David Cameron In India: 06.09.06

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

going green in a delhi tuk-tuk

Arrived in Delhi late last night and it's been a hectic day, and another late night.

This morning we went to meet students at the Indian Institute of Technology, I had a meeting and lunch with the Prime Minister, meetings with other political leaders including Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul - who's now a politician in his own right - then a visit to see the amazing new Delhi Metro system, and dinner with business and political leaders at the British High Commission.

With the government seeming to be in meltdown back home, the BBC and ITN wanted a quote from me so we had a fairly ridiculous time driving round trying to meet up with their film crews in the dark in the middle of Delhi. We found each other in the end so I hope they got what they needed for the evening news...and if there's time later on we might upload some video of me talking about Blair and Brown the other day in the car.

But have a look at this clip from today, it's a great example of going green, and will surprise anyone who thinks that it's only places like California that are leading the green revolution.

globalisation speech

This clip is a three minute edited summary of David Cameron's speech in Mumbai last night on the challenges of globalisation. It was not posted by David.

Economic empowerment in the Mumbai slums

I'm sorry I couldn't post a video yesterday: over the next couple of days I hope I'll be able to update you more regularly.

I've had a quick look at your comments - they're great and I'll try to reply to some of the specific questions later. Someone said they hoped I wasn't being shielded from the reality of poverty in India today: the video clip on this post should reassure you. (Although not the guy who seems to have a problem with my hair.)

Yesterday morning, before the news of the minibus accident, I visited the Bandra Community Empowerment Programme in Dyaneshwar Nagar, one of around 500 slums in Mumbai. Many of the people living there are unemployed or underemployed; others work as auto rickshaw drivers, labourers on construction sites, domestic help and so on. Their low earnings and poor education - especially amongst the women - means there are high levels of debt, made worse by the monopoly of money lenders who charge high interest rates. Lack of access to proper medical care leads to high rates of TB, dysentery and HIV/AIDS.

Visiting the project was an incredibly sobering experience. I was thinking about the speech I was due to make on globalisation later that day. As you'll see when I post some clips from the speech later on, one of the ideas I'm trying to get across is that while globalisation, open markets and economic liberalisation bring huge benefits and have helped to reduce poverty massively, we've got to do more to mend the broken bottom rungs on the ladder from poverty to wealth. We need to match economic liberalism with economic empowerment, to give everyone the chance to share in the opportunities of globalisation.

This project in Mumbai is a vivid example of economic empowerment in action. It's incrediby inspiring, and you can find out more about the organisation behind the programme at www.oasisindia.org