The Planning Commission of India reports that the nation’s poverty rate has dropped by seven percentage points in five years, from 37 percent in 2005 to 30 percent in 2010. How did this hard-to-believe steep decline come about?  Perhaps, it occurred by lowering a benchmark the commission uses to count poor people living below the poverty line.  Last year the Singh government lowered the amount needed per day to live to Rs.32 (US$0.64) or less in city areas and Rs.26 (US$0.52) or less in rural areas.  Earlier these amounts were Rs.35 or less and Rs.28 or less respectively.  Thus, thousands were removed from the poverty statistics.

Voters in five Indian states elected candidates for state assemblies from among at least 15 political parties and more than 80 independents.  The states of Goa, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will have a coalition government, and Manipur and Uttar Pradesh will have a single party government.

It is not uncommon among people to do what the three members of the legislative assembly of the state of Karnataka did.   The issue is that they were caught during an assembly session in the capitol building, a sanctum sanctorum of democracy, watching an adult video on a mobile phone.

The Taj Mahal and Mahatma Gandhiji are India’s two gifts to mankind.   On the 30th of January, 2012, we mark the death anniversary of the latter and remember that gift. It is poignant to recall what heartbroken Nehru, while holding back tears, said 64 years ago on AIR (All India Radio) after the champion of non-violence was gunned down:

European nations, in general, are small in size.  The Bihar state of India, to illustrate a point, is 1.3 times the combined area of Belgium and the Netherlands. A traveler can crisscross some nations by a car or train in a short period of time.

When an Indian reporter asked why the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, is shown as a part of China on a Chinese generated map, the Chinese Ambassador to India told the reporter to "shut up".  Perhaps the ambassador forgot, but the last foreigners to tell Indians to shut up left India in 1947.  Later, the ambassador said that the map would be corrected, but this map- doctoring incident foretells a baleful ploy.

A child born into a poor family is likely to grow up in a house that is typically made of mud, tin sheets, tarpaulin, or plastic sheets.  The house is without running water and without indoor plumbing.  Food is made from low-quality ingredients.   The child’s clothes are tattered and chances of education are minimal.   Frequently the child may become ill, primarily from a curable disease.

Inflation in India is now around 9.75 percent and is causing an economic hardship.   In its struggle to curb inflation, Reserve Bank of India announced 12th increase in interest rate by 0.25 percentage point to 8.25 percent on Friday, 16 September 2011.  This policy of periodic hike in interest rate, which began 18-month ago, seems to have very little effect.

Since the mid 90s, Indian and foreign companies, governments, trusts, and others have been rapidly building businesses—colleges, factories, flats, offices, plants—on land purchased primarily from poor farmers.  Consequently, the farmland in India is vanishing at an alarming rate.