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Bangladesh a better place to live than India, survey says

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Bangladeshi garment factory workers strike for better pay during a rally in Dhaka.                      (Reuters)

Low-lying Bangladesh is prey to typhoons and hurricanes every year. Salty ocean water routinely destroys the flat country's arable farmland. 

Many of the millions of garment-factory workers take their lives into their hands when they show up for work at derelict factories, 95 per cent of which are estimated to need  structural repairs.

Political strikes paralyze businesses in the capital of Dhaka.

And yet there is some evidence that bedevilled Bangladesh is still a better place to live than India, the big brother next door that has been heralded as a 21st-century superpower.

According to a new study called the Legatum Prosperity Index, Bangladesh fares better than India when it comes to the "joy of everyday life," and "the prospect of being able to build an even better life in the future."

Call it a bit of good news for a country still reeling from bad publicity after the Rana Plaza collapse in April, which killed more than 1,100 people.

The study, released by the U.K.-based Legatum Institute and reported by journalist Heather Timmons on the website Quartz, ranks Bangladesh 103rd out of 142 countries. India is ranked 106th and falling.

In Bangladesh, people “not only live 3.4 years longer than their Indian counterparts, but fewer are undernourished, a lower number die in infancy and more have access to sanitation."

In the eight categories used to measure prosperity, India is ahead of Bangladesh in health, safety and security, and personal freedom. In other categories, such as education and governance, Bangladesh is ahead. (Bangladesh also fared better than Cambodia and Pakistan in the study.)

Norway ranks No. 1, a position it has locked down since 2009, followed by Switzerland and Canada.

Canada had the survey's top score for personal freedom and was third in education, behind New Zealand and Australia. Canada's lowest score was for entrepreneurship and opportunity, where it came in 16th.

Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at The Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead


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I beg to disagree with Mr. Rick Westhead that Bangladesh is a tad better than India to live in. India has a considerable number of people who continue to migrate from Bangladesh. No doubt that Bangladesh is progressing, however it is a tiny nation and it has unburdened considerable number of its population to it bigger neighbour so much so that most of them have voting rights in India. No Indian emigrates to Bangladesh.

British still try to 'divide and rule'. Live in Canada looks good from surface. Doctors, Engineers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh work as taxi drivers. Taxes are very heavy and partly go to British queen.

Really?!? Does this take into account that most of Bangladesh will be underwater in the next 20-50 years?

India is really a very backward country but not many people realize that. Next superpower? Only in their dreams.

@MJ...What does it have to do with going underwater?!

@Ronjon...I have lived in both the countries and have worked in India for 11 years. By far, Bangladesh is a more peaceful, friendlier and proud nation. Indians are proud people too but arrogantly proud. You and MJ are two burning examples of that.

Yes, Really.
Do understand the surprise, but disgusted by the sneer. Come on, chill a little, rejoice that even though it is tiny, and it could go under water, it still beat Big India!!

The secret is the general population. The common people are just awesome, hard-working, decent folks!! Just think-- what if all of India was like Bangladesh...!! Would already be a superpower for the last two decades!!

By the way, no fear--Bangladesh is not about to run over India. Take it easy. Peace.

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