These four squares appear to move at different speeds, stopping and moving, waiting for each other in pairs. In reality, they are always moving at exactly the same constant speed. Seriously. I opened the GIF in Photoshop and ...
INDIA: Open for Business Barron's In 2008, Narendra Modi sent a text message to Indian mogul Ratan Tata asking him to abandon plans to build his new Nano mini-car at a site in West Bengal, where the project was stymied by red tape and farmer riots.
In 2008, Narendra Modi sent a text message to Indian mogul Ratan Tata asking him to abandon plans to build his new Nano mini-car at a site in West Bengal, where the project was stymied by red tape and farmer riots. Modi proposed that Tata move the plant construction to Gujarat, the Indian state where Modi was chief minister. Tata agreed, and the first part of his complex was up and operating in Gujarat in less than two years, an extraordinary feat in India.
This and many similar business-friendly initiatives helped Modi turn Gujarat into a fast-growing industrial powerhouse during his 13 years at the helm, following China's model of heavy infrastructure spending on roads, ports, and electric-power generation that, along with generous subsidies, has attracted many modern plants -- and attention. "So many things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India," noted a newsweekly a few years ago.
The hope is that Modi, 63, can put his pluck and powers of persuasion to work for all of India as its new prime minister. He and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, are the odds-on favorites to win the national election, which will wind up in the second week of May. Their victory would end 10 years of increasingly feckless rule by the Gandhi family-led Congress Party, which has failed to realize India's vast economic potential. Modi's main opponent for prime minister is Rahul Gandhi.
Back in 2006-08, India was mentioned in the same breath as China as one of the globe's most exciting emerging-market growth stories. The gross domestic products of both countries were growing at or near double-digit rates. It was the heyday of the BRIC conceit, that magical lineup of Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- nations destined for economic greatness by dint of their immense resources and increasing embrace of free-market principles.
In India's case, the dream hasn't come true. GDP growth has flagged to less than 5%, while consumer inflation runs above 8% -- in all, a nasty potpourri of stagflation. Last summer, capital flight decimated India's foreign reserves and drove the rupee down 20% in value to a low of 69 rupees to the dollar.
India is unlikely to catch up to China, despite the fact that both in 1990 had similar-size economies. Nowadays, China's GDP is more than four times larger than India's roughly $2 trillion. But, under Modi's energetic, investment-driven leadership, India could start to narrow the gap and transform both its economy and its markets.
THE BJP, OVER THE YEARS, has been more reformist than the Congress Party. And in Modi -- despite controversy he has generated for his alleged involvement in an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat and his ties to big businesses -- the BJP has a standard-bearer with a sterling record in economic development.
Modi's governance style flies in the face of Indian tradition, which has featured backroom business deals in exchange for kickbacks to circumvent the prospect of endless bureaucratic delays. Bidding on government contracts in Gujarat is done on the Internet, not over tea. Modi also has embraced privatization of key sectors like ports, water, and power, which is unusual in most of India's 28 state governments and in Delhi, where a dreamy Congress Party's predilection for socialism still holds sway despite the ideology's many failures in India since independence in 1947.
In recent years, Gujarat has been compared to Guangdong Province, the spearhead of China's economic revival. Since Modi took control, Gujarat has consistently led the nation in GDP growth, accounting for some 16% of India's total industrial output and 22% of its exports, despite having just 5% of the nation's population.
Optimism over India's economic prospects has also been fired by the hard-nosed monetary policies of the head of India's central bank (the Reserve Bank of India, or RBI), Raghuram Rajan. He's an inflation hawk, having raised policy rates three times since he assumed his post in September of last year.
For too long, Indian politicians have allowed inflation and, more importantly, inflationary expectations to wax, rationalizing that they are the natural byproduct of an emerging nation's pursuit of growth. But instead of basing monetary policy on the more forgiving wholesale inflation rate (currently 5.7%), the traditional RBI target, Rajan is paying more attention to consumer inflation, which last month was reported at 8.3%. Already since his appointment, the rupee has strengthened from 68 to about 60 to the dollar, and India's foreign-currency reserves have risen markedly as a result of his policies, giving the nation more of a buffer against a repeat of last summer's capital-flight crisis.
Rajan would be retained by the BJP because of his formidable international stature. He boasts a substantial pedigree, serving as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2006. Barron's readers got to know him subsequently when he was a popular author and finance professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Rajan foresaw the arrival of the global financial crisis in the middle of the past decade and laid out a pragmatic restructuring strategy to guard against a repeat of the seize-up ("Man With a Plan," July 5, 2010).
Can Modi and Rajan rewrite India's economic story? Perhaps, according to analyst Udith Sikand of Gavekal Dragonomics, who follows India closely from Hong Kong. In a report titled "An Indian Counter-Revolution," Sikand likens Modi to Ronald Reagan as the onetime California governor came to power, inheriting raging inflation, slow growth, and years of budget deficits in 1981. Sikand says Modi even indulges in Reaganesque rhetorical gambits like "government has no business to do business" and "minimum government, maximum governance." Rajan, of course, could be a new Paul Volcker, the Federal Reserve chief whom Reagan retained when he came into office and who was able to finally slay U.S. inflation by brutal monetary tightening. "If Modi and Rajan are successful in packing the one-two punch that Reagan and Volcker did in the early '80s, the implications for growth and long-term investment returns for India are really explosive," says Sikand.
THE BULL THESIS on India is already beginning to play out. Foreign investor money that fled the always bipolar Indian stock market last summer has returned this year with a vengeance, to the tune of $5 billion. The S&P BSE Sensex Index of major Indian stocks has jumped 10% since last September when Modi became the BJP's prime minister candidate. It's now trading near all-time highs.
Of course, it's what happens with the dynamic duo in charge that matters most for the nation's economic growth and, of course, Indian stock prices. Ruchir Sharma, chief of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and author of the well-received emerging-market tome Breakout Nations, thinks India has a real chance to surprise many observers on the upside. "Look, it would take massive restructuring for India to catch up to China, and that's likely beyond India's current capability," says Sharma. "But India has some advantages over China -- India operates off a much lower economic base and has far fewer credit problems -- that give it a 50-50 chance of surprising on the upside."
One bull on India is David Nadel, who manages The Royce Funds' $54 million International Smaller-Companies fund (ticker: RYGSX) and is Royce's international research director. As implied by the name, Nadel fancies smaller and mid-cap stocks in India, impressed by the number of companies in that sector that are both shareholder friendly and notching gaudy returns on capital and equity of 20% or more. They also haven't rebounded to record highs, as have the 30 big-cap stocks in the Sensex Index, with the S&P BSE Small-Cap index still some 46% below its 2008 peak. (For more on Nadel's picks, see"Where to Invest in India").
Dynamic Duo? Raghuram Rajan, top, governor of India's central bank, has been praised for his strong anti-inflation policies, while prime ministerial front-runner Narendra Modi made his native state a leader in GDP growth. Photos: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg News, top; Vivek Prakash/Bloomiberg News
Beyond the chances of fundamental reform coming, Nadel is counting on other secular changes in the years ahead. It's a familiar if somewhat overlooked list. A rapidly growing middle class and the world's third-largest economy based on purchasing power parity are just two of them. "In eight years, India will have as many households with disposable income of $10,000 or more as the U.S. or the euro zone," Nadel tellsBarron's. "And the nation is rapidly integrating into the global economy in such fields as pharmaceuticals (half of the world's FDA-approved pharmaceutical facilities are in India) and high-value-added information technology."
To be sure, some 70% of India's population is still trapped in rural areas and missing out on the productivity revolution that China has experienced by moving population from the farms to urban-area factory floors. But, Nadel contends, a "rural revolution" is taking place, which has seen incomes in India's dusty nondescript villages and towns rise smartly in recent years. This is a result of various government food and fertilizer-subsidy programs and an ambitious government make-work project guaranteeing poor rural residents 100 days of annual guaranteed wages. The result of all this is that rural land values have risen markedly, giving the poor population that owns land a jump in wealth.
The upside is likely to be a surge in consumption per capita in both goods and discretionary services like health care and private education, according to Nadel. He cites a 2012 International Monetary Fund report showing that as of 2011, India had the lowest private consumption rate per capita among the world's 10 most populous countries, trailing even Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
"You have to just look at the uptake in mobile-phone adoption in India, where subscriptions have jumped from practically zero at the beginning of the millennium to over 900 million, to see the potential," he points out. According to a local Indian brokerage-house report, the penetration rate for cars, computers, laptops, and air conditioners is less than 5%, and for refrigerators, washing machines, and motorbikes, below 15%. (See chart).
India's laggard economic performance since independence in 1947 can largely be laid at the feet of the state's founder and leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his descendants, who have dominated politics through the National Congress Party for most of the 67 years since. The charismatic Nehru, a well-meaning socialist, embraced some of the worst alternatives to free-market development, including avid nationalization of industry, incompetent Soviet-style central planning, fortress protectionism, and stifling bureaucracy.
Until a spasm of reform in 1991, a system contemptuously known as the License Raj reigned supreme, under which private businesses had to run a formidable gauntlet to be licensed and then were subject to strict regulatory oversight of the goods they produced, the markets they served, and the wages and personnel decisions they made. The regime resulted in prodigious red tape and corruption, both of which bedevil India to this day.
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, Modi promised voters cheaper goods and 100 new "smart cities" loaded with the latest technology, to start to bridge the yawning wealth gap between cities and rural areas. The BJP election manifesto also trumpeted big plans to improve India's ramshackle intercity roadway system and creaky railroads by introducing bullet trains.
But significant obstacles face the Modi-BJP reform plans. It remains to be seen exactly how the elections turn out, and whether the BJP to reach a majority will have to form a coalition with MPs from states that have their own self-serving, parochial agendas.
Likewise, state-government wrangling over land-acquisition issues has accounted for about 55% of the nation's delayed capital projects that would constitute some 5% of India's GDP, according to a recent JPMorgan report by Sajjid Chinoy and Toshi Jain. Most notoriously, it took Korean steel giant Posco (PKX) nine years to gain approval to build a $12.5 billion steel complex in Orissa state, while ArcelorMittal (MT) scrapped similar plans to put up an $8.5 billion steel mill in the same state last year. Clearly, the License Raj lives on in a country starved for investment spending.
Finally, tight money policies and a central-government budget deficit -- estimated for the recently completed fiscal year (ended on March 31) at 4.6% of GDP -- won't give Modi much immediate opportunity to ramp up stimulus spending. Unless the budget deficit that peaked in fiscal 2010 at 6.5% keeps contracting, credit-rating agencies have threatened to drop India's sovereign debt to junk status.
Still, Modi and the BJP do have some wiggle room on reforms. The JPMorgan analysts expect them to revamp India's power sector, chronically subject to grid crashes and electricity interruptions, through deregulation of pricing. The BJP likewise seems open to increasing foreign ownership in industries like defense and insurance.
Government revenue should improve if the long-stalled goods and service tax is implemented, replacing a hodge-podge of value-added central and state government sales taxes. Finally, a Modi administration would rein in the growth of various India-wide subsidies for everything from fertilizer and food for the rural poor to gas- and diesel-fuel prices. The food-subsidy program has been particularly problematic, according to Gavekal's Sikand, because rather than helping the 300 million or so of India's population who clearly need the support, it entitles about 750 million folks to food subsidies at the expense of the government exchequer.
MODI AND RAJAN make a somewhat incongruous pair atop the Indian economy. Rajan, the son of an Indian diplomat, had a worldly and cosmopolitan upbringing. He's emphatically an upper-crust Brahmin, educated at posh schools in India and boasting a Ph.D. in Management from MIT in the U.S.
Modi, on the other hand, is an anomaly for the upper reaches of Indian power structure. He didn't have much schooling and, as a teenager, ran a tea stall for his father near a railroad station in a town in Gujarat. His rise to eminence began in his youth when he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist paramilitary organization that ultimately was absorbed into the BJP. A mesmerizing speaker and adept organizer, Modi quickly rose through the ranks of the RSS and later the BJP.
His stock in trade were anti-Muslim harangues, which made him controversial among the secular, urban elite. Yet, if truth be told, their disdain for Modi might also have arisen from his lower-caste origins.
But controversy over his hypersectarian views continues to dog him. Much of it stems from a bloody anti-Muslim riot that occurred in Gujarat in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were slaughtered in a three-day rampage in response to the incineration of a train in the city of Godhra that killed 59 Hindu pilgrims and activists. Modi had become Gujarat's chief minister just months before the riot.
Though Indian courts absolved him of complicity, many observers claim the investigations were a whitewash. Among other things, they point to the fact that Modi subsequently appointed a gynecologist as his minister of women and child development who was later convicted of murder in the riots. She received a 28-year jail sentence.
In recent years and during the campaign, Modi has toned down his hypernationalistic rhetoric, preferring to focus on reform and the economic renewal of India that will uplift the lot of Hindus and Muslims alike. Nonetheless, both the U.S. and European Union have refused to grant him diplomatic visas, though in the case of the EU, that boycott has recently been lifted.
Likewise, Modi was accused during the campaign of cozying up to Indian billionaires like Gautam Adani with sweetheart land deals and large subsidies to spur development in Gujarat. But the charges seem to have gained little purchase in light of several megacorruption scandals that have dogged the Congress Party in recent years.
Every galaxy in the universe has on average one hundred billion stars in it. The vast majority of these stars are small and difficult to see: cool red dwarfs and dim white dwarfs.
Others stars, like our Sun, are yellow and temperate.
But there are some stars, between 20 to 40 more massive than our Sun, that roam these galaxies like Titans.
Known as Hypergiants, these stars are 3,600 times the diameter of the Sun and are among the most luminous stars in the heavens.
They are so luminous because they are devouring themselves, consuming their fuel at fantastic rates. Hypergiants release as much energy in six seconds as our Sun does in an entire year.
Because they are so active, their lifetimes are measured only in millions of years which is a blink of an eye on cosmic timescales.
There are not many hypergiants known. In our galaxy, the Milky Way, among the hundreds of billions circling the heavens, there are only about 10 known stars like these.
Among them, a star named VY Canis Majoris, named for the constellation in which it resides.
VY Canis Majoris is fitful and restless, it's entire lifespan only a few million years. It is a very bright red giant star, its luminosity due to enormous mass loss. This star is losing billions of tons of material every day which surrounds it like a death shroud.
The reason for this mass loss is poorly understood, but it is believed to be due instabilities in the interior and exterior layers of the star. These instabilities are usually the progenitor of a supernova.
VY Canis Majoris has already shed over half of its original mass. It is in the final throes of death and could explode at literally, any time.
If it exploded today, some 4,900 light years away, the blast wave would slam into the surrounding envelope of material with a velocity of a few thousand kilometers per second and produce what is known as a Type IIn supernova.
Also known as a core collapse supernova, these explosions result when the interior of the star can no longer support it and it collapses at rates of up to 70,000 kilometers per second.
This rapid collapse heats the interior of the star, producing high energy gamma rays that can decompose iron nuclei created during the lifetime of the star into helium and free neutrons and neutrinos. As the core collapses, electrons and protons are squeezed together, producing neutrons and more neutrinos.
Since neutrinos rarely interact with other forms of matter, they escape, accelerating the core collapse and slams into the outer layers of the star, triggering the supernova explosion.
Milliseconds after the collapse began, the core has detached itself from the from the outer layers of the star. With most Type II supernovae, this crush is finally halted by the strong nuclear force, preventing the neutrons from packing together any tighter.
A neutron star is born.
But VY Canis Majoris is so large, many astronomers believe its fate may be even more spectacular. It may die in what is called a hypernova. These outbursts contain more energy than 100 supernovae, emitting enormous quantities of gamma rays when it occurs.
These gamma rays can actually pose a threat to nearby stars and planets, and depending on their distance, are strong enough to destroy any life that may reside there. Fortunately for us, if this is in fact VY Canis Majoris fate, it is so far away that Earth will not be affected.
Finally, the core from this hypergiant is so massive that its collapse crushes even the neutrons together, the collapse is so inexorable nothing can stop it, leaving behind a black hole.
The spectacle of exploding stars peppers our history - ancient peoples have recorded many of them. There is roughly one supernova in our galaxy every fifty years.
Luckily for any other life that may exist in our galaxy, hypernova occur even less.
Real suffering is sitting through a thirty-second ad to watch a fifteen-second video, or watching your favorite music video in three-second fragments. Real suffering is this: “An error occurred, please try again later.” If you’re a modern human and multitask with multiple tabs while you're on YouTube, you don’t have to sacrifice your bandwidth and sanity. There's a simple way to watch YouTube ad-free and lag-free. Yes, I suppose you could visit one of those crappy downloader sites and spend ten minutes figuring out which “Download” button is not an advertisement, but why not quickly stream
Earlier this month, Adam Cudworth, 19, launched a camera attached to a weather balloon into the edge of space. Battling tough winds, freezing temperatures, atmospheric pressure and tumbling speeds, the teenager from Worcestershire, England was able to capture these amazing pictures of the Earth's upper stratosphere.
How to Send a Camera into Space
Adam managed to do this all by himself with hardly any physics background and only a modest budget of roughly $320. Amazing, right? To try it out yourself, take a look at this article on Popular Mechanics which outlines the steps that some MIT students took to send their camera into space safely. It gives a step-by-step breakdown of how to build your own space-traveling balloon for just $150.
Also, this PDF from Make can help you find the necessary tools to build it, which you can do alone as a project or turn it into a fun family outing, like in the video below.
About a half a million years after the big bang, the cosmos began to cool, as it cooled, the hot subatomic particles that constituted the early universe began to…
About a half a million years after the big bang, the cosmos began to cool, as it cooled, the hot subatomic particles that constituted the early universe began to slow down and stop colliding with each other long enough so that protons, neutrons and electrons could form. The universe cooled further and the hot particles slowed further still allowing these particles to stay together long enough to create atoms.
The universe was nothing but a cloud of hydrogen and helium. Slowly, the universe continued to cool and structure begins to present itself within this universal cloud. From small disturbances woven into spacetime the galaxies begin to collect, tiny variations in the primordial universe became the web that collected galaxies and gave the cosmos its form.
These galaxies become distributed along these structures, dancing within their gravitational fields, forming giant tendrils reaching out across the span of eternity.
Until just a few short decades ago, astronomers thought the universe was static and unchanging, we didn't even know there were other galaxies until the 20th century. The heavens was a place of constancy and uniformity, the stars and planets were always there and they always would be - steady and unchanging. Instead we have learned that the cosmos is a seething cauldron of activity, as alive and vibrant as any one of us.
Stars are born, shine and explode; stellar winds blow huge storms of gas across interstellar space; black holes devour all they touch; galaxies collide with each other, spraying stars into eternity.
And spacetime itself grows larger by the minute.
The universe is far from a static place. As giant stars explode after living out their lives, they stream out the elements of life, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron, all the necessary components for planets to form and for life to begin. We are more connected to the universe than we know, the stars are our ascendants, we are their progeny.
BBC News Dancing frogs, newly discovered in India, face extinction CBC.ca Indian biologists say they found the tiny acrobatic amphibians, which earned their name with the unusual kicks they use to attract mates, declining dramatically in number...
Times of India Modi in power could bring India, China closer: Chinese daily Times of India It says that some western media and observers are "trying to foment discord between China and India by hyping up nationalist Modi's aggressive statements on...
It's possible to see the International Space Station floating overhead if you have the right equipment and good timing, but have you ever wondered what it sees at any given moment? As of now, you won't have to.
Why India Will Soon Outpace China Forbes Meanwhile, India's a mess.
On the face of it, the title of this article will seem absurd to many. While China’s economic growth has slowed, it’s still running at a brisk 7.4% annual rate. Moreover, the Chinese government seems to be successfully slowing credit in order to rein in a burgeoning debt issue. And it’s implementing a plethora of reforms which should propel the next phase of growth.
Meanwhile, India’s a mess. This fiscal year’s GDP will be below 5% and near decade lows, government and corporate debt is high, the current account deficit has been out of control until recently, inflation reached double-digits late last year, business confidence and investment are at extreme lows and corruption remains rampant.
Dig a little deeper though and the picture doesn’t appear as favourable for China’s economic prospects vis-a-vis India’s. First, it’s highly probable that China’s GDP growth rate is slowing much more than the fraudulent figures put out by the government (I’m not picking on China here as many governments are guilty of this). Second, credit tightening in China will almost certainly take years rather than months given the boom which preceded it. Third, Chinese economic reform will be a drag on growth in the near-term, as can already be evidenced by the crackdown on corruption and its impact on retail consumption.
On the flip side, there are many signs that India’s economy may have bottomed. The current account deficit has significantly eased, the currency has stabilised, inflation has substantially pulled back and corporate earnings are improving. With inflation down, interest rates will soon be cut, which may prove the catalyst for the next investment cycle. The election of a new, economically-friendly government should ensure an acceleration in investment and improved productivity.
There are other positive developments which augur well for India too. For instance, there’s an ongoing boom in the agricultural sector with rising investment and wages. This has resulted in India becoming a net food exporter – an important development given the country’s dependence on agriculture.
For a long time, India’s decentralised, often chaotic economic model has been seen as inferior to China’s authoritarian, top-down model. A reappraisal of that view may soon be in order.
How India became a mess
Morgan Stanley’s Ruchir Sharma has noted that India seems to go through cycles of economic crisis and reform every decade or so. In 1991, a balance of payments crisis preceded widespread economic deregulation which is credited for driving the rapid economic growth of the following two decades. In the early 2000s, another crisis resulted in further deregulation and privatisation of key industries.
Here we are about ten years later and there are economic troubles again. GDP growth has slipped below 5%. Inflation peaked in double digits before marginally declining of late. The fiscal and current account deficits have widened sharply.
The government is again largely to blame for the problems. The ruling Congress Party fell into the trap of thinking that economic growth in the high single digits during 2003-2007 was perfectly natural. But it was just the result of reforms from prior governments.
In response to the 2008 crisis, the ruling party initiated a large stimulus package. This worked for a time as the economy recovered faster than most other emerging markets. But combined with large-scale subsidies to bribe rural voters, to the tune of 2.3% of GDP, inflation soon lurched out of control. A lack of reform driven by infighting in the Congress Party and a judicial crackdown on political corruption didn’t help.
Foreign investors and bond rating agencies became increasingly nervous about India. In 2012, the ratings agencies threatened to downgrade the country’s sovereign rating to junk status. Mid last-year, the rupee tanked as foreign investors grew concerned about the current account deficit following hints of QE tapering at that time.
These events were enough to spark the government into action. It’s since liberalised foreign investment in retail and airlines. It’s also started to cut back on energy and agricultural subsidies. More recently, the new central bank governor hiked interest rates to stabilise the currency and tame inflation.
Signs the economy has bottomed
There are a number of signs though that India’s economy may have bottomed and better times lay ahead:
1) The current account deficit (CAD) has eased significantly. The last quarter saw the lowest CAD number in five years due to improved exports and lower gold imports. Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast India’s CAD will be 2% this fiscal year compared with 5% in 2013.
2) Inflation has pulled back. Due to lower food prices, WPI inflation is at its lowest level in more than four years.
3) The rupee has stabilised. Interest rate hikes and the declining CAD have helped.
4) Corporate earnings seem to be improving. The earnings revision ratio has been rising for the past eight months. Yes, it’s still not great but at least it’s heading in the right direction.
5) Nomura’s composite leading index for India suggests growth is bottoming out.
The key to an economic recovery though is business investment. There are tentative signs that this may be set to turn around:
Business confidence, while low, has improved of late in anticipation of a new government coming into power.
Regulatory constraints for new projects should be eased post election. A Cabinet Committee on Investments has already started to reduce bottlenecks, but this should soon accelerate.
Higher interest rates are forcing Indian companies to reduce leverage by shedding assets. The process of decreasing debt, particularly among infrastructure companies, is necessary for businesses to be in a position to accelerate investment.
Asia Confidential doesn’t foresee a quick turnaround in capital expenditure given high corporate debt levels. But with the prospect of sharply declining interest rates and a new economically-friendly government soon in power, the conditions are in place for a gradual pick-up in business investment.
Modi: friend or foe?
The big question is whether the almost-certain-to-be new leader, Narendra Modi, can deliver on the inflated expectations of him. India’s stock market is certainly answering in the affirmative as it hits new highs (though it’s noteworthy that small caps have significantly lagged).
Modi’s economic track record is undoubtedly impressive. He’s been chief minister of Gujarat, a state with 60 million people, for 12 years. During that time, he’s cut red tape, built substantial infrastructure and contained corruption. Business and investment have thrived. Gujarat GDP has grown 3x under Modi’s leadership. The state now produces 25% of Indian exports yet accounts for just 5% of the nation’s population. Most social indicators in the state have also improved under his watch.
As leader, Modi has promised to replicate his Gujarat policies of improving infrastructure, reducing regulatory hurdles for businesses and ultimately achieve higher growth rates. Granted, he’s been vague on how he’s going to finance some of his promises. Given the fiscal situation, there’s not much room for a substantial boost in spending.
The big blight on Modi’s track record is his hardline Hindu nationalism. In 2002, Muslims in the Gujarati town of Godhra set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims back from a town in Uttar Pradesh. 59 people died on the train. After the attack, Hindu groups called for a protest. This resulted in several days of violence directed at Muslims. 1,000 died and 200,000 were displaced.
Being chief minister at the time, Modi had the option to ban the protest or call in police, but he chose not too. This was condemned at subsequent investigations. And Modi’s refusal to apologise for the incident continues to anger Muslims. The US actually revoked Modi’s visa, suggesting “he was responsible for the performance of state institutions” in the riot.
The facts of this incident are damning but must be weighed against his economic track record and leadership qualities. They must also be weighed against the ineptitude and arrogance of the governing Congress Party over the past decade and for much of the past 50 years.
What matters most though is the opinion of the Indian voter. There’s a chance that Modi could win an outright majority of votes in the general election, which would allow him to rule without coalition partners. The most probable outcome is that he’ll win a near-majority and will be able to build a coalition with a small number of partners.
By voting for Modi, Indians will be clearly saying that they’re tired of the Congress Party’s policies of protectionism, the bribes disguised as subsidies and corruption which goes along with these. They’re demanding policies to promote economic growth, development and jobs. And they want decisive leadership rather than bumbling and infighting.
It may be a stretch to suggest that voters favour market-driven solutions over government-driven ones. But the tide has certainly swing in that direction.
Ultimately, Modi is expected to be given a strong mandate for change and his business-friendly credentials bode well for the country’s economic prospects.
Broader, ignored positives
Besides a bottoming economy and new, potentially improved leadership, there are also several other positive developments which point to a brighter future. India’s much-maligned legal system and decentralised political system have proven strengths of late.
It’s the judiciary which has led the way in fighting corruption. There’s little doubt that corruption remains a huge issue in India. There are some estimates that it’s cost the country US$80 billion over the past decade. According to Transparency International, India ranks 94 of 177 countries in its global corruption perception index, behind the likes of China and Brazil, both hardly paragons of clean administrations.
The courts have been central to curbing some of the rampant corruption. The cancellation of 122 mobile phone licences and jailing of the telecommunications minister in 2012-2013 being but one example.
It’ll be up to Modi to accelerate the crackdown on corruption. It’s crucial that he does as corruption takes valuable money away from productive investments which can boost economic growth and keep inflation in check.
Undoubtedly, political decentralisation has helped the spread of corruption. But the upside from decentralisation is that India’s growth has been shared by rural areas as much as the cities (unlike in China).
In fact, rural areas in India are booming. Wages have risen by close to 15% per annum over the past ten years, compared to city wages which are down more than 2% over the same period.
Decentralisation provides part of the answer for the boom. Urbanisation – people moving from country to city – has also played a role as it’s resulted in a tightening in the rural labor force and contributed to the rise in wages and investment.
A moment in the sun
All of the above isn’t to suggest that India will displace China as Asia’s next economic giant. Far from it. With GDP per capita of just US$1,250, India still has an enormous way to go to catch up with China (GDP capita of US$6,700) and the rest of the developing world (GDP per capita of close to US$10,000).
What Asia Confidential has sought to demonstrate instead is that India has more scope to surprise than China on the economic front. Part of that is because India’s coming from such a low base.
Moreover, this author can foresee a time in the not-too-distant future when India’s economic growth matches, and likely surpasses that of China. The media may then be lauding the superiority of the Indian growth model over China’s!
AC Speed Read
- Despite slowing, China’s economy is still growing at a much faster clip than India’s.
- But that may be about to change with signs that India’s economy has bottomed while China faces serious downside risks.
- With inflation falling in India, interest rates there are set to drop and this, combined with a new, business-friendly government, should provide the impetus for the next business investment cycle.
- For a long time, India’s decentralised economic model has been viewed as inferior to China’s authoritarian, top-down model. A reappraisal of that view may soon be in order.
(this is a continuation from yesterday’s article about barriers to using social media in education) The first step towards applying social media into education starts with empowering teachers by giving them freedom to use social media to engage with students and giving them the freedom to come-up with innovative ways of teaching using technology. On …
Future Of Internet Search is the glass concept that will be used by you to searching anything in real time by capturing a image that like you want to find.
Glass Concept of future for internet search that everyone wish that internet search will be able do with a mobile device or any other electronics device in the neighborhood future or forthcoming. There is one device that includes touch screen, camera, scanner, WiFi, google search, google imgae search, google map or other functionality in one device. Glass Concept(Future of internet search) will be a device in the future that will capture the image and provides search on that captured image and return related or matched result.
Applications : Future Of Internet Search1. This device will be helpful in indoor guide.
2. You can search with the help of this concept, when you are working in a building, airport, station, hospital or etc.
3. Automatic translation.
4. Search Keywords.
5. It will be helpful to find a part of text from chunk of text.
6. Future of internet search(Glass Concept) will provide the information of nutrition of your diet.
7. You can get the weather forecast data at any with using this device.
The world is so full of natural wonders that new, amazing and unbelievable places can be discovered every day.These unbeliavable places from all around the world are, in their own right, beautiful. Consisting of everything from individual monuments to expanses of water and ancient villages to modern cities, they may not all be attracting, appealing or aesthetically pleasing to everyone, but to some, they are some of the most stunning places on earth. And yes, all those of those places are real!
Facebook makes it easy to show how much you appreciate a funny status, great picture, or cool news article using their iconic "thumbs up" button, but what about those terrible jokes and annoying baby pictures? Where's the "thumbs down" for that crap? I've been excited for a "dislike" option for some time now, but Facebook really dropped the ball back in December when they finally released a "thumbs down" button. Why? Because it wasn't a button, it was a sticker, and it was only available in the Messenger app. Plus, you had to download it from the "Sticker Store" to even use it. Who cares
Sometime in 2024 the Hubble Space Telescope will die unless we can figure out a way to capture it and bring it down. ;This video outlines the problem.
If we do nothing, the Hubble Space Telescope will fall to Earth in 2024.
It is in an orbit roughly 560 km above the Earth and circles the Earth once every 97 minutes. While for most intents and purposes the Hubble Space Telescope can be considered to be in space, it actually lies in what is known as the thermosphere: the largest and most tenuous part of the Earth's atmosphere. The thernosphere is roughly one million times less dense than the atmosphere at sea level, yet it is enough to affect the orbits of satellites that fly within it.
Any satellites in low Earth orbit experience a small but significant resistance as they fly over the planet's surface, slowing them down and decaying their orbits. If not corrected, or periodically 'pushed back up' by a rocket or the Space Shuttle, the satellites at this altitude are eventually doomed to fall to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere.
The Space Shuttle has its own engines and isn't in orbit long enough to be affected by this drag but the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope are affected, and they must be periodically pushed into higher orbits to correct for their orbital decay.
To complicate matters, the amount of drag on the Hubble as it orbits within the thermosphere isn't constant. It varies with the 11 year sunspot cycle. As the Sun becomes more active, the atmosphere of the Earth swells and reaches farther out into space than it otherwise would. This increases the density of the air that Hubble must fly through, slowing it down further, lowering its orbit and ultimately shortening it's lifespan.
Hubble has no jets or engines of any kind for propulsion, so throughout its life, it has relied on the Space Shuttle to grab onto it and move it to a higher orbit.
Now that NASA has suspended the Shuttle program, no more launches are scheduled to service the most powerful telescope ever built. The Hubble Space Telescope is on its own.
That doesn't mean however, that NASA has not planned for its demise. On the last servicing mission, astronauts placed a ring, known as the Soft Capture Mechanism to the back end of the spacecraft. This ring will give future robotic spacecraft an easy place to grab onto.
Because the Hubble is so large and heavy, it will not completely burn up when its orbit decays and it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere. This presents the danger that pieces could fall over populated areas.
To ensure a safe re-entry, the Hubble Robotic and De-orbit mission is building a robotic spacecraft designed to grab onto that ring, attach itself to it and guide the re-entry of the Hubble onto a safe trajectory.
While the details of when this mission will be launched is unclear, one thing IS clear: with the demise of the Space Shuttle program, no more manned missions to boost the Hubble into a higher orbit are imminent and any chances of saving it will probably rest with robotic craft. The last days are in sight for the most important scientific instrument ever constructed.
If we do absolutely nothing, that last day will arrive in 2024. If we have the will, there is plenty of time to arrange an alternative.
The Hubble Space Telescope stands at the pinnacle of a pantheon of great space telescopes. It has done more to advance our understanding of our place in the universe than any that has come before or since, and at a cost that is microscopic compared to other budgetary expenses.
Because of public outcry, NASA reversed a previous position not to service the Hubble and managed one more fix. Is it possible to design a robotic spacecraft to grab Hubble and bring it home?
Have you ever felt the desire to reach out and touch a galaxy? Or "feel" those stunning nebulas and planets you see in Hubble photos? As alluring as it sounds, it's safe to say the odds of your whim coming true are nonexistent. You'd have to travel about 6 earth years and spend millions of dollars building your own personal spacecraft to get close enough to actually wave your hand through one of Saturn's rings. But in an attempt to help the blind "see" what they're missing, some semblance of astronomy tactility is now possible. Thanks to the Space Telescope Institute, with the aid of a thermal
A baby girl born in a Chhattisgarh hospital is getting some unwanted attention because of its unique features. The girl, who was born recently at a hospital in Keshkal, has a greenish tinge on her skin and tortoise like scales on her body. Many body parts of the infant are not properly developed while some other are overdeveloped. Her eyes are reddish in color and people are likening her to an alien or an incarnation of god. However, doctors say that the girl is suffering from a rare disease called Herculean syndrome. According to child specialist Dr BR Bhagat, this syndrome occurs only to
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Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.