South Asian Voice at Davos
     on Globalisation
     on Technology

Honoured at Davos 2001
     Anant Singh
     Iqbal Quadir

Technology   Feature     

Reinventing India

Role of Internet In South Asian Development
Successful case studies
    What the Gurus say
    - Vinod Khosla
    - Gururaj Deshpande

Technology - a weapon to
fight poverty.

South Asian success     stories
   - Bangladesh  
     Village Phone
     Village E-Mail
     Village Internet
   - Madhya Pradesh State
   - TARAhaat.com
   - Several more

Cultural feature
Sadhus - Holy Men of India
- Their Beliefs
- Their Sects



Sundown Madness at Wagah Border


Heritage & Travel

Rajasthan's Forest Forts


Three Brothers & A Violin 


Editor's Note



Silk Road on Wheels

South Asian Shop

Old Prints





the-south-asian.com                            February 2001

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Page  2  of  4


South Asians on the issue of Globalisation


The protests and demonstrations at the WTO Conference in Seattle last year brought the issue of globalisation to the forefront. Until recently globalisation did not mean economic opportunities for the developing countries. A lot of rethinking has gone in towards the redefinition of the term globalisation. "The future success of globalisation requires that developing countries be fully involved in the management of the global economy and that their voices be heard." However, globalisation is not just an economic concern - it is also about the survival of traditional societies and their culture in the face of strong cultural indoctrination. 

Among the South Asians who spoke on global issues and technology were Azim H. Premji, Fareed Zakaria, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Vandana Shiva, Yashwant Sinha, Masood Jabbar, M. Sawhney, Raj Reddy and Rajat Gupta - to name a few. 

Indigenous knowledge & intellectual property

vandana_shiva_davos_photo_Remy_Steinegger.jpg (16601 bytes)Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, India, declared: "We are not the backlash. We want to see put in place the promises for rights." Very large protests in India are also taking place in an attempt to defend society and communities against the assault from globalisation. Rules on paper, she said, have not envisioned the violence they imply in real lives, specifically intellectual property laws that prevent the distribution of inexpensive medicine to poor populations and patent indigenous knowledge, turning it into exclusive monopoly rights.

(PhD in Physics, Univ. of Western Ontario; Author: Monocultures of the Mind; The Violence of Green Revolution. Expertise: globalisation, genetic engineering, gender issues, biodiversity, ecology, agriculture, biotechnology, IPRs. Recipient of honours and awards.)

How can Globalisation deliver the Goods: The view from the South

" ... it is the West’s affluent lifestyles that pose the greatest threat to the environment." - Yashwant Sinha

yashwant_Sinha_Davos_2001_Remy_Steinegger.jpg (11483 bytes)"The challenge is to be able to translate into real benefits these theoretical benefits which are supposed to flow from globalisation," Yashwant Sinha, India’s Minister of Finance. In India, for instance, the global economy has reached the remotest provinces in the form of satellite television. His own constituents, he noted, followed with amusement the recent US election controversy. And globalisation, manifested in India’s own liberalisation of investment and trade, has helped boost economic growth, Sinha said. But a double standard endures when it comes to creating sustainable growth. While the West may deliver sermons to the developing world on the dangers of untrammelled expansion, it is the West’s affluent lifestyles that pose the greatest threat to the environment.

Sinha also condemned immigration policies that rob developing nations of the best and brightest. Citing statistics from a German magazine, he noted that 38% of all US doctors and 12% of its scientists are Indian. Indians also comprise a significant portion of the workforce at such companies as Microsoft, International Business Machines and Intel, he said.

"The time has come when the North must realise that there are strengths in the South," he declared. "The South is not looking for charity. We are looking for equal opportunities."

"If the entire world were to adopt the lifestyle of the suburban American, then there would be no world to live in." -- Yashwant Sinha, Minister for Finance of India 

(Master's in Political Science, Patna University; 24 years with the Indian Administrative Service)


The Challenges of National Economic Policy in a Global Era

How can governments design national policies at a time of globalisation? Second, how can governments achieve broad policy co-ordination on a global scale? Here the role of international financial institutions such as the WTO, World Bank and the IMF comes into play. Finally, how can national governments be sure of striking the right balance?

Yashwant Sinha, Minister of Finance of India, cited one example of the inequities in the international system. Starting from 1 April, he said, India is lifting all quantitative restrictions on trade under guidelines from the World Trade Organisation. However, rich nations will only abolish quotas on textile imports from developing nations in 2005. "Under international arrangements, nations surrender part of their sovereignty to build a global community. However, if this process is inequitable, it creates problems for the less developed nations," Sinha cautioned.


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(The quotes on this page are compiled from summaries of different sessions of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum)


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