Act on Indirect Chinese Threats

Z1pn9iz9China remains as the indirect enemy for India’s growth. By aiding Pakistan and other neighbhours against India the red nation plays its danger card safely without revealing to the external world. Now India should safely steer clear the evil designs of Chinese and ensure its supremacy in the world stage soon. Expecting Chinese to help India in the global arena will be foolish.

G. Parathasarthy writes in The Times of India (29 June 2009)

Dwelling on the prospects for Sino-Indian relations just after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Yekaterinburg, on the sidelines of
the BRIC summit of emerging world economies, Chinese president Hu Jintao said: “Both sides should make steady progress in pushing for dialogue and cooperation.” The two Asian neighbours have cooperated closely in international forums on crucial economic issues like global economic recovery and the restructuring of international financial institutions. India and China have made common cause on vital issues of climate change, indicating that while they share a common interest with the developed world in arresting global warming, they would not succumb to pressures that would limit their common quest for economic development.

Sino-Indian cooperation on such issues has, however, been overshadowed by some disturbing policies adopted by China in recent days. Quite evidently bolstered by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s comments that US-China relations are the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century and by a realisation that the US needs its cooperation to revive its crisis-ridden economy, China has become more assertive in recent days in flexing its muscles across the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. It has overridden the concerns of its neighbours on its territorial claims in the South China Seas by extending its maritime boundaries with Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines unilaterally.

This has been combined with a continuing barrage against India, not only denigrating India’s economic development and its approach to neighbours like Pakistan, but also issuing not too thinly veiled warnings about its territorial claims to Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as “Southern Tibet”.

The policy of denigrating India picked up steam after the 26/11 terrorist carnage in Mumbai. Government-controlled media organisations in mainland China and Hong Kong launched an anti-India barrage claiming that “the Indian government’s eagerness to declare the attacks were carried out by foreign forces was an attempt to cover up internal contradictions”. The official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, proclaimed on December 2 that the attack was “a major blow to India’s big power ambitions”. More recently on June 19, it claimed that the “mindset” of people in India towards China is one of “awe, vexation, envy and jealousy”.

What has raised concerns in New Delhi is that, as China now displays its military might openly and calls on the commander of the US Pacific Fleet to recognise the Indian Ocean as a Chinese sphere of influence to be managed by Chinese nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers (a suggestion the Americans rejected), we are also witnessing growing aggressiveness in Chinese claims to the entire territory of Arunachal Pradesh. This is a far cry from China’s position in 2005, when it implicitly agreed that in resolving the border issue, the status of populated areas on both sides of the line of control would remain unchanged. Just after the Mumbai attack, a publication in a Chinese government-linked think tank noted, even before Pakistan claimed that India was manifesting aggressive intentions, that “China can support Pakistan in the event of a war”. Post-Mumbai, China has blocked attempts in the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Maulana Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Matters came to a head when China formally blocked the passage of a $2.9 billion assistance programme for India, from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), merely because it contained provisions for aid to developmental projects in “Southern Tibet”. New Delhi reacted strongly and China stood isolated when every other ADB member including Pakistan rejected its objections and endorsed the assistance package for India. The Americans appear to have signalled that they do not favour Chinese aggressiveness in putting forward claims to Arunachal Pradesh. And Pakistan realised that backing the Chinese line could result in the end of international developmental assistance for projects in PoK. What now appears clear is that while the US and its European partners would seek Chinese participation and support in dealing with international issues, they will not endorse manifestations of Chinese aggressiveness.

India has complemented its diplomatic success on Arunachal Pradesh in the ADB by deciding to bolster its defence preparedness in the state, with the decision to enhance military deployment with two additional mountain divisions and supporting artillery. New Delhi has also boosted its air power with the induction of frontline SU 30 aircraft into the north-east.

But both our service officers and defence scientists would be well-advised to remember that mature nations do not speak strongly or publicly about military deployments on disputed borders. Statements and leaks to the press about troop and air power deployments in Arunachal, or about development of China-specific Agni 3 and Agni 5 missiles, are uncalled for and appear to forget the old adage that actions speak louder than words. There are areas where we can and should cooperate with China on the global stage. At the same time, proactive diplomacy can deal with the strategic challenges that China poses in our Indian Ocean neighbourhood.

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Unique Identity Card

identity cardThe NDA governemnt proposed (UIC) unique identity card in 2003 for its own reasons. Now the UPA II had appointed corporate honcho Nandan Nilekani to stear head this project which is worth of Rs.1,50,000 crores. Unlikely other schemes this one should work timely so that all the social welfare schemes for the poor can reachout to the concerned people on time.

The Times of India writes (29 June 2009)

For a huge country with a 1.2 billion population, providing biometric unique ID cards to citizens would be a mammoth project. And much would depend
on who headed the assignment. With Nandan Nilekani’s appointment as chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India, there’s comfort. Representing a potentially fruitful public-private partnership, the ex-Infosys co-chairman’s cabinet-level induction marks a welcome departure from the usual practice of keeping key national projects in political and bureaucratic hands. Picking the right brains was key to executing such a big-ticket reform.

Nilekani has reflected on the problem of the multiplicity of identity markers, as his book Imagining India shows. The Congress-led UPA, on its part, had made the single national ID a poll issue. This meeting of minds on the scheme’s transformational nature should help address the challenges ahead. And there are a few. The 2011 deadline for delivery is ambitious, for starters. A national population register needs to precede issuance of cards, providing error-proof citizenship data. There are also big technological challenges. Central and state government services would need to log into this mother of all e-governance initiatives.

But difficulties in implementation are worth facing considering the gains. The security benefits are obvious, given the terror threats India faces. The problem of illegal migration can be better tackled. There are huge social and economic benefits as well. Poverty alleviation will get a fillip with proper identification of the beneficiaries of, say, job guarantee or food security programmes. Governments can get to save money by plugging leakages and targeting subsidies efficiently, a fiscal gain. Besides, business transactions would improve in general in myriad time and cost-saving ways.

Likewise, ordinary people’s lives will be made easier. Right now, people have to furnish any and everything from birth certificates to ration cards and PAN numbers for getting things done with different organisations, whether passport issuers, tax authorities or banks. We can also expect more accountable government, with networks of political patronage and corruption being dealt a blow. Another political dividend: poll-managers would better counter misuse of the electoral process. It remains for the authorities to ensure that the process of building an identification database is transparent. The glitches and complaints of ‘identity theft’ that have marred, say, BPL or voter ID card disbursal can’t afford to be repeated here, since we’re talking citizenship stakes.

Tackling Social Insecurity

social securityThe most challenging job for the UPA II is to provide social security to all the needy citizens. Unemployment, poverty, and health are the most pressing issues. It is to the concerned ministers to chart out timely actions to minimise the problems in the social front. The Times of India reports (28 June 2009) Unemployment is death by a thousand cuts. Life itself is dependent on gainful work. That is why losing one’s job is the beginning of a downward spiral — poverty, indebtedness, disease and suffering follow in quick succession. The current economic turmoil has caused mass unemployment around the world. In 2008, just over 190 million people or 6% of the global workforce were unemployed. The economic downturn had only just begun. By February this year, unemployment in the US stood at 12.5 million with the economy shedding up to 600,000 jobs every month. By April, unemployment in OECD countries — the world’s 30 richest — had topped 37 million. India has also been affected, though not quite so badly. According to a sample survey by the labour ministry, about five lakh Indian jobs were lost in the last quarter of 2008. Unemployment is often seen as an involuntary occurrence. People lose their jobs because of events beyond their control — economic downturns, disease, disability, or, in the case of women, social prejudice. Sometimes, people are unemployable. That is why there is a need for a collective remedy, a system that can help tide people through the dark days of joblessness. More than 60 countries worldwide provide some form of unemployment insurance. It is part of a larger social welfare commitment, which includes retirement and old age pension, sickness and maternity benefits. Often, affordable housing and education are part of the package. It is not just advanced economies that provide social welfare, though the richer countries have the most comprehensive systems. Several South American and African countries also offer their people some form of social welfare. In the past two decades, governments have retreated from social welfare spending, making the transition from ‘insurance’ to ‘assistance’. But industrialized countries still spend anything between 15% and 30% of their GDP on social security such as unemployment benefit, pension and healthcare. Yet India, one of the more advanced developing countries, barely manages to spend about 1% of its GDP on social services. Guy Standing, professor of economic security at the University of Bath in Britain, says India has one of the world’s lowest levels of social welfare expenditure and even that is mostly wasted. “What is perhaps most worrying in India is that politicians use social protection schemes cynically to boost their political prospects, so that they can show discretionary benevolence, particularly just before elections,” he told TOI. The need for social security is greater in the developing world than in the developed. The developing world’s concept of social security needs to be expanded — it has to include the aim of eliminating mass poverty, ill-health and illiteracy because without this social security cannot exist. In India, there are additional obstacles, such as caste discrimination. Given the scale of these problems, social welfare spending is at a rudimentary level in most developing countries including India. Although the law recognizes various rights, such as livelihood, these are not enforceable. In a belated attempt to rectify this, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was adopted in 2006 but it only provides for a maximum of 100 days of manual labour in a year at the minimum wage. Perhaps a fatal flaw in India’s social security framework is that it only covers the organized sector, which accounts for just 8% of the workforce. The vast majority of Indian workers are in the unorganized sector. Some half-hearted attempts were made to bring them under some sort of social security coverage by passing a law in December. For India to progress, policy has to be boldly refocused on providing social security, including a safety net for when one loses one’s job. As Guy Standing puts it, “We have found in Africa that when you provide low-income people with a little money without conditions, they mostly spend it in the best interests of their families and communities. They do not need to be told or led to do what state bureaucrats think The most challenging job for the UPA II is to provide social security to all the needy citizens. Unemployment, poverty, and health are the most pressing issues. It is to the concerned ministers to chart out timely actions to minimise the problems in the social front. The Times of India reports (28 June 2009) Unemployment is death by a thousand cuts. Life itself is dependent on gainful work. That is why losing one’s job is the beginning of a downward spiral — poverty, indebtedness, disease and suffering follow in quick succession. The current economic turmoil has caused mass unemployment around the world. In 2008, just over 190 million people or 6% of the global workforce were unemployed. The economic downturn had only just begun. By February this year, unemployment in the US stood at 12.5 million with the economy shedding up to 600,000 jobs every month. By April, unemployment in OECD countries — the world’s 30 richest — had topped 37 million. India has also been affected, though not quite so badly. According to a sample survey by the labour ministry, about five lakh Indian jobs were lost in the last quarter of 2008. Unemployment is often seen as an involuntary occurrence. People lose their jobs because of events beyond their control — economic downturns, disease, disability, or, in the case of women, social prejudice. Sometimes, people are unemployable. That is why there is a need for a collective remedy, a system that can help tide people through the dark days of joblessness. More than 60 countries worldwide provide some form of unemployment insurance. It is part of a larger social welfare commitment, which includes retirement and old age pension, sickness and maternity benefits. Often, affordable housing and education are part of the package. It is not just advanced economies that provide social welfare, though the richer countries have the most comprehensive systems. Several South American and African countries also offer their people some form of social welfare. In the past two decades, governments have retreated from social welfare spending, making the transition from ‘insurance’ to ‘assistance’. But industrialized countries still spend anything between 15% and 30% of their GDP on social security such as unemployment benefit, pension and healthcare. Yet India, one of the more advanced developing countries, barely manages to spend about 1% of its GDP on social services. Guy Standing, professor of economic security at the University of Bath in Britain, says India has one of the world’s lowest levels of social welfare expenditure and even that is mostly wasted. “What is perhaps most worrying in India is that politicians use social protection schemes cynically to boost their political prospects, so that they can show discretionary benevolence, particularly just before elections,” he told TOI. The need for social security is greater in the developing world than in the developed. The developing world’s concept of social security needs to be expanded — it has to include the aim of eliminating mass poverty, ill-health and illiteracy because without this social security cannot exist. In India, there are additional obstacles, such as caste discrimination. Given the scale of these problems, social welfare spending is at a rudimentary level in most developing countries including India. Although the law recognizes various rights, such as livelihood, these are not enforceable. In a belated attempt to rectify this, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was adopted in 2006 but it only provides for a maximum of 100 days of manual labour in a year at the minimum wage. Perhaps a fatal flaw in India’s social security framework is that it only covers the organized sector, which accounts for just 8% of the workforce. The vast majority of Indian workers are in the unorganized sector. Some half-hearted attempts were made to bring them under some sort of social security coverage by passing a law in December. For India to progress, policy has to be boldly refocused on providing social security, including a safety net for when one loses one’s job. As Guy Standing puts it, “We have found in Africa that when you provide low-income people with a little money without conditions, they mostly spend it in the best interests of their families and communities. They do not need to be told or led to do what state bureaucrats think is what they should do. If India is really to escape from its caste-drThe most challenging job for the UPA II is to provide social security to all the needy citizens. Unemployment, poverty, and health are the most pressing issues. It is to the concerned ministers to chart out timely actions to minimise the problems in the social front. The Times of India reports (28 June 2009) Unemployment is death by a thousand cuts. Life itself is dependent on gainful work. That is why losing one’s job is the beginning of a downward spiral — poverty, indebtedness, disease and suffering follow in quick succession. The current economic turmoil has caused mass unemployment around the world. In 2008, just over 190 million people or 6% of the global workforce were unemployed. The economic downturn had only just begun. By February this year, unemployment in the US stood at 12.5 million with the economy shedding up to 600,000 jobs every month. By April, unemployment in OECD countries — the world’s 30 richest — had topped 37 million. India has also been affected, though not quite so badly. According to a sample survey by the labour ministry, about five lakh Indian jobs were lost in the last quarter of 2008. Unemployment is often seen as an involuntary occurrence. People lose their jobs because of events beyond their control — economic downturns, disease, disability, or, in the case of women, social prejudice. Sometimes, people are unemployable. That is why there is a need for a collective remedy, a system that can help tide people through the dark days of joblessness. More than 60 countries worldwide provide some form of unemployment insurance. It is part of a larger social welfare commitment, which includes retirement and old age pension, sickness and maternity benefits. Often, affordable housing and education are part of the package. It is not just advanced economies that provide social welfare, though the richer countries have the most comprehensive systems. Several South American and African countries also offer their people some form of social welfare. In the past two decades, governments have retreated from social welfare spending, making the transition from ‘insurance’ to ‘assistance’. But industrialized countries still spend anything between 15% and 30% of their GDP on social security such as unemployment benefit, pension and healthcare. Yet India, one of the more advanced developing countries, barely manages to spend about 1% of its GDP on social services. Guy Standing, professor of economic security at the University of Bath in Britain, says India has one of the world’s lowest levels of social welfare expenditure and even that is mostly wasted. “What is perhaps most worrying in India is that politicians use social protection schemes cynically to boost their political prospects, so that they can show discretionary benevolence, particularly just before elections,” he told TOI. The need for social security is greater in the developing world than in the developed. The developing world’s concept of social security needs to be expanded — it has to include the aim of eliminating mass poverty, ill-health and illiteracy because without this social security cannot exist. In India, there are additional obstacles, such as caste discrimination. Given the scale of these problems, social welfare spending is at a rudimentary level in most developing countries including India. Although the law recognizes various rights, such as livelihood, these are not enforceable. In a belated attempt to rectify this, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was adopted in 2006 but it only provides for a maximum of 100 days of manual labour in a year at the minimum wage. Perhaps a fatal flaw in India’s social security framework is that it only covers the organized sector, which accounts for just 8% of the workforce. The vast majority of Indian workers are in the unorganized sector. Some half-hearted attempts were made to bring them under some sort of social security coverage by passing a law in December. For India to progress, policy has to be boldly refocused on providing social security, including a safety net for when one loses one’s job. As Guy Standing puts it, “We have found in Africa that when you provide low-income people with a little money without conditions, they mostly spend it in the best interests of their families and communities. They do not need to be told or led to do what state bureaucrats think is what they should do. If India is really to escape from its caste-driven and Raj-affected past, it must loosen up.” iven and Raj-affected past, it must loosen up.” is what they should do. If India is really to escape from its caste-driven and Raj-affected past, it must loosen up.”

Sexventurous Men

shineyThere is no logic to slip from the planned path. Human beings are prone to involving in negative habits like rape, molesting, crime etc in a matter of seconds without any prior thought. Even habitual offenders start like this and go on to become professionals. Unsolicited sex is the most unpopular item which attracts everyone’s attraction. Especially by a well-known person in the society.

Vinita Dawra Nangia writes in The Times of India (28 June 2009)

Sometimes a moment is all it takes. A moment that can make or break history; a moment that changes an entire life. A moment of madness, or a moment A moment of madness of enlightenment.

A moment when Prince Sidhartha decided to leave behind home and kingdom, then again a moment when enlightenment struck Buddha. An instant that compelled the impassioned Othello to take the life of wife Desdemona and another that put Antony
under Cleopatra’s spell, thus determining his downfall …

Shiney Ahuja also must have been governed by that one moment of madness in which he made the choice to force himself upon his hapless maid. Maybe if that flash in time had passed, he may have thought better of it and held himself back. His decision in that moment has decided the course of the rest of his life. And unfortunately that of his wife and child as well.

What makes people give up an entire life in a moment of madness? Remember recent news reports of the girl who killed her mother in a fit of rage when she protested against her daughter’s lover? Or the wife who killed her husband, enraged because
he wouldn’t go for a walk with her. Later in the night, she hung herself too, leaving behind three orphaned kids! Or the Chandigarh gardener who used his shears to cut his wife to bits because she wouldn’t accompany him to his parents’ home!
A moment’s madness, and a lifetime of regret. . .

There are many more examples of apparently normal people giving in to a fit of passion that is of almost lunatic dimension. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this is the first moment of madness that struck these people; there may have been many earlier. However, life has this habit of catching up with you suddenly, some time, some day. Very often you have walked away with worse and then get caught for something much smaller.

Who is to say former US Prez Bill Clinton’s worst indulgence was with Monica Lewinsky? He must have given in to the loony moment several times before the moment got him! The same is true of people like Hugh Grant caught in his encounter with a Hollywood prostitute, or of Boris Becker who had sex with model Angela Ermakova in a restaurant broom cupboard while his wife Barbara went to hospital with labour pains! Or of Brad Pitt who was caught massaging the nanny’s back even with the world’s fantasy woman Angelina Jolie in his own bed!

What really happens when you give in to the sheer mindlessness of such an instant? It’s like slipping into a kind of a lunacy; emotions cloud all reasoning and you are driven over the edge. There’s that split second before you tip the balance, which is the making or breaking moment. And then you get to the point of no return, when you are lost to reason and consequence.

Can such overwhelming emotions be controlled? Can these people be held responsible for their actions in such moments? Does the moment define such a person or does it overtake him that once? Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Deepak Raheja says it
would be unfair to judge a person’s character based on that one moment of weakness since that could have come from a chemical overplay or even a sudden clouding of the mind and intelligence due to extreme emotions, which could be rage, jealousy, hatred or even lust. “The libidinal impulse that takes birth in the brain may take over so badly that it demands instant gratification.”

When asked if arrogance and sense of power can blind people to reason and lead to impulsive anti-social behavior, Dr Raheja
says, “Certainly, a false sense of power and Narcissim that you can get away with everything can lead to the moments of madness.” Interestingly, the law takes cognisance of the unpredictability of human behaviour under the influence of extreme
passion. Explains Shilpi Jain, lawyer Supreme Court, “In criminal law we look at intention, not the act itself. For instance,
in a murder case the IPC says if a person commits murder in heat of emotion, the punishment is not as severe as it is for a premeditated crime. In case of rape, it becomes a bit complicated because then you get into whether there was any encouragement from the victim’s side.”

Lawyers cite two cases to show the sensitivity of British law to the impact of emotion on a person who in a moment of sudden lunacy, commits a crime. Though the lawyers couldn’t name the cases, in one case a British judge apparently took a lenient view of a woman who killed her husband because she was apparently under PMT stress at the time!

Another British judge, says Shilpi, took a lenient view of a rapist who said he was unable to help himself after he saw the victim looking so sexy at the beach. The judge apparently asked the victim to come to court dressed similarly. And then, based on his own reaction, agreed with the accused!

The Brits do seem to be lenient to their Moments of Madness! And why not, when the same moments, if they have led to crime, have also produced some of the world’s greatest art and literature, a fair amount of it emanating from good old Britain!
Temporary bouts of madness can no doubt have their own drugging effect and a reinforcement behaviour. Anyone who gets away with it once, may think he can escape always. And this is particularly true of those who are delusional about their own success and seem to imagine the world revolves around them. It could happen to any of us.

Agreeing with this, Dr Raheja sounds a note of warning, saying when on an upward curve, it is very important for all to keep the internal journey going. All you need every day is a moment off from the heady drug of success to remain grounded.

Smart Cards for Social Welfare Schemes

smart cardsThe Union Government has duty to get rid of povery, illiteracy and other social evils. Although it spends a huge amount of its budget for the social welfare schemes, the fund pipe from Delhi to the receipent is full of loopholes. To plug this it may be wise to use the Unique Identification Card (UIC) to trace out the real poor people and transact cash through their bank accounts. Pessimists may say that there 200 blocks in the country which do not have nationalised banks. We must start thinking in this line so that sooner or later the welfare schemes reach out to the real people.

Gurucharan Das writes in The Times of India (28 June 2009)

When Polonius said in Hamlet, ‘to thine own self be true’, he was not thinking of Part I of the UPA government’s forthcoming budget on July 6.
Polonius was saying that integrity and success lie in being true to oneself.

This budget is expected to announce a massive give-away of rice and wheat at Rs 3 per kilo, and the scheme is likely to fail because it fails Polonius’ test. Eighteen years of slow, incremental economic reforms have fashioned a certain kind of nation which was captured brilliantly in the film, Slumdog Millionaire.

If the movie caught the character of the nation’s poor, the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket mirrors it for the middle class. The character quite simply is of a vibrant and energetic private sector that is hemmed in by an arid eco-system of weak governance. As if to underline this, our bureaucracy has recently been rated the worst in Asia in a survey of 12 countries.

While we deeply admire the UPA’s commitment to the poor, we are repelled by its inability to understand our state’s limitations. As it is, there is huge corruption in the public food distribution system and it would be far better to make cash transfers to the poor via smart cards. It will not harm the poor farmer either, as selling grains at Rs 3, which will inevitably end up in the black market. Smart cards are being successfully used in the national health insurance scheme or Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna.

Millions of Indians are stuck between the factory and the farm but they do not sit around and complain. Each morning they pull themselves up and go out and create a livelihood in the informal sector. Our regulations, alas, do not make it easy — hence, India is rated 128th in the ease of doing business. In a massive new study, ‘Moving out of Poverty’, people claim that they have risen out of poverty through their own initiative, and not through hand-outs.

The poor prefer an enabling environment that lets them work with dignity. Our advantage over China is that we respect property titles and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are showing that when secure titles are on-line, the poor capitalize on them to start businesses in the informal economy.

Unlike the statists behind the Rs 3 scheme, many UPA ministers are refreshing in seeking to create enabling conditions for the poor. The new minister of HRD, Kapil Sibal, understands that teacher absenteeism is forcing even the poor to desert state schools and he is focused on better delivery through public-private partnerships.

The energetic Kamal Nath has begun to cut red tape and remove bottlenecks in pursuit of an ambitious target to build roads, putting greater onus on the private sector. M M Kharge plans to spend Rs 30,000 crores to develop skills, and knows that the only way to impart vocational education is with the involvement of companies.

Sivaprakash Jaiswal has announced the end of state monopoly in the corrupt coal mining sector, and it raises the hope of finally bringing efficiency to a sector that accounts for 55% of India’s energy basket. Veerappan Moily has promised ‘‘sweeping, holistic judicial reform’’ that will tackle the backlog of 30 million pending court cases among other reforms. All these five ministers are following Polonius’s advice.

In the past one year, both China and India held a sports event. The magnificent Beijing Olympics last year were a tribute to the efficiency of the Chinese state. The Indian Premier League (IPL) this year is a testimonial to our private sector.

When the timing of the IPL clashed with the elections, the IPL did not give up. It played off the English and South African boards to get the best deal and the result was an amazing sight — Delhi playing Hyderabad in Cape Town and Mumbai playing Chennai in Johannesburg. With bold ambition, quick thinking, meticulous planning and brilliant execution — all the skills that are making Indian companies successful on the world stage — the IPL filled stadiums, shuttled thousands of Indians to South Africa, and enticed millions to their TVs back home.

It took a hundred years for Major League Baseball in America to hold its first game outside the US and 50 for the American Football League to play outside. The IPL has gone global in its second year.

The two sports events are metaphors for two models of development. The Chinese state can deliver rice and wheat at Rs 3 to the poor. But India cannot. The UPA government would do well to remember Polonius’ advice and be true to our nation’s character.

Maid in India

maidMaids are part and parcel of big families. Both in urban and rural areas maids are a common feature of families. They become maids out of dire necessity. Once they see the lifestyles of employers temptation naturally comes. Big cars, bundles of currency notes, nice perfumes, lip smacking food and other goodies. They also want to become part like their employers. Many times they steal and provoke the men in the families through their body exposures. Rarely men can stop acting on the provocations. Maid’s sexal provocation is not that easy to escape.

Shobhaa De writes in The Times of India (28 June 2009)
‘‘Bollywood is full of rapists… some get caught. Others screw themselves.’’ Who said that? Never mind. Crudely put… but broadly speaking, i
agree. I was the editor of India’s raciest film magazines for 11 long years. You can say, i’ve had a ringside view of the goings on.

Showbiz is a strange destination. It’s a planet in itself. Those who occupy it, create their own rules. Hollywood is full of rapists, too. Again, some are stupid enough to be caught with their pants down. But out there, those chaps go to jail and stay there, serving out their sentence. The Shiney Ahuja case would have been just another sorry episode had it not been for the victim’s age and social position. Plus, the fact that she chose to go to the cops. Most actors believe it is their birthright to get sexual favours from whosoever catches their fancy. They aren’t terribly discriminating either. If they can’t bed their co-star, they happily settle for her sister, friend, cousin, aunt… even mother. If even those options are shut, they look a little further — at the ‘extras’.

Most of the junior artistes don’t object — in fact they consider it an ‘honour’ to be picked by the big guy. Those who do, are chased out of tinsel town for being ‘unco-operative.’ If only spot-boys (lackeys of stars) could open their mouths, what stories they’d have to tell.

Shiney allegedly attacking his young maid, is not news. Shiney’s wife deciding to stand by her man and declare her undying love for the guy, is. As of now, she is doing a pretty convincing job of defending her husband, claiming he has been framed, and more amusingly, that it is he who may have been raped.

The person one feels sorriest for is Shiney’s father, an ex-services man. Wicked smses are doing the rounds. Once a case is deemed sms-worthy, you know the case has hit bull’s eye — till something juicier happens. My sympathies are with Anupam, the fiery wife who has had to round up neighbours and ‘friends’ for character certificates while facing a hostile media mocking her every utterance.

That she hasn’t cracked under pressure so far, is no small miracle. It can’t be easy for a woman to deal with such a disgraceful chapter in her marriage. Assuming she genuinely believes Shiney is innocent, and it turns out that way, Anupam will be the biggest hero. But what if she discovers the horrible truth that her husband was a beast who ravaged an innocent domestic? How will Anupam live with that?

Discussing the Shiney case with a powerful film producer, i nearly fell off my chair when he said he was ready to sign Shiney for his next film on the spot! Reason? Shiney Ahuja has become a household name in India, and everybody will now be keener than ever to see him on screen. He pointed out how Hugh Grant became a super hero after he was caught with a prostitute in Los Angeles.

‘‘Audiences love Bad Boys. The worse a man behaves, the more his box office value goes up,’’ he said smiling devilishly. To further his argument, he added, ‘‘Don’t believe me? Here, talk to my driver. Even he thinks i should sign Shiney for my next film.’’ Sounds rotten, right? Cold blooded, devious and manipulative? But that’s how the cookie crumbles in Bollywood. Look no further than Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan.

If the producer’s gut feeling is right, one can cynically look at Shiney’s crime as a shrewd career move. He was never an A-lister, but after this, he may get a promotion! Audiences can be so perverse sometimes. Notoriety has its spin offs in this vast palace of illusions. Here we are wasting time and energy taking sides, feeling sorry for Shiney, sorry for the maid, sorry for the wife, sorry for the daughter, sorry for the father.

When we should actually be feeling pretty sorry for our own foolish selves. Shiney may get shinier. Anupam, richer, and the maid will definitely receive lucrative offers to sell her story (if Rubina, the Slumdog Princess is penning her autobiography, why not a star’s rape victim?). What’s the bet Madhur Bhandarkar/Mahesh Bhatt are feverishly working on the script of their next film titled — what else — ‘Maid in India’ starring all the characters playing themselves?

Decriminalising Gay Rights?

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Gays were always there in India. Only now they are loud and clear. Forming unions, parading them in colourful attire and voicing their rights on the streets. The nation banned gay culture through its Section 377. As the gays are demanding their rights to be legalised there is no option for the democratic government to hold on forever. Legalising will have its own negative consequences. More young people will be attracted to the homosexuality and display their tie ups in public. As in other cases only a strong society and cultural values can save the country from going radically liberal.

The Times of India writes (27 June 2009)

The government is planning to repeal the law that criminalizes homosexuality. The home ministry, which has consistently opposed any 
change in Section 377 of the IPC that treats private consensual intercourse between same-sex adults as a crime, now appears to have changed its stand. ( Watch )

Home minister P Chidambaram is learnt to have expressed an opinion that favours the repeal of Section 377 to his officials. This is in stark contrast to his predecessor Shivraj Patil, who doggedly refused to make any changes in the 150-year-old law, introduced in India by the British, and junked by the UK 40 years ago.

Law minister Veerappa Moily has already said that he is in favour of a ‘‘review’’ of the law, and the health ministry — the third key ministry whose assent would be required to amend Section 377 — has historically favoured its repeal.

Sources in the home ministry said that Chidambaram, will speed up matters by taking Moily and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s “formal” view of at a joint meeting. The issue will also be discussed with state governments in order to ascertain their opinion, the sources added.

Officials believe that the government’s stand may change when it comes to the Delhi High Court, which is considering a petition challenging arrests under section 377, because of the law minister’s support for a “review”.

Although the court has already finished hearing arguments on the petition filed by the non-profit Naz Foundation in 2001, the matter can be taken up afresh.

A senior official said, “If there is a consensus over repealing the law or bringing some suitable changes to decriminalise homosexual relationships, the ministry can submit before the court that it has changed its position”.

Earlier, the home ministry’s position was that homosexuality is not accepted by Indian society and repealing the law would open the floodgates of delinquent behaviour. It also argued that this is the only law on the statute books that can be applied in cases of child abuse and male rape.

The health ministry, on the other hand, had argued that homosexuals are vulnerable to HIV/Aids and so the discrimination against them should end.

Home ministry is now waiting to see whether the new health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad favours his ministry’s earlier stand. A final decision will be taken after taking the consent of all in the proposed meeting. The meeting will also discuss bringing some new provisions which may deal with cases relating to child abuse and male rape in case Section 377 is repealed.

The meeting is being called in the backdrop of the prime minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention on the subject. He had directed the ministers to resolve their differences so that the government gets a cogent and uniform view on homosexuality.

The high court, too, had told the government to sort out its differences at the earliest.

Need for Strong Indo Canadian Ties

canadafThe time has come for India and Canada to forge a stronger relationship to aid mutually. The two commonwealth nations must come together often to explore positive energies to strengthen their business and people’s relations. Naturally there is a lot of scope for this venture. Ramesh Thakur writes in The Times of India (25 June 2009) Canada and India have a surprisingly aloof relationship. Both are engaged in world affairs but are largely disconnected from each other. Canada is among the wealthiest, healthiest and best educated countries of the world, India among the poorest, unhealthiest and least literate. The first big country to be decolonised, India was a comfortable partner for Canada on many international issues from decolonisation to fashioning a new Commonwealth as a grouping of equals, the struggle for racial equality within and among nations and the state-building and economic development agendas of the newly independent countries. The two were among the earliest and most frequent contributors to UN peacekeeping. During the Cold War, Canada was a NATO ally while India tilted towards Moscow. The ‘common’ experience in the Indo-China control commissions, which India chaired, graduated a generation of anti-Indian officials in Canada’s foreign service. That sentiment spread and hardened among Canadians with India’s ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ in 1974 that violated the terms of the bilateral nuclear assistance agreement. After the Cold War, human security provided the conceptual template that bridged such disparate Canadian initiatives as the adoption of the Ottawa Convention banning landmines, the International Criminal Court, and the responsibility to protect norm. To Canadians, India was on the wrong side of history on these. To Indians, Canada’s self-righteousness blinded it to divergent world views rooted in different historical trajectories, experiences and geopolitical circumstances. The end of the Cold War required a fundamental re-evaluation of ideational identity for India. The results of adjustments to foreign and economic policies in turn have led others to reorient their India policies. It has been one of the world’s economic success stories, second only to China. With the nuclear tests of 1998, India insisted on marching to a tune which Canadians find harshly discordant. With worldwide censure of the tests, India made a hard-nosed decision that the only country that mattered in its nuclear diplomacy was the US. The strategy was vindicated with the conclusion of the bilateral India-US civil nuclear deal, subsequently endorsed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group of which Canada is a member. To the frustration of the nuclear industry mesmerised by the anticipated multibillion dollar contracts for the planned new nuclear plants to produce clean energy, Canada was among the last to come on board India’s shiny new nuclear express. Changing world dynamics and India’s rising global profile provide an opportunity to reset the bilateral relationship. India adjusted to the end of the Cold War by integrating with the international economy and forging an unexpectedly close relationship with Washington. The changes provide a sound basis for re-engaging with Canada. India has shown growing openness to commercial ties, cultural exchanges and academic links. Private sector, cultural and educational diplomacy can reinforce without supplanting the traditional state-to-state diplomacy. The large influx of Indian immigrants to Canada affluent, well-educated and among the leaders in professional occupations and public life are an invaluable asset. Their success story is a tale worth telling to Canadians and an asset worth exploiting in relations with India. Over time, they can be built into powerful constituencies for linking Canada and India in an increasingly networked world order. They could also provide the platform for a steep rise in the numbers of tourists and students from India. Canada has lagged behind market leader Australia where the 5,00,000-strong overseas student industry is worth a staggering A$15.5 billion in direct income both in attracting foreign students to Canadian universities and establishing profitable offshore franchises. Half a million Indians study abroad at a cost of around $10 billion. This is a stinging self-indictment of the quality and marketability of the vastly underserved indigenous education market in India, as well as a reliable indicator of the growing size and wealth of India’s middle class. Around 95,000 Indian students went to Australia in 2008, compared to a modest 4,000 in the Canadian tertiary sector. Considering Canada’s internationally competitive educational institutions, this is a shockingly low figure. The paucity of Canadian businesses to have taken advantage of India’s growing market is partly explained by India’s excessive regulations, restrictions, red tape and corruption. India fares poorly in world rankings for corruption and ease of doing business. Surveying the wreckage of nation and democracy-building efforts in countries around it, India stands out as an oasis of regime stability, democratic legitimacy and economic progress. For all its own challenges, India can be an anchor of stability and a partner for outsiders wishing to consolidate progress in the ring of fragile and troubled states. It is a frontline state against international terrorism. While Canada played a pioneering role in the development of UN peacekeeping, India has contributed the largest number of troops and suffered the most fatalities. When Canada returns to UN peacekeeping, opportunities will expand for shared international duty in the cause of peace. The G20 leaders’ group brings them together in the new premier steering mechanism for global challenges. It brings to fruition a quintessentially bridging initiative by Canada’s former prime minister Paul Martin between the global North and South. Whether they will cooperate constructively in addressing the challenges of global governance remains to be seen.

BJP Abandon Minority Bashing and Adopt Sincerity

bjp-4409313Politics means publicity and selfishness. The BJP was a different party decade ago. Now after tasting power in the centre and few states it has bred many selfish leaders who are keen to score points to achieve their own mobility. At this cross road it should allow some people inside the party to hijack. It should bring back its sincerity and honesty to serve the public. The minority bashing should be abandoned and inner party reforms should be fully implemented. Without these there is no scope for BJP in the future.

The Hindu editorial writes (24 June 2009)

The Bharatiya Janata Party went into its two-day national executive meet — the first since its defeat in the 15th general election — as a bitterly divided house but emerged from it in somewhat better spirits and shape. The situation was redeemed by a near-consensus on redefining Hindutva as an ‘inclusive, tolerant’ ideology suited to modern, changing India. The meet expressed itself against the virulent brand espoused by Varun Gandhi, with some members virtually scapegoating the Philibhit speeches for the BJP’s poor performance in Uttar Pradesh. The shift to lower-key Hindutva was led by Lal Krishna Advani, the veteran of many campaigns and the ideologue of the BJP’s ‘cultural nationalism.’ In his valedictory address, he declared that the party could not and would not accept “any narrow, bigoted anti-Muslim interpretation of Hindutva.” The Advani imprint was also visible in the political resolution’s characterisation of “theocracy or any form of bigotry” as “alien to our ethos.” The part-positive, part-stoic note struck at the conclusion of the meet helped mitigate the impression that the BJP was on an irreversible descent into chaos.

After all, the internecine war that saw a group of formerly powerful members trading accusations and shooting off letters charging the leadership with a lack of accountability, favouritism, and what not had left little to the imagination. BJP president Rajnath Singh’s opening remarks at the national executive meet further muddied the waters. He reiterated the party’s commitment to Hindutva, underlining the core issues of the Ram temple, Article 370, and a Uniform Civil Code. This combined with Maneka Gandhi’s stout defence of son Varun — she was quoted as saying Muslims did not vote for the party anyway — raised the question: was the party heading back to its unapologetic Jana Sangh days? The answer came in the form of loud protests: State leaders such as Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Sushil Modi argued that in Madhya Pradesh as in Bihar the party had successfully practised a ‘more inclusive’ politics. The BJP’s Muslim face, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, added his weight to the proposition, and finally Mr. Advani himself offered a sharp counterview to Mr. Rajnath Singh’s ‘back to the basics’ speech. Nobody of course seriously expects the party of Hindutva to change its nature, although it does not lack the skill to paint over its spots. It is too early to say whether the new line will find favour with the BJP’s rank and file — or for that matter with the party’s minder in Jhandewalan. But Mr. Advani, who in this hour of crisis has displayed the fortitude and shrewdness of a redoubtable defeated general, can be satisfied that he has given it his best shot.

Reloading the Indian Civil Services

civilsCivil Services is the backbone of any country. In India this core pillar of the governance has been going from bad to worst. It needs to revamped and rejunvenated to serve the public. Although some of the successful civil servants are keen to solve people’s problems political interference is frustrating them. I suggest come autonomy for the system with adequate protection incase of attacks from the political figures and parties. 

Shailaja Chandra writes in The Times of India (23 June 2009)

The final touches are being given to a civil services Bill, which represents an improvement over the 2007 public service draft. People are 
alternately euphoric or cynical about the move. There is a need to analyse the ambit of the proposed law in terms of what is good about it and also highlight why this law cannot become a panacea for all the ills that beset the civil service, particularly in its interface with the public.

First, a civil service or public services law is not a new idea. It has already been introduced in Australia, New Zealand and several other countries. But in these places it was primarily aimed at orienting lateral entrants into the civil service towards understanding concepts like allegiance to the Constitution, law, democracy and the neutrality of civil servants. By contrast, members of the organised services in India are well-versed in such issues right from the beginning, although some choose to disregard the wisdom wilfully.
This is partly attributable to increasing the age of entry into the civil service, multiplying the number of attempts to get in, introducing an Indian language (read: the mother tongue) as an examination paper and holding interviews in regional languages, all of which have slashed the chances of finding young officers who can think beyond regional mindsets, whether nationally or globally. To expect such civil servants to become instruments of change is like asking for the moon.

Where the idea of a civil service law would definitely score is by the establishment of a Central Public Service Authority (CPSA). The CPSA will have the overarching responsibility to oversee the management of the civil service and, if media reports are to be believed, its role would not be merely recommendatory. There would be time and opportunity to look at suitability and experience of entrants. More important, the tendency of officers to brazenly curry favour with prospective secretaries and ministers to find a ‘good berth’ in a central ministry might end.

Another plus point is that independent scrutinies of key appointments such as that of the cabinet secretary and hopefully even the information commissioner’s and regulatory authorities’ might be subjected to bi-partisan scrutiny. This might also end the practice of making controversial appointments, which have discredited different governments and created immense resentment within the bureaucratic system.

At the state level, there could still be a snag. The proposed law would most certainly have to be individually accepted by each state. It has to be seen whether key states like Uttar Pradesh would play ball. Should they do so, it would free appointments and transfers from the ‘off with his head’ syndrome and rescue some innocent officers from the ignominy of public disgrace often prompted by whimsical politics. Nonetheless, at the state level, everything will depend on who heads the state PSA. A smooth operator can still fix things, and selections at the state level can be manipulated with little ingenuity. The central government is lightyears ahead in terms of its selection and transfer processes. The real need to rein in transfers is in the states where loss of morale and resentment is at a peak.

Finally, the problem with the public service law is that it can only encompass the organised services. It will, therefore, not impact on an exasperated public seeking assistance in accessing health care, electricity and water, food rations, traversable roads, unadulterated food and crime prevention. Indeed, it is the bureaucracy that comes into public contact that desperately needs a facelift if the label of India having “Asia’s worst civil service” is to be altered.

That would mean that a civil service law in a country like India also needs a supplementary law or regulation to deal with recalcitrant public functionaries that citizens confront everyday. The people need a forum to vent their grievances before an authority that can summarily deal with cases of harassment and corruption. The departmental system is too long drawn out and clumsy to get anyone punished in a way that sets an example.

In 1997, the Delhi government had set up a public grievance commission to hear complaints against any official of the government. The commission still exists. Summary proceedings are held and the commission can take suo motu cognizance of any issue that comes up during a hearing or even otherwise. As a result, any member of the public can bring a grievance before the commission which listens to complainants (minus lawyers), and makes recommendations by scrutinising the files and listening to what the department has to say. The Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended that a public grievance commission could be set up by all state governments.

Along with a civil service law, there is every need to introduce a fast-track mechanism to hear people’s grievances publicly and act on them promptly. While officers need protection, the legislation should also benefit the public for whose good all laws are made.
Sumit K Majumdar writes in The Business Line (23 December 2005)

A 21ST CENTURY Indian economy, on the fast growth track, needs a forward-looking administrative organisation, and the creation of a second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC-2) is an excellent opportunity to bring about substantial organisational discontinuities that will support the institutional discontinuities put in place by the 1991 reforms.

If the reform pace is perceived to be slow, it is because the implementation of the broad framework of objectives leaves much to be desired. The substantial institutional change of mind was not accompanied by the required organisational restructuring. Now, if ever, is the time to set that right.

One of the most important aspects the ARC-2 should deal with is restructuring the civil services. Since Independence there has been a mushrooming of services, and it is worth examining if any purpose is to be served by continuing with them in their present form.

There are the three All-India Services: The Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Forest Service and the Indian Police Service. To complement these, there are several Central Services, both technical and non-technical. The list is, indeed, long.

These include the complicatedly named Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa and Mizoram Police Service (DANIGMPS) and the Indian Post and Telegraphs Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TA&FS). I would like to come across individuals with these letters after their names, not because they do anything less valuable, but because their tasks are so specialised. It would take someone quite well trained to be a policeman simultaneously in Delhi, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa and Mizoram.

Outsourcing begins at home
The question is: Do all the individuals belonging to these various services have to carry out their tasks within the government framework or can their tasks be outsourced and the services abolished? A serious assessment of the feasibility of abolishing a number of these Central Services must be carried out, and its results will be insightful indeed.

Many of these services, while relevant in their day, no longer have economic legitimacy. New business models have emerged. Many tasks that, of necessity, had to be carried out by the state, are being carried out efficiently by private entrepreneurs.

Thus, the concept of outsourcing and privatisation can be applied, not just to the public sector enterprises but also to many government activities carried out departmentally and in whose support the services exist.

Many of the services can be abolished. Let me start with the various accounts services. There are: the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS), the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS), the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS), the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and the Indian Post and Telegraphs Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TA&FS). Except for the IA&AS, all the other services — ICAS, IDAS, IRAS and IP&TA&FS — can be disbanded.

The question is: Who will carry out their tasks? India has thousands of qualified chartered accountants, cost accountants and financial analysts who have been successfully running accountancy practices and consultancies for decades.

All the book-keeping and accounting activities can be outsourced to private bodies. After all, Indian professionals are now at the forefront of outsourced accounting and taxation activities. Should not these lessons be applied at home?

The next question is: What does one do with the members of all these services. The answer, on paper at least, is simple. Every divestment decision is also an investment decision. It takes money to divest. The VRS sums paid to these members to compensate the loss of their careers will provide them the capital to become the entrepreneurs that supply many of these services to government bodies.

It is then up to the government to initially provide contracts for the supply of these services. And what about policy and control? The IA&AS then remains the only service that deals with development of accounting issues, standards and as the monitoring agency that undertakes the quality control of the entire accounting process for government.

Revisiting history
Similarly, there is no need for an Indian Salt Service (ISaS), the Indian Supply Service (ISuS) or the Indian Trade Service (ITS). Yes, these do exist. They are anachronisms of a distant past, when the activities of the government, at least in the revenue sphere, revolved around a set of activities that have disappeared.

Take the Indian Salt Service. Around the time of the India’s first struggle for Independence, salt was one of the principal sources of government revenue. Remember, too, the symbolism of the Dandi Salt March. In fact, the Salt Agent to the government, based at Contai, now a little sub-divisional town in West Bengal, was a very senior personage, being paid a salary of Rs 4,000 per month, the amount paid to ICS officers who were the Secretaries to the Government.

As late as Independence, there was a Commissioner of Northern India Salt Revenue, again a relatively senior person. From these foundations arose the Indian Salt Service.

But are some of the services still relevant today? Or do we let go of path dependencies and create a new history based on today’s necessities? Thus, are the Indian Supply Service (ISupS) and the India Trade Service (ITS) also needed? After all, government purchasing has shrunk substantially, the DGS&D being no longer the commercial force it once was. And the Indian entrepreneur is himself highly motivated to conquer global markets and does not need to be told `export or perish’ by an Indian Trade Promotion Organisation.

Take, next, the impact of technological change in information and communications technologies. As a result, the role of private sector firms has become significant and the vibrancy of the Indian broadcasting and telecommunications sectors is testimony to this. Is an Indian Broadcasting Service (IBS) really needed now?

Again, does the Indian Postal Service (IPoS) have contemporary relevance? After all, postal activities have shrunk , given the huge drop in the price of telephone calls. Postal activities are, also, nothing but the undertaking of retail and distribution tasks. Can not every little shop sell stamps if need be?

Institution building
On the other hand, there is actually a strong need for services in other domains to be strengthened, even resurrected. Take the cavalier and step-motherly treatment given to the Indian Economic Service (IEconS) and the Indian Statistical Service (IStatS).

It can be argued that, in contemporary India, the tasks of these two services have become extraordinarily complex, given the numerous economic issues, related to relatively new topics such as globalisation, the role of the WTO, IPRs, economics of energy and renewable resources, environmental regulations and network economics, which need continuous analysis, both analytical and empirical.

A truly substantial enhancing of these services will serve India well. The enhancing of the status of the IEconS and the ISS to that enjoyed, implicitly, by the IAS and the IPS will go a long way in augmenting the capabilities, motivation and quality of the Indian policy-making establishment. What have been the unkindest cuts of all? Three critical nation-building services were disbanded at Independence. These were the Indian Education Service (IEdS), the Indian Medical Service (IMS) and the Imperial Service of Engineers (ISE). If anything, not only do these services have to be resurrected but have to be made principal services that enhance the quality of life for India’s population, and propel the development of the nation. In a sense, these are the critical institution-building services.

The IEdS, which had manned the most prestigious academic positions in places such as Elphinstone College, Bombay, and the Presidency Colleges at Calcutta and Madras, and stalwarts such as P. C. Mahalanobis and A. C. Banerjee, a Senior Wrangler at Cambridge, as members is, alas, no more.

Nevertheless, the IEdS has to be revived if India is to be at the forefront of the global knowledge revolution. Otherwise, the educational sector will continue to be at the mercy of charlatans.

So should be the case with the IMS and ISE. A national service that enhances the physical health and well-being of the population, and whose member Sir Ronald Ross won the Nobel Prize, is of far more relevance than services such as the ICAS, IRAS, IDAS and the IP&TA&FS!

A national service that builds infrastructure, as did the ISE in building the numerous roads, dams and canal systems that the British created in India, and gave to India individuals such as Sir M. Visvesvarayya, or the trio who created the Bhakra Dam, is perhaps more important than services such as the IBS or the ITS!

Therefore, a revival of the IEdS, the IMS and the ISE (though Indian, not Imperial), will mean that implicitly a cadre of Indian Institution Building Services (IIBS) is being created. It will not be difficult to create these services either.

Competencies exist within the States of the Indian union as well as with the Central Government, and it will be an administrative exercise to band these individuals together into the national All-India services that the IEdS, the IMS and the ISE should be, as indeed they once were.

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