhs in November, 1984. In Kashmir, the problem is understood as Islamic Jehad leading to migration of non-Muslim Kashmiris (Pandits) from Kashmir, strengthening the religious concepts of nationality assertions. Similarly in Sri Lanka, the Tamil nationalist movement which started with a goal of regional autonomous rule acquired secessionist overtones by the mid-1970s. It also started as a non-violent political assertion under the leadership of the Tamil United Front in 1976 and acquired a violent form with Tamil guerrilla operations in the North and massacre of Sinhalese in 1987 and anti-Tamil violence in Sinhalese majority area in late 1980s And riots in Colombo in 1983 in which Sinhalese mobs killed 3000 Tamils. In India, all the north-eastern states are embroiled in violent assertions of secession to autonomy. There are about 238 ethnic groups having a population of around 30 million which are increasingly defining their identity in relation to the Indian state. There are two main trends. The assertions of groups like Nagas, Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Mizos, Mizo Nationalist Front (MNF), Asomiya, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Manipuris, People's Liberation Army (PLA), Bodos, National Democratic concern of Bodoland (NDCB), Tripuries, All Tripura Tiger Forte (ATTF) are secessionist in nature, whereas, groups like Karbi National volunteers, Bodoland Tiger Force in Assam, Achik National EXISTING PROCESS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Problem Identification

Sikh Secessionism (Punjab) Islamic Jehad (Kashmir) Muslim Expansionism (Bangladesh) Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka)

Nature of Interaction Between Conflicting Parties / Interests

Culture of Violence Repression and Elections Unilateral cease-fire and continued violent assertions. Active support to violent assertions Marginalisation of non-conventional security issues

Understanding Manifest Conflicts Through Attitudes and Behaviours

Extra-territorial loyalties A former PM of India was sympathetic to extremists and therefore his integrity is questionable. Nawaz Sharif compromised Pakistans Anti -India position. Sheikh Hasina pro-India Sri Lankan establishment anti-Tamil.

Matching Values in Cultural Specific Context


Ultra-Nationalism through the vehicle of religious fundamentalism Reinforce culture of violence through expression of dissent and suppression of dissent Centralisation of Authority

Volunteer Council (ANVC) in Meghalaya etc. are raising demands for greater autonomy and using secessionism as a bargaining plank. The states are hypersensitive regarding territorial nationalism which in turn blurs cultural homogeneity and economic interdependence. The problem is multidimensional. In these contexts the issues have been articulated in three broad tendencies; one, stands for state autonomy without unduly disturbing the existing political arrangement, the second for self-determination within the constitutional framework and the last raising the demand for secession. Further, the parties to the conflict have been Competitive identified on the basis of religious or ethnic group positioning. For instance, in the case of Punjab the two militarism and religious groups i.e. the Hindus and the Sikhs and in nuclearism has Kashmir the Muslims and the Kashmiri Pandits. The vitiated the security Sikhs in Punjab and the Muslims in Kashmir are both environment in the seen as monolith groups questioning the Indian state. region. Domestic In Sri Lanka, Sinhalese and Tamil as group have 'enemy image' of each other. 'They all say they are loyal to the political government, but scratch' any Tamil, and beneath the considerations have skin there is an Eelamist' asserted a Sinhalese found an escape in businessman8. Accordingly, each member of a religious generating group is expected to conform to the same norms and feelings of beliefs since all members of the religious group are perceived and projected as having common interests at all times. This understanding undermined the norms of secular and democratic politics. The conditions which generated violence have not been analysed. The interaction of multi-cultural social reality and the mono-cultural nature of the state is producing various tensions. The main focus of these conflicts is on unequal distribution of resources, imposition of alien democratic polity replacing traditional grassroot governing institutions, exploitation of natural resources and creating a 'dependency syndrome' by doling out economic resources without providing basis to productive development processes. The uneven sharing of, for instance, water resources between countries of South Asia, has provided legitimacy to intra-state conflicts leading to inter-state tensions. Reinforcement Of Culture Of Violence Further, competitive militarism and nuclearism has vitiated the security environment in the region. Domestic political considerations have found an escape in generating feelings of ultra-nationalism. This became evident in the euphoric response of the people to assertions like nuclear explosions in India and Pakistan. These acts are justified in the words of George Herbelt, “Having a sword of one's own keeps the swords of others in their sheaths�. Greater emphasis on military security has resulted in an increase of 44 per cent in


military expenditure in South Asia, which is relatively the highest in the world and is equal only to North Africa. It rose from US$ 12 billion in 1993 to US$ 173 billion in 2002. As a consequence, and besides other reasons, human security continues to be undermined since 42 per cent or 488 million people out of a population of 1.4 billion live on less than a dollar a day, making South Asia home to nearly half of the world's poor. India, ranked eleventh among the big spenders on defence, followed by Russia, increased its defence expenditure from US$ 8051 million in 1990 to US$ 12882 million in 2003. Pakistan's defence spending rose from US$ 2636 million in 1990 to US$ 3176 million in 2003, despite a worse period of fiscal crisis and sanctions9. This is also reflected in the multiplication of military spending by diverting funds from life supporting systems. For example, 'India ordered 20 MIG-29 fighter aircraft from Russia at a cost that could provide basic education to all the 15 million girls out of schools‌. Pakistan ordered 40 mirage 2000E fighters and three tripartite aircraft from France at a cost that could have provided safe water for two years to all 55 million people who lack safe water, family planning services to an estimated 20 million couples in need of such services, essential medicines for the nearly 13 million people without access to health care and basic education to the 12 million children out of primary schools10. Another trend which is contributing to the culture of violence is the increasing legitimacy attached to the use of violence for the restoration of peace. The argument that the use of violence by the state against the non-state actor e.g. a terrorist is taken as an instance of violence in self-defence and, therefore, normatively justifiable, is fallacious. This argument has its basis in prevention and control framework of insurgent forms of violence11. Similarly, the use of violence by a terrorist is justified as it may have a directional component. In this framework, conflict behaviour and attitude are central and, therefore, become the main focus of conflict resolution. In other words, it is assumed that conflict can be created and resolved with the manipulation of behaviour and attitude and this view is widely accepted by conflict strategists. According to this framework, the causation of violence must be seen in the manner in which the state is organised and functions. This has a limited analytical value. This perspective finds its empirical evidence in the functioning of ex-colonial states. The western notion of inalienable rights was antithetical to the interests of the colonial powers who, therefore, were slow to promote the notion among the colonised12. The post-colonial state became the embodiment of individual rights, but the practice of politics and social interaction provide continuity to colonial policies. In other words, the administrative-legal system concerned itself and responded to individual rights, whereas the politics and social discourse relied on ascriptive categories for mobilisation and maintaining their support base. In a nutshell, the politics of colonial states found continuity in the post-independent phase, particularly in the practice of politics.


The perspective excludes from its purview the violence perpetrated by the individuals or collectivities against each other. The analysis of the socio-economic formations did not find adequate place within this framework. In this context violence becomes a 'truncated object' of study because it confines itself to state and non-state actors. This precluded the need for understanding violence as a part of the historical process. Violence is the result of certain social conditions and is also inseparable from the existence and functioning of social and political institutions. For example, the return of peace in Punjab does not imply that the conditions, which caused violence, have been moderated, subsumed, or resolved. Therefore, it is not proper to see increasing violence as merely a result of inadequacies of the police apparatus. This is not to deny the law and order dimension of terrorism. But a check on democratic mobilisation against terrorism in the name of security, only strengthens the forces of terrorism. In view of this, it can be observed that the use of violence in the context of a collapse of 'Ideological State Apparatus' as it happened in the case of Sri Lanka, in India Punjab and Kashmir, acquired a blatant form. Similarly, because of the collapse of political parties and dysfunctional nature of non-violent means of protest, the use of violence by the militants acquired a terrorist character. Much of the political space has been appropriated by conflict management through repression and demonstration of force, the excessive use of physical force and the frequent misuse of paramilitary forces to manage intra-state conflicts. For the management of inter-state conflicts, there is an excessive reliance on competitive militarism and regulation of borders. This has led to increase in expenditure on military security at the expense of human security which is abysmally low. To manage intra-state conflicts the countries in the region are excessively relying on repressive measures, for instance, the legalized version of state repression in India in the form of TADA which has recently been replaced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). In Pakistan, the Suppression of Terrorist Activities Act of 1975 was upgraded with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. And during direct military rule, Martial Law regulations and in the present military regime, the Chief Executive's orders have been used to suppress dissent. Similarly, in Sri Lanka, Prevention of Terrorism Act was imposed in 1979 and human rights protections under the rule of law have been made non-functional. In Nepal, to counter the People's War launched in 1996 by the Maoists a state of emergency has been declared and the army has been unleashed. The practice of suppression of dissent through laws has multiplied extra-legal killings described as 'encounters' in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The excessive use of force by the state in the region has contributed to sharpening the dichotomous relationship between the state and the nation and reinforced the culture of violence. After independence the nation-building project was implemented by the state in an aggressive fashion. This led to the excessive reliance of the state on security forces. It took the initiative away from the community. This adversely affected the


state's claim to the allegiance of its members and the members' claim to some conception of shared purpose or a sense of shared benefits. In other words, the denial of access to the members to their own language, culture and other rights, alienated a large section of the people from the state, culture and language as a secular space and their own physical and material resource base. It provided a fillip to religious extremism and communal form of identification like Hindutva in India, Islamic rivalism and extremism in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka and monarchist religious ritualistic forces in Nepal. The ultra-nationalism appropriated religious extremism and communalism to reinforce theocratic conceptions of nationality assertion. The inability of the political system to subsume crisis upholding the norms of dissent and consent with the active involvement of the people has resulted in aggravation of intra-state conflicts leading to inter-state wars. The structure of security perception in South Asia is linear and superordinate and subordinate in nature. The linearity is more pronounced between India and Pakistan, whereby both see each other as strategic rivals and must match each other in terms of military security. Whereas, in relation to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan the specific nature of intra conflicts provide content to India-centric security paradigm. For instance, Sinhala dominated political establishment in Sri Lanka is in conflict with the Tamils has a potential to destabilize Indian political establishment as it may cause discontentment among the Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Similarly, secessionist insurgents in North Eastern states of India are making India's relationship with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Burma military security oriented,

region do not find functional institutional remedies for the resolution of their disputes and enhance their growth. The increased defence expenditure of India and Pakistan is the result of seeking parity in military security rather than non-conventional security. Therefore, the existing modes of interaction between countries are leading to freezing of conflicts and multiplying the trust deficit. Pre-Requisites for Conflict Resolution I. Delegitimisation of Violence There is an increasing trend of authoritarianism in the world. Tolerance is generally receding and a pall of gloomy monism hangs over the globe. Consequently, efforts to realise 'other utopias' are negligible and even the desire to speculate about 'other possibilities' has been tamed. One is in agreement with Dr. Jan Oberg's13 observation that 'our best 'weapons' are better thoughts, ideas, ethics, compassion and networking and independent minds in an increasingly authoritarian era the slogan of which is that 'there are no alternatives'. Therefore, one is not only opposed to nuclearism and militarism, but also to the culture of violence through which the possibility of building alternatives is thwarted. The nuclearisation of South Asia should be seen in the background of 'dangerous developments' like the proposed expansion of NATO. It has been rightly argued by Dr. Jan Oberg that 'Nuclear and other illegitimate weapons of mass destruction represent another threat to world peace. No purpose can justify their use. In addition we witness a decreasing control of nuclear technology and fissile material. NATO expansion implicitly lends more, not less, legitimacy to these morally indefensible policies... NATO expansion cannot but increase US arms and military technology sales'.

Table 3 Defence Expenditure as % of GDP Year


































2.5 4.5 Source: World Bank Indicators (World Bank Data Base: 2003)

neglecting issues like sharing of water, energy and other resources. The linearity is also intermeshed with the perception of India being a big country covering 70 per cent of the land and population in South Asia. Not only this, it is perceived as a hegemonic regional power without responding to the security needs i.e. material as well as human, of its neighbours. The parity conflict between India and Pakistan is preventing South Asia from emerging as a region as other countries of the



ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii.

This perspective has vitiated the security environment in the region and initiated a competition for accumulation of conventional weapons between India and Pakistan. The impact of these trends within South Asia has a direct bearing on the peace process in the region. It has contributed to the following process; Escalation of low cost proxy war in Kashmir; Set-back to the resolution of conflict through the process of peace with the active involvement of the people, particularly in Kashmir; Rationalisation for the use of excessive force to suppress dissent even in other spheres; Ultra-nationalism as an instrument to strengthen forces of religious fundamentalism in both countries; Set-back to the process of decentralisation of power to the provinces for it is believed that a strong centre is essential to defend the country.

This is an empiricist trap which has to be avoided. Military action and senseless terrorist attacks both consider violence as a substitute for political action and mass mobilisation. Both are wrong. The underlying philosophy is to build a world order around violence. Terror which struck on September 11 has provoked various


states to reassert their claim to be in possession of a greater reservoir of violence. The reaction is to unleash violence on terrorists and their supporters and also helpless citizens who have no sympathy for either of them. In the process, terrorism stands reinforced. This is what the perpetrators of terrorism want. To quote the Taliban, "If they want to target particular persons, they won't be able to find them; if they want to eliminate a whole nation, it will create more hatred for the US." The focus of this approach is to target individual perpetrators of violence. In other words, the policemen eliminate the militants and vice-versa and even the judiciary isolates individual policemen for punishment. This becomes a vicious circle. The assumption is that killing of terrorists and punishing a few policemen will result in the elimination of terrorism. There are lessons to be learnt. Terrorism shall thrive if it is fought by harbouring it. This is precisely what is being done. Secondly, there is an attempt to counterpose individual terrorists with institutionalized violence and calling it a peace war. This amounts to legitimising violence. Thirdly, the dominant powers, rather than imposing a 'political consensus' for their own conception of terrorism, should evolve a consensus against terrorism. These lessons are simple but difficult to operationalise. There is an urgent need to have an alternative conception of politics in opposition to the dominant power interests. Otherwise, peace will become elusive and violence more institutionalised. It is the culture of violence which is contributing to the escalation of conflicts and therefore a culture of peace by democratisation and incorporation of human tradition should be reinforced. There is need for recognition of political-economic rights of countries, collectivities and people and at the same time they need to be encouraged to participate in the decision making processes at the global level. It will be worthwhile to put in place institutional mechanism to build a culture of multilateralism where in each country people's forums may also take initiatives for the resolution of conflicts and building peace in the global context. These forums should address the issues of conflict resolution as a continuum, incorporating conflict settlement initiatives. For delegitimisation of the culture of violence, it would be relevant to analyse the basic issues relating to the eruption of violence in a proper historical context, such as; (a) Is violence being used as a substitute of democratic mode of political strategy by the state as well as non-state individuals or groups? (b) Is it being used only as one of the tactics in a broader strategy ranging from the ideological persuasion to violence? (c) Is the cause which the users of violence espouse regarded as just by a majority of the people? (d) Is the relationship between the nation-state and society an interactive relationship. How far it would be appropriate to see state violence as a manifestation of structural violence and violence indulged in by non-state actors or collectivities as a product of structural violence. II. Incompatibility of Goals to Compatibility of Interests A pre-requisite for the resolution of conflict is the transformation of the


incompatible to compatible goals. In the case of South Asia, intra-state conflicts are intermeshed with inter-state wars between countries of the region. The goal of political establishments in the region is to maintain domestic peace even at the cost of inter-state wars or antagonism. If the goal is transformed to South Asian peace and resolution intra-state conflicts by responding to its multi-dimensional components, the conflict spectrum may undergo a change and lead to activisation of co-operative mechanisms in security, trade, sharing of scarce resources and making provisions for human security. To illustrate, in both Kashmir and Punjab it has been identified on the basis of religious groups' positioning. The Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims in Kashmir are both seen as monolith groups and their interaction with the mono-cultural nature of the state has produced intra-state tensions. III. Defining Boundaries and Limitations of Negotiations It is important to understand the limits to the resources and capacities of the parties to the conflict and the civil society as a feedback to negotiations for entering into peace agreements and accords. For instance, in Indian Punjab, successful negotiations between the then Indian Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition regional Akali party, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, resulted in the signing of the 'Punjab Accord' in 1985. It led to the assassination of Sant Longowal. The accord could not be implemented and violence was escalated. Similarly, violence got escalated even with the initiation of negotiations in various conflict situations. For instance, the assassination of President Premdasa of Sri Lanka in 1993 and Presidential candidate Dissanayeka in 1994 happened when the framework for devolution of power was under discussion. Therefore, it is imperative to prepare the people's capacity for combating increase in violence and their stakes in peace. It would also be appropriate to make an assessment of the resources and capacities to face violence if negotiations fail or accords are not implemented. IV. Building People's Stakes in Peace To harness shared values which are in abundance rather than regulation of incompatibilities, the most important issue is sharing of cultural capital, water, energy, technology and other scarce resources. An integrated approach to managing sharing and harnessing these resources between India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal can build people's stakes in peace.

Bangladesh1 Sri Lanka2 Pakistan3 Nepal4 Bhutan5 Total South Asia

Table 4 Indias Informal Trade with South Asia Exports Imports Trade Balance (X) (M) (X-M) 299.0 14.0 285.0 185.5 21.8 163.7 n.a. n.a. Positive 180.0 228.0 -48.0 31.3 1.2 30.1 -

Total Trade (X+M) 313.0 207.3 2000 408.0 32.6 2960.9

Source: Chaudhary (1995) for Bangladesh; Taneja (2002) for Sri Lanka and Nepal; Economist (1996) for Pakistan; Rao et. a. (1997) for Bhutan Notes: X denotes exports while M denotes imports 1. (1992-93), 2. (2000-01), 3. (1996), 4. (2000-01), 5. (1993-94)


Table 5 Indias Formal Trade with South Asia Exports (X)

Imports (M)

Trade Balance (X-M)

Total Trade (X+M)






Sri Lanka2
























Total South Asia

Source: Chaudhary (1995) for Bangladesh; Taneja (2002) for Sri Lanka and Nepal; Commodity Trade Statistics for Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. Notes: X denotes exports while M denotes imports 1. (1992-93), 2. (2000-01), 3. (1994), 4. (2000-01), 5. (1994)

VI. Conflict moderation for peace building For conflict moderation, it is necessary to focus on controlling the triggers that contribute to the escalation of violence and transform intra-state conflicts into interstate confrontations, and building a consensus around shared values like restoration of peace, desired by all the affected parties. The incompatibility of goals may persist, but incompatibility of interests is put on the negotiation table.

Similarly, the co-operative security framework has to move away from a confrontationist posture to the use of instruments of peace-building like negotiations, demobilization etc. This can provide a security blanket for the civil society to participate in resource sharing initiatives. The common cultural reservoir has to be transformed into cultural capital for peace building so that the capacity of the civil society to find innovative and creative avenues for the resolution of conflicts is enhanced. Institutional mechanisms should be worked out (through SAARC) to change the terms of trade from informal to formal, thereby build the stakes of the common people.

To reduce hostility without a resolution of underlying causes, through unilateral demobilisation and evolving mechanisms to exercise controls over the instruments assigned the task of combating violence will contribute to a moderation of conflicts. For instance, the killings of Indian Border Security Force personnel by the Bangladesh Rifles, and mutilation of their bodies, increased the pressure on the Indian state for revenge. In India, Operation Blue Star in 1984 provided continuity to the secessionist movement for another decade which it was petering out in 1984. Politics of conflict moderation, may have avoided excessive use of force by the Army and enforcement agencies.

The total informal trade in the South Asian region exceeds three billion which is almost double the formal trade in the region for the corresponding years for which informal trade estimates are available. India's informal trade with Pakistan is almost ten times the formal trade in the region, that with Nepal and Bangladesh is almost as large as the formal trade, with Sri Lanka it is almost one-third of the formal trade and that with Bhutan it is three times the formal trade (Table 4 and 5)14.

Further, if non-conventional issues are brought into focus it can act as major reservoir for conflict moderation leading to peace building. To illustrate, poverty eradication, gender constructs, water and energy can act as major resource.

It would be worthwhile to examine the extent to which policy reforms will discourage the use of informal channels and encourage the formal trade routes and the impact it might have on building people's stakes in peace. Another area which can lead to creating an environment conducive to building the people's stakes in peace is trade in services like students, health providers and seekers, professionals. The South Asian region, in co-operation with each other has a potential to develop services and attract service seekers from the rest of the world. It would, therefore, be worthwhile to estimate the extent and nature of this market and study its impact on the socio-cultural dynamics of the region15. V. Focus on factors rather than on actors To counterpoise violence of the state with the violence perpetrated by non-state actors and collectivities and thereby formulate strategies of conflict resolution are fraught with danger. To see state and non-state actors of violence in an isomorphic relationship with each other is to overlook the structural basis. This understanding


looks for causes in the behaviour of the actors. This kind of understanding attributes an autonomous space to state and non-state actors. In other words, policemen eliminate the terrorists and vice-versa and even the judiciary isolates an individual policeman for punishment. It becomes a kind of vicious circle. The underlying assumption is that killing of terrorist and punishing a few policemen will result in the elimination of terrorism.

Towards Conflict Resolution in South Asia Societies have been traditionally made up of self-supportive communities. The social order, no doubt, has been hierarchical, but social conflicts were resolved within the community itself. In other words, the community used to look after its own needs and even resolve its own conflicts. With development, the autonomy of the communities was curtailed, but without creating adequate institutionalised mechanisms to take care of their social needs and conflicts. Historically, most of the interventions took the initiative away from the communities and reduced them to mere victims, beneficiaries, clients, recipients etc. This was justified on the basis of common good, and majority rule being the divine goal pursued by the states. Therefore, participation of the people became symbolic and their role in conflict identification and resolution was marginalised. The functioning of society based on hierarchical systems took the initiatives away from the community to the sub-system, from the sub-system to the state and ultimately to the dominant power in the global system. Each hierarchical layer abdicated its responsibilities to the higher layer. For instance, community systems abdicated their responsibility to the sub-system and sub-system to the state and state to the dominant power in the global system. In this scheme superior position and knowledge to resolve conflicts has been attributed to the external "interventionist". This system has failed


to resolve conflicts. On the contrary, it has reinforced the existing conflicts and nurtured conditions for their growth. In response to the ineffectiveness of the existing interventionist mechanisms, the states and within the states sub-systems have started abdicating their responsibilities regarding the resolution of conflicts to and in favour of the community at the grassroot level. In fact, catch phrases such as power back to the people are being bandied about, to cover their inability to perform the necessary functions for the resolution of conflicts. The need is to evolve a collaborative interactional relationship between states and within the states, among sub-systems and the community. The perspective needs to be interactive with various components of the larger global world setting while ensuring relative autonomy to various sub-systems within this. Therefore, the process of conflict resolution can be categorised into inter-state level in the global context and intra-sub-system level in the local context. And strategies may be worked out to ensure the relative autonomy of each unit so that they are able to: A. Identify their conflicts according to their socio-cultural specific needs. B. Work out resolution strategies maximising on the existing authority system within the sub-system. The emphasis of this approach is on sufficiently empowering the parties in the conflict to identify and resolve these by themselves. This does not mean that nonparties or observers in the conflict situation have no place in this scheme of things. On the contrary, their role corresponds to the interactional relationship which each layer has evolved within the larger global system. The conventional methods of conflict resolution may have to be amended to respond to the new set of issues posed by changes in socio-economic formations and developments in politics, culture and religion. And also to respond to the specificities of social institutions and norms like casteism, racism, religiosity and gender relations which have played a central role in shaping the conflict of divergent sorts. Three-tracked framework for conflict prevention in South Asia. (i) First to identify the reasons and causes of intra-state conflicts and formulate interventions for prevention, moderation and management of the conflict within the countries. (ii) To identify the triggers that act as catalytic factors responsible for intermeshing of intra-state conflicts into inter-state confrontation like cross-border terrorism, migration, etc., and to evolve corresponding strategies for appropriating of abundant cultural and non-conventional resources for peace building. The relevance of transforming the cultural reservoir into cultural capital has to be established and steps taken for making it functional in the domain of peace, rather than be a reservoir for providing content to the culture of violence. (iii) The third track is to carve out South Asia as a region based on the principle of multilateralism and multiculturalism. Process Of Conflict Resolution It would be appropriate to see the emergence of conflicts in the South Asian context and evolve alternatives within the framework of explosion of identities in whole of South Asia, comprehensive security and co-operative institutional building





Solving Process

Conflict moderation

Conflict resolution

1. Redefining goals


Distributive justice

Comprehensive security

Integration of multiculturalism

Recognition of multicultural reality Macro economic policy integration Trade of services 2. Institutional-sation of Redefined Goals

Democratisation of politics i.e. holding of elections Representation of cultural groups in decision-making bodies.

Structural transformation of economy, recognition of cultural and linguistic aspirations. Secularisation of polity i.e. effective people's participation in decision-making, democratisation of politics, economy and society.

Evolving institutional mechanisms for ensuring linguistic, religious and cultural rights of minorities 3. Multilateralism and standardization

Attempts towards strengthening SAARC

Achieving confederation of SouthAsian countries.

Attempts towards state autonomy

Achieving of state autonomy within national constitutional federalism

Towards empowerment of multi cultural groups and citizens rights 4. Standardize Citizen Rights and Security

Build in accountability of law enforcement and mechanism for improved distribution of security resources

Decentralisation of power to grassroot organisatons Identification of structural and functional reforms in domestic police and legitimate and effective relevance of international justice system Sustainable multilateral arrangement among domestic police and judicial mechanisms and the civil society

mechanism. If the alternatives are merely confined to nuclearisation or countrycentric linearity, it would merely be a reaction to the politics of political establishments of countries and other dominant global powers. The problem identification should not be narrow. It is the culture of violence which is contributing to escalation of conflicts and therefore a culture of peace by democratisation and incorporation of human tradition should be reinforced. There is a need for recognition of political-economic rights of countries, collectivities and people and at the same time they need to be encouraged to participate in the decision making processes at the global level. The process of conflict resolution should build up a culture of multilateralism where each country forum also takes initiatives for resolution of conflicts and peace in the global context. The process of conflict resolution in South Asia may have to structure around four broad issues; redefining the goals, shifting of goal from domestic peace to South Asian regional peace; institutionalization of redefined goals e.g. democratization of politics; multilateralism and standardisation e.g. attempts towards strengthening SAARC and citizen rights and security e.g. redistribution of security resources. The process may have to be operationalised in two stages by incorporating conflict moderation initiatives leading to conflict resolution, however, operationalised simultaneously. Redefinition of Goals Conflict analysis in the South Asian context suggests that it is imperative to redefine the goals for conflict resolution, moderation and management around comprehensive


security, incorporating themes of multiculturalism, distributive justice, democracy and global political marginalization. The conflicts emanates from goals of territorial nationalism and the monotheistic concepts of nation-building in South Asia. The premier issue for conflict moderation and resolution in South Asia pertains to a redefinition of goals. While conflict resolution involves an integration of multiculturalism and distributive justice to the deprivations felt and perceived in the identity conflicts, conflict moderation would involve mobilization of resources for building consensus for peace making, peace building and its sustenance. Simultaneously, the options of political economy and cultural interests need to be articulated. Such a Conflict moderation would build forward and backward linkages to micro economic policy and transitional cooperation for trade, infrastructure, communication etc. These issues would further addressed for conflict resolution in terms of a structural reconstruction of economy and incorporation of multicultural groups in terms of their language, ethnicity and culture. The pursuance of economic interests through activisation of hegemonic market expansion by the new global order is in dissonance with goals pursued in South Asia like territorial nationalism and autonomy. This dissonance is not adequately comprehended for resolution of conflict. If there is a convergence of interests between the South Asian region and the global order, the nature and site of conflict may undergo a change. The hypersensitivity of the South Asian region to territorial nationalism is providing content to security, national interest and threat perception. As the process of market expansionism is being pursued through global institutionalised systems and mechanisms controlled by dominant powers, assertions for greater autonomy in the developing countries in the absence of comprehensive security framework may become notional. The shift from military security to comprehensive security shall lead to diffusion of intrastate conflicts which invariably acquire inter-state dimensions in South Asia and reduce the dissonance between the pursuits of market of the global powers and territorial centric adventures in South Asian region. It would be pertinent to explore that how far the shift from territorial model of security to a comprehensive security in South Asia shall activise peace reservoir? This dissonance between global order and South Asian worldview has provided sufficient space for third party interventions by the dominant world power without providing institutional visibility to their interventions in peace process. This smudges and blurs their interests in the region and conflict entails therein. Given the shift from military security to comprehensive security the emphasis on building domestic peace through inter-state antagonisms and wars may become redundant. In that sense, the South Asian peace may become another necessity for meeting the challenges of global order and maximize on regional collated advantages. To achieve this, a multilateral South Asian policy regime in terms of building up forward and backward economic linkages and adopting common tariff policy and subsidy framework and addressing issues of labour flows across borders, its social, political and economic implications, may have to be evolved. This research may analyse


human rights and criminal dimensions of human trafficking leading to the integration of labour flows as an issue for economic co-operation. Institutionalisation Of Goals These goals have to be integrated into the institutional structures within the state mechanisms and established, strengthened and upgraded at the South Asian regional level. Institutionalisation of conflict resolution parameters shall help to overcome problem centred ad hoc initiatives, vulnerability to political conveniences and individual perceptions. This shall make peace building sustainable and dynamic process. To activate these redefined goals institutionalized structures need to be created both vertically and horizontally to ensure response to conflict interests and on-going resolution. Conflict moderation in this context would involve institutionalization of representation of cultural groups in the decision-making bodies, participation in elections, and institutional mechanisms to incorporate the rights of minorities in terms of their language, religion and cultural interests. Resolution mechanisms for integration of multi-cultural constructs and secularlisation at various levels in society, politics and economy have to be put in place. It will involve an assessment of capacities of each state, parties to the conflict and society to overcome reliance on structural and behavioural violence. An active search for peaceful ways and means has to be undertaken to build a consensus among the actors for peace building in each specific conflict site and form of the conflict. Multilateralism and Standardization of Mechanisms To allow regional, country and multicultural groups to maximize on collateral advantages and protect their democratic, cultural economic needs, a priori to specific needs, the goals of peace-building and conflict resolution has to be incorporated as regional standards. This activisation of multilateral institutional avenues shall curtail hegemonic articulations of countries, political establishments and reactionary and ultra-nationalist forces. These layered multilateral forums i.e. South Asian Confederation, Federal and democratic forums at the state level and activisation of decentralized democratic mechanisms shall contribute to conflict resolution. These long term goals can be achieved by strengthening SAARC, formulation of comprehensive security framework, macro economic policy integration. This will also help meet the existing trust deficit in the region in the short run. The moot question remains that how far these multilateral forums shall be able to shape transnational cultural reservoir as cultural capital for peace building and resolution of conflicts. This will require a systematic enquiry to assess the resources and capacities of each state and South Asia as a region to sustain peace building. Peace building involves reconstruction of social relations as well as


infrastructure and formal institutions of democratic decentralization. No one wants the conflicts to erupt again after settlement, or to return in a different clothing. Therefore, an active search for peaceful ways and means to create a stable and responsive society is a major task after the settlement of a violent conflict. Peace-building to this end is one of the best examples of how bottom-up and topdown approaches go together; all levels of society need to be responsive to each other in order not to develop fundamental threats to the cohesion of a society. Peacebuilding, for instance, has as its major aim the implementation of peace agreements in an effective and comprehensive manner. Citizens Rights and Security Framework The 21st century has thrown up major challenges to human security. These have added new dimensions to the principles and scope of accountability of security systems. With the globalisation of rights and crimes, the threat posed by terrorism, technological revolution and the emergence of diaspora, the nature and scope of security has been transformed. With the introduction of new principles of governance in the new era, it would be appropriate to delineate the nature and scope of security framework and the corresponding principles of accountability. This will largely depend on what this new era symbolises? What are the main characteristic features of the new global order? The new global order with its emphasis on globalisation of capital and restricted mobility of labour without ensuring distributive justice has brought into focus issues relating to national and human security. Further, the state having abdicated to the market its responsibility to meet the survival needs of the people, its role has been reduced to performing regulatory functions. The regulatory state has to depend excessively on the security apparatus to look effective and efficient. Globalisation has created conditions for co-operation, but it has accentuated conflicts based on ethnic identities throughout the world. For instance, South Asian immigrants in some parts of the world are treated with contempt and ridicule, leading to tensions and riots. It is posing a challenge to the police security system be innovative in resolving these conflicts. Not only this, a large section of the diaspora has specific security needs both at their place of origin and the place of settlement. Thus the situation is leading to excessive reliance on the police to maintain order and peace. The security apparatus has to acquire skills relating to prevention and management of conflicts and post-conflict rehabilitation with corresponding accountability. It has to function in convergence with the cultural needs of the people without disturbing their cultural sensibilities. There are many more emerging problem which can only be resolved through closer intervention. In the absence of institutional mechanisms of multilateral policing, the accountability principles cease to be functional.

globally to build its capacity to deliver justice, ensure security and protect the rights of citizens. The emerging reality has to be contextualised in the nature of the state, be it post-colonial, post-capitalist or post-totalitarian with a focus on norms and values that shape security perceptions. The need is to build those institutional accountability structures which are democratic in response, protective of rights and sensitive to multi-cultures. Therefore, the internal control should change from maintenance to responsive, state controls from regulatory to directional, autonomous constitutional controls from correctional to preventive, and social controls from being reactionary to reformist. To introduce efficiency and transparency, there is a need to promote linkages for technology, capacity building and intelligence sharing (conflict management and settlement) within country and amongst countries through multilateral arrangements. The caution is that technological revolution is no substitute for autonomy of human mind. There is also a need to restore functional balance among various institutions integral to the criminal justice system by bringing about corresponding changes in support institutions like the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the political system and civil society organisations. For instance, it may require re-examination of the assumption that human rights standards must conform to what is given and not to what ought to be achieved. This is because what is given may not be adequate as in the case of the Scheduled Castes and women. And what is desirable cannot be achieved.

Dr Pramod Kumar is a leading sociologist from India End Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13.

These developments require a fresh look at the criminal justice system 14.


Muni, S.D. (2003) 'South Asia as a Region', South Asian Journal, Aug.-Sept., p.1. 'The World Factbook 2005', Washington: Central Intelligence Agency. 'Brainy Atlas' Census of India 2001: Final Population Totals, Series 1: India, p.1. Turner, Barry (ed.) (2003) 'The Statesman's Yearbook 2004', New York: Palgrave MacMillan. The shift in paradigm for resolution of conflict between India and china from military security to human security through economic co-operation has contributed to more conducive security environment. Burton, John W. (1990) 'Conflict: Resolution and Provention', London: MacMillan. Quoted in McGowan, William (1997) `Only Man is vile The Tragedy of Sri Lanka', New York: Farrai Strauss and Giroux, p. 102. Alam, Imtiaz (2004) 'South Asian Security Dilemmas', South Asian Journal, Jan.-March, p.i UNDP (1994) 'Human Development Report 1994', Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 54. Crelinsten, R.D. (1989) 'Terrorism as Political Communication: The Relationship between the Controller and the Controlled' in Paul Wilkinson and Alasdair M. Steward (eds.) Contemporary Research on Terrorism, pp. 3-5, Great Britain: Aberdeen University Press. Peterson, V. Spike (1990) 'Whose Rights? A Critique of the 'givens' in human rights discourse', Alternatives 15, pp. 303-344. Jan Oberg's (1998) '46 Argument Against the Present and Future NATO Expansions', TFF Press Info #36 Taneja, Nisha et. al (2002) 'Informal Trade in the SAARC Region: A Case Study of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal', paper prepared for South Asia Network of Economic Research Institutes (SANEI) Sobhan, Rehman (2004) 'Roadmap for South Asian Cooperation', South Asian Journal, Oct.-Dec., pp. 15.


vitamins/minerals and analgesic/antipyretics were the most commonly used classes of drugs and prescription contained 49 percent antibacterial. Another study3 conducted for prescribing habits in private practitioners also found that the average number of drugs per patient was 3.9 and 80 percent of prescription contained one or more antibacterial.

Nepal: Public Health under WTO Shiv Raj Bhatt Background: Nepal has joined the WTO to integrate its economy with the global mainstream and capitalize on the benefits of market access opportunities. As an instrument of globalization, the WTO has opened tremendous economic opportunities for Nepal, but turning them into reality in a sustained way is challenging. Its implications for various segments of people like farmers and women, and various sectors of economy like agriculture and industry have yet to be assessed. While many international health policy commentators argue that the WTO is one of the most influential international agencies on health, in Nepal the likely impact on health has not been given much attention. The WTO, as an instrument of trade liberalization, can affect public health in multiple ways, both positively and negatively. It can affect the public health situation directly -- for example, a disease crosses a border together with traded goods) and/or indirectly - for example, reducing tariffs may lead to lower prices for medical equipment and health related products, or changing international rules concerning patent protection may affect the prices of medicines and vaccines. Moreover, there is a positive link between freer trade and economic growth, which can lead to reduced poverty and higher standards of living, including better health. However, WTO's implications on health can be case specific, depending on the existing level of development, availability and access to health facilities, the country's pharmaceutical production capacity, availability of human resources and research and development (R&D) capacity among others. Against this backdrop, this paper analyzes the public health implications of Nepal's WTO membership, particularly the TRIPS agreement. Diseases and Drug Consumption in Nepal: An Overview The annual report of the Department of Health shows that in Nepal, the top 10 diseases accounting for morbidity are skin diseases, diarrhea diseases, acute respiratory infection, intestinal worms, pyrexia of unknown origin, gastritis, ear infection, chronic bronchitis, abdominal pain and sore eye. Similarly, delivery cases remain the most common cause of hospital admission, followed by diarrhea and gastroenteritis. Most of these diseases can be cured by very primary out patented drugs. Various studies are available that analyze the drug prescribing practices in Nepal. Despite the limited coverage, these studies provide a general overview of the drug prescribing practices in country. One study1 finds that 2.1 drugs were prescribed on average in the Kathmandu valley and prescriptions contained 43 percent of antibiotics on average. The study further shows that 86 percent of the prescribed drugs were from the essential drug list. Another study2 also shows that antibacterial,


In Nepal, the total drug consumption in the fiscal year 1999/2000 was Rs. 5907 million, of which 26 percent is met by national industries and the rest (74 percent) from imports. The annual increment of drug consumption has been recorded at 18.8 percent. Amoxycillin was the highest selling drug from the domestic industries; vitamins were the highest selling imported drugs. The top 15 selling drugs4 from domestic manufacturers are amoxyllin, vitamines, cough preparations, ciprofloxacin, ibuprufen + paracetamol, ampicillin + cloxacilln, iron preparations, Oral dehydration solutions (ORS), paracetamol, metronidazole, albendazole, cotrimoxazole, metronidazole + diloxanide, cold preparations, tetracycline. Altogether, these 15 drugs constitute a 52.8 percent share in total drug consumption from domestic manufacturers. Similarly, the top 15 selling imported drugs5 are vitamins, cephalosporins, cough preparations, ciprofloxacine, antacids, ampicillin + cloxacillin, enzyemes, calcium preparations, diclifenac, ranitidine, cold preparations, povidon iodine and cotrimoxazole. These 15 imported drugs account for 35.7 percent share in the total drug consumption from international manufacturers. A total of 5264 domestic pharmaceutical products were registered for production upto the fiscal year 1999/2000 (4108 allopathic and 1156 traditional). Data show people themselves pay more than 70 per cent of their healthcare expenditures, irrespective of their financial circumstances. A total of 65 (39 allopathic and 26 traditional) domestic drug industries are in operation as of the year 2003/04. Table (1): Drug Consumption Pattern in Nepal (by Regi on) Region Population ( percent of total) 1 A. Ecological Region - Mountain 7.3 - Hill 44.3 - Terai 48.4 B. Development Region - Far-Western 9.47 - Mid-Western 13.01 - Western 19.74 - Central 34.69 - Eastern 23.09 1for year 2001 2 for year 1999/2000 Source: CBS, 2003 and DDA, 2001

Drug Consumption ( percent of total) 2 2.07 45.10 52.83 4.88 11.95 16.99 50.23 15.95

Table (1) shows the huge differentials in drug consumption in Nepal. Only 2.07 percent of total drugs were consumed by the mountain region, where 7.3 percent of total population resides. Similarly, the Far Western development region, where 9.47 percent of total population resides, consumed only 4.88 percent of drugs. In contrast, 34.69 percent population that resides in central development region consumed 50.23 percent of country's total drugs. The drug consumption pattern


shows that out of the total consumption of drugs worth Rs 60079 million, the highest consumption was 50.23 percent in the central development region. The Kathmandu Valley alone consumed 26.3 percent of the total drug consumed in the country [DDA, 2001]. 1. Main WTO Agreements Related to the Public Health Certainly, WTO membership is going to significantly affect our economy and lifestyle. However, its role in public health is far from clear. The main WTO agreements related to health are the Agreements on: Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Trade in Services (GATS) and Agriculture (AoA). It also refers to the fundamental WTO principle of non-discrimination (most-favoredFAVORED-nation treatment) and national treatment, which guide the actual implementation of the agreements inter alia as they relate to health issues [WTO & WHO, 2002]. The most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment states that all members of the WTO are bound to grant any advantage, favor, privilege or immunity granted in the application and administration of import and export duties and charges to any product originating in or destined for any other country immediately and unconditionally to the like product originating in or destined for the territories of all member countries (GATT 1994, Article I: 1). In other words, all members are treated equally and are required to share the benefits of any move towards lower trade barriers. Similarly, the national treatment rule prohibits member countries from discriminating between imported products and equivalent domestically produced products, both in the levy of internal taxes and charges and in the application of regulation requirements affecting the internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use of products and internal quantitative regulations requiring the mixture, processing or use of products in specified amounts or proportions (GATT 1994, Article III). There are, however, some exceptions to the rules. For example, Article XX (b) of GATT guarantees members' right to taking measures to restrict imports and export of products necessary to protect the health of humans, animals and plants. This and similar provisions in WTO Agreements recognize that there are cases where members may wish to subordinate trade-related considerations to other legitimate policy objectives and constraints, such as health. WTO jurisprudence, on several occasions, has confirmed that WTO members have the right to determine the level of health protection they deem appropriate. Human health has been recognized by the WTO as being "important in the highest degree." [WTO & WHO, 2002]. Moreover, recognizing the trade, financial and development needs of the least developed countries provisions of differential and special treatment or positive discrimination have been made in almost all of the GATT agreements, legal instruments and ministerial declarations. The WTO agreements that may affect public health situation can be outlined as below. 1.1 TBT and SPS Both the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) allow countries to restrain trade for legitimate reasons, including health, but they also require that such


measures should not unnecessarily restrict trade. The SPS Agreement is related to the protection of human, animal and plant health and it contains specific rules for countries that want to restrict trade to ensure food safety and the protection of human life from plant- or animal-carried diseases. Similarly, the members are allowed to prepare, adopt and apply technical regulations for protection of human health or safety, animal or plant life or health, or the environment (TBT: Article 2). The TBT Agreement deals with production, labeling, packaging and quality standard of pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and other technology assessments relating to health and nutrition. Though the TBT agreement has a broader scope of application, but it requires taking available scientific information into account, whereas in the SPS Agreement it is a fundamental requirement that members have a scientific basis to justify trade measures aimed at mitigating a health risk. If available scientific evidence is not sufficient, the SPS Agreement permits the adoption of provisional measures. 1.2 GATS Recognizing the growing importance of trade in services for the growth and development of the world economy, WTO members agreed to implement the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 1995. The GATS provides a framework for liberalizing trade in services. It consists of (i) a set of general rules and principles which apply across all sectors to measures affecting trade in services, and (ii) specific commitments on market access and national treatment which apply only to those activities which are listed in a country's schedule in accordance with inscribed limitations and qualifying conditions. The impact of GATS depends mainly on the specific commitments while the horizontal GATS disciplines are important in determining the coverage and efficacy of these commitments, underpinning the specific commitments. For the GATS, trade in services is defined as the supply of a service through any modes of supply (cross boarder, consumption abroad, commercial presence and presence of natural persons). Cross border supply refers to the supply of a service from the territory of one member into the territory of any other member (for example a patient in Nepal gets advice of a medical practitioner located in France through internet and pays fees through tele-banking); consumption abroad refers to the supply of a service in the territory of one member to the service consumer of any other member (for example, a Nepalese patient admitted in a hospital of Bangkok for treatment); commercial presence refers to the supply of a service by a service supplier of one member, through commercial presence in the territory of any other member (for example a hospital/medical college established in Nepal with foreign equity participation-joint venture); and the presence of natural person refers to the supply of a service by a service supplier of one member, through the presence of natural persons of a member in the territory of any other members (for example, a


foreign doctor allowed to practice in Nepal for certain time, say one year). These modes of supplies have significant bearing on the availability of health services in a country. The GATS imposes only very limited general obligations on the members who are free to choose; which service sectors to open up and which modes of service to liberalize. Exempt from the GATS are any services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority. Market access and national treatment in the GATS represent conditional (and negotiable) obligations, which may be made subject to conditions or qualifications that members inscribe in their schedules. This possibility, as well as the continued right to regulate for domestic policy purposes, provides substantial scope for national policy-making, including to health regulations. In Nepal's schedule of specific commitments in the services sector, two sectors, the health services and the insurance services, are important that may affect the access to health services in the country. Although Nepal has scheduled health services, its commitments are rather restrictive. According to the Nepal's schedule of specific commitments, Nepal has committed to allowing commercial presence (mode 3) through incorporation in Nepal and with maximum foreign equity capital of 51 percent. Since greater openness to foreign direct investment in the health sector would yield benefits of improved technology and standards, and greater availability of health services, Nepal's commitment in this mode should signal such considerations. In mode 1 (cross border supply) and mode 2 (consumption abroad), Nepal has made no binding sectoral commitments. Similarly, the commitment for the presence of natural persons (according to Nepal's schedule of specific commitments, medical experts can work with the permission of Nepal Medical Council for a maximum of one year in Nepal) may also help to narrow the gap between need and availability of health workers/experts in the country. 1.3 Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) sets out a framework for progressive liberalization of trade in agriculture goods. This Agreement is very important in determining food security of the countries6. Food consumption is the single most important determinant of good health and it ensures and sustains life and development7. There are three main areas of commitment, namely market access, domestic support (support by government to domestic producers) and export subsidies (support by government to exporters) under AoA that have widespread implications for public health (through its impact on availability, access and affordability of food stuffs). It is argued that under AoA, Third World Countries have to reduce their domestic support and their export subsidies to their farmers over a 10year period; they have to open up their markets to the agricultural products and services of other nations as well. These measures (import liberalization, reduction of domestic support and export subsidies) will have serious implications for Third World countries [Hong, 2000]. However, empirical studies by some international organizations have shown that no substantial change in the food security situation is likely to occur as a result of the Agreement on Agriculture [Ghimire, 2001]. Moreover, the ongoing WTO negotiations on agriculture represent an opportunity to advance the agricultural trade and food security agenda, and developing countries have participated actively in these negotiations. All these may ultimately help to secure


food for all and promote health status of people in developing countries. 3.4 TRIPS The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property8 Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) that aimed at establishing minimum standard of intellectual property rights is the most debated agreement with respect to public health. It is claimed that the agreement by providing or strengthening the protection of pharmaceutical products with intellectual property rights has posed a special challenge to many developing countries, worsening the opportunities for access to medicines, particularly for the poor [Sun, 2003]. However, protection of intellectual property rights is essential for future innovation and for the discovery and protection of new drugs [Hepburn, 2001], particularly in the advanced countries [Correa, 2000]. Therefore, to make the TRIPS agreement public health friendly, a balance between creating incentives for innovation and consumers' interest in both developed as well as developing countries is most desirable. TRIPS may have significant implications for public health in Nepal. Its supporters argue that the protection of pharmaceuticals by patents should lead to an increase in the flow of technology transfer and foreign direct investment in developing countries like Nepal will result in the development of new drugs more suited to their needs (patents being regarded as a stimulant to innovation, encouraging inventors to divulge and to market their inventions). It also helps to end the "brain drain" from developing to industrialized countries caused by the absence of protection for their inventions in their home countries. Moreover, availability of wider range of better quality products, including medicines will improve the welfare of general population. On the other hand many others, less optimistic, opposed the Agreement. They argue that the prices of patented drugs and the amount of patent royalties will increase with the strengthening and prolongation of the patent holders' monopoly and multinational firms will be free to export finished or semi-finished products rather than transferring technology or foreign investment directly to developing countries. The agreement contains several provisions that enable governments to implement their intellectual property regimes in a manner, which takes account of immediate and longer-term public health considerations. It also provides for some flexibility in the implementation of the Agreement by allowing countries, under certain conditions, to limit patent owners' exclusive rights, for instance, by granting compulsory licenses and allowing parallel importation of patented products. Establishing a minimum standard of intellectual property rights is the main aim of the Agreement. Member countries agree to provide a minimum standard of protection for all intellectual property applied to all technologies in products and processes. Article 7 of the TRIPS sets out the objectives of the agreement as: “The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conductive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations�. Article 8.1 states that: “Members may, in formulating or amending their laws and regulations, adopt measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition, and to promote the public interest in sectors of


vital importance to their socio-economic and technological development, provided that such measures are consistent with the provision of this Agreement�. Articles 2734 of the TRIPS Agreement deal with patents and are particularly relevant for public health.

the drugs on the WHO's Essential Drugs List, which are off-patent, and therefore, can be copied cheaply. They argue that patents are essential for future innovation and for the discovery and production of new drugs. Nevertheless, affordability of drugs also needs to be considered, alongside other issues.

Similarly, the Doha Declaration, an important milestone in the TRIPS debate, paves the way for a more public health-friendly interpretation of TRIPS by explicitly recognizing that intellectual property rights (IPRs) are subservient to public health concern. It reaffirms the right of developing countries to interpret the TRIPS Agreement through a public health perspective. The declaration states that 'the TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health' and explicitly recognizes the flexibility within TRIPS to grant compulsory licenses and the right of countries to determine the ground on which these are granted. Paragraph 6 of the declaration also recognizes the problems for countries with 'insufficient or no manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector' and instructs the Council to find a solution regarding compulsory licensing for them 'expeditiously' (by the end of 2002).

It is difficult to precisely predict how far the prices of patented drugs might increase after the product-patent law becomes effective. However, some people claim that the TRIPS agreement is likely to lower world welfare, although it may improve the profits of the pharmaceutical multinationals slightly (at a higher cost to the poor in developing countries [Agrawal & Saibaba, 2001]. Table (4) below throws some light

The objectives and the principle in Articles 7 and 8 of the TRIPS Agreement and Doha Declaration affirm that IPRs should be conductive to social and economic welfare' and members may adopt measures needed to 'protect public health and nutrition -- provided [that they] are consistent with the provisions of the Agreement' [UNDP, 2003]. Pharmaceutical companies argue that there is no general acknowledgment of a connection between TRIPS and health. However, many governments, public health organizations, civil society and researchers consider that TRIPS has a negative impact on access to drugs, as it may: increase patent protection and monopoly position, leading to higher drug prices, limits competition, affect local manufacturing capacity, make reverse engineering impossible, and provide no incentives for R&D for neglected disease [Jonathan Hepburn, 2001]. Public health implications of TRIPS agreement can be summarized as follows: i. Increasing Prices: Though determined by various factors, access to health services and medicine are highly affected by prices. A few governments, basically of the developed countries, and research-based pharmaceutical companies have the view that cheap medicines are not an answer to the problem. However, for life saving drugs, each price reduction will affect whether people can buy them or not. Every incremental reduction will lead to more people being able to purchase the drug [Jonathan, 2001]. In this context, price of medicine is very important factor that determines accessibility to medicines, especially for the poor. Patented drugs are substantially more expensive than generic versions. It is argued that patent protection would almost certainly lead to medicines doubling or tripling in price in developing countries [Jonathan, 2001]. However, research-based pharmaceutical companies argue that the TRIPS and patents are not an issue. They claim that competition in the pharmaceutical industry is highly effective in reducing prices. They say that there are no patents on over 90 percent of


Table (2): International price comparison for four largest selling on -patent drugs Drug Name


Price in India (Rupees) 18.53 per 10 pack 18.61 per 10 pack 28.40 per 4 pack 39.00 per 10 pack -


Times Costlier in UK 26.1 27.1 10.3 6.5 17.5

USA Ranitidine 300 mg tabs 14.1 56.7 Famotidine 40 mg tabs 14.0 54.0 Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tabs 8.3 15.4 Norfloxacin 400 mg 3.2 23.2 Average over all 4 9.9 37.3 drugs Source: Agrawal Pradeep and Saibaba P, TRIPS and Indias Pharmaceuticals Industry, Economic and Political Weekly, September 29, 2001, p. 3787-3790.

on the issue. Table (2) shows dramatic differences in prices in India, Pakistan, UK and USA. On average, the prices of four drugs of mass consumption were 9.9 times higher in Pakistan, 17.5 times higher in the UK and 37.3 times higher in the USA. Although the data is for a small number of drugs, it is representative of the general trend in drug prices across these countries. The prices of drugs can be expected to increase sharply once the new patent laws confirming to the TRIPS agreement are in place. However, more than 90 percent of the drugs on the WHO's Essential Drugs List are off-patent, therefore can be copied cheaply [Jonathan Hepburn, 2001]. A study conducted for drug prescribing practices in Nepal also show that 86 percent of prescribed drugs were from the essential drug list [INRUD Nepal, 2004]. Since, most of the drugs consumed in Nepal are from the essential drug list and are off-patent; it would not be appropriate to conclude that patent regime will negatively affect the public health situation through availability, access and affordability of drugs in Nepal. However, this will not be the case for new (more advanced) drugs for existing (known) diseases like HIV/AIDS, stem cell research and genetically specific medicines as well as for the new (emerging) diseases. Therefore, future considerations should be addressed while making the law for protection of intellectual property rights in Nepal. By the year 2016 (or earlier) Nepal will have to grant legal protection by patents to pharmaceutical products. Such a monopoly situation could lead to an increase in drug prices. So, Nepal should make the fullest use of the periods of transition granted by WTO to LDCs to transcribe the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement into their domestic law. However, as a member state of the WTO, Nepal has an obligation to integrate into its patent legislation the minimal standards established by the TRIPS Agreement (patents for 20 years, no differential treatment


between nationals and foreigners, reversal of the burden of proof), but the Agreement leaves certain margins of freedom that can be used to limit the adverse effects on prices and access to technology. ii. Producing Generic Versions: Some developing countries have the technical capacity to produce generic versions of drugs and some have the capacity to produce formulations but no active ingredients. Nepal has shown tremendous potential in the production of modern drugs in the last two decades. There are more than three dozen pharmaceutical industries in operation in Nepal. A study showed that drugs worth Rs. 5907 million were consumed in the fiscal year 1999/2000 and 26 percent of the total consumption was met by national industries [DDA, 2001]. However, the share of imported drugs is still very high. For countries with production capacity of generic medicines, TRIPS restricts reverse engineering and increases the waiting time for generic versions of patented drugs to the length of protection (20 years). For countries like Nepal that rely mostly on imports of patented drugs, the implications are yet unclear. iii. Fuelling Research: Patents have clearly fuelled the pharmaceutical industry in the developed world, creating incentives for further research. The manufacturers of USA estimated the research cost at US$ 30.3 billion for 2001, compared to US$ 8.4 billion in 1990 and US$ 1.97 billion in 1980. In the developing world, some countries are also beginning to develop research-based pharmaceutical industries, but private research is driven by the promise of patent rents. The Global Health Forum (2001) estimates that out of the US$ 70 billion spent globally on health research, less than 10 percent is spent on disease that comprise 90 percent of the world's health burden though most of the poorest countries of Africa have offered patent protection since at least 1984 and, in some cases, since 1977. In the last 25 years, scientists have developed only two new drugs for tuberculosis, while research outlays for malaria are only US$ 100 million. There are many serious diseases for which little research takes place, because they mainly affect people who cannot afford expensive patented drugs (examples of these 'neglected diseases' include human trypsomaniasis, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease). Of the 1393 new drugs developed between 1975 and 1999, only 13 were for tropical diseases [see]. So, patent systems like TRIPS do not ensure pioneering research into the diseases afflicting the poor. Therefore, the introduction and strengthening of patents regime for pharmaceutical products will certainly not lead to an increase in R&D investment by enterprises in developing countries, which have to contend with a lack of technical infrastructure, and financial and human resources. Likewise, the non-patentability of pharmaceutical products existing prior to the TRIPS gave developing countries the opportunity to acquire basic technology through reverse engineering before being able to invest in R&D. 1. Conclusions and Recommendations Implications of Nepal's WTO membership may be both positive and negative. If managed well, it may produce good public health outcomes in the country. It all depends on Nepal's policies and efforts. Being a member state of the WTO, Nepal now


has an obligation to integrate into its patent legislation the minimum standards established by the TRIPS agreement. By the year 2016 (or prior) Nepal will have to grant legal protection by patents to pharmaceutical products. A new international economic and social context, created by the new world trade regime is likely to have an important effect on the equitable access of populations to health and to drugs. Protection of intellectual property may increase the dependence of Nepal and may also have serious implications for Nepal's pharmaceutical sector.

Following are the recommendations to seize the benefits of WTO membership, particularly in the context of public health and patent protection: i. Need for Health and Trade Policy Coherence To reap the benefits of WTO membership, greater interaction between trade and health policy makers and practitioners and greater mutual awareness of trade and health policies is needed. The rules and provisions of the WTO Agreements most relevant to health generally permit countries to manage trade in goods and services to achieve their national health objectives, as long as health measures respect basic trade principles such as non-discrimination [WTO & WHO, 2002]. However, some observers claim that WTO rules could constitute a threat to sound public health policies. Therefore, a constructive way to address such concerns is to view them as opportunities for finding a common ground. Minimizing possible conflicts between trade and health, and maximizing their mutual benefits, is an example of policy coherence [ibid]. The importance of trade and health inter-linkages and the need for a greater coherence between trade and health policies was strongly endorsed by the international community at the Doha Ministerial Conference. The Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreements and Public Health and paragraph 6 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration made it clear that WTO rules and health policies could go hand in hand, public health considerations were important in implementing WTO rules, and that trade and health policies could be made mutually supportive. ii. Encouraging Research and Development The various WTO agreements including TRIPS are beneficial for the countries that have the capacity to produce quality product at a competitive price. Protection of intellectual property benefits the persons who can innovate. Innovative capacities mostly depend the availability of human resources and the level of infrastructure needed for the innovation. Therefore, without improving the infrastructure and the level of human development Nepal cannot seize the benefits of WTO membership and protection of intellectual property rights. iii. Improving the Capacity of Pharmaceutical Production Though the number of pharmaceutical companies and products increased significantly in the past decades, Nepal is heavily dependent on the imported drugs. Even very essential drugs that can be produced within the country with very limited resources are imported from India and other countries. Therefore, policies directed towards improving and strengthening the capacity of pharmaceutical production must


be introduced.

Sun Haochen (2003), Reshaping the TRIPS Agreement Concerning Public Health: Two l

iv. Improving the availability of health services The Nepalese government formulated and implemented various health plans and programmes to improve the health status of people by delivering high quality health services. Donor agencies, the private sector and NGOs are supporting the government in this endeavor. However, the health facilities are still far from satisfactory not only in rural and remote areas but in the urban areas too. So, various primary diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infection, intestinal worms that may be cured by little resources and efforts are still killing many people every year in Nepal, mostly in its remote districts because of the absence of primary health care facilities. Therefore, availability of health services throughout the country is required to improve the health status of people.

l The Economist (2004), “Health of Nations�, A Survey Report by The Economist Magazine,

Critical Issues, Journal of World Trade 37 (1): 163-197, Kluwer Law International.

Shiv Raj Bhatt is an expert on development issues References

July 17, 2004. l UNDP (2004), Nepal Human Development Report: Empowerment and Poverty Reduction

- 2004, UNDP Nepal, Kathmandu. l UNDP (2003), Making Global Trade Work for People, Earthscan Publications Ltd., UNDP. l WHO (1996), Health Economics: Drugs and Health Sector Reform, World Health

Organization, Geneva. l WHO (1999), Globalization and Access to Drug: Implications of The WTO/TRIPS

Agreement (Second edition), World Health Organization, Geneva. l The World Bank (2001), Understanding the Access, Demand and Utilization of Health

services by Rural Women in Nepal and their Constraints, The World Bank Nepal Country Office, Kathmandu. l WTO (1994), The Results of Uruguay Round, World Trade Organization, Geneva. l WTO (2000), Global Crisis - Global Solutions, Information paper submitted by WHO, World Trade Organization, Geneva, G/SPS/GEN/179. l WTO and WHO (2002), WTO AGREEMENTS & PUBLIC HEALTH, A joint study by the WTO and the WHO Secretariat, World Trade Organization and World Health Organization.

Adhikari Ratnakar (2000), 'Agreement on Agriculture and Food Security: South Asian l Perspective' in South Asia Economic Journal Vol 1, No. 2, pp 43-64. l Adhikari Ratnakar (ed.) (2001), Food Security in the Global Age: South Asian Dilemma,

SAWTEE, Kathmandu, Pro-Public Kathmandu and CI-ROAP Kula Lumpur. l Chanda Rupa (2002), Globalization of Services: India's Opportunities and Constraints,

Oxford University Press, New Delhi. l Correa Carlos (2000), Integrating Public Health Concerns into Patent Legislations in

Developing Countries, South Centre, Chernin du Charnpd' Anier 17, 1211, Geneva 19, Switzerland. l DDA (2002/2003), Drug Buletin of Nepal, Vol. 15, No. 1 & 3, Department of Drug Administration, Nepal. l DDA (2002), National List of Essential Drugs Nepal (Third Revision), Department of Drug Administration, Nepal. l DDA (2001), Report on Consumption and Quantification of Modern Drugs for Human Use in Nepal, Department of Drug Administration (HMG/N, MoH). l Dixit Hemang (1999), The Quest For Health, Educational Enterprise (P) Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal. l Ghimire Hiramani (2001), The WTO Agreement on Agriculture and Food Security in Adhikari Ratnakar (ed.), Food Security in the Global Age: South Asian Dilemma, SAWTEE Kathmandu, Pro-Public Kathmandu and CI-ROAP, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 45-58. l Hong Evelyne (2000), Globalization and the Impact on Health: A Third World View, A Report Prepared for The Peoples' Health Assembly, Savar, Bangladesh. l INRUD Nepal (2004), District Drug Use and Health Profile 2004, International Network for Rational Use of Drugs Nepal, Kathmandu Nepal. l Jonathan Hepburn (2001), A TRIPS agenda for development: Meeting food, health and biodiversity needs, A Report of the Conference organized by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) Geneva. l Ministry of Health/HMG-N (2002), Health Information in Brief: Nepal 2002, Ministry of Health, Kathmandu, Nepal. l Oxfam International (2002), TRIPS and Public Health: The Next Battle, Oxfam Briefing Paper 15, Oxfam International. l Shrestha MP and Shrestha Indira (2001), 'The Public Health Dimension of Food Security' in Adhikari Ratnakar (ed.) Food Security in the Global Age: South Asian Dilemma, SAWTEE, Kathmandu, Pro-Public Kathmandu and CI-ROAP Kula Lumpur, pp 167-176.


End Notes 1. Kafle KK, et al. Drug Use in PHC facilities of Kathmandu, J Inst. Med 14:318:326, 1992 (as quoted in INRUD Nepal, 2004). 2. Kafle KK, Khanal DP, Pediatric Prescribing: In Patient Care in Nepal, NEPAS Sovenir 1 (1) 1993 (as quoted in INRUD Nepal 2004). 3. Kafle KK, Khanal DP, Prescribing Practices at Private Sectors in Nepal, J Inst Med. 17:147148, 1995 (as quoted in INRUD Nepal 2004). 4. From Consumption and Quantification of Modern Drugs for Human use in Nepal, Department of Drug Administration (DDA), Ministry of Health/HMG-N, 2001. 5. Ibid 6. For more detail, see Adhikari Ratnakar, 2000 and Ghimire .H., 2001. 7 Shrestha MP and Shrestha Indira, 2001. 8. Intellectual property includes copyrights, trademarks, geographical identifications, industrial designs, layout-designs of integrated circuits, patent, and trade secrets.


making a mark globally. In the face of successful trading blocs like North Atlantic Free Trade Area, European Union, ASEAN, Indian FTAs have witnessed a lackluster performance. So, the agreements merit a review to learn from the mistakes for maximum benefit.

India's Regional Trading Arrangements Prof. Sujata Jhamb India adopted inward orientation and self-reliance after Independence. Restrictive measures turned the country into a virtual 'closed' economy or state of 'autarky'. Domestic substitution of the imports shifted focus away from exports and export promotion. Taking the 'inward looking approach', the planners assumed India would focus export promotion only after self-sufficiency. However, after 1991 India opened up by liberalizing trade, foreign investment, and financial and industrial sector. The reforms helped the country experience a steady growth of 6-7 percent improving standard of living, availability of consumer goods, foreign trade and employment opportunities. This paper covers the Indian experience with Regional Trading Arrangements (RTA) and preferential trading taken up after 1991 as a part of the trade liberalization strategy, and draws lessons from them to promote more effective RTAs. It describes India's trade arrangements with South Asian countries such as South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and analyzes their success or failure. The last part of the paper carries recommendations for India. India's Preferential Trade Areas (PTAs) post 1991 The period following Cancun has seen signing of several agreements in South Asia, especially by India. The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries have signed SAFTA replacing the ineffective South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA). India also has a framework agreement called BIMSTEC, and is engaging in Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations with Association of South East Asian Nations, and has worked out a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore. A partial scope agreement has been signed between India and Mercosur, a trading zone between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela formed to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, peoples, and currency. Mercosur has more than 220 million consumers and a combined Gross Domestic Product of more than one trillion dollars a year. India is also exploring the option of FTAs with Chile, Gulf Corporation Council and the Southern African Customs Union of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. FTA agreements with Sri Lanka and Thailand are operational. Review of PTAs in India India has signed the maximum number of bilateral trade agreements. However, as seen in South Asia, the RTAs have not been effective in integrating the region or


(i) SAARC, SAPTA, SAFTA For a number of South Asian nations the 1990s marked liberalizing of trade and investment regimes to intensify their integration with the world economy. The regional cooperation body SAARC, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan, has not achieved much since its initiation in 1985, primarily due to the tenuous political relations between India and Pakistan and a general environment of mistrust among member countries. Political economy considerations are important. At the time of its inception, each country of the group was pursuing autarkic economic policies and had almost no integration with the international and the regional economy. Compared to other regional blocs, the SAARC performance is dismal. With a total population over one-fifths of the world population and a combined gross national income of $3 trillion, SAARC only provides about one percent of world production. Despite geographic proximity, trade and weak transit links, infrastructure difficulties, high tariff and non-tariff barriers hamper investment. Intra-SAARC trade has remained low at a mere 3 percent since the organization's inception and it still remains small because of high tariffs and a variety of non-tariff barriers such as quantitative restrictions, fiscal charges and discriminatory practices and outright ban on imports. It has been viewed that SAARC must deal with the world's major trading blocks as a composite unit to maximize the gains of trade for both sides. Although the intra-region trade is not impressive, the South Asian nations have been maintaining strong links with the outside world with the advanced countries. Indo-SAARC Trade Relations The SAARC, despite several attempts to encourage regional trade under the regulation of SAARC and the SAPTA, has not taken an effective shape as a regional trade body because of political problems between Pakistan and India hampering regional interests. Despite official declarations to transform the SAPTA into an FTA in this region by 2001, the idea seems unrealistic. India has had problems with RTAs for its neighbours do not want free trade with a giant neighbour they do not trust or like. Hence, multilateralism will remain India's only choice. (Sarita,A & Tanvi,P 2000). During the 10 years before SAARC (1975-1985), India's exports increased from US$ 160 million in 1975 to US $ 315 million in 1984 registering a compound growth rate of 7.8 percent. During the 10 years after SAARC inception, India's exports increased from US $ 277 million in 1986 to US $ 1532 million in 1995, i.e. from eight percent to 30 percent constituting an additional growth of 22 percent. So, the SAARC has encouraged India's exports to its member countries. Since 1991, liberalization too has increased India's exports to SAARC countries. From US $ 622 million in 1991, the exports have touched a peak level of US $ 2005 million in the year 2000, upping the


decadal growth from five percent during the 1980-90 liberalisation to nine percent. Similarly, India's exports to the world during the pre- and post- liberalisation periods have witnessed an upward trend. On the other hand, India's import from the SAARC countries is quite low. It was just US $ 56 million in 1975 and rose to only US $ 105 million in 1984 and further to only US $ 182 in 1995. The immediate reform period has shown a decline in India's imports from the SAARC registering a low level of US $ 96 in the year 1993 and later picking up only to US $ 363 million in 2000. They have grown at a constant rate of 7 percent before and after liberalisation. This shows that India is not a good importer for its neighbouring countries. While the turnover of India's trade with SAARC members was US $ 382 million in 1985, it increased to US $ 1714 million in 1995 and further to US $2368 million in 2000. So, the increase in India's trade with SAARC members outclasses the rise in its trade globally, from US $ 24594 million in 1985 to only US $ 94018 million in 2000.

marginally to 4.7 percent by 2003, mostly attributed to rapid liberalisation under bilateral trade agreements and WTO regimes, rather than to SAPTA. The SAPTA failure is also reflected in the skewed pattern of trade in the region. Since India has not fully integrated into South Asia, this purely regional agreement did not expand trade much and failed to address high transport and transaction costs. The idea of a SAFTA was mooted in 2002, and culminated into an agreement in January 2004. The SAFTA agreement is expected to come into force from January 1, 2006 on completion of all formalities. (New date is now July1). SAFTA lists additional measures not included in the SAPTA such as harmonization of standards, reciprocal recognition of tests and accreditation of testing laboratories, simplification and harmonization of customs clearance, import licensing, registration and banking procedures; removal of barriers to intra-SAARC investment etc. An expansion of intra-regional trade by 1.6 times the current level as proposed by SAFTA is not possible in the absence of concomitant moves towards investment and trade liberalization. If this arrangement is to be successful, the political tensions will have to be kept at bay and India's role as a leader would have to be enhanced, as Roy (2004) points out that India needs to take the lead in greater regional integration since it accounts for 80 percent of the total South Asia GDP. (ii) BIMSTEC This agreement includes Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Thailand. The idea of this regional cooperation was first mooted by Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand at a meeting in Bangkok in June 1997. The aim, purpose and principles are contained in Bangkok Declaration of June 6, 1997 on the establishment of the Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation (BISTEC).

The tables show that before liberalization India exported mostly to Pakistan followed by Bangladesh and Maldives. But after the liberalization Nepal and Maldives became the major export destinations. The growth rate of exports to Pakistan had fallen considerably until the substantial boost of 2005. The tremendous decline in the previous years may be attributed to the tensions between the two nations. But the growth in India's export to the entire bloc has increased from 8.61 percent before liberalization to 12.43 percent after, showing an increase of 3.82 percent. The growth rate of India's imports from all the SAARC nations has been negative before and after liberalisation. Nepal is a major exporter of Indian products with a high growth rate of about 27.5 percent followed by Sri Lanka (15.4 percent) and Bangladesh (14.7 percent). Though the volume of trade with the bloc has increased, India does not have a good trading partner within the bloc. Except Nepal, all other nations have registered a very low growth rate. Overall, the growth of India's exports and imports show a growing trade imbalance between India and its neighbouring South Asian countries. Steps towards formal economic cooperation were made with the signing of the SAPTA in 1993. SAPTA did not achieve much in increasing intra-regional trade either. Intra-SAARC trade, as a percentage of South Asia's world trade, increased from 2.42 percent ($1.59billion) in 1990 to 4.56 percent ($6.53 billion) in 2001 and


At a special ministerial meeting convened in Bangkok on 22 December 1997 the Union of Myanmar was admitted to the grouping renaming it as BIMST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Co-operation). This is known as Declaration of 22 December 1997. A ministerial meeting in February 2004 welcomed Bhutan and Nepal as new members. The inter-regional grouping will serve as a bridge between the five SAARC countries and two ASEAN countries. BIMSTEC will have a greater potential to increase the trade among member countries by taking advantage of their geographical location in the region of the Bay of Bengal and the eastern coast of the Indian Ocean. Discussions have already been held on building a TransAsia Highway linking the five countries and also setting up a BIMST-EC Airline connecting the capitals and important cities of the member countries. Held in Bangkok on 7 August 1998, the first BIMSTEC economic and trade ministers' meeting termed as the Retreat, decided that BIMST-EC would initially begin cooperation efforts in six areas. It was agreed that each country would play a lead role in planning and implementing programmes in each of the areas. The sectors and lead countries at the inception were:


Trade & Investment Technology

Bangladesh India

products are within the region is very low. This means the scope for trade diversion is substantial. Clearly, the country with higher tariffs loses while the country with lower tariff benefits from FTA.

Sujata Jhamb, is Assistant Professor, Economics at NMIMS she has internationaland national-level research writings to her credit. References Bhagwati, Jagdish and Arvind Panagariya. 1996. "Preferential Trading Areas and l l Multilateralism: Strangers, Friends or Foes?" in The Economics of Preferential l Trade Agreements. Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, eds. Washington, l D.C: AEI Press, pp. 1-78. l Duttagupta, Rupa and Arvind Panagariya. 2001. “Free Trade Areas and Rules of Origin: Economics and Politics, ” University of Maryland at College Park, mimeo. l Frankel, J., Stein, E. and Wei, S., 1995, "Trading Blocs and the Americas: The Natural, the

Unnatural and the Supernatural," Journal of Development Economics 47, 61-96. l Mattoo, A. and C. Fink. 2002. “Regional Agreements and Trade in Services: Policy Issues.” l Policy Research Working Paper #2852. The World Bank. Washington, DC. l Narayan, S. 2005. “On leveraging opportunities from CECA” Financial Express. June 8. l Newfarmer, R. 2004. “SAFTA: Promises and Pitfalls of Preferential Trade Arrangements”

The World Bank. Washington, DC. l Panagariya, A. 2005. “An India-China Free Trade Area.” Economic Times. April 20. l Roy, J. 2002. “Towards International Norms for Indirect Taxes and Trade Facilitation in

India” l Prepared for the Task Force on Indirect Taxes, Government of India. l Roy, J. and P. Banerjee. 2004. “US-India Free Trade Agreement in Services: An Analysis of l Issues for Discussion.” Confederation of Indian Industry Discussion Paper. India. l Roy, J. 2004. “Regional Integration in South Asia” Financial Express. September 28. l Roy, J. 2004 “Have a Free Trade Agreement in Services”. Financial Express. October 21. l Roy, J. 2005 “ How can India lead South Asia”. Financial Express. March 10.

India's total trade, exports and imports with Bangladesh Values in millions

2000 1500




500 0 19992000








Bangladesh Poverty Alleviation Strategy Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley Introduction Every soul was stirred to the very depth of inner being with hopes of a sparkling morrow when Bangladesh emerged as a free and sovereign entity in 1971. It looked as an elemental force which could wash away the cobwebs of darkness and hunger that had accumulated over the centuries and it could create a whole new order of abundance, peace, dignity and increasing economic and social justice. But three and half decades later Bangladesh remains far cry from its aspirations. Everyday the sun rises in the eastern sky to reveal the same poverty and deprivation, the same inequalities, the same squalor that have been the hallmark of our landscape for centuries. Prudent macroeconomics In all the countries in the SAARC region, economic growth and structural transformation will be accelerated in a marketfriendly environment. These economies will achieve a sustainable growth through policy reforms enhancing efficiency and productivity. In addition, the resource utilization will be increased by expansion of production to cater to the export markets. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these countries is targeted to increase to 6percent by the year 2010. Achieving a high economic growth and meeting the challenges of developing in a rapidly globalising world economy requires greater focus on prudent macroeconomic policies. There are several components to such a prudent strategy. An important focus has to be on the improvement in knowledge i.e. new technology, R&D and innovations. Such a strategy will help South Asian nations adapt well to the challenges of rapid technological development and the changing global economic environment. Creating a financial healthy public sector will also be crucial to ensuring growth and economic stability. Macro financial policies have to be directed towards achieving stable exchange rates, low-interest regimes and price stability. In addition, various polices are needed to strengthen the revenue flows of the governments and eliminate wasteful expenditure. Such policies will help to keep budget deficits down and keep inflation within control. Incentives can help to boost FDI and private sector investment particularly in sectors with high growth and employment potentials. Strategies for promotion and diversification of exports fostering private-public partnerships as well as reforms in labour markets, financial and power sectors have also to be considered in line with the needs and priorities of each country. Mainstreaming the informal economy Growing informalisation of labour force has been an issue of great concern in South Asia. In many countries the region, employment in the informal sector comprises a



significant proportion of employment. For example, in India the share of the informal sector workforce is approximately 93 percent of the total workforce. Informal employment is important for women in South Asia. Informal economy contributes directly to poverty reduction in the region by securing the livelihoods of a large proportion of the population. Yet, in many countries, the contribution of the informal economy is invisible. There is a great need to raise the visibility of the workers in the informal economy and to develop a national policy framework to promote their contribution to the GDP, support their livelihood and protect their welfare. The key concerns for a strategy to mainstream the informal economy are: various impediments and barriers that restrict informal sector to enter the formal economy. For example, introduction of low and fair taxation process.

l Reducing

l Provision of identities for informal markets and business through simple and affordable registration procedures and regulations.

l Provision

of various infrastructure facilities- these may include roads, transport facilities, formal markets, street furniture such as benches, storage containers etc needed by various groups of informal workers such as street vendors as well as water and electricity facilities needed for home-based workers.

l Provision

of social protection, social security schemes and health-care for informal sector employees.

Social capital and the empowerment of the poor. l l Sensitive and intelligent natural resource management. l Private sector development. l Innovative technology policy and programmes. l Integration of environment considerations and protecting and developing environmental quality including in the growing urban landscape. Enhancing gender and other equities South Asia has achieved a significant but uneven progress in socio-economic development during the preceding decades. There are large and growing disparities among regional, gender, income and ethnic groups. Inequity in access to resources and social services as well as in participation in economic and political activities has been a major obstacle in faster reduction of poverty in South Asia. Poverty encompasses deprivation in well-being, not just as measured by income or consumption poverty, but also inferior outcomes in areas like education and health, and in vulnerability and powerlessness as well1. This report takes this broader view of poverty, both in asking how it has evolved in Bangladesh in recent years, and in discussing measures to tackle it. Despite recent achievements, the analysis reveals that the magnitude of development challenges facing the country is daunting. Livelihood Proportion of the poor According to Food Energy Intake (FEI) method, the poverty tendency was 44.7 percent in 1999 and it went down to 42.1 percent in 2004 on the basis of Head Count Ratio at the national level. In the same period it dropped from 43.3 to 42.1 percent in urban areas and 44.9 to 43.3 percent in villages. According to Direct Calorie Intake

l Development

of support organizations which can facilitate enabling environments and champion the cause of the informal sector. Table: Comparative picture of poverty tendency on the basis of FEI method and DCI method

l Provision

of financial facilities, training, marketing and other inputs for informal sector entrepreneurs.

Sustainable development Sustainable development is about improving the living standards of the people, not at the expense of the future generation, but to benefit them. The world's population is projected to reach nine billion by 2050 and two-thirds of them will live in cities. The demand for water, electricity, housing, education and health facilities will be enormous and South Asia will be no exception. Without prudent policies and institutions, social and environment strain can derail any short-term progress and lead to higher levels of poverty and declining quality of life. The goal of sustainable development requires us to look at development as a multi-dimensional process embracing the following: l Adequate financial and physical capital. l Effective education and health policies and programmes.



Food Energy Intake (FEI) method Head Count Ratio percent 1999 2004 44.7 42.1 43.3 37.9 44.9 43.3

National Urban Rural

Direct Calorie Intake (DCI) method Head Count Ratio percent 1999 2004 46.2 40.9 49.9 43.6 45.6 40.1

(Source: Bangladesh economic review, 2005, p -165.) According to this method the Hardcore Poverty also reduced during 3 percent at national level and reduced to 18.7 percent in 2004 .

the period 1999 to 2004. In 1999 it was 24.9

Table: Hard-core Poverty tendency on the basis of DCI method Hard-core Poverty ( 1805 kilo calorie percent)

Area National Urban Rural

1999 24.9 27.3 24.5

2004 18.7 20.8 18.2

(Source: Bangladesh economic review, 2005, p -165.)


(DCI), poverty went down more quickly. According to DCI method, the poverty rate was 46.2 percent in 1999 and was cut to 40.9 percent in 20042.

Promoting change in food habits for increasing nutritional intake of vulnerable l people. l Promoting improved infant feeding practices, including breast-feeding practices. l Supporting maternal schooling and hygienic practices. l Improving access to safe drinking water, especially by addressing the threat of

arsenic contamination of underground water. l Improving access to sanitation. l Improving access to basic health facilities. l Supporting safety nets for protection against natural disasters; l Promoting partnership among the government, private sector and NGOs in

designing and implementing interventions to promote food security. Halve proportion of people in poverty by 2015 To achieve MDG, Bangladesh must reduce by 2015 the proportion of population with income less than one US dollar (Purchasing power parity, PPP) a day from 58.8 percent in 1991-92 to 29.4 percent and the proportion of people in extreme poverty from 28 percent in 1990 to 14 percent by 20158.

Situational Analysis: Poverty reduction Bangladesh has made good progress since FY92 in reducing income poverty based on the national poverty line. The country was able to lower the overall incidence of poverty from 58.8 percent in 1991-92 to about 50 percent in 2000, or one percentage point per year. Bangladesh's good economic growth performance with overall GDP growth averaging 5 percent and per-capita growth averaging 3.3 percent per annum during FY1992-2001 contributed much to this progress. This was achieved despite a rise in inequality during the nineties with overall Gini coefficient rising from 0.259 in 1992 to 0.306 in 2000 which partly offset the positive impact of growth. In spite of the advancement, 63 million people are poor with one-third caught in hard-core or extreme poverty9. Poverty gap (PG) and squared poverty gap 10 (SPG) Trends in the poverty gap show a drop from 17.2 in 1991/92 to 10.9 in 2004. This suggests that even among the poor most people are now closer to the poverty line than were at the beginning of the 1990s. However, the distributionally sensitive measures (PG, SPG) declined relatively more rapidly than the poverty headcount rate. On average, rural areas did better than urban areas in reducing the depth and severity of poverty, which implies that growth in rural areas was more pro-poor than in urban areas. The urban poverty gap stood at 9.5 percent in 2000.

Trends in Various Indicators of Malnutrition BBS Child Nutrition Surveys (Percent Children 6-71 months)

Nutrition Status Indicator

Stunting (heights for age) % below 2 std. Deviations % below 3 std. Deviations

Wasting (weight - for height) % below 2 std. Deviations % below 3 std. Deviations

Underweight (weight for age) % below 2 std. Deviations % below 3 std. Deviations

Bangladesh DHS (% 0.59 months)








69 -

66 -

64 33

51 24

49 19

55 28

45 18

15 -

15 -

17 2

17 3

12 1

18 4

10 1

72 -

67 -

68 25

57 18

51 13

56 21

48 13

(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-7.) Nutrition

Undernourishment Goal 2015 Number of people undernourished (min) Proportion of people undernourished Rate of progress needed to meet goal

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Goal 2015 Stunting Underweight Wasting Rate of Progress Needed to meet goal




60 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0



(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-8.)



Inequality Income inequality in Bangladesh rose during the nineties, particularly in urban areas. Inequality in the distribution of per capita household expenditure, as measured by the Gini coefficient, rose from 0.259 in 1991/92 to 0.306 in 2000. Around three-fifths of total income or consumption accrues to the highest two quintiles of the population, while the lowest three quintiles receive about two-fifths. The shares are comparable to other countries of the region.


married, 57 percent of them become mothers before the age of 19, and half of these adolescent mothers are acutely malnourished. Thus MMR among adolescent mothers is 30-50 percent higher than the national rate.

Poverty Line 65



Actual 49.8

51 35 20

Goal 29.4 1991-92



(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-5.)

Rural and urban dimensions of poverty

Table: Poverty gap and Squired Poverty gap in 1999 and 2004 Area National Urban Rural

Poverty gap 11.1 11.2 11.1

1999 Squired Poverty gap 4.1 4.2 4.0

Poverty gap 10.9 11.1 10.9

2004 Squired Poverty gap 3.9 4.5 3.8

(Source: Bangladesh economic review, 2005, p-165.)

maternal health complications. Some 45 percent of all mothers are malnourished. The population of Bangladesh is relatively young, with a third falling within the age group of 10-24 years. Nearly half the adolescent girls (15-19 years) are

(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-6.)


The chief causes of maternal deaths are haemorrhage, unsafe abortion, and the 'three delays dynamics'. The first delay, arising mainly from poverty, is in seeking professional care; the second is logistical as most of the health centres and private clinics are located in district towns whereas 70 percent of the population are rural based; and the third arises from the lack of adequate human recourses and trained personnel at the service centres16. Births attended by skilled health personnel The number of births attended by skilled health personnel has increased from 5percent in 1990 to 12percent in 2000. In the context of Bangladesh, the increase is insignificant as the majority still do not receive such services. However, there are wide variations among income groups: 40 percent of births in the highest income quintiles are attended by skilled health personnel, compared to only four percent in the lowest quintiles17. Total Fertility Rate There has been a significant decline in the total fertility rate (TFR) from 6.6 per thousand live births in the mid 1970s to 3.3 in the mid 1990s with regional variations in the reduction pattern. However, in spite of a steady increase in contraceptive prevalence rate from 45 percent in 1994 to 54 percent in 2000, TFR has plateaued, partly due to adolescent fertility which is extremely high at 14.4 per 1000 live births. Several measures have been taken to address these problems. The Essential Obstetrics Care (EOC) programme through the Maternal and Child Welfare Centers (MCWC) was introduced in the early 1990s. Subsequently, a more holistic approach was adopted through the National Maternal Health Strategy 2001 which takes a rightsbased approach to maternal health with Safe Motherhood as its central theme. The Strategy has been integrated into the Health and Population Sector Program, (HPSP 1998-2003) and into its follow-up the Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Program, (HNPSP 2004-2006). Interventions such as Safe Motherhood Services that provide iron, folic acid and vitamin, supplements, have been included in the HNPSP, with the objective of reducing maternal malnutrition to below 20 percent by 2015. Other interventions under this project include training programmes for skilled health personnel. Both the government and the donors are giving a priority to the promotion of safe motherhood from the grassroots level upwards, through antenatal care, safe delivery, pre-natal care, essential obstetrical care and family planning18. Challenges Bangladesh progress report (2005) on Millennium Development Goals, jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh, identified the following five challenges:


Challenge 1: Reducing the Total Fertility Rate

MDGs will help raise awareness of this national problem. It will also promote quantitative methods for monitoring the progress towards the elimination of violence against women. Child health MDG indicates that under-five mortality rate must be reduced from 151 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 50 in 201521. Situation Analysis: Under-five Mortality While there has been an appreciable drop in under-five death rates from 151 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 87 in 1999, the rate has since slowed considerably, with the figure standing at 82 in 2001. From this base, it will be necessary to maintain a pace of annually reducing under-five deaths by at least three deaths per thousand live births to achieve MDG by 2015. Child mortality rate is a reflection of the care, health and nutrition status of children below the age of five years and also indicates the social, cultural, and economic progress in the country. In the case of under-fives, neonatal and perinatal causes contribute to 48 percent of the deaths. Other factors include very low rates of institutional deliveries (8.6percent), low attendance of deliveries by skilled personnel (12percent), and low utilization of antenatal care (48percent). More than 71 percent of these neonatal deaths were due to noncommunicable diseases, mainly birth-related ailments as well as neonatal tetanus. Other major causes of under-five deaths are pneumonia (18percent), diarrhoea (6percent), injuries and drowning (8percent), and measles, with malnutrition underlying most other causes (13percent). Poor care-seeking behaviour and practices are also important contributing factors. Only 8 percent of parents of sick children under the age of five seek care from qualified health care providers22. In order to reduce deaths from diarrhoea, the oral rehydration therapy (ORT) campaign has been in effect for several decades. The use of oral rehydration solution (ORS) has increased from 62 percent in 2000 to 68 percent in 2003.

(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-34)


Malnutrition contributes to more than one half of child deaths, with low birth weight estimated to affect 30 to 50 percent of infants. Over the years, appropriate interventions have helped to reduce the proportion of underweight children from 66.5


percent in 1990 to 51.1 percent in 2000, and child stunting from 65.5 to 48.8 percent. But prevalence of child stunting and underweight is very high according to WHO

annually. The cost of other related programmes will add to the financial requirements. Challenge 2: Sustaining Success Success has been achieved in Bangladesh because of the close attention paid to infectious and parasitic diseases in the past two decades. This should be maintained. Strategies: To achieve this MDG by 2015 this momentum has to be sustained by: l Consolidating and strengthening achievements in on-going interventions that address fundamental causes of childhood mortality. These include routine immunization, and control of diarrhoeal diseases, and acute respiratory infection. l Accelerating the pace of reduction in neonatal mortality through ensuring antenatal care, skilled attendance at birth, and emergency obstetrics care for those in need. l Enhancing the effectiveness of interventions for reducing malnutrition among children and women, with a special focus on adolescent girls, through bridging deficiencies of both macro and micro-nutrients (especially iron and iodine). l Exploring interventions required to address the contemporary causes of mortality, i.e., accidents and injuries, specially drowning. l Strengthening partnerships between the Government, NGOs, specialized agencies and local government institutions. l Integrating vertical programmes for reduction of childhood mortality such as ARI and CDD, to achieve efficiency gains for both care seekers and providers. l Focusing on consumer awareness and communication strategies for promoting behavioural change. l Ensuring need-based-targeting of un-reached and un-served populations, especially for area-specific health and nutrition interventions in urban slums, the Chittagong Hill Tracts and coastal areas. l Strengthening the management information system through establishing a database for informed decision support, information gaps, consistency and veracity. Affordable health-care Key targets for affordable health-care set by ISACPA include access to primary healthcare services in every village/island run by paramedics, access to affordable medicine including essential and alternative medicine (i.e. Ayurvedic, Unani and Homeopathy), training of rural medical practitioners, including those practicing alternative medicine and awareness raising programmes to combat major diseases26. Situation Analysis: Accessibility of health facilities: Data from the rural community questionnaires in the 1995-96 and 2000 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) were used to assess changes in the accessibility of health infrastructure. Not all categories are comparable across the two surveys, though the ones that are do suggest improvements in regard to various health facilities. For example, the average distance to a satellite clinic decreased from 9.9 to 8.0 km. between 1995-96 and 2000, when accessibility of private health care service providers also improved significantly. Pharmacies the most commonly used health facilities



Under-Five Mortality Rate Death Per Thousand

150 140 120 100 80


140 144 139 134


117 115 110 87



and the impetus for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support need to be promoted and facilitated by the different stakeholders. l Initiatives should be intensified to mainstream HIV/AIDS into different public and private sectors and to ensure effective leadership support and involvement at all levels in advancement of appropriate measures to deal with HIV/AIDS. l Since HIV/AIDS is a development concern all development and health programmes such as PRSP, Sector Wide Approach( SWAp )and Health, Nutrition

60 40 20 0

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-27)

were also found to be the most accessible. However, while community-level data on average distance to health facilities was not collected in urban areas, data from the

(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-28)



The major challenge is to simultaneously increase case detection, maintain a high cure rate, and improve the quality of the diagnostic services. This calls for strengthening the management at central, divisional and district levels, intensifying effective partnerships and collaboration, expanding diagnostic and treatment services, Infant Mortality Rate implementing quality 01assurance of smear microscopy and BCG strategies, and 100 strengthening monitoring 92and88evaluation. Other essentials include human resources 84 77of drugs and laboratory provisions. development and 80 uninterrupted supply 71




59 58 Improved hygiene and public health 56 60 Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation identifies some key 40 targets for improved hygiene and health. Key targets include access to safe drinking water and sanitation, raising awareness of important aspects of public and social 20 hygiene e.g. washing of hands after visiting latrines, avoiding spitting and defecation 0 in the open etc., effective enforcement of laws on banned substances34. 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe water andMillennium basic sanitation (Source: Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team Bangladesh andincrease the Government of Bangladesh,p-29) In the case of Bangladesh the intarget is to coverage of safe water from 99 percent to 100 percent in urban areas and from 76 percent (arsenic-adjusted estimate) coverage to 96.5 percent in rural areas by 201535. In addition, access to improved sanitation must be increased from 75 percent to 85.5 percent in urban areas, and from 39 percent to 55.5 percent in rural areas by 2015.

sanitation In rural areas access to improved sanitation has increased from 11 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 2002. In the case of urban areas however, the situation has deteriorated, coverage dropping from 71 percent to 56 percent. This is mainly due to unbridled and unplanned urbanization that has been taking place in recent years. Although technologies such as sewers, septic tanks, pour-flush latrines, simple pit latrines, and ventilated improved pit latrines contribute towards the achievement of target 10, additional factors also need to be taken into consideration. For example, it is essential in the case of simple pit latrines that excretes are adequately treated before being discharged into the environment. Even in towns and cities with sewerage systems, discharges are passed untreated directly into the environment. Solid waste disposal remains an environmental sanitation hazard, especially in the urban areas. The government recognizes the importance of increasing access to sanitation. Following a major initiative that culminated in the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) Conference in Dhaka in October 2003, the Government declared its own target of achieving 100 percent sanitation coverage by 2010, and has allocated two percent of its annual development budget for the task37.

Situation Analysis In the case of Bangladesh, this MDG was modified to highlight the crucial role that access to water and to sanitation play in maintaining a healthy and productive population. Besides the global indicator of the proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, a second indicator was included - the proportion of urban and rural population with access to improved sanitation.

Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source This indicator is defined as the percentage of the population who use any of the following types of water supply for drinking: piped water, public tap, borehole or pump, protected well, protected spring or rainwater. By this definition nearly 100 percent of the population in Bangladesh has access to water. However, over the last few years thousands of tube-wells have been found to be contaminated with naturallyoccurring arsenic at higher than WHO-recommended levels. If quality is taken into account, access to safe water drops to only 72 percent in rural areas. In spite of the fact that this is good coverage by developing country standards, it implies that 30 million people remain without access to safe water. Coverage in urban areas is 82 percent36. Proportion of the urban and rural population with access to improved

11 61

In the year 2003, there was the occurrence of 42 percent spitting and defecation in the open place but it reduced to 20 percent by 2005. 70 percent of money was financed by the public of the creation of these large amounts of latrine. Challenges Bangladesh progress report (2005) on Millennium Development Goals, jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh, identified the following challenges: Challenge 1: Ensuring 100 percent coverage of safe water To be able to ensure nearly 100 percent coverage by 2015, at least 25 million people must gain access to arsenic-free, safe water over the next 10 years. This is a considerable challenge, since there is no effective solution for communities which are highly affected by arsenic. Technologies for removing arsenic from water are in the


process of being introduced on a large scale. Strategies: As each option has some disadvantage for removing arsenic, communities and individuals will have to learn to use water from different sources for different purposes, if their water demands are to be met at a viable cost. This requires a level of sophistication by the consumer which has not been necessary in the past. Resources will therefore be required, not only to support the installation of water sources, but also to raise awareness and train communities in appropriate water use. In the longer term, other issues are likely to arise in relation to access to safe water. In particular, there is growing concern regarding the availability of groundwater. Currently groundwater is used widely for irrigation, leading to a lowering of the water table. A proper groundwater management strategy will be necessary to safeguard the resource. Other problems include water salinity in coastal areas. Challenge 2: Ensuring access to basic sanitation If the health benefits of sanitation are to be fully realised, good hygiene practices such as hand washing at critical times are crucial. It is important therefore to monitor indicators that include latrine coverage, the condition and use of sanitary facilities, and the adoption of good hygiene practices.

MDG targets by the year 2015. The National Plan of Action (NPA) also aims to achieve the six EFA Dakar goals by 201540.

To achieve MDG, Bangladesh must increase the primary school enrolment rate from about 73.3 percent in 1992 to 100 percent by 2015, increase the primary school completion rate from 62 percent in 1994 to 100 percent by 2015, and reduce the dropout rates from 38 percent in 1994 to 0 percent by 201540. Enrolment to primary/community school for all children: Various data sources indicate that between 1994 and 2003 the primary school net enrolment rate has oscillated around 80 percent for 6-10 year old children. While the range indicates that the rates have been slightly higher for females (83-84percent) compared to males (81-82percent), the female rates show a plateauing trend. Improvement in the enrolment rates was due to increase in the government's budgetary allocation for girls' education, free primary education, massive stipend programmes at the primary level, and the Food for Education Programme. In order to promote further equity and access of underprivileged children to primary education, the government replaced the Food for Education programme with a five year country-wide Primary Education Stipend Project. However, some 2.4 million 6-10 year old children are still not enrolled in primary schools. Taking into account demographic considerations and the rate of population growth, it is estimated that to meet MDG by 2015, the primary school enrolment rate should increase annually at a rate of 1.25 percent point for girls and 1.5 percent point for boys41.

Strategies: Regular national sanitation surveys can be used for tracking these indicators including the treatment of sewage and the collection and disposal of solid waste. Challenge 3: Resources needed to meet the Target It is estimated that US$64 million will be required to meet the water and sanitation goals by 201539. Strategies: To be most effective, national processes such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the Pro-Poor Strategy and the Sector Development Framework should coordinate efforts by the government, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve and even surpass the targets for water and sanitation under the various development initiatives. Those sections of population who continue to be excluded from programmes that provide access to safe water and sanitation should be especially targeted. Strategies need to ensure that the poor and marginalized, such as slum dwellers in urban areas, are supported in appropriate ways. Education The Compulsory Primary Education Act, 1990, has made primary education in Bangladesh free and compulsory for all children. The Government is committed to the goals of the Dakar Framework Education for All (EFA) which aims at achieving the


Completion of the primary education cycle: While out drop rates in the primary school cycle have fallen from 38 percent in 1994


to 33 percent in 2004, the rates have been found to be higher (36percent) in government schools compared to private ones (13percent). Among those who are not enrolled and those who have dropped out, a significant number comes from poor households and lives in rural areas, urban slums, coastal areas and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Repetition rates remain high (39percent), implying that on average, a child needs 6.6 years to complete a five-year primary education cycle. Attendance rate in the year 2000 was about 58 percent, with girls having a slightly higher (60percent) attendance rate compared to boys (57percent). Primary school completion depends on the ability of the system to prevent drop-outs and successfully deliver education services. Historically there is evidence of a strong upward trend. This has to continue to achieve the targets42. Adult Literacy Various estimates indicate that adult (15 years +) literacy rate during 1990 - 2002 ranged between 37 and 61 percent, with urban rates higher (64percent) than rural (46percent). In spite of women's literacy rate increasing steadily since 1990, male rates remained higher (61percent) than female (43percent) in 200043.

Under the circumstances, if population stabilizes by 2035, the total primary education programme cost will require $928 million in 2005, steadily increasing to an amount of $1.7 billion in 2015. Of this expenditure domestic financing must cover US$ 564 million in 2005, rising to over one billion dollars in 2015. The parallel external financing needs will be $364 million dollars in 2005, culminating at $666 million in 201545. Challenges The situation analysis of primary education in Bangladesh indicates a positive trend towards the achievement of this MDG. To ensure that this trend continues several challenges will have to be met by the development partners. Challenge 1: Meeting the cost of education Under the most optimistic scenario of population stabilization by 2035, Bangladesh will need $928 million in 2005, the amount increasing annually to reach $1.7 billion by 2015 to maintain the momentum for achieving this MDG. About 40percent of this will need to come from external financing. That is, external financing needs in 2005 will be $364 million increasing annually to reach $666 million in 2015. Government share of the cost will be $352 million in 2005, rising to $669 million in 2015.

Challenge 2: The primary school enrolment rate has to grow at a rate of 1.25 percent point a year for girls and 1.5 percent point for boys One of the main challenges to be faced by the development partners is the stabilization of population to ensure containment of expenditure and to provide quality primary level education. It is estimated that if population is stabilized earliest by 2035, more than 8 million girls and 11 million boys will need to receive primary education in 2015.

Quality of Education Although primary school completion rates show an increasing trend, there is concern over the quality of education and the competency level of primary school graduates. The reasons for the lack of quality in education services include insufficient contact hours and unfavourable student-teacher ratio. The contact hours of 120 minutes per day for classes I-II and 240 minutes for classes III-V are significantly low compared to those in the countries in the region. Moreover, the 59 students to one teacher ratio is unfavourable to maintaining quality education. The ratio is more skewed in government primary schools (66 students to a teacher) compared to private schools (43 students to a teacher). Population demographics and government efforts to achieve the EFA targets, indicate that this unfavourable trend will increase over the years unless proper balancing measures are introduced.

Taking into account the rate of population growth of relevant age groups, and the enrolment and drop-out rates, it is estimated that to reach nearly 100 percent by 2015, the primary school enrolment rate has to grow annually at a rate of 1.25 percent age point for girls and at 1.5 percent age point for boys46.

The government interventions for improving the quality of primary education are concentrated in five areas organizational management, schools and classrooms, infrastructure development, support to equitable access, and management and monitoring44.

Challenge 3: The excluded population Among those who are not enrolled and those who have dropped out, a significant number come from poor households and live in rural areas, urban slums, coastal areas and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). It is estimated that they are some 2.4

The Cost of Achieving the goal In order to estimate the cost of achieving the goal, three population scenarios were considered population stabilizing by 2035, by 2040, and by 2050. The financing was derived from three primary sources: households, government and external. At the most optimistic scenario of population stabilization by 2035, to achieve this MDG nearly 17 million children will have to be covered in 2005, and in 2015, 213 million will have to be reached. For the least optimistic scenario of population stabilization by 2050, the target population to be covered will reach 220 million in 2015.


(Source: Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-48)


million in number. These children must be brought into the national compulsory primary education system. Challenge 4: Quality education The I-PRSP projection of public expenditure on education as percentage of GDP indicates a gradual increase from 2.62 percent in FY2004, to 2.81 percent in FY2005, and to 2.93 percent in FY200647. If this scenario is realized and the GDP grows at the current rate and the National Plan of Action on education is implemented according to schedule, the quality and quantity of education can be improved to achieve the MDG for primary education. Additional support will however, also be needed for technical and managerial capacity building of the government departments and NGOs at all levels.

Challenge 5: Late entry into the schooling system Late entry into the schooling system is widespread and potentially curtails enrollment and attainment. Analyzing school attendance in Bangladesh by single-year age group provides some interesting insights into the pattern of school enrollments in the country. BasedSanitation on data from Income and2005 Expenditure in data from the 2000 Household Sanitation in June Survey (HIES), about 2003 ninety percent of children aged 9 years were found to be Octobor attending school, but the share those 20% 25% was as low as fifty percent amongst 21%aged 6 years. 42% The proportion of children attending school rises steadily with age. However, late entry into the schooling system means that overall roughly one out of four children 33% not in school, and a sizeable fraction of the school-going aged 6-10 years are currently 59% Non-sanitary Latrine Sanitary Latrine aged children are enrolled in a grade behind their target-age grade48. Latrine less

Non-sanitary LatrineSanitary Latrine Latrine less

Challenge 6: Governance 38 Governance is a key constraint improving the quality education expenditures. A (Source:onThe Protom-Alo, October 1, of 2005) recent survey on governance problems in Bangladesh found growing dissatisfaction among the parents of school children with the quality of education in general and most acutely with schools at the primary level. Where 22 percent had registered their unhappiness with education standards in a similar survey five years ago, 30 percent took the negative view in the current survey. Underlying the dissatisfaction with publicly funded education were some perceptions of corruption and negligence in the Directorate of Primary Education, general concerns about the influence of wealth on access to schooling and specific complaints about teachers giving private students priority over public ones. Another weakness in the system appears to be the supply of textbooks, especially in rural areas where 67 percent of the households report difficulties in getting textbooks. The main problems cited were delayed supply (39 percent), extra payment (40 percent) and the need to buy textbooks instead of getting them free of cost (17 percent)49. Strategies: Raise the amount of public resources development of basic education. l l Continue to improve access and equity. l Establish better partnerships with relevant stakeholders ( parents, communities, non-government institutions, etc) to improve quality of education services.


Provide adequate teacher training and other needed pedagogical inputs. l l Undertake better assessments of learning and outcomes. l Arrangement of a minimally rational school infrastructure, i.e. 1 room each for each of the five primary grades. l Improve management and accountability, reduce corruption and waste and de-

politicize the education system. l Decentralization of management at primary and secondary levels to improve

governance. l Investment:

Attract investment With the growth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last couple of years, Bangladesh has advanced to the 122nd position from the previous 133rd in the World Investment Report (WIR) 2005 index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). The report said improved investment environment and the privatisation of assets are the reasons behind the high FDI flow in Bangladesh in 200450. Net foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh rose by 72 percent to US$ 460 million in 2004, up US$ 195 million from 2003, said World Investment Report 2005.The growth is the second highest in South Asia while Pakistan secured the first position with 74 percent FDI growth in the same period. The report forecast increased FDI inflow in the coming years primarily because of a rise in investment by India51. Board of Investment (BOI) of Bangladesh and Tata Group of India signed an Expression of Interest (EOI) regarding BOI facilitation of Tata's investment proposal of about US$ 2.0 billion52. Tatas expressed their keen interest investmenting in basic steel, power and fertilizer. Egyptian telecom giant Orascom already has invested $150 million in Bangladesh's mobile phone sector and another $150 million is expected by early 2006. Dubai-based Abu Dhabi Group plans to pump about $800 million into the country's telecom sector and proposes to invest more than $2 billion in the country's burgeoning pharmaceutical and tourism sectors over the next two to three years. In the natural resources sector, High-Tech International Group of Saudi Arabia is considering a $2 billion deal to set up oil refinery plants in Bangladesh over the next two to three years. Negotiations are also under way with China Metallurgical Construction group to set up a $200 million methanol plant. US oil company UNOCAL, already a player in Bangladesh's energy industry, is expected to invest more than $40 million this year to develop a natural gas field. Taiwanese Textile industry is also expected to invest up to a billion dollars in Bangladesh's textile sector starting from 2006. United Nations resident coordinator in Bangladesh Jorgen Lissner, expressed his guarded optimism over the future investment scenario of Bangladesh. Terming the country the Asian Tiger, Lissner said: " (But) the tiger can not jump or leap forward." He said Bangladesh had many positive achievements, including laudable export growth, strong inflow of remittances sent by expatriates and comfortable foreign exchange reserves. "Bangladesh could have been a good fisherman had not its rivers


been polluted." he said. Lissner said that Bangladesh should address issues such as political disputes, general strikes and corruption to sustain and enhance its achievements53. Though World Investment Report (WIR) 2005 index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) indicates the advancement of Bangladesh, it has to go far ahead. The government of Bangladesh, in its Industrial Policy 1999, offered a number of incentives for private investors, particularly for foreign investors. The key features of the policy are:

b. c. d.

e. f. g. h. i. j k.

Foreign entrepreneurs will enjoy the same facilities as local investors in of tax holiday, payment of royalty, technical know-how, fees, etc. Full repatriation of capital invested from foreign sources, profits and dividends will be allowed. If foreign investors reinvest their repatriable dividends or retained earnings, those will be treated as new investment. Foreigners employed in Bangladesh are entitled to remit up to 50percent of their salary and will enjoy facilities for full repatriation of their savings and retirement benefits. Work permit will be issued to foreign nationals on recommendation of investing foreign companies or joint ventures without any restriction. Prospective foreign investors and their expatriate employees will be issued multiple entry visas. Primary Net Enrolment Rate by Sex Male Foreign investment in small industrial units will be given priority in the allocation Source: MICS-UNICEF/885 Female of plots100in BSCIC Industrial Estates. Measures will be taken to protect the intellectual property rights of new products 90 83.6 83.9 84.1 82.4 82.5 83 and process. 79.8 81.9 79.1 80 82.1 79.7 78 80 International arrangements and provisions will 78.9 guide investment guarantee and dispute70settlement. Duty free import of raw materials, machinery, construction and other materials 60 used in manufacturing process will be allowed. 50 Tax exemptions on interest on foreign loans as well as on profits on account of transfer40of shares by foreign companies listed with the Stock Exchange will be given. Percentage



20 Investors are of the view that while government policies look very good on 1990 1991lie1992 1993 1996 1997 1998 1999 is 2000always 2001 2002 2003 delay in paper, the problems in 1993 their1994 implementation. There a long transmitting policy decisions from the policy-making level to the implementation level. So the government should take steps to the proper implementation of the (Source: Development Goals Bangladeshshould Progressbe Report, Jointly prepared by the United policies. TheMillennium following recommendations into(2005), under consideration:

Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-12)

l All measures under existing laws should be undertaken to improve the law and

order situation and curb political unrest to provide security to investors. l All illegal trade union activities and unfair practices by labour unions/CBAs must

be severely dealt with under the existing laws. l One Stop Service in Board of investment provide by nine organizaions should be

made effective by strategic delegation of powers to Members of the Team and with the needed prompt back-up managerial support from the concerned parent


bodies. l All investment related laws which have not yet been updated may be updated at

the earliest in the light of present day requirements. Cumbersome legal procedures of dispute settlement should be remedied soon. l Government may encourage the private sector to promote a congenial working environment for women workers including provision of accommodation, low cost day-care centres and health care for their infant children near industrial centres. l Government may contract out many of its functions to private sector, such as collecting, compiling and disseminating data and information on industrial development, tax incentives, monetary and financial matters, etc. l All industrial parks whether in the public or in the private sectors should be encouraged to organize their own security systems, and to promote mini-utility companies for reliable supply of power, water, gas and other essential utility services. l Bangladesh missions abroad should boost up and improve the image of the country to attract foreign investment. l Necessary measures should be taken to facilitate the introduction of E-trade and E-commerce to ensure security of transactions and prevent fraud and fraud and forgery and strengthen the institutional capacity of business organizations. l The on-going banking reform programme should be pushed ahead with relentless vigor in order to tackle, as soon as possible, the serious problems of bad debts, inadequacy of capital and classified loan54. Investment in the targeted sector: The arms race is a worldwide phenomenon. It represents a waste of resources a diversion from the humanitarian development efforts and a threat to democratic process. Exacerbated by the population explosion, the food crisis and the devastation's of natural disasters and war, the problems of eradicating poverty and of improving standards of health, nutrition, education and housing have reached a stage of crisis in many parts of the world. No less important problems are those of industrialization and growth in developing countries, of combating and degradation of the environment, of developing new sources of energy and raw materials while preserving available sources, of halting the degradation of cities and many others. The vast benefits which could result from even trifling cuts in military expenditures and reallocation of the funds thus saved are obvious55. As for a developing country like Bangladesh it is unnecessary to spend so much on high military expenditure. Defence and internal security are important; expenditures have to be kept to the minimum. Such expenses in unproductive sectors do not add to the growth of production, the government spending in the sectors is still unacceptably high56. A statistical data is given below about the military expenditures of the past years57. The expenditure has been increasing gradually from the past years. In the 2002-03 budget, 39bn taka/ US$ 645m (approximately) was allocated for defence expenditure which was 8.8percent of revenue income. For the Fiscal Year 2005-2006, the proposed budget of Tk 4320 crore/ US$ 720m showed an increase of Tk 419 crore /US$ 68m over FY 2004-05 which was Tk 3901 crore/ US$ 652m58.


There are also a huge amount of hidden expenses allocated in defence budget. In a round table meeting regarding “ The revenue expenditure in the nonproductive sectors in the national budget of Bangladesh versus human development� Abul Barkat said that the hidden expenditure should never be disclosed to the public. He mentioned that the buying of 8 Mig-29 plane by 1000 crore taka by the previous government was not on priority. In the round table it was mentioned that by that money Bangladesh could eradicate Tuberculosis and Leprosy or decrease maternal death 4.33 to 1.5 or decrease child morality 57 percent to 35 percent or can employ 15,000 primary school teacher for 20 years or can increase 14 percent coverage of irrigation which will increase 20percent food production. The office of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has raised 31 audit objections involving Tk 48.33 crore to the expenditure on defence , while a CAG office report placed in parliament but the defence ministry has not yet replied to any of those60. The CAG office detected the irregularities mainly in the defence ministry's pooling resources and in distributing those among army, navy and airforce in FY 1997 to 2002. The repot said it found that a loss of TK 10 crore was incurred through purchase of ammunition that was canceled by the chief of the Inspector Ammunition and Explosive. It also found that about TK 9.88 crore has gone down the drain for procurement of tank transporter, which too was earlier cancelled by the inspection office. About TK 2 crore has been wasted by buying adulterated milk powder for the armymen61. As a poor country, the people of the country always fight against poverty. Art 3 of the social charter62 adopted by 12th SAARC Summit states that State parties affirm that highest priority shall be accorded to the alleviation of poverty in all South Asian countries. Recognizing that South Asia's poor could constitute a huge and potential resource, provided their basic needs are met and they are mobilized to create economic growth, stateparties reaffirm that the poor should be empowered and irreversibly linked to the mainstream of development. They also agree to take appropriate measure to create income generation activities for the poor. Bangladesh needs economic reforms to reduce the poverty, which is a basic problem to development. so, high military expenditure is needless for the country and it should be reduced and the money thus saved spent on various targeted areas such as education, health, income generation initiatives etc. Infrastructure and connectivity: Strengthening connectivity of poorer regions and of poor as social groups: Remoteness from the mainstream of economic and social life is an important aspect of the poverty experience. Redressing such remoteness and strengthening connectivity through roads, railways, waterways, telephone, internet, etc will be a priority63. Communication: Bangladesh is crisscrossed by thousand of rivers and their tributaries. So waterways are the main way of communication in Bangladesh. But in many ways it is halted due to siltation and shortage of water. Bangladesh has roads of about two lac forty one thousand Km. It was only four thousand of during the independent in 1971. Bangladesh has also a railway about 2854.96 km. In the economic year 2004-2005, Bangladesh government allocated 3968.41 crore taka for the development of


communication64. Challenges: Challenge1: lack of bridge and culvert As Bangladesh is a riverine country, it becomes difficult to by roads. Challenge2: reduction of navigability of waterways For various reasons like siltation, withdrawal of water from upper stream etc reduce the navigability of our waterways. Challenge3: built roads on the basis of economic priority Roads should be built as on economic priority. Sometimes roads are built for political reasons. This should be avoided. Challenge4: quality of roads and remove corruption Because of corruption the quality of roads is not maintained. This should be avoided. Strategies: l Adoption of a rational investment programme. l Increase the navigability of the waterways. l Built bridge and culvert on the basis of priority. l Institutional reform. l Labour rationalization of the railway. l Remove corruption and ensure quality of roads. ICT sector: To a break through the disconcerting episode of poverty in our country, ICT can play a pivotal role. What this sector can provide India can be an example. In India, 'EChoupal' model was developed to leverage information technology to provide information to farmers on different products and services that they need to enhance farm productivity, get better price realization and reduce transaction costs in input purchases farm productivity, get better price realization and reduce transaction costs in input purchases and product marketing. E-Choupal enables farmers to access current local and global information on weather, scientific farming practices as well as market prices for the inputs and products in the village itself through the web-portal. E-Choupal was first launched in June 2000 in Madhya Pradesh for soybeans. It is functioning in over 4500 village through 770 kiosks in Madhya Pradesh, Karnatka, Andhra Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh. The Choupals in different states cover different products. Aqua Choupal in Andhra Pradesh covers fisheries, in Karnataka is for coffee and in Uttar Peadesh wheat transactions take place in the Choupals65. Besides this, we can create a lot of employment opportunities and earn a lot of money making arrangement of various ICT related service e.g. Medical Transcription, Data Entry, Data Processing, Call Centers etc. By developing required manpower skill, we can also enter the booming software industry to enjoy its benefits. We can accelerate our business through E-Commerce. With the help of Tele-Medicine, the poor can get excess to better treatment facilities.


By making arrangement of E-Governance, ICT sector can bring transparency and accountability in the governance. It also brings efficiency and effectiveness of the government. For example, there was a haphazard situation in the country when BTTB began distributing the SIM card of mobile phone. But when government began to use Internet then it became easier. It will also be effective in a disaster. After the hurricane “Katrina” in USA, it plays a very important role especially in finding out the scattered relatives and providing lines guide.

Situation Analysis The diffusion of personal computers into the Bangladesh user market started in the mid 1990s and progressed at a rate slower than in other countries in the region. From a historical perspective the first main frame computer was introduced in the country in 1968 and the first PC was purchased in 1981. High cost and limited access to technology slowed the diffusion of PCs in the country. The recent increase in PC density was due to improvement of computing technology leading to worldwide drop in price, and the government's withdrawal of all forms of taxes and duties from this sector. Government reforms to promote this sector include the formation of the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission, and opening up of the fixed phone market to private entrepreneurs. Bangladesh went “online” in mid-1996, at around the same time as most SouthCentral Asian countries. Reliance solely on satellite solutions, has however, translated into limited bandwidth and slow access speeds. To circumvent such problems, Bangladesh is going to be connected to the global fiber optic link through the submarine cable consortium. To distribute this huge bandwidth the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board is considering connecting the national network with the global Internet backbone via high speed fiber optic link. The government also establishesd a “ICT Incubator Center” in Dhaka at Kaoran Bazar to help this sector. Challenges Challenge 1: Improving infrastructure Though Bangladesh government declared ICT sector as a thrust sector, the required infrastructure not been developed yet properly. The government will have to do much more in this sector.

Challenge 4: Language To get maximum benefit from the ICT sector, the local language, Bangla should be introduced. Strategies: l Developing infrastructure. l Special measure should be take to use local software. l Immediate action should be taken to use Bangla in computer. l Legaliz the use of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocal). l Starting E-Governance. Telephone: Development in the third world has often meant the emergence of isolated pockets of modernization, sheltering strata with a different economy and life style. Large swathes of society remain unaffected by new technology and opportunities. The introduction of village Pay Phone (VPP) in rural Bangladesh based on the use of cellular technology represents a unique experiment in high-tech communication in a traditional low-tech setting. An initiative of Grameen Bank, VPP has been a successful attempt to leapfrog the technological barrier for rural areas where the prospect for expansion of the government-run telephone system remains rather distant. Poor rural women selected from amongst Grameen borrowers are given a loan to acquire a cell phone from Grameen Telecom. The operator uses the cell phone as a pay phone as for the village population. The women have gained social recognition as 'telephone ladies' in their localities as they are seen to provide a key service to the community often ensuring that overseas migrant workers can talk directly with their families or farmers can access relevant market information. Increased labour mobility and greater market integration indeed has created a significant demand for telephone services amongst the rural population including the rural poor. The VPP thus fulfills growing social need. At the same time, it acts as a direct vehicle for poverty alleviation as it allows the operators to significantly enhance their income levels often averaging between 100 to 200 dollars a month66.

Challenge 2: Increasing PC diffusion The growth of Internet users is impeded by low PC diffusion in the country; low literacy rate; lack of infrastructure such as teledensity for Internet connections; lack of localized content and operating system. Internet reach is, however, steadily increasing mainly due to the proliferation of cyber-cafés and kiosks. Challenge 3: Skilled manpower To develop required skill manpower is another challenge.


The most pronounced impacts were found in a general reduction of transaction costs and uncertainty (reduced need for travel, quicker access to information, more choice). The isolation of many villages has been reduced. The most frequent user groups were


traders and businessmen. For women the VPP was an important channel for family contacts and communications, especially with husbands living abroad as migrant workers.

Year Budget Taka

2004-2005 Budget Revised Budget 3901 4,115

(in crore taka) 2005-2006 Budget Revised Budget 4,320 -

increasing demands for its services.

Observations of impacts of the VPP on the socio-economic and political relations of individuals in Bangladeshi villages suggest a border transformative potential of the VPP. Situation analysis After a near stagnation in the growth of telecommunication subscribers, a marked increase was seen from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. This surge is mainly due to the advent of cellular telephony in Bangladesh and the almost exponential increase in the number of cellular telephone subscribers. Bangladesh's cellular phone subscribers outnumber the fixed line subscribers and have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 110.5 percent, a figure that is almost three times the global average. This statistic reflects the high demand for telecommunication services, and one that is not being catered to by the fixed line operator. In spite of its annual growth rate being almost double that of global average69, the state-owned fixed line telephone company is struggling to meet the

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6 .4 6 .6

P u b lic s e c u r ity S o c ia l s e c u r ity a n d w e lfa r e P u b lic a d m in is tr a tio n

Challenges: a. Infrastructure: Required infrastructure development is the key challenge of the spread of telephone. b. Corruption: Getting telephone in due time from the BTTB is a major problem in Bangladesh. main reason for this situation is corruption. Strategies: l Establish digital exchange to the all Upazilas. l Take steps to reduce the call charges of mobile companies. l Reduce government taxes. l Give permission to operate VOIP. l Hand over the management of the fixed phone to the private sector. Energy sector Bangladesh has small reserves of oil and coal, but very large natural gas resources. Commercial energy consumption is around 66 percent natural gas, with the remainder mostly oil (plus limited amounts of hydropower and coal). About 20 percent of the population (25 percent in urban areas and 10 percent in rural areas) has access to electricity, and per capita commercial energy consumption is among the lowest in the world. Noncommercial energy sources, such as wood, animal wastes, and crop residues, are estimated to account for over half of the country's energy consumption. The World Bank has estimated that Bangladesh loses around $1 billion per year in economic output due to power outages and unreliable energy supplies72.

P e n s io n S u b s id y V a r io u s n o n d e v e lo p m e n t b u d g e t O th e rs

Fig: Budget Expenditure 59


From the base year 1990 until 2002 there has been a nearly 600 percent growth in the sector as a whole. Although this growth figure is encouraging, the telecommunication reach, in terms of per 100 population for Bangladesh, is one of the lowest in the region. The 4.8 tele-density in Bangladesh is very low though the number of mobile phones has increased rapidly in recent days. Five mobile operators are now working with 54.14 lac subscribers70. To meet the huge demand of fixed telephone, the government brings the private sector to this sector and gives 15 companies 37 licenses to work in four zones (except Dhaka zone)71. There are 8,00,000 fixed phone subscribers but its is expected that the number will exceed 25,00,000 within 2 years.

Bangladesh's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) has overall responsibility for the country's energy sector, controlling both policy formulation and investment decisions. Within MEMR, the "Power Cell" acts as a single point of contact to facilitate the electricity reform and restructuring process, including the development of Independent Power Projects (IPPs).


Energy supply Biomass accounts for a significant share (55percent) in Bangladesh. The biomass fuel is a renewable source of energy consisting primarily of agricultural residues, tree residues, fuel wood, and dung. Commercial energy sources are natural gas (24percent),imported oil and coal (19percent), and hydroelectricity (2percent) (GOB, 1998). Except natural gas, all commercial fuels are imported73. NATURAL GAS Natural gas is Bangladesh's only significant source of commercial energy, with 2003 production of 420.2 billion cubic feet (Bcf). Bangladeshi natural gas production began in 1960 from the Chattak Field. There is much uncertainty and debate about the size of Bangladesh's natural gas reserves. Whereas January 1, 2005 estimates by the Oil and Gas Journal put the country's proven natural gas reserves at 10.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), mid-2004 estimates from Petrobangla put net proven reserves at 15.3 Tcf. The US Geological Survey has estimated that Bangladesh contains 32.1 Tcf of additional "undiscovered reserves." Bangladesh may have the potential to become a major gas producer, as well as supplier to the vast potential market in neighboring India. Bangladesh's natural gas demand is expected by some independent analysts to grow by around 6 percent annually over the next two decades. Potential uses for natural gas in Bangladesh include petrochemicals, compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles, power generation, and fertilizer. CNG already is used to fuel over 20,000 vehicles, mainly in the Dhaka area. Bangladesh also contains around 55 million barrels of natural gas liquids (NGLs), which could be used for petrochemicals production or as a cooking fuel. Besides foreign energy companies, natural gas in Bangladesh is produced by two subsidiaries of Petrobangla -- Sylhet Gas Fields Ltd. and Bangladesh Gas Fields Co. Ltd. -- for domestic consumption. Over 80 percent of the natural gas is consumed for power and fertilizer production, and the remainder by industry and households. Petrobangla has approximately 20 natural gas fields, half of which are active. The main fields include: Bibiyana (discovered by Unocal in Block 12); Titas (the country's second largest natural gas field); Habiganj, Kailashtilla, Rashidpur, and Jalalabad, nearly all of which are located in the eastern part of the country, plus the Sangu offshore natural gas field (being developed by Cairn Energy and Halliburton) in Block 16 of the Bay of Bengal, 30 miles southwest of Chittagong. Production from Sangu, Bangladesh's first offshore field and first foreign-run field (with estimated reserves of around 850 Bcf), began in June 1998. In January 2000, Shell Bangladesh Exploration and Development (SBED) along with partners Cairn Energy and HBR Energy reportedly discovered a new natural gas field near Sangu (South Sangu-1). In August 2000, SBED announced a $40-$50 million investment in new offshore natural gas exploration projects in Bangladesh, including the Sandwip East 1 well in Block 15. Other possible natural gas fields include Shaldanadi (estimated reserves of 500-1,000 Bcf), Fenchuganj, Feni, Kumta, and Shahbajpur. In March 2005, Unocal began production from the Moulavi Bazar field in Block 14, which is expected to produce up


to 150 Bcf per day. Shahbazpur, discovered by Petrobangla subsidiary Bapex (Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company) in 1995, is estimated to contain 330400 Bcf of recoverable natural gas. In 1998, Unocal and Petrobangla signed a PSC to develop the field. In January 2005, Bapex announced the discovery of natural gas at the Srikail field, with possible reserves of 200 Bcf. In March 2004, Unocal, the largest foreign investor in Bangladesh's natural gas sector, shelved a proposal to export gas from the Bibiyana field to India, given the political obstacles to exports. Unocal plans to develop its assets in Bangladesh for sales to the domestic market. India's Tata Group has recently shown interest in Bibiyana gas. In August and September 2003, ChevronTexaco and Shell sold their natural gas assets in Bangladesh to Canada's Niko Resources and Cairn Energy, respectively. In November 2004, Niko Resources and Tullow Oil, the operator of Block 9, reported natural gas flowing at up to 120 million cubic feet (Mmcf) from the Bangora-1 well. In September 2004, Niko Resources announced that its Feni Block test well was producing at a rate of 32 Mmcf/d. In August 2005, Cairn Energy's PSC for Block 16 in the Bay of Bengal was extended until May 2008. Over the next three years, Cairn plans to drill three exploration wells in the block at a cost of $50 million. In 2005, two blowouts occurred at the Chattak-2 well in the Tengratila gas field, operated by Niko Resources under a joint venture with Bapex. The first took place in January and led to $2.5 million in losses and significant damage to the local environment. Although the site was secured, a second blowout occurred in late June. In March 2005, the state-run Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bangladesh Business Development Corp. Ltd. (NNCL) to co-operate gas transmission, pipeline and distribution network development in Bangladesh. This follows a February 2005 MOU signed by GAIL and Bangladesh's Spectra Group to develop compressed natural gas (CNG) pipelines and retail outlets in Bangladesh. Tullow Oil also won state approval in March 2005 to build a pipeline and gas processing plant.

In January 2005, Bangladesh agreed to allow a proposed 559-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from Burma (Myanmar) to India through its territory. Bangladesh's approval for the tri-nation gas pipeline, however, was contingent upon several trade concessions including the removal of tariff, non-tarriff and administrative barriers to help Dhaka close its trade deficit with India, access to hydroelectricity from Nepal and Bhutan and the establishment of a free trade corridor to these countries. According to the plans, Bangladesh's Gas Transmission Co. would manage the 180 miles of the pipeline in its territory and the country would earn annual transit fees of $125 million dollars. As Bangladesh has continued to demand these trade concessions, India and Burma (Myanmar) have begun to consider alternatives such as a pipeline that bypasses Bangladesh (undersea or on land through northeastern India) or LNG shipments. These options, however, are more costly. While India and Bangladesh continue their bilateral negotiations to resolve these issues, the future of the pipeline project remains uncertain74.



COAL Bangladesh began its first significant coal production in April 2003 at the Barapukuria coal mine in the Dinjapur area of northwest Bangladesh. Around 2,000 million tons of coal have been discovered in five close locations, and are in the process of development: l Barapukuria in Dinanjpur district, reserve of 390 million tons, l Dighirpar in Dinajpur district, reserve under appraisal, l Phulbari in Dinanjpur district, reserve of 522 million tons, l Jamalganji in Jaipurhat district, reserve of 1,050 million tons and l Khalaspir in Rangpur district, reserve of 143 million tons. In June 2005, a consortium of the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) and the Xuzhou Coal Mining Group Company Ltd. signed a contract to run the management and production of the Barapukuria mine. The project is expected to produce about one million short tons of coal per year, primarily for electricity generation. A possible coal mining project at Khalashpir is also under consideration. In July 2005, Australia's Asia Energy Corp. submitted a $1.4 billion plan to develop a coal mine in the Phulbari region. The Phulbari mine, which is located approximately 12 miles from the Indian border, is expected to begin production in 200775. ELECTRICITY Bangladesh's installed electric generating capacity in 2003 was 3.6 gigawatts (GW) (94 percent - thermal, 6 percent - hydroelectric), at 18 power stations. However, only two-thirds of Bangladesh's total electric generating capacity is considered to be "available." Problems in the Bangladeshi electric power sector include high system losses (up to 40 percent), delays in completion of new plants, low plant efficiencies, natural gas availability, erratic power supply, electricity theft, blackouts, shortages of funds for power plant maintenance, and unwillingness of customers to pay bills. Overall, the country's generation plants have been chronically unable to meet system demand over the past decade. With only about 20 percent of the population connected to the electricity grid, and with power demand growing rapidly, Bangladesh's Power System Master Plan (PSMP) projects a required doubling of electric generating capacity by 2010. In addition, Bangladesh may need to replace 30 to 40 percent of its current generating capacity, due to aging infrastructure. The Padma-Jamuna-Meghna river system divides Bangladesh into Eastern and Western zones. The East contains nearly all of the country's electric generating capacity, while the West, with almost no natural resources, must import power from the East. A 230-kilovolt (kV) power transmission line, completed in 1982, connects the East to the West. The vast majority of Bangladesh's electricity (78 percent) is consumed in the East, with greater Dhaka alone consuming around 50 percent.

Table: How VPP hasdistributes changed the life situation ofto respondents BPDB is an integrated utility that electricity retail consumers, as well as to Modes two other distribution utilities -the Dhaka Electric Supplypercent Authority (DESA, of empowerment via VPP percent of owners of users established in 1991), and the Rural Electrification Board (REB, established in 1977). Income is increased 95.20 43.80 Gets opportunities to take part in 55.40 46.90 decision making Given Bangladesh's electricity supply shortage, in 1996 the government Social networks have been widened 96.40 86.70 issuedConsidered the "Private Sector Power Generation Policy of Bangladesh" and began to as a source of 75.90 45.30 solicit proposals from international companies for IPPs. Among the first IPPs were a information Involved ingas-fired business transactions 72.30at Haripur, which began 58.60operation in 360-MW combined-cycle plant Gets more access to latest 75.90 75.80 October 2001, and a 450-MW gas-fired combined-cycle plant at Meghnaghat, which information began operation in people November 2002. Both plants were sold to the British Gets to know to more 96.40 64.30 firm CDC percent based on cases, not on India's response. Bharat Because ofHeavy Multiple Responses, totalLtd. exceeded 100percent. Globeleq in December 2003. Electricals (BHEL) completed

a 124-MW gas-fired Baghabari generating unit in November 2001. BHEL currently is planning a 280-MW gas-fired plant for Sylhet. A power purchase agreement for a barge-mounted unit at Baghabari, which will have a 130-MW capacity, was signed with Malaysia's Westmont Power in May 2004. A consortium of Chinese firms concluded an agreement with Bangladesh in June 2001 for the country's first coalfired power plant, to be located at Barapukuria near the country's main coal deposits. It is expected to start generation in October 2005. In May 2005, U.S.-based Global Table: distribution of the purpose of the last five calls made. No. of cases67 Vulcan Energy International announced plans to build several power plants with a total capacity of 1,800 MW, including least one 100-MW gas-fired plant, Lastgenerating Five Call Purposeat of calls Business Official Social Health Political which may be online by the end of 2006, and two 450-MW coal-fired plants. In 2005, 1st call 38.00 3.20 55.70 1.90 1.30 India's Tata Group proposed a 1,000-MW coal-fired power plant. nd 2 call 35.70 3.20 58.90 0.60 0 3rd call 36.10 4.40 57.60 0.60 0.60 4th call 3.80 58.201998, Bangladesh 0.60 0.60a "Small In addition36.10 to large IPP projects, in April adopted th call 39.20 55.70 0.60 Power5 Generation Policy," which 3.80 encourages development of0.60 small local generation Average 37.02 3.68 57.22 0.86 0.74

projects of up to 10-MW in capacity in underserved areas. The country has an active rural electrification program, which is to receive $280 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under a program announced in December 2003. All of these initiatives aim to increase power generation and to reduce the country's power shortage significantly, with a goal of universal electrification by 2020. In April 2005, China and Bangladesh signed an agreement on nuclear cooperation. Under the agreement, Bangladesh is to receive Chinese assistance in exploration for nuclear materials and construction of a 600-MW nuclear power plant. Discussions have been underway for several years about the possibility of Bangladesh connecting its electric grid to those of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Nepal and Bhutan have substantial untapped hydroelectricity potential, which could be exported to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In March 1999, India's Power Grid Corporation completed a feasibility study on possible exchange of 150 MW of power between Bangladesh and India. Interconnection points would be Ishwardi, The number of subscribers of various mobile phone companies in percentage 5.36%


6.56% 28.81%

Through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Bangladeshi government owns and supervises the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).



Grameen Phone





(Source: Bangladesh Economic Review,2005, p-200)


Bangladesh-Farakka, India and Shahjibazar, Bangladesh-Kurnarghat, India76. OIL For liquid oil, Bangladesh is almost entirely dependent on imports from various countries. For this reason the fluctuation of oil price effected the countries economy. What needs to be done? l Attract foreign investment and make quick arrangement to use that investment. l Explore all avenues of alternative power sources e.g. solar energy, biogass etc. l To consider renewable energy as one of the important energy sources in the

national energy mix. l Reduce system loss. l Increase the use of energy saving equipment. l Increase the efficiency of energy production and distribution so that the loss of

energy can be reduced. l Study the feasibility of the installation of nuclear power plant. l Increase regional cooperation so that one country can use the excess energy of

other country. l All the contracts of this sector should be made public .

Water resources management Bangladesh is a nation where agricultural production is still the mainstay of the rural population's livelihood system, and therefore its people's livelihoods are still inextricably linked to the nation's water cycle. The nation's water, both above and below ground, provides a multitude of services to the population: water to drink, water for irrigation, fish water and for transport and other uses. These resources are the raw materials that support a population with complex, interwoven and overlapping livelihood strategies and they are being placed under increasing stress. Water resources, present as surface stocks such as lakes or ponds, flows (rivers) or groundwater reserves (aquifers or soil moisture) are all used directly in activities undertaken to sustain a livelihood or, to support ecosystems which in turn support a variety of livelihood activities. The utilisation of these sources by a variety of resource users or "stakeholders" means that multiple interests are operating at any one time. These uses often occur in harmony but can be incompatible, as one use lessens the resource's availability and utility for others downstream. Wisely managed, water means adequate harvests, health, prosperity, peace and a stable environment; badly managed, water brings poverty, disease, disasters, degraded environments, social conflict or dispute and even war. These interactions are shown in the following Figure, which is an attempt at a schematic representation of how water resources and their uses are inter-linked in the activities that constitute the livelihoods of rural people in Bangladesh.

Although abstract, the model is based on the starting point for local people the use of specific resources (an aquifer, a stream or rainfall) for particular uses (irrigation, fishing and drinking) by specific people (the farmers, fishermen and women). This is the reality around which decisions on and perceptions of the management and potential of water resources are based; a person is concerned with whether his tubewell will provide enough irrigation water, whether there are fish in the lake or whether the water in a stream is available and clean enough to be used for the family. These resource-use combinations take place within a local social and institutional setting that is crucial in defining how the resources are managed and allocated, and in particular the form that the rights and entitlements of access to the resources held by different sections of the community take. It also defines norms, customs and obligations that may be as important as the formal institutions in moulding the patterns of resource use and management. These local-level patterns of management of water resources, and the context within which they take place, interact with and are influenced by the external legal, policy and institutional contexts that determine many aspects of local change and development. This includes the functioning and impact of the specific areas of policy (water, land, fish, environment and others), also includes markets as well as the wider framework of laws, government policies and the actions of government agencies. Neighboring India recently, finalized a master plan unilaterally to link 30 major international rivers and transfer their flow to central, western and southern India at estimated cost of US $ 120 billion. The Supreme Court of India has asked the Indian Government to implement the plan by the year 201678. The project aims to connect the rivers in the country for diverting water from 'surplus eastern rivers to water deficit areas' and at improving the situation of occurring flood and drought. The project also aims at producing nearly 34,000 megawatt of hydroelectricity and increasing food production from US $ 40 per acre to over US $500. It is believed that Arthur Cotton, a British engineer, first planned for such linking in the 19th century. The period being the beginning of rail communication era in India, the proposal lost weight. In 1945, the idea again came as a proposal from one Captain Dinesh Daster. His idea was to have two huge canals (one 4200 km long and 300 meter wide, the other being 9300 km long and 300 meter wide) to divert waters



from the Brahmaputra. The proponent aspired that the link would bring 219 million hectors of land under cultivation and that its implementation would take 3-4 years.

people in Bangladesh: l The proposed diversion of water through river linking will block the flow of the

Thirty years after the independence of India, the proposal was again brought forward and assessed by ninety experts from all around the world who recommended the same as feasible. According to an estimate of 1974, the cost for implementation of the proposal would be around 24,095 crore Indian rupee. According to the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) of India the origin of the river linking project (RLP) of India lies in the plan of Dr. K. L. Rao, the irrigation minister of the Nehru Cabinet. The plan of Dr. Rao proposed links between the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, Mahanadi and Narmada rivers through canals. It was hoped that the 2640 km long Ganges-Caveri link canal would bring additional 4 million hector land under agriculture. The cost for implementation of the proposal was estimated at 12, 500 crore Indian rupee. An estimate of 1995 shows that the Ganges-Cuvery link canal alone would cost 70,000 crore Indian rupee. The institutional process of keeping the RLP alive started in 1980 when the Water Resource Ministry of India adopted a National Perspective Plan (NPP). The NPP consists of two parts, one of which deals with River Development of the Himalayan. This part proposes 21 links and it is this part that will affect the rivers flowing through Bangladesh. Subsequently NWDA was created to assess the feasibility of link canals under the NPP. The NWDA identified 30 link canals for the feasibility study and has already finalised feasibility report for six such links. According to the decision of the Water Resource Ministry of India the 10-year river linking project will be completed by 31 December. The major opposition in the Indian Parliament has already given support to the project. The Supreme Court of India has issued orders favouring implementation of the project79. This mega project has generated much concerns and anguishes in Bangladesh. Bangladesh says that if water diversion from the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, which provide 80 per cent of fresh water flow in the dry season, would threaten livelihoods of more than 100 million people and play havoc with the entire ecosystem of downstream Bangladesh80. Bangladesh, as a deltaic region, has the mouth of several large international rivers that drain out the flow of 54 international rivers into the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh largely depends on the fresh water of these rivers that enter its territory from India for irrigation and water supply. Out of 1.72 million square kilometer areas of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna, 8 per cent of these river basins are within the territory of Bangladesh. So, it is regardless to mention that any diversion of these rivers from and within India, Nepal, Bhutan and China will surely bring disaster to Bangladesh81. The diversion of water from the Brahmaputra, as has been proposed under the RLP, is feared to cause a huge damage to the environment and ecology of Bangladesh. This billion-dollar mega project of the Government of India will adversely affect millions of


Bangladesh's two major riverine networks, namely the Jamuna-Brahmaputra and the Ganges-Padma. l Since Bangladesh depends most on the river Brahmaputra for supplying twothirds of the country's dry season water, withdrawal of water from the river will adversely affect legitimate interests and rights of at least 100 million people of Bangladesh. l The proposed withdrawal of water flow by the upper riparian India will have a serious harmful impact on the climate, ecology, geomorphology, bio-diversity, wetlands and navigational activities in the lower riparian Bangladesh. l India's search for irrigation water can dry out large areas in Bangladesh for much of the year and affect more than 80percent of Bangladesh's 20 million small farmers who grow rice and depend on water. Also the drying up of rivers will lead to intrusion of salinity into farming areas. l Withdrawal of waters from the Brahmaputra by India would severely endanger the sweet water fishery in Bangladesh, the second largest in the world. l Such diversion of water will decrease the flow of water to the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, a world heritage site shared both by India and Bangladesh and thus lead to its death. l As learnt from the experience of Farakka Barrage built by India again on the shared river of Ganges, great parts of Bangladesh will face desertification. l As a result of increased siltation and less flow of water, incidents of natural disasters like flood, drought will intensify. l A project that is feared to affect 140 million people of Bangladesh, directly or indirectly, may also lead to political instability in the region. In international law, a river flowing through more than one country is considered to be an international river and the flow of an international river is not within the arbitrary power of one of the riparian states. So, India's unilateral decision to divert of 30 common rivers is a clear violation of the international law and also an injustice to on a water sharing. The government of Bangladesh has lodged a protest against the decision. Bangladesh is not alone. Nepal also has joined the chorus of opposition. That's not all, even the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Bihar expressed their reservations over this mega project calling it as 'favoring western and southern India at the cost of the east. Since, India has river treaties with its neighboring countries, which prohibit Delhi from unilaterally altering river courses; Bangladesh should seek a regional or bilateral diplomatic solution first. Indian water resource minister India would not do any thing unilaterally. We hope to find a solution ensuring the maximum and equitable use of our water resources. Water resources are so central to the lives of rural people in Bangladesh that anything that affects these resources has livelihood implications. These impacts can


be immediate and direct, as with the land laws and the policy of leasing beels. They can be indirect or periodic in effects: for example, the policy of building rural roads has had major consequences for the livelihoods of traditional boaters, whilst the embankments on which these roads have been built create major disruptions to hydrological systems (as witnessed in the 1998 floods, where they severely impeded the draining away of flood waters in many places). The intimate inter-weaving of water and livelihoods and the impacts of a wide range of policies means that the traditional perception that water equals floods and water policies equal flood protection does not even begin to provide a meaningful policy framework for understanding water resources-livelihood relationships in Bangladesh. This has, to an extent, been realised in the recent policy and planning changes, but there is still only a limited understanding of the full nature of these relationships in policy and planning circles. The steps that we have to take, are: l Prepare a Water Resources Master Plan for the development of the water resources of the country having full regard to environmental compatibility and proper implementation the plan. l Determine national policies and strategies for the scientific utilization and conservation of the water resources. l Decentralize the management of water resources and enhance the role of women. l Accelerate the development of both public and private water delivery systems. l Review and evaluate the impact of actions taken by any organization involved in the development, utilization and conservation of water resources. l Improve the level of education, training and professional standards related to the utilization of water resources. l Irrigation supply to areas short of groundwater in North West and South West of Bangladesh; l Salinity control in South West and South Central areas in Bangladesh; l Control river bank erosion l Improved navigation on main rivers in and around Dhaka; l Erosion control in vicinity for barrages; and l Drainage pumping in wet season. l Collect and review information related to the utilization of the water resources and to arrange for its dissemination. l Arrange and conduct national and international seminars, conferences and workshops related to water resources with prior approval of the government for international events. l Resolve all water related problems with the respective countries. Environment: Bangladesh has been laying special emphasis on protection and development of environment. Bangladesh is one of the signatory countries to 28 agreements, conventions and protocols on environment. Notable among them are: l Convention on Climate Change. l Agenda 21. l Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural



Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and l Flora (CITES). l Convention on Biological Diversity. l Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. l Convention to Combat Desertification. l Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL). l Global Tiger Forum.

A report titled 'The State of the Environment: Bangladesh 2001', published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified five nationally important environmental issues. These are: land degradation, water pollution and scarcity, air pollution, biodiversity and natural disaster. A report United Nations predicts that in the coming 5years 5 crore people will be displaced around the world due to environmental disaster among them 2crore and 26 lac will be from only Bangladesh82. Set out below is a resume of the key environmental issues. Acceptable level of forest cover Deforestation is a major cause that damages environment in different ways. The causes of deforestation are many. It is caused by farmers engaged in expanding agricultural production, by logging companies and big fuelwood collectors. Fuel-wood and charcoal meet our energy needs. Forests are not just a source of fuel-wood and timber. They also perform a wide range of social and ecological functions. It provides livelihood and cultural integrity to forest dwellers and a habitat for plants and animals. It protects and enriches soils, provides natural regulation of the hydrological cycles affect local and regional climate through evaporation, influences watershed flows of surface and ground water and helps stabilize the global climate by absorbing carbon as they grow. The pace of deforestation continues to be alarming. In 1960, the total forest area of Bangladesh was about 20 percent of the total landscape. Now, this has come down to 10percent. While the desirable proportion of forestry in total land area of a country for ecological stability is 25percent, the figure continues to decline every year. About 50 per cent of the destruction of forests has taken place during the last 20 years, affecting topsoil and causing land erosion. Social forestry and backyard plantations have not yet been able to compensate for such deforestation. So the government should accelerate social forestry and take measures to stop deforestation. Desirable level of water quality and quantity The availability and the quality of surface and ground water highly influence the environment, economic growth and development of Bangladesh. Spatial and seasonal availability of surface and ground water is largely dependent on the monsoon and physiography of the country. In terms of quality, the surface water of the country is unprotected from untreated industrial effluentsRelationships and municipal waste water, runoff Figure : Water Resources-Utilisation pollution from chemical fertilizers and pesticides and oil and lube spillage in the coastal area from the operation of sea and river ports and ship wreckage. Water quality also depends on effluent types and discharge quality from different type of industries, the type of agrochemicals used in agriculture and seasonal water flow and 77


dilution by the river system. The arsenic concentration in the ground water is a major problem in Bangladesh now. High levels of arsenic if embedded for a long time (from 5 to 15 years) causes serious human health problems including skin ailments, damage to internal organs, skin and lung cancers and eventual death. The recent major studies carried out on arsenic reveal that among 30,000 tube wells studied, 2,000 of them exceeded the national standard of 0.05 mg/l for drinking (the WHO guideline is 0.01 mg/l). The problem is acute in tube wells extracting groundwater from 10 m to 100 m depth in the Southeast, South Central (the northern part only), and Southwest regions and it exists to a lesser extent in the Northeast region, and the Southern fringe of the North Central and Northwest region along the river Ganges. The most seriously affected districts are in and around Chandpur. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people drink water exceeding the national standard for arsenic levels (WARPO, 2000). Flood Due to the peculiar topography of the country, extensive flooding and inundation occur every year in Bangladesh by bank overflow from the enormous volumes of water which pass through the rivers. In a normal year, more than 18percent of the country or over or 26,000sq .kms(10,000 sq.miles) is flooded but during the abnormally high floods, much more surface areas are flooded. The extent of flooding was over 36percent of the land in 1954 and 1974,more than 40 in percent 1987, and upto 62 percent in 198883. The flood in 1998 was even more extensive than the 1988 flood in coverage and it inundated 100,000sq. km. or 68 present of the surface according to the Bureau of Disaster Management(1998) and 84,000 sq. kms. according to SPARSO. This flood was also one of the longest in terms of duration, up to 2-3 months in most areas.

Green House Effect: The greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere are increasing. The consequences will be progressive global warming and climate change. Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate changes and the resultant rise of sea level. The most serious consequences of climate change for Bangladesh will be a rise in sea level along the Bay of Bangal coasts, causing inundating of 10 to 20 percent of the coastal land including the Sundarbans, as well as saline intrusion in the rivers. UNCED warn that, due to global warming the sea level will rise 1 meter by the year 2035. If the sea level will rises 1 meter than 17percent of our land will be inundated. By the year 2050 the sea level may rise to 2 meters, then 40percent of our land will be inundated.

The damages caused by the annual floods and particularly by the devastating abnormal ones are enormous. The 1987 flood completely or partially damaged 2.06 million houses which was 16.67 percent of the national housing stock. The 1988 flood had displaced and affected an estimated 45 million people and destroyed or partially damaged 12.3 million houses of which 5.4 million were completely destroyed and 7.4 million were partially damaged84 . The losses of standing crops, livestock and damage to rural and urban infrastructure had also been colossal. The 1998 flood affected 30.92 million people in 52 out of the 64 districts85. An estimated 916,660 houses were totally damaged with another 1300,000 houses damaged partially86. The total damage cost in all sectors in the country estimated by UNDP is 200 million dollars or 10 billion taka (or 10,000 crore taka)87.

Scarcity of Water Generally, water scarcity is a dry season phenomenon. During this season the availability of water becomes less than the demand or the quality of the water restricts its use. As a lower riparian country, Bangladesh has 57 trans-boundary rivers, of which 54 are shared with India and 3 with Myanmar. A significant amount of dry season stream flow is withdrawn and diverted upstream by neighbouring countries for irrigation and other purposes. The Farakka barrage on the river Ganges is a notable example. Desertification prevails in some north-western areas of Bangladesh due to withdrawal and diversion of upstream water in the dry season. Other important causes of water scarcity in Bangladesh are:



Scanty, irregular and erratic rainfall in the dry season; l l Gradual siltation in the riverbed and flood plain and declining river water level; l Withdrawal of wetland water; l Dry season irrigation, and l Non-availability of pure water during flood and inundation. Notwithstanding the large number of rules and regulations to protect water from industrial effluents and other pollution and the policies for enabling the environment through dry season, water concerns still prevail. These are regarding proper implementation of national policies, due to the lack of institutional capability and awareness to properly address the policy objectives and goals. Climate change and its adverse impacts on water resources needs proper consideration for planning. Earlier analysis of climate change scenarios showed that water scarcity in the dry season would be aggravated and low water flow in the river system would allow saline water intrusion to progress further inland. Climate change induced adverse impacts on agriculture will put further stress on the country in attaining food sufficiency in the future. Acceptable level of soil quality The quality of soil has deteriorated due to improper use of agrochemicals, unplanned land use, encroachment on forest areas for agriculture and settlements, ineffective enforcement of existing laws and guidelines and improper disposal of hazardous industrial wastes. In addition, sprawling urban areas and infrastructure development have diminished the availability of land. Natural disasters such as cyclones and floods cause erosion of soil together with the degradation of soil quality. Unplanned land use and intrusion of saline water are causing degradation of soil in the coastal area. A study of Water Resource Planning Organisation (WARPO) on 'Morphological Dynamics of the Brahmaputra- Jamuna River', using remote sensing images showed during the period between 1973- 1996, a total of 73,522 hectares of land eroded while only 10,628 hectares of land have been reclaimed. Aside from its social and environmental impact, land degradation has its serious economic implications as well. An assessment has been carried out by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) on production loss of crops and additional agricultural input necessary to maintain soil nutrients. The study reveals that the total economic cost of land degradation exceeds to US $ 0.2 billion per year.Real and effective ways to minimize land degradation problems should be based on multi-sectored, multi-layered, yet integrated approaches. The most important policy measure required for addressing land degradation is an integrated land use policy with respect to agriculture, industry and environment. Acceptable level of air quality Air pollution is a manmade environmental disaster that is taking place all over the world. In Bangladesh as in other parts of the world, air pollution has recently been gaining priority among environmental issues. Exposure to air pollution is the main environmental threat to human health in towns and cities. There are two major sources of air pollution in Bangladesh, vehicular emissions and industrial emissions, which are mainly concentrated in the cities. There are also numerous brick-making


kilns working in dry season all over Bangladesh which is another source of air pollution. Almost all of these kilns use coal and wood as their source of energy, resulting in the emissions of oxides of sulfur and volatile organic compounds. Urban air quality monitoring data revealed that the concentration of suspended particulate matter in Dhaka and Chittagong exceeded the threshold limit set by the Department of Environment. A study on the values for average suspended air particulate mass in rural and urban areas of Bangladesh and average elemental carbon in the fine fraction of airborne particulate matter (APM) in urban areas, showed that the concentration of suspended particles in ambient air is many times higher than normal. It also revealed that the PM 2.5 masses and chemical concentrations are lower in most cases compared to the corresponding PM 2.5 PM 10 values. The ratio of PM 2.5 to PM 10, and the amount of black carbon in the APM are reduced during the high rainfall (HRE) period in both rural and urban sites by about 25 percent and 20 percent , respectively. In the urban areas, it was found that concentration of SO2 also exceed the threshold limit quite often in Dhaka90. An emerging issue of great concern in the cities and towns is the high concentration of lead in the air from vehicular exhausts. The Department of Environment and other concerned agencies and organisations have identified the twostroke engines used in vehicles as major polluters. Among the polluting vehicles, the two-stroke auto-rickshaws have been identified as the worst polluters. The two-stroke petrol engines are less fuel-efficient and emit about 30-100 times more unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide than four-stroke engines. That's why government banned it in the Dhaka city. It should be banned in the whole country. The country does have a reasonable good number of laws and regulations to address air pollution viz. the Brick Burning (Control) Amendment Act, 1992; Bangladesh Environmental Conservation Act, 1995; Environment Conservation Rules, 1997; Environment Court Law, 2000 etc. The ultimate success of any law is the extent to which it translates into action. Conservation of bio-diversity Biological resources and their diversity form the basis of both the ecology and economy of Bangladesh. The country's agriculture, fisheries and livestock, along with a number of other sectors are heavily dependent, directly or indirectly on the biological resources. Bangladesh possesses good terrestrial and aquatic environment that provide habitat for a large number of plants and animals. The delta is rich in fish and aquatic resources and other biodiversity. Rivers and other inland water bodies provide habitats for 266 indigenous fish species(belonging to 55 families) and 150 species of birds. The inland water bodies are also the habitat of 56 species of prawns. More than 20 species of freshwater molluscs have been identified. In addition the IUCN Bangladesh Red Data Book (2000) has described 22 amphibians, 126 reptiles, 628 birds in total(388 resident and 240 migratory) 110 inland mammals, as well as 3 species of marine mammals in Bangladesh. There are


numerous invertebrates in the country that are yet to be identified. Bangladesh supports approximately 5000 species of angiosperms, among which 300 species are being cultivated. Currently the list of medicinal plants are being revised by the Bangladesh National Herbarium and the number is expected to exceed 500 species. There are 224 species of timber yielding plants and 130 fiber plants found among the flora of Bangladesh.

According to the Red List of IUCN, there are 54 species of inland fishes, 8 amphibians, 58 reptiles, 41 resident birds and 40 mammals, which are threatened throughout the country. Among the marine and migratory species of animals 4 fishes, 5 reptiles, 6 birds and 3 mammals are threatened. The Red Data book on plants, which is still under preparation at Bangladesh National Herbarium, already lists 96 seed-bearing plant species that are threatened94.

The Sundarban supports a very rich and diverse fish fauna of 400 species, over 270 species of birds and over 300 species of plants. It comprises the largest remaining tract of habitat for the rare Royal Bengal Tiger91.

Bangladesh signed the convention on bio-diversity at Rio in 1992 and ratified it in 1994..It declared six areas ( Coxes Bazar, Tecknaf sea beach, Cent Martin island, Sonadia island, Hakaluki Haor, Tanguar Haor and Marjat Baor) as 'Ecologically Critical Area' and took steps for the preservation of the areas95. A focus on biodiversity has been emphasized in the Forest and Environment Policy. However, a separate policy on biodiversity is yet to be formulated and until then various departments of the government are responsible for conservation of biodiversity. There is a great potential in Bangladesh for biodiversity based sustainable development. In spite of the threatened wild fauna and flora, there are nearly 10,000 species of plants, animals and microbial organisms- a good percentage of which are found in superabundance. A wise and sustainable yield and harvest methodology, and management plan need to be formulated and applied at the field level. So that these biological resources are not over-exploited, and the economy of the country prospers.

The depletion of biodiversity is a result of various kinds of human development interventions that impinge on it through destruction and degradation of land, forest and aquatic habitats. These activities encompass the sectors of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, urbanisation, industry, transport, tourism, energy, chemicals and minerals etc. In the fisheries sector, shrimp cultivation has become a major concern from the past decade. It has caused serious environmental damage that has harmed fish and other aquatic biodiversity significantly. The total area under shrimp cultivation is estimated to be 145 thousand hectares, which is about 1 per cent of total land area of Bangladesh. About 80 per cent of the total shrimp cultivating area is located in Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Barisal, Patuakhali, Jessore and Noakhali districts and cultivation of food and cash crops has totally or partially been eliminated in these areas. If agricultural production is to be carried out in these districts using the same level of inputs and similar methods of management, the land-output ratio will not be the same as before the switch to shrimp culture activity. The difference between the outputs during the two periods is the loss in production. A moderate degree of land degradation, which results in a production loss of 45 per cent, is estimated to cause a loss of 146,160 Mt. of rice in physical terms and Tk 1237.6 million in monetary terms. This is 0.35 per cent of the agricultural GDP and 0.11 per cent of the total GDP of the country in 199492. Due to seepage effects of increased salinization of the soils, the rice yield per acre of the lands adjacent to shrimp farms has been declining significantly. Whereas the per acre yield of Aman production in these lands was in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 mounds before the start of shrimp cultivation, it has dropped to 3 to 4 mounds only in some cases. As CPD states“the coastal shrimp farming areas in the south have suffered environmental degradation; increased salinity of soil, canals and the ponds within the polders; reduction in grazing land and a consequent reduction of livestock; destruction of mangrove forests; adverse affects on the potential crop-mix, cropping intensity, crop calendar and the overall cropping pattern in the areas concerned; and a reduction in soil quality. In addition, the shrimp cultivating areas experienced an increase in unemployment and an aggravation of social and economic conflicts and tensions93.”


Governance Discussions of governance often generate more rhetorical heat than empirical light. Governance is examined as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country's eco and social resources for development.” (World Bank 1992) During recent years there has been a surge of interest in the consequence of governance. Kaufman (2004) examined theCause primary 150 countries and Table: Coverage of inundation and Damage by Major data Floods, for 1954 -1998 assessed the variability of the six sets of governance indicators: voice and Year Flooded area Percentage of Cost of damage Population affected Deaths accountability, political governmental effectiveness, rule ofof law, (sq. km.) stability totaland area violence, (approximately (approximately (number 96 crore. taka) million of persons) persons) study regulatory mechanism, graft and corruption The findings the Kaufman's 1954 36920 25 120 112 (2000)1955 have shown that one standard deviation increase in -any of the governance 50700 34 129 129 indicators a two 24 and a half percent increase in -per capita incomes and 1956 causes between 35620 90 1962decrease 37440 25 117 literacy. four fold in infant morality and to a5615 to 25 percent increase in 1963 43180 29 58 Improved to significant116 increases in adult literacy, with 1968 governance 37300also leads25 126 a one1970deviation42640 28 110 to between30a 15 and 25 percentage 87 standard increase in governance leading 1974 52720 2849 1987 point improvement in literacy in 35 the full sample of countries97.20 1987 1988 1998 In

57491 77700 84000 Bangladesh,

38 52 56 of number

3500 30 10000 47 (approx.)30 of10000 governance that keep

a issues population below the poverty line can be put forward. 88


1657 2379 large1000 portion



Source: B.W.D.B 1987 quoted by Miah , 1988(for 1954-1987) Siddique 98 and Bureau of Disaster Management(1998).

Reduce social and institutional vulnerabilities of the poor, women and children The poor, women and children in particular, face a number of social and institutional barriers and insecurities in the pursuit of their livelihoods and social life. Removing such barriers and insecurities should be a priority. Targets will include eradication of social ills such as dowry, female foeticide, trafficking of women and children, bonded labour, child marriage, hazardous child labour, disadvantages suffered by


marginalized and socially excluded people, etc. Crimes of violence against women i.e. rape, acid attacks, beating, murder, abduction and trafficking have increased greatly in the last few years. Beating and other forms of oppression sometimes lead to death of women as a result of dowry disputes, which is illegal but is still practiced widely in the rural areas. Table: Possible affect of 1 meter sea level rising on area and people

Despite the continuing anti-dowry campaign on the part of Human Rights District Affected area Affected area Affected people Organizations and other NGOs, relevant GOs,(square different segment of the society, ( percentage) km.) electronicBarisal and print media, 90 dowry-disputes in 6,660 2003 alone claimed 261 lives 4,261,000 98 Phatuakhali 100 4,095 1,598,000 (Odhikar,2004) . Women belonging to the low-income groups of the society are Khulna 80 9,734 289,000 particularly hard hit by dowry disputes. Noakhali 50 2,730 1,448,000 Comilla 15 990 114,700 Faridpur 15 been on the increase 1,032 751,000 Acid violence has also at an alarming rate. Acid Total 24,150 11,062,700 throwing incidents are motivated by disputes over conjugal, financial or land related


Table: Possible affect of 1 meter sea level rising on area and people

(paddy) the total number Affected area(acare) women and children Percentage From 1991Crops to 1999, of trafficked were 47,925. Amon 3,160,000 21 Of course, this is an understatement of the actual number due to the illegal nature of Aous 99,000 12 trafficking99. Boro 252,000 8

Disabled people have received attention only recently. Even though Bangladesh has signed the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equity of People with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Region in 1993, very few human rights orginizations work in this field. And in the case of mentally sick, only a handful work for them. Since the signing of the Child Rights Convention in 1990, the Bangladesh government and some NGOs are working towards the development of human rights for children. It is notable that a ' National Plan of Action for Children (1997-2001) had been launched in 1999100. The key aim of this was to ensure better quality for children. However, the picture is still very grim. Bangladeshi children are often victims of wide ranging forms of inhuman abuse and cruelty. These abuses can be physical, mental and sexual. 477 children are murdered in the year 2003 alone (Odhikar, 2004)101. Bangladesh is a signatory to CEDAW. But it is far away from the proper implementation of the convention. Some steps should be taken immediately to remove these disadvantaged situation such as proper law enforcement, reviewing the existing laws, awareness building, regional cooperation to protect trafficking, creation of employment facilities, access to justice, empowerment of women, proper treatment facilities for the victims etc. Political stability Democracy as an institution is new and still in “the process of making” in Bangladesh. Over the last three decades since its independence Bangladesh has witnessed several political hiccups including the assassination of two presidents, two army coups and two major political movements that caused the fall down of political regimes.


Bangladesh policy in the last thirty years oscillated between autocracy and democratic rule102. Both 1996 and 2001 elections were preceded by a long opposition boycott of parliament. The opposition was engaged in prolonged violent street agitation, causing considerable damage to the country's economy and its political system. Political culture in Bangladesh is characterized by confrontation and intolerance103. One observer notes that “…given the recent political history of Bangladesh, the main question is …how the political partiesthe winners and the non-winnerswill behave with one another. Will they cooperate and sit inside the parliament and give the nation a stable democracy? Or will they cry foul, claim that the voting was rigged, point accusing fingers at one another and refuse to accept the verdict of the people, bringing us all back to square one104? Political parties are organisationally weak and poor agents of democratic transformation105. Party programmes or ideologies seldom mobilise voters during elections. All major parties bank on populist approach of rhetoric, symbolism and sentiments as the major instruments for mobilising voters106. A favourite weapon to harass a sitting government is calling a Hartal, a general strike which paralyses most economic activities, especially transport, sometimes for days. The main opposition party with an aim to gear up antigovernment movement, enforced 44 Hartals in 2004 alone. There were 827 days of Hartals during 1991 and 2002 and 147 days during the period of 2002-2004. The estimated figure shows that the average costs of Hartals to the economy during 1990s is 3 to 4 percent of GDP. The parliament is populated by MPs many of whom have allegedly made financial 'investment' in their nomination by their party and in their subsequent election. A seat in parliament was reported to cost up to US$ 1million in Bangladesh107. Indeed, it appears that the wealth of candidates is a more important factor determining electoral nomination and success than local credibility and their ability and willingness to represent the interests of constituents. Parliamentary discussions have not only lost its contents and essence, filthy languages, unparliamentary appellation and intemperate exchanges dominate parliamentary deliberations. Prolonged and periodic walkouts by opposition even on unnecessary grounds characterize the very vulnerability and low level of credibility of transactions of parliamentary sessions. Bangladesh Awami League(AL), the major opposition party refrained from joining the House. During the present parliament (8th Parliament) out of a total 226 workdays of the House, the major opposition party AL has so far participated only in 76 workdays, as it frequently boycotted the proceeding108. To run the parliament of Bangladesh, in ever minutes 15,000 Taka is required. In the 8th parliament from the session 11th to 14th , 5,01,15,000 Taka or US$ 0.82 million( US$ 1= 62 taka)was lost due to the non availability of quorum in the parliament109. This is surely a great drainage of money of our country.


Anti-corruption laws may be consolidated with new provisions, which may l

Although the election manifestos of various parties made general statements concerning poor and poverty, ironically pro-poor issues did not receive due attention in the parliamentary discussions and debates. There were hardly any deliberations on making demand or suggesting changes in the policy or process or proposing new law/rules to address poor issues. A study further reveals that there is a conceptual confusion among MPs in understanding and or operationalizing pro-poor issues110. If we cannot bring political stability in our country, our achievement on different social indicators may demolish. So there is an urgent call for reform in political system in our country. Combating corruption to prevent the leakage resources In Bangladesh expansion of public service means just more snouts in the trough of the politicians and the bureaucrats and fattening more frogs for these snakes111. Legislature, judiciary and executive branch are the three principle organs of the state in a parliamentary democracy. In Bangladesh none of them are efficient enough. Each of the branches is corrupted. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) ranked Bangladesh as the most corrupted country for the four times in this year112. A recent study shows that, in the “Pouroshovas”, 35 percent people gave bribe to build house, 47 percent people gave bribe to take certificate for business, even to take relief in the time of disaster, 29 percent people gave bribe to the elected representative113. Thus our elective representatives become corrupt and make the government inefficient. Our Judicial system also has become corrupted. They are recruiting on the basis of political will. This tells upon the efficiency of our judiciary system. Recently a Judge of the High Court was accused for having allegation with corruption. Another recent study of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) shows the most disgraceful and disappointing picture of our government officials. It shows that our police department is the most corrupted department (15.18percent). A bus has to pay 7200 taka to the police to make a trip from Kurigram to Dhaka as bribe114. Thus if the fences damage the garden where will we go? The detail scenarios of the level of corruption of various departments are given in the following figure: Though Bangladesh has figured prominently in the corruption ranking of the Transparency International (TI) in the recent years but maximum numbers of the people of this country are honest. As preventive measures against corruption the following may be helpful: l Appointment of effective Ombudsman should be made. l Citizens should be given options for receiving any public services from alternative

places and sources to cut down on monopoly power.

include punishing the corrupt persons as well as those who instigate/help corruption. l In order to reduce the scope of malpractice/corruption, the government should break up all utility monopolies and create competing private companies. l Create interactive relation with the civil society and establish the right to register complaint, get a quick reply after inquiry and remedies for deviant behavior of civil servants. l Insist on probity and accountability through transparent decision-making. l Allow free access to information to concerned citizens and the press. l Institute citizens' audit in all service delivery organizations. Ensure access to affordable justice Justice does not belong to one class or another nor to particular relationship between classes but to the society's functioning as a whole. A lack of safety and security directly affects the welfare of poor people. It can cause injury and death, reduce family income and generate a climate of fear. A backlog of cases and corruption further also continue (cause) to plague the judicial system, thus reducing the effectiveness of delivery of justice to ordinary citizens. The expeditious and affordable justice system to poor and vulnerable section of community is one of the criteria of justice. Plato defines justice as what is due to every one should not be denied. According to him, justice is the mother of all virtues. If justice is expensive and delayed, justice is eventually denied. The courts are unable to dispose of their cases within a reasonable time, much to the constraint of resources. Disposal of cases take a long time. While addressing a workshop titled “ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ARD): In Quest of a New Dimension in Civil Justice Delivery System in Bangladesh” on 31 October 2002, the Law, Justice an Parliament Affairs Minster Moudud Ahmed said that nearly one million cases are now pending with different courts in the country. Of the 9,68,305 pending cases are now pending cases, 1,27,244 with the High Court Division and 4,946 with the Appellate Division of the Supreme court115. Experts believe that certain measures and remedies are necessary to improve upon the justice system to meet the needs of poor. One of the ideas recently floated is the efficacy of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system. In Bangladesh there are enough skilled persons who have intensively worked on ADR system. Inexpensive and speedy justice system needs to be introduced in rural areas so that the poor get proper justice under laws of the country116. About forty thousand cases involving about 10,000 crore Taka were pending in the Money Loan Courts. Under the Money Loan Court Act, 2003, which provided for ADR, about 300 crore Taka have been recovered since May 2003117. Often poor people, especially rural women, are not aware of their legal rights Dissemination of legal rights constitutes another facets of justice. To be able to justice to poor, they need to know their legal rights. They are not aware of their legal rights,

l Strengthen Anti-Corruption Commission so that it can be effective.



they will not be able to pursue redress for wrongs done to them. Ensure effective participation of poor and of women in anti-poverty policies and programmes Ensuring 'Voice of the Poor' at all stages of anti-poverty policies and programmes implementation, monitoring, planing, and policy formulation- will be critical to building the ownership of the poor over the poverty reduction process. Practice of participatory management in every government institution can play a pivotal role in strengthening poverty reduction process. Development planners recognize that the upliftment of the poor and backward masses is a pre-condition for the overall development of a country. Various development initiatives' successes are limited, due to the lack of participants by the stakeholders the poor themselves, who hardly had any influence and control over development initiatives. The people of Bangladesh continue to express high levels of enthusiasm in the political process. This has been borne out in experiences since the resumption of democratic governance in 1991. Various parliamentary, by-and local elections during the 1990s together have seen an average turnout of over 70 percent of registered votes. The parliamentary elections in 1996 and 2001 brought a high voter turnout of over 74 percent118. Voter turn-outs in local elections at the union level too are consistently high; the last union elections have been no exception. Clearly, the electorate in Bangladesh is keenly exercising its democratic franchise.

Thus, even when people have had the chance to exercise their right of vote for local government, few substantive democratic gains have followed because of the jurisdictional and representational limitations of such offices. The popular pressure and participation from the grassroots organizations are necessary prerequisites for political change and economic progress. Bureaucratic centralism and control of the local government, weakens the educative effects of political participation. The devolutionary system of decentralization can buttress/prop to make bureaucrats accountable in all levels of administration. The system of participative management and decentralization of policy making authority in the field level and a bottom-up planning machinery can also help for establishing an accountable, efficient and a transparent system of public administration. That is why the devolution type of local government system needs to be responsive to stakeholders, interests and needs, which requires a participatory approach not only in service delivery but also in planning and decision-making.

Women's participation in local councils received a huge boost with the provision for reserved seats for women in union parishads. This provision came into force in the 1997 elections in which 12723 women were elected to the reserved seats out of 43969 who competed. Women are also making inroads into the more competitive general and chairman positions too as can be seen from the Table below:

But the political representation of the poor through the electoral process in today's Bangladesh remains set in a patron-client framework which tend to militate against any independent political assertion by the poor. This is certainly true for the national level though less true for the local level. The patron-client orientation of the electoral process is additionally compounded by implicit threats electoral violence that tends to be an inhibiting factor on the political assertion of the poor. The entire process strongly militates against any independent political representation of the poor, and hence, any independent leverage over the setting of policy or programme priorities of the national government. Though some positive opportunities for better political representation are emerging in the local government arena, its significance as to the construction of priorities remain limited given the severe weakness of local governments within the structure of government. In the absence of substantive jurisdictional and representational powers, local government offices have not been able to fulfill their promise of being subservient offices of district administration.


The tasks of local governments are to identify and support the development of local partnerships, for example, with CBOs, NGOs and private sector, and to ensure commitment to a partnership/participation enabling strategy119. To develop participation it is essential to support grassroots organizations and intermediary organizations such as professional associations, consumer groups and trade unions; to involve all project stakeholders in programme design and implementation and to ensure better access of marginalized groups to the formal economic and legal system that requires a change in political and bureaucratic attitudes. Participatory development cannot succeed overnight; rather it is an issue of long term exercisewhich requires better economic policies and more investment in human capital, infrastructure, and institution-building, along with better governance. Sometimes, the ruling party tries to suppress the efforts of participatory development in fear of losing the base of its own power. Genuine participation of the people in administration and implementation of the government programmes can also help in smooth functioning of democracy which otherwise can make ground for holding bureaucracy accountable at the grass-roots. Bangladesh has made a significant, progress recently in reducing poverty, yet


roughly half its citizens, live in deprivation120. Although not properly exploited yet, many inherent strengths can be used as the launching pad for making this country a developed one. To capitalize these strengths we need a comprehensive roadmap, which will carry us to a poverty free world.

industries would need to encompass all aspects of the production process. These would have to comer product design, production process, product packaging and marketing. Creation of a policy environment, which enhances access of rural enterprises to material inputs, financial assistance and infrastructure critical to their survival, has to be ensured.

Avenues of regional co-operation Translating the priorities and targets is primarily a matter for national action. However, there is a scope for a regional window of initiatives which are readily implementable and which have clear potential to boost the attack on poverty. The Independent South Asian Commission On Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA) recommends the following initiatives to be undertaken at the SAARC-level:

l Identification of opportunities based on which viable and sustainable enterprises

A South Asian Data-Base on Poverty Alleviation Best Practices and Regional Cooperation Program on Dissemination: South Asia boasts of a number of 'best practice' initiatives in poverty alleviation some of which have gone on to earn world renown. The region, however, lacks a comprehensive and credible data-base on such 'best practices' and in particular on what particular features constitute the 'best practices' in question. The reality of 'best practices' constitutes a garden of hopes amidst the dismal record on poverty alleviation in South Asia.

could be set up, including identification of industries and clusters which could be promoted in specific areas; l Identification and facilitation of transfer of appropriate technologies to existing units; l Formulation of a package of development interventions that should include identification, training of potential entrepreneurs in rural areas, provision of financial, technical and marketing linkages; l Creation of a policy environment that is conductive to growth of small enterprises through infrastructure development of rural areas, fiscal and other incentives.

Corruption of various departments


3. Country based approaches for replication. Promotion of rural technology in SAARC Development of rural industries and creation of employment opportunities in nonfarm sector holds the key to elimination of poverty in South Asia. Though the share of agriculture in GDP in most South Asian economies has declined significantly, a commensurate decline in the workforce dependent on agriculture for livelihoods has not occurred. Development of rural industries has been slow and sporadic. These family-owned industries of small size and low technological base lack access to credit and marketing facilities. In spite of shortcomings, they employ a significant proportion of the work force for manufacturing. The rural industries and small and medium enterprises in rural areas face threats from many quarters. They also face major threats from products produced by large domestic enterprises at lower cost and often better quality. Revival of rural industries and their growth critically depends on infusion of fresh technology, capital and other inputs. Technological support to rural


(Source: Transparency International Bangladesh, Parliament watch, 2005,p -37)







60 50 40 30 20 10 0


2. A regional capacity building program for dissemination of best Table: Loss of money due to non -availability of quorum practices. l Preparation of training materials. th 11 th session 12th session 13 session 14th session Total l Conducts of regional and capacity building activities. 5,01,15,000 2,77,65,000 1,73,25,000subregional 13,95,000 36,30,000 l Setting up a website and e-group121.

Step 2: Constitution of advisory group for rural technology Once national level coordination is accomplished and nodal agencies identified in each country, an advisory group of these institutions may be constituted. This group would scan existing technologies that are being used by the rural enterprises. Such

Local Government

The following steps are envisaged in operationalizing this initiative: 1. Inventorizing of best practices. l Literature review. l Development of a generic format for description of best practices. l Field work for identification and description of best practices. l Evaluation and collation of successful models.

The following steps are envisaged in operationalizing this initiative122: Step 1: National initiatives on rural technologies At the national level, the major steps required for technology in rural areas would be:

(Source: The Daily Prothom-Alo, 29th October,2004) TIB shows for the cause of corruption Bangladesh lost 225 crore taka from JulyDecember in the year 2003. The sector wise distribution of the loss are given bellow: Sector wis e distribution of loss Governm ent organizations

2.8 3.6 47 41.9

Private organizations NGOs Donor agencies

(Source: The Daily Star, 1st September, 2004.)



scanning is an important first step not only for stock-taking but to plan for future technology development appropriate to the SAARC region to avoid duplication of effort, time and money. Step 3: constitution of a sub-group to identify niche products: There are many products manufactured in rural and cottage industries in SARRC that have a niche market in the world. Brassware, pottery , tie and dye silk products are some example. Value addition to these products could involve greater design inputs. Bamboo products benefit a great deal from design interventions. Jute and other agrobased products could benefit from introduction of designs and packaging which cater to market requirements. The advisory group could constitute a sub-group on product identification for intensive intervention. The sub-group should identify such products for each country and delegate responsibility for development of suitable technology to identified institutions. Step 4: Use of information technology to promote rural technologies: Development of technology involves questions of intellectual property rights and royalty payments in many cases. However, the technologies that have no proprietary rights and could easily be put in the public domain need to be propagated in the SAARC region. A website containing information on them could be created and maintained under the supervision of the advisory group. Review of laws and policies which impact the livelihood of the poor: Poverty alleviation and provision of opportunities that enhance well-being of the poor, power of the people in decision-making, mainstreaming of the informal economy and sustainable development form part of the strategic vision of SAARC. To achieve this vision, it is imperative that national policies, laws and administrative rules and procedures promote equity and social inclusion. there are some issues which affect a large proportion of poor. These are listed below for rural and urban poor separately123: Rural Land tenure laws Laws relating to tribal communities Urban Home-based workers Service providers Street hawkers and (cycle)rickshaw pullers Housing for the urban poor. The following steps are envisaged towards operationalizing the initiative: Step 1: Constitution of thematic working groups Working groups on the topics identified above may be set up. The composition of the working groups would differ depending on the theme. Step 2: Identification of key polices on selected themes Each working group will collect and collate policies followed in individual countries on the topic under discussion.


Step 3: Regional workshops on identified themes. Cooperation and experience sharing on poverty relevant areas: It is necessary to extend the ambit of cooperation in the SAARC region on the issues, which are of pan-SAARC nature and could enhance the region's capabilities and bargaining position in international fora. The issues that are amenable to treatment on a regional scale are many. Some of these are already a part of the SAARC mandate. Elimination of poverty or creation of a South Asian Free Trade Area have received considerable attention. Cooperation in energy, transport and tele-communication, fundamental to rapid economic growth, have been attempted at a bilateral level. There are, however, issues that need to be brought into focused discussion. It may also be easier to elicit cooperation of all SAARC members as these issues are largely apolitical and yet are central to the well being of the poor and their quest for decent standards of living. The issues on which greater cooperation will yield large dividends are124: l Agriculture research and extension l Intellectual property rights in agriculture and protection of bio-diversity l Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protected life saving drugs produced by MNC's l Natural calamities and disaster mitigation strategies l Tourism l Competition policy l Immunization l Protection of various diseases

Agriculture research and extension Agriculture is still the largest employer of the workforce in South Asia. Foodgrains continue to be the staple diet of the people and providers of not only energy but also proteins. The productivity of agriculture in agro-climatic zones of similar nature in different countries vary considerably. A greater cooperation among SAARC members in agricultural research and extension could considerably enhance agricultural productivity and food security of the region. Collaboration between National Agricultural systems could also avoid duplication of research efforts and release resources for further research. Table: Womens position in Union Parishad Elections Year


General member

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)Winners in agriculture and protection of bioCompetitors Competitors Winners 1997 102 20 456 110 diversity 2003 207 22 564 79 IPRs in agriculture are part of the WTO regime. Regional cooperation in evolving a ( Source:position PPRC, Working 1: How the human rightsand and governance agenda best served?, p -21)is of common onPaper IPRs in canagriculture protection ofbe bio-diversity paramount importance as South Asia is one the hot spots of bio-diversity. Protection of this heritage is closely linked to our food security as well. Alternative medicine South Asia has a long tradition of Ayurvedic, Unani and other systems of medicines for health care. These cut across country boundaries and a common position on research, support, development of medicines and extension efforts could be evolved to provide health care at affordable prices to the poor.


Natural calamities and disaster and mitigation South Asia is the most disaster prone area of the world. The World Disaster Report 2001 identified Bangladesh as the most flood prone countries in the world, followed by India. These two countries accounted for a major proportion of global loss of life due to natural disasters. Flash floods, droughts and earthquakes have been recurring in South Asia with increasing frequency. An institutional response at the regional level is required for early detection, warning and for taking up programmes that provide not only immediate relief but also long term rehabilitation and reconstruction. This is especially important because natural disasters affect the poor disproportionately. As there are resource constraints on the SAARC countries facing natural disasters like tsunami or earthquake, we can make an arrangement to use the resources of others. We saw that if there were more equipments in Pakistan, many lives could have been saved in the recent earthquake. So we can together make a 'SAARC Force' which will work in a natural disaster and ensure the best use of our resources. This will also bring the people of the region together and help to build trust among them. Tourism South Asia has a rich cultural heritage. It has a great tourism potential and could be easily marketed as a composite tourist destination. The sector also has a high employment generation potential. Competition policy Decisions making SAARC countries have followed a path of integration with the global economy. Direct foreign investment policies differ from country to another depending on the perception of the individual countries of the role of FDI in their economic Implementation development. However, there are issues other than direct foreign investment on which regional views may be calibrated. One of these relates to competition policy which has been discussed in WTO meetings but no specific decision has been taken. Benefit Sharing The multinational corporations in developing countries could follow policies which may drive out domestic firms. They could also follow policies which may reduce competition. A clear-cut policy in mergers and acquisition and other practices that Evolution reduce competition is required. These are related of monopoly power and implications for employment opportunities. Countries in the South Asia could work out a domestic Figure: People's participation in various levels competition policy in consultation with each other to protect domestic industries. Immunization Immunization programme should be taken jointly in the region so that it can be more effective. Protection of various diseases Worldwide various diseases viz. AIDS, Malaria etc cause death to many people. Recently the problem of 'Bird flu' has risen. We have to combat it jointly. The following steps are envisaged in operationalizing this initiative: Step 1: Setting up of working groups Working groups on each of the topics could be set up as a first step. These groups could be formed by the SAARC Secretariat in consultation with national governments and comprising of persons dealing with different aspects of the problem.


. Step 2: Meeting of the working groups The working groups, as a first step, could undertake a stock-taking exercise. They would also identify themes for collaboration on which further work might be required and commission studies and projects through either regional institutions or institutions located in specific countries. Step 3: Reports of the working groups Each working group would formulate a planfor collaboration among SAARC members countries on specific themes identified by the working groups. Experience sharing and cooperation on social sector polices: SAARC leaders in their summit meetings since 1985 have emphasized the imperative of social development. Broad targets on a wide range of specific themes have been set in different summit declarations. An analysis of the SAARC declarations indicates that SAARC leaders have been extremely concerned about the status of children, especially the girl child, trafficking in girls and sexual abuse, use of drugs and narcotic substances, food security, relief to the disabled and protection to the old and infirm. Access to education, health and other basic needs have been voiced as important concerns. The following steps are envisaged in operationalizing this initiative125: Step 1: Constitution of working groups on thematic issues Working groups on following themes may be set up: l Status of girl child including trafficking and sexual exploitation l Women's empowerment l Child labour l Old-age protection l Empowerment of the disabled l Nutritional security l Health l Education l Basic needs including water, sanitation, shelter, electricity connectivity. Members of the working group would be nominated by the national governments. While nominating members, the national government should ensure representation from NGOs working in the respective areas along with officials dealing with these subjects in the Central (Federal)/ State Government. Step 2: Review of progress made on commitments Each working group would review the commitments made on its theme by the national governments in the international conventions as also in the SAARC summit. It would also collate information to the follow-up actions taken by the countries to fulfill the commitments. Step 3: Identification of best practices on each theme South Asia already boasts of a number of innovative initiatives on the themes. An important task of the working groups would be to develop digests of best practices through commissioned work or other suitable alternatives.


Step 4: Propagation of best practices The best practices that are collected and collated by each working group need to be propagated widely so that local governments, community leaders and NGOs could adopt these practices. Different media channels could be used for propagation of the best practices. Use of information technology by putting these practices on the SAARC web-portal could also be considered. Sharing of perspectives Several multilateral agreements in recent years have significant implications for poverty alleviation. These include the WTO Uruguay Round, followed by the Doha Ministerial Declaration, in turn followed by negotiations on the Agreement on Agriculture, the Johannesburg Plan of Action on Sustainable Development; the Monetary Declaration on Financing for Development; the (annual) Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on climate Change and several others. Similar negotiations in several multilateral forums will continue, either under existing process, or new ones. Perspectives of SAARC countries on these negotiations are generally convergent. There may be differences in nuance and priorities among the SAARC countries, reflecting their specific socio-economic situation. Identifying areas of convergence, as well as tracing the sources of differing perceptions may help the policymakers and negotiators interact more effectively at to reach mutually favourable outcomes. The following steps are envisaged in operationalizing this initiative126: Step 1: Constitution of an advisory group on multilateral initiatives bearing on poverty alleviation The advisory group may be nominated by a government from amongst its senior officials, development practitioners and academics. The advisory group will periodically identify multilateral negotiations and similar events of interest to the SAARC members in the context of poverty alleviation in the region and identify critical themes and issues involved in each of these events, which merit mutual sharing of perspectives. The group may conduct its business by e-group or video conferencing, rater than traveling to formal meetings. Step 2: Commissioning collaborative studies on identified themes and issues The SAARC Secretariat would commission collaborative policy studies on themes and issues identified by the advisory group by established policy research institutions in the SAARC region.

challenges they confront are complex and often intractable. There are issues which bring them together or divide them. But on one issue, the interests of the peoples and the governments of South Asia stand clearly fused. This is the issue of poverty. Notwithstanding the despair of poverty statistics, a poverty-free South Asia is not an impossible dream. Such a dream has already found roots in millions of hearts across the length and breadth of South Asia. The future has already been dreamt. Realizing it is our individual and collective responsibility.

Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley is Chairman of Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) and Editor of Asian Affairs Reference: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Step 3: Conducting regional seminars on each multilateral event Before each multilateral event, a regional seminar would be organized to which key policymakers and negotiators from each of the SAARC members would be invited. Conclusion The countries of South Asia have their commonalties and their differences. The


22. 23. 24. 25.

Doucument of the World Bank and Asian Bank Development Bank, Poverty in Bangladesh: Building on Progess, (2003), p-2. Bangladesh economic review, 2005, p-164. Ibid. p-165. Ibid., p-10. Ibid., p-10. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), op.cit. p-5. Ibid. p-5. Poverty gap, PG, estimates how far below the poverty line the poor are on average as a proportion of the value of that line. Squared poverty gap, SPG, takes into account not only the distance separating the poor from the poverty line but also inequality among the poor. The poverty gap and the squared poverty gap estimates are calculated using the cost-ofbasic-needs method. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-5.. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-33. The two latter goals are Bangladesh national goals articulated in the Bangladesh National Strategy for Maternal Health, 2001. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-33. Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey (BMMS), NIPORT, 2001. A data range is from various sources such as WHO, UNICEF, and GOB. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-34. Ibid., p-34. Ibid.p-35. Ibid.p-36. Ibid.p-37. Ibid.p-27. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-27. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-27. Ibid. p-28. Ibid. p-30. Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA), (2004), SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) 2005-2010, p-20. Doucument of the World Bank and Asian Bank Development Bank, Poverty in Bangladesh:


Building on Progess, (2003), p-53. 26. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-62. 27. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-39. 28. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-41. 29. Ibid. p-41. 30. Ibid. p-42. 31. Ibid.p-43. 32. Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA), (2004), SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) 2005-2010, p-20. 33. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-48. 34. Ibid.,p-48 35. Ibid.,p-48. 36. The Protom-Alo, October 1, 2005 37. Ibid.,p-49. 38. (Source:Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-10.) 39. Ibid. p-11. 40. Ibid. p-12. 41. Ibid. p-13. 42. Ibid. p-13. 43. Ibid. p-15. 44. Ibid. p-17. 45. Ibid. p-18. 46. Document of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank,(2003) Poverty in Bangladesh: Building on progress, p.46 47. Ibid., p.47. 48. The Daily Star, October 30, 2005 49. The Financial Express, October 30, 2005 50. 51. The Financial Express, October 30, 2005 52. Report of the public administration reform commission, 2000, p-123. 53. Economic and Social Consequences of the Arms Race and of Military Expenditure, UN panel of experts, p.1. 54. Peace and Demilitarization, Wali-ur Rahman.2005, p.1 55. The Daily Phrotom-alo, June 10, 2005 and The Daily Phrotom-alo, June 13, 2003. 56. The Daily Star, June 10, 2005 57. The Daily Phrotom-alo, June 10, 2005 58. The Daily Star, June 8, 2005 59. Peace and Demilitarization, Wali-ur Rahman.2005, p.3 60. Text of Social Charter adopted by 12th SAARC Summit. 61. Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA), (2004), SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) 2005-2010, p-19. 62. Bangladesh Economic Survey, 2005, p-125 and 127. 63. Report of the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation, 2003, p-47 64. Report of the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation, 2003, p-47. 65. Aminizzaman, Harald, Istiaq; A study of the Village Pay Phone of Grameen Bank;2001 p23. 66. Ibid. p-35. 67. Millennium Development Goals Bangladesh Progress Report, (2005), Jointly prepared by the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh and the Government of Bangladesh,p-33


68. 69. 70. 71.

Bangladesh Economic Survey,2005, p-200. Ibid. p-200. Biswas, Wahidul K, BANGLADESH'S ENERGY SECTOR: THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, p-2. 72. 73. 74. 75. emberpercent202003/html/news11.html 77. 78. emberpercent202003/html/news1.html 79. 80. The Daily Prothom-Alo, October 13, 2005. 81. Islam N., Natural Hazard in Bangladesh,2005.p-7. 82. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics(BBS),1989. . Dhaka : Government Of Bangladesh 83. Bureau of Disaster Management, Handout Nov.1998. Dhaka : Government Of Bangladesh. 84. UNCHS,1998. Post Flood Shelter Rehabilitation Assessment Report, Prepared for UNDP, Government Of Bangladesh. 85. Daily Ittefaq, News Item 19.11.98. 86. Bangladesh Water Development Board(BWDB), 1987. Flood In Bangladesh. 87. Siddique, I.B. 1998. “the longest Deluge '98 Damages and Strategies for Protection�, Daily Ittefaq, 22 October 1998. 88. UNEP, Bangladesh : State of the Environment,2001, p-2. 89. UNEP, Bangladesh : State of the Environment,2001, p-7. 90. UNEP, Literature Review on Bangladesh Shrimp Policy Research for Sustainable Shrimp Farming in Asia,1999. 91. .CPD, Environmental Impacts of Trade Liberalization and Policies for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources,1999 92. UNEP, Bangladesh : State of the Environment,2001, p-7 93. Bangladesh economic review, 2005, p-215. 94. Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Pablo Zoido-Lobaton(2004), Governance Matters IV: Governance Indicators for 1996-2004, World Bank- Development Economies Research Group (DECRG), World Bank Institute. 95. Kaufmann, Daniel, Aart Kraay and Pablo Zoido-Lobaton(2000), Aggregating Governance Indicators, World Bank Policy Research Paper 2195. 96. The Daily Prothom-Alo, 16th April 2004. 97. PPRC, Working Paper 1: How can the human rights and governance agenda be best served?, p-17. 98. Ibid. p-16. 99. The Daily Prothom-Alo, 16th April 2004. 100.Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman ,Poverty, Politics and Governance: Where does Bangladesh stand and way forward, p.3. 101. Ibid, p.3. 102. Editorial, Dail Star, June 30th 1996 103. Hasnuzzaman, A.M.(1998) Role of Opposition in Bangladesh Politics, Dhaka: UPL. 104. Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman ,Poverty, Politics and Governance: Where does Bangladesh stand and way forward, p.3. 105. The daily Inqulab 24th November,2001. 106. Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman ,Poverty, Politics and Governance: Where does Bangladesh stand and way forward, p.4. 107. Transparency International Bangladesh, Parliament watch, 2005,p-37.


108.Aminuzzaman, Salauddin (2001), Promotion of Pro-Poor Issues: Role of MPs and Major Political Parties in Bangladesh, Dhaka: ActionAid Bangladesh. 109. Anisuzzaman M., People, Politics and Administration: The Misplaced Emphasis ,2001, p16. 110. The Daily Prothom-Alo, 21th October,2004. 111. The Daily Prothom-Alo, 14th September,2004. 112. The Daily Prothom-Alo, 29th October,2004. 113. The Daily Star, 1 November.2002. 114. 115. David P. Hughart, Operations Advisor, World Bank, Bangladesh at the Workshop on Khulna Field Test of Case Management & Court Administration Reforms for the Civil Justice System under the Legal and Judicial Capacity Building Project, on January 15, 2004 116. PPRC, Working Paper 1: How can the human rights and governance agenda be best served?, p-20. 117. Edralin Josefa S., Participation of People,1992,p-140. 118. Document of the World Bank and Asian Bank Development Bank, Poverty in Bangladesh: Building on Progress, (2003), p-1. 119. Report of the Independent South Asian Commission On Poverty Alleviation, 2003, p-93. 120. Ibid. p-96. 121. Ibid. p-98. 122. Ibid. p-100. 123. Ibid. p-104. 124. Ibid. p-105. 125. Report of the Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation, 2003, p-13.







percent for the developing countries [2].

Sustainable Agriculture and Eradication of Rural Poverty Engr. Abdul Waheed Bhutto Introduction In Pakistan, the disparity in incidence of poverty in urban and rural areas, and the higher rate of increase in poverty in the rural areas has prompted debate on growth and productivity trends in the agriculture sector. Although growth in agriculture averaged over 4 percent per year from Facial Year (FY) 1993 to FY1999, the incidence of poverty in rural areas is estimated to have increased by over 7 percentage points in this period [1]. Poverty is rampant in the rural areas, where the people are in a state of human deprivation with regard to incomes, clothing, housing, health care, education, sanitary facilities and human rights. Due to increasing population, natural resources are gradually depleting posing major constraints on the efforts to eradicate poverty. The problems, complex and enormous, are declining availability of agricultural land and agricultural workforce, marginal producers with small land holdings, decreasing per capita land availability, conflicting demands for scarce water resource, urbanization and youth evading traditional farming. In the coming years, Pakistan will require to produce food for larger populations from less and less land. The biggest challenge is how to increase output from the shrinking agricultural sector, while sustaining the productivity potential of the available natural resources. According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Pakistan is required to reduce poverty by half by 2015 from the level of the 1990. The country is committed to pursuing this target along other MDG targets. Achieving MDG targets requires monitoring and analysis of poverty trends. To assess the state of poverty, Planning Commission of the Government of Pakistan has notified an official poverty line based on a caloric norm of 2350 calories per adult equivalence per day. This poverty line approximated to Rs.748.56 per month per adult equivalence in 2000-01[2]. Population Growth During the last 50 years, Pakistan's population has increased from 33 million to 152.53 million in 2004-05, thus making Pakistan the 7th most populous country in the world. Pakistan's population has grown at an average rate of three percent per annum since 1951 and until mid 1980's. Population growth slowed to an average rate of 2.6 percent per annum between 1985-86 and 1999-2000. Since 2000-01 Pakistan's population is growing at an average rate of almost two percent per annum. The current population growth rate is 1.9 percent per annum; but this is still considerably high compared to the average of 0.9 percent for the developed countries and 1.7


The implications of such a rapid population proliferation are grave and multifaceted. It has adversely fostered the process of sub-division and fragmentation of farmlands and added to the fragile and marginal lands by denudation of forests and rangelands. There is a massive migration from rural to urban areas. The increase in population, as a result has led to an increase in labour force. This is evident from Pakistan's labour force figure of 45.76 million in 2004 as compared to total labour force figure of 40.5 million in 2000. There is an increase of 5.27 million working hands in Pakistan. The agriculture sector has absorbed 17.97 million of the total employed labour force [3]. Role of Agriculture in Economy Agriculture accounts for nearly 23 percent of Pakistan's national income (GDP) and employs 42 percent of its workforce and accounts for nearly nine percent of the country's export earnings [2]. Moreover, this sector provides raw material to domestic agro-based industries, such as sugar, ghee, leather, and textiles. Hence, the importance of agriculture to the economic growth of Pakistan and the well being of its people cannot be overstated. Most importantly, 67.5 percent of country's population living in rural areas is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Agro-based industries account for 64 percent of the total industrial production of Pakistan [4]. The agriculture sector is, thus, a major determinant of the overall economic growth and well-being of people in Pakistan. In addition to the direct impact of agriculture growth on poverty reduction, there is also a much larger indirect effect through the linkages between agriculture and non-farm growth in rural areas. Non-farm growth is closely linked with agricultural growth since peasant farmers spend a large portion of their incremental income on locally produced nonagricultural goods thus generating employment and incomes in the adjoining areas. The increased demand for non-farm goods leads to a much larger increase in employment, which is a key vehicle for poverty reduction. Until the late 1960s, Pakistan was surplus in production of food items and as such had enjoyed a favourable balance of trade for being net exporter of food products as well as cash crops and thereafter this position was retained intermittently for a short time. Since early eighties due to water shortage and frequent natural calamities like floods, import of food items has become indispensable. The average growth rate, for agriculture, over the 1990s, was 4.54 percent per annum. This is lower than the average of the 1980s. Agricultural output, over the 1990s seems to have been more variable, from year to year, than in the 1980s. Though the growth rate was a bit lower, it was not bad on the whole, and apart from one year (1992-93), never negative as shown in Table-1 [2, 4, 5]. There were only two years (1996-97 and 1998-99), in the 1990s, when growth was less than two percent. The country witnessed unprecedented drought during the 2000-01 and 2001-02, which resulted in contraction of value addition in agriculture. In other words, agriculture registered negative growth in these two years. The next two years (2002-03 and 2003-04) witnessed a modest recovery in agricultural growth at the back of improvement in the availability of water for irrigation purpose. A stranger performance of agriculture has been hallmark of the FY


2004-05 with growth reaching as high as 7.5 percent on account of unprecedented increase in cotton production (14.6 million bales) and a near bumper wheat crop of the size of 21.1 million tons[2]. Poverty Poverty means hunger, lack of medical treatment, and poor access to basic services such as electricity and water supply. It means being unable to send children to school, and often needing them to work instead. The Planning Commission of Pakistan has adopted an official poverty line based on a caloric norm of 2350 calories per adult per day and minimum non-food requirements. This poverty line approximates Rs. 673.54 per month per adult in 1998-99, rising to RS. 748.56 in 2000-01. [2] Trends in Rural Poverty Poverty increased in rural areas during the 1960s despite high growth rates in agriculture. The initial beneficiaries of agricultural subsidies in the 1960s were generally large farmers. Hence, the increased agricultural growth could not be translated into reduced levels of poverty. The 1970s were marked by the decreasing incidence of rural poverty. Private investment in agriculture reached its peak. There was also very heavy out-migration from the rural areas, resulting in increased foreign remittances, a major reason behind falling poverty trends in the country . Declining trends in poverty continued in the 1980s, largely due to the inflow of remittances and the relatively better performance of the agriculture sector [6]. Despite the fairly robust performance of agriculture over the 1990s, where its growth rates stayed above the population growth rates and were fairly reasonable, rural poverty increased significantly. In 1990-91, rural poverty, according to government Head Count Figures, stood at 25.2 percent [See Table-1]. By 2000-01, the figure had gone up to 38.99 percent. This is a massive increase of almost 15 percent. In other words, for every hundred people, fifteen more people slipped into poverty over this period [7]. In April 2004, the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) had conducted a sample Survey of Household Consumption Expenditure (HCES). The findings of the Survey suggests that the rising trends in poverty have been arrested and that a reversal has begun to take shape [2]. (This survey is not much reliable. Editor) Household income distribution for rural areas shows that over the 1990s the share of the lowest 20 percent of the households, in the overall income, decreased from 8.8 percent to 6.9 percent. At the same time the share of the top 20 percent of households increased from 40 percent to about 47 percent by 1998-99. The Gini Coefficient, a measure of inequality, also increased significantly over the same period [see Table No-02] [7]. So even though rural incomes were increasing in the 1990s, there were increasing distributional asymmetries that were also coming in. The rich, in rural areas, continued to get richer, while the rural poor became poorer. These figures do show that the share of the middle classes has also gone down. If these trends were the same for rural as well as urban areas, we could surmise that the rural middle strata also suffered relative losses over the 1990s.


The government, over the 1990s cut subsidies in agricultural inputs. Fertilizer, pesticide and seed markets were hit by these cuts directly. The government also increased the price of infrastructure over the same period. The price of fuel, electricity and water went up. These are all agricultural inputs. This might have affected the cost of production and income levels. The Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) finds that rural poverty fluctuated during the 1990s but that by FY2001, the incidence of poverty was considerably higher than in the early 1990s. The percentage of rural persons living below the poverty line has increased over time and especially since the late 1990s [3]. According to the Planning Commission, as much as 63 percent of the poor population falls between the poverty line and a level of consumption that is equivalent to 75 percent of the poverty line [8]. Poverty in Pakistan is characterized by large amounts of clustering around the poverty line. This suggests that there exists a high proportion of poverty vulnerable population as a result of changing economic conditions. This underscores the importance of looking at a range around the poverty line, rather than a fixed head count number, for devising an appropriate poverty reduction strategy as well as for assessing the impact of policy changes. Poverty Reduction Strategy In the past 20 years, the country has generated economic growth and strengthened its macro-economic indicators by implementing macro-economic reforms. Like many other developing countries, Pakistan has also made significant efforts to integrate its economy with the rest of the world by lowering tariffs and taking measures to open economy for investment. The performance of the economy remained dismal in the 1990s which caused poverty to rise. However, knowingthe rising trends in poverty during the 1990s, the Government of Pakistan adopted a strategy for poverty reduction in 2001. The poverty reduction strategy of the government focuses mainly on the five areas which include i) accelerating economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability; ii) investing in human capital; iii) augmenting targeted interventions; iv) expanding social safety nets and v) improving governance [9]. Land Reform and Security of Land Tenure Landlessness and the limited access to land is a glaring feature of rural poverty. It is also the foremost characteristic, as much else influencing rural poverty depends on the access to productive assets. The poor households in all the countries studied had a larger family size with a greater dependency ratio. Land distribution in Pakistan is much skewed. Farms less than 5 hectares in size account for about 81 percent of farmers who owned only 38.7 percent of the total farm area. Large farmers of more than 10 hectares comprised only 6.8 percent of all farmers accounting for 39.8 percent of the farm area. Table-3[10] shows the agricultural land distribution by farm size. The much skewed distribution of the size of farm holdings is very striking. The small farms (up to 2 ha. in size) comprising (7.5 percent of all the farms account for only 11.2 percent of the total land area. On the other hand, the large farms (over 10 ha.) which comprise only 6.8 percent of all farms account for 39.8 percent of the total farm area. Small farmers will naturally prefer farming systems that are more labour intensive and less risky, while big farmers would prefer farming systems that are more intensive in capital and they can afford to take risks in the hope of higher returns. Unequal land distribution, crop failures, discriminating access to capital and


resources are farm-size specific. The lesser the size of farm, the greater is the loss. The increase in population is proportionate to the decrease in the number and large and middle sized farms. Poverty and Land degradation The impact of population on agricultural production includes less land per capita, more intensive use of land, and higher dependency ratios per household and income generation (and thus poverty). The two most important driving forces behind the land degradation in Pakistan are limited land resources and increase in population. The result is small farms, low production per person and increasing landlessness. A consequence of land shortage is increase in landlessness of peasantry and poverty. Land shortage and poverty, taken together, lead to non-sustainable land management practices, the direct cause of degradation. Poor farmers are forced to clear forest, cultivate steep slopes without conservation, overgraze rangelands and make unbalanced fertilizer applications. Land degradation then leads to reduced productivity: a lower response to the same inputs or, where farmers possess the resources, a need for higher inputs to maintain crop yields and farm incomes. This increases land shortage thus accentuating the cycle. Additional Land under Cultivation Out of 79.6 million hectares area of the country, only 20 million hectares are available for farming [11]. Irrigated agriculture is practiced on 16 million hectares and the remaining 4 million hectares are under rain fed (Barani) farming. A sizeable chunk of the landmass, about 31 million hectares, is under forests and rangelands and /or remains untapped. The land use data for the last decade shows that the total area under cultivation remained static. The government emphasis is on bringing additional land under cultivation through provision of adequate and efficiently managed water resources. According to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2004-05[2], the government investment in on-going water-related projects will bring an additional 2.88 million acres of land under irrigation and 4.44 million feet of additional water in the next 2-3 years. the government is expecting that it will boost agriculture output, productivity and employment in rural areas in a sustained manner and will help reduce poverty, particularly in rural areas. Technological Developments in Agriculture Current globalization has affected all the countries with an aggressive market based economy. The industrial sector is dominating and agriculture is getting commercialized due to private sector investment. The technologies are generated based on demand. These technologies may not be within the reach of the small farmers and the old technologies are also getting outdated as the products are not of the right quality to compete in the new global markets. Improved crop varieties could easily be adopted by small farmers, but it may not be the case with other technologies such as irrigation, machinery, high tech agriculture etc. These are more favourable to commercial farmers, and then the poor may not adopt them or with a long time lag when conditions become unfavourable. The poorer farmers should acquire knowledge and skills so that the new technology could benefit them. A study in India [12] has indicated that the


technologies generally benefit the poor after a time lag. Even the green revolution technologies, which had initially gone against the poor, have benefited them later on. Therefore, the benefits of technology will accrue to the second generation and not to those who are in the grip of poverty. This indicates that research should be targeted towards the poor farmers over short term as well as for long term development. This cast some light on the research - poverty alleviation linkage. Agricultural research has led to significant increases in productivity and enhanced incomes in developing countries [13]. The development of improved cultivators and management practices, mechanization, improved plant nutrition and crop protection technologies have been in the forefront of agricultural technologies contributing to increased crop yields in many developing countries. The green revolution, which predominated in the early 1960s contributed to unprecedented increases in food production, wheat and rice yields increased by several folds. In the seventies due to the impact of green revolution the incidence of rural poverty declined as agricultural growth and purchasing power of the people rose. Advances in agricultural science and technology has increased productivity, hence it will be an important drive to improve food and nutritional security and reducing the number of poor. Promotion of Agriculture for Poverty Eradication Development economists say that industrialization cannot achieve the goal of prosperity without the simultaneous transformation of the agricultural sector, the source of sustenance of the bulk of the nation's people [14]. Therefore, in the presence of an ever increasing population a rise in agricultural/food productivity is imperative to support the growing needs of the people. Even though the last decade has seen a concentration of development in the urban manufacturing sector, Pakistan is still essentially an agricultural economy. Agriculture plays an important role in economic development, such as provision of food to the nation, increase in exports, transfer of manpower to nonagricultural sectors, contribution to capital formation, and securing markets for industrialization. Improvement in agricultural productivity is answer to the realization of each of these goals. Historical records have shown that agricultural productivity has been growing due to introduction of modern technologies, commercialization of agriculture, increased availability of capital, factor shifts from agriculture to non-agricultural sectors, etc. This whole process could be called 'agricultural transformation,' to which the contribution of each of these factors has been quantified in the existing literature. Over the past several decades, there has been increasing acceptance worldwide that rapid economic growth over a prolonged period is essential for poverty reduction. At the macro level, economic growth implies greater availability of public resources to improve the quantity and quality of education, health and other services. At the micro level, economic growth creates employment opportunities, increases the income of the people and, therefore, reduces poverty. Economic growth also benefits the poor, but not always unless effective measures are taken focusing the poor and directly empowering them. Therefore, rapid growth is vital, but it has to be sustained


and targeted for a meaningful reduction in poverty. Many developing countries have succeeded in boosting growth for a short period. But only those that have achieved higher economic growth over a long period have seen a lasting reduction in poverty East Asia is a classic example of lasting reduction in poverty. A vibrant agriculture in Pakistan is central to the wellbeing of the largest and most rapidly growing section of the population living in approximately 45,000 rural villages [15], as well as for the welfare of the urban population and those working in agro-industrial enterprises.

capitalization project is in the forest reserve and other protected areas. However, environmental degradation has not been at the centre of any government policies in the past decade. The impact of government policy should be examined, since it will not only affect the well-being of the poor, but also the quality of natural resources and environment. In short, inter-linkages exist between population, poverty and the environment, but to date, the government has focused solely on poverty reduction, without regard to population or the environment.

Rising population, shrinking agricultural land, increasing demand on limited water resources, from the expanding industrial and urban sectors, widespread land degradation and inadequacy of infrastructure appear to be major concerns now than ever before. To feed the increasing population adequately, it is estimated that food production has to double within the next 30 years. Meeting this demand will require rapid increase in productivity and product diversification to ensure broad based economic growth capable of improving the livelihoods of the poor. Therefore, agriculture and rural development should receive priority and policies and appropriate technologies will have to play a dominant role for the uplift of the poor. The efficiency of production, which is substantially low [see Table No: 04] has to be improved for growth and the wellbeing of the poor, through the use of appropriate technologies. It is short-sighted of the Pakistan's government to focus solely on poverty alleviation policies.

In the light of increasingly limited income generating opportunities in the on-farm sector, poor households are increasingly turning to the non-farm sector as a key source of livelihood. In addition, there appears to be a higher incidence of vulnerability to falling into and remaining in poverty, among households which are dependent solely on agriculture. Rural areas that are well connected with the urban areas seem to be more prosperous, in part because the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas results either in labour reallocation or migration. In both cases, human capital plays a positive and significant role and the poorest of the poor neither possess the human capital nor have the resources to migrate. This vulnerable group needs special attention.

Researchers in environmental economics, demographics and population studies are generally in agreement that improvements in agricultural productivity will break the population poverty- environmental degradation cycle [16]. The first aim of the government of Pakistan should be to enhance the productivity of the agricultural sector through the provision of required capital inputs which would speed up the transformation process. These inputs range from efficient provision of easy credit to the small farmers, availability of unadulterated fertilizer and pesticide, tractor and harvester services, improvement in the effectiveness of the vast irrigation system, utilization of cultivable wastes and finally farmer's education. The high rate of population growth needs to be checked for increased agricultural productivity to have any significant effect on poverty. The prices of inputs in the production process have to be rationalized to reduce the costs of cultivation, which inevitably push up food prices. The development of the agro-business and the service sector in the rural areas is imperative to absorb the pressure of surplus labour. Lastly, the existence of the powerful informal sector with the large land holders exerting the control over the rural labour and capital market has to be abolished for the transformation mechanisms were to have any effect in the first place. All measures that are supposed to alleviate poverty must target the poor strata, providing them with the means of living, helping them build productive assets and generating income. Unsuitable rules for acquiring access to land can lead to environmental degradation (For example, clearing the land has become an effective way to lay claim to it). Thus, the implementation of the Pakistan's government's land capitalization policy will put pressure on the environment quality since some land in the


The dilemma of Pakistan's poverty reduction strategy is that it is aimed at poverty reduction without boosting agriculture. The spread of irrigation network and modern farming techniques are still missing in the policy packages. Pakistan needs better water management and efficient utilization of water resources for greater welfare of the entire society in general and agriculture in particular. A successful strategy for alleviating poverty and hunger in developing countries must begin by recognizing that they are mainly rural phenomena and that agriculture is at the heart of the livelihoods of rural people. Pakistan has great potential in agriculture and should keep on working on the Agriculture development, which is crucial for poverty reduction. All our poverty reduction strategies should primarily focus on development of agriculture sector for the sake of the poor and industrialization for employment generation and thus reduction of poverty. Other issues that need to be addressed are, (i) Soil erosion and degradation; (ii) Inappropriate fertilizer and pesticide use; (iii) Inadequate availability of quality seed; (iv) Inadequate markets infrastructure; (v)Non availability of adequate farm power; (vi)Weakness of agricultural research and extension services. Land reforms should ensure equitable access to productive resources and restruct rural society and polity on egalitarian line. Such efforts have met with varying degree of success in different countries depending on the correlation of socio-political forces. Development of irrigation, rural electrification and rural roads and transport should receive a high priority in the development plans of the country, giving impetus to the growth of agriculture and rural industries, raising the incomes of small farmers and artisans and increasing the employment opportunities for the rural poor, in general. This trend in agricultural growth could increase income and reduce poverty among the farmers. However, if left alone to the market forces this may not happen.


Agricultural technologies and techniques are constantly changing and farmers need to be made aware of and know how to use agricultural innovations for the exploitation of inherent yield potentials. Seed technologies have benefited the rich than the poor. As evident in the Asian countries the shift into cash cropping will press farmers to sacrifice their own food crops and lead to more food insecurity. All areas with favourable conditions will benefit and worsen the regional inequities. This will bring about some discrepancies in the effort to reduce poverty in all the developing nations.

References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Most small farmers are unable to use the facility of cost free loans because of the cumbersome procedures for transacting a bank loan even if it is interest free. The co-operative banking system is still very weak extending loans to farmers, and recover them. Consequently, the influential farmers tend to dominate the co-operative organizations at the apex level. Conclusion The analysis brings out the correlation between the incidence of rural poverty, access to land, population growth and agricultural growth. Agriculture continues to be one of the most important sectors of our economy, and will be so for some years to come. It employs a majority of our workforce, and if we want to have any impact on poverty levels in rural areas, agriculture has to be the main vehicle for accessing the poor. Agriculture also has the potential for addressing unemployment, for the medium run at least, as it has higher employment elasticity than industry. A vibrant agriculture in Pakistan is central to the well being of the largest and most rapidly growing section of the population living in approximately 45,000 rural villages. Rising population, shrinking agricultural land, increasing demand on limited water resources, from the expanding industrial and urban sectors, widespread land degradation and inadequacy of governing infrastructure appear to be major concerns now. So, agriculture and rural development should receive a top priority. The efficiency of production, which is substantially low, is required to be improved for the being well of the poor, through the use of appropriate technologies.

7. 8.


10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15.


Pakistan should enhance the productivity of the agriculture sector through the provision of the required capital inputs to speed up transformation. These inputs range from efficient provision of easy credit to the small farmer, availability of unadulterated fertilizer and pesticide, tractor and harvester services, improvement in the effectiveness of the vast irrigation system, utilization of cultivable wastes and finally farmer education. The high rate of population growth needs to be checked for the increased agricultural productivity to have any significant effect on poverty.


Engr. Abdul Waheed Bhutto is an assistant professor at Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan



Chapter 2-Poverty Profile < > Government of Pakistan “Economic Survey of Pakistan: 2004-2005”, Islamabad: Ministry of Finance (2005). Government of Pakistan “Labor Force Survey”, Islamabad: Bureau of Statistics Ministry of Finance (2001). Government of Pakistan “Economic Survey of Pakistan: 2000-2001”, Islamabad: Ministry of Finance (2001). Government of Pakistan Economic Survey of Pakistan 1999-00: Statistical Supplement, Islamabad: Ministry of Finance (2001). Malik, Sohail J. “Agricultural Growth and Rural Poverty: A Review of the Evidence”. Pakistan Resident Mission Working Paper No.2-Asian Development Bank. Islamabad: 2005. Dr. Faisal Bari “Growth and Poverty Paradox” The Journal, Vol-8 No.4, NIPA Karachi, Dec. 2003. Government of Pakistan “Accelerating Economic Growth and Reducing Poverty: The Road Ahead” Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper -Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan December 2003. Government of Pakistan “Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Progress Report for the First Quarter of Year 2004-05” PRSP Secretariat - Finance Division Government of Pakistan. Islamabad December 2004. United Nations “United Nations Statement on Food Security in Pakistan” The United Nations System in Pakistan Publication No. UN-PAK/FAO/2000/1-Islamabad, Pakistan. Chapter-1 Introduction< > Chadha, G.K.(2002). Indian agriculture in the new millennium. Human response to technology challenge. Presidential Address, 62nd Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics. December 19 21, New Delhi, India. Lipton, Michel and Richard Longhurst .(1989). New seeds and poor people. Baltimore. Johns Hopkins Press. Southworth, H. M & Johnston, B. F., Agricultural Development and Economic Growth. Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London: 1967. Andrew P. Davidson, Munir Ahmad, Tanvir Ali “Dilemmas of Agricultural Extension in Pakistan: Food for Thought” Network Paper No. 116, Agricultural Research & Extension Network, July 2001. Coxhead, I. and S. Jayasuriya (1994), “Technical Change in Agriculture and Land Degradation in Developing Countries: a General Equilibrium Analysis”, Land Economics, 70(1): 20-38.

Suggested Reading 1. 2.

Alain De Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet “World Poverty and the Role of Agricultural Technology: Direct and Indirect Effects” Journal of Development Studies- June 2001. Jim Harvey “Better livelihoods for poor people: The role of Agriculture” Issues Paper, Policy and Knowledge Section, Rural Livelihoods Department, Department for International Development, London- 2002. S. M. Turab Hussain and Mohammad Ishfaq “Dynamics of Agricultural Productivity and Poverty in Pakistan” Working Paper No. 97-14, Centre for Management and Economic Research; Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan, 1997. <> D.S. Prasada Rao, Timothy J. Coelli and Mohammad Alauddin “Agricultural productivity growth, employment and poverty in developing countries, 1970-2000” Employment Strategy Papers-Centre for Efficiency and Productivity Analysis (CEPA) School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia. Sept-2004.


5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15.

World Bank “Pakistan- Joint Staff Assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper” World Bank Report No. 27625-PK -February 12, 2004. IUCN “Why is Sustainable Environment and Natural Resources Management Necessary for Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan?” Sustainable Environment and Natural Resources Management for Poverty Alleviation IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Pakistan January 2002. Professor H.P.M. Gunasena “Food and Poverty: Technologies for poverty elevation” South Asia Conference on Technologies for Poverty Reduction, New Delhi 10 -11 October, 2003. World Bank “Pakistan- Joint Staff Assessment of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper” World Bank Report No. 23189-PAK - November 15, 2001. Asian Development Bank “technical Assistance to Islamic Republic of Pakistan on determinants and drivers of poverty reduction and ADB'S contribution in rural Pakistan” Asian Development Bank TAR: PAK 37711- March 2004. Mian Tayyab Hassan “Governance and Poverty in Pakistan” MIMAP Technical paper Series .Pakistan Institution of Development Economics, Islamabad. December-13, 2002. Asian Development Bank “Poverty in Pakistan- Issues, causes and Institutional Responses” Publication Stock No. 070302, Asian Development Bank Pakistan Resident Mission, Islamabad- JULY 2002. Salim Rashid “Is land Reform Viable under Democratic Capitalism?” Published: 2000 <> Bardhan P., and C. Udry (1999), Development Microeconomics, Oxford University Press, Somerset. World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) (1987), Our Common Future, New York, Oxford University Press. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2000. "Gender and Food Security: Division of Labor." Fact sheet 6. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Web site: <>

Table No-01: Agricultural Growth and Income Inequality Years

Agriculture growth rate percent

Poverty Rural percent

Urban percent

Total percent













5.00 9.50 -5.30 5.20

25.20 ... 24.60 25.40

26.60 ... 28.30 26.90

26.10 ... 26.80 28.70

... ... 33.10 ... 34.67 ... 38.99 ... 38.65

... ... 22.60 ... 20.91 ... 22.67 ... 22.39

... ... 29.80 ... 32.60 ... 32.10 ... 31.80

1991 1992 1993 1994

42.978 (1972) 65.32 (1972) 84.25 (1981) 112.61 115.54 118.50 121.48




1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

127.51 130.56 133.48 136.69 139.76 142.86 146.75 149.65

11.70 0.10 4.50 1.90 6.10 -2.70 -0.10 4.10

1960s 1970s 1980s


Population (Million)

TableNo-2: Income Inequality Years 1979 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1990-91 1992-93 1993-94 1996-97 1998-99

Gini co-efficient 0.32 0.34 0.33 0.32 0.31 0.41 0.37 0.40 0.41 0.40

Lowest 20 percent 8.3 7.9 7.9 8.0 8.8 6.0 7.0 7.4 7.3 6.9

Highest 20 percent 41.3 42.8 40.0 39.0 40.0 47.4 44.8 43.1 49.3 46.8

Table No-03: Land Distribution by Farm Size Size of Farm in hectare <2 2-<5 Sub-total

Percent of the Total Number of Farms 47.5 33.4 80.9

Percent of the Total Farm Area 11.2 27.5 38.7

Percent of Farm Area Cultivated 92 91

5 - < 10 10 - < 10 20 - < 60 > 60 Sub-total

12.2 4.7 1.8 0.3 6.8

21.5 15.8 13.9 10.1 39.8

80 79 70 54




Table No-04: Potential Yield and Yield Gaps of Various Crops (Tones per ha) Crops

Potential Yield



National Average 2.2













Yield Gaps 4.2


A new international reserve facility; and l l A world central bank.

Currency Union for South Asia: A SWOT Analysis J Ravikumar Stephen Europe had to face two great wars to go through the new renaissance, which made the European nations bury their hatchet for a political and economic cooperation within Europe. The recent result of the referendum in France was just a break speed on the slippery route to an economic/political integration of Europe. Integration of Europe is a mere survival need; hence, sooner or later this is going to be a reality. No way, the need of South Asia is dissimilar to that of Europe, East Asia, Africa and the Pax-Americana. Before doing the SWOT analysis for South Asia, let us try to re-learn what is money and its significance in terms of international trade. Currency and Exchange Rates Money can be described as a unit of account in which debts and prices are expressed. In a hypothetical world in which the number of currencies equaled the number of commodities, the usefulness of money in its roles of unit of account and medium of exchange would disappear, and trade might just as well be conducted in terms of pure barter. Money is a convenience and this restricts the optimum number of currencies and most of the nations consider that a national currency is a means to achieve identity among other nations. Till the late 19th century, people used to fix currencies to gold. In international trading if the prices of foreign goods are expressed in terms of foreign currency, then it must be translated into domestic currency prices as well. In practice, it is realized that more the number of currencies, more the costs of valuation and money changing. International Monetary System In the international jungle of independent currency areas, the superpower, dominates. As the demand for international trading increases, the main beneficiary is the United States. The encourages the US to effect a higher optimal rate of inflation, than would otherwise be adopted. Because of the international demand for its currency, and subject to the constraint imposed by the threat of entry, the United States will have a higher optimal rate of inflation than it would in the absence of the international use of its currency. The Bellagio-Princeton Study Group on International Monetary Reform, organised by Fritz Machlup, Robert Triffin and William Fellner, distinguished four main options for the international monetary system: l The gold standard; l Flexible exchange rates


It is true that the rest of the world needs an international monetary system much more than the United States. In the absence of an international monetary system, the superpower dominates and bilateral bashing replaces multilateral rules. Although superpower pre-eminence will be apparent even in an international monetary system, there is at least a set of rules that apply equally and a multilateral framework for resolving disputes. If the superpower abuses its monopoly position, the rest of the world can form a defensive league against it, and take steps to find alternatives. When, in the late 1970s, the United States went on an irresponsible inflation binge, Europe was provoked into the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS). The second-best alternative to an international monetary system is by regional monetary arrangements. Why not a monetary system for each continent? This regional monetary system is something similar to the Optimum Currency Area concept, proposal by Robert Mundell in 1960. The system encouraged by Robert Mundell, suggests a Fixed Exchange Rate. Before going to in details of the Optimum Currency Area, let us try to understand the nature of Flexible Exchange Rate. Disadvantage of Flexible Exchange Rate Mundell's considerations, several decades ago, seem highly relevant today. Due to increasingly higher capital mobility in the world economy, regimes with a temporarily fixed, but adjustable, exchange rate have become more fragile and a movement to generalized flexible exchange rates would be a step backward for the international monetary system. Flexible Exchange Rate presents the false suggestion that flexibility of the exchange rate provides an extra degree of freedom. A country has a choice to stabilize such possible targets as the price level, the money supply, the exchange rate, the price of gold or the wage rate. In other words, it can have: l A commodity standard l A monetary standard l A foreign currency standard l A gold standard or a wage standard. In the international monetary system of the 1960s the price of gold was fixed by the United States and other countries fixed the price of the US dollar. Moving toward flexible exchange rates (and a flexible price of gold for the United States) shifts the burden of stabilization policy onto a monetary standard, or a commodity standard or a wage standard. Now GDP is expressed in terms Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The departure of relative prices from purchasing-power-parity norms should be a wake-up


call for those who believe flexible exchange rates are efficient. 1. In 1999 the Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to Robert A Mundell for his analysis of monetary and fiscal policies in different foreign currency exchange rate regimes and for his analysis of optimal currency areas. Flexible Exchange Rate will be effective, only if regions of the same country have separate currencies: The price level, the money supply, the exchange rate, the price of gold or the wage rate are not same within the regions of a particular country. If the theory of flexible exchange rates endorsed by James Meade and Milton Friedman were valid, it would apply to a particular region in a country rather than to the entire country itself. Canada is a classical example: The Canadian dollar, uniquely among the G-10 countries, had adopted flexible exchange rate. This had not helped Canada to escape the US business cycle. Though it had addressed the stability of the heartland economy of Ontario and lower Quebec it failed to stabilise the peripheral regions in the west (British Columbia), the north and the Maritimes. It is true to any country. The wages in the industrialised states are not similar to the less industrialised states in India itself. Should we have different currencies for individual states? No. Labour mobility equalises inflation in one state with the recession in another state. Hence, having separate currency for each state will not only be superfluous, but will also add up to the cost of transaction, in addition to the extra cost involved in printing separate currencies. If this is true, it supports the theory of expanding the currency area to mutual trading partner countries as well. Benefit from a common currency In the absence of Common Currency, countries that are in the process of forming a common market would saddle themselves with a new barrier to trade in the form of uncertainty about exchange rates. Mundell argues there are advantages to regions that use a common currency (fixed exchange rate). The following are the benefits:

disturbances. He characterised an optimum currency area as a set of regions among which the propensity to migrate is high enough to ensure full employment, when one of the regions faces an asymmetric shock. Suppose demand shifts from Nepali to Indian goods. The increase in demand for India output result in inflationary pressures there, while Nepal goes into recession. For this, Mundell's argument would be: if unemployed labour could move freely from Nepal to relieve inflationary pressures in the India, both problems could be resolved simultaneously. If a common money can be managed so that its general purchasing power remains stable, then the larger the currency area even one encompassing diverse regions or nations subject to â&#x20AC;&#x153;asymmetric shocksâ&#x20AC;?the better. A country suffering an adverse shock can better share the loss with a trading partner because both countries hold claims on each other's output in a common currency. A harvest failure, strike, or war, in one of the countries causes a loss of real income, but the use of a common currency allows the country to run down its currency holdings and cushion the impact of the loss, drawing on the resources of the other country until the cost of the adjustment has been efficiently spread over the future. If, on the other hand, the two trading partners use separate currencies with flexible exchange rates, the whole loss has to be borne alone. Optimum Currency Area, which has functioned with fixed exchange rate, does not require political integration. We have thriving examples of fixed exchange rate regimes: Austria, Holland and Belgium (and indirectly Luxembourg), were tied to the DM. Argentina's fixed exchange rate system tied to the dollar is an encouraging sign. These are examples that eloquently refute the idea that fixed exchange rate systems cannot work without political integration. The best path toward monetary union is through irrevocably fixed exchange rates and the gold standard was a way of organizing a fixed exchange rate system without the need for political integration. Sequencing Trade and Monetary Integration There are five levels of integration developed in the early 1960s by Bela Balassa (1961). He proposed the following sequence: preferential trading arrangements, free trade area, customs union, common market, economic union.

l A particular currency union facilitates international trade and a single medium of

exchange reduces transactions costs. l Larger currency areas disturbances are likely to be offsetting, so that exchange

rate changes are smaller, with less feedback on domestic prices. l As Mussa (1997) argues that the European crisis of 1992 could have been

prevented if the European countries were using the same currency. l Drawbacks of Optimum Currency Areas (OCA) l Difficulty of maintaining employment when changes in demand or other "asymmetric shocks" require a reduction in real wages in a particular region. l The loss of monetary independence. Mundell's Solution to the OCA Mundell emphasised the importance of high labor mobility to offset such


Free Trade Area & Customs Union

South Asia

Currency Union & Common Market Preferential Trading Arrangements

Currency unions (also known as monetary unions) are groups of countries that share single money. Currency unions commonly occur when a small and/or poor country unilaterally adopts the money of a larger, richer anchor country.


The Following table provides details of the countries that are anchored to other currencies: Name of the Country (ies)

Anchored Currency

Panama, El Salvador, Ecuador and smaller countries and independencies in the Caribbean and Pacific Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia Number of countries in Pacific Liechtenstein Anguilla; Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitt s, Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote dIvoire, Guinea -Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo Cameroon, The Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon

US $ South African Rand Australian & New Zealand $ Swiss Franc East Caribbean $ The Central Bank of the West African States circulates the CFA Franc The Bank of the Central African States circulates a slightly different CFA Franc

Currency Union is not a new concept. The Latin Monetary Union began in 1865 when France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland (later joined by Greece, Romania, and others) adopted common regulations for currency to encourage its free flow across borders. This essentially amounted to a commitment to minting silver and gold coins to uniform specifications, but without other restrictions on monetary policy. The outbreak of the World War-I effectively ended this currency union. Since 1970, Mundell has enthusiastically advocated European monetary unification (EMU), and seems vindicated by the formal advent of the Euro on January 1, 1999. Hence, he deserves the additional sobriquet of â&#x20AC;&#x153;intellectual father of the Euroâ&#x20AC;?. Optimum Currency Area in South Asia The world economy has become increasingly integrated in the last decade. In order to gain from this globalization process, the developing economies have undertaken extensive reforms to integrate themselves more intensively with the rest of the world. The world financial markets are getting synchronized with the liberalization of capital flows, the opening up of capital accounts, the entry of Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in different markets, and the increase in international trade. The idea of Optimal Currency Area (OCA) stems from the seminal work of Mundell (1961) and McKinnon (1963). According to this view, any region that has high intra-regional trade, fiscal transfers, high labor and capital mobility, and that experience the same economic shocks should have a common currency. Let us do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat) Analysis for the formation of Optimum Currency Area in South Asia. Strength The South Asian countries grew at a 5.4 percent per annum on average from 1990 to 2002, and are projected to grow at the rate of 6/7 percent in the next few years. The structure of production is reasonably similar across the South Asia. The share of agriculture varies from 20 to 25 percent for all, except Nepal (40.6 percent) and Bhutan (33.9 percent). The industrial sector constitutes roughly a fourth of GDP in all countries, varying from 21.8 percent (Nepal) to 37.4 percent (Bhutan) in 2002. Except Nepal and Bhutan, the share of service sector for all other member countries


comprises around 50 percent of their total GDP in 2002. All the countries, except Sri Lanka, registered a very low rate of inflation and it stands at an average of 3.7 percent per annum for the SAARC countries. Maldives registered a very low rate of inflation (0.9 percent) in 2002. The figures indicate that most of the South Asian countries have similar growth rate and inflation rate. Inflation rate has, however, been rising in 2005. The South Asia also exhibits a similar demographic structure. The population growth is 2.0% percent per annum on average from 1980 - 2002. The SAARC countries exhibit similar growth rates in money supply. Except Nepal (6.3 percent), the growth in money supply varies between 19.3 percent (Maldives) and 13.1 percent (Bangladesh). Most of the countries have comfortable levels of foreign exchange reserves. All the countries experienced fiscal deficits (combined states and centre) ranging from 3.9 percent (for Nepal) to 10.1 percent (for India) in 2002. Since most of the South Asian countries currently have low inflation, low current account deficits, similar growth, trade and production structure, it prods us to think of the possibility of monetary cooperation in the region, even if not for all the South Asian countries, certainly for some subgroup (s). Following are the recommendation by Saxena: Group 1: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka Group 2: India, Nepal and Sri Lanka Group 3: Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka Group 4: India, Maldives and Pakistan. Even Maskay (2003) finds India and Pakistan suitable candidates for a common currency. While India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a managed float, all the other countries have a pegged exchange rate regime, and Bhutan and Nepal have pegged against the Indian rupee. There is one-to-one convertibility of Indian rupee and Bhutanese ngultrum over the last 20 years and there is no adjustment in the exchange rate between India and Nepalese rupees for the last 10 years. The Group of Eminent Persons (GEP) of SAARC has proposed a roadmap for economic integration through the following: Formation of a South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and a South Asian Customs Union (SACU) by 2015, and South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) by 2020. South Asian countries have also initiated cooperation within the framework of SAARC in poverty alleviation and people-to-people contact programs, expansion in the scope of investment and technology cooperation, besides bilateral initiatives such as Indo-Nepal FTA (Free Trade Agreement) and Indo-Sri Lanka FTA. Some of the more encouraging signs are: l First, a framework treaty for the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), which

was signed by the SAARC member countries at the Islamabad SAARC Summit, 2004, is coming into operation this year. This will pave the way for the eventual creation of a South Asian Economic Union, as envisioned by the Group of Eminent Persons.


Second, The member countries also signed the SAARC Social Charter at the l Summit. The Charter encompasses a broad range of targets to be achieved across the region in areas of poverty eradication, empowerment of women, youth mobilization, human resources development, promotion of health and nutrition, protection of children etc. Weakness While SAARC began with South Asian Preferential Trading Area (SAPTA) in 1995, the progress has been rather slow, especially when viewed against the worldwide trends. Labour mobility helps the members of a monetary union adjust to asymmetric shocks by allowing labour to move from areas of high unemployment to low unemployment. Given the geo-political situation in the region, through there are illegal immigrants to India in search of jobs from Bangladesh, we can not expect high labor mobility except a between India and Nepal / Bhutan. Convergence Criteria: The convergence of macroeconomic indicators like inflation rate, interest rate and exchange rate, public debt, fiscal deficits, etc. are prerequisites for common monetary arrangements in the region. The fiscal deficit for India in 2002 was 10.1 percent. This fiscal condition will not facilitate the effective stabilization of the South Asian currency. Opportunity The increasing global integration is expected to enable the developing countries to benefit from the emerging international fixed exchange rate system and an ultimate common currency can eliminate the risk of exchange rate fluctuations, and thus encourage trade and investment. This would enhance the economic integration process in the region. There are compelling economic reasons to suggest that it is in the interest of all the South Asian countries to promote intra-regional trade and Tea, Newsprint, Jute goods, & Leather Urea, Sponge iron, Semiprocessed leather, & Newsprint


India Steel, Chemicals, Light engineering goods, Capital goods, Coal, Limestone, Pharmaceuticals



Textiles, Cement, Light engineering goods, Machinery, & Railway rolling stock.

economic cooperation. Direct trade in products like steel and aluminum, textile machinery, chemical products, and dry fruits currently being diverted through third countries will benefit both India and Pakistan quite substantially price, quality, and time. The region can expand trade tea and coffee, cotton and textiles, natural rubber, light engineering goods, iron and steel, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and agro-chemicals. The energy problems in the region can be solved through cooperation. The water from the Himalayan Rivers flowing through Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan can be harnessed for flood prevention and inland navigation system. India assisted Bhutan in constructing the Chukha hydroelectric project, which has the potential to benefit Bangladesh and Nepal. There are significant complementarities in trade among the South Asian countries. 11 / 11 Sri Lanka can gain by diverting its trade in cement and shipbuilding with South Korea to India and Pakistan. Adverse terms of trade, protectionism from the West and political instability from the civil war have led Sri Lanka to build local ties. Hence, since 1992, Sri Lanka has consistently advocated improving intra regional trade through the framework of South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA). Like all the other South Asian countries, Pakistan also has a limited access to the markets in the developed world and hence Pakistan has taken initiatives to form Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to promote its exports and improve intraregional trade with Central Asia. But given the competition from developed countries, it will be difficult for Pakistan to capture these markets. So, Pakistan has to concentrate on South Asian market to promote its exports where it enjoys comparative advantages after India. There is a great deal of potential in the region for developing trade and economic cooperation. Increasing openness of the economies with the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers different national currencies, the movements are very smooth and steady towards an economic integration. According to Mehta and Bhattacharya, the complete elimination of tariffs under SAFTA may increase the intra-regional trade by 1.6 times of the existing level. The following are some of the general reasons a country would prefer to join an OCA: To gain the inflation rate of the OCA; l To reduce transactions costs in its trade with a major partner; l To eliminate the cost of printing and maintaining a separate national currency; l To participate in a purchasing power parity area, which would be fostered by fixed exchange rates and even more by monetary union; l To keep the exchange rate from being kicked around as a political football by vested interests that want depreciation to increase profits, or to bail out debtors; l To establish an automatic mechanism that will enforce monetary and fiscal discipline; l To have a multinational cushion against shocks; l To participate more fully and on more equal terms in the financial center and capital market of the union; l To provide a catalyst for political alliance or integration;


To establish a power bloc as a countervailing influence against domination of l neighboring powers; l To establish a competing international currency as a rival to the US dollar and earn, instead of paying, seigniorage; l To reinforce or establish an economic power bloc that will have more clout in international economic parleys and have a greater power to improve, by its trade policy, its terms of trade; l To participate in a restoration of a reformed international monetary system. Threat Here are some of the circumstances under which a country might decide against joining a fixed exchange rate zone or a currency union: l Because the country wants to use the exchange rate as an instrument of employment policy to lower or raise wages; l Because, as a large country, the country does not want an unfriendly country to benefit from the economies-of-size advantages of the large currency area, or else because it fears that the addition of another currency will make national macroeconomic policy more difficult; l Because the country wants to use the money-expansion or the inflation tax to finance government spending, and it would be prevented from doing so to the extent desired by the discipline of fixed exchange rates; l Because the government of the country wants to use seigniorage as a source of hidden or off-budget funding for personal use by members of a corrupt government; l Because a regime of fixed exchange rates could conflict with the required policies of a central bank that had a constitutional mandate to preserve price stability; l Because monetary integration with one or more other countries would remove a dimension of national sovereignty that is a vital symbol of national independence; l Because the country wants to maintain its monetary independence in order to use the money-expansion or inflation tax in the event of an emergency; l Because there is no domestic political and economic leadership capable of maintaining a fixed exchange rate system in equilibrium; l Because the partners in the prospective currency area are politically unstable or prone to invasion by aggressor countries; l Because the country does not want to accept the degree of integration implied by the OCA agreement, such as common standards, immigration, labour or tax legislation.

Reducing Transaction Costs: To reduce the cost of exchanging currencies for intra-regional trade and to improve the transparency in price setting necessary for the promotion of intra-regional trade and investment flows, the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) can be strengthened further to facilitate such transactions. The scope of ACU can be widened to include tourism, service transactions and others. Maldives, the only country of South Asia, which is not the member of ACU, can seek the membership. The other Asian countries may be invited to join ACU.Monetary Policy for Shocks: A common monetary policy will reduce the asymmetric shocks. For this South Asian Fraternity (SAF), in the respective countries need to coordinate with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of their respective countries and facilitate exchange of business professionals. Coordination of Fiscal and Monetary Policies in the Region: Fiscal positions need to be strengthened through deficit and debt reduction. There is a need to establish greater harmony in monetary policies in order to reduce currency misalignment and achieve full convertibility within South Asia.

J Ravikumar Stephen is a management consultant and a peace Activist. He is a member of the national executive committee of the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) in India. Bibliography 1. 2.


4. 5.

Do Currency Regimes Matter in the 21st Century? An Overview by Hiroshi Fujiki and Akira Otani (MONETARY AND ECONOMIC STUDIES (SPECIAL EDITION)/DECEMBER 2002) Sequencing Trade and Monetary Integration: Issues and Applications to Asia by Richard Pomfret (Working Paper 2004-14, School of Economics, University of Adelaide University, Australia) Monetary Cooperation in South Asia: Potential and Prospects by Sweta Chaman Saxena and Mirza Allim Baig (Discussion Papers- RIS-DP # 71/2004 - intend to disseminate preliminary findings of the research carried out at the Research and Information System [RIS] for the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries) Mundell, the Euro, and Optimum Currency Areas by Ronald McKinnon (May 22, 2000) Currency Unions by Andrew K. Rose (CEPR, NBER and Haas School of Business, University of California), for The New Palgrave

Conclusion It took the European Union a long time to achieve the current levels of labour mobility and this can be enhanced in South Asia through integrated labour laws in South Asia once the process of economic integration officially begins. Promotion of Intra-Regional Trade: The intra-regional trade can be facilitated through a reduction and ultimate elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers. The attempt to move towards SAFTA appears to be more promising in this direction. The bilateral FTA between the countries in the region can also supplement this.



Farmers' Suicides in India Some Sociological Reflections1 Dr P. Radhakrishnan There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus Mahatma Gandhi's cliché that 'India lives in its villages' is still very important, albeit to a lesser extent than about 60-70 years ago. However, the India of his cliché has of late been in its last gasp. Central to understanding the tide of farmers' suicides and the possibilities of reversing it is the agrarian distress since the mid1990s in certain parts of the country among certain sections of the people. Accordingly, this paper will present an overview of India's agrarian society; an account of its agrarian distress; the nexus between agrarian distress and farmers' suicides; the larger contexts of both; and the possible remedies for mitigating the distress and minimising the suicides. India's Agrarian Society India is still predominantly an agrarian society. Nearly three-fourths of its population lives in rural areas2. Agriculture, the means of livelihood for two-thirds of the population, and an important source of raw materials for industry3, is recognised as a key to India's economy. The profound changes in Indian agriculture since the 1960s have had cascading effects on India's agrarian economy and society. These changes may be understood in two broad phases, namely, as the effects of the 'green revolution' technology, and of the industry-market-MNCs driven agriculture. Related to both were the agrarian reforms, which gradually loosened the existing and emergent farming classes from the traditional safety-nets at the community level and forced them to be under the newly institutionalised bureaucratised farm services away from the gaze of the village locals.

lending agencies and physical and administrative marketing facilities. The green revolution has become, in effect, not merely the technology but the strategy for the development of commercial agriculture in India. The economy of bourgeois revolution in the Indian countryside is commercial agriculture … To India's growing number of green revolution farmers, their increased production would, of course, be useless… without markets in which to sell it. Increasingly, their markets have become part of a national market. The Indian Union is their national market. The Government of India is their guarantor of privileged access to the Indian market and its regulator, the subsidizer of the prices they pay for chemical fertilizer and the supporter through its procurement programs of the prices they receive for their produce. Agricultural development and political democracy have been the principal ingredients of bourgeois revolution in the Indian countryside. Its principal [though by no means, sole] participants and beneficiaries are those households the upper quintile , which operate four or more hectares, as proprietors or controllers. Most of them operate fewer than 8 hectares. In a generation they have ceased being “peasants,” i.e., subject cultivators, and they have become capitalist farmers: legally secure in their tenure, acquisitive, enterprising, socially mobile, exploitive of their labourers, ambitious for their children, politically assertive and the force to be reckoned with in local and state politics. Stern's observations supplement those of Srinivas made in the late 1970s (1992: 78) that the landowning families from the dominant and high castes are among the greatest beneficiaries from India's independence. His reference was to the rich landowners; and his following observation about them (ibid.) is particularly relevant to the scope of this paper.

Of the first, which facilitated a trebling of the area under irrigation and a hundredfold increase in the consumption of chemical fertilizers4, Stern (1993: 9, 119-20) wrote:

They are politically powerful, especially at the state level and they have used their power to strengthen themselves economically. They have a fair representation in the bureaucracy and the professions, though the quantum of their representation varies from state to state. The partiality of this class for large, sprawling families enables them to operate in both rural and urban areas, using their urban contacts to exploit better their rural opportunities and vice-versa, just as they use their political power to gain access to wealth, education and the professions. They are the oppressors and exploiters of Harijans, landless labourers and the other rural poor; they have used their power at the state level to delay and sabotage land reforms.

Basically [the green revolution technology] is the application of high inputs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation waters to specially developed, high-yielding varieties of seeds … It is a technology for commercial agriculture. It has developed along with

As the observations by Stern and Srinivas are still valid, it is only fair to say that India's embourgeoisment has further impoverished its traditionally impoverished millions. Among the main indicators of this are the nature of India's agricultural holdings and the composition of its rural workforce:



Marginal and small farmers are predominant in Indian agriculture. Their holdings accounted for 73 percent of the total operational holdings during 1976-77, 76 percent during 1985-86 and 80 percent during 1995-96. Of the total area operated, marginal and small farmers operated only 23 percent, 29 percent, and 36 percent during these years. Their average size of holdings for these years was less than a hectare5. More than half the work-force even during 2001 was in agriculture. India's rural poor, both the work-force and the small land holders, were vulnerable even in its traditional society, especially during crop failures, famines, and natural calamities. But their continued vulnerability and the presence of traditional buffers in some sense made them resilient to natural and man-made hardships and to distress situations. Despite their resilience, how come their vulnerability assumed distress proportions recently. While the root-cause of this could be traced to the working of the green-revolution technology, which left untouched among others, cotton, jute and tea, which Stern rightly characterised as 'a rural slum of the British empire', (P. 9) its culpritcause is undoubtedly the fast unfolding globalisation.

Agrarian Distress There have been competing interpretive claims about the situations of the subsistence (marginal and small) farmers, which have been causing them distress. These claims began with the exacerbation of the condition of the farmers in Andhra Pradesh, the persistence of which for about a decade now has made this state the focus of the debates on the dismal failure of the agrarian sector, governance at the levels of the state and the Centre, and of India's economic reforms to address the problems of the subsistence farmers. Andhra Pradesh Of the main workers in Andhra Pradesh nearly two-thirds were in agriculture according to the Census 2001. The marginal and small holdings in the state accounted for 81 percent of the total operational holdings during 1995-96. However, these holdings together had only 43 percent of the total area operated; and the average size of holding was less than a hectare (0.94 hectare). Of the gross cropped area from 1992 to 1999, nearly half was under non-foodgrains. Of the net sown area during the same period the net irrigated area was only about 38 percent to 41 percent. The gross irrigated area was almost the same. The gross cropped area under cotton steadily increased from 13 percent in 1992 to 19 percent in 1997, along with a steady increase in fertilizer consumption and farmers indebtedness6. These are only part of the ingredients that went into the making of the distress-brew in Andhra Pradesh, and for that matter in other states especially in south India, Maharashtra, and Punjab,


Distress Discourse In a long and incisive essay, `Deadly Crop: Difficult Times Drive India's Cotton Farmers to Desperate Actions', in the Wall Street Journal of 18 February 1998, Jonathan Karp discussed many of the causes of the farmers hardships. This was in the context of cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh, focussing on Warangal district, its distress-suicide epicentre. Stating that King cotton has turned killer cotton in southern India, Karp observed that though agriculture largely propelled India's 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth for the year ended 31 March 1997, economic expansion is bypassing some of India's most impoverished rural areas, and many people, like the cotton farmers, are trapped in a feudal time warp. Karp's related observations are: small farmers - the vast majority of whom own less than five acres of land which make modern farming difficult - like other Indians on the margins of the economy, feel squeezed as never before by India's economic reforms, which they resent. Economic Boom's Dark Side Karp added that subsidy cuts have made seeds, fertilizers and electricity more costly, while remaining trade barriers prevent farmers from fetching a higher price for cotton, failure of Government education programmes, leaving the mostly illiterate farmers dependent on unscrupulous pesticides dealers for advice on managing crops; and most important, the collapse of the rural banking system; and short of cheap bank credit, farmers were forced to turn to moneylenders who charged, on average, 36 percent annual interest. Karp characterised this as 'economic booms dark side'. Karp started with a narration of the journey to death by two farmers: One farmer's cotton crop had failed, ravaged by caterpillars, immune to pesticides that he sprayed frantically. He had already sold his two oxen to repay one loan and had nothing more to offer the usurious moneylenders who were hounding him for the $3,300 he owed, equal to two-and-a-half years earnings in good harvests. The other farmer was deep in debt when pestilence descended: the well he dug for irrigation had collapsed three years ago, and two years of drought and irregular rains hurt his cotton yield, requiring greater investment in fertilizer and pesticides, at a time the wider cotton cultivation had driven down the market price. A villager's suggestion to the farmer's illiterate widow, six months pregnant with their third child and saddled with debt, who sobbed as she threw herself on a visitors feet to beg for help, 'sell your oldest son to a landlord', pointing to the sixyear-old, as bondage pays $80 a year cash upfront, is a telltale of how not only economic reforms but also the expected social democracy bypassed the rural poor to the advantage of the rich farmers, that too at a time when the nation was gloating over its success in abolishing bonded labour. Pesticide Treadmill and Spurious Seed Glenn Davis Stone's study (Stone 2002) is also of the distress-suicide syndrome of the cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh, particularly the small and marginal. Stone attributed the culprit-cause of the farmers' distress to, what the farmers themselves


a. stressed, the pesticide treadmill and spurious seed: Cotton is the classic “pesticide treadmill” crop. Warangal farmers spend heavily on pesticides that are applied desperately and indiscriminately to combat a plethora of increasingly resistant pests. Warangal crops also fail because of “spurious seed”inferior cotton seed packaged as popular brands. Warangal farmers need much tighter regulation at the point-of-sale (the input vendors), but India's regulatory focus long has been at the other end of the seed system (approval and certification). This year, unapproved and illegal GM cotton (apparently developed with stolen germplasm) was found growing in Gujarat, prompting “corporate fury” and great pressure to increase regulation of production and distribution of seed. If this comes at the expense of the point-of-sale regulation that Warangal farmers need, the spurious seed problem will only get worse. Larger Global Forces Stone pointed out that there are much larger forces at work in Warangal, including the emergence of a global corporate agricultural oligarchy, the internationalisation of gene patenting and the poorly understood process of agricultural deskilling. The cascading effects of the working of this oligarchy on Indian villages should explain the second phase of the agrarian changes mentioned earlier. Global Corporate Agricultural Oligarchy What happened to Chandrababu Naidu's Bumbledom during the two terms (nine years) of governance by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by him is a telltale. Paraphrased below is a critique of the World Bank's report, Andhra Pradesh: Agenda for Economic Reforms, and its use as the blueprint by Naidu for social engineering in Andhra Pradesh (Kumara 2004): a.


c. d.



The report envisaged 80percent of the funds for Andhra Pradesh's economic reforms to be obtained from foreign sources, and the World Bank and DFID assumed the role of overseer of state policy. Among others, the report, World Bank and DFID urged the Naidu government the following: Selling off to private investors of state-financed public sector enterprises (PSEs) which had long played a crucial socio-economic role in the state by providing employment, free medical care to their employees families, and lower-priced consumables in sectors such as dairy, transportation and electricity. Elimination of all subsidies to agriculture, on which three quarters of the states 75 million people depend for their livelihood. Forming a new agency called the Implementation Secretariat (IS), consisting of mainly expatriate British consultants from a right-wing British think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, as a way to bypass the state legislature. the instance of the IS, the Naidu government in the name of efficiency and infrastructure development promoted the commercial interests of IT hardware units, agribusiness companies (foreign financial institutes and international bankers), and biotechnology by heavily subsidising them. The process involved resorting to, among other things, the following:


Selling off public enterprises at bargain prices, which laid off thousands of workers through the “Voluntary” Retirement Scheme (VRS) for which the World Bank granted $26 million covering 70 percent of the estimated cost, with the remaining 30 percent coming from the state. Splitting the integrated state-owned APEB (Andhra Pradesh Electricity Board) into separate generation, transmission and distribution companies with generation open to private competitionresulted in massive increase in electricity rates, provoking a huge backlash from June to August 2000 through agitations and demonstrations, which forced the government to a small rollback in rates and postpone further hikes.

Prepared and implemented the TDP government document, Vision 2020, the goals of which included the following: a. Transforming Andhra Pradesh from a mainly agricultural state to a developed economy like Singapore by 2020, involving sustained investment totalling $750 billion over a 20 year period an amount several times greater than the total FDI inflow into all of India during the past decade. The central role in this transformation was assigned to information technology. b. Transformation of agriculture by mechanization, which involved consolidation of smaller farms and 'contracting' them out to private corporations, pressuring the farmer into giving up their land to agribusinesses, supply of seeds and other inputs by private corporations to be 'repaid' by the farmers over a specified period, with the corporations owning the produce and paying the farmers wage for their labour, thereby transforming them into agricultural labourers; making farmers dependent on commercial seeds, thereby enriching trans-national seed companies and replacing the time-honoured practice of saving seeds from the previous harvest; reducing the number of farmers in the state to 40 percent of the population, without any significant programme to adequately rehabilitate the remaining 30 percent of the farming population. Other States The wide coverage of the agrarian distress in Andhra Pradesh by the national and international print and electronic media, and others, in particular the academics; and the relatively more elaborate account of it in this paper should not be construed as absence of agrarian distress in other states, or the distress has been limited to the cotton farmers. Even in Andhra Pradesh cotton farmers have not been the only distressfarmers. As a report indicated, one of the striking features of changes in cropping pattern in Andhra Pradesh is that over a period of time the drought-prone Anantapur district, which is one of the two districts in the country having lowest rainfall, has almost become a mono-crop district. The crop is not cotton, but groundnut (70 percent), the area under which has increased steadily over the years. The fact that most of the farmers are not getting the Minimum Support Price (MSP), and are tied to traders and middlemen who are dealing in agricultural inputs, which depresses the price that farmers are to get for their output, combined with the present mono-culture of groundnut, has completely transformed socio-economic life of people, as resilience to drought is broken due to mono-culture. (Vidyasagar and Suman Chandra 2004)


If Andhra Pradesh became a focal point it is mainly for two reasons. The first is the early beginning and the severity of distress in it. The second is, a policy purported to be social engineering gone awry for more than a decade. Apart from Andhra Pradesh other states, and for that matter the rest of India, can learn valuable lessons for dismissing the dictates of the MNCs, the WTO, the GATS, the World Bank and other instruments of globalisation, which is only the new face of imperialism, and thus save the country from further ruin and the people from further distress and death. While there is no comprehensive and authentic data on agrarian distress in different parts of the country, going by the media, and other sources, not all states have been under distress, and of the distress states, not all have been on the same level among themselves or as Andhra Pradesh. This is, however, no reason for complacence as globalisation has its own way of gobbling up the remaining states as well. Going by available information, among other states agrarian distress has been intense in Karnataka since 2001, where the Congress ministry of S.M. Krishna did a Naidu, by following the World Bank model, and pumping in huge finances for its industry-driven agriculture; in Kerala, especially in Wayanad district, known for its cash crops, such as pepper, coffee, tea and cardamom; in Tamil Nadu (due to both drought and rain), in Maharashtra, especially in the cotton and Soya-bean growing region of Vidarbha, and in Punjab, in all of which farmers have been caught in a vicious cycle of crop failure, rising debt, chasing moneylenders, and persistent drought. Distress and Suicide While the foregoing sections may give an overall idea of the agrarian distress, its single most important cause has been the opening up of India's agrarian economy to global corporations in 1998, following the World Bank's structural adjustment policies. The effects of this are bound to be cascading. Some of these, which have only begun to unfold, have already been discussed. Probably the most eloquent critique of these policies has been by Vandana Shiva, in a number of important interventions and contributions. Her critique highlights the following7: a. Replacing farm-saved seeds by corporate seeds, which need fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved. As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seed with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farm has become a commodity which farmers are forced to buy every year. b. Increase in the risks of crop failure by the introduction of monocultures and uniformity as diverse seeds adapted to diverse ecosystems are replaced by rushed introduction of un-adapted and often untested seeds into the market. c. Ruination of the viability of small farmers and small farms as a result of delinking farming from the earth, the soil, the biodiversity, the climate and linking it to global corporations and global markets, and replacing the generosity of the earth by the greed of global corporations. Debt is a reflection of a negative


economy. Two factors have transformed the positive economy of agriculture into a negative economy for peasants - the rising costs of production and the falling prices of farm commodities. Both these factors are rooted in the policies of trade liberalization and corporate globalisation. Debt is a result of rising costs of agricultural inputs and falling prices of agricultural produce. Both the rising costs of production and decline in farm prices are intended outcomes of trade liberalization and economic reform policies driven by agribusiness corporations. d. The industry-sponsored economic reforms are anti-poor. They have changed the way poor and illiterate farmers work their land, encouraging them to borrow heavily to sink wells, buy new high-yielding seeds or plant cash crops. e. Drought is only a partial explanation for indebtedness and crop failure. The deregulated seeds untested for India's diverse soil and climatic conditions and rising costs of inputs are a major cause for crop failure and farm debt. f. Deregulation of the input sector, the entry of seed MNCs and the creation of seed monopolies have increased the costs of inputs and the risks of crop failure. As other critics have also observed, the powerful pesticide lobby has been one of the chief promoters of the switch from sustainable, low-yielding traditional cultivation to cash crops like cotton which are susceptible to pests, and require frequent application of pesticides; the indiscriminate application of pesticides led to increased resistance in pests; as pests continue to ravage crops, desperate farmers used pesticides even more indiscriminately; and with suppliers offering pesticides on credit, expenses mounted and the noose tightened. With banks largely pulling out of farm lending; new commercial lenders charging 25-35 percent interest a year stalked the distress scenes. Often these same lenders sell supplies and services to the farmers, only to buy goods and equipment back from defaulters at exorbitant prices to recover their money. (Verma 1998) Like others, Vandana Shiva attributed farmers' suicides to agrarian distress. In an open letter titled 'Why Farmers Suicide?' to the Finance Minister, and elsewhere, she dwelt at length on a variety of critical issues. At the risk of simplification some of these issues are summarised below: Farmers' suicides are a result of indebtedness, an inevitable outcome of an agricultural policy, which favours corporate welfare and ignores farmers' welfare. Farmers' suicides cannot be blamed on nature and the rain. They cannot be stopped by asking states to assist banks for formulating new 'bankable investment project' like plantation and horticulture. Even in plantation and horticultural corps farmers' suicides have started. Every crop, every ecosystem is affected. Despite wide publicity to agrarian distress and related suicides, no state has come forward with a reliable report on both. In this context, the statement by Kerala Agriculture minister, K.R. Gouri, as reported in the media on 21 September 2004, that the report on farmers' suicides to the Centre was not submitted because the state home department had not furnished the number of suicides, is appalling. Nevertheless, if available data are any indication, the number of farmers who committed suicide was about 3,000 in Andhra Pradesh since 1997: 2,505 in 2001-02, 2,340 in 2002-03; and 708 in 2003-04 in Karnataka (Tukaram 2004); 173 in Kerala;


330 in Maharashtra; nearly 2,200 in Punjab (in 15 years since 1988); and 2 in Tamil Nadu (2004). Larger Contexts Though this paper has been concerned with agrarian distress and suicides, as neither distress nor suicide has been confined to the agrarian sector, and suicide is the extremity and not the only act of desperation, both should be placed in broader contexts. In the context of Andhra Pradesh itself at least two issues are important to note. One, the devastation by Naidu's economic reforms of the traditional handloom industry, which had long provided employment to large number of worker-artisans; the distress caused by the inability of the weavers, who previously relied upon the state government for marketing and modernization, to compete with more modern power-looms; and unable to bear the distress hundreds have committed suicide. (Kumara 2004; Sharma 2004) Two, starvation deaths because of lack of work in the villages forcing the small farmers and agricultural labourers either to migrate or starve to death. (Sharma 2004) The observation in the context of Karnataka that in the aftermath of the mid1960s Green Revolution community farming became extinct and life became an everyman-for-himself contest, is equally applicable to other states, (Tukaram 2004). The overall capability-deprivation of the villagers, with many reduced to penury and starvation, and some persisting with life by selling their kidneys, add additional dimensions to agrarian distress. As both agrarian distress and suicides are social problems, sui generis, and also related to one another, and the former has already been widely discussed, the latter calls for more attention. However, the statistical information on suicides is so skimpy and badly put together that it does not permit any meaningful analysis. What is important to note in this context is the central thesis of Durkheim's classic work of 1897 (Durkheim 1979) that the suicide rate is a phenomenon sui generis; that is, the totality of suicides in a society is a fact separate, distinct, and capable of study in its own terms, and the related postulates: What looks like a highly individual and personal phenomenon is explicable through the social structure and its ramifying functions. The stronger the forces throwing the individual onto his own resources, the greater the suicide-rate in the society in which this occurs. A given number of suicides are to be expected in a given type of society. But where the rate increases rapidly, it is symptomatic of the breakdown of the collective conscience, and of a basic flaw in the social fabric. Whether the suicides caused by agrarian distress are within the Durkheimian framework is debatable. Durkheim might not have anticipated globalisation and the forces unleashed by it in different parts of the world, which are socially disruptive. As the disruption caused by globalisation inflicts basic flaws in society, the social construction of suicides needs to be taken beyond the Durkeimian framework. The emergence of new deleterious institutional features in society represents


the associational features of suicides and as agencies which have hastened the farmers as individuals into the suicide traps. As these features impinge on the newly emerging agrarian relations both within and outside the agrarian sector the related phenomenon of suicides is best understood within a combination of the Durkeimian framework and the framework of the political economy of agrarian relations. If, as observed by Karp in the essay mentioned earlier, 'more broadly, the suicides betray a breakdown of everything India needs to modernize agriculture: education, supervision of technology, finance, investment and more-equitable markets, the remedy to prevent the suicides is to address this break-down. Unlike in Durkheim's time with the unsettling effects of globalisation on the basic existential conditions of individuals in society, the concepts of life and death take on a very different meaning: When the notion of suicide becomes a relatively accepted way out of the extreme distressful and hopeless condition of life, and ending life becomes a way of life, one should also turn to the philosophical issue raised by the existentialist Camus. While on suicide, one might as well ask, why Tamil Nadu, which is otherwise more prone to suicide, thanks to the cinematic chicanery of M.G. Ramachandran, and has a higher suicide rate along with Karnataka and Kerala, has had minimal number of suicides despite its agrarian distress of the last four years; and the remaining states have a lower suicide rate than even Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The probable answer to the first is that the killer cotton, which struck deep roots in Andhra Pradesh, has yet to strike roots in Tamil Nadu. The probable answer to the second calls for further exploration, inasmuch as the lower rate of suicide in them cannot be linked to their backwardness, as Punjab is an economically and agriculturally advanced state where the suicide rate is the lowest. Conclusion In the traditional Indian society, villagers, in particular the farmers had developed enough resilience to adversities, whether natural or man-made. Even at the height of landlordism - from the 1930s to the early 1970s in some states farmers mobilised themselves, took on the landlords and the establishment supporting them, and often turned militant in their action. One might ask whatever happened to that strong tradition of collective identity and collective action. In this context the earlier reference that in the aftermath of the mid-1960s Green Revolution, community farming became extinct and life became an every-man-for-himself contest assumes great significance. The resilience was also partly because of the nature of the village set-up. Despite its discriminatory, exclusionary, and exploitative nature, the jajmani system (Wiser 1988) through its collective communal identity carried and conveyed the importance of life as worth living no matter whether the person was high or low in society. No doubt, in modern context, and in keeping with India's democratic ethos, the system requires thorough cleansing for correcting the aberrations and distortions in it. Under the traditional system, farmers spent less on cultivation as they had their own seed banks, used organic fertilizers, and grew crops that did not require as


much water, and were thus relatively less dependent on moneylenders to harvest their next crop and buy their next meal. A bad monsoon season made their lives more difficult, but they managed. (Tukaram 2004) If the MNCs have their way and say in India despite opposition by the people, it is mainly because the governments at the Centre and in states have turned compradors of the imperialist instruments. The repeated exhortations by politicians and those in high places to farmers and other sections (such as education) of society to prepare themselves to face the challenges of globalisation, with dispiriting effect on the people only embolden the MNCs8.

2. 3. 4.


Dr P. Radhakrishnan is a professor at Madras University References l Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Agriculture. Mumbai. 2004. l Durkheim, Emile. [1897] 1979. Suicide: A Study in Sociology. London. Routledge and

Kegan Paul. l India at 50: Facts, Figures and Analyses, 1947-1997. Chennai. Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. 1997. l Kumara, Kranti. 2004. 'India: Behind the Rout of the Telugu Desam Party - A Portrait of World Bank Social Engineering'. Asian Tribune. 12 June. l Sharma, Devinder. 2004. 'India's Agrarian Crisis: No End to Farmers Suicides'. 28 June ZNet | South Asia. l Shiva, Vandana, Jafri, A.H, Emani, A. and Pande, M. 2002. Seeds of Suicide: The Ecological and Human Costs of Globalization of Agriculture. Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi. (Revised edition of 2000 book by same name.) l Shiva, Vandana. 2001. â&#x20AC;&#x153;India: Corporatisation of Agriculture Disastrous. The Guardian, 7 March. l Shiva, Vandana. 2000. Stolen Harvest: The High jacking of the Global Food Supply. Boston: South End Press. l Shiva, Vandana, Emani, Ashok and Jafri, A.H. 1999. Globalisation and Threat to Seed Security: Case of Transgenic cotton trials in India. Economic and Political Weekly. 34 (10): 601-613. l Srinivas, M.N. 1992. On Living in a Revolution and Other Essays. Delhi. Oxford University Press. l Stern, W. Robert. 1993. Changing India: Bourgeois Revolution on the Subcontinent. New Delhi. Foundation Books. l Stone. Glenn Davis. 2002. 'Biotechnology and Suicide in India'. Anthropology News. Vol. 43 No. 5, May. l Tukaram, Sarita.2004. 'Farmers' Suicide Epidemic Shatters Southern India' 17 May. North Gate News Online. l Verma, Jitendra. 1998. 'Cotton, Pesticides and Suicides'. Earth Island Journal. Fall. l Vidyasagar, R.M. and Suman Chandra, K. 2004. 'Debt Trap or Suicide Trap?' 20 June.

End Notes 1.

Revised version of a paper presented at the seminar `Agrarian Distress and Farmers' Suicides in India', held at the Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, from 24 to 26 February 2005, under the Governance and Policy Spaces Project (GAPS Project), located at

6 7. 8.


the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad. I am grateful to Professor D. Sundaram for his valuable comments on the draft of this paper. According to the Census 2001, out of India's population of 1027 million about 742 million or 72.2 percent live in rural areas, in 587226 villages. India at 50: Facts, Figures and Analyses, 1947-1997. Chennai. Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd., 1997. P. 76. 'The saga of the Green Revolution has been a subject of intense debate, both within and outside the country. In spite of significant strides in agricultural production, the new strategy has invoked criticism on the ground that it was biased in favour of the betterendowed parts of the country. The dry land tract, contributing the bulk of coarse grains, pulses, oil seeds, cotton and groundnut, has remained largely untouched by the gains of the strategy'. India at 50. Ibid. The classification of the farmers is into marginal, small, semi-medium, medium, and large. The five corresponding size-classes of holdings are below 1 ha, 1-2 ha, 2-4 ha, 4-10 ha, and 10 ha and above. The figures used in the text are from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, Agriculture, February 2004. The figures used in the text are from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, Agriculture, February 2004. The views of Vandana Shiva are culled from her different contributions, which are necessarily repetitive. Some of the sources used are mentioned in the References. The Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's exhortation to farmers to prepare themselves to face the challenges of globalisation, as reported in the press on 21 September 2004, is a case in point. Coming as it does from a state with a long tradition of peasant mobilisation and rule by Left parties; it is difficult to expect better wisdom from politicians in other states. The rate is per lakh population.

Jammu & Kashmir


Suicide rates in India9

Himachal Pradesh



Arunachal Pradesh Sikkim

Uttar Pradesh Bihar

Assam Nagaland Meghalaya Tripura


Madhya Pradesh

West Bengal




Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh

Suicide Rate Of India - 11.3 Karnataka Above 15.0 (8) 10.0 to 15.0 (5) Kerala

Tamil Nadu

5.0 to 10.0 (9) Below 5.0 (10)

Source: powerpoint/Lakshmipercent201Orange-01.PPT 147


possibly including the lack of democratic practices and norms among the ruling and non-ruling Pakistani elites, long-term military rule, cultural differences between the western and eastern Pakistanis, and the intense economic exploitation of East Pakistan by the West Pakistani economic elites.

Resurgence of Islam in Bangladesh Politics Sayeed Iftekhar Ahmed The rise of Islam-based politics, especially in various Muslim-populated countries, is a burning issue in the world politics. Islamic movements have been gaining new momentum and attracting widespread media coverage since the 1979 “Islamic Revolution” in Iran. The collapse of the Soviet socialist system also helped these movements gain support among the masses in various countries. Bangladesh, the third largest Muslim-populated state, is no exception. Islamic movements, which are organized to gain state power, represent “an aggressive politicization of religion1.” According to their discourse, Islam is “as much a political ideology as a religion2.” Islamic movements are not merely local movements; they have regional as well as universal dimensions. Although these movements in the Middle East and Bangladesh embrace similar discourses, share same ideology, and get many of the same foreign financial supports, “they [are] specific products of circumstances” within their own countries3. These circumstances were sometimes created by government policies; other times local cultural and socio-political contexts have helped Islamic parties to expand their popularity in civil society4. In Muslim countries, “neo-colonial” domination and the clash of local values with occidental values may also create a space for the Islamists to advance their programmes. There are specific reasons for the resurgence of Islam in Bangladesh politics. Bangladesh gained independence from the internal colonial structure of Pakistan in 1971. Secularism was one of the guiding principles in the War of Liberation; it was also one of the fundamental principles of the constitution. However, shortly after gaining independence, Islam re-emerged in Bangladesh politics. The ruling elites failed to create a secular political domain, which developed an environment for the revival of Islamic politics5. Due to their failure, the elites started the process of Islamisation as a means of overcoming their lack of legitimacy among the people. From 1975 to 1990, civil and military bureaucrats and their political parties patronized Islam and tried to use it as a vehicle to overcome their crisis of hegemony. Ultimately, the use of Islam as a political discourse and the failure of the nationalist elites to establish their hegemony over civil society based on secular identities created a space for the Islamists to advance their politics in Bangladesh. The 1971 National War of Liberation: One Step Forward Two Steps Backward In elite historiographies, whether nationalist or leftist, the birth of Bangladesh is described as a nationalist project based on secular identity. This differentiates Bangladesh from Pakistan, the state established for Muslims on the religion-based “two-nation” theory. The failure of the Pakistani elites to establish hegemony over East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) resulted in what Ranajit Guha described as “dominance without hegemony6.” They were not successful for a variety of reasons,


The failure of the Pakistani elites encouraged the Bengali nationalists to seek a counter-ideology that would ensure their hegemony and preserve their interests within the structure of an integrated Pakistan. As a consequence, they chose secularism to oppose religion-based nationalism, where all Muslims were imagined as a nation. Most of the Bengali nationalist elites supported the Muslim League's “twonation” theory in 1947 and advocated the creation of Pakistan, yet later when they found that they were highly circumscribed in the Pakistani political structure as well as in the party, they shifted their position and started promoting secularism by establishing a new political party called the East Pakistan Awami League7. The Bengali nationalist elites “imagined” all the inhabitants of East Pakistan as a nation in the “cultural domain” and then struggled with the West Pakistani elites to create a new nation-state, where the interests of the Bengali elites were supposed to be preserved. The Bengali elites also aimed to integrate “race” into “the cultural construction of national image8.” After 1947 various subaltern classes and groups consciously resisted “internal colonial” domination and exploitation, but what Gramsci identified as the “multiple elements of conscious leadership” at the mass level were denied9. In nationalist narratives, subaltern activism was attributed to outside influences or as the outcome of the Bengali nationalist project. The subalterns and the elites were motivated by different aspirations to form a new nation. For the subalterns, the creation of a new nation would lay the basis for minimum socio-economic equality, grassroots democracy, and sustainable development, whereas for the elites the struggle was about securing their class interests. Due to these disparate aims, the Bengali nationalist elites could not establish hegemony over civil society in the newly independent country. This failure prompted them to imitate their West Pakistani counterpart in using Islam as a political discourse to win the adherence of civil society10. The Bangladesh revolution was neither a unified project nor a typical anticolonial movement. The elites, as well as the subalterns, were divided over the question of the disintegration of Pakistan. Moreover, those who were in favour of the Bangladesh movement were also divided regarding the nature of the future state and the role of secularism and socialism in the newly independent country11. Most of the inhabitants in East Pakistan realized, especially after the crackdown by the Pakistani military on 25 March 1971, that their interests would not be preserved within the framework of Pakistan. However, a significant number of people, especially those affiliated with or the supporters of the Islamic parties, irrespective of their class affiliations, believed that all the problems between East and West Pakistan should be solved within the framework of Pakistan. They considered the Bangladesh movement a conspiratorial project against Islam and Muslims. Under the leadership of Jamaat and other Islamic parties, this section of people not only fought for preserving the


integrity of Pakistan, but also actively cooperated with the Pakistani army to extinguish the supporters of the Bangladesh movement. During the National War of Liberation of 1971, in the name of religion and jihad, the Islamic parties, the Jamaat in particular, supported the Pakistani military regime and their atrocities. The supporters of the various Islamic parties particularly targeted Hindu people, who were considered by the Islamists and the Pakistani military regime to be conspirators against Pakistan and Islam12. Hindus were constructed as the “other” in Mohaamad Ali Jinnah's (the founder of Pakistan) “two-nation” theory, even before the creation of Pakistan. Within this political climate, Hindus were attacked because of India's role in supporting the Bangladesh movement. The Awami League captured state power in 1972 after the joint force of Bangladesh freedom fighters and the Indian army defeated the Pakistani military regime on 16 December 1971. To win the support of a section of people in civil society who believed that secularism should not be the foundation of state policy, the Awami League tried to prove that they were not against Islam. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the Bengali nationalist elites, declared that Bangladesh would be a secular democratic state, but in order to placate the Islamists in the society, he stated that “he was proud to be a Muslim and that his state was the second biggest Muslim state in the World13.” He re-established the Islamic Academy by an ordinance on 18 March 1975 and promoted the academy as an Islamic foundation. Even though in the beginning the Awami League government adopted a relatively secular curricula on the basis of the Interim Report of the Education Commission (May 1973), Islamic themes were included in school curricula as part of the endeavour to prove that they were not averse to Islam. The government introduced religion into the school curricula because a state-sponsored survey revealed that 75 percent of the people rejected the government's initiative to secularize Bangladesh's education system14. The Awami League government also announced general clemency for war criminals, most of whom belonged to the Islamic parties, and the various Islamic parties took the opportunity to organize themselves in the underground. The Awami League's reconciliation policy, thus, helped the Islamists forward their politics despite a relatively hostile environment. One of the failures of the Bengali nationalist elites was that they were unable to produce a national bourgeoisie who could lead the War of Independence in 1971. Due to the presence of internal colonialism, political and economic inequalities persisted between East and West Pakistan, diminishing the Bengali middle class within the political and economic structure of Pakistan. This may have retarded their efforts to establish a democratic state according to the Western model. In contrast, the subalterns could not lead the War of Independence due to their inability to create their own political parties or platforms through which they could organize movements to protect their class interests15. In the context of Bangladesh, their political domain was always dependent on elites, whether right or left. Unable to create their own political domain, the subalterns could not contribute to the formulation of a grassroots democracy. The economic corruption of a significant section of the ruling


party leaders and workers, especially during the time of intense economic crisis in the 1974 famine, further distanced the nationalist elites from the masses. Even the deployment of Islam for political purposes did not help the nationalist elites gain hegemony over civil society. In January 1975, in a move they thought would be helpful in maintaining their dominance in the newly independent state of Bangladesh, the Awami League government banned all political parties and established one-party rule in the country. The pro-Soviet Communist Party and the National Awami Party (NAP, Muzaffar faction) supported the one-party rule, and they dissolved their organizations and joined the ruling party, which was renamed the Bangladesh Krisok Sromik Awami League (Bangladesh Peasants and Workers Awami League). The Awami League's endeavor to implement a one-party system did nothing except to further isolate them from the masses. This also encouraged the Islamists to organize propaganda through religious assemblies, where they claimed that the government was anti-Islamic because of its endeavor to establish a Soviet model of socialism, which according to them was not compatible with the ideals of Islam. The one-party rule did not help the nationalist elites to protect their rule. They were overthrown by a military coup organized by pro-Islamic and pro-Western junior military officers on 15 August 1975. Military in Power: Islam Is the Saviour Sheikh Mujib, the chief architect of the Bangladesh movement, his family members, and a good number of Awami League leaders and sympathizers were killed in the 1975 coup. The right-wing junior military officers who organized the coup were alleged to have received help from the CIA16. They did receive support from the right-wing political leaders of the Awami League. The two coup leaders, Major Abdur Rashid and Major Farooq Rahman, declared that Bangladesh would be an Islamic republic. Khondokar Mustaq Ahmed, who was in Mujib's cabinet as a full minister, was declared the president of the state by the coup leaders. A good number of ministers from the Mujib cabinet took oaths as ministers under the new government. Mustaq withdrew the ban on Islamic activists becoming members of the parliament. This was the first attempt by the army in independent Bangladesh to transform the entrenched secular meaning of nation and nationalism and to reshape the political system. Their attempt was not completely successful due to another military coup led by Brigadier Khaled Musarraf on 3 November 1975. Musarraf was overthrown by yet another military coup led by General Ziaur Rahman on 7 November 1975. Zia was able to seize state power with the help of the left-leaning National Socialist Party (JSD). But in taking over state power, Zia refused to cooperate with them. He imprisoned, and later executed, the commander of the military branch of the party, Colonel Abu Taher, who had lost one of his legs in the 1971 National War of Liberation. Zia started using Islam-based political discourse to legitimize his power and to gain support from civil society, which already had been divided on the question of identity and the role of secularism in the state and civil society. The NAP (Bhasani faction), then a major opposition party, opposed Mujib's idea of secularism. Instead, they wanted to establish a political system where Islam would play a significant role. All the Islam-based parties were also against secularism. In such a context, the ruling


military-bureaucratic elites started exploiting Islam as a means of overcoming their legitimacy crisis. They sought support from various Islamists to counter Bengali nationalist and leftist political parties. The ruling military elites wanted to reinterpret the meaning of nation and nationalism in Bangladesh politics to overcome their crisis of hegemony. Zia's seizure of state power signalled the disintegration of the elites and the subalterns once again. The army general officially disintegrated the nation by declaring that all people, whatever their race or religion, living in Bangladesh were Bangladeshi, not Bengali. After that, the Awami League and some leftist political parties, especially those who actively participated in the 1971 War of Liberation, were identified as the supporters of Bengali nationalism, which they believed originated from the notion of secularism. In contrast, Zia's newly established party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and all the Islamic parities, whatever their differences, were in favour of Bangladeshi nationalism. The military regime took the opportunity to maintain their rule by further splitting the nation, already divided since 1947, on the question of their identity. The failure of the elites and the subalterns to produce a unified national identity led the military rulers to impose a new identity, which not only helped them maintain their rule but also helped the Islamists secure their position in civil society. According to Islamists and military rulers, the new identity was related to Islamic identity; the old identity originated from secularism, which was “not compatible” with Islam. In a specific historical setting, the new identity was reconstructed by the military regime to alter the meaning of race, nation, and nationalism in the context of independent Bangladesh17. This helped them overcome their legitimacy crisis in civil society and it provided the basis of Islamic politics18. To Islamize the political system, Zia significantly altered the secular nature of the Bangladesh constitution. One of the first amendments in this regard was the insertion of Bismillah-er-rahman-a Rahim (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful) at the beginning of the constitution. He also began to practice Bismillaher-rahman-a Rahim as a preface of his addresses. The leaders and workers of his party also started using this as a preface to their speeches. This invocation is still practiced by the BNP's leaders and workers. Zia omitted Article 12 of the constitution, which had ensured the implementation of the ideal of secularism. His military government amended Article 8 (I) of the constitution, which declared secularism as the fundamental principle of state policy. The Article was replaced with a proclamation in 1977, with words asserting “absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah.” The military government also added Article 25 to the constitution, “stabilizing, preserving and strengthening fraternal ties with the Muslim states on the basis of Islamic solidarity.” Article 38, which forbade any political activity of the religion-based parties, was also withdrawn19. Zia's planned process of Islamization of the state helped him gain support from various Middle Eastern countries, especially from Saudi Arabia, with whom Bangladesh had no diplomatic relations at the time of the Mujib era. Due to Saudi


Arabia's strong ties with Pakistan, and the Awami League's secular policy and good relationships with the socialist countries, it did not recognize Bangladesh before the assassination of Sheikh Mujib. Zia's politics of Islamization and his “soft attitude toward Pakistan” helped the country become a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Islamic Solidarity Front, and the Three Members of AlKuds Committee20. The constitutional changes were also conducive for Islam-based parties to reestablish themselves in Bangladesh. To gain support from the Islam-based parties, Zia's government gave voting rights to the Islamic activists, who had lost them after 1971 due to their active collaboration with the Pakistani army. At the time of Zia's regime, the former ameer (president) of the Jamaat, Golam Azam, came back to the country without Bangladeshi citizenship. Just before Bangladesh gained independence, Azam had fled the country, due to his fear of facing trial for his role against the Bangladesh movement. He did not recognize Bangladesh as an independent state during the time of the Awami League government and so, he did not have Bangladeshi citizenship. Upon Azam's return, he secretly retook control of the Jamaat, encouraging party workers to rebuild the organization. Meanwhile, Zia tried to develop a good relationship with Pakistan, which is perhaps the reason he incorporated some of the Islamic political leaders, especially those who collaborated with the Pakistani regime in 1971, in his newly formed political party, BNP, and his cabinet21. The military-bureaucratic oligarchy, which took over state power under the leadership of Zia, was developed under the auspices of the Pakistani state structure. They received training from various Pakistani academies, where Pakistani elite culture and tradition were valorised. Islam was an important component in the training process yet at the same time, they developed a positive attitude toward Western political systems. Yet, ironically, they believed that their country was not prepared for the Western model of democracy. Pakistani civil and military bureaucrats had good relationships with Western elites, and the West's policies of anti-communism were compatible with the policy of Pakistan. The bureaucrats' overwhelming condescension toward Bengali culture, especially toward subaltern culture, which they thought was not compatible with Islam, initiated their drive to “educate” the nation according to the West Pakistani elites' “superior” understanding of Islam and culture. This patronization of Islam by the West Pakistani elites nurtured Islamic politics in Bangladesh. Like the West Pakistani elites, Bangladeshi Islamists also had unfavourable opinions of Bengali culture, due to its syncretistic tradition: the intermingling of Hindu and Muslim culture and practices, and the embracing of indigenous religious and cultural traditions. Hence, the Islam being practiced in Bengal was also syncretistic. In contrast to the Bengalis' interpretations of Islam, the activists of various Islamic parties believed that they had been practicing a pristine form of Islam. Although civil and military bureaucrats in Bangladesh were attempting to Islamize the state, most of them were not practicing Muslims, like their Pakistani counterparts were22. They used religion merely as a political trope to further their own interests.


Zia's policy of employing Islam for political gain thus created a favourable environment for the Islam-based parties, especially the Jamaat, who were able to restructure their organizational branches. After the War of Independence, most of the people in Bangladesh believed that secularism would play a pivotal role in the state and civil society. However, Zia's “overtly pro-Islamic stance” led instead to the resurgence of Islam-based politics23. Five Islam-based political parties the Muslim League (ML), the Islamic Democratic League (IDL), Khilafat-I-Rabbani, Nizam-iIslam, and the Jamaat were banned during the time of the Mujib government because of their role against the independence of Bangladesh. These parties were nevertheless legally endorsed by the Political Parties Regulations (PPR) of 1976, and as a result they came out from the underground. As a part of his strategy, Zia granted permission to these parties to function openly to counter Bengali nationalist and leftist parties. After emerging from hiding, the leaders of the Jamaat said that whatever the party members might have done in 1971, they did it for the cause of Islam and Pakistan. Abbas Ali Khan, then acting president of the Jamaat, said that they did not do anything wrong during the time of the War of Liberation in 1971 and “they did it for the sake of Islam,” and it “was correct, and conformed to the ideals of Islam.24” Besides political platforms, Islamic parties, especially the Jamaat, started using various non-political organizations such as mosques, madrasas, clubs, and NGOs to elevate their political activities25. They also formed various groups among women26. Islamic parties received monetary help from various Middle Eastern countries, particularly from Saudi Arabia, during the Zia regime. Foreign money and open political activities helped expand their organizational bases. During Zia's government, the Jamaat was able to raise its membership to more than a thousand, and its associate membership to more than one hundred thousand27. The leaders of the Jamaat took the initiative to unite all Islamic parties and groups, forming the Islamic Democratic League (IDL) under the leadership of Siddiq Ahmed, and securing eight percent of the total votes cast in the 1979 parliamentary election. In the 1981 presidential election, the strict Islam-based party Khelafot Andolon's leader, Hafezzi Huzur, whose position was against the Bangladesh movement, won seven percent of the total votes cast, finishing in third position28. Political strategies that used Islam as a political discourse and favoured Islam-based parties thus allowed the Islamists to advance their agenda in the civil society. They took advantage of the state's patronization of Islam to rebuild their party structures, which had been severely constrained during the Mujib regime, due to his strict policy against pro-Islamic parties. Additional factors, such as grinding poverty, pervasive illiteracy, foreign aid dependency, and the inability of the civil-military bureaucracy to improve the socio-economic conditions might also have helped the Islamic parties to promote their political objectives during the Zia regime. General Ershad in Power: More Reliance on Islam General Zia was assassinated by a group of military officials on 31 May 1981. After his assassination, the BNP, which had been formed by the military-civil oligarchy under the leadership of Zia to protect its interests in the state and civil society, took the initiative to maintain its rule by relying on civil bureaucrats and lumpen bourgeoisie a


new leading class in Bangladesh, the product of Zia's policy of denationalization. However, as a class, this lumpen bourgeoisie was weak in comparison to military and civil bureaucrats. Moreover, their fragmentation on nation and nationalism weakened their class coherence. The weakness of the lumpen bourgeoisie as a class, and the tradition by which civil bureaucrats had played a role subordinate to that of the military rulers since the first martial law in united Pakistan in 1958, encouraged General H. M. Ershad, the chief of Bangladesh's army, to take over state power. Intense distrust and distance among political parties, especially between the Awami League and the BNP, further aided him in capturing power. As a result, the BNP government was overthrown by a military coup headed by General Ershad in 1982, after the assassination of Zia. After seizing state power, General Ershad followed the footsteps of his predecessor and began to use Islam as a political discourse to overcome his legitimacy crisis. Like Zia, he also established a political party (Jatiya Party, the National Party) with the help of military-civil bureaucrats and leaders from different political parties. Ershad declared Islam to be a state religion by introducing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, passed in the parliament in June 1988 in the absence of major opposition political parties, including the BNP, due to their boycotting the parliamentary election under the Ershad regime. During the Ershad period, large amounts of money came from Middle Eastern countries to establish Islamic institutions. An Islamic university was set up in April 1986 with the donation of US $67,41529. Ershad set up religious seminaries in many mosques and announced a programme of establishing Islamic missions in all the 460 upazilas (subdistricts). In contrast with any of the previous military rulers since the formation of Pakistan, Ershad started using mosques as a political platform. Muslim religious rites were performed at all state functions. To obtain support from civil society, Ershad and a good number of his ministers and high civil and military officials became disciples of the Atroshi Pir (the Saint of Atroshi) of Faridpur. The frequent visits of General Ershad and his associates to Atroshi were a clear testimony of the exploitation of Islam solely for political gain30. During General Ershad's regime, the Islamic parties were able to communicate openly with secular political activists and party leaders. For the first time since the independence of the country, Islamic parties gained limited recognition from the secular parties, which helped them to gain acceptance in civil society. During the time of direct military rule, except for some small pro-Ershad parties, the immediate goal of all the political parties was to overthrow General Ershad's rule. The Jamaat participated in almost every movement against the rule of General Ershad. At least 64 Islamic parties were active in Bangladesh politics during that time, although most were very small31. Jamaat for the first time in Bangladesh history received 10 seats in the 1986 “controversial” parliamentary election. The election was boycotted by the BNP and the leftist parties, but the Awami League, pro-Soviet leftists, and Islamic parties participated. However, General Ershad was overthrown by a mass uprising in 1990. After his removal from power, Bangladesh returned to civilian rule. But the civilian rulers took no initiative to reintroduce secularism in the


state or the constitution. Return to Civilian Rule, But Not Without Islam After the removal of Ershad, Khaleda Zia, the widow of General Zia, was elected prime minister. She did not alter any policy of Islamization adapted by Zia and Ershad. The prime minister sought support of the Jamaat in the parliament to form a government. Not only the BNP but the Awami League also sought Jamaat's support in electing their candidates to the office of president of the state32. To win the support of the people in the 1991 parliamentary elections, various political parties, including the Awami League and some leftist parties, used religious symbols and slogans. Like the previous military rulers, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia also relied on Islam and maintained close relationships with the Islamic parties. Nevertheless, when the Awami League organized a movement against her government, Jamaat also participated, despite their erstwhile poor relationship with the Awami League, which had been highly antagonistic due to the Jamaat's active role in killing a good number of the Awami League's activists during the War of Liberation of 1971. In the 1996 parliamentary election, the Awami League won most of the seats. It regained state power after 21 years. Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Mujib, became prime minister of the country. The Awami League government also compromised with the Islamists. They did not change anything related to Islam that was adopted in the constitution by the previous rulers. Various religious practices at the state level continued. The Awami League frequently used religious symbols and slogans for gaining popular support. Although Islamic parties (only the Jamaat) got merely three seats in the parliament, their total percentage of votes increased and they were more active in Bangladesh politics. At the time of the Hasina regime, Islamic parties published many well-read magazines, journals, and newspapers. The former ruling party, the BNP, formed an alliance with the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Jatiya Party, and the Islami Oikkyo Jote (IOJ, the Coalition of Islamic Parties) to organize a movement to protest against various policies of the government. This alliance helped the Islamic parties gain several seats in the 2001 parliamentary election. Jamaat won 17 seats in the 2001 parliamentary election. In the present government coalition, they have two ministers. Besides the Jamaat, the IOJ also obtained two seats in the parliament. For the Islamic parties, â&#x20AC;&#x153;armed struggle against a wicked governmentâ&#x20AC;? is an essential part of the religious faith33. They are now organizing campaigns against the syncretistic traditions of the country. For example, in one of his recent public meetings, Jamaat's parliament member Delwar Hussain Sayidi said that the various festivals related to Bengali culture and tradition were anti-Islamic and originated from Hindu religion and practices34. The activities and the goals of the Islamic parties and groups are similar, whether they work openly or underground; these are to establish a theocratic state, to eradicate the syncretistic traditions of Bengali culture and practices, to prevent any form of Western culture and education, and to subjugate women by forcing them to stay at home, wear the veil, and be educated in a separate system35. According to various national newspapers, several other Islamic groups were also


active in Bangladesh politics covertly, and were believed to run several arms training camps in some remote areas of the country. These groups were basically organized by the Bengali youths who went to Afghanistan to take part in the war against the Soviet military presence there. After the war was over, almost all of them returned to Bangladesh. They organized underground Islamic groups with the help of foreign money and arms, mainly from the Middle East and Afghanistan36. Islamic political activists established a good number of madrasas, like those established by the Taliban followers in Pakistan. The aims of the underground Islamic groups and Islamic political activists were to overthrow the elected government through armed struggle and to replace the Western model of democracy with a theocratic state. It was suspected that they organized several bombings in various places in the country, which claimed hundreds of lives37. Regardless of their ideological differences, all of the Islamic parties in Bangladesh aim to repudiate all identities that are not Islamic. Furthermore, they do not recognize the Ahmadiyya Jamaat as Muslims, and they all seek to establish their own interpretations of a theocratic state38. To accomplish these goals Islamic parties, especially the Jamaat, are now organizing massive campaigns to create a social atmosphere for establishing a theocratic state. They are using various institutions, such as colleges and universities, seminaries, mosques, religious assemblies, and NGOs as their platforms to propagate their political and religious ideals in civil society39. Moreover, it is suspected that some Islamic parties and underground groups have been trying to develop armed branches to organize an armed Islamic revolution40. However, it is not clear whether these underground groups belong to different organizations or whether they are from the same organization working under different names. It is also difficult to determine whether there is any link between them and the Islamic parties working openly. Although there is no doubt that the members of the underground Islamic groups were motivated by the wave of worldwide Islamic terrorist movements, their relationship with the global terrorist organizations has not yet been ascertained. Even in civilian regimes, however, the elites (whether self-identified as Bengali or Bangladeshi) have shown no interest in reintroducing secularism in the state. The Bangladeshi elites have not tried to alter any of the Islamization process because Islam is the basis of their politics. The Bengali elites were also not successful in changing any of the Islamization process initiated by the previous military rulers. Conclusion The continual use of Islam as a political discourse by the ruling as well as non-ruling elites has mostly benefited the Islamists, in the sense that it has helped to create an atmosphere wherein the ideals of the political aspects of Islam can thrive. Islamic parties, groups, organizations, NGOs, and institutions have been opportunistic beneficiaries of this favourable atmosphere. All have played a complementary role in disseminating the ideals of Islamic politics into civil society. The relatively powerful position of the Islamists in the state and civil society is the outcome of the failure of the Bengali nationalist elites to establish hegemony over a civil society based on secular identity and politics. It is also due to the inability of the subaltern groups to


create an independent political force based on a secular identity and politics. The failure of the elites as well as the subalterns to establish a political domain free from reliance on Islam has opened up a wide avenue for the advancement of Islamic politics in the postcolonial state of Bangladesh.


Sayeed Iftekhar Ahmed is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Northern Arizona University. End Notes 1. 2. 3. 4.


6. 7.




Bassam Tibi, The Challenge of Fundamentalism, Political Islam and the New World Disorder (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), ix. Oliver Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, Trans. Carol Volk (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), vii. John L. Esposito, ed. Political Islam: Revolution, Radicalism or Reform? (Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner, 1997), 23. Religiosity is also a part of indigenous culture, and for the masses, it is more a way of life than an ideology. Although the religious practices in Bengal are syncretistic, the followers of different religions still clash. The term “elite” signifies dominant groups and classes. At the time of united Pakistan, various sections of the middle class, merchants, landlords, lawyers, high-ranking government officials, and leaders of political parties belonged to the elite section in East Pakistan (present Bangladesh). The elites remain divided about the questions of nation, nationality, identity, and the role of secularism and religion in the state and civil society. In this paper, Bengali nationalist elites refer to those who supported the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation on the basis of Bengali nationalism and secularism. Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak, eds. Selected Subaltern Studies (Oxford NY: Oxford University Press, 1988), xii. They formed the new party on 23 June 1949. At first the name of the party was the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League, but later, on 4 December 1955, they dropped the name “Muslim.” After Bangladesh gained independence, this party was renamed the Bangladesh Awami League. See <> [accessed January 25, 2004]. William E. French, “Imaging and the Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Mexico,” Hispanic American Historical Review 79, 2 (May 1999): 252. French and Tenorio-Trillo discuss how the concept of race was culturally constructed in the context of Mexico. In East Pakistan, the Bengali nationalist elites also culturally constructed “the Bengali race” with a national image to contrast with their West Pakistani counterpart. For the cultural construction of race in Mexico, see Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, Mexico at the World's Fairs: Crafting a Modern Nation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). Gramsci's quote taken from Gautam Bhadra, “Four Rebels of Eighteen-Fifty-Seven,” in Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies (Oxford NY: Oxford University Press, 1988): 17374. In the context of Bangladesh, the term “subaltern” refers to various marginalized groups and underclasses, workers, day laborers, middle and small peasants, the rural proletariat, women, various native and “tribal” peoples, and “minority” religious groups and communities. The position of subalternity is relational and relative; therefore in some local or regional situations or under certain circumstances any of them could act as or for the “elite.” Like the elites, there are fragments within the various subaltern groups. The relationships between and within the various subaltern groups and fragments are both contentious and harmonious, depending upon the context, locality, and situation. In the questions of nation, nationality, identity, secularism, and religion, the subalterns are also divided, like their elite counterparts. Subaltern cultural practices in the Bengal region are generally syncretistic; that is, in their



12. 13. 14.



everyday lives, Hindu and Muslim and other minority and local religions and practices are all intermingled. Subalterns are also divided on the role of religion in the state and civil society and there is no apparent homogenous or monolithic subaltern culture in Bangladesh. Most of the elites in Bangladesh, irrespective of their political affiliations, nevertheless like to trace their origins to Middle Eastern countries instead of searching for their roots in the Bengal region. M. G. Kabir stated that “the Bengali Muslims often looked beyond their mother land towards the Muslims of the Middle East in search of their roots.” M. G. Kabir, “Religion, Language and Nationalism in Bangladesh.” In Rafiuddin Ahmed, ed., Religion, Nationalism and Politics in Bangladesh (New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 1990), 38. Mainly, the elite Muslims, not the subalterns, searched for their roots in the Arab countries. Identifying with Arab origin is a symbol of aristocracy for the elites, even for the section of the elites who like to identify themselves as secular. This trend is rooted in the country's history. Bengal was captured several times by foreign Muslim rulers. Although they had different “ethnic” origins, it is generally believed that they were all Arabs. As a result, even at present, most of the elites in the country, whatever their political beliefs, are proud to claim Arab origins. The Awami League, the National Awami Party (NAP, Bhasani, and Mujjafar factions), the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), and some pro-Chinese leftist parties supported the Bangladesh War of Liberation. Among them, the Awami League, at first, wanted to establish a Western form of democracy, where secularism would play a vital role in the state and civil society. On the other hand, the NAP (Bhasani) advocated for “a Chinese model of socialism” with Islamic characteristics. CPB wanted a National Bourgeoisie Revolution, which according to them ultimately would lead the country toward a stage of socialism. Among the pro-Chinese leftist parties, some directly opposed the war and stood in favor of an integrated Pakistan, because China was against the Bangladesh movement. On the other hand, those who were in favor of an independent Bangladesh were against any kind of Indian intervention in the war. After the war was over, all the pro-Chinese leftist parties voiced strong opposition to the policies of the Awami League. Some of them started a “people's war” against the ruling government, which caused the killing of a good number of Awami League activists, during the time of the Mujib regime. According to the government of Bangladesh, 13.5 percent of the population in 1971 was Hindu. See Shrinandan Vyas, “Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan,” p. 4. [Accessed February 9, 2004] <>. Kabir, 8 (see note 10); and The Bangladesh Observer, January 11, 1972, p. 8. Asim Roy, Islam in South Asia (Denver CO: Academic Books, 2001), 154. It is debatable how much the various communist and leftist parties, openly or underground, represented the interests of the subalterns or marginal underclasses. They mainly engaged themselves in Sino-Soviet debate and adapted their policies and programs according to the Soviet or Chinese lines. On the other hand, subalterns could not bring forth their own political agendas due to their lack of political platforms. They were thus dependent on the elite political domain, which was not only different from the subaltern's but also tried to subjugate the subaltern domain into it. On the failure of the pan-Bengal Leftist movement at the time of the war see Robin Blackburn, ed., Explosion in a Subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Ceylon (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review, 1975). Lifschultz has claimed that the CIA was involved in the overthrow of Mujib's government. Lawrence Lifschultz, Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution (London: Zed Press, 1997), 1038. The CIA station chief in Bangladesh, Philip Cherry, has denied this allegation. See the transcript of a phone interview conducted by Lifschultz (pp. 17784). There might be some similarities between the role the Brazilian army played in shaping their state and civil society and the role of Bangladesh's army in remaking identity and their endeavor to secure hegemony. Many military coups and recruitment reforms shaped




19. 20. 21.



24. 25.


27. 28. 29. 30.

31. 32. 33.


the Brazilian military, society, and political system as well as transforming the entrenched meanings of honor, race, patriarchy, citizenship, nation, nationalism, national identity, and masculinity from 1864 to 1945. Similarly, the ruling military elites in Bangladesh reconstructed the meanings of race, nation, nationalism, and national identity from 1975 to 1990. For the role of the Brazilian army, see Peter M. Beattie, The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and the Nation in Brazil, 18641945 (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2001). Secular modernists were also not successful in establishing hegemony in other places in the Muslim world. See Nilufer Gole, “Snapshots of Islamic Maternities,” Daedalus 129, 1 (Winter 2000): 91117. Secular modernists were also not successful in establishing hegemony in other places in the Muslim world. See Nilufer Gole, “Snapshots of Islamic Maternities,” Daedalus 129, 1 (Winter 2000): 91117. See the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. <> [accessed 12 July 2005]. Emajuddin Ahmed, Society and Politics in Bangladesh (Dhaka: Academic, 1981), 137. Among them Shah Azizur Rahman from the Muslim League became prime minister and Maulana Abdul Mannan from the Jamiatul Mudderessin, who was alleged to be involved in the killing of the pro-independence intellectuals, became education minister. For the attitudes of the bureaucratic-military oligarchy of Pakistan toward Islamic ideologues, see Hamza Alavi, “Pakistan and Islam: Ethnicity and Ideology,” in Fred Halliday and Hamza Alavi, eds., State and Ideology in the Middle East and Pakistan (London: Monthly Review Press, 1988), 73. Also available at <> [accessed February 13, 2004]. Rafiuddin Ahmed, “Redefining Muslim Identity in South Asia: The Transformation of the Jama 'at-I Islami,” in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements, The Fumdamentalism Project, Vol. 4 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 692. Muntasir Mamoon and Jayant Kumar Ray, “Islamic Fundamentalism in Bangladesh,” South Asian Studies 25, 12 (Jan-Dec 1990): 200. It is alleged that the Islamic NGO Rabita Trust has been used by the Jamaat as a platform to preach their political ideals. A good number of Jamaat activists have been working as undercover NGO workers there. For example, Mir Kasem Ali, the secretary general of Rabita Bangladesh, was president of the student wing of Jamaat in 1980. He was also a Chittagong area regional commander of Al Badar, a militant group formed by the Jamaat's student wing in 1971 to assassinate the Bangladesh freedom fighters and intellectuals of the country. This armed group was mainly responsible for killing many intellectuals on 14 December 1971, just prior to the independence of Bangladesh. Jamaat established the Islami Chattri Sanghstha (Islamic Female Students Organization) to work with the female students, especially in universities and colleges. At a later time, other Islamic parties, especially the Khelafot Majlish and some underground parties, established a good number of madrasas only for females all over the country. In these madrasas, they conduct only religious education. R. Ahmed, 692 (see note 23). E. Ahmed, 142 (see note 20). Mamoon and Ray, 201 (see note 24). The pir (religious saint) of Atroshi at Faridpur became an influential “spiritual leader” at the time of the Ershad regime due to intense patronization by the general himself as well as a good number of ministers and high civil military officials. Mamoon and Ray, 201 (see note 24). The Jamaat gained twenty seats in the 1991 parliament election. R. Ahmed, 699 (see note 23).

34. The Daily Janakantha (February 8, 2002), 1. <> [accessed February 8, 2002]. 35. Ultra Islamic parties such as the IJO, the Islamic Sasontontro Andolon (ISA, Islamic Constitutional Movement), and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami are against any kind of education for women (not even in a separate institution), except for some elementary religious education. 36. For the activities of Islamic parties and underground Islamic groups, see Bertil Lintner, “Religious Extremism and Nationalism in Bangladesh,” Muktomona (Freethinkers). <> [accessed February 13, 2004]. The paper was presented at an international workshop on religion and security in South Asia at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, August 1922, 2002. 37. The number of deaths has been compiled from different newspapers during that time (19962005). 38. Ahmadiyya Jamaat is a sect of Islam, whose followers believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Mahdi and Messiah. Most of the Islamic parties and groups active in Bangladesh, especially the Jamaat and the IOG, demand that the government should declare the Ahmadiyya Jamaat as non-Muslims. In addition, most of the Islamic political activists demand that the followers of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat should not have the right to get any kind of government job. Due to the continuous pressure from the various Islamic parties and groups, the government banned all of the publications of the Ahadiyya Jamaat, including their Bengali translation of the Koran, on 9 January 2004. <> [accessed January 24, 2004]. 39. According to one estimation, 500 Islamic NGOs are working in the country. See Rashed Khan Menon, Bijoyer Maser Bhabna (Thoughts of the Month of Victory). <> [retrieved December 2, 2003]. 40. At present, at least seventeen extremist Islamic groups are active in Bangladesh. These are the Harkatul Jihad, Jamaat-e-Yahia, Al Turat, Hizbut Tawhid, Al Harkat Al Sadat, Shadate-Tawhid, Islami, Revolutionary Association, Joyishe Mestafa, Shadat-e-Hikma, Jamatul Mujahedin, and some others. <> [accessed October 4, 2003].


Indo-Nepal Water Resource Negotiation: Deepening Divide over Border Project Rakesh Tiwary Introduction Nepal and India, two countries of South Asia, share one of the largest geohydrological regions called Ganga Brahmaputra Basin. Nepal covers a large part of the upper catchment of sub basin of Ganges River. Major rivers of the sub-basin like Mahakali, Karnali, Sapt Gandaki and Sapt Kosi originate from Trans-Himalaya region, cross Nepal and flow southwards to join Ganges in India, and so are international or transboundary in nature. Though Nepal occupies 13 percent of the total drainage of the Ganges basin, its contribution to the flow of Ganges river is much more significant, amounting to about 45 percent to its average annual flow. In the dry seasons, Nepal's contribution to the total run-off is as much as 70 percent. These hydrological features bind India and Nepal in a relationship of geographical interdependence and economic complementarities on of water resource development. Although the potential for joint endeavors is considerable, the cooperation between these two countries on the issues related to water resource development has not been easy and forthcoming. Their efforts have been heavily influenced by geopolitics; marked by emphasis on historical wrongs (real and perceived), big-small country syndrome, failure in understanding each other's sensitivities, aggressive posture and negative approach. Major part of second half of last century was lost in the process, incurring huge opportunity cost of delay for both countries. However, a new chapter in the Indo-Nepal relations was opened when the Mahakali Treaty was signed by the then Prime Minister of India Mr. P.V. Narsimha Rao, and the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba, in February 1996 for joint utilization of trans-boundary water resources of the Mahakali River. The signing of Treaty was preceded not merely by intense negotiations between the two governments, the track II meetings, but also by extensive informal consultations covering all parties in Nepal, so as to facilitate the process of parliamentary ratification in Nepal. Indo- Nepal Mahakali Treaty The Mahakali Treaty subsumes all other Indo-Nepalese agreements relating to downstream projects on the river, thus, it absorbs the regime established by the Sharda Treaty [1920]. It also validates the Tanakpur Agreement [1991], and endorses the idea of multipurpose Pancheswar Multipurpose Project. The scope of the preamble of Mahakali Treaty is quite comprehensive. The treaty aims at “integrated development of the Mahakali River”. It emphasizes the


determination of India and Nepal to promote and strengthen their relation of friendship and close neighboruliness for cooperation in the development of water resources. The preamble recognizes the river as a boundary river on major stretches3 in between the two countries to enter into Treaty on equal partnership to define their obligations and corresponding rights and duties with regard to utilization of water of Mahakali River. A. Sharda Barrage: The first part of the Mahakali treaty deals with Sharda Barrage. It points out that Nepal shall have the right to supply of 1,000 cusecs of water from the Sharda Barrage in the wet season (May 15 to October 15), and 150 cusecs in the dry season (Oct. 16 to May 14). India is required to maintain a flow of no less than 350 cusecs downstream of Sharda Barrage in the Mahakali River to maintain and preserve the river ecosystem. B. Sovereignty over Tanakpur Barrage: According to the Treaty, Nepal continues to exercise sovereignty over the land (2.9 hectare) needed for building the eastern afflux bund, as well as a hectare of the pondage area. The Treaty provided an enhanced package to Nepal, of 1,000 cusecs of water in the wet season and 300 cusecs in the dry season, and 70 million Kwhrs of electricity (as against the earlier agreed figure of 20 million Kwhrs) free of charge from the Tanakpur power station, with transmission line to its border. Half the incremental power generated at Tanakpur following augmentation of river flows with the commissioning of the Pancheswar dam will also be supplied to Nepal which will, however, bear half the operational and any additional cost. India will also construct an all weather road connecting the Tanakpur barrage to the Kingdom's East-West Highway, including several bridges en route. There is provision for the supply of 350 cusecs of water for the irrigation of Dodhara Chandni area. C. Pancheswar: The dream Indo-Nepal border project- This is the most important content of the treaty in joint trans-boundary water resource development of India and Nepal. The Mahakali agreement, and the letters exchanged in relation thereto, provide for a joint Indo-Nepal Hydroelectric project on Mahakali River on the basis of a 50:50 cost benefit split. The Mahakali River is a major transboundary river basin between India and Nepal. It forms the western international border of Nepal with India. Starting from Apihimal, the river flows in a gorge section in the upper region. The Mahakali after it flows into India is known as Sharda, which meets the Karnali (Ghaghra) in Indian territory. The river basin has a total drainage area of 15,640 km2, about 34per cent of which lies in Nepal. The proposed dam will straddle the border, which lies along the median point of the river. Two power stations are projected, one on either bank, with an overall installed peaking capacity, between 5,500 and 6,480 MW at 20 per cent load factor. A re-regulating dam could be built either at Poornagiri or further upstream at Rupali Gad to hold the waters passing through the Pancheswar turbines and provide regulated back season release to irrigate designated commands in Nepal and India. They have also agreed to have “equal entitlement in the utilization of the waters of the Mahakali River “without prejudice to their respective existing consumptive uses”.


Besides, they agreed to implement the project in all such sectors as power, irrigation, flood control, etc. as per the Detailed Project Report [DPR] to be prepared jointly by them1. The Pancheswar dam will also provide a modest flood cushion. As Pancheswar project is a joint project located on boundary, some general principles applicable to border rivers are laid down. The principles are elaborated in a side letter exchanged by the two prime ministers. The principles commit both sides to design and operate the project as a single, integrated scheme to yield, “the maximum total net benefits accruing to them”. The power benefit is to be assessed on the basis of saving in costs as compared with the relevant alternatives available. The treaty envisages basin development under the aegis of a binational Mahakali Commission, which shall be guided by the principles of equality, mutual benefit and no harm to either party. The Pancheswar project is to be implemented by a joint Pancheswar Development Authority to be set up under an agreed schedule from the date of the treaty's entry into force to develop, execute and operate the Pancheswar project. The treaty has a life of 75 years. There are provisions for review after 10 years and independent arbitration of disputes, with the chairperson being named, if necessary, by the Secretary General of the permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague2. The treaty has been welcomed by a large number of people on both sides of the border. Many Nepalese experts say the Treaty has successfully broken the impasse created by a legacy of entrenched views on national lines on both sides and finds both sides as winners. The treaty is a first in many ways, primarily in laying down the principles that as a boundary river on large stretches. The principles will influence inevitably to all future water resource agreements between India and Nepal. The Mahakali treaty entered into force on June 5, 1997, the date the instruments of ratification were exchanged by both parties. Although there still are several unclear provisions and incomplete arrangements, the Mahakali Treaty has provided a mechanism for reinforced legal collaboration between India and Nepal on the Mahakali River. Problem of Ambiguities Though the treaty is formally in operation now, the implementation of provisions has been very slow due to disagreement over interpretation of the provisions. Most of disagreements are about implementation of Pancheswar project. The provisions contained in the Treaty lack specificity. This has left room for ambiguity and controversy in the interpretation of the Treaty. The differences that have emerged in the post Treaty period are: Status of River and Equal Sharing: With regard to the Treaty there is a difference between the Indian and Nepalese views on what the “equal sharing” implies. The Treaty reads “Mahakali is a boundary river on major stretches”. One of the strictures passed along with ratification of Treaty in Nepalese Parliament says,' it means Mahakali is basically a border river. India doesn't agree to this interpretation. The mention of Mahakali River as boundary river might have created a psychological level playing field at the time of signing of Treaty but now it has become source of


contention. The Nepalese draw the inference that it belongs equally to the two countries, and therefore, half of the waters of the river belong to Nepal. The treaty recognizes, in principle, Nepalese experts argue, that “Each country own 50 per cent of water”, citing the (1) wordings of preamble i.e. equal partnership to define their obligations and corresponding rights and duties (2) Article 3 on Pancheswar project, i.e. parties will have equal entitlement in utilisation of water of Mahakali (3) Article 5, i.e. water requirement of Nepal shall be given prime consideration in the utilization of waters of Mahakali. (4) Cost sharing formula of project4. Indian water resources expert argue that (1) “there is no warrant for drawing this kind of an inference. The river can be used by the two countries but does not belong to either; (2) any doctrine of ownership of flowing water and the implied right of the upper riparian to 'sell' the water so owned to the lower riparian (who would in any case receive that water naturally by gravity flow) seems non-maintainable. (3) Equal sharing really applies to the incremental benefits and costs attached with Pancheswar project5. These divergence of interpretations need to be sorted out through amicable discussions. Protection of Consumptive Uses - There is a major difference of opinion between Indian and Nepalese water resource experts about defining the “existing uses” that must be deemed to be protected by the Treaty6. The Nepalese experts complain that in the Treaty only the Nepal's existing consumptive uses have been quantified, without quantifying India's usage7. According to the Treaty, the sharing of the capital costs of the Pancheshwar project would be in the proportion of the relative incremental benefits, have to be reckoned after protecting existing consumptive uses of the waters of the Mahakali. Nepal's water demands present no problem and are to be met in full. India's Upper Sharda command of 1.6 mha supplied from Banbassa is also protected. Nepal, however, argues that the 2 mha irrigated from the Lower Sharda Barrage, 160 kms. further downstream, is outside the scope of the “Mahakali” agreement and not a protected existing use. This system primarily depends on water diverted from the Karnali (Ghaghra) at Girjapur through the Sharda Sahayak link for over eight months in the year. But it indents on Sharda supplies during the monsoon between July and October when the Karnali carries a lot of silt. Nepal, however, claims a half share in the incoming river flows between Pancheswar and Banbassa on the “equal entitlement” principle within the common boundary segment of the Mahakali. Indian water resource expert B.G. Verghese feels that Nepal is vaguely asserting the right to ownership of the natural flows of the river, or the discarded Harmon Doctrine, which is untenable principle in emerging international water law. Nepalese water resources experts view that Lower Sarda command area is well below the common border and the treaty covers only the Mahakali River as a border river. Secondly, this matter was never on the agenda during the conclusion of the Treaty and was brought before HMG/N notice only


during informal and formal discussion with the officials in Nepal. Nepalese experts also disagree with India's selective reference of Helsinki Rules and now new UN convention for the rights of farmers in the Lower Sarda Canal region, in a situation when India abstained from the voting. Further, they argue that “Prior Appropriation” principle has never been advocated in Kosi and Gandak (revised) Treaties earlier. The absence of quantification of existing water uses of India or even methodology of assessment in the Treaty are extended as arguments for rejection of Prior Appropriation principle in case of Mahakali River8. These are the reasons Nepal did not accept India's claims. However, experts in Nepal, like Pashupati S. Rana, while explaining why existing consumptive use of water in India has been approved of point out “according to generally accepted principle of water consumption having followed for year, the prior right of any country is ipso facto established in the consumption of such water. Hence the prior right of India has in principle been established over the water of the Mahakali River that the country has been consuming from time immemorial9. The recognition of existing consumptive use would have implications for the calculation of irrigation benefit and the “real issue” of sharing the cost of the Pancheswar Project on the basis of the benefits accruing to the either party. If India uses more than its half share of Pancheswar/Mahakali waters it should be prepared to pay a proportionately larger part of irrigation/water component of the project. Regarding the apportioning of the cost of Pancheswar project the DPR report prepared by Nepal indicates about 60 percent of the cost of the project, was to go to hydropower and the remaining 40 per cent to irrigation and flood control. The corresponding figures prepared by Indian technical personnel and brought for discussions at the meeting of Joint Group of Experts (JGEs) are 85 percent and 15 percent respectively, which has remained a point of difference between the two countries. There is a strong feeling in Nepal that such apportioning is guided by India's stand on the prior use of water in the command area of the lower Sarda10. The Kalapani Issue: Though there is no direct relation of Pancheswar with Kalapani, one of the strictures11 passed along on Mahakali in Nepalese Parliament relates with this territorial dispute. The Nepalese object to the Indian military presence in the area called Kalapani. Either the area in question is part of Indian territory or it is not. Indian experts feel that “if the area lies in Indian territory the Indian military presence there is a matter of no consequence to Nepal; if it is a Nepalese territory, India has no business to be there. This is a matter to be resolved with reference to old records, documents, maps, survey reports, etc. The dispute needs to be settled quickly in spirit of good will and not allowed to fester12. Nepalese experts complain that Indians have misunderstood the Nepali sensitivity on the issue. Nepal wants India to adhere to status quo position principle, which it demonstrated on border disputes with Bangladesh and Pakistan. Nepal seeks return of Indian army to the pre 1968 position13. Indian experts argue that nothing is gained by arousing emotion over Kalapani issue and this has nothing to do with implementation of the Mahakali Treaty.


Phasing of the Project: A more technical difference relates to the phasing of the project and preference of site for the re-regulating structure. India, initially, conceived an installed capacity of 2000 MW, rising in one or two further stages to anywhere between 5000 to 6000 MW. This was related to the need to investigate and construct a re-regulating dam below the main dam to store and make controlled release of water passing through the Pancheswar turbines to meet the irrigation schedules of commands below. Nepal prefers maximising the estimated 6480 MW potential in one go to secure “maximum total net benefit”. Two possible sites are being discussed for the re-regulating structure. The first, at Rupali Gad, would generate 240 MW and have limited storage on account of its lower height (60 m) and proximity to Pancheswar. India says that the storage this site offers will not meet the irrigation demand. Indian experts prefer further downstream site at Poornagiri for re-regulating structure as this would permit construction of a 180m high dam, provide adequate storage and support a power plant with an installed capacity of 1000 MW. Nepal fears that dam at Poornagiri would inundate 250,000 hectares of fertile land and displace 56,000 people from Nepal hills14. A perception has Issues of Negotiations Major issues of Disagreement

Nepals stand

Indias stand

Status of Mahakali river

Border river

Border river in stretches

Equal sharing of water

Mahakali boundary river , hence both country has 50:50 share over water

The river can be used by the two countries but does not belong to either; Equal sharing really applies to the incremental benefits and costs attached with Pancheswar Project.

Existing consumptive uses

2 Mha area irrigated from the Lower Sharda Barrage, 160 kms. further downstream in India, is outside the scope of the Mahakali agreement and not a protected existing use. Power benefit is to be assessed on the basis of saving is actually replacement or avoided cost.

Area comes under existing consumptive uses

Benefit sharing

Alternative means can be other HEPs, gas based projects, thermal projects and not necessarily the thermal source only.

emerged in Kathmandu that while Nepal is keen on energy export to India, New Delhi looks Pancheswar project structure basically to irrigate vast tracts of land in Indian political heartland of Uttar Pradesh. For the Nepalese, Rupali Gad was the preferred site during the negotiation of the Treaty. The re-regulating a dam sites can be investigated, detailed project reports prepared and work completed within the eight years it will take to complete the Pancheswar Dam. Power Tariff: The side letter to the Mahakali Treaty says that the power benefit is to be assessed on the basis of saving its cost as compared to relevant alternatives available15. Nepalese infer it as an 'avoided cost principle' i.e. India has to pay the price according to the cost of generating the power through alternative means.


Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani, Nepalese diplomat writes “Nepal sells 3,000 MW power from Pancheshwar that will be a saving for India. In the absence of this option, India ought to have generated 3,000 MW of power from coal, which might be costing four rupees for generating one kilowatt of power16. Indians argue that the alternative means can be other HEPs, gas based projects, thermal projects and not necessarily the thermal source only. They are also uncomfortable with Nepal's tendency to gloat over the 'avoided cost principle' victory. Further, if the generation cost at Pancheswar is lower, the gain would surely have to be shared between the two countries. Instead of hypothetical considerations the price of power should be based on mutual negotiation. The price of power should be based on economic considerations, thus it means to be attractive enough to Nepal to undertake the big project and, simultaneously, it should be affordable enough to India to warrant purchase from this source. Whether the heads of ambiguities were deliberately kept as cushion to absorb the possible opposition to the project particularly emanating from domestic politics of Nepal or they were due to a lack of time, can be issues of post analysis or research. At the time of signing of Treaty they definitely played facilitatory role but now they are matters of tough bargaining and negotiation. But these differences in opinion and interpretation of Mahakali Treaty are not insurmountable if both countries cooperate in good faith to carry out the Treaty benefits. Despite several unclear provisions and incomplete arrangements, the Mahakali Treaty has provided a mechanism for a reinforced legal collaboration. The Mahakali Treaty has a provision for the establishment of a joint Indo Nepalese Commission called the Mahakali River Commission (MRC). The commission is guided by the principle of equality, mutual benefit and no harm to either countries and has been assigned a broad mandate. Beyond commission the dispute resolution mechanism envisaged by the Mahakali Treaty is relatively elaborate and advanced. Unfortunately MRC has not been constituted yet. Once MRC is constituted we can expect greater standard of efficiency over implementation of the Treaty, at raising funds, identifying and recommending solutions to the outstanding issues17. But creation of Mahakali Commission can itself require great political consensus as composition of the commission has not been specified. Stricture passed in the Nepal parliament says that Nepal's representative in commission should be named by government with the consent of the main opposition and other national parties- recurrent absence of elected government in Nepal makes consensus difficult. Baggage of Past Despite huge potentialities and commonalities of objectives, water resource development has faced many setbacks due to political and economic factors that acted against the interests of the two countries. Nepal's complaint about getting unfair deal or being cheated in earlier treaties like, The Kosi Treaty (1954) and the Gandak Treaty (1959), cast its shadow over future collaborations. Nepal water resource experts complained about unilateral initiatives of India, nominal and delayed compensations, disregard for Nepal's interest and unequal benefits. These projects created ill feeling and mistrust between two nations leading to a big gap in joint water resource


development initiatives. The efforts between the two countries have suffered due to twin factors. Firstly, policy makers of India for long failed to understand apprehensions of the smaller neighbor. Nepal, a small kingdom, sandwiched between two giant nations has its own world view. India took Nepal for granted on many occasions. Secondly, Nepal overemphasized sovereignty issues and nursed the grudge and mistrust for long. The history of negotiations regarding water projects on Indo Nepal transboundary waters got dominated by controversies primarily due to perceptional difference and the blame game instead of technical difficulties. The Nepalese believe that India is draining Nepal's watershed for its own benefit. Nepalese also blame that Indian water resource bureaucracy has shown business as usual approach combined with arrogance of power and a secretive attitude. The influence of geopolitics in Indo Nepal water resource development has been disproportionate and troublesome. Nepalese have long viewed India as a hegemonic power that arm-twists neighbours for unfair agreements. While Nepal showed disenchantment over joint water resource projects, irritant also arose in bilateral relation due to Nepal's balancing act with China and turbulence in domestic politics of the kingdom. India, in turn, blames Nepal as suffering from small country syndrome, imagining non-existent conspiracies and ignoring India's contribution in different sector of economy of Nepal. Further, fragile and unstable political uncertainties in Nepal also played a role in fueling anti-Indian sentiments. Decades have been lost due to prolonged discussions and Nepal's cautious and deliberate low profile approach. Both the parties are aware of past misgivings, however the negotiations over Mahakali will require out of box thinking to avoid burden of history. Media: Critical yet neglected actor In transboundary water resources development, planning, geography, politics and technology play major role. However, due to the nature of the resource, asymmetry in size and power, post-colonial era international relations- public opinion has become an important factor. Public perception, information, communication and dissemination thus formed, has become important in the development process. But these rarely figure during project planning stages. Only when a debate and the resulting conflict reach a dead end, the need for information and communication is felt. In many ways disregard of media has impeded development of water resource for cooperative bilateral and regional development. Media coverage on water resources in Nepal is generally replete with sentimentality and concerns. Many times such sentiments are genuine, but the often are alarmist. The reporting on Pancheswar in some of the newspapers, which are backed by opposition political parties, had little to do with water resources. Instead, they read like campaigns aimed at creating a climate for political vendetta. The slogans “what oil is to Middle East, water is for Nepal” or “water is Nepal's strategic resource” have


done more harm than good. It has made transboundary water resource an issue of domestic politics. The intense politicisation of the Pancheswar, reflexing to what the opposition in Nepal refers to as â&#x20AC;&#x153;sell-outâ&#x20AC;? has masked the basic issues in water resource development. Unfortunately, the opponents of the project in Nepal are being glorified as nationalists by a section of reporters. This definitely affects moral and commitment of negotiators from our smaller neighbor as they have to interact with extreme cautiousness and apprehension. Even after striking best possible trade off, they may be labelled as negotiators who sold out national interest. Information management has emerged as one of the pre-requisite in transboundary water resource development and management in the GangaBrahmaputra basin, for more objective information dissemination. The impact of information on issues, which have cross border implications, till now, has been poorly understood and incorporated. The setting up of national and regional water resources centers, even one at the international level could help build trust specially in sharing scientific information between experts and the media. Such an institution should encourage participation of professionals from the private and NGO sector in a more productive manner. Further breakthrough may be possible through increased interaction among the media representatives across the border. Journalists from Nepal should be encouraged to write and present their views in Indian papers and vice-versa.





6. 7.

Mahakali Project Office. There is a need to build awareness about project benefits and the opportunity cost of delay at both political and people's level. The political consensus which led to the signing and ratification of the Mahakali Treaty needs to be frequently motivated and strengthened by institutionalizing a mechanism for regular political contact at the national level and between the two countries. In the event of delay in implementation of Treaty, an opportunity lies for both governments to develop necessary pre investment infrastructure (like road, communications, townships and the mobilization of equipment etc.) concurrently with the completion of the DPR. An early establishment of the Mahakali Commission will greatly assist in resolving difference over Treaty implementation. The commission should be a broad based body with eminent persons, including those from the Mahakali region. Its constitution will provide valuable oversight in completing the DPR and assist in resolving differences over treaty implementation. Both Governments must act to implement the provision of [A] - article 2.2[a], which will make water available to Nepal from the Tanakpur barrage18. [B]-Article 1.2 of the treaty which calls for maintaining releases of water from the Sarada barrage in order to preserve the river Ecosystem19. It will help in creating mutual trust and confidence. There is a further need for Nepal and India to expedite technical and other details for the supply of water to the Dodhara-Chandani Area. Institutions from both sides must come forward to strengthen the track II process to supplement the government level interactions and assist in the resolution of pending issues. So it would be useful to undertake studies of international experience in cost/benefit sharing and other issues relevant to the implementation of the Mahakali Treaty.

Moving Ahead The provisions of Mahakali Treaty show that water resources technicians, bureaucrats, policy planners from both sides have learnt a lot from mistakes. They have become much mature in developing legal instruments. At a time when international water rights were essentially based on customary law for which river related to consumptive use have attempted to tackle issues pertaining to nonconsumptive uses of water. Further, now we have international conventions and laws as reference frameworks for negotiation on water rights, allocations, management, planned operational measures and dispute resolution. A great deal of time and energy has already been invested in evolving a framework of cooperation in water resources. It is high time to take concrete steps to consolidate and move forward rather than continue with stale arguments. Instead of putting general and vague points view of mutual cooperation, clear ideas, explicit methods and tactical approaches will serve more in the long run.

Nepal wants equal sense of participation, both in words and action, in planning and implementation of water resource projects. Such projects are based on mutual interests and reciprocities, and thus they are not client-patron situations. When two sovereign entities with highly asymmetrical size and capacities are negotiating on joint projects, attitudes and sensitivities play critical role. Indian side particularly diplomats must take care while interacting/negotiating with Nepalese counterparts. Realization of water resource projects requires diplomacy, bargaining skill and an astute vision for spin-offs.

Though there are disagreements over various provisions of the Treaty, a common ground can be created by mutual consultations. Fortunately, intensive Track II level interaction has been going on between India and Nepal. Water resources experts from both countries have been working with great perseverance to create facilitating atmosphere for early implementation of Mahakali Treaty. Some early steps that can be taken to accelerate the process are:

Conclusion There is an impasse over Pancheswar Border project. It is largely a product of disagreement over interpretations of the provisions of the Treaty. Leaving too much unspecified elements in the international treaties particularly on issues like costbenefit sharing can complicate the implementation process. It becomes even tougher in those regions which have had a history of complain and mistrust.


Fortunately, negotiators from both countries agree that earlier settlement of the ambiguous/contentious issues and implementation of the project can offer immense possibilities to the people. It can contribute significantly towards water and energy security to achieve the common objectives of Nepal and India to alleviate poverty and


Both Governments must set a target date for completion of detailed project report [DPR] including an integrated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) component and siting of the re-regulating dam. This can be facilitated by an early meeting of the Joint group of Experts/Secretaries and re-establishment of Joint


improve the quality of life of the people living in one of the most backward regions. To realize this dream project, negotiators from India and Nepal will require positive approach, genuine understanding of each other is concern and a dialogue with an open mind, to have meaningful and fruitful cooperation. Trust and transparency not only help to get rid of the irritants but also facilitate the implementation of other agreed projects or those, under study. Further, we must not miss the larger picture that the successful water resource development and management can become the nucleus of wider cooperation in the other areas of bilateral relations.


7. 8. 9.

Rakesh Tiwary, International Water Management Institute, South Asia References: Adhikary, K.D. et al. [eds.] Cooperation On The Eastern Himalayan rivers: Opportunities l

10. 11.

and Challenges, New Delhi: Konark Publishers, [2000]. l Ahmed, Q.K, Biswas, A.K. and Rangachari, R., Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna Region: A

Framework for Sustainable Development, Dhaka: The University Press Limited, [2001]. l B.G. Verghese, Water of Hope: From Vision to Reality in the Himalaya- Ganga

Development Cooperation, New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Publishing CO.Pvt. Limited, [1999]. l Biswas A.K and Uitto I.Juha (eds.), Sustainable Development of the Ganges Brahmaputra

Meghna Basins Tokyo: United Nation University Press, [2000]. l Frederiksen, Harald D., et al., Water Resources Management in Asia (Vol.II). World Bank Technical Paper No. 212. Washington D .C. (1993). l Gyawali, Dipak, Water Beyond the State: Resolving Conflicts with Institutional Pluralism, International Conference on Cooperation in South Asia, JNU, New Delhi, 29-30 March [1999]. l Khatri, K. Sridhar [ed.] Energy Policy: National and Regional Implications, Kathmandu: NEFAS Publication, [2002]. l Malla, K. Shanker, Energy Cooperation in South Asia”, Kathmandu: Institute for Integrated Development Studies Publication, [2002]. l Ramakant and Uprety, B.C. [eds.] India and Nepal: Aspects of Interdependent Relations, New Delhi: Kalinga Prakashan, [2001]. l Regional Energy Grid in the GBM Region; Water Resources Development Series; Institute for Integrated Development Studies [IIDS] Publication, Kathmandu, [2000]. l Salman, M.A. Salman and Uprety Kishore, Conflict and Cooperation on South Asian International Waters: A Legal Perspective, World Bank Publication, Washington D.C., [2002]. l Uprety, B.C., Uneasy Friends: Readings on Indo Nepal Relations, Delhi: Kalinga Pun, S.B.,”Some Musings On the Mahakali Treaty”, Himal, 14/7, July [2001].

12. 13. 14. 15.


17. 18.


Mahakali Treaty (Article 3).. Pancheswar Multipurpose Project (hereinafter referred to as the “Project”) is to be constructed on a stretch of the Mahakali River where it forms the boundary between the two countries and hence both the Parties agree that they have equal entitlement in the utilization of the waters of Mahakali River without prejudice to their respective existing consumptive uses of the waters of the Mahakali River S.B. Pun “Sharing the Ganges Waters The Writings on the Wall”, WECS Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 1&2, April 1999, p. 33. Anand Bahadur Thapa “The Mahakali Treaty and Existing Water Uses Issue”, WECS Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 1&2,April 1999, p. 37. Pashupati S. Rana “Mahakali Treaty Benefits to Nepal” in Dr. Hari Bans Jha (ed.), Mahakali Treaty Implication for Nepals Development, FESC publication, Lalitpur, 1996, p. 5. Dwarika Dhungel, “Nepal-India Water Resources Relationship: Looking Ahead,” Jalsrot , Magh-Faghun, 2060 (2004), pp. 11-17. Nepalese parliament passed four strictures while ratifying the Mahakali Treaty. The status of these instrumens [called 'samkalps'] has added some confusion. Indian argue whether treaty has been given conditional ratification? Whether implementation is contingent upon issues mentioned in strictures? Others view that these strictures are largely meant for Nepal domestic audience, particularly for factions who were opposing any water resource related agrreemnt with India. Ramaswamy R. Iyer “Delay and Drift On the Mahakali” Himal, 14/6, June 2001, p. 41-42. S.B. Pun, “Some Musings On the Mahakali Treaty”, Himal, 14/7, July 2001, pp. 48-94. The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu, Feb. 6th, 2004. Mahakali treaty side letters exchanged between India and Nepal Article 3(a)…While assessing the benefit from the Project during the preparation of the DPR, net power benefit shall be assessed on the basis of, inter alia, saving in costs to the beneficiaries as compared with the relevant alternatives available. Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani “Mahakali Treaty: A Vision for 21st Century” in Dr. Hari Bans Jha [ed.] The Mahakali Treaty, Implications for Nepal's Development, FESC Publications, Lalitpur, 1996, p. 23. The Kathmandu Post, Feb. 2, 2003. Article 2.2 [a] of the Mahakali Treaty reads - In lieu of the eastern afflux bund of the Tanakpur Barrage at Jimuwa thus constructed, Nepal shall have the right to a supply of 28.35 m3/s (1,000 cusecs) of water in the wet season (i.e., from 15th May to 15th October) and 8.50 m3/s (300 cusecs) in the dry season (i.e., from 16th October to 14th May) from the date of the entry into force of this Treaty. For this purpose and for the purposes of Article 1 herein India shall construct the head regulator(s) near the left under sluice of the Tanakpur Barrage and also the waterways of the required capacity unto the Nepal-Indian border. Such head regulator(s) and waterways shall be operated jointly. India shall maintain a flow of not less than 10m3/s (350 cusecs downstream of the Sarada Barrage in the Mahakali River to maintain and preserve the river eco-system

End Notes: 1. Hari Bans Jha, “Mahakali Treaty and Its Implications” in Hari Bans Jha (ed.) Mahakali Treaty: Implications for Nepal Development, FESC Publications, Lalitpur 1996, p. 29. 2. B.G. Verghese Water of Hope: From Vision to Reality in the Himalaya- Ganga Development cooperation, Oxford & IBH Publishing CO.Pvt. Limited, 1999 p. 406. 3. Mahakali Treaty [1996] text …..Recognizing that the Mahakali River is a boundary river on major stretches between the two countries; Realizing the desirability to enter into a treaty on the basis of equal partnership to define their obligations and corresponding rights and duties thereto in regard to the waters of the Mahakali River and its utilization…. 4. n. 56, p. 37. 5. Ramaswamy: R. Iyer, “Conflict Resolution: Three River Treaties”, Economic and Political Weekly, June 12, 1999, pp. 1510-1512.



From Margin to Mainstream: Barriers to the Integration of Women into Indian Armed Forces Dr P. Radhakrishnan, Introduction The armed forces of any nation are drawn from the citizens and so, their culture and working reflect larger social attitudes and thinking. Traditionally the Indian armed forces have been the sole realm of men. Changes in the status of women in society, demographic needs, abstract notions of political correctness and the changing nature of warfare itself led to women making inroads in this male preserve in the early nineties. In keeping with the changing societal trends and increasing complexities of military roles and career fields, women have been inducted into the Indian armed forces since 1992. Due to the small participation envisaged for women by the Indian military establishment their induction has been slow and measured only as commissioned officers, in limited numbers and in select career fields. Nearly a decade later, their integration remains contentious as the services have visualised a very restricted role for them and little has changed in career opportunities and exposure. Gainful employment of women in the military has to tread a thin line without compromising organizational goals in defence readiness or individual careers in providing women with equitable terms of service and career opportunities. So, the Indian armed forces need to review certain discriminatory policy decisions such as the grant of only a short service commission to women where the total service tenable by them is a maximum of 14 years, combat exclusions, the preclusion of women from enlisted ranks etc as these have a direct bearing on the opportunities available to women and the extent of their employment. Policy directives on the role and employability of women in the Indian armed forces have largely remained situational and reactionary in nature with perhaps the most serious lacunae being the absence of any future vision. Consequently, the issue since its inception has lacked a systematic and planned approach. Such discriminatory policy directives translate on to a day-to-day working level and interaction between men and women in the services. They manifest themselves as informal exclusionary practices and attitudes which breed prejudice in a normal working routine. These policies of differences have a direct bearing on the integration and assimilation of women into mainstream service life. Short Service Commission Women are inducted only as officers and not as non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or enlisted personnel. In the officer cadre too, all the three services offer only a short


service commission (SSC) to its women officers. The SSC is an initial compulsory contractual tenure of five to seven years, depending upon the service, extendable to a maximum term of 10 years only. This was reviewed in the year 2002 and all the three services extended the term of the SSC. And now the total contractual service period is extendable to a maximum tenure of 14 years. Unlike other male officers, who have the option of a permanent commission at the time of joining or if they are SSC officers at the time of termination of their contract, women officers are not extended the option of a PC at any stage in their service. At the end of their maximum tenure of 14 years they have to leave the services. The ceiling on their tenure of service has a serous limiting effect on the career of women officers, as they reach a certain dead end in their career while they are in their early or mid thirties. As long as women as women officers in the services are denied the choice of a permanent commission, their service in the armed forces will remain merely a job and never a dedicated career option. With a limited service span women neither have a career in the armed forces whereby they can look forward to growth and development in the organization nor are able to consolidate their position to contribute significantly to national defence. The policy is like the sword of Damocles hanging over the career of all women officers. In the shadow of such a policy, the futility of addressing other integration issues is well perceived. Only when women are employed on equitable terms will there be any meaning in pressing for further opportunities. From its own perspective, perhaps the government and the Service Headquarters should do a cost benefit analysis to see the feasibility of investing so much on training for such a short period of retention. This is true for all women officers in all the three services and is especially relevant for SSC women pilots where the cost and effort of training is greater. The experience of almost a decade of service comes to a naught when women leave the services in their prime. True to the spirit of any organization, service policies too are geared towards serving their own interests first and relegating individual careers and aspirations to shadowy backgrounds. The services today are suffering from an acute and acknowledged shortage of young officers. Since the shortage of officers is being experienced only at the junior levels, the armed forces do not envisage any role for women officers at senior levels soon. This restrictive bias is reflected in all current policies regarding employability and opportunities offered to women in the armed forces. With a limited service span and the restrictions placed on their role employability, women have a double disadvantage of a prejudicial policy, which even if they overcome, they do not have the experience necessary to attain higher ranks. Since women are not employed in any mainstream roles they miss out on important rungs on the ladder of experience, which are crucial for a command. Due to their continuing concentration in junior and middle levels they have no representation at the decision-making levels and are unable to project their point- to make their voices heard or effect any policy changes in their lot. A limited service tenure has overall critical ramifications for women. Faced with a dead end in their career in their early thirties and unemployment, women officers have little choice but to either resign themselves to their domestic responsibilities or to struggle all over again in a highly competitive environment to re-


establish themselves in a new career field. To have no options to continue in the armed forces after giving the organisation the best years of one's life is a highly stressful experience and often leads to periods of grave depression. Women officers, once they complete their tour of duty, have to cope with a sudden loss of status, occupation and remuneration all in one sweep. At the end of their short service tenure women officers are not eligible for any pensioners' benefits either and so, they lose out on economic gains as well. Theory of Viable Numbers The number of women inducted into the Indian armed forces is negligible. So far only 1150 women have served in the Indian army, making up to approximately 1.5 percent of the officer cadre. In the Indian Air Force the number of women who have served so far is 571, about 3.7 percent of the officer corps. In the Navy the total strength of women officers is 250, approximately 1.5 percent1. The figures indicate that the total number of women in the armed forces is miniscule because women are not allowed to compete on gender-neutral standards but have a limited number of vacancies assigned for them. For such a small number to make any impact or to bring about any lasting substantial change is implausible. This will remain a non-issue until women are inducted into viable numbers. "The theory of viable numbers originates from what may be called a 'critical mass concept'. Simply put this is a minimum number that would give a group its clear identity, ĂŠlan, and generate a sentiment of espirit de corps2". As of now women officers are too widely scattered and are fighting individual battles for greater opportunities and women as a group have failed to make a positive impact or to project a cohesive image in the Armed forces. For women as a group to have a commanding presence, to forcefully project their views and effect change they have to be inducted in sufficient strength. In all countries where women have a large participation in the nation's armed forces they are inducted both as officers and as enlisted personnel. In India women are inducted only as commissioned officers. The Service Headquarters state that there is no immediate proposal to induct women in to the ranks. The major reason for this is the Indian social and cultural background and the ensuing conservative mindsets especially at the levels of the troops. Lower levels of education at the enlisted level also ensure that traditional mindsets regarding women and their 'correct' place in society continue. Other concerns are the lack of infrastructure and the administrative rehash required for such a change. Other issues that make the proposal unviable are discipline and related issues, domestic responsibilities of women and the inherent difficulty of a career in the armed forces. Keeping in mind the ground realities of the Indian armed forces, the induction of women into the ranks will be an exercise fraught with difficulties. Women can be inducted into the ranks once some level of acceptance is generated towards them but this process could still take many years. Combat Exclusions Career profiles of women are severely restricted because the Indian armed forces have a strict and formal combat exclusion policy for women and consequently women are


posted in combat support Arms and Services only. The formal exclusion of women from the Fighting Arms has a serious limiting effect on the career prospects of women as the path to command and positions of authority at senior levels is through these specialties. Further though women are routinely employed in field areas in various support roles, they are not permitted to units in field that have any operational commitment or face any enemy threat. Combat is the sole of the profession of arms3â&#x20AC;?. There is no denying that to be an integral part of the profession of arms combat experience is essential. For women to move from peripheral functions to core/mainstream service pursuits and to rise to any position of authority in the services hierarchy, combat options have to be considered. The issue has many complex strands and conflicting points of view, which have to be resolved before any conclusions can be arrived at. These range from the potential impact of such a resolution on national security, the tough physical requirements of combat assignments and whether women can meet the same, the effect of the presence of women on unit cohesion and morale and other physical and psychological factors. Support functions have traditionally been valued less than combat jobs since combat functions contribute directly to the primary mission and combat personnel face the highest risk of attrition. The unspoken hierarchy of combat functions is validated by the higher status, pay and allowances and greater opportunities for career advancement that combat personnel enjoy. The path to command and senior ranks in all the three Services also charts its way through the central mission of the armed forces, which is combat. Since most women perform support roles their work is valued less and they are not acceded equal status or opportunities in the armed forces. In the Indian armed forces even if the terms and conditions of service for women were to be made equitable with men, without any frontline experience women can never compete for senior positions on a par with their male counterparts. It is a common mantra of good management that people work efficiently when they have future goals and prospects to work towards. A transparent, unbiased system of growth with associated powers and advancement opportunities are incentives for peak performances. Within the Indian armed forces as Air Commodore S M Hundiwala in his article, Women in the Indian Armed forces- Problems and Prospects rightly explains- "Lack of individual challenge confronts a vast majority of servicewomen who find themselves in 'catch-22' situation of being a non- combatant (therefore of professionally subordinate status), and often without responsibility commensurate with rank, position and seniority- the three most acknowledged tools of authority in the armed forces4". Since women are assigned only to support branches/ corps in the three services, the majority of profiles to which women are designated tend to be routine and uninspiring desk jobs. The thrill and adventure associated with a career in the armed forces remains an unfulfilled aspiration for most. Most women find the Services not matching with their expectations, in terms that their work profiles are not challenging enough. Women who do cite achievements in the armed forces are more as a matter of chance and the right connections rather than systematic opportunities accorded to all women officers in the Services.


In the Indian Army women are commissioned in the Army Supplies Corp, Army Ordnance Corp, Army Education Corp, Corp of Engineers, Corp of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Corp of Signals, Intelligence Corp, Air Defence Artillery and Judge Advocate General Branch. Women are excluded from the Infantry, Armour and Artillery-the mainstay fighting forces. In the Indian Navy women are commissioned in the Law Cadre, ATC, Logistics Cadre and Education Branch. Women are excluded from the Executive Branch though Law, ATC and Logistics do form part of the Executive Branch; they are not the executive paths to a command. Women are also excluded from the Engineering branch, the Electrical branch, Naval Aviation, Submarines and Diving. In the Indian Air Force women are commissioned in the Flying Branch as transport and helicopter pilots, in the Technical Branch as Aeronautical Engineers (Electrical) and (Mechanical), in the Ground Duty Branches i.e. Administrative and Logistics Branch, Accounts Branch, Education Branch, and Meteorological Branch. A few courses of women were inducted into the Air Traffic Controller/ Fighter Controller Branch, but the commission has since been stopped. Women in the Flying Branch can only fly transport aircraft namely Avro and An 32 and only Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. All other transport aircrafts and helicopters specialties are closed to women. Also closed are all fighter aircrafts.

In the Indian context, the debate of opening combat specialties to women is a little premature as women are yet to find a stronghold or receive equal opportunities even in support functions. There is an utter lack of seriousness to perceive the armed forces as a serious career option for women by most men and by a cross section of women themselves who are content with their limited service role. The issue is really a non-issue from the organizational point of view since in the present measured utilisation of women; combat duties are not even an option visible in the distant horizon. As there is no practical knowledge gleaned on the subject from lack of experience, studies or trials, the debate on women in combat in the Indian context remains restricted to the realms of theory. Moreover since the issue is not justified by military necessity there is little heed paid to the entire debate. Demographically, India does not face any manpower shortages, rather conversely it is reeling under its population pressure and rife unemployment. Due to this, there is little pressing reason for the conservatives to reconsider the present policy and customs. But in the interest of fairness, if women have been inducted, they deserve the same opportunities for career advancement as men without any dilutions in standards to accommodate them. Once these issues are resolved the services could then consider reviewing some of other policies regarding the career graph of women in the armed forces. In terms of career opportunities and exposures, little has changed for women since their induction. The present lot of women officers is only a shade better as a result of a few minor policy changes made over the years. Most career courses, including all arms courses such as the Junior Commanders Course and all combat related courses in the army, which are mandatory for male officers, remain closed for women. In the Navy and the air force too, all courses of long duration and professional augmentation such


as flying instructors course, test pilots course in the air force, navigation and direction course, long gunnery course in the Navy etc are closed to women. Due to their limited service bracket women officers' are excluded from most courses, this and their narrow service profile result in most women officers having a limited professional knowledge base. So, they are unable to compete for other career enhancement courses such as the staff course which is a combined course for all the three services and is considered important for promotions and appointments. In terms of other service activities and exposures the aspirations, initiations, encouragement and fulfillment remains at an individual level and does not translate into any policy for women officers as a whole. Few women do cite achievements and challenges, but these exposures are more a matter of chance and luck rather than systematic opportunities available to all women officers. Also most such achievements are restricted to adventure activities and not core professional tasks. Apart from limiting career opportunities exclusions from combat arms for women as a policy, also results in loss of financial benefits and seriously limits their promotions, posting profiles and their numbers in the Services. Women lose out on pecuniary gains as combatants enjoy certain allowances based on their skills, career fields and assignments. These allowances include Difficult Area Allowance, High Altitude and Uncongenial Climate Allowance, Siachen Allowance, Hazard and Special Hazard Pay, Snow and Avalanche Pay, Parachute Pay, Special Commando Pay, certain other allowances etc. A ceiling on their promotions because of limited short service tenure and a combat exclusion policy also means a ceiling on the grade of their pay scales. Exclusionary Policies and Prejudices Discriminatory policies and service conditions reflect a lack of acceptance at the organisation level and reinforces the apprehensions at the day-to-day working level. Even when women perform the jobs assigned to them with utmost efficiency, lingering doubts about the capabilities to a handle a situation independently almost always exist and there are greater checks on their performance with many bosses showing an informal preference for male colleagues. This general absence of confidence in the abilities of women to perform par with men and a constant close scrutiny of all their activities lays great pressure on women to demonstrate and affirm their worth to gain acceptance. The high visibility potential of all women further highlights the negative approach, lesser commitment and performance of some individuals towards their career and is made to reflect on all women in general, overlooking that ability is not conditional to gender. Since socialization works on the law of large numbers the practice of sweeping generalizations, partially limit the optimum use of women and reinforce individual perceptions. Apart from exclusions from core service activities that are mandated by policies, women officers are also marginal to the male dominated masculine culture of the services. Because of being relegated to the periphery of this male dominated arena and simultaneous disassociation with their own gender on account of a nontraditional career choice, women officers often face dilemmas of identity. Women in their endeavour of securing credence in this predominant male set-up, disinherit themselves from traditional female roles. Yet no matter how hard they try they are


never really accepted as 'one of the boys' and often find that they are not really a part of any social group. Since soldiering is traditionally viewed as a male pursuit, women bearing arms are seen as imbibing soldierly and so called masculine values, which are in conflict with the expected social pattern of feminine behaviour thus creating further confusion about their identity. "Their ascribed status (sex) conflicts with their achieved status (occupation), thus creating confusion of social identity because society defines soldering as a male vocation5". Society at large admires and is yet hard on women who do not fit popular expectations. Moreover, their choice of career and assimilation in the services is an uncomfortable and ideologically awkward issue as women are traditionally associated with peace and passivity and not as perpetuators of violence.

Deepanjali Bakshi is a retired army captain End Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Data collected from the Indian Army, Air Force and Naval Headquarters. Air Commodore S M Hundiwala, VM & Bar, 'Women in the Armed forces Problems and Prospects', NDC Journal, Vol XIV, No 92, pp63. Alexander F.C. Webster, 'Paradigms of the Contemporary American Soldier and Women in the Military', Strategic Review, Summer 1991, pp28. Air Commodore S M Hundiwala, VM & Bar, 'Women in the Armed forces Problems and Prospects', NDC Journal, Vol XIV, No 92, pp65. Karen O. Dunivin, 'Adapting to a Man's World: United States Air Force Female Officers', Defense Analysis, Vol7.No1, 1991, pp97.

The Way Ahead To ensure the integration of women in mainstream service life; the organization has to institute certain measures that will ultimately help to formulate policy directives that will further lead to equality and empowerment of all service members and result in the optimum utilization of all its human resources. Further, the initiation of such measures will reflect the organization's commitment to eliminate discrimination both positive and negative on the basis of gender and will impact attitudinal barriers towards women in everyday working life and bring about greater acceptance. Since women are a marginal entity, and are concentrated in junior levels, they lack the 'critical mass' and positions of power to affect any change themselves. Women officers have no common platform in the official channel where their point of view can be projected to policy makers and planners. Therefore these measures could include instituting Committees or other Advisory bodies with powers to influence change. The services should also commission studies and reports on all aspects concerning military women and their employability and hold trials to test realities versus presumptions as these will help to dispel myths regarding the role employability of women and highlight the various facts and facets of military women's. The aim behind all such measures would be the effective employment of women in the military. To ensure the implementation of changing policies and legislations legal recourse and intervention by courts can be sought to bring about parity in the service profile of men and women. Conclusion For a professional army there is no more valuable military resource than its personnel. In optimally utilizing its human resources the Indian armed forces have overlooked the capabilities of its women soldiers to a large extent and have ascribed a very limited role to them. To mitigate this oversight, the Indian armed forces have to take steps to integrate women into mainstream service life. Initiating policies that do not limit the career spans and opportunities of women officers would be a right step in this direction. Such policies have to be based on adequate research and trials on every aspect of their employability. Attitudes and perceptions of both men and women too should change with time and experience, to foster a cohesive work environment based on mutual respect. The synergistic skills of both men and women soldiers are essential for the Indian armed forces to function effectively.



Water Management and Reservoirs in Pakistan

150 years after its development, the Indus and canals network was the biggest contiguous irrigation network without any reservoir and 70 percent of the cropped area having the “scarcity by design”.

Dr Zaigham Habib Natural river flows vary in patterns as do their sources in provision. Snowmelt and rainfall, two major sources of river water across the world, undergo huge changes in size to shape flows of water as it travels from foothills to lower plains and deserts. Hence, floods or water shortage. For centuries, communities have been building surface storages to collect water for agriculture, industry, infrastructure and domestic use. The development of agriculture increased the need for having reliable water supply in the plains over the seasons. As techniques progressed, huge canals were built in the farming regions. Hydel-power generation gave impetus to water storages in industrially developing countries. To support the spread of population and industry, rivers were increasingly controlled, stored and interlinked. Trans-boundary water rights became another reason to control and store the flow of a river. Depending on regional autonomy of the states, natural topography, number of rivers, type of agriculture, and dependence on hydraulic energy, economic conditions of a country, downstream acceptance and donors' approach, reservoirs are linked to socio-economic growth. Surface reservoirs collect river water during the high flow period, including floods, for use during the low flow period. They also regulate water for secure and reliable supply for industrial and urban use. Most North American and European dams, built during the last hundred years, fall under this category. River size and natural topography determine the size of reservoirs built for hydropower generation, the most beneficial and cost effective use of water storage. Small dams get water from rainfall and flashy streams in marginal water availability regions. Post World War, North America and Europe modernized water control and supply systems, for high efficiency of water use, adequacy of water supply and high economic returns. Physical development of infrastructure included surface reservoirs, river training, lining of watercourses from rivers to the field channels and the drainage systems. International donors appreciated the economic benefits of investment in water projects across the world. South Asia, a region with quick spread, has been slow in modernizing water systems, including the development of reservoirs. What is called “modern irrigation network” in the region consisted of 'run of the river canal', only controlled at the headworks, and the gravitational water supplies to farmers. Particularly in the Upper Indus Basin, such low-cost systems were spread over big areas of high aridity supplying only a fraction of water required by crops. This “scarcity by design” (ILRI , Mollinga) was aimed to protect communities against famine and engage maximum population in agriculture (Indian Commission on Agriculture -- , Michel Arther 1967). An in-built character of these systems is “water stress” and a demand for more water. However, inter-river transfer of water across the Indus started in 1932. Until 1967,


The first reservoir of the Basin, Mangla, was built “as a replacement works”, storing and transferring water from the River Jhelum (the western tributary of Punjab) to the command areas of two eastern tributaries, Ravi and Sutlej. As a part of the replacement works, India built four reservoirs on these two rivers storing finally all of their flows, except for heavy floods. The second big reservoir of Pakistan, Tarbela on Indus, is also contributing to the “replacement works” through two big link canals, Chashma-Jhelum and Trimmu-Sidhnai. Pakistan's water sector went through an important planning process between 1960 and 1965, which is hardly quoted in its real context. World Bank experts carried out an “Indus Special Study” on the estimation, development and management of water and power resources of West Pakistan. The experts, headed by Pieter Lieftinck, A. Robert Sadove and Thomas C. Creyke, produced a report titled “A Study in Sector Planning the development of Irrigation and agriculture”, which suggested three major changes to the philosophy of water management in the Basin: l High feasibility of surface storage in the irrigated agriculture and power sectors of

Pakistan recommending full storage and use of Kharif (monsoon) surplus water in Indus till the year 2000. l Shifting agriculture towards high input-high yield crop systems - making system as much crop demand based as possible. l Basin level water ownership and management resulting into the creation of Water and Power Development Authority. However, after 1978 Pakistan could not continue with reservoirs. The reasons were local as well as international. Donors' interest in funding big irrigation schemes, especially big reservoirs, decreased in the eighties and the nineties. The environmental and demographic consequences of big reservoirs were widely criticized, along with the low economic efficiency of agriculture. Within the country, regional water sharing conflict and the objection of lower riparian to upstream water control could not be fully addressed. Despite satisfactory performance of two reservoirs built between 1967 and 1978 in Pakistan (commended by the World Commission), an effective Indus Basin approach could not be evolved and implemented. The impact of developments inside and outside agriculture could not be synthesized and integrated in the planning and management of water resources in general. Because of low development of other sectors, pressure on agriculture and its extension has gone beyond the planning of 1965. Other water use sectors have emerged as competitive at the Basin and regional levels. All water bodies, including rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifer, are facing sustainability and conservation threats. Water availability has fallen very short of demand projections. To address the water shortages in the face of a “required extension of agriculture”, the government has launched a campaign to convince all regional stakeholders of the Indus Basin on


the construction of “a series of new dams”, recommended since 1965. The pronounced factor in the dam debate is regional political disagreement on the location of the next surface reservoir. The technical debate, limited in its arguments and sophisticated scientific analysis, is based on many underlying managerial and economic factors. International Debate on Dams When the World Commission of Dams (WCD) completed its report in 1990s, more than 40,000 dams were criticized for disturbing nature and generating inequitable benefits. The draft report of WCD was broadly criticized for its too much focus on environment while ignoring agriculture. The report listed out negative impacts of reservoirs and inequitable distribution of economic benefits of reservoirs across the globe. “The impact of dams upon natural ecosystems and biodiversity has been one of the principal concerns raised by large dams. Over the course of the past 10 years in particular, considerable investments have been made in the development of measures to alleviate these impacts. Yet today widespread concern remains that despite improvements in dam planning, design, construction and operation, they continue to result in significant negative impacts to a wide range of natural ecosystems and to the people that depend upon them for their livelihood. Each river basin contains many natural ecosystems including not only the aquatic habitats associated with water in the river channel, but all of the elements of the river catchment that contribute water, nutrients and other inputs to the river. These ecosystems include: the headwaters and the catchment landscapes; the channel from the headwaters to the sea; riparian areas; associated groundwater in the channel/banks and floodplains; wetlands; the estuary and any near shore environment that is dependent on freshwater inputs. These ecosystem yield products such as wildlife, fisheries and forest resources, and are of aesthetic and cultural importance to many millions of people. Diverting water to dams alters the natural distribution and timing of stream flows. This in turn changes sediment and nutrient regimes and alters water temperature and chemistry, with consequent ecological and economic impacts. Reduction in downstream annual flooding, in particular, affects the natural productivity of floodplains and deltas.” The report adopts a cautionary approach in concluding that “high degree of uncertainty and limited predictive capacity argue forcefully for adoption of a precautionary approach to dam development. Wherever possible, dams and their impacts should be avoided. Where avoidance is not possible, capacity to manage the dam in a flexible manner and so adapt to improved understanding of ecosystem requirements, should be incorporated into dam design. This precautionary approach should be recognized as a central feature of planning, design and management of dams, especially as many are probably irreversible (WCD)”. The report suggests eight measures while taking up a reservoir: l Recognize the important role of natural ecosystems in contributing to sustainable

development. Conserve and enhance these ecosystems and their value to society.

Recognize and manage for uncertainty. l l Adopt environment friendly measures l Maximize adaptive capacity. l Promote incorporation of environmental management features into dam design. l Promote the development of national legislative frameworks. l Promote application of tools to foster ecosystem health. (I) Environmental Flow Releases. EFRs are being used in 25 countries and today serve as the single most important tool for managing the ecosystem and associated impacts of dams. (II) Ecosystem Health Indicators. Donors hung back investment in big reservoirs and irrigation projects after the report. However, the need for food security, uneven development of natural resources across the globe and isolated local processes could not bring developing countries towards a comprehensive and environmentally friendly planning of water resources. During the last 10 years international research institutes have partly pulled out from developing countries. “Dams, important to large-scale irrigated agriculture, have come under increased scrutiny. The World Commission on Dams (2000) recognized that “dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development, and the benefits derived from them have been considerable,” but in too many cases “an unprecedented and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits, especially in social and environmental terms, by people displaced, by communities downstream, by taxpayers, and by the natural environment.” The report outlined a way forward with an innovative rights and risks approach. Despite the efforts to incorporate all points of view, many countries and communities do not embrace the report and see it as presenting too many barriers. They would like to maintain the option for construction of dams for economic development. Nevertheless, it can be expected that public investments in large dams and irrigation projects will be increasingly difficult to justify.” (IWMI 2001). “On the one hand, the fundamental fear of food shortages encourages ever greater use of water resources for agriculture. On the other, there is a need to divert water from irrigated food production to other users and to protect the resource and the ecosystem. Many believe this conflict is one of the most critical problems to be tackled in the early 21st century”. This was a key conclusion of the Framework for Action exercise of the Global Water Partnership (GWP,FFA, 2000, p58). The need for water resources development During the last three years, the need for hydropower development has been emphasized again because of non-availability of alternatives. Gas and coal resources of the world are on the decline. The two energy sources also create high pollution during generation. Nuclear energy, the only potential alternative, is not safe yet, and not politically acceptable either. Hence, the international donors came back, with their support for big reservoirs and clean-energy generations. The following quote from the “UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer at the World Water Week High Level Panel on Water and Energy” reflects the UN agenda:

l Recognize the importance of biodiversity and promote its conservation.



“Hydropower provides perhaps the strongest example of the close link between water and energy. Traditionally regarded as renewable energy, hydropower represents a largely under-utilized resource, especially in the developing world where energy needs are most acute. However, because of its link with large dam projects, which are broadly perceived as often environmentally and socially harmful, hydropower remains the focus of heated debate. Both the positive and the negative aspects of water and energy use are central to the UN Millennium Development Goals, eight time-bound achievable objectives, adopted by the international community in 2000. Together these goals represent a set of minimum targets for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, empowering women, improving maternal and child health, promoting environmental sustainability and encouraging new and better partnerships for sustainable development that must be achieved by 2015. Strategies for sustainable water use and energy generation are particularly relevant to eradicating extreme poverty, promoting gender equality, improving the health of women and children, as well ensuring environmental sustainability, which UNEP maintains is the foundation on which humankind's long-term welfare ultimately rests. Fulfilling water and energy requirements to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will require additional water collection and storage capacity and increased electricity generation and supply. Using water reservoirs to generate electricity addresses both issues. However, hydropower is just one from a basket of solutions. The debate about the performance of large dams and their social and environmental effects in the 1990s led to the establishment of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). While the full WCD report findings and recommendations have not achieved worldwide acceptance, the UNEP considers them a source of valuable information and advice that will inform the development of water and energy strategies. The UNEP says the debate is not between small and big dams but between good dams and bad dams. The UNEP Dams and Development Project is working to promote an improved decision-making on dams through multi-stakeholder dialogue. The project aims to strengthen national regulatory frameworks and international guidelines. The role of hydropower was highlighted by the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation which called, with a sense of urgency, for substantially increasing the global share of renewable energy sources, hydropower included, with the objective of increasing its contribution to total energy supply. The Political Declaration of the International Conference on Renewable Energies, held in Bonn, Germany in 2004, also included hydropower as a renewable source. It acknowledged that renewable energies combined with enhanced energy efficiency could significantly contribute to sustainable development: by providing access to energy, especially for the poor; mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; reducing harmful air pollutants, thereby creating new economic opportunities; and enhancing energy security through cooperation and collaboration. Worldwide, hydropower represents just 19 per cent of total energy production. Two-thirds of the total economically feasible global hydropower potential in the world mainly located in the developing world still remains undeveloped. Africa as a whole has tapped only 6 per cent of its hydropower potential.”


The Dams and Water Debate in Pakistan In 1947, Pakistan came into existence with 80 percent of its population living in the rural areas and fully relying on agriculture. The predominantly irrigated agriculture was confined in the Indus basin covering of 30 percent of Pakistan's land and hosting more than 90 percent of its water resources. Conceptual and management gaps After 1960, water resources management moved from the “operations of a run of the river system” to the regulation of “a controlled” system. An objective study carried out in 1965 recommended a gross storage of 30 maf, big drainage system covering the whole basin and full use of water resources till 2000. Locations of the potential reservoirs were also identified by this study. This exercise by the top world consultants (Liftnick --, 1967) has been widely referred to in water projects. Conceptually, outlines of a controlled and managed water resources system could not be evolved and some vital gaps emerged during the last 40 years: a.


c. d.



Water demand (in agriculture and other sectors) was not recognised and planned to be addressed. The basin level studies carried out in 1978 (RAP) and 1991 (1991) again recommended more storages and full utilization of water resources, but, could not evolve and discuss measures to manage and control water demands. The dichotomy continues to exist in the planning of water resources development and use. Even after the construction of two reservoirs in 1967 and 1978, the operational criteria at the main canal and lower levels were not changed. The run of the river system based seasonal allowance was not officially and legally changed. The excess water was distributed based on the “indents” (request of the local manager), representing a combination of capacity constraints and local demand. This process generated the concept of “historical diversions”. Historical diversions are neither based on the design criteria, nor on crop. With a slow “shift of supply responding to the indents” the design targets are manipulated without any criteria. All planning and management documents remain simple and empirical limiting the discussion and comprehensive understanding of the system. While the physical integration of river network was enhanced in the seventies, a complex integration with the groundwater systems started developing then. It reached an optimum in the nineties, and an integrated basin level vision could not be evolved at the analytical and the planning level. The basin level planning and regulation failed to address the issues of water bodies in terms of their socio-economic values, status, safety and replacement. The planning documents and regional agreements in the Indus Basin generally lack proper assessment and mentioning of the “water bodies” security. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 evidences this attitude or ignorance of managers. The treaty is silent on the natural ecosystems of three eastern rivers, and was not even later on considered in the replacement works. Arguments in favour of higher regulation and exploitation of water resources solely come from the “enhanced agriculture cost”. Discussion on the cost, benefit and sustainability of these systems remains superficial. Despite high benefits and




needs, hydropower is neither planned nor projected as an independent sector. The regional water scarcity and cost benefits are uneven at the spatial scale, causing higher political and administrative interference in resolving water issues. The basin and sub-basin level institutional integration and links could not be developed in the Indus Basin. WAPDA remains a federal planning and monitoring institute devoid of the qualities of â&#x20AC;&#x153;a basin level organizationâ&#x20AC;?, while provincial irrigation departments remain regional operators. Because of this basically administrative mode of operations, public knowledge about water issues remains limited at the common and intellectual levels. To put the reservoir debate in the context of water resources management following l Key features of Indus Basin hydrology l Water demand and Supply Gap l Environmental Water needs l Regional Water Interests

Water availability in the Indus Basin Indus, the trans-Himalayan river of southern Asia, is one of the world's longest rivers, with a length of 1,800 mi (2,900 km). Its annual flow of 272 billion cu yd (207 billion cu m) is twice that of the Nile. It rises in southwestern Tibet and flows northwest through valleys of the Himalayas. After crossing into the Kashmir region, it continues northwestward through the Indian- and Pakistani-administered areas and then turns south into Pakistan. Swelled by tributaries from the Punjab region, including the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers, it widens and flows more slowly. It has supplied water for irrigation on the plains of Pakistan since early times. (Indus River Concise Encyclopedia Article)

After the Indus Basin Waters Treaty with India, Pakistan has a right only on three western Rivers. Almost 80 percent of the water in the Indus comes from remote glaciers tucked in the majestic Himalayan and Karakorum mountain ranges, which border China and India, and the Hindu Kush, which borders Afghanistan. The rest comes from rains, especially during the monsoon season from July to September. Since most of Pakistan is arid or semi-arid, the Indus River System serves a vital national role. The watershed irrigates 80 percent of Pakistan's 21.5 million hectares of farmland, through a well-knitted network of canals. (The other 20 percent is fed by rainfall.) Interconnectivity and Sharing of Rivers The natural connectivity of tributary rivers of Indus is enhanced through inter-river link canals supported by the reservoirs. This interconnectivity provides flexibility in case of excess water availability and increases sharing competition in case of low availability. The distribution of water across the long distances daily provides room for the management and operational leakages. Spatially uneven, erratic and low rainfall The major contribution of rainfall occurs at the lower elevation closer to the foothills. Towards the south-west rainfall quickly decreases. The country is divided into five rainfall regions below the mountainous region, more than 1000 mm in the northwest, to less than 125 mm in two desert regions. About half of the Indus plains has rainfall less than 150 mm. The monsoon region receives 80 percent rainfall during one to three summer months. A small western region is exposed to the winter rainfall, positively influencing contributing to the Kabul river flows. The floods and droughts in the South Asian region are mainly contributed by the monsoon rains, which can vary in the fourfold annual range. The extreme events of floods and droughts disturb the average estimation of water availability. The estimated gross rainfall in the Indus Basin was 135 maf in 1994 and only 30 maf in 2000-01. Groundwater Availability After the seventies groundwater extraction has played an important role in agriculture sustainability in the fresh groundwater zone. The private tube well growth in Pakistan is scattered across the country, inside and outside the Indus Basin. The rain-fed and un-irrigated crop belt has converted into well-irrigated area. Groundwater quality is the major constraining factor in the groundwater use. The use of groundwater in the



freshwater zone has sustained the agricultural development in the last 20 years. Fresh groundwater has become important both for Sindh and Punjab.

Estimated Groundwater Extraction

The question is how much from these inflows will further decrease. A value of 2.5 maf is estimated for the western rivers, including the River Kabul, by WAPDA and Punjab Irrigation Department (personal communication with M. H. Siddiqi). No big disagreement exists on this value, which is linked with the future developments on the Indian side. Based on the existing trend, annual hydrograph of eastern flows will vary between 1 maf and 10 maf. The average expected value can be 4 to 6 maf.

Annual contribution of Rivers Ravi and Sutlej


20 10











Population Factor Pakistan has reached the threshold of a water scarce country based on per capita gross water availability of the renewable water resources. This indicator is internationally accepted by the UN and other water-related organizations to indicate physical water scarcity of a country. According to the Food and Agriculture (FAO 2003), renewable water resources of Pakistan are 172 maf.

6000 cubic meters per person

The total average water entering into the River Indus after 1978 is 145 maf, an agreed value. The maximum and minimum values of this period were 177 maf in 1994-95 and 101 maf in 2001. The contribution of western rivers is about 138 maf and that of the eastern rivers 7 maf. The western inflows have shown a decrease of about 2 maf after 1960 while the eastern inflows have decreased by about 25 maf (as shown in the figure


The Surface Water Scarcity

Industry mainly depends upon pumped water. The domestic uses in the rural and semi-urban sector mainly come from hand pumps or shallow wells. The supplies in the big urban centers are reaching a saturation level and a support from the river diversions is required. River Flow and Distribution Availability at Source Despite concord on the gross river inflows, there are wide disagreements on the water available for development, and surface water scarcity and availability.


0 1947-48

Punjab is over-extracting its rechargeable groundwater and a depletion of aquifer is becoming irreversible in low rainfall areas. The total pumpage potential of 0.6 million tubewells installed in Punjab is higher than the canal supplies at the watercourse level. However, it has created a basic imbalance in the recharge-discharge potential. The over-extraction of groundwater is more than 15 maf in a dry year while the recharge could be higher in the range of 5 maf in a wet year (Pakistan Water Economy Running Dry World Bank 2005). On the average, groundwater deficit is 6 to 8 maf in Punjab and groundwater depletion is occurring in the areas of high cropping intensities and the population density. Preserving this resource base is a primary challenge in the Indus Basin water.



The groundwater is saline in 80 percent of the irrigated areas of Sindh. These areas are permanently waterlogged due to ineffective drainage and high irrigation supplies. In contrast to this planned agriculture, the riverine (sailaba) area along the Indus has better perennial access to the good quality water. A recent survey of the Sindh Forest Department has shown more than 41000 shallow wells only in one million hectare Sailaba land of Sindh (Baseline

40 Annual flows in MAF











Million acre feet (MAF)


below). The storage of eastern rivers on the Indian side has reached the capacity. Other than heavy floods, small flows available in Ravi and Sutlej are generated in their catchments in Pakistan.

River Water entering into Pakistan Per Capita



0 1954 1964 1974 1984 1994 1995 2000 2001 2004 2015

Figure: Population Factor


The calculations include rivers inflow, useable average rainfall, water generated outside the Indus Basin. If the average inflow remains constant with time, this indicator shows the impact of population growth highlighting the need of scarcity management and increasing important of domestic and urban water requirements. Per capita river water availability is shown in the Figure below using the actual river inflows of different years. This figure is important to understand human stress on the water bodies, groundwater and increasing need to independently plan for the domestic and household supplies. Shortage against the Allocations of 1991 Out of 145 maf average inflow of all rivers below RIM (River Inflow Monitoring) stations, 114.4 maf is allocated for the annual canal diversions to the four provinces (WAA 1991). The Rabi-Kharif ratio of these allocations is 1: 2. The design allowances of Rabi are increased by about 3 maf. The average actual diversions between 1978 and 2004 were only 101.6 maf, while the maximum diversions were 111 maf. The limited surface storage and peak flow durations are two major constraints not allowing the system to draw more than 111 maf even under best conditions. The canals having about 4.5 maf allocation are in the construction phase (Raini, Kachti and Greater Thal). After their construction the maximum diversion may cross the 114 maf, while the average flows will remain at least 8 maf lower. The existing regulation is analyzed by Habib 2004, showing that: l The actual capacity of the canals is more than the allocation by WAA. l Reservoirs shift water from Kharif to Rabi while a part of storage is used within

the Kharif season. l The best diversion years have maximum storage plus an extended high flow period l The monthly targets of WAA cannot be achieved without enhanced storage Provincial canal allocation 1991 and average Diversions downstream RIM stations Allocation WAA Diversions Average 1976-2004 (MAF) Kharif Rabi Annual Kharif Rabi Annual Punjab 37.07 18.87 55.95 33.49 19.04 52.54 Sindh 33.94 14.82 48.76 28.94 14.22 43.15 NWFP 3.48 2.30 5.78 2.36 1.52 3.87 Balochistan 2.85 1.07 3.92 1.22 0.82 2.02 Sum 77.34 37.06 114.41 66.01 35.6 101.58

Water Shortage against the Actual Demand The demand-based approach for agriculture estimates water availability from all three sources at the use level against the crop demand. The approach is comprehensive but complex. The computations for demands involve coefficients representing climate, crop calendar and irrigation practices. The contribution of rainfall, canal supply and groundwater depends upon efficiency factors. A recent basin level study (Habib 2004) analyzed water demand and supply in the Basin by carrying out detailed water balances and comparing results with different previous estimates, including the forecast of WAPDA studies, Lieftink (1967), Harza and Mot. Macdonald (WSIPS 1990).


The water shortage in agriculture computed by this study varies from 10 MAF in a wet year to 25 MAF in dry year. The groundwater overdraft was 15 MAF during the dry year leading to a total deficit of 40 maf. The wet year has a gross excess recharge as well as net deficit of 5 MAF. Some important findings of this study are: i.

Full land potential is not supported by the water allocation or the actual availability of water resources. The irrigated agriculture is designed for low cropping intensities.


The water stress is the maximum during Rabi season despite higher than allocated diversions during the season. Water stress is also higher in the well irrigated areas.

iii. Agriculture water demand has not been increasing linearly or as a function of area because new cropped areas have bigger share of the non-irrigated or wellirrigated areas having smaller impact on demand and higher water use efficiency. iv. The net water use efficiency has increased through groundwater recycling. However, groundwater depletion in some areas needs to be controlled by adopting a combination of three options; increasing canal supplies, increasing recharge through recharge basins or controlling groundwater pumpage. Estimation of the Crop Water Requirements Type

Areas in million ha and Gross Water Requirements

Cropped CCA Other irrigated Non-irrigated Sum

1973-74 Area mha 13.78 0.35 4.59 18.72


1993-94 Area


2000-01 Area


68.57 2.50 15.80 86.87

15.06 3.09 4.74 22.89

78.0 10.9 17.4 106.4

15.33 3.45 5.60 24.38

72.8 13.1 21.5 107.4

Gross Water Shortage of the Seasonal Water ava ilability in Percentage ( percent) Normal year Dry Year Canal Irrigated Area Tubewell Irrigated Area

7 percent 16 percent

15 percent 25 percent

A new storage can satisfy water demands in farming areas without changing the capacities of the link and main canals.

A decrease in actual water uses in agriculture will happen if the present situation continues. The surface water availability is already decreasing as are the residual flows from the eastern rivers and the existing storage. Groundwater pumping is not likely to be curbed officially. However, the groundwater aquifer depletion can itself force farmers to reduce pumping. The Natural Ecosystems and their Water needs A general ignorance exists about the river water based environmental and ecological systems among the policy makers, planners and mangers. The water needs of these systems are even less acknowledged and accepted. This approach can be used as an


indicator to evaluate the vision and potential of key organizations, like WAPDA, as basin level managers. However, sensitivity on the environmental issues is exceptionally high in Sindh. The province as the lower riparian has always brought in the issues of Indus delta, lakes and riverine water uses in dialogue. The actual management of environmental hazards is not commendable in any part of the basin. However, the sensitivity of the Lower Indus or Sindh can be justified. The interaction between local communities and natural water bodies have been stronger in Sindh because of unusable groundwater, high aridity and dependence of communities on the aquatic and ecological goods (fish, forest other vegetation). Sindh's insistence on water needs down Kotri has been finally successful in carrying out three environmental studies. The complete reports of these studies are still not available, while, the government has made public recommendations of a panel of experts:

l 5000 cusecs constant discharge is recommended downstream Kotri barrage in the river Indus to meet all water needs of the downstream delta.

l Below Kotri, releases will equitably share shortages of the system; these releases will be dealt like diversions to an irrigation canal.

l 5 maf average flood flows should go over 5 years, i.e 25 maf water should go down during the flood months of five years. Questions could be asked about the practical implementation of five maf flood flows during a prolonged drought. Nevertheless, this quantification is a big achievement towards acknowledging environmental water needs. The environmental water requirements outside the Indus delta are still not fully acknowledged. Some of these requirements, water uses by lakes and wetland, are partially fulfilled by the existing system, but not protected through allocations. A part of water replenishment of lakes and other ponds is accounted as water losses or managed through the time lags. The impacts of these uses can be seen from a systematic change in time lags between different barrages. For example, after a dry period or during winter cultivation, the time lag between two last barrages of Indus (Sukkur and Kotri) increases because a higher percentage of water is consumed by the extended river cross section and riverine cultivation. An estimated summer replenishment of all water bodies on Indus and its tributary rivers downstream Kotri is in the range of 5 maf. The existing water access to the riverine areas has become an “unaccounted irrigation supply”. The areas close to rivers and wetland are favorite places for the shallow well irrigation. The river seepage during summer can create shallow water layer useable only for a small period. The riverine areas of the sweet water zone are more sustainable for the groundwater use. The potential water uses of all reported riverine areas (Soil Survey of Pakisatn 1992, Baseline Survey Sindh 2004) could be more than 8 maf (Study III 2005). A totally neglected phenomenon threatening the natural morphology of rivers is extremely reduced or nil river flows for longer periods of time. The eastern rivers are the worst affected as could be expected. No water was released into two reaches of Sutlej in Pakistan for more than 300 days of a year during the recent drought. These


waterways which function as active rivers during floods are being abandoned for years. The natural ecology of these rivers may not be affectively saved, as no organization in Punjab is concerned about their ecosystems. Summing it up The farm land water demand has been increasing. The support from the groundwater has reached the optimum level. The current level of cropped land cannot be maintained. Agriculture is drawing more water than allocated. The actual water diverted in Rabi is higher than the allocations of 1991 and the total design allowances. The non-perennial systems are benefiting more from the water management, and hence high increases for Sindh. The indirect river water usage has been increasing though groundwater pumping. A substantial amount of water consumed by the usage is neither accounted nor protected. Agriculture is mining groundwater aquifer, which is irreversible in highly cropped and populated belt, some areas of which are affected by the reduced recharge from the natural ecosystem of the eastern rivers. The environmental water needs should be protected and accounted for. A gradual depletion of water bodies can decrease the resilience of Indus river system. The domestic and industrial demands, which are smaller in size, are going to have more dependence on river water. The Issue of Reservoir in the Context of Water Demand The need for hydropower in Pakistan is not disputed, and is supported by the donors like the World Bank (Water Economy of Pakistan Running Dry, 2005), and so, a big reservoir for electricity generation is an option stakeholders agree on. There are gross water shortages in different sectors. Even the allocations of 1991 cannot be achieved without more storage. However, future potential usage is more than the average available water. So, we need to set priorities. Punjab is always in favour of new irrigated land with thinly spread water supply (To some extent this is spatial replacement of the agriculture land and so, needs a separate discussion). However, within the province a choice is to be made between replenishing groundwater depletion and spreading agriculture to the new lands. Sindh has surplus water for the acknowledged needs in summer, while all water shortages (agricultural, drinking and environmental below Kotri) exist in winter and can increase with the depletion of the storages. Primarily, all direct and indirect water uses from the flood recharge in Sindh are not accounted and protected. Sindh has not gone through the required remodeling of the irrigation system to address some inbuilt constraints of the irrigation system and legally expand its irrigated land. It has kept the system conceptually close to the “run of the river summer agriculture” despite much higher Rabi supplies after 1978 and a big change over the areas where farmers can combat water logging. The external factor can be defined as a “historical regional wisdom” to secure more river water by the lower riparian, even if it could not be used. There is a water sharing agreement of 1991, but any upstream development will decrease the water entering into the lower Indus. This explains Sindh's insistence on having no upstream canals. The North Western Frontier Province and Balochistan can benefit if new


diversions are provided to the provinces. Even non-perennial canals will take advantage during early and late Kharif periods. A proper cost-benefit for each province, however, is missing. This could not be a simple and conducive exercise by external consultants. Rather, it should be based on provincial agriculture plans and a realistic planning for the future within the provincial shares of river water. The lake of basin and sub-basin level planning institutes can be mentioned here. The Importance of Location Carryover dams are built when the expected storage is higher than the expected demand, and not when it is going to satisfy only a part of the requirement, an essential situation in the Indus Basin. The Kabul river flows, which are partly perennial, will make a key contribution to the reliable supply. Secondly, it is high time Pakistan established its water rights on the Kabul flows. How Much Storage and How Many Reservoirs The concept to fully “control and regulate” Indus waters continued existing by maximizing storage to the possible level and the “run of the river irrigated agriculture” approach hinged on the calculation of different “surplus water quantities” available below Kotri. An ambiguous presentation of both the schools of thought confused the public opinion on the availability of water for storage. It also muddled up water availability at a location with the storage impacts.


Frank R. Rijsberman, David Molden; Thematic Background Paper, Balancing Water Uses Water For Food And Water For Nature, Iwmi, Secretariat Of The International Conference On Freshwater Bonn 2001 4. PWP - Pakistan Water Partnership. 2001.The framework for action (FFA) for achieving the Pakistan water vision 2025, civil society response to FFA. PWP. 638 WAPDA House, The Mall Lahore, Pakistan. 5. RAP - Revised Action Program for Irrigated Agriculture. 1978-79. Volume I, II, III, IV, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Lahore, Pakistan. 6. Lieftinck, P, 1968 Water and Power Resources of West Pakistan, A study in Sector Planning Volumes I, II and III, (World Bank study Group), World Bank -The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, USA. 7. Hunting Technical Services Ltd and Sir M. MacDonald & Partners (HTS/MMP). 1965. Lower Indus Report, Physical Resources-Groundwater, Volume 6, Supplement 6.1.3, 4 & 5. West Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority. 8. Indus Waters Treaty. September 1960. Signed by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India and 9. FAO, 1998. Crop Evapotranspiration, Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Paper no. 56. FAO Rome. 10. World Bank, Water Economy of Pakistan Running Dry, Draft June 2005, Islamabad, 11. The WCD Report, Dams and Development A new Framework for Decision Making, November 2000 12. Klaus Toepfer, United Nations Environment Program 2004, High Level Panel on Water and Energy

l An upstream storage is only a constraint on the water available at the location

and downstream flood releases. Higher storage is considered as higher flexibility. However, in the case of Indus Basin, variable storage supplies are not a good planning option. l The actual storage and release patterns of a reservoir are a real time phenomenon and so, need sophisticated model studies. l In view of the existing planning not much water will be available downstream Kotri after constructing a reservoir and fulfilling existing environmental needs. The Negative Impacts of a Reservoir Every small and large dam has to manage negative consequences of the whole process from land procuring to filling of the lake. With passionate arguments on the benefits or losses of a new storage in the Indus Basin, the reservoir debate in Pakistan has already taken many years. A concise response from WAPDA can be expected on the eight-point WCD guideline rejecting some of the criteria by making an international reference. But this will essentially refine the whole argument. Dr Zaigham Habib is an expert on Pakistan's water issues References 1. 2.


WAPDA - Water and Power Development Authority. Water resources hydropower development Vision 2025. WAPDA House Lahore. 31 p. WARSYP Water Resources System Planning 1998, Model Specifications. European Commission DGXII Science, Research and Development environment and climate programme


11 - Globalization and Particularism in South Asia  

South Asian Journal, a quarterly periodical of South Asian journalists and scholars, Editor Imtiaz Alam

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