Category: Karnataka

COVID-19 India – Interactive Map of Infections

It has been previously reasoned out that the data for COVID-19 inFections in India is too low and incorrect, due to the very low actual number of testings. Therefore, the actual number of inFection cases in the MoHFW data and in the above map is misleading and incorrect. It is too low. The real figures will be a big multiple of it. We just don’t know the real extent. It can only be estimated through mathematical models.

However, the map gives a realistic idea of the geographical spread of COVID-19 in India. It should caution anyone that it has reached close to home.

The lockdown and safety protocols stipulated by the Government of India are very important. It has to be followed and respected. It is our best defense for survival. I support it.

Poverty in India – 600 Million!


I recently saw the documentary 13th and it was stunning.  The revelations were startling.  President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the United States of America on January 31, 1865, through the 13th Amendment.  It freed about 4 million Black slaves.  However, successive US Presidents successfully maneuvered Government Polices and continued to keep a large percentage of Blacks in abject slavery.  The US prison population was 327,000 in 1970 and this jumped to 2,220,300 (more than 2 million!) in 2013.  Blacks make up 13% of the US population, but account for 40% of the prison population, which is about 900,000, say close to a million.  It is shocking, but true.

How is this related to Poverty in India?

There is a connection and it is political.  Poverty has been a political cancer since 1947.  Every elected Government, since Independence, has made polices that have perpetuated poverty – some intentional and some not.

There are many definitions for poverty and it can be confusing for anyone.  I’ll trust the World Bank’s definition of international poverty line, which was revised in 2015 to US $1.9/day (Rs. 122/day) per person, based on the concept of PPP (purchasing power parity).

Take a look at how the Government of India defines poverty.  In June 2014 it was defined as a person earning Rs. 32/day in rural areas and Rs. 47/day in urban areas.  A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report in 2012 computes that 270 million people (22% of population) are below the poverty line of Rs. 33/day.  This is consistent with the World Bank’s published data.

At a US $1 to Rs. 64 exchange rate, Rs. 33/day is about $0.52/day per person.  The accepted 2015 poverty line of $1.9/day adjusted to 2012 figures is about $1.74/day.  How do we reconcile a definition of $0.52/day by the Indian Government to $1.74/day by the World Bank, which is a difference of 235%?  It’s apparent that the Indian Government is deliberately under-reporting the % of Indian population below the poverty line.

If we assume linearity in income and % population data, at $1.74/day (Rs. 111/day) the % of population is 74%.  At low income levels, linearity is a reasonable assumption.

The truth is somewhere in-between.  The % of Indian population below the poverty line is between 22% (Rs. 33/day) and 74% (Rs. 111/day).  I’ll mid-point it out at about 48%, for 2012.  This translates to about 600 million people in India below the poverty line!

If politicians say that the % of population below the poverty line is less that 22% in 2018, then we know it is not true!  It just can’t come down from 48% to 22% in 6 years, which would be a reduction of 54%!  There is no way they can justify it, since the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MOSPI) of the Indian Government does not have any data till date to support a counter claim.

Why is the Indian Government pegging the poverty line to Rs. 33/day per person?  It’s simple – because 22% poverty level sounds politically great.  If it were taken at Rs.122/day (US $1.9/day), as per the international norm, the % levels would be much higher and this does not sound great to any political party.

I want to further substantiate that the present Indian Government’s definition for poverty of Rs. 33/day is absurd.  I spoke to a few of the people I work with, who have come from villages to the city to seek employment.  Well, they are from South India and they love rice and sambar, a type of lentil based spicy soup, in their daily diet.  They tell me that in the villages, the consumption per person would be about 400g/day of rice and about 200 grams/day of lentil in the form of sambar.  Rice is about Rs.50/Kg and lentils (dal) about Rs. 90/Kg.  Add to this about 250 grams/day of vegetables at Rs. 25/Kg.  This works out to Rs. 44.25/day just on food.  What about other things.  Let’s take just rent and electricity.  In villages, rent may be about Rs.900/month (Rs. 30/day) and electricity Rs.15/day.  The basics works out to be about Rs. 89.25/day.  One also needs clothes and health care.  So, the World Bank estimate of Rs. 122/day seems more realistic than Rs. 33/day of the Indian Government.  I don’t have any doubts about it, do you?

The folks I spoke to would be proud to pay for their daily sustenance without doles from the Government.  They just want jobs that pay well.  They don’t want a hand out of subsidized food supply (Government Ration Schemes or Coupons).  Their pride to earn and live well is more valuable to them.

But, poverty is real.  The Government is coming up with all sorts of schemes to dole out goodies to the poor and keep them poor.  For example, in Tamil Nadu there is the Amma Scheme and in Karnataka there are Indira Canteens, and so on in other states.  Such schemes just keep their hunger at bay, but provides no tools for them to progress out of poverty.

The poverty data has always been inconsistently reported and explained since 1947.  In the 1950’s about 65% (215 million) of the population was below the poverty line, defined as Rs. 0.6/day per person.  In the 1960’s it was 70% (289 million) below Rs. 0.6/day per person.  In the 1970-1980’s the figure is reported at 50% and the poverty line was defined at Rs. 1.63/day per person.  In the 1990’s poverty was reported at 77%, based on Rs.20/day per person.  In the 2000’s, the estimate in 2012 pegs the poverty at 22% based on Rs.33/day per person.  Look at the pattern from 1947 – 65%, 70%, 50%, 77% and then 22%.  Somebody did some magic in 2012 – political mathematical chicanery!?

I think I have made the case for a poverty estimate of about 48% to 50% at the present time (2018), affecting 600 million people.  Of course, I am not an economist or a political analyst or a statistician.  So, if anyone disagrees and provides data, I’ll be happy to correct any errors in my analysis.

To pull people of India out of poverty, I think that the Government should re-invest its free doles into more permanent things.  In layman’s terms, one way that I see is to create more jobs.  For creating more jobs, the new generation must have better skills through education.  For jobs that pay better, Companies should be incentivized to do so.  If self employed, let the Government re-route the existing free doles to enable people to invest them in working assets, so that it can generate revenue for them.

For salaried and self employed people to earn more, the present 2018 Government of India, should be humble and make practical policies.  Their demonetization and GST initiatives have a basic premise – businesses and people are corrupt.

The demonetization policy was a failure.  RBI has stated that 99% (Rs. 15.28 trillion or US $239 billion) of the pre-demonetization money (Rs. 15.44 trillion or US $241 billion) in circulation came back to the banks!

I’m a supporter of GST, but the implementation is pathetic.  The IT technology behind it is ancient and makes life hell for filers.  It’s a system that should grant credit for all purchases, but it does not.  Further, even though the businesses have legal invoices and receipts for purchases, they cannot claim credit for all of it, since the GST body wants the seller to upload the sale to the GST site.  Why – since the Government thinks we will cheat!

Finally, the officers in the Central Government are still corrupt.  Businesses still pay a bribe to get things done in the departments.  This nasty practice must stop.  So, with honest and practical reforms in GST and the way the Government works, businesses can no doubt create more jobs and also better paying ones.  Self employed citizens will thrive.  It’s the only way out of poverty, other than being socialistic.  India is democratic and it has too large a population for socialism to work.  The private sector can do what the Government just cannot.

I think that a little honesty from the Government is needed.  It must think real hard and solve the poverty problem.  It should stop making policies that keep the poor in poverty.  The equation of poverty to votes must end now and forever.






Bellandur Lake – NGT Order Illegal…

Bellandur Lake NGT Order Illegal
This is absolutely brilliant!

A friend called me about an hour ago and told me that the High Court of Karnataka had stayed all the Orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), New Delhi, regarding Bellandur Lake!

The Order was issued today (15 June 2017) by the Chief Justice of Karnataka, Honorable Subro Kamal Mukherjee, and Honorable Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar, in Writ Petition WP 25881/2017, filed by Shashi Distilleries Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore.
This is the gist of the matter. I have not read the petition, but this is what I was told by a reliable source. Apparently, the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, has no jurisdiction over the city of Bangalore! Hence, all the Orders passed by it with respect to Bellandur Lake, which is situated in the city, is null and void.

As always, I’m shocked, but not surprised, by this blatant Abuse of Power. How can the Justices at the NGT not know that they do not have jurisdiction over the city of Bangalore? Even kids know what they can do and what they can’t.
I had contended in my earlier posts that the Closure Order by the Karnataka State Pollution Board (KSPCB) was illegal and violated the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 21, of the Constitution of India. As such 488 industries were closed for 40 days (05 May 2017 to 15 Jun 2017) and BESCOM had even disconnected electric power. At a minimum, 25,000 employees lost their livelihood for 40 days. Further, the credibility, reputation, goodwill and brand of the 488 industries have taken a severe beating. Some of them will never recover from the economic losses. I would dare to say that the damages are in excess of Rs. 1000 crores. Will someone pay for it?

Now, let’s wait and see if there is any sense of urgency by the Government of Karnataka, KSPCB and BESCOM to connect back the electricity to these 488 industries and restore their livelihood.

Bellandur Lake now needs the correct medicine to come alive. This time around, the Government of Karnataka, the BWSSB, BDA, Bangalore Urban Development, BBMP and the KSPCB, should get the job done right.

We are all watching – the 12 million people of Bangalore and the citizens of the world!

Sharing Water with Tamil Nadu – in pictures …

This is a visual supplement to my article:

Environmental Chicanery – Bangalore’s Shit, Tamil Nadu’s Water (

Journey of Bangalore Sewage from Bellandur Lake to the Bay of Bengal:

The right half of Bangalore (mustard circles) lets out approximately half the sewage of the city, which is 1000 MLD and which contains about 650 MLD of untreated sewage.  This stream first collects in the Bellandur Lake and overflows into the Varthur Lake.

Bellandur Varthur Map

From here, it meanders south for about 40 Km to Kelavarapelli Reservoir.  The outflow from here is designated as the “Then Pennai River”, which is also known as the “Ponnaiyar River”.

Kelavarapelli Reservoir

Soon after, it crosses the Karnataka – Tamil Nadu border.

Then Pennai Karnataka Tamil Nadu Border.JPG

The water travels to the Krishnagiri Dam, further south, which is about 60 Km from the Keleavarapelli Reservoir.

Krishnagiri Reservoir

It journey’s on for another 106 Km south-east to the Sathanur Reservoir, in the heart of Tamil Nadu.

Sathanur Reservoir.JPG

It then follows the south-easterly gradient for another 116 Km and drains into the Bay of Bengal at Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu.  This part of the sewage from Bangalore thus traverses a path of about 322 Km.

Then Pennai River Ends.JPG

Journey of Bangalore Sewage from Sankey Tank to the Bay of Bengal:

The left half of Bangalore (purple circles) again discharges about 1000 MLD of sewage and 650 MLD of untreated sewage.  The birth place is near the Sankey Tank in Bangalore, which is in the uber-rich part of the city and the stream gets the privilege of being called the “Vrishabhavathi River.”

Sankey Tank

It travels south-west, along parts of the Bangalore-Mysore highway, for 34 Km and flows into the Vrishabhavathi Reservoir.  When you exit Bangalore, en route to Mysore, you get a nasty stench from this river.   It’s common knowledge that this is because of untreated sewage water.

Vrishabhavathi Reservoir

It continues from the Reservoir and travels 19 Km and joins the Arkavathi River (orange circles).

VB meets Arkavathi

From this point, it travers another 41 Km southwards and meets the great Kaveri (Cauvery) River, near the Mugguru Forest and Mekedatu.

Arkavati meets Kaveri

The Kaveri literally bisects the two States.  But, here is the exact point where the river crosses the two States.

Kaveri Karnataka TN Border

It journeys on, in a south-westerly direction, into Tamil Nadu and flows into the Stanley Reservoir (Mettur Dam).

Stanley Reservoir

From here, the Kaveri River travels a long distance of about 220 Km and forks off at Tiruchirapalli, into two streams.

Kaveri Kollidam Split

One stream splits to the top as the Kollidam River and drains into the Bay of Bengal at Chidambaram, after traveling 104 Km.

Kollidam BoB

The other splits to the bottom, still as the famed Kaveri River, and travels about 107 Km, and eventually ends in the Bay of Bengal at Kaveripattanam. This part of the Bangalore sewage traverses about 421 Km.

Kaveri Ends

Can we all do something so that our Bangalore sewage does not end up at these end points?