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Literacy Under Indian Democracy

25 May, 2005

By A. J. Malik


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India is often called "the world largest democracy" by the West. Western notion of democracy (Westminster model) is that it is government of the people (masses, not classes), for the people and by the people.  Is the Indian democracy in name only or in substance also?

 Universal literacy is an indispensable sine qua non of democracy.  It is axiomatic that a literate population will elect values-driven leaders who will make socio-economic policies in the national interest, not their own puerile interest. Failure to universalise literacy in India has created a vicious circle of myopic Lilliputian leaders with no vision to carve out policies and pass laws in long-term national interest.
 India's literacy rate of 65% remains considerably below the literacy rates of other Asian countries that were under colonial rule.  India's most literate state of Kerala just about equals Vietnam's 1999 census figure. Literacy rates of some Asian countries are: Vietnam 92% Sri Lanka 90%, Malaysia 84%, Indonesia 84%, Myanmar 74%, and Brazil 82. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics has projected that Bangladesh's literacy ratio of 39 per cent will soon rise to 65%. Government spending on education (as a percentage of public expenditure) in Malaysia is at 15.4 per cent, Indonesia 9 per cent and Philippines 15.7 per cent - all significantly higher than education spending in India.
 It is important to note that Government spending on education (as a percentage of public expenditure) in Malaysia is at 15.4 per cent, Indonesia 9 per cent and Philippines 15.7 per cent - all significantly higher than education spending in India (Financial Express, February 22, 2001).Gender inequity continues to remain a serious problem in India. Female literacy, 54% in India, trails male literacy in India (76%) by over 20 per cent.
India's defence budget for the year 2004-05 provides outlay of $16.79 billion as against $14.15 billion in the previous year.  The outlay consumes constitutes 16.1% year's total budget of $103.87 billion.  The defence budget provides $7.27 for the acquisition of weapons and equipment in the current project which is nearly 60% increase from the previous year's procurement budget of $4.5 billion.
Little money is left to raise literacy level and for other social-services project. The defence budget is heavily oriented to defence purchases.
Procurement outlay of $7.2 billion in India's current defence budget includes $5.6 billion for the past defence contracts signed by the previous national democratic alliance government. These contracts include: $1.6 billion for Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and 16 MiG-29 K naval attack aircraft, $1.1 billion for purchase of Phalcon radar from Israel for three AWACS aircraft, $1.7 billion for purchase of 66 Hawk-100 Y Advanced Jet Trainers from British Aerospace, $600 million for purchase of five Legacy executive jets from Embrer of Brazil for Indian Air Force VIP Squadron.
Besides, the past contracts, fresh defence contracts worth around $4 billion are likely to be finalised this year.  The envisaged procurement includes: purchase of 280 Self propelled howitzer guns, purchase of 36 Smerch multi barrel rocket launcher systems from Russia, purchase of 34 Searcher-II and Heron Unmanned Aerial  Vehicles from Israel, purchase of six Scorpene Submarines from France, 200 Barak Missiles form Israel, 100 Beyond Visual range air-to-air missiles from France and Israel.
In view of the ambitious purchases programme, most of the procurement budget is likely to be spent by October this year and the defence ministry will approach the finance ministry for additional funds to finalise fresh defence contracts.
Let us have a glimpse of ambitious procurement outlays of the three services. The Indian Air Force has been given $2.8 billion for the expansion of its combat Aircraft fleet and Aero engines which is almost twice the previous year's allocation of $1.24 billion. This budget allocation is exclusively meant for making part payment for the purchase of 66 Hawk trainers from British Aerospace, U.K; Phalcon deal with Israel, payments towards purchase of Sukhoi aircraft from Russia in 1996, payment towards last instalments of 10 Mirage 2000-H ordered in 2001, six IL 78 mid air refuelers from Uzbekistan ordered in 2003, and upgradation of the ongoing MiG21 - bis, MiG 27, and Jaguars in India.
 Indian navy's budget for new acquisition stands at $1.6 billion The navy's budget is meant for modernisation of ship repair facilities at naval dockyards, building of stealth frigates & Air Defence ship, payment towards purchase of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier & MiG 29 K aircraft from Russia, purchase of Bharat missiles, purchase of Advanced Light Helicopters and mid life update of Sea Harrier aircraft and Sea King ASW helicopters.
The procurement budget for the Army has been nearly doubled at $1.6 billion this year compare to $960 billion in the previous year. The Army intends to purchase Agni1 missiles from Defence Research and Development Organization, Eaves from Israel, Smerch Multibarrel Rocket Launchers from Russia, Infantry Systems from Israel, South Africa and France, purchase of  155mm towed self propelled guns, modernization of T- 72 tanks and BMP-2 vehicles, purchase of multi utility helicopters and the new generation ammunition for the Infantry system.
Muslims are economically and educationally the most backward community in India.  India's central budget includes no special funds to raise Muslims' literacy ratio. Most of the Muslims cannot afford to send their children to private schools.  They are content to send their children to Quranic or religious seminaries.
Unless India allocates funds to raise literacy ratio of the minorities, Indian democracy will remain a democracy in name.

End.

Reader Comments:

What is the literacy rate of Pakistan?

manoj, Hungary - 25 May, 2005

Interesting

How is it that an evidently enlightened author like yourself has skipped a comparitive indication of literacy in Pakistan?

Madhavi, Hungary - 26 May, 2005

i think its time pakistani people start looking at their own country .proven fact that most of pakistani's only go to madrasses where hatered towards other religion is the only lesson taught,then why should u comment upon india.india is far better in education and literacy level when seen in par with pakistan.

praveen, Hungary - 26 May, 2005

0%

I say big 0% because our educated people are worst then (jahil) non-educated and that is why the writer did not even mention about it.

Aashiq Khan, Pakistan - 26 May, 2005

99 %

Pakistan's literacy rate is 99%.Pakistan is stronger. One Pakistani is equal to 10 Indian. I live in Iceland and everyone in Iceland hate India.Pakistan is the Leader of the Islamic world and can wipe out India any time it wants. India is uneducated onlee .

PD, Hong Kong - 26 May, 2005

Pakistan's Literacy rate

total population: 45.7%
male: 59.8%
female: 30.6% (2003 est.)

source:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/pk.html

V, Pakistan - 26 May, 2005

The author is scared

Pretty typical. Scared and jealous of Indian democracy and achievements. He should compare India and Pakistan since 1947. Why doesn't he talk about the situation of the Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan?

KJ, Pakistan - 26 May, 2005

Education

The foundation of Indian democracy and governance is a based on creating a secular state. The country does not promote one religion over the other so the idea of allocating funds to raise Muslim literacy levels is absurd. Muslim families tend to have more children which limits their economic affordability to provide education to all. Hence the problem. India's defence needs are driven by perceived threats and its national interests. Given the military buildup in the region (Pak, China etc) it is prudent to invest in defence to secure our future interests in oil and strategic resources. Your article gives an impression that militayr funds should be diverted to monirity ie Muslim education and welfare. This is totally irrational so I suggest you do some reading on India's Defence policies and Education policies before coming out with such articles.

Santosh, Hungary - 26 May, 2005

Literacy Rate

The literacy rate of pakistan is 36% and declining rapidly. Honest

seconchances, Pakistan - 26 May, 2005

INSIGHT ON LITERACY

Dear Writer,

You have started the article on literacy and have ended up in allocation of budget on defence. Lastly you have mentioned about the condition of muslims in India.

Compiling all, I would like to ask you certain question. You said that the plight of a muslim in India is bad economically. But as a matter of fact, they are themselves responsible for this. By saying so I dont mean to say that all muslims are in same condition. There are muslims who are very much sound condition. As a matter of fact, muslims are considered to be in minority in India. But if you happen to look on Indian muslims, then you will find a President of India who happens to be muslim, In past also ther have been muslim presidents. There are various muslim players in Indian Cricket team, and I m sure you know them better. You will find muslims ruling the Indian film Industry. You will find muslim in Tennis. In fact Our government has never discriminated between a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh. But I can definately say that your government has discriminated against a Hindu.

Dear Writer, I am asking you. How many Hindus have become President or Prime Minister of Pakistan? How many Hindus are there in Pakistan Cricket Team or for that matter in any sports of Pakistan? Meaning thereby instead of looking into problems of Indian Muslim. You should first focus on the problems of muslims in Pakistan.

Coming on the main point, If you make comparison of a literacy rate of India with that of Pakistan, then Pakistan is lagging far behind. (As a matter of fact there should never be any comparison between India and Pakistan as India as ahead in any field)

Your view is purely one sided and is based on fundamentalism. In fact you as a writer/journalist you should be biased.

And if you are comparing male to female ratio, I am sure that the male female ratio in Pakistan is pathetic. By saying so I dont mean to hurt you, but I am throwing light on the practical problems.

Namaste,

AMITSINGH CHAUHAN

AMITSINGH CHAUHAN, Hungary - 30 May, 2005

Facts wrongly interpreted.

Honestly, I should congratulate you for compiling such a wonderful article,assuming this is your first one.
You have gathered all the facts no doubt but have mis-used them to your own fundamentalistic views, sorry I'm not trying to accuse you.

Friend, do me a favour, put down all the facts you mentioned on a paper and compare the similar numbers(in percentages) for Pakistan(apples to apples please).

I promise with all your intelligence, you'd see a different picture for yourself.

I'm not kidding,compare 1.Percentage of India's Defence Expenses to Pakistan's
2.Compare Literacy rate...of males and females...
3.Compare the incentives given to Minorities(being an INDIAN I don't discriminate a community)

Even after these comparisons, If you still feel your article is right, May ALLAH help you out.

Inshah Allah
SP

PSK, Hungary - 31 May, 2005

Nice time pass

what should i say...greet work(honestly)...keep it up!!!!.pakistan. u r doing simply simply a good joke..

Vijay, Hungary - 01 June, 2005

hiiii

hi...... DO YOU REMEMBER BABRI MOSQUE.... DO YOU REMEMBER GOLDEN TEMPLE.... DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MUSLIMS BEING KILLED IN GUJRAT....... DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CHRISTIANS BEING KILLED IN RECENT YEARS.... IF YOU STILL BELIEVE THAT INDIA DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MINORITIES THEN...... AND ALSO IF YOU ASK PAKISTANIS WHY WE NEVER HAD A HINDU OR CHRISTIAN PRESIDENT OR PRIME MINISTER..... THEN WE MUST TELL YOU THAT THE ONLY REASON WHY WE FOUGHT FOR PAKISTAN WAS TO GET A ISLAMIC STATE SO IF WE HAVE HINDU OR CHRISTIAN PRESIDENT THEN THERE IS NO REASON LEFT FOR PAKISTAN'S FREEDOM....... AND THATS WHY WE CALL PAKISTAN AS ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN..... MAY GOD BLESS YOU

shahbaz, Pakistan - 02 June, 2005

Your comments

Why Pakistan is not figuring in your comparative study. What about the literacy rate and female literacy rate there. What percentage of its budget does Pakistan spend on defence. Please broaden your view. Even muslims are much better in India as comapres to Pakistan

Manish Parashar, Hungary - 09 June, 2005

INDIA

INDIA IS NOT A ONE NATION
ITS A DIFFERENT CULTURE IN ONE ROUTE. INDIA BECOME A DEVELOP NATION BETWEEN RECENT TIME. BUT PAKISTAN BECOME A ONE STATE OF UNITED STATES. IS THIS FREEDOM. I am praud that i am indian.

VIKRAM, Hungary - 16 November, 2005

Think of your self.

I observe most of the Pakistani news papers contains more information about india or failures of india. I would like to suggest these guys, think about yourself. What is condition of Pakistan, even there is no demoracy for name.
Now, we just can not compare India & Pakistan. There is no base for comparision. India is 'Different Country, with differnt people & differnt histories".
So keep cool & concentrate on the needs to be done in our on countries.

cool_indian, Pakistan - 13 March, 2006

Think about your self....

Why you guys are giving more news about India. During surfing on Internet, I found this article. I felt, I was reading any Indian news paper. The reason for Pakistan's bad condition (in each front) is this…. Pakistanis are spending much of there energy & time for comparison between India & Pakistan… In last few years conditions are changing dramatically, now there is no point to compare Pakistan with India. INDIA is much more ahead in each front than Pakistan. ...and as far as literacy is concern...will take care of that. I would like to promise you…the concern which you have shown will never happen. India is moving very rapidly in each sector. India is producing more numbers of talented technicians, engineers, etc. as compare to any other country than world…

Dinesh, Hungary - 13 March, 2006

Good Job

Dear Writer,
As an Indian I believe in freedom of speach. It is highly interesting that someone is so interested in other nation's condition than his own.
I read your article and realized the condition of India, but I am sure every one can imagine condition of Pakistan with out reading such an uncompetitive work.
Namaste
Anand


anand, Hungary - 13 March, 2006

Visit of India

Four years ago I went to India which is a nice place, no doubt but whenever I met any person and he realized that I am Pakistani so he starts to taunt me and when my grandfather come to Pakistan not a single Pakistani taunt him.This is the major difference I saw in India and Pakistan,otherwise in my opinion both the countries are same having some blacksheeps in it which makes the problems between the two country.

Muneeb Ahsan, Pakistan - 16 May, 2008

no comparision

We never compare us with pakistan as we hav develop every technology either it is atomic or space by our self and we compare us with developed country like USA, China, BRITAIN,FRANCE etc
In what sphere we should compare with PAKISTAN like Talibanism, terror,orLaden like pesonality no, never we are 50 year ahead of Pakistan and have pesonality like Ratan Tata, DheruBhai Ambani and many more,who are world famous for there work Is there any comparision still u think to made with Pakistan, i will suggest to pak that ,Instead of spending time and money in Terrorism or other Military expenses try to implement that money for the nation for the people of nation

arvind datt semwal, Hungary - 27 January, 2009

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