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2009-08-25

 

GLOBALZATION VS. NATIONALISM
  
India as they say is an old civilization but a young nation. The idea of Indian nationalism was born as an anti-colonial movement against the British rule. The euphoria that was generated for Indian nationalism led to the national independence in 1947. Even 60 years after the independence that euphoria still remains well entrenched in the minds of every Indian. The national slogan Vande Matram (I bow my head before my motherland) and Sare Jhan se Acha Hindustan Hamara (India is the best country in the entire world) evokes much national pride. Contrary to nationalism, the idea of Globalization is still searching its place in India. There seems to be a lack of clarity in understanding the term. There are many meanings attributed to it. The most popular being, a common global identity is being prepared through the universal usage of the internet, the laptops and mobile phones etc, and the idea of knitting the world together is called globalization. The second meaning to it is; economic integration of the world. Third; a global economic order that’s to be dominated by the US.
 
 
In order to give the Indian perspective of ‘nationalism’ in the age of globalization, a few themes like the issues like economic liberalization, Hinduvata, Special Economic Zone Issue, Farmers’ suicide issue, Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Non proliferation issues, Global Warming, Indian Diaspora, and Indian Media etc. are picked up here for discussion. The general hypothesis is; how do nationalism and globalization cohabit in India? Is globalization exacerbating Indian nationalism or containing it? Or are the two being recast in more palatable terms?
 
India had the first brush of globalization debate when the country’s economy opened up in the 1990s. Indian nationalism once again rose to prominence opposing the moves of the integration of country’s economy to the global economy. The media reportage then gave the impression of national crisis. It cautioned about the perils of globalization; “Flag will follow the trade,” East India Company to rule again,” screamed the headlines. Now, nearly twenty years after the economic liberalization, the picture has completely changed. The media reports are highlighting the positive aspects of liberalization. The opening of the call centers, the BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) and multinational companies has created tremendous job opportunities. The booming IT sector has purely emerged out of the economic liberalization. All these are contributing to the modernization of the country. On the economic front, leading Indian industrialists such as the Tatas, Ambanis, Malayas, Essars are going global. They are no more nationalist industrial bourgeoisie, to use the Marxist terminology, but are true global capitalists. The bottom-line is globalization is being gradually accepted in India.
 
However, that does not mean that the idea of nationalism has subsided in India. A different kind of nationalism seems to be emerging out of the conflicting poles of the nationalism vs. globalization debate. This is cultural nationalism called Hinduvata. It means prominence of Hindu religion in Indian society and its dominance over other religions and cultures. The drive to unite the fragmented Hindu society through such ideas has led to religious polarization and intolerance. The attempt to create a monolith India around Hindi language and Hindu religion has provoked regional inequality. It has led to the increase in geographical divide between the North and the South. It has brought regional politics on to the national stage that’s pulling India inwards and putting breaks on the financial reforms, reforms that would further integrate India’s economy with the global economy.
 
Foreign Direct Investment is part of global economic agenda and for this the host country is required to create Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to attract foreign companies to conduct their operations. SEZs are a useful device for fast industrialization, provided they are carefully planned and executed. Unfortunately it’s being exploited for the purpose of land grabs and to make unearned profits. Nandigram, a coastal area in West Bengal is a classical case. It had become a resistance zone after the state government sought to acquire 25,000 acres of land to set up a chemical hub for an Indonesian company. The government forcibly tried to evict the villagers and in the process killed at least 14 of them who opposed such moves. The question is now being asked whether globalization means uprooting it own people. This however, has not deterred other state governments from creating SEZs. They have been able to achieve the desired results by careful planning and calibrated execution.
 
While the positive impact of the economic liberalization is being felt on the big cities, it’s having adverse impact on the rural India. According to a study released by Madras Institute of Developmental Studies, nearly 150,000 Indian farmers committed suicide from 1997 to 2005. The worst affected states are: Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh Chattisgarh and Kerala. These five states comprise of nearly a third of the country’s population and which witnessed nearly two-thirds of such deaths. The main reason for farmers’ suicide is their fascination for growing cash crops to match the wealth and resources of the cities. The cash crop cultivation being money intensive requires heavy borrowing and in case of low production, it ends up in high indebtedness. This forces the farmers to commit suicide. The national government is putting up preventive and curative methods to handle this situation. Various interventionist methods including the micro- credit scheme is being experimented to provide relief to the farmers. Notwithstanding this, the issue of farm suicide is directly being blamed on globalization. In fact most economists fear that suicides will rise if agriculture is liberalized.
 
Indo-US civil nuclear deal is another great story of nationalism in India. Those who opposed the deal argued that it would open up part of India’s nuclear programme to international scrutiny and would make India loose the independent assessment of its national security needs. The nuclear deal would make India subservient to US foreign policy objectives. The Indo-US strategic partnership means US domination over South and Southeast Asia. The deal is also seen as a move to upset the fledgling regionalism emerging in South Asia that may sour relations between India and its neighbors, and may spur a nuclear arms race with Pakistan and China. Whereas those who support the nuclear deal argue that it has nothing to do with energy or strategic convergence with the US. The latter will happen to some extent automatically because of global attitudes. For this the deal must be reconciled within an Asian system by developing cordial relationship with India’s immediate neighbors. The primary concern for India should be to escape from any technology embargoes and this is where we need globalization.
 
This debate though remains inconclusive has brought open two key points. One the realignment of India’s perceptions on relations with South Asia and second the impact of American “global war on terror” coming under the garb of globalization syndrome.
 
Issues such as non- proliferation treaties particularly the signing of the NPT and the CTBT has produced much nationalist sparks in India. There has been total opposition to these treaties and the main argument against them is the CTBT while tries to curb horizontal proliferation, allows the vertical proliferation to the UN Security Council member states. India has all along been pursuing its nationalist agenda on the nuclear issue. There was a great deal of jingoist nationalism when India conducted its nuclear tests in 1988. The international condemnation did not deter the jubilation on the streets. It actually got silenced when Pakistan did the ‘Tit for Tat’ act. Such issues certainly reflect an upsurge of nationalism but such nationalism that dictates strategic issues has no connection with economic globalization.
 
There seems to be lack of clarity on the potential clash between national interests and global interest particularly with regard to the climatic issues. The global concerns over CO2 and climate changes do not have many takers in India that yet has to sign the Kyoto protocol. The dash for growth has led to national convergence on industrialization as key to the development of the country. However, rapid industrialization also creates CO2 emissions and global warming. Its still remains to be seen how such conflicting strands could be reconciled especially the post-Copenhagen. On this count, nationalism seems to be at loggerhead with globalization.
 
In the globalised age the interaction between the Indian Diaspora and the ‘homeland’ is another great story. The national and state governments’ are courting the Non Resident Indians by organizing ‘Parvasi week’ and facilitating them with dual citizenship and other concessions for doing business and making investments. The move has paid well and the UK based industrialist, Swaraj Paul, Hinduja brothers and Laxmi Mitttal are all establishing business in India. However, the general Diaspora support has not moved beyond helping the family, community and religion networks. It is estimated that from 1975-2000 $97b was received from the Diaspora (India Today “Help the helping hand”-January 13th 2003). According to World Bank ‘Global Development Finance’ (2003) India was the largest developing country recipient of remittances ($10b) in 2001. The main source of Diaspora’s interaction with the ‘homeland is Bollywood films. The Bollywood films are gross sellers and make huge profit overseas. According to FICCI-PWC report nearly 10% of the $ 400,000 (Rs 8000 cr) worth Indian film industry is earned through the overseas market. The enhanced linkage of the Diaspora certainly reflects an upsurge of nationalism. It has come to limelight that the Diaspora is funding considerable amount of money to the organization like the VHP and its associates and many of them are ardent supporters of the forces of Hindutva. The overseas Gujaratis are believed to be the main facilitators for the rise of Nrendra Modi in Gujarat.
 
The debate between nationalism and globalization has not ended in India. On the contrary it has heated up due to the explosion of media outlets. Indian media’s responses to such issues are tailored according to the nationalistic concerns. On certain issues there is all out unanimity to the idea of globalization on others the nationalist sentiments seem to prevail. The pattern tells that first an issue hogs the limelight, and then it pales, and this cycle continues. Earlier it was the opposition of the NPT, then to the CTBT, and now it’s the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. The media by publishing such stories is trying to keep pace with nationalism vs. globalization debate. The Indian media experience suggests that on some issues, globalization is fueling nationalism on others, it’s sobering it. On many other issues the two are being recast in different terms.
 
Globalization and the nation state are realities that need to be reconciled with each other. Without a reasonable internal capacity which includes economic political and social strength, no country should attempt to globalize. To attempt to insulate from globalization and go it alone would be a disaster. Equally to do it without having acquired enough internal capacity would also mean surrendering to external forces. UN and all the international organizations like WTO, IBRD, and IMF should be made to serve the entire international community, and not the rich and powerful as is the present system. There is a failure among many G77 countries as they play into the hands of the rich nations. However, the onus does not completely rest on the external globalizing forces alone. Good governance requires that infernal progress is made adequate for external liberalization. Indian government and the civil society have to find ways how to deal with the globalization.
 
In sum, the conflict between Nationalism and globalization emerge only if domestic capacity to be a full partner is lacking. In such cases, joining the globalized family erodes the nation-states identity and this leads to impoverishment and consequent chauvinism. The Indian experience suggests that, despite shocking waves of nationalism, the trend of globalization continues, though there are still hard battles to be fought.

 

 

Women Empowerment - A reality or Myth

 
The Government of India had ushered in the new millennium by declaring the year 2001 as 'Women's Empowerment Year' to focus on a vision 'where women are equal partners like men'. The most common explanation of 'women's empowerment' is the ability to exercise full control over one's actions. The last decades have witnessed some basic changes in the status and role of women in our society. There has been shift in policy approaches from the concept of 'welfare' in the seventies to 'development' in the eighties and now to 'empowerment' since nineties. This process has been further accelerated with some sections of women becoming increasingly self-conscious of their discrimination in several areas of family and public life. They are also in a position to mobilize themselves on issues that can affect their overall position.
The latest news items regarding violence committed against women reveal that women's position has worsened. Tulsidas' verse from Ramayana 'Dhol, janwar, shudra, pashu, nari ye sub nindan ke adhikari' highlights the discrimination and deep-rooted gender bias which still exists in all sectors on the basis of caste, community, religious affiliation and class. The Constitution of India grants equality to women in various fields of life. Yet a large number of women are either ill equipped or not in a position to propel themselves out of their traditionally unsatisfactory socio-economic conditions. They are poor, uneducated and insufficiently trained. They are often absorbed in the struggle to sustain the family physically and emotionally and as a rule are discouraged from taking interest in affairs outside home. Oppression and atrocities on women are still rampant. Patriarchy continues to be embedded in the social system in many parts of India, denying a majority of women the choice to decide on how they live. The over-riding importance of community in a patriarchal sense ensures that women rarely have an independent say in community issues. Female infanticide continues to be common. Statistics show that there is still a very high preference for a male child in states like UP, MP, Punjab etc. The male to female ratio is very high in these states. Domestic violence is also widespread and is also associated with dowry. Leaving a meager number of urban and sub-urban women, Indian women are still crying for social justice.
A review of government's various programmes for women empowerment such as Female Literacy Mission, Janani Surakhsha Yojana, Swashakti, Swayamsidha, Streeshakti, Balika Samrudhi Yojana and another two thousand projects reveal that little has been done or achieved through these programmes. The discrepancy in the ideology and practice of the empowerment policy of women in India constitutes its continued social, economic and social backwardness. Women make up 48% of our country's population. Hence there can be no progress unless their needs and interests are fully met. Empowerment would not hold any meaning unless they are made strong, alert and aware of their equal status in the society. Policies should be framed to bring them into the mainstream of society, gender budgeting alone would not serve the cause. It is important to educate the women. The need of the hour is to improve female literacy as education holds the key to development.
Empowerment would become more relevant if women are educated, better informed and can take rational decisions. It is also necessary to sensitize the other sex towards women. It is important to usher in changes in societal attitudes and perceptions with regard to the role of women in different spheres of life. Adjustments have to be made in traditional gender specific performance of tasks. A woman needs to be physically healthy so that she is able to take challenges of equality. But it is sadly lacking in a majority of women especially in the rural areas. They have unequal access to basic health resources and lack adequate counseling. The result is an increasing risk of unwanted and early pregnancies, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. The greatest challenge is to recognize the obstacles that stand in the way of their right to good health. To be useful to the family, community and the society, women must be provided with health care facilities.
Most of the women work in agricultural sector either as workers, in household farms or as wageworkers. Yet it is precisely livelihood in agriculture that has tended to become more volatile and insecure in recent years and women cultivators have therefore been negatively affected. The government's policies for alleviating poverty have failed to produce any desirable results, as women do not receive appropriate wages for their labour. There is also significant amount of unpaid or non-marketed labor within the household. The increase in gender disparity in wages in the urban areas is also quite marked as it results from the employment of women in different and lower paying activities. They are exploited at various levels. They should be provided with proper wages and work at par with men so that their status can be elevated in society.
In recent years there have been explicit moves to increase women's political participation. The Women's reservation policy bill is however a very sad story as it is repeatedly being scuttled in parliament. In the Panchayati Raj system, however, women have been given representation as a sign of political empowerment. There are many elected women representatives at the village council level. However their power is restricted, as it the men who wield all the authority. Their decisions are often over-ruled by the government machinery. It is crucial to train and give real power to these women leaders so that they can catalyze change in their villages regarding women. All this shows that the process of gender equality and women's empowerment still has a long way to go and may even have become more difficult in the recent years.
The main reason for the contradiction is that, targeted schemes tend to have only limited impact when the basic thrust of development is not reaching an average woman, making her life more fragile and vulnerable. To make a positive change basic infrastructure should be provided in every village and city. To begin with, providing safe drinking water supply and better sanitation not only directly improved the lives and health of women but also reduces their workload in terms of provisioning and ensuring such facilities. An access to affordable cooking fuel reduces the need to travel long distances in search of fuel wood. Improved transport connecting villages with each other and with towns can also directly improve living conditions as well as unpaid labour time spent in transporting household items. It can also lead to access to a wider range of goods and services plus a better access to health facilities. Expenditure on food subsidy and better provisions for public distribution services directly affects the lives of women and girl children in terms of adequate nutrition. The patterns of resource mobilization by government also have significant effects on women that are usually not recognized. When taxes are regressive and fall disproportionately on items of mass consumption, once again these tend to affect women more. This is not only because the consumption of such items may be curtailed but also because the provisioning of such items is frequently considered to be the responsibility of the women of the household. Also credit policies reduce the flow of credit to small-scale enterprises thus reducing the employment opportunities for women. There is a need to have women-friendly economic policies that can enhance their social and economic position and make them self-reliant.
There is no doubt about the fact that development of women has always been the central focus of planning since Independence. The latest schemes like Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Scheme (Erstwhile NREGA),   Bharat Nirman and other Empowerment initiatives are major steps in this direction but it has to be seen in a relational context. A clear vision is needed to remove the obstacles to the path of women's emancipation both from the government and women themselves. Efforts should be directed towards all round development of each and every section of Indian women by giving them their due share.
Courtesy: Kashmir Study Circle

 

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY: BOONE OR BANE?

 

Biotechnology. A scientific term formed when two words are put together: 'bio', which stand(s)* for biology, the science of life; and 'technology', the tools and techniques used to achieve a particular purpose.
The term biotechnology was coined by Karl Erchy, a Hungarian agricultural economist who, in 1917, foresaw the inevitability of a biology-technology merger.
Biotechnology is not new. Over the past 8,000 years, mankind has been using microorganisms to produce food such as bread, wine, cheese, and vinegar. Many traditional processes in making fermented products use simple biotechnology techniques. But man did not call it biotechnology then.
The making of beer, soy sauce, 'nata de coco', and even composting in backyard is also a biotechnological process. Other products of biotechnology are antibiotics (penicillin), insulin for the treatment of diabetes; and vaccines for measles, hepatitis B, and rabies.
In other words, humankind has been using and benefiting from biotechnology for a long time.
In recent years, the scientific process has come to be broadly defined as 'any technique that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify a product, to improve plants or animals, or to develop substances for specific uses.'
“Modern biotechnology narrowly refers to biotechnology (biological)* applications based on the new science of molecular biology,” said Dr. Emil Q. Javier, one time Science Minister of the Philippines. “With the new knowledge in molecular sciences, it is now possible to identify specific genes, understand their function in the whole organisms(organism)*; clone, move and transfer the gene across natural species barriers; and make the genes express their products in specific tissues at specific growth stages in the recipient organisms.”
Dr. Javier, a former president of the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s premier tertiary institution, further explained: “In classical or conventional plant breeding, gene transfers are limited to between varieties of the same species; occasionally between species within the same genus, and rarely between species belonging to different genera. Transferring novel genes between plant families, much less from bacteria to plants, was impossible. But now with modern biotechnology, very wide genetic introgressions are impossible (possible)*.”
The noted Filipino scientist, who now chairs the technical advisory committee of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), continued: “In one sense, biotechnology is merely a continuation of the old. The essential unity of the genetics of all living organisms had been there all along. We simply discovered the secrets of what the discreet units of inheritance are made of, how they function and how we can manipulate them with more precision compared with the random, statistical methods we have deployed in the past.”
The Lines Are Drawn
To those who see in biotechnology a process that can considerably help feed a hungry, burgeoning world, biotechnology is a “God-given gift.”
But not to those who see otherwise.
Perhaps never in the history of research has a scientific process like biotechnology whipped up a controversy whose echoes reverberate around the world.
The lines are drawn. Contending groups (scientific, political, economic, ideological, religious) have stockpiled ammunitions which they continue to throw at each other. The words uttered are acerbic, their effects are incisive.
The controversy practically zeroes in on a biotechnological product called genetically modified organism (GMO).
GMO Defined
A GMO is an organism, plant, or animal that contains a gene introduced or inserted through genetic engineering techniques instead of the plant receiving it through pollination. The inserted gene (known as the transgene) may come from another unrelated plant or from a completely different species. An example of GMO introduced is a plant that contains a gene from an organism, which gives it new traits such as resistance to disease or insect, or improved nutritional value. The resulting plant is said to be “genetically modified” although in reality all crops have “genetically modified” from their original wild state by domestication, selection, and controlled breeding over long periods of time.
Many scientists do not feel at ease with biotechnology.
Dr. Joseph Cummins, professor emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, opined: “Probably the greatest threat from genetically altered crops is the insertion of modified virus and insect virus genes into crops which will create highly virulent new viruses from such constructions . . . Modified viruses could cause famine by destroying crops or cause human and animal diseases of tremendous power.”
Dr. Michael Antoniou, senior lecturer in Molecular Pathology in London teaching school, averred: “(Genetic engineering) results in disruption of the genetic blueprint of the organism with totally unpredictable consequences. The unexpected production of toxic substances has now been observed in genetically-engineered bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard happens. Moreover, genetically-engineered foods or enzymatic food processing agents may produce an immediate effect or it could take years for full toxicity to come to light.”
Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?
The bone of contention is the safeness of GM products.
Typical is the apprehension of a pharmacologist of the University of the Philippines, Dr. Romeo Quijano: "What you eat can kill you, particularly if it is genetically modified food." He conceded, though that, 'there is a correlation though there is no direct evidence. If the allergic reaction is severe enough, a person could die.'
Pro-GMO scientists, however, have refuted this, asserting that, contrary to common perception, it is natural foods that account for the majority of food allergies such as shrimps, crabs, and nuts. In fact, they added, any food that contains proteins has the potential to cause allergic reactions depending on individual susceptibility.
For instance, an experts committee convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that the possibility of allergies arising from the consumption of modified foods is no different from that of other conventionally produced or natural foods. Furthermore, extensive food safety evaluations have been implemented to minimize the possibility that allergenic proteins are introduced into commercialized GM crops. There is no single commercialized GM plant that is known to cause any significant risks of allergenicity.
Citing the case of the Philippines, Dr. Javier noted: “We import each year hundred of thousands of metric tons of corn and soybean from the United States. Since easily half of these commodities grown in the US are from GM crops, we can assume that we, as well as the American public and other importers, have been consuming GM-derived corn and soybean products for the past five years. So far there has not been a single report of food allergy and poisoning from GM corn and soybean.”
Further, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has one of the most stringent food evaluation policies, has determined that plant foods produced through biotechnology present no inherent risk different from conventionally bred plants and, therefore, should be regulated as any other food entering the marketplace.
Worldwide, other agencies have evaluated the safety of goods developed through biotechnology, including the results of the joint expert consultation conducted by WHO and FAO. Furthermore, scientific and medical institution such as the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) stand by the US FDA's position on GM foods.
The Philippines perhaps stands out as one of the most critical 'biotech battlegrounds.'
The adjectives are vitriolic, as when Rosa Meneses, founding president of the Philippines Breast Cancer Network, wrote in the Letter to the Editor section of one Manila daily newspaper: “Our pathetically misinformed government officials and scientists are shamelessly proclaiming corporate junk science as ‘sound science.’
Golden Rice Controversy
Greenpeace’s Southeast Asia campaign director Von Hernandez, even before full research on the genetically-engineered “Golden Rice” has been completed, has already disparagingly branded it as 'fool’s gold,' 'an empty promise,' and 'a quick fix.'
'Golden Rice' was developed by two European scientists, Prof. Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and Dr. Peter Beyer of the University Freinsburg(of Freisurg)*, Germany, in a public and charity-funded research program on addressing malnutrition in developing nations. Potrykus and Beyer introduced three foreign genes in the Golden Rice: one coming from the bacterium Erwinia uredovora(Erwinia uredovora)* and two coming from daffodil plant, Naroissus pseudonarcissus(Narcissus pseudonarcissus)*. These genes complete the biochemical pathway that produces beta-carotene.
Research samples of the Golden Rice, which contains beta-carotene and other carotenoids, have been provided to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna, 65 kilometers southeast of Manila.
The delivery of Golden Rice from the investors’(inventors')* laboratory to IRRI last Jan. 19 was made possible by a donation of intellectual property licenses from Syngenta AG, Syngenta Ltd., Bayer AG, Monsanto Company, Inc. Orynova BV, and Zeneca Mogen BV. Each company has licensed free-of-charge technology used in the research that led to the Golden Rice inventions(invention)*. Subject to further research, initially in the developing countries of Asia, as well as local regulatory clearances, Golden Rice can then be made available free-of charge for humanitarian uses in any developing nation.
IRRI scientists will investigate the safety and utility of Golden Rice in combating vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which is responsible for 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and one to two million deaths worldwide each year.
On Greenpeace’s outright prejudgment, Dr. Channapatna Prakash, professor and director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University in Alabama, USA, said: “These activists are afraid that Golden Rice is a part of biotechnology that will be successful.”
Moore Defends Golden Rice
Dr. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder who recently broke away with the organization, has also come to the defense of the Golden Rice, stating: “Let someone come forward and state that the possibility of saving 500,000 children from blindness is a zero benefit.”
He averred that “the campaign of fear now being waged against genetic modification is based largely on fantasy and a complete lack of respect for science and logic. In the balance it is clear that the real benefits of genetic modification far outweigh the hypothetical and sometimes contrived risks claimed by its detractors.”
Dr. Moore, who served as president of Greenpeace Canada for nine years and director of Greenpeace International for seven years, accused the organization of abandoning science and following agenda that have little to do with saving the earth. “Genetic modification,” he asserted, “can reduce the impact on non-target species, and reduce the amount of land required for food crops. There are so many real benefits from genetic modification compared to the largely hypothetical and contrived risks that it would be foolish to ban genetic modification.”
Somehow, independent observers of the ongoing biotechnology issue cannot help but ask if Greenpeace is in for a disinformation/misinformation campaign against GMO instead of staying on the level.
Last March 19, for instance, Greenpeace members visited IRRI after which they issued a press statement claiming that they have 'prevented' the release of the nutritionally enhanced Golden Rice for the next five years.
IRRI Remains Committed
Not so, IRRI clarified. Actually, the institute stated, it would take that long (five years) to complete its research in the first place. Thus, Greenpeace’s self-proclaimed “victory” is no more than IRRI’s research forecast.
“We remain committed to the continued safe and sustainable development of Golden Rice, and there will be no change to our plans as a result of the Greenpeace visit,” confirmed IRRI's Ronald Cantrell.
Also last June, Greenpeace and four other organizations (Southeast Asian Regional Institute for Community Education or SEARICE, Mother Earth, Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Ikauunlad ng Agham Pang-Agrikultura or MASIPAG, and the Philippine Peasant Institute) practically distorted a homily of Pope John Paul II to suit their interest.
In a press statement published in a leading Manila newspaper on June 4, Greenpeace and the anti-GMO groups stated that Holy Father had told thousands of farmers from around the world who visited Rome in observance of their Jubilee that “using genetically modified organisms to increase production was contrary to God’s will.” Nowhere in the Pope’s sermon was 'genetically modified organisms' mentioned. Neitherthat the Pope say that GMO is “contrary to God’s will.”
What the Church leader said, in part, was: “Agricultural activity in our era has had to reckon with the consequences of industrialization and the sometimes disorderly development of urban areas, with the phenomenon of air pollution and ecological disruption, with the dumping of toxic waste and deforestation.”
Papal Statement
Pope John Paul II also advised the farmers thus: “Work in such a way that you resists the temptations of productivity and profit that are not detrimental to the respect for nature. God entrusted the earth to human beings to till it and keep it.”
The Vatican Pontifical Academy, through Vice President Bishop Elio Sgreccia, had earlier issued the following statement, “We are increasingly encouraged that the advantages of genetic engineering of plants and animals are greater that(than)* the risks. The risks should be carefully followed through openness, analysis and controls, but without a sense of alarm.”
Sin Cites GE Benefits
In the Philippines, the Catholic Church's appears divided on the issue.
Lately, the Church’s highest official, the powerful and highly popular Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, cited the benefits of the application of genetic engineering on agricultural products 'provided this is done under the principles of morality.' In a pastoral letter, the Cardinal stated that 'genetic engineering is acceptable only if all risks are minimized. If foreseeable dangers are not fully identified, studied, and avoided, safe alternative procedures should be used, or if none, testing and development of the technology should be delayed altogether.'
Cardinal Sin concluded: “Along with the noble desire to combat hunger, poverty and diseases in developing and applying such technology, scientists have the task of protecting the rest of creation from all possible harms that ensue.”
Earlier, Bishop Jesus Varela, former chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Committee on Family Life, told a gathering of agricultural experts in Manila that there was no incongruence in the use of biotechnology with the Church’s beliefs. He, however, added that “activities regarding biotechnology should consider risks associated with it and if there are uncontrollable risks, we should forgo this technology and rely on current technologies.”
In southern Philippines, however, some church leaders believe otherwise.
Just before the May 14 senatorial and local elections, the parish in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, strung across the façade of the church edifice a streamer with the following message: “Oppose Bt corn. No vote to candidates who promote GMO. Boycott all Monsanto products. They are the propagators of Bt corn.”
It was in a nearby town, Polomolok, that a trial on Bt corn was conducted by the U.P. Los Baños Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) and the Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines. The experimental corn were planted last Jan. 8 and harvested three months later (April 2).
Corn Trial Results
Dr. Samuel Dalmacio, Pioneer plant pathologist for Asia-Pacific, reported that the results “clearly showed the potential benefits of Bt technology in the Philippines through reduced damage due to Asia(n)* corn borer and significant reduction or elimination of chemical pesticides.”
Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that naturally occurs in soil. Through genetic engineering technique, a specific gene of Bt has been introduced into a corn variety. The Bt (corn)* produces its natural pesticide against the Asian corn borer, which is responsible for heavy losses incurred by Filipino corn farmers every year. Bt corn is a product of biotechnology.
Only two trials on Bt corn have so far been conducted in the Philippines because of the strong opposition posed by some anti-GMO organizations, scientists, some members of the Catholic Church, and others.
Both trials were approved by the National Biosafety Committee of the Philippines (NCBP). Attached to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the NCBP is the body that regulates biotechnology activities in the country.
The first trial was conducted by UPLB-IPB and Agroseed Corporation at Barangay Lagao, General Santos City, South Cotabato, from Dec. 15, 1999 to March 19, 2000. Results showed that Bt corn was highly resistant to the Asian corn borer compared to the traditional corn variety used, which was devastated by the pest. (During the trial, a Church leader reportedly said that consuming GMO products could turn one gay.)
Aware of the two Bt corn trials’ significant results, many farmers have expressed disgust that many people opposing GMO are not even land tillers.
In previous confrontations between anti- and pro-GMO groups, some farmer-leaders have posed the questions: “Why deny us this technology?”
One farmer-leader from General Santos City, during a Senate hearing in Manila last year, assailed anti-GMO non-government organizations (NGOs) for blocking the field trials of Bt corn, whose main purpose is to find out is the technology is beneficial to farmers.
He pointed out that farmers usually resort to spraying toxic pesticides to control pests. In the process, they are exposing themselves to poisonous chemicals and some get sick. They stressed that it is they, not the NGOs, who are farming and it is they who will benefit from the technology if it proves effective.
Another farmers group stressed: “We are not sure of the benefits derived from the technology. However, how would we know if the technology is really beneficial if we are not going to allow the field testing of Bt corn? To people like us farmers, it is important that we see research results.”
Both trials had spawned legal battles.
In the first Bt corn trial, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed against the Agroseed Corporation for failure of the complainants to comply with basic procedural requirements.
In the second case, Judge Rojas of the Regional Trials Court in Polomolok ruled that the petitioners “have not shown, at least tentatively, that they have been irreparably injured by the planting of the genetically modified Bt corn inside Hybrid Seed Production Center South Pioneer Hi-Breed Philippines, Inc. in Barangay Glamang, Polomolok, South Cotabato."
Indeed, as former Philippine science secretary and now IRRI deputy director General William Padolina stressed: “It is ironical that many groups have raised issues on hypothetical risks. Ongoing debates have led to political indecision.”
Be that as it may, more 'barangay' (village), municipal, and provincial councils have been showing interest in Bt corn and are clamoring for field testing in their places.
Summing up, as Dr. Prakash, who has been a regular visitor of the Philippines over the past few years, stated: “The Philippines cannot afford to lag behind in critically examining these new technologies and making them available to its farmers under suitable safeguards. Biotechnology is not a panacea for all food production problems in the Philippines, but it is still the single most powerful tool now.”
Developing countries, including the Philippines, have been left behind in the biotechnology race. As of last year 44.2 million hectares in only 13 countries had been planted to GM crops such as soybean, cotton, (canola,)* corn, potato, squash, and papaya. Leading the countries now feverishly growing GM crops are the United States (30.3 million hectares), Argentina (10 million), Canada (three million), and China (500,000). The others are South Africa, Australia, France, Mexico, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Rumania, and Uruguay.
World GM Trade Hits $3.2B
Global trade in genetically modified crops reached $3.2 billion in 2000, a meteoric increase from $75 million when GM crops first hit the international market in 1995. The world market for transgenic crops is projected to reach $8 billion in 2005 and $25 billion in 2010, according to a report prepared by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
World population (six billion) increasing by about 73 million (some computations are higher) a year. Between 2000 and 2025, the world population will increase by almost two billion. To feed this additional population, it has been calculated that the average yields of cereals must be (80 percent higher than the average yields in 1990.)*
(The global population increase is almost the same as the present poulation of the Philippines [77 million], which has been projected to reach)* 108 million by 2020. Given a 2.36 percent population increase every year, three Filipinos are born every minute, 193 in an hour, 4,624 in a day, and 1.7 million in a year.
Dr. Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner who has also been a regular Philippine visitor in recent years, has pointed out that if the 1961 average cereal yields of Asia were to prevail today, 600 million hectares of additional land of the same quality would be needed to equal the 1997 cereal harvest. This is no longer possible today and if additional lands were to be used to plant food crops, one would have to move into the forest areas and other marginal environments, risking the extinction of other plant and animal species owing to the destruction of their habitat.
Borlaug Speaks Out
Biotechnology offers a solution to this problem by providing better tools to improve productivity in order to produce more food for a growing population, asserted Dr. Borlaug, who is considered the “Father of the Green Revolution.”
He scored resistance to biotechnology in Europe, saying that : “While the affluent nations can certainly afford to adopt elitist positions, and pay more for food produced by the so-called ‘natural method,’ the one billion chronically undernourished people of the low-income, food-deficit nations cannot.”
On the whole, biotechnology’s critical role in the immediate future vis-à-vis humankind’s twin problems of poverty and hunger is best summed up by Dr. Clive James, chairman of the ISAAA board of directors: “Denial of the new technologies to the poor is synonymous to condemning them to continued suffering from malnutrition which eventually many deny the poorest of the poor their right to survival.”
 
Impact of Globalisation on Developing Countries and India:
Globalisation is the new buzzword that has come to dominate the world since the nineties of the last century with the end of the cold war and the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the global trend towards the rolling ball. The frontiers of the state with increased reliance on the market economy and renewed faith in the private capital and resources, a process of structural adjustment spurred by the studies and influences of the World Bank and other International organisations have started in many of the developing countries. Also Globalisation has brought in new opportunities to developing countries. Greater access to developed country markets and technology transfer hold out promise improved productivity and higher living standard. But globalisation has also thrown up new challenges like growing inequality across and within nations, volatility in financial market and environmental deteriorations. Another negative aspect of globalisation is that a great majority of developing countries remain removed from the process. Till the nineties the process of globalisation of the Indian economy was constrained by the barriers to trade and investment liberalisation of trade, investment and financial flows initiated in the nineties has progressively lowered the barriers to competition and hastened the pace of globalisation
Definition:
Globalised World - What does it mean?
Does it mean the fast movement of people which results in greater interaction?
Does it mean that because of IT revolution people can be in touch with each other in any part of the world?
Does it mean trade and economy of each country is open in Non-Intrusive way so that all varieties are available to consumer of his choice?
Does it mean that mankind has achieved emancipation to a level of where we can say it means a social, economic and political globalisation?
Though the precise definition of globalisation is still unavailable a few definitions worth viewing, Stephen Gill: defines globalisation as the reduction of transaction cost of transborder movements of capital and goods thus of factors of production and goods. Guy Brainbant: says that the process of globalisation not only includes opening up of world trade, development of advanced means of communication, internationalisation of financial markets, growing importance of MNC's, population migrations and more generally increased mobility of persons, goods, capital, data and ideas but also infections, diseases and pollution
Impact on India:
India opened up the economy in the early nineties following a major crisis that led by a foreign exchange crunch that dragged the economy close to defaulting on loans. The response was a slew of Domestic and external sector policy measures partly prompted by the immediate needs and partly by the demand of the multilateral organisations. The new policy regime radically pushed forward in favour of amore open and market oriented economy.
Major measures initiated as a part of the liberalisation and globalisation strategy in the early nineties included scrapping of the industrial licensing regime, reduction in the number of areas reserved for the public sector, amendment of the monopolies and the restrictive trade practices act, start of the privatisation programme, reduction in tariff rates and change over to market determined exchange rates.
Over the years there has been a steady liberalisation of the current account transactions, more and more sectors opened up for foreign direct investments and portfolio investments facilitating entry of foreign investors in telecom, roads, ports, airports, insurance and other major sectors.
The Indian tariff rates reduced sharply over the decade from a weighted average of 72.5% in 1991-92 to 24.6 in 1996-97.Though tariff rates went up slowly in the late nineties it touched 35.1% in 2001-02. India is committed to reduced tariff rates. Peak tariff rates are to be reduced to be reduced to the minimum with a peak rate of 20%, in another 2 years most non-tariff barriers have been dismantled by march 2002, including almost all quantitative restrictions.
India is Global:
The liberalisation of the domestic economy and the increasing integration of India with the global economy have helped step up GDP growth rates, which picked up from 5.6% in 1990-91 to a peak level of 77.8% in 1996-97. Growth rates have slowed down since the country has still bee able to achieve 5-6% growth rate in three of the last six years. Though growth rates has slumped to the lowest level 4.3% in 2002-03 mainly because of the worst droughts in two decades the growth rates are expected to go up close to 70% in 2003-04. A Global comparison shows that India is now the fastest growing just after China.
This is major improvement given that India is growth rate in the 1970's was very low at 3% and GDP growth in countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, and Mexico was more than twice that of India. Though India's average annual growth rate almost doubled in the eighties to 5.9% it was still lower than the growth rate in China, Korea and Indonesia. The pick up in GDP growth has helped improve India's global position. Consequently India's position in the global economy has improved from the 8th position in 1991 to 4th place in 2001. When GDP is calculated on a purchasing power parity basis.
Globalisation and Poverty:
Globalisation in the form of increased integration though trade and investment is an important reason why much progress has been made in reducing poverty and global inequality over recent decades. But it is not the only reason for this often unrecognised progress, good national polices , sound institutions and domestic political stability also matter.
Despite this progress, poverty remains one of the most serious international challenges we face up to 1.2 billion of the developing world 4.8 billion people still live in extreme poverty.
But the proportion of the world population living in poverty has been steadily declining and since 1980 the absolute number of poor people has stopped rising and appears to have fallen in recent years despite strong population growth in poor countries. If the proportion living in poverty had not fallen since 1987 alone a further 215million people would be living in extreme poverty today.
India has to concentrate on five important areas or things to follow to achieve this goal. The areas like technological entrepreneurship, new business openings for small and medium enterprises, importance of quality management, new prospects in rural areas and privatisation of financial institutions. The manufacturing of technology and management of technology are two different significant areas in the country.
There will be new prospects in rural India. The growth of Indian economy very much depends upon rural participation in the global race. After implementing the new economic policy the role of villages got its own significance because of its unique outlook and branding methods. For example food processing and packaging are the one of the area where new entrepreneurs can enter into a big way. It may be organised in a collective way with the help of co-operatives to meet the global demand.
Understanding the current status of globalisation is necessary for setting course for future. For all nations to reap the full benefits of globalisation it is essential to create a level playing field. President Bush's recent proposal to eliminate all tariffs on all manufactured goods by 2015 will do it. In fact it may exacerbate the prevalent inequalities. According to this proposal, tariffs of 5% or less on all manufactured goods will be eliminated by 2005 and higher than 5% will be lowered to 8%. Starting 2010 the 8% tariffs will be lowered each year until they are eliminated by 2015.
GDP Growth rate:
The Indian economy is passing through a difficult phase caused by several unfavourable domestic and external developments; Domestic output and Demand conditions were adversely affected by poor performance in agriculture in the past two years. The global economy experienced an overall deceleration and recorded an output growth of 2.4% during the past year growth in real GDP in 2001-02 was 5.4% as per the Economic Survey in 2000-01. The performance in the first quarter of the financial year is5.8% and second quarter is 6.1%.
Export and Import:
India's Export and Import in the year 2001-02 was to the extent of 32,572 and 38,362 million respectively. Many Indian companies have started becoming respectable players in the International scene. Agriculture exports account for about 13 to 18% of total annual of annual export of the country. In 2000-01 Agricultural products valued at more than US $ 6million were exported from the country 23% of which was contributed by the marine products alone. Marine products in recent years have emerged as the single largest contributor to the total agricultural export from the country accounting for over one fifth of the total agricultural exports. Cereals (mostly basmati rice and non-basmati rice), oil seeds, tea and coffee are the other prominent products each of which accounts fro nearly 5 to 10% of the countries total agricultural exports.
Where does Indian stand in terms of Global Integration?
India clearly lags in globalisation. Number of countries have a clear lead among them China, large part of east and far east Asia and eastern Europe. Lets look at a few indicators how much we lag.
·Over the past decade FDI flows into India have averaged around 0.5% of GDP against 5% for China 5.5% for Brazil. Whereas FDI inflows into China now exceeds US $ 50 billion annually. It is only US $ 4billion in the case of India
·Consider global trade - India's share of world merchandise exports increased from .05% to .07% over the pat 20 years. Over the same period China's share has tripled to almost 4%.
·India's share of global trade is similar to that of the Philippines an economy 6 times smaller according to IMF estimates. India under trades by 70-80% given its size, proximity to markets and labour cost advantages.
·It is interesting to note the remark made last year by Mr. Bimal Jalan, Governor of RBI. Despite all the talk, we are now where ever close being globalised in terms of any commonly used indicator of globalisation. In fact we are one of the least globalised among the major countries - however we look at it.
·As Amartya Sen and many other have pointed out that India, as a geographical, politico-cultural entity has been interacting with the outside world throughout history and still continues to do so. It has to adapt, assimilate and contribute. This goes without saying even as we move into what is called a globalised world which is distinguished from previous eras from by faster travel and communication, greater trade linkages, denting of political and economic sovereignty and greater acceptance of democracy as a way of life.
Consequences:
The implications of globalisation for a national economy are many. Globalisation has intensified interdependence and competition between economies in the world market. This is reflected in Interdependence in regard to trading in goods and services and in movement of capital. As a result domestic economic developments are not determined entirely by domestic policies and market conditions. Rather, they are influenced by both domestic and international policies and economic conditions. It is thus clear that a globalising economy, while formulating and evaluating its domestic policy cannot afford to ignore the possible actions and reactions of policies and developments in the rest of the world. This constrained the policy option available to the government which implies loss of policy autonomy to some extent, in decision-making at the national level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hats Off

(Aspirant, 2011-01-29 08:19)

A great philanthropic initiative of knowledge sharing.Internet being an ocean is a better source but your website is having best collection & is easily accessible without any deviation as is the case with Internet.keep it up.God bless you all.

Excellent team work

(Nisar Ahmed, 2010-12-21 06:37)

It is simply appriciable, good initiative and indeed an excellent team work...

Really annoying...... but a good try

(rahat, 2010-10-19 22:54)

I do not know , why are people praising this website . May be the creater of this institute was once i the Bureaucracy. But guys that was the different time and i disagree with the attitude the people of my land do have.
Please see outside the prism of this website . there are lot of good essays available in the internet if you do have access and praise for this.
See I am not criticising this institute but i want to tell all of you that widen your approach, and do not get messed in such things.

very helpful topics 4 kas aspirants

(shipra, 2010-03-29 09:42)

this website is extremly useful for kashmiries thanks a lot

Temple of kas aspirants

(Aarshi nazrana, 2010-02-20 10:47)

I am happy to locate a website which is a nursery for kas aspirants of kashmir as we where laging behind in such perespectives it realy is a helping hand

Comment

(Alyas, 2010-02-08 11:42)

Sir, really the nice text is written in these essays.
I really have been appreciated. Again thanks.

Keet it up

(Owaise, 2009-09-17 08:48)

Dear KSIR

(Anjum, 2009-09-12 17:43)

Ath wanna khar kya zaane zaafran kya go!!!

lengthy and boring

(ksir, 2009-09-12 08:22)

this type of essays are just scraps.
A better option would be a dust bin, in which it would fit a proper recognation.

A good read

(Kas aspirant., 2009-09-06 16:57)

Keep up the good work.Besides ur own engagements u hve been providing ur contribution to this site.These essays are extremely useful in developing our anlytical skills.
Looking forward for more such essays form u Sir.

nice essay

(Syed Sajjad Bukharie, 2009-09-06 12:34)

good essay, keep writing such essays so that every civil service aspirant gets benefitted...