Designer Archana Kochhar to experiment with Ahimsa Silk, spearhead the revolutionary Gandhian Ahimsa to produce fine forms of Silk Costumes

Designer Archana Kochhar to experiment with Ahimsa Silk, spearhead the revolutionary Gandhian Ahimsa to produce fine forms of Silk Costumes

 Organic nature, extraction technology, handwoven coupled with Indian Government’s support to Celebrity Designer Archana Kochhar prompted her to find an increase in Livelihood for Women Weaving Community

Unfortunately in india we have a tendency to forget an age old tradition as we embark newer ways of innovation & presentations, Indian weaving industry which constitute a sizeable working force today is fighting for its better livelihood & better standard of living. Impressed by the visit to Jharkhand & working with the women weaving community, Archana decided to give a major boost to Ahimsa Silk which had lost its relevance economically as well as culturally. Archanna realized that the weaving community which are geeting Rs 5000 Per Month despite putting their hard work can actually earn 8000 to 9000 Rs per month given its potential & appeal. In India, this concept is not new but  it was not taken up in a big way as the technology to process the yarn and later weave it were not developed. Now, Fashion designer Archana Kochhar has collaborated with Jharkhand Silk Textile and Handicraft Development Corporation to promote ahimsa silk for her next collection. Kochhar is currently working on a collection that uses this silk, and will be participating in the Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week in September.

The production of ahimsa silks involves waiting for the caterpillars to finish the cycle and leave the cocoon as a moth. Each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before the silk thread is spun. Kochhar tells us that though this process produces 60% of amount of silk as compared to the regular method, it meets the purpose of fashion for a cause.

We have seen many protests worldwide against the use of leather products. However, surprisingly, there hasn’t been much resistance against the use of silk garments, especially considering the fact that thousands of silkworms are killed in order to make a small piece of fabric. Silk comes from the cocoons of the silk worm (bombyx mori). In the silk industry, cocoons are killed by steaming or dropping them into boiling water when they are ten days old, before they metamorphose into a moth.

The silk is believed to be the finest at this stage. This is preferred because when the cocoons open naturally at one end, to release the moth, the continuity of the fibre is lost. The pierced cocoons are spun into yarn. This is then woven into fabrics.

The Background

Kusuma Rajaiah, an Indian man, has developed a new technique for producing silk that does not require killing silk worms in the process. [Note: We’ve been informed that a company in Oregon, Peace Silk, already uses this technique]. Right now, producing a silk saree involves killing of at least 50 thousand silkworms. Rajaiah has won the patent for producing the “Ahimsa” silk. Ahimsa is a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. However, the production of the silk is more expensive. For example, a saree which costs 2400 rupees to produce using regular silk, will cost 4000 rupees when made with Ahimsa silk.
Rajaiah says: “My inspiration is Mahatma. He gave a message to the Indian silk industry that if silk can be produced without killing silkworms, it would be better. He dreamt but that did not happen in his lifetime. I am the happiest person that at least I could do this little thing.”

Rajaiah says he started giving a serious thought to “Ahimsa” silk when in the 1990s. Janaki Venkatraman, wife of the former President, asked if she could get a silk saree that is made without killing silk worms. Yarn for a silk saree is usually produced by throwing live cocoons of silkworm into boiling water. A single saree needs upto 50,000 cocoons. Rajaiah allows the moth to escape from the cocoon by waiting for 7-10 days and then uses the shells to produce yarn. One’s clothing can be as Spartan as Gandhiji’s attire of a white homespun cloth wrapped around oneself or as thoughtlessly insensitive as silk clothes and leather jackets. From khadi to silk, one travels the entire range of clothing representing stark utilitarianism at one end and cruelty-based vanity at the other.

For most Indian women the use of silk has become a status symbol. Soft, smooth and shimmering silk is perhaps the most attractive textile man has ever created. More than two thousand years ago, this fabric was imported from China, hence in Sanskrit it was known as Chinanshuk. The method and source of its production was a very highly guarded secret; may be because it involved the killing of millions of lives.

Annually 155,000 metric tons silk is produced worldwide. Of this China, the largest producer of silk produces 65,000 metric tons, whereas India at second place produces about 23,060 tonnes a year which generates a turnover of Rs 25,000 crore of which Rs 2,500 crore is exported. (70 lakh people are involved: 5 lakh are sericulture farmers and the rest are other stakeholders such as reelers, twisters, weavers, printers, etc.) Other silk producing countries are Brazil, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Countries which import Indian silk are USA, UK, UAE, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, China and some others, but export has declined due to US buyers procuring the material from other markets like China. Nevertheless, huge quantities of silk waste get exported.

In order to safeguard the interests of the Indian silk industry, in 2009 India renewed for 4 years the anti-dumping duty on Chinese raw silk imposed in 2003, and till 2011 on fabric which had been imposed in 2006. However, due to demand being more than the India supply, the duty did not stop China from exporting raw silk to India and the price of raw silk rose. By the end of the 11th Plan, the Government set a target for silk production of 26,000 tonne and an export turnover of Rs 4,500 crores, but luckily even by 2013 India was yet to achieve it.

In 2013 Government increased the 12th Plan target to 32,000 tonnes of raw silk which included 5,000 tonnes of superior quality bivoltine raw silk. Also an additional 59,000 hectares was proposed for growing mulberry.

In 2003 the Central Silk Board began introducing Tussar silk production to tribals in regions such asBanka and Jamui districts of Bihar. Their projects covered entire support from nurseries to spinning technology.

In 2012 The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) proudly declared having given working capital support to a Tussar silk reeling unit owned by tribal women in Bihar. This was followed in 2013 by a state-level initiative covering 17,500 beneficiaries.

In 2013 the International Sericultural Commission (a global inter-governmental body set up in the 1960s) moved its headquarters from France to India. Unfortunately this gave India more access to genetic resources for increasing silk production and ending the supply-demand gap of around 5,000 tonnes. (Supply had risen to around 26,000 as had the demand to 36,000 tonnes.)

BWC was pleased that production and exports of silk was lessening in 2013 when MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) which provides at least 100 days of paid annual employment in rural areas was extended to sericulture by the government. India’s silk exports had fallen to $155 million in FY2013. (Exports had touched $380 million in FY2008, and earlier were $238 million in FY2000, while exports of silk carpets had risen to as much as $945 million.) Meanwhile China maintained its 80% global share selling silk 20-30% cheaper than India whose global market share was 17.5%.

The Making of Silk

Silk worms survive in the range of 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. Therefore, in different parts of India they are reared and harvested 2 to 5 times a year. (Mulberry takes around 25 days and eri up to 18 days.)

The filament of silk is what a silkworm spins its cocoon of and is constructed as a shell to protect itself during its cycle of growth from caterpillar to chrysalis to moth.

The female moth lays about four to six hundred eggs. The eggs hatch in about ten days and the larvae (one-twelfth of an inch in length) emerge. They are fed on mulberry leaves for about twenty to twenty-seven days, till they are fully grown (three to three and a half inches in length). A fully grown caterpillar emits a gummy substance from its mouth and wraps itself in layers of this filament to form a cocoon in two to four days. The caterpillar develops into a moth in about fifteen days. To emerge it has to cut through the cocoon — thereby ruining the filament of the cocoon.

Hence, to save the filament from being damaged, the chrysalis is either immersed in boiling water, passed through hot air or exposed to the scorching heat of the sun’s rays, thus killing the lives inside. The long, continuous filament of the cocoon is then reeled. To produce one hundred grams of pure silk, approximately fifteen hundred chrysalises have to die. (Momme weight is the weight of a standard piece of silk fabric measuring 100 yards long and 45 inches wide.)

Particular chrysalises are kept aside to allow the moths to emerge and mate. After the female moth lays eggs, she is always mercilessly crushed to check for diseases. If she appears diseased, the eggs laid by her are immediately destroyed.

Generation after generation of inbreeding has taken away the moths’ capacity to fly – the most they can do is jump. After mating, the male moths are dumped into a basket and thrown out. It is a common sight to see crows picking at them outside silk manufacturing centres.

Cruel, not Eco-friendly

It was shocking to learn, scientists from the National Chemical Laboratory, and Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute added azo dyes to the silkworms’ leafy diet so that they would spin coloured silk and it would not require dyeing. It is cruel, not eco-friendly as claimed… dye is sprayed on the leaves to modify them which is harmful for the environment and the worms who consume them. The dye passes through the digestive canal of the silkworms and enters the silk glands so the cocoons obtained are a lighter shade of the coloured dye used. Calling the resultant silk bio-organic is a sales gimmick.

Varieties of Silk

The country’s largest cocoon market is in Ramanagram, near Bangalore. The Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute, Mysore, have with the help of Japanese experts developed the bivoltine variety of silkworms with which the farmers are being lured and the Central Silk Board (set up in 1948 by an Act of Parliament) has plans to promote them in other silk rearing States like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

To boost export of cocoons from Maharashtra, the state government decided to increase production of bivoltine cocoons resulting in a 100% rise during 2009-10. The government buys 50% of the cocoons from the farmers.

60% of Indian silk is produced in Karnataka State. Other major silk producing states are Tamil Nadu (with output of 1,400 tons), Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and J&K. Export earnings are to the tune of Rs 2,500 crores per annum.

Interestingly, a July 2010 report about Karnataka says that the state’s 60% share of the country’s silk production has fallen to 37%. According to statistics available with the CSB, mulberry acreage in the state stood at 1.66 lakh hectare in 1998-99 before Bangalore witnessed the IT boom. It declined by half to 0.88 lakh hectare in 2002-03 and further to 0.77 lakh hectare in 2008-09. There is huge real estate development in the area and around 30,000 agricultural families involved with mulberry cultivation have left to seek other streams of revenue.
Mulberry leaves is the only silkworm food plant and till March 2011, S-146 was the only popular mulberry genotype for silkworm rearing. So in order to increase silk production and reduce importing from China, (and other countries like Uzbekistan, Korea, Japan and Thailand) the CSB authorised three mulberry varieties for commercial use by sericulture farmers in India: Victory-1 (V-1), Anantha and Vishala. Sericulture Research and Training Institute, Sericultural Research Station in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka State Sericultural Research and Development Institute in Bangalore are breeders of these three mulberry varieties. While V-1 and Anantha were recommended for commercial use in Karnataka, AP and TN, Vishala was authorised for all sericulture regions in India.

With the object of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s lightest silk gold zarisaree (6 metres x 44 inches, weighing 70 grams from fibres of 3 to 4 cocoons) and a scarf (1 square metre weighing 30 grams from fibres of 2 cocoons) was woven by a Karnataka silk farmer and presented to the US President Barack Obama in 2010. With this it was also hoped that export to the USA would increase – in any case USA is the top importer of Indian silk. Then, in 2015 kimkhwāb/hiranyamaterial hand-woven in Kashi was presented to the US First Lady, Michelle Obama. Thiskimkhwāb/hiranya was silk gold zari woven into heavy brocade. Till the 19th Century this material was almost always woven entirely from fine gold or silver threads and some times set with precious stones.

India is the only country that commercially produces all four varieties of silk obtained from four types of moths. These are known as Mulberry, Tussar, Eri and Muga. Mulberry is also produced in other silk producing countries like China, Japan, Russia, Italy, South Korea etc., but Eri and Muga are produced only in India. The Tussar silk is often produced by the caterpillar of a wild silk moth that is found in rain forests of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharahstra. Unlike mulberry silkworms, these caterpillars are difficult to cultivate in captivity, so the cocoons are some times gathered from the wilds. However, it is not commercially viable to collect Tussar silk cocoons from jungles. Jungle Ghicha silk and Kosa silk (mainly produced in Chattisgarh from a worm similar to silk worm) are sales gimmicks. Ghicha or Khewa are the names given to yarns that are not dyed when Tussar silk is reeled.

The Central Silk Board which is the apex body of the Indian silk industry promotes silk in different ways and is proud to have increased production of Eri spun silk. Eri silk is produced in Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa. Certain tribes of North East India eat Eri silkworm pupae. And, as these pupae are high in oil content pupal oil is extracted from them for use for making cosmetics. The remnants called pupal cake is fed to poultry and fish. Silkworm litter (read killed moths and destroyed eggs) is used as fuel for cooking in rural areas and more recently for bio-gas production.

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh together produce 80% of India’s total silk. This silk is all Mulberry silk. At Kanchipuram (famous for sarees of that name) weavers and looms are drastically lessening. Nearby Arani has overtaken production of these sarees although the dyed silk yarn is still procured from Kachipuram where the water from the river Palar is said to impart a unique shine to the silk.

In 2010 the government decided to include sericulture and allied activities in the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana of the XI Plan to make them eligible for funding under the scheme.

However, the good news is that people are opting for synthetic and embroidery sarees over traditionalIkat tie and dye sarees which they wear on special occasions. For example, the market for Andhra Pradesh handwoven silk sarees like the Pochampaly silk has over the last 7-8 years come down by 40%.

Man-made materials that look some what like silk are known as Artificial Silk (Art Silk). Of these, rayon (viscose) is of vegetable origin, whereas nylon and polyester (terrene) are petroleum products. Acetate/natural acetate filament that has begun to be widely utilised is cellulose derived fibre/yarn made from wood pulp. The filament is used in broad and luxurious range of silk (and woollen) fabrics.

Surprisingly, in October 2011 the international luxury brand Hermès, branching out on the popularity of their silk scarves (some having Indian designs) marketed in India a limited edition of French-made silk sarees. Hermès collectable silk ties they say are their biggest strength.

These could be Pure Silk:

  • chania-cholis and gharcholas
    • kameez and churidars/salwars
    • chunnis/duppatasand odhanis
    • sarees, petticoats and blouses
    • pooja clothes (like dhoti and kurta)
    • kafnis, soorvals, sherwanis
    • telia rumals(as lungis, shoulder-cloths and turbans)
    • mojadis (open shoes)
    • skirts and dresses
    • suits, jackets and coats
    • shirts
    • dance costumes
    • ties
    • nightwear and underwear
    • handkerchiefs and stoles
    • stockings, scarves and gloves
    • headgear such as caps and hats
    • ribbons
    • handbags
    • curtains
    • upholstery
    • lampshades
    • carpets and wall-hangings
    • lining and trimming for various clothes
    • typewriter and printer ribbons
    • cords with tassels on traditionally designed
    • gift envelopes
    • embroidery thread and embroidered items
    • thread used for surgical sutures
    • thread used for stringing beads like rudraksha and pearls

The Silk content of some Materials

Once woven, silk is known by different names depending on the weave, style, design and place where it is woven. In the following selections, are put together the most well known materials according to their silk content.

Zari (gold, silver or copper brocade yarn or thread) is traditionally used to embellish sarees and materials and is woven into the fabric, embroidered or used as patchwork. Zari is used for Kamdani, Mina, Kataoki Bel, Makaish, Tilla/Marori, Gota and Kinari embroidery work. Commonly known Zardoziwork is embroidery usually on heavy silk, velvet or satin with zari of different thicknesses having embellishments like beads and seed pearls. Since 2009 Varanasi zardozi weavers have been losing foreign orders (e.g. for monograms and badges for the Army in UK) because such work is supplied by Pakistani artisans for 25% less. In 2013 Lucknow zardozi got the Geographical Indication (GI) label or tag.

There are three types of zari: real, imitation (in recent times known as “tested” zari) and plastic. Realzari is a flat silver wire which has been electroplated with gold. Immitation/tested zari is made from copper wire electroplated with silver and then gold plated. Plastic zari is produced from chemically-coloured metallic yarn. Zari wire is wrapped around silk/polyester yarn and electroplated with gold for pure zari and with chemicals in case of artificial zari. However, caution needs to be taken with regard tozari because the yarn used for this can be silk or polyester. For real/pure gold zari, silk yarn is almost always used.

In Surat alone every month around 1,500 kgs of basin silk procured from Sidlaghatta in Karnataka is utilised for making zari. Varanasi is another main production centre for zari in India. Melted metal bars are beaten to particular lengths and pulled through perforated steel plates to form wires which are thinned down with rubber and diamond dies. Badla is the final process in which the wires are flattened and twisted along with silk or cotton yarn to become kasab or kalabattu threads which forms the zari. Depending on thickness and type, the zari is used for weaving, embroidery, tassels or as drawstrings for purses and necklaces.

The standard specification for real zari is 24% silk, 55-57% silver and 0.6% gold. (Due to rising prices the Tamil Nadu government in 2012 allowed zari of Kancheepuram silk sarees – protected by the GI tag – to have 40% silver and 0.5% gold, i.e. 50 grams of silver plated with gold; but most weavers have switched to using tested zari. Incidentally, Bhagalpur silk of Bihar also has the GI tag.) Plastic zari (very much cheaper than imitation/tested zari of copper) is made of alternatives like polyester film coated with aluminium but that does not necessarily mean the yarn utilised would also be polyester and not silk.

Lurex (brand name) is a type of yarn or thread with a metallic appearance used mainly for knitting and weaving. The twine is usually a synthetic fibre onto which an aluminium layer has been vaporised.

In 2012 the Central Silk Board decided to develop toughened silk material for jeans. The fibre required for two silk sarees will be needed for one pair of trousers. This was because the silk industry was growing at only 5% due to women wearing sarees occasionally.

100% Silk Materials
• Boski
• Charmeuse (crepe or satin woven)
• Chinese silk (can mistakenly be called China silk)
• Crepe de Chine
• Doupion (Italian and Chinese)
• Ghicha silk
 Habotai silk
• Khadi silk
• Kosa silk
• Muga silk
• Noil
• Pure chiffon
• Pure crepe
• Pure gaji
• Pure georgette
• Pure/silk satin
• Raw silk
• Silk brocade
• Silk jacquard
• Silk organza
• Silk shantung
• Spun silk
• Silk taffeta
• Tussar silk
• Matka silk is also 100% pure silk. In this, the yarn in warp is the usual silk yarn, whereas the yarn in weft is obtained from the cocoons that are cut open by the moths as they emerge. Later after they have laid eggs, these moths are crushed to death. Recently with a view of selling this silk under false pretences of it being ahinsak or involving no killing, it is being marketed as Endi silk.

100% Silk Sarees
• Baluchari
• Banarasi (Varanasi)
• Bangalore
• Bhagalpur
• Conjeevaram
• Dhakai
• Dharmavaram (boasts of being the silk city of India)
• Endi
• Kanchi/Kanchipuram/Kancheepuram
• Kanjeevaram
• Kashmiri
• Khambhat
• Matka
• Murshidabad (batik)
• Paithani (of Maharashtra – original handloom)
• Patola (of Patan, Hyderabad and Orissa)
• Pochampaly (of Andhra Pradesh)
• Semi-Paithani (of Maharashtra – powerloom)
• Silk felt/fusion
• Tanchhoi
• Temple
• Tussar
• Vishnupur

100% Silk or 100% Cotton Sarees
• Calcutta
• Gadhwal
• Madurai
• Shantiniketan

  • Uppada/Jamdani sarees (Andhra Pradesh)
    • Irkal sarees from Narayan Peth (Andhra Pradesh) can be 100% silk or part silk and part cotton.
    • Venkatgiri and Mangalagiri sarees may be in all cotton or part silk and part cotton yarn.Sarees having Silk yarn in Warp and Cotton yarn in Weft or part Cotton and part Silk are
    • Chanderi (of Madhya Pradesh)
    • Maheshwari Sarees (of Madhya Pradesh)
  • Mushru(of Gujarat)
    • Puneri (of Pune)
    • Tissue
    • Venkatgiri
    • Manipuri Kota and Munga Kota sarees have both silk and cotton yarn.Some Blended (from silk, cotton, hemp or wool) Sarees and Materials are
    • Bandhini/Tie dyed
    • Batik/block printed
    • Bidri and other Embroideries
    • Cashmere
    • Chamki/Khadi/Tinsel printed
  • Himroo
    • Ikat/Chitka
    • Khariwork
    • PashminaSilk Materials which can also be made from Man-made Fibres are
    • Chiffon
    • Chinon
    • Crepe
    • Gagi
    • Georgette
  • Jacquard
  • Jersey
  • Raschel
  • Sateen (cotton)
    • Satin (microfibre)
    • Tabby/Moiré/Watered silk
    • Taffeta
  • Twill
    • Velvet
    • Cheaper quality of tanchhoi can contain silk yarn in warp and artificial yarn in weft.
    • The Japanese and Indian materials known as China Silk (not Chinese Silk) is not pure silk but polyester.Many 100% polyester sarees also look like silk particularly if they are in traditional designs and deep colours like purple, green and magenta. The first polyester brocade (zari) saree in silky finish woven on handloom by weavers in Varanasi was the result of four years research by BWC. In spite of this know-how being available, due the reluctance on the part of weavers and insufficient public demand, the sarees are not commercially available. In fact, the annual All India Saree Weavers Festivals hold exhibitions to promote silk sarees at low prices.

    Handlooms 
    Handloom karigari(traditional art) is closely linked to silk, so we find handloom sarees and materials mainly woven in silk. And, in their enthusiasm to use Indian textiles, our fashion designers promote silk garments (like lehengas, sherwanis, angarakhasand gowns) woven in brocade, Bhagalpur, Khand, Ilkal, Kalamkari, Uppada/Jamdani, Khadi, etc.

    Although Handloom Week is held every year from April 7 to 14, throughout the year “Weaves” and others – even the Krishna Khadi Gramdhoyog Sanstan’s “Silk India Silk” – exhibitions in different cities, showcase handlooms from almost every state and different cities of India, consisting of items such as sarees, dress materials, stoles, dupattas and home furnishings. They can be pure silk, cotton or a mixture of both, in Khadi too:

  • Batik, Chanderi, Maheshwari and Indore silks from Madhya Pradesh
    • Bagru, Sanganeri, Bandhini, Kota and Dabufrom Rajasthan
    • Patola, Ikat, Ajrakh and Kutch embroidery from Gujarat
    • Sambalpuri, Bomkai and Bhubaneshwar from Orissa
    • Baluchari and Kantha from West Bengal
    • Banaras, Chikan and Jamdani from Uttar Pradesh
    • Kanjeevaram, Chettinad, Coimbatore, Chennai and Madurai silks from Tamil Nadu
    • Tussar, Bhagalpur and Chudidar silk from Bihar
    • Kosa from Chattisgarh
    • Karvati, Kosa, Paithani, Mumbai and Nagpur silks from Maharashtra
    • Kalamkari, Gadwal, Venkatagiri, Dharmavaram, Pochampally, Mangalagiri, Uppada, Chirala, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vizag and Guntur from Andhra Pradesh
    • Bangalore and Mysore silks from Karnataka
    • Cochin, Trivandrum, Kottayam and Thrissur from Kerala
    • Delhi silk
  • Chandigarh silk from Punjab

The GI label or tag that safeguards the genuineness of products like handlooms from particular regions, thus successfully promoting them, has been granted to the following and possibly others too:
Andhra Pradesh: Pochampalli Ikat, Gadwal sarees, Venkatagiri sarees, Narayanpet Handloom sarees, Dharmavaram handloom Pattu sarees & paavadas, Mangalagiri sarees & fabric
Assam: Muga silk
Bihar: Bhagalpur silk
Chhattisgarh: Champa silk sarees & fabric
Delhi: Chanderi fabric
Gujarat: Patan Patola
Karnataka: Molakalmuru sarees, Mysore silk
Kerala: Kasaragod sarees, Kuthampully sarees
Madhya Pradesh: Maheshwar sarees & fabric
Maharashtra: Paithani sarees & fabric
Orissa: Kotpad Handloom fabric, Khandua sarees & fabric, Gopalpur Tussar fabric, Dhalapathar Parda & fabric, Sambalpuri Bandha sarees & fabric, Bomkai saree & fabric, Habaspuri saree & fabric, Berhampur Patta (Phoda Kumbha) saree & joda
Rajasthan: Kota Doria
Tamil Nadu: Kancheepuram silk, Arani silk, Salem silk or Salem Venpattu
Uttar Pradesh: Banaras brocades & sarees (logo), Lucknow Zardozi
West Bengal: Shantipore sarees, Baluchari sarees, Dhaniakhali sarees
GI tagged materials can only be marked and sold under these names if manufactured in specified regions. If not, according to the Act, products manufactured else where and marked as such could attract a fine of up to Rs 2 lakhs and imprisonment up to 3 years or both.

Gramsampada is an annual week-long expo organised by NABARD (National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development) since 2008. Its purpose is to showcase products made in Maharashtra so one finds silk sarees like Paithani from Yeola, Nashik, and Tussar silk from Bhandara; Ghongadi (desi blanket from wool of sheep) and other woollen items from Sangola, Sholapur; plus, handlooms woven by visually impaired artisans of Latur. It would be better if they would solely focus on providing market exposure for handicrafts without silk and wool like bamboo handicrafts from Amravati and Nagpur, and cashew products from Sindhudurg.

In 2011 Anakaputhur weavers entered the Limca Book of Records by making sarees using 25 different natural fibres such as banana, flax, sea grass, lemon grass and messa. Such fibres – not forgetting jute, bamboo, soya, pineapple and milk (yes, milk) – are quite often blended with cotton or silk on handloom. Handloom materials are expensive but attractive because they are considered eco-friendly – unfortunately not always animal-friendly.

In July 2012 an engineer from Tuticorin was granted a patent on his invention of a banana yarn separator machine. The banana plant has 15 layers – the outermost is used for garlands, but the other 14 can be used for silk production since the fibre matches silkworm silk in lustre and tenacity.

A Test to Determine a Material’s Silk Content

In 2004, the Central Silk Board (under the Ministry of Textiles) sponsored the Silk Mark Organisation of India which has been advising manufacturers producing 100% natural or pure silk fabrics in India to use this logo/label. It comprises of an artistic line-drawing of a silk moth below which the words SILK MARK appear. In 2013 the Government again unveiled a “SILK MARK INDIA” label for the global market in pure silk. However, as all silk items do not carry this logo since registration for its use if needed, those of us who wish to be certain whether or not a material contains silk, need to check it ourselves.

Remember, it is a totally wrong impression that if a material is cheap it has no pure silk in it. It is advisable to check oneself and not rely on the shopkeeper’s word. If you would like to know what yarn is used in a particular material, use the flame test in the following way: (As shopkeepers generally do not allow the silk test by burning to be performed on their premises, a few threads could be asked for and burnt at home.)

To identify silk, you must burn some yarn. It is very important that a few threads from the warp, a few from weft and the zari thread stripped off the metal are individually checked by burning. Since human hair also burns like silk, it would be easier to learn by burning some fallen hair! Hold a strand together between tweezers and burn it. Observe carefully how it burns. When it stops burning, a very tiny (pin-head size) ash ball will be left behind. Rub it between your fingers and smell the powdered ash. The smell of burnt hair, silk, wool and leather is identical and the slow way in which it burns forming an ash ball, will also be the same. If the fibre is cotton or rayon, it will quickly flare up in flames and will not form any ash ball nor will it smell like burnt hair. If the yarn tested is a petroleum product like nylon or polyester, it will burn forming a tiny, hard, glass-like bead.
Polyester Silky Brocade

The first polyester brocade/zari saree in silky finish woven on handloom by weavers in Varanasi was the result of four years’ research by BWC. Despite this know-how being available since 1998, due to the reluctance on the part of weavers and insufficient public demand, the sarees are not commercially available.
No such thing as Ahimsak Silk

Beauty Without Cruelty holds the trademark and copyright for the brand names Ahinsa and Ahimsa. Despite knowing this, unscrupulous persons and organisations have gone ahead and used the Ahimsa brand name or by adding the suffixes such as Peace for marketing a particular type of silk. They know it is false and unethical, but for them it is the money that matters, not the lives that are killed for making the silk, or BWC!

By-products of Silk Industry

In October 2014 the Government of India permitted export of dried silk worm pupae to the European Union. Waste pupae are used as animal feed. Silk oil/liquid and silk powder are used by the cosmetic industry in products for moisturising and conditioning the skin and hair, in styling mousses for hair, and in some face powders and eye shadows. They are also used in the making of certain soaps.
In a new venture, the bark from mulberry trees which are annually pruned is utilised for making so-called ‘eco-friendly paper’. The production and use of this paper adds value to mulberry plantations thereby indirectly supporting silk production.

Similarly in Jammu & Kashmir scientists have undertaken initial trials of tea extraction from mulberry leaves and are encouraging the setting up of more mulberry nurseries so that farmers can grow mulberry not only for silk production but for tea production too.
Fried or boiled silk worms are consumed as a winter snack in Meghalaya. Eri/era worms which produce Assam silk and are known in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills as Niang Ryndia from which the Ryndia shawls worn by men are made, are the particular variety that are eaten. They are sold by worm-vendors in Lewduh (Bara Bazaar), one of the biggest markets of the North East.
Silk painting can be on silk or through silk as in the case of poster/banner making (the kind which are put up in public places for cinema hoardings, political campaigns, and as advertisements) if made conventionally (and not printed on plastic/polythene which incidentally were banned during poll campaigns by the Election Commission in 1999) involve the use of old silk sarees as a silk screen and shellac to mask/block out parts of the design that are not to be printed during the process.

Silk is also used for filtering. For example, Silent Sam Vodka is filtered through silk.

The Choice

What do we do if our uniform involves compulsorily wearing say a silk saree, leather shoes or some thing else of animal origin? We should first muster support from like-minded colleagues, then speak to the management explaining our ethical stand and at the same time find and show a very good non-animal origin alternative. For all we know, the management may get impressed enough to introduce our suggested alternative in place of the animal product.

Religion vis-à-vis Silk

Because silk is made by killing insects, it is considered tainted and therefore not used for religious ceremonies. For example, the Zoroastrian religion says silk should not be used in rituals: silk is made from a worm which is considered khrafastar and therefore unsuitable for ritual purposes. If a fabric is to be used for religious purposes, it should be cotton.

In daily life too some religions forbid the use of silk. The Jain laity is not allowed to wear it or even sell it. In fact, the ashinsak religion requires its adherents to follow a strict vegetarian diet and not take up occupations that involve killing any lives which includes silk.

Islam considers wearing silk (and gold) haram for men, but not women.

Interestingly, to curtail the craze for silk in the 1st century BCE, the Roman Senate issued several edicts prohibiting the wearing of silk on moral (and economic) grounds.

Another Good Reason for not using Silk

A new dimension involving child labour for silk production has been unfolded: for generations, poor people of Kancheepuram have for a couple of thousand rupees mortgaged their 10-12 year old children to work for the silk industry. Yet in 2010, Kancheepuram silk sarees received protection through the GI tag.

According to a Human Rights Watch’s 85-page report following investigations in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, at least 3.50 lakh children, some as young as 5 years old, toil in the silk industry. For 12 hours work 6 days a week, these “slaves” endure beatings, burns and verbal abuse because they are bonded labour and bound to their employers in exchange for a large loan given to their families – a loan they can never earn enough to repay. The report states “The Indian government knows about these children and has the mandate to free them. Instead, for reasons of apathy, caste bias and corruption, many government officials deny that they exist at all”.

Despite laws against child labour existing, 2014 data collected suggested that 4,600 children were working in Mumbai’s zari workshops for 13 hours a day mainly making bags. They were from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Bengal. (Leather goods manufacturers, bakeries and hotels also exploit them for a couple of hundred rupees a week.)

Also, it has been reported that it is a practice for contractors to fleece farmers in Jammu and Kashmir by purchasing silk cocoons at very low prices.

Clams Spiders, Hagfish and Silkworms further Exploited

Byssus cloth or sea silk is an old and rare fabric. Long silky filaments (“beards”) secreted by a metre long pen shells or clams to attach themselves to the sea bed, are spun and treated with lemon juice. The silk produced is finer and lighter than silk form silkworms.

Spider silk was known as Nephila silk but it was found to be difficult to commercially produce. Hagfish, when captured escape by secreting a fibrous slime which includes threadlike fibres similar to spider silk so research to utilise these fibres is also being undertaken.

In 2000 Nexia, a Canadian biotech company began research to produce spider silk protein in transgenic goats. The goats carried the gene of spider silk protein and the milk produced by the goats contained significant quantities of the protein to produce Biosteel, however, Nexia is still continuing research for product development of Biosteel.

To make synthetic fibres and lightweight materials called hydrogels stronger and water-proof, researchers at Tufts University (USA) are trying to impregnate them with spider silk.
Producing spider-silk proteins in other organisms – goats, bacteria, plants and most recently silkworms are among those that have been genetically engineered – has limitations because the process of reconstituting the proteins ruins the folding pattern and simply said, it does not work. Therefore, researchers at Tuffs University think that eventually, genetically modified plants will produce useful spider-based silk that could be harvested like cotton. And the silk films developed from it could be used for implantable biosensors and in drug delivery.

However, since spider ranching is difficult and out of question, some scientists from the University of Illinois and University of Pennsylvania (USA) are working on reinventing silkworm silk. They have reconstituted it to make materials that have the potential to go far beyond the dream of bulletproof vests and have produced electrode arrays that are printed on flexible, degradable films of silk. The arrays – so thin they can conform to the nooks and crannies of the surface of the brain – they say, may one day be used to treat epilepsy or other conditions without producing the scarring that larger implanted electrodes do.

Also, Kraig Biocraft Laboratories has used research from the Universities of Wyoming and Notre Dame in a collaborative effort to create silkworms that are genetically altered to produce spider silk.
In 2012 a five year effort in Madagascar resulted in spider silk material measuring 11 x 4 feet which was fashioned into a cape and scarf and displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The project cost $500,000 and involved 80 handlers who began collecting every day at 5 am as many as 3,000 female Golden Orb spiders and bringing them to the workshop at around 10 am. Incredibly, a total of 1,063,000 spiders were placed in hand-powered spools in groups of 24. As they manufactured silk, the filament was collected, twisted into strands, and finally woven into the golden textile. At 2 pm when the day’s work was over, the spiders would be reintroduced back into the wild. Poor spiders… the project is permanent.


Archana Kochhar’s Journey in Fashion Designing

Archana Kochhar is an internationally acclaimed Indian fashion designer with a creative approach to deal with the ever evolving fashion designing innovations blending a fine amalgamation of exquisite embroideries, nouveau texturizing techniques and new technologies like digital printing, all of this traditionally rooted. Going back to her initial days, Archana got into the world of Fashion way back in 15 years to make a foothold in Design, creative illustration of fine textile imprints using the state-of-art technologies like digital printing, fine arts & craftsmanship. Today, Archana is a much sought after name in Bollywood, Hollywood, bridal, cocktail prêt, resort and men’s wear. Archana’s fashion creativity & costumes are often seen in the high profile fashion shows, Red-Carpets & top event destinations. In an era where competition is intense & manifold where the demands for fine collections with a different look are sought after by the elite celebrities to cater, Archana has truly demonstrated & exhibited as a unique professional to redefine “Fashion Design” in the world. Archan’s flagship store located in the commercial capital of india in Mumbai, has reinvented itself over the years as a most trusted & reliable place to shop & try out different costumes. Creativity in Fashion design is about what you don’t see as well as what you do, the inside of a dress is as important as the outside. From the embroidery to the construction techniques, to the handwork that goes into them. Every single detail is thought about completely in Archna Kochhar’s fashion Library.

In the words of the gorgeous Fashion Designer Archana Kochhar, “fashion is an art that becomes artistic with each design. Subversive, creative design must remove itself from the standard, from what is known, and challenge society, while remaining recognizable enough that people can still understand and interpret it. So they can glean an experience from it. So it can stand as inspiration. It is this that imbues a fashion design with the potential to eventually become the new norm – the new standard. Creative subversion is necessary for the movement and evolution of society, not just in fashion, design and art, but for the development of social norms and the progression of intellectual thought. We are indebted to the creative, for without them we would be wallowing in the stagnation of popular, accepted thought, all modes the same and unchanging. Subversive creators play a role in our society, not as tastemakers, but as enlighteners. They challenge our minds and souls, the values we hold dear, our known interpretations of the world, of popular culture and the art and design that preceded it. They can both divide and unite people. They are simultaneously our history makers, our storytellers and our visionaries”.

Bollywood’s glitterati who have adorned her creations are some of the biggest names in Bollywood, Sports as well as modeling like  Shraddha Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Kangana Ranaut, Bipasha Basu, Karishma Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh, Urmila Matondkar, Nargis Fakhri, Jacqueline Fernandes, Prabhu Deva, Rajneesh Duggal, Vijender Singh, Randeep Hooda, Ileana D’cruz, Soha Ali Khan, Amrita Rao, Huma Quereshi, Daisy Shah, Celina Jaitley, Zarine Khan, Divya Khosla  etc walking the red carpets and runways around the world.

Creativity can be an ecstasy of both pleasure and pain for the artist. Inspiration, when it strikes, is a powerful force that its recipient has little control over. The best fashion designers are held up by their industry as the veritable geniuses of our time. Whilst knowledge and training play one part in their creative passion and output, for centuries, theorists have wondered whether there are certain innate qualities that set artists apart, and put them in a unique position of creative ability.

Archana Kochhar’s care for the society is evident from the fact that as an Educationalist, Mentor & a guest Lecturer, Archana Kochhar  is a visiting faculty to more than a dozen of colleges & is often seen in mainstream newspapers through her writing.  Archana Kochhar  has been invited by Galleries L’fayette Paris to showcase her spectacular collections under her label with international design houses like Armani, Versace, Kenzo, Ungro and Nina Ricci. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for Smile Foundation, working for the upliftment of the girl child and women empowerment. As a brand, Archana Kochhar is associated with many corporates due to her international design appeal and specialization in customizing each project that she curates ranging from interiors, jewelry, upholstery, weddings and fashion events with corporate giants like Reliance, Aditya Birla Group, Gitanjali, Sahara, Mahindra, to name a few. Over the years the brand Archana Kochhar has created a niche for itself and revolutionized the bridal arena with Archana Kochhar’s craftsmanship, detailing and expertise in her art. It has also made a mark globally and is well acclaimed not only in India but also in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Canada and many other cities around the world.  In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, few designers were chosen to revived the 5 dying arts , eminent Designer Archana Kochhar was one of them and she was bestowed by the Textile Ministry with the honor of being a brand ambassador for the revival of five dying arts of Maharashtra. Archana Kochhar was invited by the PARIS HAUTE COUTURE FASHION WEEK & the NEWYORK MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK 2015 to showcase her collection in the international Fashion week Platform. Archana has been associated with SMILE foundation for Ramps for Champs & Cook for a Smile with Vikas Khanna. Exclusive designing of uniform  for CLUB Mahindra.  Lakme Fashion Week S/S 2014 had olympic silver medalist and Padmabhushan awardee Vijender Singh as showstopper. Jacqueline Fernandes launched Archana Kochhar’s summer/resort range in Dubai for Label 24. Chitrangada Singh & Urmila Matondkar launched Archana Kochhar’s Wedding range in Dubai.  Nargis Fakhri walked for Archana Kochhar in the London Fashion Week Show in London.  Kangana Ranaut walked for Archana Kochhar at the India Resort Fashion Week.  Aditya Birla Group & Archana Kochhar launched and curated together the new viscose yarn with Soha Ali Khan. Archana Kochhar & Zarine Khan launch Gitanjali Jewels Nizaam range in Mimbai. Archana Kochhar launches her Chokhi collection at Lakme Fashion Week  A/W 2013.  Bipasha Basu walks for Archana Kochhar at Atlantis, Dubai. Shriya Saran walks the ramp for Archana Kochhar for the opening of India Jewellery week in Delhi.  Prabhu Deva and Shahzahn Padamsee walked the ramp for Archana Kochhar for Lakme Fashion Week S/S 2013.Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi’s ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ campaign, few designers were chosen to revive some of the dying arts of India , eminent Designer Archana Kochhar was one of them and she was bestowed by the Textile Ministry with the honor of being a brand ambassador for the revival of five dying arts of Maharashtra. Designer Archana Kochhar is the Good Will ambassador of the organization “Smile Foundation” a charity cause for the Girl Child Health and Education in India. She believes in giving back to society and  has helped in raising funds through her Charity events and shows for the Smile Foundation organization.

The beautiful Fashion Designer Archana Kochhar will be crowned as “Fashion Designer of the Decade” in a glittering award ceremony where some of India’s finest creative genius will be recognized in various categories. Rated by Experts & widely acclaimed by thought leaders, India Leadership Conclave Annual Affair is just not a leadership forum, it symbolizes the hopes & aspirations of the billion people reflected by the speakers at the forum. “ILC POWER BRANDS” has  been rated in Asia as the most credible & coveted Awards developed by Network 7 Media Group consisting of eminent jury members of the different verticals of the society &  is conferred to the Individuals & Companies in its annual meet at the Indian affairs India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards. since the institutionalization of the Business Leadership Awards in 2010, India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards has been India’s most awaited & asia’s most respected set of Awards conferred to Companies & Individuals who have made their mark through their remarkable performances despite all odds & has made India Proud!. Since the last five successful years, the platform has recognized, felicitated more than 300 fortune 500 Companies & towering captains & Leaders of the Country.

 

Primary Education in India has complex problems & need urgent policy mechanism to fix the neglected issues!

Primary Education in India is a bigger challenge today than it was before, the diverse issues emanating from many faulty policy measures coupled with a lack of political will to address are distressing & disappointing. While statistics may tell either a rosy or a disturbing trend, the ground reality is that we have not yet arrived!

We must not score political brownie points while addressing the crucial issues. If Rahul Gandhi’s predecessors (Congress Rule) took the nation backward & the present government led by Narendra Modi is yet to prove his credentials, though there are many tall promises & policy reforms in pipeline.

It is estimated that India will have 25% of the world’s total workforce by about 2025. However, in order to harness the full demographic dividend, India needs an education system which is of high quality, affordable, flexible and relevant to both the individuals and society as a whole.

More boys than girls are dropping out of the schools in India. As against 39% boys who dropped out before completing elementary education in 2013-14, only 33% girls did so, says the latest statistics of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD). In 2012-13, nearly 41% female students had dropped out of the schools without completing elementary education, as against 40.3% male students. The gender gap in dropout within a year appears to be more profound in the upper primary classes (5-8). The figures are based on provisional data of Unified District Information System for Education.

Poverty, poor academic performance, substandard teaching, migration and need for employment to support the family are major factors behind the higher dropout rate of the boys, say experts. Until now, various reports had stated that more girls in India dropped out from schools leading to launch of target schemes like Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya. However, the fresh statistics suggest that the government needs to focus on arresting the dropout of boys as well. Overall, nearly 20% children in India didn’t complete primary education in 2013-14. Nearly 36% children didn’t complete elementary education. This is despite the fact the Right to Education (RTE) Act is in place since 2010, which mandates free and compulsory education to every child in the country up to class 8. However, it appears that the Act has led to higher enrolment but unable to ensure quality education and retention. Though the urban-rural figures and break-up of household income of the dropouts are not yet available, officials say the dropout among poor from remote and rural areas is much higher than the urban areas. Girl students are often described by educators as “more willing to learn” than their male counterparts. The overall academic performance of the girls is also better than boys as obvious from the class 10th results of various school boards, say social scientists. The new trend also points out that the girls are taking advantage of the opportunities for social and economic mobility offered to them as the country has developed. But the situation with boys is different as they are considered as the breadwinner and forced to earn at the time of crisis for instance drought, say social scientists.

 

Educationist Milind Wagh calls it as as “forced out” rather than drop out. “Drop out implies as if kids are leaving schools willingly. In fact, system is pushing them out of schools. In India, boys are expected to support the family. They often migrate for jobs and hence unable to complete schooling.”

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India is an important educational center in the global education industry. India has more than 1.4 million schools and more than 35,000 higher education institutes. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world and there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.

India’s online education market size is expected to touch US$ 40 billion by 2017. The RNCOS report titled, ‘Booming Distance Education Market Outlook 2018’ expects the distance education market in India to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 34 per cent during 2013-14 to 2017-18. Moreover, the aim of the government to raise its current gross enrollment ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 will also boost the growth of the distance education in India.

Market Size

The vocational education and training is fast emerging as an important area of focus, as Germany and India enhance their strategic bilateral partnership. One of India’s biggest challenges as well as advantages is its growing young population. India targets creation of 500 million skilled workers in 2022.

The need to train fresh graduates in new skills and ensure that they remain employable is important since the US$ 118 billion Indian information technology (IT) industry added about 180,000 new employees in 2013-2014, 70 per cent of which were fresh hires, according to Nasscom.

India’s IT firms are working with academic institutions and setting up in-house institutes to groom the right talent as these companies move to social media, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies. Tech Mahindra’s infrastructure management services academy set up in 2014 has inked partnerships with five universities to hire students trained on a co-developed curriculum.

Investment

The total amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) inflow into the education sector in India stood at US$ 1,071.5 million from April 2000 to January 2015, according to data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The education and training sector in India has witnessed some major investments and developments in the recent past. Some of them are:

  • EMC Corporation plans to establish 100 centres of academic excellence in India in 2015. These centres will be set up in leading IT institutes across the country to give students an opportunity to learn and practise key skills in the areas of cloud, data science, analytics, IT infrastructure and other leading technologies, as per a company statement.
  • Pearson Education is on a global transformation journey graduating from its largely publishing business to expanding into school, higher education and vocational training. On the vocational education segment, Pearson trains about 20,000-30,000 learners per year in livelihood training and provides them with placement.
  • To foster entrepreneurship, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B) has five interdisciplinary centres of development, a Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) that has incubated some 55 companies since its inception. IIT-B has also launched the Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship (DSCE) in July 2014 to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and technology innovation.
  • The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) is working to prepare a management entrance test modelled on the US Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). AICTE wants to attract students from some half-a-dozen Asian countries seeking admission to management programmes. The regulator is to roll out the entrance exam in Asian countries, followed by African countries and then take it global. A total of 93,693 foreign students were studying in India in 2013, according to data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
  • The Times of India Group-promoted Bennett University has tied up with Babson Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of Babson College, Massachusetts, US, to offer programs for Indian students and entrepreneurs.
  • Ford India inaugurated its fourth Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) Centre at St Joseph’s Industrial Training Institute in collaboration with Don Bosco Centre for Learning in Kurla, Mumbai, with an aim to create a pool of talented and skilled professionals for the automobile industry.

Government Initiatives

The Government of India is all set to roll out a new educational policy by 2015, according to Ms Smriti Irani, Union Minister of Human resource Development (HRD), Government of India.

Some of the other major initiatives taken by the Government of India are:

  • The Government has drawn up an ambitious roadmap to enhance skill levels of millions of people. The plans involve integrating skill enhancement and entrepreneurship in the syllabi at the school level, setting up of 2,500 multi- skilling institutions in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, and set up institutes of entrepreneurship development in various centres including upcoming smart cities among others. India will have to skill 120 million people in non-farm sectors, with the highest requirement of skilled labour to come from the construction sector (31 million) followed by retail (17 million) and logistics (12 million), according to estimates between 2013 and 2022. A National policy on skill development and entrepreneurship will be finalised by March 31, 2015.
  • The Government of India plans to open a first-of-its-kind national vocational university that will subsume all Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), a move to improve standards and bring uniformity among the schools that supply workers to the manufacturing sector.
  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL). The MoU has been envisioned to foster collaboration on research, training and professional development and exchange of technical expertise in areas of mutual interest such as material sciences and testing capabilities.

In addition, Government of India restructured its teacher training system, doubling its duration to two years and mandating a six-month internship as part of it, in an effort to improve the quality of teachers and, by extension, education.

Road Ahead

Various government initiatives are being adopted to boost the growth of distance education market, besides focussing on new education techniques, such as E-learning and M-learning.

“Hiring quality talent will be a focal point, and the use of non-traditional methods for recruitment like mobile technology will be one trend to look out for in 2015. Also, we will see a move towards hiring for particular skills as opposed to capacity or just numbers,” said Mr Richard Lobo, Vice-President and Head of Human Resource Development units, Infosys.

Moreover, availability of english speaking tech-educated talent, democratic governance and a strong legal and intellectual property protection framework are enablers for world class product development, as per Mr Amit Phadnis, President-Engineering and Site Leader for Cisco (India).

The Government of India has taken several steps including opening of IIT’s and IIM’s in new locations as well as allocating educational grants for research scholars in most government institutions. Furthermore, with online modes of education being used by several educational organisations, the higher education sector in India is set for some major changes and developments in the years to come.

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The visible challenge: Inadequate inputs

If you ask teachers or officials about the biggest challenge for improving learning outcomes they will probably point to the numerous gaps in the system. Some schools continue to lack adequate infrastructure; several states still face a severe shortage of teachers. Many will complain about the poor quality of institutional support for teachers’ professional development. The usual assumption is that if these gaps are filled, children will learn and learn well. This “theory of change” explains the push from within the government as well as from outside to ensure the timely provision of adequate inputs, and to point out the urgent need to build institutions that support schools and teachers.

The invisible challenge: Children falling behind

But there is another less visible, but dangerously debilitating and potentially worsening problem that plagues Indian classrooms. This may be at the root of why children are not learning. Going back to the typical fifth standard classroom, try to imagine the challenge for the teacher. In our typical school, the fifth standard teacher uses the fifth standard textbook, trying to cover the material and activities that the textbook lays out. But whom should she teach? And how should she do it? Should she focus on those children who have basic skills, who are more likely to attend school regularly and, are therefore, easier to teach? What should she do with the other half of the class who are not even at standard one or two level? This is a problem faced by almost all primary school teachers. Try to imagine the daily challenge for the teacher in her classroom. Try to imagine what this “low learning trap” does to children.

Sadly, it appears as though educated citizens, education experts, planners and policymakers, Union, state and local governments do not see this problem. A typical Indian school focuses on completing the curriculum and is not structured to provide extra help to children who are not moving ahead at the expected pace or to those who are falling behind. Without the learning support that is critical, a large fraction of Indian children slip through the cracks. The problem is made worse by textbooks and curriculum whose pace and content accelerates through the primary school years. A paper by Lant Pritchett and Amanda Beatty in 2012, titled The Negative Consequences of Overambitious Curricula (www.cgdev.org/files/1426129_file_Pritchett_Beatty_Overambitious_FINAL.pdf) lays out the issue very well—“If the official school curriculum covers too much, goes too fast and is too hard compared with the initial skill of the students and the ability of the schools to teach this can produce disastrous results. An overambitious curriculum causes more and more students to get left behind early and stay behind forever”. Unlike problems of access and inputs that are visible, the situation of low learning worsens quietly within classrooms and schools and is invisible to the world outside.

“Teaching by level”

What has been done so far to tackle this less visible problem? During the last century, schools all over the world have been organized by age and grade. According to their progression in age, children move from one grade to the next, regardless of the underlying learning composition of students. What if we were to tweak this organizational principle of schools, and group children by level of learning rather than by grade? Would these changes in grouping accompanied by appropriate changes in instruction lead to more effective teaching situations and better learning outcomes?

Using the principle of “teaching by level”, several large-scale experiments have been tried in recent years in India with promising results. In June 2008, the Bihar government conducted month long “summer camps”. Children enrolled in standards three, four and five who were not yet at standard two levels were targeted for the camps. At the camps, children sat in groups with other children of the same ability level, regardless of their age or grade. Each instructor had children who were at the same learning level and used appropriate materials and methods for that level. The idea was to start with where the children were and use free time in summer holidays to move them towards where they needed to be. The modest goal of the summer camp was to bring all these children who had fallen behind to at least a standard two level. Although the camps were hurriedly organized, an external, randomized, evaluation by the Poverty Action Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed significant improvements in learning for the targeted children who attended the summer camp. More noteworthy is the fact that gains the summer camp children made were sustained even two years later.

Other states have incorporated the “teaching-by-level” concept into the normal working of the school during the school year. Between 2009 and 2011, Punjab government implemented a state-wide programme to improve basic learning outcomes. Two hours during the school day were set aside for this purpose. During this time, children from standard one to five were grouped by their learning level and existing teachers were assigned to the groups. Teachers were trained to use appropriate methods and materials with each group. As each child progressed, she or he could move into the next group. Clear goals, strong training, mentoring and monitoring for teachers, systematic assessment and periodic review helped to ensure the programme delivered results.

During the last school year, in two districts in Bihar (Jehanabad and east Champaran) and another two districts in Haryana (Kurukshetra and Mahendragarh), similar interventions were implemented by the district administrations. For example, in Jehanabad, in August 2012, of the 16,000 children who were assessed, only 30% of standards three, four and five could read simple paragraphs or short stories. An evaluation showed that the number rose to 72% by the end of February 2013, despite many discontinuities due to holidays in that period. Further, the Jehanabad effort also led to increased attendance in schools, increased parent awareness not just about schooling but also about learning, a visible energising of the entire school system, and improved school functioning. These experiments have led the Bihar government to think about a scale up in the 2013-2014 school year.

Achieving learning for all

To address the challenge of teaching-learning in primary grades we must make concerted efforts to tackle three issues. To help all children in standards three four and five reach the level expected of them at their grade, there is a dual challenge: first, basic skills need to be built, and built fast and in a durable way. Second, these children have to be enabled to be able to cope with what is required of them for the grade in which they are studying. Finally, to alleviate this dual challenge in future, by the end of standard two children need to have developed foundational skills of reading, writing, critical thinking, arithmetic and problem-solving. Of course, it can be argued that grade level expectations need to be reviewed so that the “negative consequences of overambitious curricula” can be minimized, but curriculum reform is a long drawn out and complicated process. In the meanwhile, we should not allow children to finish standard five without very basic skills that will enable them to go forward in the education system and in life.

The education chapter in the 12th Five-Year Plan document places children’s learning outcomes at the centre of the stage. The spirit of the RTE Act also is to “guarantee” that by the time children complete eight years of schooling, they are capable of dealing with whatever lies ahead for them. The prevailing belief among decision-makers is that increasing inputs, improving infrastructure and “tightening systems” will lead to the desired changes. While the input-based and “business as usual” “theory of change” may be necessary to achieve “schooling for all”, it will not enable India to reach the goals of “learning for all”. Like the cases described above, it is essential that we take a close look at solutions that have been implemented and found to be effective and successful. In each of these cases, a fundamental departure from “business as usual” was needed along with a major shift in the usual mind set of the decision-makers and implementers. Setting of clear and achievable goals, grouping children by ability instead of age/grade, supporting teachers, conducting systematic basic assessment, and steadfast leadership have enabled government school teachers (and their cluster coordinators, block and district officials) to achieve results in six months that they had not been able to catalyse in the last four to five years.

The way forward

Almost all children in the 6-14 age group in India are enrolled in school. In the coming school year, we must undertake concrete steps for putting India’s children on the path of achieving the full potential of their capabilities. Each state must publicly declare their learning goals and articulate concretely their plans for achieving higher learning outcomes for at least the next two to three years. It is urgent that we face our realities squarely to fulfil children’s hopes for the coming school year and enable India to reach its national goals for growth and equity.

References : Sources in IBEF, Statistics


Ms.Nisha JamVwal, Luxury Brand Consultant & Columnist & Luxury Brand Consultancy

Nisha is the Luxury Consultant for Zoya , a Tata Brand and has been a soft ambassador with Diago, Carlsberg, Swarovski, and done branding events for Natures Basket, Lancome , Jaguar Landrover, Zoya by Titan & other International brands. Nisha is on the advisory board of Design Institutions like Garodia School of Design & BD Somani School Of Design. Television Anchor, Compeer & Celebrity Model Endorsements. Nisha has hosted ‘Home Shanti Home’, ‘Meri Seheli’ on Star one, and Star TV, and hosted several stage extravaganza’s like ‘India On Canvas’ , ‘Paramparik Karigaar’ & ‘Khushii’. Nisha is an Interior Architect/ Designer who designs, remodels & refurbishes residences, prominent offices & restaurants. A professional Interior Architect studied at Long Beach California, Nisha has designed Jaipore Airport & celebrity homes worldwide including Lisa Ray & Zeenat Aman’s apartment, her work has been profiled and featured on the covers of design magazines worldwideKnown for minimalist & flamboyant work, she thinks out of the box, enjoys textures and natural stones in her work. Homes , airports, offices , beach houses & restaurants breathe her vibrancy & she is a specialist in quick make overs of homes, which entail short quick re-vamps without going into breaking and major re-modelling.

Nisha JamVwal, Renaissance woman of the arts & design, is arguably one of the only women in our country who is a successful interiors architect that wielded her baton onto all creative media, breaking down dividing walls between what she calls different ‘avtaars of the arts’ with her trademark Flamboyance. She is a famous writer & columnist and is known for her love and encouragement of students in the world of design.

“I am an aesthete, a lover of the arts and a luxury consultant who has chosen to work with all media of design and art, modelled and compeered shows on stage & Television. I have multitasked to always give a shot in the arm to all the things I do, and broken the walls between all creative worlds in design, fashion, interior architecture, writing, art, and not really needed to  piggy back to success upon other successful people. I sit on the board of institutions,  judge at Design institutes,  write columns, and owe it to my work, education & a  career in design and art  and entrepreneurship –  the ability I have to dream and work toward dreams.

for me design , shapes, forms have been attractive since I was three or maybe before even, I almost cannot see a space or fabric or canvas without my mind and vision clicking with ideas to enhance it to its aesthetic best in accordance with my vision. Sometimes there is an upsurge of ideas; I find it difficult to keep pace with my mind. Every experiment in life has been a step in my journey of growth and self-discovery, a kaleidoscopic part of life that enriches the fabric of my work & existence”  says, Nisha JamVwal

 

 

We may agree to disagree,disagree to agree. Gender Inequality takes the form of a hard stand as Women have been oppressed for decades

FREE YOUR BREASTS! FREE YOUR MIND!

A UFO-based religion called Raelianism, whose followers believe that life on Earth was created by an alien science experiment led by Spiritual leader who  claim that

women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public

 

As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests, It’s a question of discrimination, Why do we ask about women and not men?

 

We want to have this taboo disappear”. Women have been oppressed for decades.

 


Demonstrators across the country took to the streets without their shirts today to celebrate National Topless Day, a holiday intended to prove there’s nothing wrong with women baring their bodies in public. In New York, activists marched through midtown Manhattan for a Nipple Pride Parade organized by GoTopless, which describes itself on its website as a group dedicated to demonstrating “women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public.”

According to CBS Local, the parade began at Columbus Circle and moved to Bryant Park near Times Square, while another 60 events were planned nationwide.On its website, GoTopless provided a nationwide map of cities involved in the day, designating cities that currently prohibit a woman from exposing her breasts in public.

 

Ladies of New York, you are free to walk bare-breasted through the city! New York City’s 34,000 police officers have been instructed that, should they encounter a woman in public who is shirtless but obeying the law, they should not arrest her. This is a good step towards gender parity in public spaces.

This decision means that breast exposure is not considered public lewdness, indecent exposure, or disorderly conduct. It also notes that, should a crowd form around a topless woman, the officer should instruct the crowd to disperse and then respond appropriately if it does not. Relative coverage is no longer a factor.

This policy shift comes after several years of litigation and protest. In the 1992 case People v. Ramona Santorelli and Mary Lou Schloss, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of two women who were arrested with five others for exposing their breasts in a Rochester park, holding the law void as discriminatory. The ruling was put to the test in 2005, when Jill Coccaro bared her breasts on Delancey Street in New York, citing the 1992 decision, and was detained for twelve hours. She subsequently successfully sued the city for $29,000.

In 2007, Go Topless, a national organization supporting gender equality in shirtlessness laws, established Go Topless Day. Dozens of women protest – often topless – in thirty cities around the United States, promoting equal rights to be shirtless. Protests usually include chants of “Free your breasts. Free your minds” and a song “Let ‘em Breathe” to the tune of the Beatles’ “Let it Be.”

While some who have witnessed these events have suggested that “[t]his is extreme liberalism and why America’s in decline” or “[i]t’s degrading to women,” others have been supportive. One man even said he would encourage his wife to join them.

Though bare-breasted women might shock the sensibilities of some in the public, it is encouraging to see the police responding positively to gender bias, even on such a seemingly small scale. After all, no one thinks twice about a man shirtless on a summer day. However, the female nipple or chest is still considered “lewd.” By reminding its officers of this, the NYPD is publicly declaring that it will no longer perpetuate unconstitutional gender discrimination, a standard to which all law enforcement should be held and a decision for which it should be applauded.

The New York event coincides with a brewing controversy over naked women posing for photos with tourists in Times Square, which city Mayor Bill de Blasio recently committed to outlawing.

Mayor de Blasio told a press conference earlier in August, “Our current laws do make it harder to enforce in the way we might like to […] There is a First Amendment protection for painting yourself and displaying yourself in a certain fashion. It makes no sense, but I understand that is a First Amendment protection,” according to the Observer. He added the city would no longer “tolerate” the women and said he would find “legislative and regulatory solutions” to the problem.

topless

How can we fix India’s broken system & fix bugs in the policy? – India@58

In the endless list of policy prescriptions made by the pundits after the declaration of the general election results there has been precious little commentary on possible judicial reforms despite a near national consensus that our judicial system is broken. This is a rather surprising state of affairs given the lost decade of judicial reforms under the UPA government. On the rare occasion that the national conversation veers towards the topic of clearing the pendency backlog, the ideas under discussion are rather uninspiring. Suggestions for evening courts or fewer court holidays fail to understand the fundamental problems with the Indian judicial system.

INDIA has been growing steadily richer in recent years, but it still has more malnourished people, especially children, than any other country. A big, nationwide study from 2005 and 2006, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), found that 42.5% of children under five years old were underweight. The region with the next highest proportion of underweight children is Africa, with an average of 21%. Another measure of malnutrition is stunting, when children are unusually short for their age. Again, India’s problems were shown to be unusually bad.

Now comes some good news. In 2013 and 2014 the UN agency for children, Unicef, and India’s government conducted a new study called the Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC). The purpose was to gather up-to-date figures to use in the interim before the next big NFHS survey, which is under way. The RSOC report has unfortunately not been published, but The Economist obtained a copy.

It points to some striking national trends. For example the proportion of underweight children has fallen from 42.5% a decade ago, to just under 30% now. There have been similar improvements on stunting, wasting and other measures of malnutrition. The national immunisation rate has risen and the rate of open defecation is down from 55% of households to 45%.

Really interesting, however, is the breakdown of results by state, presented here. By and large social and health indicators across India follow predictable patterns. In states with higher incomes, those nearer the coast and farther south, most health indicators are better. Typical high achievers are Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In landlocked states, poorer ones and in the north, social and health results are usually worse. Notorious backward states include Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. North-eastern states are often outliers, both poor and landlocked but often with high rates of literacy and better health.

Results from the RSOC mostly bear out these trends. Everywhere has seen a reduction in the share of underweight children and in stunting. But it is striking that on occasion higher incomes do not correlate with the biggest health gains. Maharashtra and Gujarat are both states with relatively prosperous people, but Maharashtra’s nutrition levels are better than Gujarat’s. This is also true for rates of immunisation and of open defecation. It appears that Maharashtra’s government has put more emphasis on tackling nutrition problems, for example among its adivasi, or tribal, population.

Two crucial factors are worth looking at. Lower rates of open defecation correlate well with reduced malnutrition. When children live and play in clean environments they are less likely to be infected with parasites that make it hard to absorb nutrients. And states that focus on helping girls and young mothers probably do better at breaking long-term cycles of malnutrition. Where teenage girls have a low body-mass index there seems a greater likelihood mothers will give birth to undernourished children. Proper nutrition for girls and women should be a priority.

Pendency is only one issue facing the Indian judiciary. The more substantial issues concern the quality of justice and accountability. Both these issues are inextricably linked to the lack of transparency in almost all aspects of the judiciary’s functioning and there is precious little that is being done to remedy the situation.

As the RTI Act has demonstrated, transparency can dramatically alter the status quo in powerful institutions because as Justice Brandies once commented “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” and the Indian judiciary needs a lot of sunlight. Unfortunately, as will be explained below, the Indian judiciary has almost excluded itself from the ambit of the RTI Act.

Accountability through statistics

Let’s start with the issue of statistics on case pendency and judicial backlog. There is no single database in the country which collects statistics regarding various aspects of pending cases in each and every courtroom of India. In 2004 eminent lawyer and Senior Advocate Mr. Fali S. Nariman who was then a MP in the Rajya Sabha introduced in Parliament the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004. This proposed legislation was aimed at creating authorities at the national and state level to collect, in a scientific manner, statistics from each and every courtroom regarding the hours taken by the Court to hear the dispute, the time between the filing of the case and hearing by the court, the adjournments granted, time taken for delivery of judgment after it has been reserved, along with the names of the lawyers and judges responsible for the case. Imagine the possibilities if all this data was made available on a computerized database. Not only would it provide information on the efficacy of the judges but also help litigants separate the litigating lawyers from the adjournment lawyers. (Frontline carried an interesting story on the bill over here.)

Nariman’s intention of introducing such a bill was to help in better data collection so as to facilitate a better study of the judiciary but was against using it as a tool of accountability. In his interview to Frontline, he said “I don’t like confrontation with the judiciary. The objective is to try and discern whether anything can be done better by inspiring judges and lawyers. The Bill cannot be a new source of litigation. A citizen, if properly motivated, can use the statistics, provide for himself a mechanism and an opportunity to get greater inputs than what is now available, to do something without the fear of contempt.”

Notwithstanding Nariman’s stand, the true value of this data collected through the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004 was the tremendous impact that it would have on judicial accountability because once statistics on the functioning of courts are placed in the public domain it is only a matter of time before policy wonks can track trends and publicly separate the inefficient courtrooms from the efficient court rooms. Unfortunately for India, the UPA lacked the vision to enact this bill.

For far too long the judiciary has taken refuge under the cloak of judicial independence to avoid any accountability

The judiciary’s battle against the RTI

The battle for greater transparency in the internal workings of the judiciary should have strengthened after the enactment of the Right to Information Act. Unfortunately, judicial attitudes to the RTI Act, especially that of the Supreme Court’s Registry, have been rather hostile. Three cases highlight the judicial ‘hostility’ to the RTI Act.

In the first case, when a RTI activist filed an application with the Supreme Court, in 2007, asking for disclosure of the assets of all Supreme Court judges the Registry of the Supreme Court fought the RTI applicant all the way to the Delhi High Court which ordered the Supreme Court Registry to disclose the information in 2009. (The judgment can be read here) Even then the Supreme Court Registry appealed to the Supreme Court itself but after a revolt in the ranks the list of assets were made public. The appeal to the Supreme Court is yet to be decided.

In the second case, a RTI activist Commodore Batra, had filed a RTI application with the Supreme Court asking for the number of cases reserved by its judges for judgment between 2007 and 2009. The Supreme Court Registry refused to provide such information on the grounds that it did not maintain such records. The Central Information Commission (CIC) over-ruled the Supreme Court Registry on August 3, 2011 and ordered the Registry to provide the information to the applicant. Instead of conceding to the CIC, the Supreme Court filed an appeal before the Delhi High Court in 2011 and the matter has been pending since then.

The third case involves the applicability of the RTI Act to legal pleadings and other public documents held by registries of various courts. Even before the RTI Act, the internal rules of most courts across the country allowed for litigants to access pleadings held by the registry. The difference between the internal rules of these Courts and the RTI Act is that the latter provides for a delightfully simply mechanism to access the information. On the other hand, accessing information under the internal rules of the court is complicated and out of bounds for most common people who will have to conduct the process through a lawyer or a court clerk. Most courts across the country, including the Registry of the Supreme Court have flat out rejected the applicability of the RTI Act to access pleadings that are otherwise available under the internal rules of the Court.

In contradictory decisions, two different commissioners of the CIC came to diametrically opposite conclusions. The CIC judgment ordering the Supreme Court Registry to make available even pleadings under the RTI Act has been appealed to the Delhi High Court by the Registrar of the Supreme Court in 2011 and the appeal continues to languish before the High Court.

Forcing transparency on the judiciary

Like all powerful institutions the judiciary isn’t going to volunteer more information about itself because it is well aware that increased transparency will make it more vulnerable to criticism. At times, arguments have been made that increased transparency will impinge on judicial independence. However such arguments need to be dismissed with contempt.

As Nariman stated in his interview with Frontline “Judicial independence means deciding cases without being influenced by anybody. But disseminating information about how many cases get decided in the courts will not compromise judicial independence at all. This is a wrong impression that the judiciary, among all organs of the government, must remain totally secretive, and nobody must know anything that is happening in the judiciary.”

For far too long the judiciary has taken refuge under the cloak of judicial independence to avoid any accountability.

Parliament must enact the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004 along with amendments to the RTI Act to force the judiciary to be more transparent.

A long-awaited report on electoral reforms issued by India’s law commission has failed to introduce a ceiling on poll spending by parties, perhaps the most serious lacuna in the country’s political system, because it gives a huge advantage to those supported by the wealthy.

 The report, released last week, has retained the ceiling on what individual politicians can spend in their constituency at between Rs54 lakh and Rs70 lakh, with the exact value depending upon the size of the electoral area. But in the absence of a cap on what parties as a whole can spend to promote themselves before an election, these limits on individual expenditure will make only a slight difference in creating a level-playing field for all parties.
  In the 2014 general election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept to victory, spent Rs714 crore and the ousted Congress spent Rs516 crore, according to the data the parties filed with the election commission. All parties must file this information within 90 days from the last day of polling. But one estimate pegs the BJP’s spending just on advertising at seven times the total official amount, of around Rs5,000 crore.
 The law commission, an executive body set up to advise the government on legal reforms, has, however, attempted to improve disclosures on the sources of funding—perhaps the next-most important electoral reform, one linked to overall transparency in the political process. The Association of Democratic Reforms, a non-partisan advocacy group, estimates that nearly three-fourths of national parties’ total income now comes from unknown sources.
 

The main loophole with disclosure was the fact that while parties had to reveal to the election commission the names of donors who gave amounts greater than Rs20,000, they did not have to do so for smaller sums. In order to avoid disclosure, parties therefore often broke up larger donations from one source into parcels of less than Rs20,000.

 But the report has now clarified that parties must reveal the identity of an entity or individual who donates more than Rs20,000 in all. This means parties cannot resort to the sleight of hand of passing off big donations from one source as smaller ones.
 Moreover, parties will now have to reveal sources of donations even if they are less than Rs20,000 each in denomination if the total funds collected in these smaller amounts crosses Rs20 crore or 20% of the parties’ total income, whichever is less.
 The Bahujan Samaj Party, for example, has used this loophole for eight years in a row. In 2013, it declared that it had received Rs307.31 crore from voluntary contributions between 2004 and 2013, but did not disclose any of the donors’ names, claiming that none of the amounts was more than Rs20,000.
 

Stricter penalties

Parties will attract heavier penalties for not filing information or not doing so on time. If the election commission finds a party to have wilfully filed wrong information, it can now levy a fine of up to Rs50 lakh.

 A candidate who fails to file the necessary information within 90 days after the end of a general election can be barred for five years from contesting an election—instead of three previously. The fine for political parties who fail to file information on time will be Rs25,000 per day, up from Rs10,000, and they could also lose tax benefits.
 

Given that none of the major parties filed expenditure statements on time after the 2014 general elections, these higher penalties could help. The deadline to file expenditures was August 26, 2014, but the two major parties—the Congress and the BJP—filed their expenses only in December and January, respectively.

Your Guide to Social Media Strategy

Developing a solid social media marketing strategy is a crucial element for any business hoping to become a competitive leader in its field. A social media management plan should always be in place and up-to-date in order to achieve goals and remain a worthwhile endeavor. Before sitting down and working out a plan, there are several questions that should be answered clearly or else the social media plan will likely fall short of its goals. Using social media without a clear plan can actually be detrimental to business.

Looking at Your Competitors

When building a social media strategy from scratch, looking at what your direct competitors are doing with their social media is a good place to get ideas about what works and what doesn’t. Is there anything they are doing that is working particularly well that you would want to incorporate into your own social media strategy? With so many different social media platforms offering different ways to reach customers, it’s a good idea to watch the competition closely in an effort to learn how to utilize each platform to the best of its abilities. Looking at what your potential customers are seeing from other brands is the single best way to see what you’re up against in the realm of social media. If your business is currently using social media but lacks a concrete plan, listen to what your customers are asking for who are already engaged on your social media sites. Do certain types of posts get larger responses than others? All of this type of data should be tracked if it isn’t being tracked already.

Unmetric has access to the social media efforts of over 30,000 brands across 30 industries and the most popular social media networks, with features like campaign intelligence and Inspire. Marketers can be fully equipped to push their brand forward.

Inspire Social Media Search engine

Setting Your Goals

The next step is arguably one of the most important steps in developing a successful social media strategy or campaign. Define your goals. What is the end result you are trying to achieve by using social media? Until this question is answered, no plan will be effective because it can’t be measured against what it’s supposed to achieve. Social media can do a lot for a business such as building brand awareness, increasing sales or sales leads, and creating a feeling of loyalty among existing customers. Do you plan to use social media for one or all of these goals? The goals and desired outcomes should be clearly defined so that a plan can be built around them to support them.

Unmetric has a customizable reporting feature, where all or selected metrics such as Fan Growth, Engagement score, Post Types, Campaign post types and more can be exported into a single excel file or power point with a click of a button. Keeping track of monthly performance and creating reports with ease.

Customizable_reports

In order to implement a plan that is designed to achieve certain goals, a way to measure the success of the social media strategies must be established. What metrics will you be using to track the impact that your social media marketing strategy is having on business? What methods will you use to determine the effectiveness of different campaigns?

There are many different data points that should be tracked with each social media campaign on each social media site. That being said, not all data points should be treated equally. Putting too much emphasis on the wrong data points can lead your social media endeavors down the wrong path. Determining how success and effectiveness are measured in social media campaigns is crucial for focusing efforts where the highest return is available. Your metrics will determine how your social media plan changes over time according to trends.

Because social media is a rapidly evolving animal, tracking trends is important to stay on the leading edge of change and remain competitive. It is also beneficial to set milestones and goals based on what other competitors in the marketplace have already achieved. This is useful for both general social media marketing plans and highly targeted campaigns.

Figuring Out Your Target Market

Before designing and implementing a social media management plan, figure out the demographics of both your current customer base and your prospective, or desired, customer base. Who have you already effectively reached and how? Do your competitors have a different customer base that you would like to tap into? Who do you want to reach and what is the best way to do that? Is your desired demographic demanding faster service? How does your current customer demographic compare with competitors’ demographics?

Getting a clear picture of the demographics of your customers will tell you what type of social media campaigns will be most effective. Different social media sites can appeal to different demographics, but you won’t be able to utilize specific sites to the fullest of their ability without first understanding your target audience.

demographic

Using the Unmetric stats page, one can easily find the demographic of any of the top 30,000 brands across the world on social media. Not only are details like percentage of female users, but also stats like age and relationship status are given. Unmetric takes things a step further by also helping you find brands with a similar demographic so you can identify how other brands that target a similar demographic connect with their communities.

Be Unique

Understand that social media functions differently than a website. People use social media as a means of interaction rather that a resource to simply look up information. While you want to promote your brand, product or service through social media, you don’t want to simply mimic what could be found on your brand’s website. Social media sites are designed for interaction so keep that in mind when developing an action plan.

Customers should able to feel connected via your social media sites. Personal interaction and the offering of enriching and useful, shareable content should be at the forefront of any social media marketing plan.

How can you make your social media presence feel more personal to your customer base? How much focus should be put on holidays and local or national events? These are great ways to increase engagement, but there is a lot of competition in regards to this type of content out there on all social media platforms. Creating original and meaningful content is key to keeping your customers engaged in a personal manner that outdoes your competition. Choosing the type of content should be a strategic decision

Supreme Court dismissed the petition seeking to summon Naveen Patnaik as an accused in a case related to the allocation of a coal field in the state in 2005.

The Supreme Court on monday  fined an advocate Rs 1 lakh for filing a “vexatious” and “frivolous” petition to summon Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik as an accused in the coal block case in which a similar action against Manmohan Singh was stayed last week.

Justices V. Gopala Gowda and C. Nagappan took strong exception to Nagendra Kumar Sahoo’s plea, initially slapping a penalty of Rs 25 lakh but reducing it following fervent entreaties by his counsel, and questioned his locus standi.

Sahoo’s petition related to the allocation of an Odisha mine to Hindalco Industries in which former Prime Minister Singh had been summoned by a special CBI court.

Sahoo claimed that the trial judge, despite having found that a letter was written by Patnaik to Singh recommending the allocation to Hindalco, had erroneously failed to issue summons against the chief minister despite doing so for the others.

“It is difficult to appreciate (that) a letter was ‘procured’ from the chief minister without there being a quid-pro-quo…’procured’ is thus to be viewed as part of a common purpose to do an illegal act, thus establishing an offence of criminal conspiracy. That Biju Janata Dal, whose head is Sri Naveen Patnaik, had received Rs 5 crore as donation from M/S Hindalco is to reinforce the act of criminal conspiracy on his party,” Sahoo’s petition, filed through counsel Suresh Chandra Tripathy, stated.

However, the apex court rejected the contention today, with Justice Gowda questioning Sahoo’s locus standi and pointing out that the matter was between the trial court and the accused persons.

On April 1, the same bench had stayed all further proceedings before the CBI court against Singh related to the allocation of the Talabira II coal block to Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Hindalco.

Justices Gowda and Nagappan had also stayed the summons issued by special judge Bharat Parashar to Birla, then coal secretary P.C. Parakh and two other senior executives of Hindalco, Subendhu Amitabh and D. Bhattacharya. The five were to appear before the special court on April 5.

Narendra Modi impresses France, Airbus tells PM Narendra Modi it’s ready to Make in India, will hike outsourcing kitty to $2 billion

Francois Hollande said “The two countries signed an agreement on proceeding forward on the atomic project of Jaitapur.”

Marking a breakthrough in the protracted talks for striking the French Rafale jet deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced here on Friday that India would buy 36 of the fighter planes in flyaway condition, citing critical operational requirements of the Indian Air Force.

Mr. Modi made the announcement at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande after their summit talks at Elysee Palace.

“Keeping in mind the critical operational necessity of fighter jets in India, I have talked to him [Hollande] and requested for 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition as quickly as possible under a government-to-government deal,” he said.

An agreement on proceeding forward on the stalled nuclear project in Jaitapur in Maharashtra was among the 17 pacts signed after the talks between Modi and Hollande.

The Jaitapur project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with a total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, has been stuck for long because of differences over the cost of the power generated.

The agreement between India’s Larsen and Toubro and France’s Areva is aimed at cost reduction by increasing localisation and to improve the financial viability of the Jaitapur project.

The original deal was for 126 fighter aircraft under the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft contest, which began in 2007. Dassault Rafale was shortlisted in 2012 after rigorous evaluation but negotiations have been stuck over pricing and delivery guarantees for the aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) in India.

A direct purchase will drive down the costs as there is no technology transfer involved and the delivery of aircraft will be faster.

Depleting fleet swung Rafale deal

The major reasons for the direct purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France are the fast-depleting fighter strength of the Indian Air Force, unending delays in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft negotiations and the steep price rise.

The fighter aircraft strength has fallen drastically to 34 squadrons from the sanctioned 42 and is set to further dip with the phasing out of MiG-21s and MiG-27s in the next few years. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, has flagged the issue on several occasions. The MMRCA and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the replacements, are nowhere on the horizon. Also with the price crossing $20 billion, funding this was a concern for the government with other major modernisation programmes in the offing.

PTI adds:

Another pact reached during negotiations related to pre-engineering agreements between the NPCIL and AREVA in connection with studies that is intended to bring clarity on all technical aspects of the Jaitapur plant so that all parties (AREVA, ALSTOM and NPCIL) can firm up their price and optimise all provisions for risks still included at this stage in the costs of the project.

France also informed India of its decision to implement a scheme for expedited 48 hours visa issuance for Indian tourists.

Noting that Mr. Hollande had supported the “Make in India” initiative, especially in the defence sector, Mr. Modi said that in the area of nuclear power, France had been a major partner with India.

France also announced an investment of 2 billion euros in India as Mr. Modi invited French companies to pump in money in technology in the fastest-growing economy.

France will invest 2 billion euros in India, Mr. Hollande announced at a CEO forum here.

He said France would partner India in urban development of infrastructure such as railways and defence and nuclear sector.

Modi has ‘Naav Pe Charcha’ with French President

Mr. Modi and Mr. Hollande enjoyed a joint boat cruise on La Seine river here which was described as “Naav Pe Charcha” (chat on the boat).

MR. Hollande was seen giving details to Mr. Modi about various areas as the boat cruised through the river.

Many people enjoying a boat ride in the river at that time were seen waving at the dignitaries, including French ministers.

The two leaders had the boat ride after their detailed discussions, focusing on cooperation in the areas of civil nuclear energy, defence, space and trade.

Mr. Modi is visiting France in the first leg of his nine-day three-nation tour that will take him to Germany and Canada also.

It was the first time that Modi had ‘Naav Pe Charcha’ with any world leader.

Earlier, Mr. Modi has had ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ (chat over tea) with some world leaders, including US President Barack Obama during his visit to New Delhi in January and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the Indian leader’s visit to that country last year.

The concept of ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ came to be known during Modi’s campaign for Lok Sabha polls last year. During that, he used ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ as an election plank.

 

15 PM VISTS AIRBUS FACILITY in Toulouse (1)

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15 PM VISTS AIRBUS FACILITY in Toulouse (2)

15 PM VISTS AIRBUS FACILITY in Toulouse (11)

15 PM VISTS AIRBUS FACILITY in Toulouse (10)

15 PM VISTS AIRBUS FACILITY in Toulouse (8)

Columnist Shobhaa De’s remark on to screen Marathi films during the prime time irk Sena!

“I am a proud Maharashtrian and love Marathi films. Always have. Always will!” the authortweeted on Wednesday.

Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik on Wednesday demanded an apology from author Shobhaa De. “We demand an apology from Ms. De. Failing to tender an apology would mean that I will take the matter to the privilege committee,” Mr. Sarnaik said in the Assembly.Ms. De again took the Twitter route to answer the allegations against her. “Now a privilege motion demanding an apology from me? Come on! I am a proud Maharashtrian and love Marathi films. Always have. Always will!” she tweeted on Wednesday.State BJP chief Ashish Shelar tweeted: “Lack of ‘shobha’ clearly in @DeShobhaa tweets! Publicity gimmick + lack of reasoning + unbecoming of a public figure!”

Congress slams CM

Meanwhile, in the State Council, the Congress moved a breach of privilege against Mr. Fadnavis, after the government issued a notification of the Land Acquisition Act. “It is wrong to issue the notification without the Land Acquisition Act being implemented by the Centre. Also the government did not inform the House about the notification when the Budget session of Legislature is on,” said Manikrao Thakre, Congress MLC.MLC Prakash Binsale, who was in the Chair, said that the matter would be discussed with Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar, who will then accept or reject the motion moved by Mr. Thakre.Ruling alliance partner Shiv Sena today took objection to the columnist Shobha De’s tweet on Maharashtra Government’s decision to make it mandatory for multiplexes to screen Marathi films in the prime time slot, and sought to move a breach of privilege motion against her.De, reacting to the development, expressed amusement and asserted that she was a “proud Maharashtrian” and a lover of Marathi films.Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, raising point of propriety in the Assembly, said De had hurt the sentiments of the house.

Sarnaik said that in her tweet, De remarked that popcorns will now be replaced by (Marathi delicacies) ‘dahi misal’ and ‘vada pav’ in multiplexes.The House had whole-heartedly welcomed the culture minister Vinod Tawde’s announcement yesterday that screening of Marathi films would be made mandatory in the prime time, he said, and sought to move a breach of privilege motion against De.Speaker Haribhau Bagde asked Sarnaik to submit a notice first.An unfazed De reacted to the move by tweeting, “Now a privilege motion demanding an apology from me? Come on! I am a proud Maharashtrian and love Marathi films. Always have.Always will!”

The BJP-Shiv Sena Government has decided to make it mandatory for multiplexes across the state to screen Marathi films during the prime time slot between 6 PM and 9 PM.

Will Indian Economy outpace world growth?

With India gearing up for rapid progress and all-round economic growth in the coming years and that too under a stable and development-oriented government, it undoubtedly seems to have the potential to emerge as the world’s next miracle economy. Emphasizing that the country is set to record a 7.4% growth in fiscal 2014-15, the latest Economic Survey foresees India’s GDP growth for 2015-16 hovering between 8.1% and 8.5%. It could even grow faster.The government report, compiled by Arvind Subramanian, a renowned development economist, has also asserted that the nation is on track to hit double digit growth rates in the coming years. Revealing that Asia’s third largest economy was building up growth momentum, the survey has affirmed that our country is set to emerge as the world’s fastest-growing big economy in the current year.

Meanwhile, former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D Subbarao has asserted India has what it takes to push past China as the region’s economic powerhouse. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also seem to share similar views. While IMF foresees India emerging as the fastest-growing major economy as China’s growth slackens, the ADB says India’s efforts to eliminate entrenched bottlenecks will enable the country to improve its growth to 8.2% in 2015-16.Compared to China, India currently has two major advantages – a young workforce and a democratic political system. Furthermore, the election of the nation’s most stable government in 30 years, easing inflation due to fall in international crude oil prices, improving public finances and other such developments augur well for India’s economic lift-off.

The latest CII Business Outlook poll says business confidence of India Inc has lately improved on the back of Central government’s pro-reform approach coupled with expectations of higher economic growth and moderate inflation. In another indication of macro-economic strengthening, around 72% of respondents foresee current account deficit (CAD) in FY15 to be lower than 2.5% of GDP.About 58% of respondents expect sales and new orders to surge during January-March 2015, up from 53% in the previous quarter. This expectation is rooted in optimism about the overall demand situation as confirmed by another sentiment indicator, the Consumer Confidence Index, which shows improving consumer sentiment and happier consumers.

As forecast, if India’s economic growth accelerates to 8-8.5% during the current year, next year it will rack up 9-10%. Then in successive years, our economy will grow much faster. To make this happen, the latest Union Budget has promised higher investment in India’s decrepit roads and railways. To attract private sector investments, our government has promised the carrot of tax cuts to global companies, while drawing out the stick of tighter rules to persuade Indian firms and business tycoons to invest at home rather than stashing their wealth abroad.Moreover, during its 10-month rule till date, the Modi government has brought a perceptive change in the system of governance by ensuring transparency and ending the reign of scams and policy paralysis, while also changing the political culture in the country.

Thus, if everything goes well as planned and predicted, then India will grow much faster than any other large country over the next decade and more. Rapid and sustained growth in a country of 1.25 billion people will be quite exciting, to put it mildly. It will do wonders on various fronts while also creating a better infrastructure and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.However, hardcore cynics are skeptical and they believe such forecasts are just not going to come true. According to them, India has a lot of catching up to do on various fronts. Innumerable reforms that will benefit business and industry would have to be enacted. Moreover, more than 110 million jobs will have to be created before 2025 for the job aspirants who will enter India’s workforce over the next decade.

Taking into account the above facts, the Central government has already initiated efforts to create the stable expansionary macro- and micro-economic conditions coupled with the required framework and enterprise support policies under which business and industrial growth will flourish and ensure robust productivity. This will create lots of employment opportunities, which in turn will improve the purchasing power of those taking up new jobs.

These new workers will demand more housing, health services, transportation, financial services, entertainment, groceries, hospitality, education, etc, which in turn will generate more jobs across all segments. Thus the process of wealth generation and asset creation will commence as all of them will get paid for the work they do and also spend on goods they need. This additional spending and more demand will set in motion a virtuous cycle of economic expansion.Of late, everyone has started talking about how quickly the Modi government is moving on a host of sectors – from policy reforms to new program. And the way he is intent on making things more transparent and easier for businessmen. Moreover, several reforms that will give a major boost to business and economic growth have already begun to inch forward towards enactment.

For instance, the ambitious ‘Make in India’ program was announced first, promising the investors rapid response times and all help for new project clearances. Secondly, as soon as the Supreme Court came out with a decision on coal block cancellations, Modi government immediately announced that auctions would be held soon, and the ordinance that followed was widely appreciated by even those whose blocks had been cancelled.The government then unveiled labour reforms for small and medium industries, followed by self certification of documents by citizens themselves in lieu of attestations by gazetted officers. Announcements of irrigation projects, environmental clearances and others followed. It was not just an announcement a day without follow-ups. Some 40 projects that had been stuck for lack of environmental clearances got the nod. About 181 projects are now getting off the ground.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchai Yojana, which seeks to take irrigation water to each and every field in the country, has also been launched. It includes a soil health card for farmers that will have information on the status and production capability of the soil. These steps will enable farmers to transform their rain-fed fields with one crop a year to irrigated ones with three crops a year. This in turn could double India’s agriculture productivity and boost farm income and food supply.Moreover, a uniform national sales tax called Goods and Services Tax would replace the confusing patchwork of state and local levies with effect from April 1, 2016. The government is currently trying its best to build a consensus on its land acquisition Bill that seeks to simplify and speed up sales of land for infrastructure, factories and so forth. Though the Bill has already been cleared by the Lok Sabha, it is now awaiting Rajya Sabha approval. In case the Ordinance lapses on April 5 due to opposition from different political parties, the NDA government plans to bring its amended Bill through a fresh Ordinance before Parliament convenes on April 20.Furthermore, with the aim of nearly doubling India’s exports of goods and services to US$900 billion by 2020 from US$465.9 billion in 2013-14, the Union government has also unveiled its Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20. The five-year FTP, which lays down a roadmap for India’s global trade engagement in the coming years, will provide several incentives to exporters and units in the Special Economic Zones in a bid to boost export of agriculture products and integrate Make In India and Digital India initiatives of the government.Thus, if one looks at its track-record so far, this government has been taking all the right steps. It is also undoing the many damages inflicted by the negative measures of the previous governments and taking positive steps such as deregulating diesel price, revision of natural gas prices, initiating reforms in the agriculture sector, addressing the issue of skills shortage, focusing on eliminating infrastructural bottlenecks and ensuring ease of doing business. Moreover, smart cities and other similar projects are likely to give a major fillip to housing.All the aforementioned measures will definitely help investment cycle to pick up again. Once that happens, India’s GDP growth will accelerate. Since the current government is ready to change laws or tweak them if they hinder industry or prove business unfriendly, competitiveness and efficiency are bound to creep in to every sector. This augurs well for the Indian economy and offers our country its biggest opportunity to take centre-stage and become a force to reckon with. Hopefully, our country will capitalize on the many avenues that are currently opening up and manage to emerge as the next miracle economy.

Say hello to the world’s next miracle economy: India. The nation has what it takes to push past China as the region’s economic powerhouse, according to its former central bank governor.India’s young workforce gives it an advantage over aging China and its democratic political system will save it the upheaval that probably awaits its larger rival, Duvvuri Subbarao said in an interview at a Credit Suisse conference in Hong Kong.When Subbarao’s term ended in September 2013, India’s currency was at a record low, growth was slowing and investors were fleeing. The election of the nation’s most stable government in 30 years, improving public finances and easing inflation as oil prices fall has set the stage for an economic lift-off, he said.

“India can become a growth miracle of the 2020s,” said Subbarao, who was succeeded at the Reserve Bank of India by Raghuram Rajan. “If you had the Japanese miracle, the East Asian miracle, the Chinese miracle, an Indian miracle is a tantalizing prospect and quite possible.”

All the nations Subbarao mentioned rose to power and prominence due to export-driven manufacturing growth. India will have the world’s largest labor force by 2030, according to projections from the United Nations, positioning it to boost factory output.China’s pool of workers aged between 15 and 59 is seen shrinking by 61 million during the same period. That’s about the equivalent of losing the combined working populations of the U.K. and France.Demographics will compel China to move up the value chain and raise wages, allowing India to pick up the slack, Subbarao predicted. The view is shared by David Mann, head of Asian macro research at Standard Chartered Plc, and India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who said on Wednesday that interest is shifting to India due to high labor costs in China.

“We could see India take on the baton in the coming three to five years,” Singapore-based Mann said in e-mailed remarks.They aren’t alone in their optimism for India. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that India is poised to be the fastest-growing major economy as China slows, and the Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday that India’s efforts to remove entrenched bottlenecks will boost growth to 8.2 percent in the fiscal year through March 2016.

Outpacing China

That would be faster than China, which is forecast to expand by about 7 percent in 2015 or the slowest pace since 1990. The projection is in line with the Indian government’s forecast, although that’s based on data that has puzzled policy makers including Rajan, who cut interest rates twice this year citing economic weakness.Rajan also said India mustn’t focus on export-led growth as global demand slows. He’s bulked up the nation’s foreign exchange reserves, overseen the rupee’s advance as one of Asia’s best performers this year and convinced the government to adopt a formal inflation target.While Subbarao had dismissed inflation targeting during his time as central bank chief, he clashed with former Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, who called for the Reserve Bank to lower interest rates to support growth.“He has been absolutely outstanding,” Subbarao said on Wednesday, referring to Rajan’s period in office so far. “I hope he will go places.”

No Bragging Rights

Even if India does meet targets and fulfill its potential, surpassing China may not be the prize that some anticipate.The number of Indians living on less than $1.25 a day has dropped by 16 percent between 1994-2010 while China saw a decline of 81 percent during roughly the same period, World Bank data show.A maze of regulations and an inefficient bureaucracy is partly to blame for the lowest living standards among emerging markets, according to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who swept to power last year on a pledge to create jobs. India has fallen to 142 of 189 countries on the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business Index, while China rose several notches to 90.“We have to recognize that India growing faster than China doesn’t give us bragging rights,” Subbarao said. “Because in India, as some people have said, there’s so much low hanging fruit that the tree is almost fallen to the ground.”

 

Horrible toilets. Stagnant puddles buzzing with dengue-spreading mosquitoes. Collapsing masonry. Lax security. A terrorist attack. India’s preparations for the 72-nation Commonwealth games, which are scheduled to open in Delhi on October 3rd, have not won favourable reviews. “Commonfilth”, was one of the kinder British tabloid headlines. At best—assuming that the organisers make a last-minute dash to spruce things up—the Delhi games will be remembered as a shambles. The contrast with China’s practically flawless hosting of the Olympic games in 2008 could hardly be starker. Many people will draw the wrong lesson from this.A big sporting event, some people believe, tells you something important about the nation that hosts it. Efficient countries build tip-top stadiums and make the shuttle buses run on time. That India cannot seem to do any of these things suggests that it will always be a second-rate power.Or does it? Despite the headlines, India is doing rather well. Its economy is expected to expand by 8.5% this year. It has a long way to go before it is as rich as China—the Chinese economy is four times bigger—but its growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013, if not before (see article). Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years. Rapid growth in a country of 1.2 billion people is exciting, to put it mildly.

People power

There are two reasons why India will soon start to outpace China. One is demography. China’s workforce will shortly start ageing; in a few years’ time, it will start shrinking. That’s because of its one-child policy—an oppressive measure that no Indian government would get away with. Indira Gandhi tried something similar in the 1970s, when she called a state of emergency and introduced a forced-sterilisation programme. There was an uproar of protest. Democracy was restored and coercive population policies were abandoned. India is now blessed with a young and growing workforce. Its dependency ratio—the proportion of children and old people to working-age adults—is one of the best in the world and will remain so for a generation. India’s economy will benefit from this “demographic dividend”, which has powered many of Asia’s economic miracles.The second reason for optimism is India’s much-derided democracy. The notion that democracy retards development in poor countries has gained currency in recent years. Certainly, it has its disadvantages. Elected governments bow to the demands of selfish factions and interest groups. Even the most urgent decisions are endlessly debated and delayed.China does not have this problem. When its technocrats decide to dam a river, build a road or move a village, the dam goes up, the road goes down and the village disappears. The displaced villagers may be compensated, but they are not allowed to stand in the way of progress. China’s leaders make rational decisions that balance the needs of all citizens over the long term. This has led to rapid, sustained growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Small wonder that authoritarians everywhere cite China as their best excuse not to allow democracy just yet. No doubt a strong central government would have given India a less chaotic Commonwealth games, but there is more to life than badminton and rhythmic gymnastics. India’s state may be weak, but its private companies are strong. Indian capitalism is driven by millions of entrepreneurs all furiously doing their own thing. Since the early 1990s, when India dismantled the “licence raj” and opened up to foreign trade, Indian business has boomed. The country now boasts legions of thriving small businesses and a fair number of world-class ones whose English-speaking bosses network confidently with the global elite. They are less dependent on state patronage than Chinese firms, and often more innovative: they have pioneered the $2,000 car, the ultra-cheap heart operation and some novel ways to make management more responsive to customers. Ideas flow easily around India, since it lacks China’s culture of secrecy and censorship. That, plus China’s rampant piracy, is why knowledge-based industries such as software love India but shun the Middle Kingdom.

 

India’s individualistic brand of capitalism may also be more robust than China’s state-directed sort. Chinese firms prosper under wise government, but bad rulers can cause far more damage in China than in India, because their powers are so much greater. If, God forbid, another Mao were to seize the reins, there would be no mechanism for getting rid of him.That is a problem for the future. For now, India’s problems are painfully visible. The roads are atrocious. Public transport is a disgrace. Many of the country’s dynamic entrepreneurs waste hours each day stuck in traffic. Their firms are hobbled by the costs of building their own infrastructure: backup generators, water-treatment plants and fleets of buses to ferry staff to work. And India’s demographic dividend will not count for much if those new workers are unemployable. India’s literacy rate is rising, thanks in part to a surge in cheap private schools for the poor, but it is still far behind China’s.

Advantage India

The Indian government recognises the need to tackle the infrastructure crisis, and is getting better at persuading private firms to stump up the capital. But the process is slow and infected with corruption. It is hard to measure these things, but many observers think China has done a better job than India of curbing corruption, with its usual brutal methods, such as shooting people.

Given the choice between doing business in China or India, most foreign investors would probably pick China. The market is bigger, the government easier to deal with, and if your supply chain for manufactured goods does not pass through China your shareholders will demand to know why. But as the global economy becomes more knowledge-intensive, India’s advantage will grow. That is something to ponder while stuck in the Delhi traffic.

World Population & Religion worldwide look 2050

The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050

  1. The World Factbook gives the population as7,095,217,980 (July 2013 est.) and the distribution of religions as Christian 31.50% (of which Roman Catholic 16.85%, Protestant 6.15%, Orthodox 3.96%, Anglican 1.26%), Muslim 23.20% (of which Sunni 75-90%, Shia 10-20%, Ahmadi 1%), Hindu 13.8%, Buddhist 6.77%, Sikh 0.35%, …

Why Muslims Are Rising Fastest and the Unaffiliated Are Shrinking as a Share of the World’s Population

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The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths. Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. If current trends continue, by 2050 …

  • The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.
  • Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.
  • The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.
  • In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.
  • India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.
  • In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.
  • Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

These are among the global religious trends highlighted in new demographic projections by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.

 Projected Change in Global Population
As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31%) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth. Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23% of the global population.

Islam Growing FastestIf current demographic trends continue, however, Islam will nearly catch up by the middle of the 21st century. Between 2010 and 2050, the world’s total population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion, a 35% increase.1 Over that same period, Muslims – a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates – are projected to increase by 73%. The number of Christians also is projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate (35%) as the global population overall.

As a result, according to the Pew Research projections, by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history.2

With the exception of Buddhists, all of the world’s major religious groups are poised for at least some growth in absolute numbers in the coming decades. The global Buddhist population is expected to be fairly stable because of low fertility rates and aging populations in countries such as China, Thailand and Japan.

Worldwide, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34%, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion, roughly keeping pace with overall population growth. Jews, the smallest religious group for which separate projections were made, are expected to grow 16%, from a little less than 14 million in 2010 to 16.1 million worldwide in 2050.

Size and Projected Growth of Major Religious Groups

 

Adherents of various folk religions – including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions – are projected to increase by 11%, from 405 million to nearly 450 million.

And all other religions combined – an umbrella category that includes Baha’is, Jains, Sikhs, Taoists and many smaller faiths – are projected to increase 6%, from a total of approximately 58 million to more than 61 million over the same period.3

While growing in absolute size, however, folk religions, Judaism and “other religions” (the umbrella category considered as a whole) will not keep pace with global population growth. Each of these groups is projected to make up a smaller percentage of the world’s population in 2050 than it did in 2010.4

Projected Change in the Unaffiliated Population, 2010-2050

Similarly, the religiously unaffiliated population is projected to shrink as a percentage of the global population, even though it will increase in absolute number. In 2010, censuses and surveys indicate, there were about 1.1 billion atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion.5 By 2050, the unaffiliated population is expected to exceed 1.2 billion. But, as a share of all the people in the world, those with no religious affiliation are projected to decline from 16% in 2010 to 13% by the middle of this century.

At the same time, however, the unaffiliated are expected to continue to increase as a share of the population in much of Europe and North America. In the United States, for example, the unaffiliated are projected to grow from an estimated 16% of the total population (including children) in 2010 to 26% in 2050.

As the example of the unaffiliated shows, there will be vivid geographic differences in patterns of religious growth in the coming decades. One of the main determinants of that future growth is where each group is geographically concentrated today. Religions with many adherents in developing countries – where birth rates are high, and infant mortality rates generally have been falling – are likely to grow quickly. Much of the worldwide growth of Islam and Christianity, for example, is expected to take place in sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s religiously unaffiliated population, by contrast, is heavily concentrated in places with low fertility and aging populations, such as Europe, North America, China and Japan.

Total Fertility Rate by Religion, 2010-2015

Globally, Muslims have the highest fertility rate, an average of 3.1 children per woman – well above replacement level (2.1), the minimum typically needed to maintain a stable population.6 Christians are second, at 2.7 children per woman. Hindu fertility (2.4) is similar to the global average (2.5). Worldwide, Jewish fertility (2.3 children per woman) also is above replacement level. All the other groups have fertility levels too low to sustain their populations: folk religions (1.8 children per woman), other religions (1.7), the unaffiliated (1.7) and Buddhists (1.6).

Age Distribution of Religious Groups, 2010Another important determinant of growth is the current age distribution of each religious group – whether its adherents are predominantly young, with their prime childbearing years still ahead, or older and largely past their childbearing years.

In 2010, more than a quarter of the world’s total population (27%) was under the age of 15. But an even higher percentage of Muslims (34%) and Hindus (30%) were younger than 15, while the share of Christians under 15 matched the global average (27%). These bulging youth populations are among the reasons that Muslims are projected to grow faster than the world’s overall population and that Hindus and Christians are projected to roughly keep pace with worldwide population growth.

All the remaining groups have smaller-than-average youth populations, and many of them have disproportionately large numbers of adherents over the age of 59. For example, 11% of the world’s population was at least 60 years old in 2010. But fully 20% of Jews around the world are 60 or older, as are 15% of Buddhists, 14% of Christians, 14% of adherents of other religions (taken as a whole), 13% of the unaffiliated and 11% of adherents of folk religions. By contrast, just 7% of Muslims and 8% of Hindus are in this oldest age category.

Projected Cumulative Change Due to Religious Switching, 2010-2050

In addition to fertility rates and age distributions, religious switching is likely to play a role in the growth of religious groups. But conversion patterns are complex and varied. In some countries, it is fairly common for adults to leave their childhood religion and switch to another faith. In others, changes in religious identity are rare, legally cumbersome or even illegal.

The Pew Research Center projections attempt to incorporate patterns in religious switching in 70 countries where surveys provide information on the number of people who say they no longer belong to the religious group in which they were raised. In the projection model, all directions of switching are possible, and they may be partially offsetting. In the United States, for example, surveys find that some people who were raised with no religious affiliation have switched to become Christians, while some who grew up as Christians have switched to become unaffiliated. These types of patterns are projected to continue as future generations come of age. (For more details on how and where switching was modeled, see the Methodology. For alternative growth scenarios involving either switching in additional countries or no switching at all, see Chapter 1.)

Over the coming decades, Christians are expected to experience the largest net losses from switching. Globally, about 40 million people are projected to switch into Christianity, while 106 million are projected to leave, with most joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated. (See chart above.)

Impact of Migration on Population Projections, by RegionAll told, the unaffiliated are expected to add 97 million people and lose 36 million via switching, for a net gain of 61 million by 2050. Modest net gains through switching also are expected for Muslims (3 million), adherents of folk religions (3 million) and members of other religions (2 million). Jews are expected to experience a net loss of about 300,000 people due to switching, while Buddhists are expected to lose nearly 3 million.

International migration is another factor that will influence the projected size of religious groups in various regions and countries.

Forecasting future migration patterns is difficult, because migration is often linked to government policies and international events that can change quickly. For this reason, many population projections do not include migration in their models. But working with researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, the Pew Research Center has developed an innovative way of using data on past migration patterns to estimate the religious composition of migrant flows in the decades ahead. (For details on how the projections were made, see Chapter 1.)

The impact of migration can be seen in the examples shown in the graph at the right, which compares projection scenarios with and without migration in the regions where it will have the greatest impact. In Europe, for instance, the Muslim share of the population is expected to increase from 5.9% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2050 when migration is taken into account along with other demographic factors that are driving population change, such as fertility rates and age. Without migration, the Muslim share of Europe’s population in 2050 is projected to be nearly two percentage points lower (8.4%). In North America, the Hindu share of the population is expected to nearly double in the decades ahead, from 0.7% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2050, when migration is included in the projection models. Without migration, the Hindu share of the region’s population would remain about the same (0.8%).

In the Middle East and North Africa, the continued migration of Christians into the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) is expected to offset the exodus of Christians from other countries in the region.7 If migration were not factored into the 2050 projections, the estimated Christian share of the region’s population would drop below 3%. With migration factored in, however, the estimated Christian share is expected to be just above 3% (down from nearly 4% in 2010).

Beyond the Year 2050

Long-Term Projections of Christian and Muslim Shares of World’s PopulationThis report describes how the global religious landscape would change if current demographic trends continue. With each passing year, however, there is a chance that unforeseen events – war, famine, disease, technological innovation, political upheaval, etc. – will alter the size of one religious group or another. Owing to the difficulty of peering more than a few decades into the future, the projections stop at 2050.

Readers may wonder, though, what would happen to the population trajectories highlighted in this report if they were projected into the second half of this century. Given the rapid projected increase from 2010 to 2050 in the Muslim share of the world’s population, would Muslims eventually outnumber Christians? And, if so, when?

The answer depends on continuation of the trends described in Chapter 1. If the main projection model is extended beyond 2050, the Muslim share of the world’s population would equal the Christian share, at roughly 32% each, around 2070. After that, the number of Muslims would exceed the number of Christians, but both religious groups would grow, roughly in tandem, as shown in the graph above. By the year 2100, about 1% more of the world’s population would be Muslim (35%) than Christian (34%).

The projected growth of Muslims and Christians would be driven largely by the continued expansion of Africa’s population. Due to the heavy concentration of Christians and Muslims in this high-fertility region, both groups would increase as a percentage of the global population. Combined, the world’s two largest religious groups would make up more than two-thirds of the global population in 2100 (69%), up from 61% in 2050 and 55% in 2010.

It bears repeating, however, that many factors could alter these trajectories. For example, if a large share of China’s population were to switch to Christianity (as discussed in this sidebar), that shift alone could bolster Christianity’s current position as the world’s most populous religion. Or if disaffiliation were to become common in countries with large Muslim populations – as it is now in some countries with large Christian populations – that trend could slow or reverse the increase in Muslim numbers.

Projected Annual Growth Rate of Country Populations, 2010-2050

Regional and Country-Level Projections

In addition to making projections at the global level, this report projects religious change in 198 countries and territories with at least 100,000 people as of 2010, covering 99.9% of the world’s population. Population estimates for an additional 36 countries and territories are included in regional and global totals throughout the report. The report also divides the world into six major regions and looks at how each region’s religious composition is likely to change from 2010 to 2050, assuming that current patterns in migration and other demographic trends continue.8

Due largely to high fertility, sub-Saharan Africa is projected to experience the fastest overall growth, rising from 12% of the world’s population in 2010 to about 20% in 2050. The Middle East-North Africa region also is expected to grow faster than the world as a whole, edging up from 5% of the global population in 2010 to 6% in 2050. Ongoing growth in both regions will fuel global increases in the Muslim population. In addition, sub-Saharan Africa’s Christian population is expected to double, from 517 million in 2010 to 1.1 billion in 2050. The share of the world’s Christians living in sub-Saharan Africa will rise from 24% in 2010 to 38% in 2050.

Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to have a declining share of the world’s population (53% in 2050, compared with 59% in 2010). This will be reflected in the slower growth of religions heavily concentrated in the region, including Buddhism and Chinese folk religions, as well as slower growth of Asia’s large unaffiliated population. One exception is Hindus, who are overwhelmingly concentrated in India, where the population is younger and fertility rates are higher than in China or Japan. As previously mentioned, Hindus are projected to roughly keep pace with global population growth. India’s large Muslim population also is poised for rapid growth. Although India will continue to have a Hindu majority, by 2050 it is projected to have the world’s largest Muslim population, surpassing Indonesia.

The remaining geographic regions also will contain declining shares of the world’s population: Europe is projected to go from 11% to 8%, Latin American and the Caribbean from 9% to 8%, and North America from 5% to a little less than 5%.

Europe is the only region where the total population is projected to decline. Europe’s Christian population is expected to shrink by about 100 million people in the coming decades, dropping from 553 million to 454 million. While Christians will remain the largest religious group in Europe, they are projected to drop from three-quarters of the population to less than two-thirds. By 2050, nearly a quarter of Europeans (23%) are expected to have no religious affiliation, and Muslims will make up about 10% of the region’s population, up from 5.9% in 2010. Over the same period, the number of Hindus in Europe is expected to roughly double, from a little under 1.4 million (0.2% of Europe’s population) to nearly 2.7 million (o.4%), mainly as a result of immigration. Buddhists appear headed for similarly rapid growth in Europe – a projected rise from 1.4 million to 2.5 million.

Religious Composition of the United States, 2010-2050In North America, Muslims and followers of “other religions” are the fastest-growing religious groups. In the United States, for example, the share of the population that belongs to other religions is projected to more than double – albeit from a very small base – rising from 0.6% to 1.5%.9Christians are projected to decline from 78% of the U.S. population in 2010 to 66% in 2050, while the unaffiliated are expected to rise from 16% to 26%. And by the middle of the 21st century, the United States is likely to have more Muslims (2.1% of the population) than people who identify with the Jewish faith (1.4%).10

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Christians will remain the largest religious group, making up 89% of the population in 2050, down slightly from 90% in 2010. Latin America’s religiously unaffiliated population is projected to grow both in absolute number and percentage terms, rising from about 45 million people (8%) in 2010 to 65 million (9%) in 2050.11

Changing Religious Majorities

Several countries are projected to have a different religious majority in 2050 than they did in 2010. The number of countries with Christian majorities is expected to decline from 159 to 151, as Christians are projected to drop below 50% of the population in Australia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

Countries That Will No Longer Have a Christian Majority in 2050

 

Muslims in 2050 are expected to make up more than 50% of the population in 51 countries, two more than in 2010, as both the Republic of Macedonia and Nigeria are projected to gain Muslim majorities. But Nigeria also will continue to have a very large Christian population. Indeed, Nigeria is projected to have the third-largest Christian population in the world by 2050, after the United States and Brazil.

As of 2050, the largest religious group in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands is expected to be the unaffiliated.

About These Projections

While many people have offered predictions about the future of religion, these are the first formal demographic projections using data on age, fertility, mortality, migration and religious switching for multiple religious groups around the world. Demographers at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, gathered the input data from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers, an effort that has taken six years and will continue.

The projections cover eight major groups: Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, adherents of folk religions, adherents of other religions and the unaffiliated (see Appendix C: Defining the Religious Groups). Because censuses and surveys in many countries do not provide information on religious subgroups – such as Sunni and Shia Muslims or Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians – the projections are for each religious group as a whole. Data on subgroups of the unaffiliated are also unavailable in many countries. As a result, separate projections are not possible for atheists or agnostics.

The projection model was developed in collaboration with researchers in the Age and Cohort Change Project at IIASA, who are world leaders in population projections methodology. The model uses an advanced version of the cohort-component method typically employed by demographers to forecast population growth. It starts with a population of baseline age groups, or cohorts, divided by sex and religion. Each cohort is projected into the future by adding likely gains (immigrants and people switching in) and by subtracting likely losses (deaths, emigrants and people switching out) year by year. The youngest cohorts, ages 0-4, are created by applying age-specific fertility rates to each female cohort in the childbearing years (ages 15-49), with children inheriting the mother’s religion. For more details, see the Methodology.12

In the process of gathering input data and developing the projection model, the Pew Research Center previously published reports on the current size and geographic distribution of major religious groups, including Muslims (2009), Christians (2011) andseveral other faiths (2012). An initial set of projections for one religious group, Muslims, was published in 2011, although it did not attempt to take religious switching into account.

Some social theorists have suggested that as countries develop economically, more of their inhabitants will move away from religious affiliation. While that has been the general experience in some parts of the world, notably Europe, it is not yet clear whether it is a universal pattern.13 In any case, the projections in this report are not based on theories about economic development leading to secularization.

Rather, the projections extend the recently observed patterns of religious switching in all countries for which sufficient data are available (70 countries in all). In addition, the projections reflect the United Nations’ expectation that in countries with high fertility rates, those rates gradually will decline in coming decades, alongside rising female educational attainment. And the projections assume that people gradually are living longer in most countries. These and other key input data and assumptions are explained in detail in Chapter 1 and the Methodology (Appendix A).

Since religious change has never previously been projected on this scale, some cautionary words are in order. Population projections are estimates built on current population data and assumptions about demographic trends, such as declining birth rates and rising life expectancies in particular countries. The projections are what will occur if the current data are accurate and current trends continue. But many events – scientific discoveries, armed conflicts, social movements, political upheavals, natural disasters and changing economic conditions, to name just a few – can shift demographic trends in unforeseen ways. That is why the projections are limited to a 40-year time frame, and subsequent chapters of this report try to give a sense of how much difference it could make if key assumptions were different.

For example, China’s 1.3 billion people (as of 2010) loom very large in global trends. At present, about 5% of China’s population is estimated to be Christian, and more than 50% is religiously unaffiliated. Because reliable figures on religious switching in China are not available, the projections do not contain any forecast for conversions in the world’s most populous country. But if Christianity expands in China in the decades to come – as some experts predict – then by 2050, the global numbers of Christians may be higher than projected, and the decline in the percentage of the world’s population that is religiously unaffiliated may be even sharper. (For more details on the possible impact of religious switching in China, see Chapter 1.)

Finally, readers should bear in mind that within every major religious group, there is a spectrum of belief and practice. The projections are based on the number of people whoself-identify with each religious group, regardless of their level of observance. What it means to be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or a member of any other faith may vary from person to person, country to country, and decade to decade.

Acknowledgements

These population projections were produced by the Pew Research Center as part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. Funding for the Global Religious Futures project comes from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.

Many staff members in the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life project contributed to this effort. Conrad Hackett was the lead researcher and primary author of this report. Alan Cooperman served as lead editor. Anne Shi and Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa made major contributions to data collection, storage and analysis. Bill Webster created the graphics and Stacy Rosenberg and Ben Wormald oversaw development of the interactive data presentations and the Global Religious Futures website. Sandra Stencel, Greg Smith, Michael Lipka and Aleksandra Sandstrom provided editorial assistance. The report was number-checked by Shi, Esparza Ochoa, Claire Gecewicz and Angelina Theodorou.

Several researchers in the Age and Cohort Change project of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis collaborated on the projections, providing invaluable expertise on advanced (“multistate”) population modeling and standardization of input data. Marcin Stonawski wrote the cutting-edge software used for these projections and led the collection and analysis of European data. Michaela Potančoková standardized the fertility data. Vegard Skirbekk coordinated IIASA’s research contributions. Additionally, Guy Abel at the Vienna Institute of Demography helped construct the country-level migration flow data used in the projections.

Over the past six years, a number of former Pew Research Center staff members also played critical roles in producing the population projections. Phillip Connor prepared the migration input data, wrote descriptions of migration results and methods, and helped write the chapters on each religious group and geographic region. Noble Kuriakose was involved in nearly all stages of the project and helped draft the chapter on demographic factors and the Methodology. Former intern Joseph Naylor helped design maps, and David McClendon, another former intern, helped research global patterns of religious switching. The original concept for this study was developed by Luis Lugo, former director of the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life project, with assistance from former senior researcher Brian J. Grim and visiting senior research fellow Mehtab Karim.

Others at the Pew Research Center who provided editorial or research guidance include Michael Dimock, Claudia Deane, Scott Keeter, Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn. Communications support was provided by Katherine Ritchey and Russ Oates.

We also received very helpful advice and feedback on portions of this report from Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute; Roger Finke, Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives and Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, The Pennsylvania State University; Carl Haub, Senior Demographer, Population Reference Bureau; Todd Johnson, Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; Ariela Keysar, Associate Research Professor and Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, Trinity College; Chaeyoon Lim, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Arland Thornton, Research Professor in the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan; Jenny Trinitapoli, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Demography and Religious Studies, The Pennsylvania State University; David Voas, Professor of Population Studies and Acting Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex; Robert Wuthnow, Andlinger Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University; and Fenggang Yang, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society, Purdue University.

7 key changes in the global religious landscape

What will the world’s religious landscape look like a few decades from now? A new Pew Research Center study attempts to answer that question by projecting the changing size of eight major global religious groups through the year 2050 based on a variety of demographic factors.

The study uses data from 198 countries and territories on fertility, age composition and life expectancy. It also looks at rates of religious switching – where data is available – and migration between countries, and puts all of these factors together to provide the best estimates for the future.

There are many storylines in this data, which can be explored through the full report or on our interactive Global Religious Futures website. Here are a few of the key findings:

1Muslims are the fastest-growing major religious group, largely because they have the highest fertility rate and the youngest population. As a result, the Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion people (23% of the world’s population as of 2010) to 2.76 billion people (30% of all people in 2050). At mid-century, Muslims will nearly equal Christians – the world’s largest religious group – in size.

Christian and Muslim Population Projections

2The share of the world’s population that is Christian is expected to remain steady (at about 31%), but the regional distribution of Christians is forecast to change significantly. Nearly four-in-ten Christians (38%) are projected to live in sub-Saharan Africa in 2050, an increase from the 24% who lived there in 2010. And the percentage of the world’s Christians living in Europe – which fell from 66% in 1910 to 26% in 2010 – will continue to decline, to roughly 16% in 2050.

3The number of religiously unaffiliated people, also known as religious “nones,” is increasing in places such as the United States and Europe, and we project continued growth. Globally, however, the opposite is true: The unaffiliated are expected todecrease as a share of the world’s population between 2010 and 2050 (from 16% to 13%). This is attributable mostly to the relatively old age and low fertility rates of large populations of religious “nones” in Asian countries, particularly China and Japan.

Size of Religious Groups, 2010-2050

4In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, with corresponding rises of religious “nones” as well as Muslims, Hindus and others. At mid-century, Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion in the U.S.: Muslims are projected to be more numerous than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.

5Buddhists, concentrated in Asia, are expected to have a stable population (of just under 500 million) while other religious groups are projected to grow. As a result,Buddhists will decline as a share of the world’s population (from 7% in 2010 to 5% 2050).

6Indonesia is currently home to the world’s largest Muslim population, but that is expected to change. By 2050, the study projects India to be the country with the largest number of Muslims – more than 310 million – even though Hindus will continue to make up a solid majority of India’s population (77%), while Muslims remain a minority (18%). Indonesia will have the third-largest number of Muslims, with Pakistan ranking second.

7The farther into the future we look, the more uncertainty exists, which is why the projections stop at 2050. But if they are extended into the second half of this century,the projections forecast Muslims and Christians to be roughly equal in number around 2070, with Muslims the slightly larger group after that year.

While the data collection and projection methodology were guided by our consultants and advisers, the Pew Research Center is solely responsible for the interpretation and reporting of the data.

Roadmap to the Report

The remainder of this report details the projections from multiple angles. The first chapter looks at the demographic factors that shape the projections, including sections on fertility rates, life expectancy, age structure, religious switching and migration. The next chapter details projections by religious group, with separate sections on Christians, Muslims, the religiously unaffiliated, Hindus, Buddhists, adherents of folk or traditional religions, members of “other religions” (consolidated into a single group) and Jews. A final chapter takes a region-by-region look at the projections, including separate sections on Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and sub-Saharan Africa.

How Americans Feel About Religious Groups

Jews, Catholics & Evangelicals Rated Warmly, Atheists and Muslims More Coldly

U.S. Public Has Warmest Feelings for Jews, Catholics and EvangelicalsJews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher).

Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.

These are some of the key findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted May 30-June 30, 2014, among 3,217 adults who are part of Pew Research’s new American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults.1

Groups Tend To Be Rated Most Positively by Their Own Members

Religious groups are rated more positively by their own members than by people from other religious backgrounds. Catholics as a group, for example, receive an average thermometer rating of 80 from Americans who describe themselves as Catholic, compared with 58 from non-Catholics. Similarly, evangelical Christians receive an average rating of 79 from people who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, compared with an average rating of 52 from non-evangelicals. Among non-evangelicals, roughly as many people give evangelicals a cold rating (27%) as give them a warm rating (30%).2

Americans' Ratings of Religious Groups

The fact that Catholics and evangelical Christians are large groups and view their fellow adherents warmly helps explain why the two groups are among the most favorably viewed groups in the population. (Catholics account for 20% of the sample in the survey, and self-described evangelical/born-again Christians account for 32% of the sample.) The other groups included in the survey constitute much smaller shares of the overall population. As a result, their ratings are very similar whether they are based on the entire population or only on people who do not belong to the group.

Both Jews and Atheists Rate Evangelicals Negatively, but Evangelicals Rate Jews Highly

Attitudes among religious groups toward each other range from mutual regard to unrequited positive feelings to mutual coldness. Catholics and evangelicals, the two largest Christian groups measured here, generally view each other warmly. White evangelical Protestants give Catholics an average thermometer rating of 63; Catholics rate evangelicals at 57. Evangelicals also hold very positive views of Jews, with white evangelical Protestants giving Jews an average thermometer rating of 69. Only Jews themselves rate Jews more positively. But that warmth is not mutual: despite evangelicals’ warm feelings toward Jews, Jews tend to give evangelicals a much cooler rating (34 on average).

Religious Groups' Ratings of Each Other

When asked about other non-Christian groups, evangelicals tend to express more negative views. White evangelicals assign Buddhists an average rating of 39, Hindus 38, Muslims 30 and atheists 25. The chilliness between evangelicals and atheists goes both ways. Atheists give evangelical Christians a cold rating of 28 on average.

Atheists give largely positive ratings to several non-Christian religious groups, including Buddhists (who receive an average rating of 69 from atheists), Jews (61) and Hindus (58). Atheists tend to give much cooler ratings to Muslims and the Christian groups asked about in the survey.

Atheists themselves are rated positively by atheists and agnostics, and they receive neutral ratings from Jews and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Atheists are rated much more negatively by other religious groups.

Christians and Jews Are Rated More Favorably by Older Americans Than by Younger People; Other Non-Christian Faiths Are Rated More Positively by Younger People

Christians and Jews Are Viewed More Positively by Older People, Other Groups by Younger PeopleChristian groups and Jews receive higher ratings from older Americans (those ages 65 and older) than from younger Americans. By contrast, other non-Christian groups receive their highest ratings from younger Americans. Adults under the age of 30, for instance, give Muslims a neutral rating of 49, on average, whereas older adults give Muslims significantly more negative ratings (42 among those ages 30-49, 36 on average among those 50-64, and 32 among those 65 and older).

These patterns may partly reflect that there are more Christians among older Americans than among younger people. In Pew Research surveys conducted this year, fully 85% of Americans ages 65 and older describe themselves as Christians, compared with just 59% among adults under 30 (32% of whom identify as religious “nones”).

Jews Rated Most Positively by Whites; Evangelicals and Muslims Viewed More Favorably by Blacks than Whites

Jews Viewed More Positively by Whites, Evangelicals & Muslims by BlacksJews receive their most positive ratings from whites, who give them an average rating of 66. Jews also are rated favorably by blacks and Hispanics (with each group giving Jews an average rating of 58). Evangelicals also are rated positively by all three groups, with their highest average rating coming from blacks (68). Muslims receive a neutral rating from blacks (49 on average), but they are rated more negatively by whites (38). Hispanics’ ratings of Muslims fall in between (43).

These findings may reflect the racial and ethnic composition of religious groups. Many blacks describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, for instance, and 23% of Muslims in the U.S. are black, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2011 survey of Muslim Americans. Fully 94% of U.S. Jews are white, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey of U.S. Jews.

Politics and Religion: Partisans’ Views of Religious Groups

Evangelicals Rated More Positively by Republicans than Democrats; Most Non-Christian Religions Viewed More Favorably by Democrats than RepublicansRepublicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party tend to rate evangelicals very positively (71 on average). They also express warm feelings toward Jews (67 on average) and Catholics (66). The warmth Republicans feel for evangelicals may reflect the fact that many Republicans and Republican leaners are themselves evangelicals. Among those who are not evangelical Christians, evangelicals receive an average rating of 62. Mormons receive a neutral rating from Republicans and Republican leaners (52 on average), while Buddhists receive a rating of 49 and Hindus a rating of 47. Republicans and Republican leaners view atheists and Muslims much more negatively than they view other religious groups.

Democrats and Democratic leaners express warm feelings toward Jews (average rating of 62) and Catholics (61). Buddhists also are rated favorably (57 on average) by Democrats. Evangelicals receive an average rating of 53 from all Democrats and Democratic leaners, but this drops to 45 among those who are not evangelicals themselves. With the exception of Jews, all of the non-Christian groups asked about receive warmer ratings from Democrats and Democratic leaners than they do from Republicans.

Familiarity With People of Different Faiths

Familiarity with People from Other Religious GroupsFully 87% of U.S. adults (including 85% of non-Catholics) say they personally know someone who is Catholic. And seven-in-ten people (including 63% of non-evangelicals) say they know someone who is an evangelical Christian. Because Catholics and evangelical Christians are such large groups, it is to be expected that most people would know someone from these groups.

Most Americans also say they know someone who is Jewish (61%) or an atheist (59%), even though these groups are much smaller than Catholics and evangelical Christians; roughly 2% of U.S. adults identify religiously as Jewish, and a little more than 2% identify as atheists. Other small groups are less familiar to most Americans. For example, 44% of Americans say they know someone who is Mormon, and 38% say they know someone who is Muslim. Mormons constitute about 2% of the U.S. adult population, and Muslims roughly 1%. Roughly one-in-four adults or fewer say they know a Buddhist (23%) or Hindu (22%); these groups each account for roughly 1% or less of the overall population.

Personal Familiarity with Group Members Linked With More Positive ViewsKnowing someone from a religious group is linked with having relatively more positive views of that group. Those who say they know someone who is Jewish, for example, give Jews an average thermometer rating of 69, compared with a rating of 55 among those who say they do not know anyone who is Jewish. Atheists receive a neutral rating of 50, on average, from people who say they personally know an atheist, but they receive a cold rating of 29 from those who do not know an atheist. Similarly, Muslims get a neutral rating (49 on average) from those who know a Muslim, and a cooler rating (35) from those who do not know a Muslim.

About the American Trends Panel Surveys

The American Trends Panel (ATP), created by the Pew Research Center, is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected adults in U.S. households. Respondents who self-identify as internet users (representing 89% of U.S. adults) participate in the panel via monthly self-administered Web surveys, and those who do not use the internet participate via telephone or mail. The panel is being managed by Abt SRBI.

Data in this report are drawn from the June wave of the panel, conducted May 30-June 30, 2014, among 3,217 respondents (2,849 by Web and 368 by mail). The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 3,217 respondents is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

All current members of the American Trends Panel were originally recruited from the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, a large (n=10,013) national landline and cellphone random digit dial (RDD) survey conducted Jan. 23 to March 16, 2014, in English and Spanish. At the end of that survey, respondents were invited to join the panel. The invitation was extended to all respondents who use the internet (from any location) and a random subsample of respondents who do not use the internet.3

Sample Size and Margin of Error for American Trends PanelOf the 10,013 adults interviewed, 9,809 were invited to take part in the panel. A total of 5,338 agreed to participate and provided either a mailing address or an email address to which a welcome packet, a monetary incentive and future survey invitations could be sent. Panelists also receive a small monetary incentive after participating in each wave of the survey.

The ATP data were weighted in a multistep process that begins with a base weight incorporating the respondents’ original survey selection probability and the fact that some panelists were subsampled for invitation to the panel. Next, an adjustment was made for the fact that the propensity to join the panel varied across different groups in the sample. The final step in the weighting uses an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin, telephone service, population density and region to parameters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. It also adjusts for party affiliation using an average of the three most recent Pew Research Center general public telephone surveys, and adjusts for internet use using as a parameter a measure from the 2014 Survey of Political Polarization. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting. The Hispanic sample in the American Trends Panel is predominantly native born and English speaking. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

The Web component of the June wave had a response rate of 60% (2,849 responses among 4,729 Web-based individuals enrolled in the panel); the mail component had a response rate of 66% (368 responses among 556 non-Web users enrolled in the panel). Taking into account the response rate for the 2014 Survey of Political Polarization (10.6%), the cumulative response rate for the June ATP wave is 3.5%.

The accompanying table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for groups discussed in the report and in the detailed tables provided below.