Thursday, September 07, 2006

Why Cities AND Farmers suffer? The real story.

Well the main reason why cities in India are neglected is because politicians from the time of Nehru have thought of India as a agricultural economy. Our cities were neglected saying 70% of the population lives in villages.( Well 30% in cities is a considerable number, God knows how they ignored it). Next came the land reforms. Give land to those who till it, they said. Well each farmer ended up with less than 5-6 acres of land. This turned agriculture uneconomical. Then came the green revolution, asking farmers to use expensive fertilizers. This made farms even more uneconomical.
Some may be arguing that it raised the yield. Yes yield increased, but only in the short term, vast areas of land today have turned too saline to be used due to excessive use of fertilizers. And although yield increased nobody bothered calculating that the cost of producing PER TONNE had also gone up. Now to save the farmers the politicians threw away money on schemes such as free power. The Vidharba Package(Maharashtra) is a classic example, all that money should have been used to build dams and canals so that the farmers get water, solving the root cause of their problems. In the end the state takes all the revenue it gets from cities and sends it to the rural areas. The net result? Our cities are cash starved. No money=No Development.
Recently the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has been launched, it will make labour more expensive for the farmers, compounding their problems.

Give a man fish and he eats for a Day, but teach him to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime goes a saying. Our Politicians delebrately do not teach fishing to farmers(i.e. GIVE them WATER) so that the farmers keep asking for 'Relief Packages' and the politicans can come and 'Give' the package in a grand way.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme-A Different View

The rural employment guarantee scheme may be seen as a boon to the unemployed millions in India.
But is it really going to make a difference?
According to the scheme money will be handed over to the people at the lowest economic strata, this means all payments will have to be made in cash. Cash transactions are the hardest to track if not impossible. This non-traceability of money is the Achilles heel of the act. There is no way to trace corruption at the lowest levels of Bureaucracy. In a country where corruption takes place under the very nose of the law the scheme is a possible cash cow for the corrupt. Most of those who are the beneficiaries of this scheme are the uneducated and illiterate, how difficult is it for a government official to cheat these people?
Is the scheme worth the cost? That money could be used to improve India's crumpling infrastructure.
Critics may argue that just because a few officials may be corrupt does not mean the scheme is worth the cost. Let us realise that India is one of the most corrupt nations and where corruption takes place even when one is easily caught by a money/paper trail. The corrupt will surely pounce on this scheme.
Then there is the question of why should a person who has not worked be paid? (The scheme says if the government does not provide work it will pay). This will only draw labour away from industries and the agricultural sector. Hence labour will become expensive. The agricultural sector cannot afford to pay more for labour. With a collapse of industries unemployment will soar, so this is like a chain reaction leading to more and more unemployment.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Why China cannot beat India in the long Run

Many of us are impressed by the China growth story. They have good roads, good this good that. I agree that they have got good infrastructure, in the eyes of the media at-least.
But how many ordinary Chinese can complain to the media say CNN or BBC about their problems? Do the millions who have been displaced due to the Three Gorges Dam and other projects have a voice? Whereas in
India the Narmada dam's construction has been held up by 30,000 families (which considering each family as having 5 members is 0.15 million).
How many Chinese can even read this Blog? Even Google's access is restricted in
Many say that the software industry will shift to
China due to their better infrastructure. But are companies ready to hand over their source code to a country where even Google is forced to share its user data with the Chinese government (they refused to give this information to the U.S. Goverment) ?
What is the bulk of the Chinese man power doing? They are manufacturing hardware, products designed elsewhere like
Japan ,Chinese are just copying it. Does it add to the intellect of the people? The people in China have become just robots. This is where India has the upper hand, its people think , even if it is ways to swindle the goverment! Evolution is proof that body parts that you use improve over generations, so Indians are becoming smarter at least in comparison to China.

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(While reading blogs it is advisable that you also read comments).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Educational Reforms

I am sure everybody agrees that the Indian educational system requires reforms. Let me list out some of the most obvious problems and their solutions.
The medium of education should be either Hindi or English. Why do students need to study in any other language? If a state language should be taught it can be made the 2ND or 3rd language.
A student in
India should be able to go to any state and work. If they study with a local language as the medium of instruction it seriously hinders their ability to find work outside their state.
Regarding those 'activists' who say that students should be taught in the state language or in their mother tongue, they are there only for publicity or because they feel jealous that somebody else is learning something better.
An example of these activists is Dr. Rajkumar from Karnataka (Yes the actor whose death caused all that chaos in
Bangalore). He was one who fought actively for Kannada to be medium of instruction in state run schools. But the irony is that his sons went to Bishop Cotton School, a premier ENGLISH medium school in Bangalore. Why? Children of others should study in Kannada but my children in English. Why? I ask why?

Up to class 12 there are countless boards in
India. It is time the state boards and the CBSE try to match their syllabi's. Many students find it difficult to migrate from one syllabus to another due to the gross disparity in both standards and the essence of the syllabus. The CBSE syllabus for Science and Mathematics should be made universal i.e. all state boards must follow the CBSE syllabus and text books. Even the Science and Math board exams in the 10th and 12th standards should be the CBSE paper with CBSE type correction. This would make the Science and Math marks of all students in India universal and comparable.
Only Social Science and Language syllabus should be decided by the state as Local History and Geography changes from state to state.

Some state boards are in pathetic condition. The corrections are so bad that students practically queue up by the hundreds to apply for re-evaluation. Teachers who have erred considerably in correction should be penalised heavily, even put in Jail for a month and barred from correcting papers for life.
Board examinations should be conducted with 100% video taping of the examination hall. This would reduce malpractice and give some value to the marks scored in exams. Again it is some state boards that are pathetic on the malpractice issue. Any kind of malpractice should lead to a jail term. If the examiners are involved then they should be jailed for life (Is it such a big crime you ask? Well sending the efforts of thousands or even lakhs of students down the drain is a SERIOUS offence according to me).

The constant re-writing of the social science text books should be stopped. Does history change so dramatically when there is a change of power in the government that entire textbooks have to be rewritten? The solution here is pure political will.

Now coming to professional education. Here private colleges are the rulers of the arena. There are colleges that run from what are practically sheds. Institutions with foreign sounding names which are nothing but bogus institutions. Universities whose degrees don't get recognized anywhere. Colleges without any kind of labs. The list is endless but the solution is one: Better enforcement of rules laid down by bodies such as the AICTE.
Foreign institutions advertising in
India should be regulated; many students find out that the institutions are bogus only on landing in the foreign country. Even worse is the case of students who learn that their degrees are not recognized only on completion of their course.

The above problems should be first sorted out before trying to implement 'Education for ALL' as an education lacking any value is worthless.

Solutions to the above problems do not require too much money, only will.

Hope our country reforms the education system or our dream of a Knowledge based economy will crumble soon, along with it the dream of being a super power.
Today Knowledge is power; nothing demonstrates this fact better than Google.