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Global Financial Crisis: How should South Asia respond?

Sadiq Ahmed's picture

The global financial crisis hit South Asia at a time when it was barely recovering from a severe terms of trade shock resulting from the global food and fuel price crisis.The food and fuel price shocks had badly affected South Asia, with cumulative income loss ranging from 34 percent of 2002 GDP for Maldives to 8 percent for Bangladesh. Current account and fiscal balances worsened sharply and inflation surged to unprecedented levels.

An update on the new $10/$20 computer for education in India

Michael Trucano's picture

the Kingfisher arrived in India long ago ... we'll have to wait for the R500 laptop a little longer | image attribution at bottomEn route to Mumbai, I thought I'd pass around some summary information about the new "$10 education laptop" officially announced this week in India.

This has received a great deal of press attention, much of which appears to be (after doing some further investigation) ill-informed / speculative.

Lost in much of the hype has been what is perhaps the more interesting story -- the apparent public commitment by the Indian government to provide subsidized connectivity for schools, colleges and universities, and a related large investment in the development of "e-content", as part of a new "National Mission in Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT)".  Part of this includes the development of a new national ICT in school education policy.

A Marketplace of Ideas for Tackling Stigma and Social Exclusion

Mariam Claeson's picture

When the South Asia Development Marketplace for innovative ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination relating to HIV/AIDS was launched in November 2007 by the HIV/AIDS Group in the South Asia Region of the World Bank and its partners, civil society groups across South Asia sent in almost a thousand proposals.

People fear HIV/AIDS because of the association with sex, drugs, illness, and death.  In South Asia, the epidemic is driven largely by high risk practices – buying and selling sex, injecting drugs, and unprotected sex among men having sex with men.  This compounds the fear and stigma around HIV/AIDS, as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men are already stigmatized.

Banking everywhere, and not a single village left out

Ignacio Mas's picture

Only about one-quarter of households living in developing countries have any form of financial savings with formal banking institutions. Even in countries that have experienced substantial development over the last decade or two, this statistic remains stuck stubbornly at a level that would not be acceptable for any other measure of socio-economic development: 10% in Kenya, 20% in Macedonia, 25% in Mexico, 32% in Bangladesh.

 

Beggar thine own people?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

First the good news. The Indian government has agreed to sell the originally-agreed 400,000 tons of non-basmati rice to the Government of Bangladesh at a price of $430 per ton. On March 30th, the Government of Bangladesh’s Purchase Committee approved the Indian offer of procuring the 400,000 tons of rice at $430 per ton by ship.

The Silver Lining

Shanta Devarajan's picture
In late February of every year, I get ready to be disappointed by the budget speech of the Indian Finance Minister. The reason is that, despite ample evidence that there are serious problems with the productivity of public spending in health, education and other areas, the budget speech always announces an increase in spending on these sectors, with little attempt—if any—at making that spending more efficient at reaching poor people.

Can social audits be change agents?

Maitreyi Bordia Das's picture
While international development practitioners debate and discuss the best tool for people’s monitoring, the Indian government takes a page out of the book of the Right to Livelihood and Right to Food movements and of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and institutionalizes social audits by mandating them in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The onus is now on the state to ensure that its own performance is monitored and evaluated by the people.

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