Too Lazy to Vote – Think why you shouldn’t vote?

Still Think Why to Vote

Too Lazy to Vote – Think why you shouldn’t vote?

On evening when the Chief Election Commission sounded bugle for commencement of the biggest festival of Democracy, Elections, posting this picture I found on Facebook to salute the spirit of this young lady to contribute to this festival of Democracy.

Many of us come up with wired reason for ‘Not’ to vote.  I wouldn’t say I agree or disagree to all, but humbly request them to pause for a second, see the enthusiasm of your fellow countrymen & think why you shouldn’t. If the spirit of lady in picture doesn’t inspire you to vote for country, then you also have no right to say about its imperfection. 

Sharing this picture with an expectation that it would inspire someone to shed ‘laziness’ & ‘reasons’ and step up ahead to vote.

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A World’s View Without Glasses – Is the appointment of Satya Nadella a feather in India’s cap or a slap in the face for the Indian system?

With Satya Nadella being elevated to Microsoft CEO, social & mobile media flooded with messages congratulating we as Indians.  Unlike others we as nation are always happy to take pride of achievements of PIO’s even though they have never endorsed us as part of their life. 

When on some of  the channels I asked the tough questions, I was not seen with good eye, in fact one of the person went to extent of labeling me of ‘jealousy’ for Satya & being unpatriotic.  Guys give it a break, neither I was anywhere near as competition to Satya to Jealous of him and if asking tough questions related to country’s ‘Poor’ system, I am happy to be ‘unpatriotic’. 

Today came across one fine article from firstpost.com on this subject and can’t resist to share it with all… Though some of the metaphors are not fully subscribing to my thoughts, it would really an eye-opener for one who doesn’t see the world with blind-eye.

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Nadella as Microsoft CEO: A slap in the face for Indian system

Is the appointment of Satya Nadella a feather in India’s cap or a slap in the face for the Indian system?

While Indian newspapers were over the moon about Nadella’s elevation, with some justification, there is another side to the story we need to consider: why is it that India’s tech and other geniuses flower only in the US or Silicon Valley?

Why is it that every India-origin person to win a Nobel after independence in the sciences is not an Indian citizen any more? Hargobind Khurana won the prize for medicine in 1968, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for physics in 1983 and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan for chemistry in 2009. All of them flowered only because they left India, and not because they were Indians per se. They left India behind.
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A World’s View Without Glasses – Truth about Modi’s RAMBO Act – Facts & Myths from Horse’s Mouth

Recently there were lots of news & controversy about ‘Rambo’ act of Narendra Modi, specially after front page article of Times of India.  Hear it from the horse’s mouth in this article which got published in Times of India website on June 29.

Please do read it till end to understand some facts related to the story & definitely some Myths about the Act.

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Why Modi’s rescue act backfired, and why it needn’t have

On June 22, as Narendra Modi held a meeting in Dehradun’s Hotel Madhuban with top BJP leaders and bureaucrats from Gujarat regarding the crisis in Uttarakhand, a party worker, clearly impressed by the relief-and-rescue systems the chief minister had put in place, wanted to talk about it with me. He wasn’t even offering me a story. He was perhaps only hoping that I would be interested enough to write about it.

“Boss, what I have seen here is exceptional,” the man, Uttarakhand’s BJP spokesman Anil Biluni, told me. He was working so closely with Modi perhaps for the first time and was overwhelmed. It was a crowded room in the hotel where the conversation took place – leaders from the state, bureaucrats, security officers were milling around. Everyone had something to say. Modi was next door, still huddled with his people, brainstorming. It was about 8.30pm.

“Ok,” I said, finally. “Tell me about it.” Biluni spoke of the crack rescue team Modi had got together to get Gujaratis out of Uttarakhand. In the group were five IAS, one IPS, one IFS and two GAS (Gujarat Administrative Service) officers. Two DSPs and five police inspectors had also come along. They were all personally coordinating efforts and reporting directly to Modi. The Gujarat team had already para-dropped a couple of medical teams in some of the worst-affected places and set up camps across flood-hit Uttarakhand. Prominent BJP workers at the village and panchayat levels were dealing unhindered with members of the rescue committee, telling them where food, shelter and medicines were needed.

“See,” Biluni excitedly went on, “around 80 Toyota Innovas and 25 buses have been requisitioned to ferry Gujaratis to safer places in Dehradun. There are four Boeings on standby. I think in the past four days we have helped send home 15,000 Gujaratis.’’

The number struck me. “Did you say 15,000?” Biluni answered in the affirmative and said that’s the number those on the field had given him. It is entirely possible that we have helped extend support in terms of reaching food, transport, first aid, even some money, to 15,000 of them, he said, quite earnest. “There were more than 1 lakh pilgrims from Gujarat when the tragedy happened starting June 15.”

Close to 70,000 stranded people had been evacuated by the armed forces by then; many, held up at less dangerous places, had found their way back on their own. It seemed feasible that 15,000 had been given succour by Modi’s team.

The next day, when TOI carried a story on its front page that `Rambo’ Modi had rescued 15,000 Gujaratis (the headline, given by a well-meaning but enthusiastic desk hand, brought sharper attention to the piece), it created a flutter that almost swamped everything else that was being written from Uttarakhand. In the rush of things – I filed the story at around 10.30pm, late by our deadline standards – we made one crucial mistake. We failed to put the figure of 15,000 in single quotes. And because Biluni was quoted in the story, we took it for granted that the number would obviously be attributed to him.

In any case, the point of the story was to talk about Modi’s by now familiar micro-management of things and, two, to hint at the fact that here was the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate looking out for fellow Gujaratis, still trapped by his parochialism.

All hell broke loose and the heavens shook. There were frenzied debates on TV, online participation and a slew of agonized editorials. The BJP, happy till two days after the story appeared, suddenly froze. What was it doing talking about the rescue of Gujaratis as the country was headed for general polls and its man from Gujarat nurtured hopes of becoming the PM? Party president Rajnath Singh suddenly waded into the debate and said he didn’t know where the contentious figure had come from.

I knew about the storm the story had unleashed but was still writing from Uttarakhand. That was when Prashant Jha from The Hindu called me to talk about the article. In another front page write-up, he mentioned the fact, quoting me, that unlike what Rajnath announced, the story had indeed come from the BJP. That set off another round of requests for interviews from papers and magazines regarding the Modi story.

In hindsight, it would have served the BJP better had it owned up to the story. From all accounts, Modi was indeed doing a good job in Uttarakhand. All that the party’s spokespersons needed to say as rejoinder was that with such confusion all around the numbers – 15,000 – could have gone awry a bit on the higher side. That would have taken nothing away from the story. As a senior party leader later said, “It is a fact that thousands have been helped by the Gujarat government. And nowhere are we saying that Modi flew the choppers himself. We are just saying he extended all help that he could to thousands of people.”

Madhu Kishwar a few days later wrote a lead edit piece in The Economic Times, headlined ‘In Defence of Rambo’, and said that the Gujarat CM’s rescue efforts in Uttarakhand was really not aimed at publicity, nor was it a gimmick. She said: “Gujarat today has a fighting-fit bureaucracy because it was enabled to develop expertise, team spirit and deliver results under the most adverse circumstances. The Gujarat Disaster Management Authority (GDMA) has become a thoroughly professional institution capable of responding to natural or man-made disasters. It has a 24×7 monitoring system and well-publicised helpline numbers well known to Gujaratis — both in the country and abroad… That is why the first response of Gujaratis anywhere in the world is to contact the chief minister’s office if they are caught in a calamity.”

She went on to say: “Also, consider this. Modi arrived in Delhi late 17th night for a meeting with the Planning Commission on 18th when news of cloudburst and landslides was telecast on TV. He held an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation since he knew that thousands of Gujaratis are likely to be among the Chardham pilgrims. Right away, a camp office was opened at Gujarat Bhavan and the Resident Commissioner’s team in Delhi was made responsible for coordinating with Gujarati pilgrims. On the 18th morning, Modi called Dr Pranav Pandya of the All World Gayatri Parivar to provide space and infrastructure in his Shanti Kunj campus for the relief centre proposed to be set up by the Gujarat government. He chose this campus because of his close knowledge of, and rapport with, this Gandhian institution that can house and feed thousands of people at a short notice. On the 18th evening itself, a set of computers with internet connections, telephone lines, television sets and all other paraphernalia required for Gujarat government’s relief operation were set up. Therefore, when a team of Gujarat government IAS, IPS and IFS officers came, they could get going within minutes of reaching Shanti Kunj… Team Gujarat had two officers from Uttarakhand — Assistant Director General of Police Bisht and Forest Service officer SC Pant — who had close knowledge of the terrain to guide both the stranded pilgrims as well as rescue teams on the safest possible routes to take…When Modi landed in Dehradun, Team Gujarat was already in control. Far from attacking the state government, he offered all possible help…officers were provided phone numbers of BJP functionaries of all 190 blocks in Uttarakhand and vice versa… The Congress party is understandably upset because its chief minister has proved a disaster, its party machinery is in disarray, Congress Sewa Dal workers are nowhere in sight, Rahul Gandhi’s Youth Brigade is clueless even in routine situations, leave alone know how to face a crisis like the Uttarakhand deluge. That is the reality of the Uttarakhand relief operation led by Narendra Modi.”

There was also a preposterous insinuation that the Modi story was “fed” by his “public relations agency, an American outfit called Apco Worldwide. In 2007, Apco was hired, ostensibly to boost the Vibrant Gujarat summits, but to actually burnish Modi’s image, for $25,000 a month”. The fact is that it happened at a more organic level, the way it happens when reporters are on the ground and begin speaking to the people they trust. Sitting in Delhi, away from the spot and burdened by ideology, columnists quite often lose objectivity or don’t care too much for it. A reporter, provided his integrity is intact, can spot a ‘plant’ a mile away in the first year of his career.

So that’s that about the Modi story. That it came from one of the BJP’s leaders; that, to be fair to Biluni, he did not try to hardsell it; that in the mad, late night scramble to write the story we missed directly attributing it to the source or putting the said number in quotes; that the party made things worse by pretending they had no idea where all this was coming from; that instead of doing its bit to make Modi look like a hero they unwittingly turned him into the butt of jokes; that in such a charged political atmosphere, what with Modi’s increasing focus on New Delhi, the story acquired wings and dimensions of its own – like the Innovas with helicopter rotors.

(…from Times of India – Original Article Link: http://bit.ly/19MECSP )

A World’s View Without Glasses – To Candle Light ‘Revolutionist’

Recent incident of Delhi Rape created a great thought barrier among the common man, while there were one’s who hold up candles and hijacked India Gate, there were other who seen this as Political issue and asked for practical solution regarding the safety of women as well as Citizens of India, not only in Delhi but also across India.  TRP hungry made sure it looked like a revolution out there and those who didn’t fall in TRP Hunger or Political line were mostly stereotyped as male ‘chauvinist’ or ‘Dogs’.

I don’t hesitate to say I was the latter one who always condemned what happened with that girl but also asked a bigger question, Does lighting candle or debating on ‘Prime Time’ resolve the issue? Does fighting with Police to get pass barricades protecting most important symbols of our ‘Democracy’ does any good?  While the questions were relevant, I was bestowed upon lot of above mentioned terms, one blogger to the extent told me that I was ‘degrading his views by commenting on his blog’… sad but true… I do what I do best, ignore such individuals…

Today I read an wonderful article by Chetan Bhagat, an author and motivational speaker in Times of India column ‘The Underage Optimist’…  Every one who speaks of revolution or change they seek in India should definitely read this… No judgement to pass, but a humble request to give the thought of author an humble hearing…

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Open letter to the Indian Change Seekers – Chetan Bhagat

Dear change seekers,

In recent weeks you have worked hard to make India a safer place. The recent Delhi gang rape dominated headlines and received world-wide attention, mainly due to your efforts.However, be mindful of certain worrisome negative aspects of this outrage. You may create a lot of noise, but not the desired change. It is important to understand India first.

India, no matter what your Civics teacher told you, is not an equal country. India is divided into four classes with different levels of power. For simplicity,let us call these classes the Ones,Twos,Threes and Fours (deliberately avoiding upper-lower classification).

The Ones are our political masters. They control India, primarily through control over land, resources and laws that govern us. They don’t directly own assets, but control the asset owners,the Twos.

The Twos are our industrialists and capitalists. They help secure and increase the power of the Ones. Business magazines honor them with terms like the dynamic entrepreneurs of a new liberalized India. While some may deserve such accolades, most dont. The Ones allow the Twos to become rich through limited competition and tightly regulated approvals. Real estate, mining, infrastructure or most other sectors, no company in India can thrive without support of the political class.

The next class, the Threes,are people like you and me. We are people with a certain amount of affluence and education, comprising around ten per cent of India’s population. While life is a struggle for many Threes, they do have a basic standard of living. However, the Threes still do not get speedy justice, accountable leaders or a protective police force.
Notably, Threes have recently acquired a new media power. They are affluent and buy things advertisers want to sell. Hence, the media caters to Threes. The Threes dominate social media too. This power is real and substantial.

The Delhi gang rape victim was a Three, and the gruesome case made the rest of the Threes feel vulnerable like never before. They wanted the rape to be debated. Hence, for almost a month little else could be discussed in a country of 1.2 billion people. However, in the process, the Threes might have done some damage. For despite the well-intentioned outcry, they inadvertently showed that they care about themselves much more than another huge class, the Fours.

The Fours are the 90 per cent of the country, people with limited education, abysmal standards of living and little hope for a better future. They are our farmers, slum dwellers, domestic helpers and the hundreds of millions of Indians without proper healthcare, education and infrastructure. They get no debates on TV. People wont protest for them on India Gate. The Threes either shun them, or impose their new-found modern values on them. For example, Fours may see women-men relationships in a regressive way. The Threes, exposed to the latest Western beliefs, will mock them.

If you noticed the various debates and opinions on the case, the Threes only accepted ideas in line with their own liberal, modern value system. Nobody could dare say anything even slightly alternative or stress on the Indian reality without being ridiculed.

The Threes found a new power, but used it like the Ones and Twos for self serving purposes. For will we ever passionately discuss the issues and lend our media power to issues that affect the Fours Will we go to India Gate to help slum dwellers get proper drinking water, for instance

As we alienate the Fours, we leave them open to be exploited by the Ones. The Ones echo the sentiments of the Fours and throw some scraps at them. In return,the Fours ignore the Ones misdeeds and bring them back to power. Meanwhile, we Threes keep screaming and watch our own self-created reality show.

This is no way to create a revolution, or even change. We have to take the Fours along. If we want people to change, we should not mock or deride. Instead listen and understand first and slowly nudge people towards change. Don’t just laugh at anyone who says women should cover up and not venture out at night. Suggest that while this old belief may come from a place of practical reality, this cannot be the primary solution. I am not saying these people are not regressive. However, if you want change, be inclusive.

India’s poor are a not separate species from us. If the politicians didn’t protect the Twos so much, we could open the economy further, truly liberalize and create a lot of opportunity.

(…from Times of India – Original Article Link: http://bit.ly/VYZChm )

A World’s View Without Glasses – Know Narendra Modi, learn why Gujarat needs him

Someone sitting outside Gujarat mostly looks the state with an eye of journalists and media.  Most of them express biased view based on their material benefits, however there are some rare who look on both sides of coin.  Came across one such article who spoke of Gujarat and Narendra Modi without Godhra and Muslims… sharing for everyone to make their own judgement.

The writer Ashok Malik, is a political analyst based in Delhi. He can be reached at malikashok@gmail.com.

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Know Narendra Modi, learn why Gujarat needs him

Why is the New Delhi media hostile to Narendra Modi? Part of the reason of course is the violence of 2002. Many journalists hold him personally responsible. A mentality that unfortunately prevails in the profession makes it impossible for them to distinguish his overarching political responsibility from individual criminality.

I would like to pose a counterfactual. What if the violence of 2002 had not occurred? Would the national media then have embraced Modi? I’m not sure. The capital’s editorial classes have a theoretical commitment to–even a worship of–some form of leftism. They are comfortable with many prevailing postulates of India’s political economy that Modi challenges. As such, even minus 2002, they would have found it difficult to accept him.

Why? Dislike of the man and distaste for the BJP are no doubt factors. Much of the reason, I would argue, is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of Gujarat, its society and its politics. Many of the political journalists and writers in New Delhi have cut their teeth in the Gangetic belt. In their political understanding, they tend to use some variation of the Uttar Pradesh template. They think of politics in north India – that is politics anywhere other than the eight states of the Northeast and the four states of the South – as broadly adhering to the trends of Uttar Pradesh.

Take a non-political example. In 1999, a super-cyclone crippled and devastated Orissa. Almost every other year, a massive flood causes havoc in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The media has a formulaic treatment of such natural disasters. They cover stories of human suffering and absence of state support for the victims, poor infrastructure, lack of housing and shelter, food and medicine and essential supplies, and the inability of the administration to help.

The media treatment may be formulaic but it is not entirely invalid. Many of the regions named above are desperately poor. Civil society has limited capacities to cope with calamity, and dependence on the state is abnormally high. As such, if the state authorities fail, the suffering is acute.

In 2001, an enormous earthquake shook Gujarat. Its most intense impact was in the Kutch region, where the old city of Bhuj, among others, was severely damaged. Many journalists turned up in Gujarat expecting a repeat of the tragedy they had experienced in Orissa only about 18 months previously, or during similar episodes in northern India. They went out looking for pre-scripted stories – caste discrimination in relief distribution, absence of district administrators, help not reaching in time, shoddy government hospitals not being able to manage.

What they saw was very different. Gujarat has a vibrant civil society network. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, citizens’ groups got together and rushed help to fellow Gujaratis, often much ahead of the state. Economic and social factors in Gujarat have built enormous civil society autonomy and capacity. This is not there in many other provinces. It is not as if Gujaratis are superior people and residents of other states somehow inferior – not at all. It is just that one has to locate a state and its responses in its socio-economic context, not in a context imported from a few thousand miles away.

Civil society groups in Gujarat are vigorous and organised around one of many principles. Some are community or caste institutions, though not necessarily exclusivist. Others are professional guilds, in a sense, such as those of diamond traders with businesses in Antwerp but pouring collective resources into the village or district back home. Still others are faith-based, created by Hindu or in some cases Muslim sects.

In the longer-term rehabilitation and rebuilding following the earthquake, Modi–who took charge as chief minister nine months after that frightening morning on January 26, 2001–empowered and galvanised civil society groups and individual citizens and households, rather than bypassed them. Whole villages and towns were rebuilt, with the design of buildings and houses left to the user community rather than a bureaucrat. Third-party monitoring for seismic-resistance was insisted upon. In terms of funding, the government supplemented the contributions of individual users and/or civil society and donor institutions in a genuine public-private partnership–but one driven by society, not the state.

Modi used the opportunity for a larger reimagining of Kutch. Blessed with a spectacular landscape, Kutch has historically been a source of economic migration. People have had to leave to get jobs and set up businesses in other cities, from Mumbai to Mombasa. Modi thought out of the box. He made entrepreneurship integral to post-earthquake rehabilitation. His government offered tax concessions to companies that invested in Kutch. Today, a zone that gave its people restricted economic opportunities till the end of the 20th century is bustling with industry and is a huge job creator. The Kutch boom is a post-earthquake legacy.

Gujarat couldn’t have done this without Modi. Equally, Modi couldn’t have done this without the socio-economic framework, the go-getting, pick-yourself-up-and-run resilience of Gujarat. No wonder the man’s identification with his state is absolute. No wonder the disaster tourists of 2001, who went looking for pictures to justify their preconceived notions, don’t get it–or get him.

 

(…from HindustanTimes.com – Original Article Link: http://bit.ly/ToHb8S )

A World’s View Without Glasses – Quotas for Promotions

Resevation in promotion has became an hot debate everywhere, benifieatiary are in favor, rest are worring about there pie being left out… here is an wonderful article on the Reservations in Promotions and root cause of skewed representation of reserved category in higher positions.
The author is R Jagannathan, an prominent writer writing for FirstPost…. must read this article.. 

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Why quotas for promotions are a bad, bad idea

It’s easy to dismiss any argument against caste-based reservations on the ground that it comes largely from the upper castes. But this is an illiberal stand, for an argument should stand on its own ” and not depend on who is saying it. One could use the same logic to say reservations are supported only by its prime beneficiaries ” and hence suspect by definition.

Now, with the UPA government planning to introduce caste-based promotions in government services, it is time to re-examine all the arguments again. But let me plead guilty upfront to being an upper caste writer ” though I deny being overly caste-conscious. If you want to dismiss my arguments for that reason, please don’t read any further.

In the kind of first-past-the-post and fractious political system we have built, bad ideas have a way of expanding beyond their original intent. Since elections are won by tiny margins of votes, no party wants to anger any caste group, howsoever small. This is why barring the Samajwadi Party ” which is gung-ho about reservations in general ” no one was willing to oppose caste-based promotions when the PM called an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

Caste-based reservations are an idea whose time has gone. Sixty years was long enough to prove its efficacy or lack of it. But one can be certain it will remain forever. We started with Ambedkar’s promise that Dalits need it for only 10 years, but have found various excuses to extend it forever, and for all kinds of groups, and for all kinds of reasons. From SC/STs, we now have reservations extended to OBCs, Muslims, and even economically backward upper castes. Worse, we are not even willing to ask tough questions of the idea’s backers. This is nothing but incentivising backwardness.

Centuries after some backward castes abandoned Hinduism for Islam and Christianity, the latter have not found nirvana. Now they want reservations.

Ambedkar called for the annihilation of caste. What we have erected instead is a complete political and institutional support system for the regeneration of casteism. Indian secularism is supposed to root out discrimination on the basis of religion, but when it comes to caste ” another form of communalism ” we water its roots and apply fertiliser.

Today, the only forces working against caste are urbanisation (which is erasing caste consciousness in the metros) and the market economy (where talent is what matters, not your caste-mark). Politics is helping and hindering the erasure of caste: it is helping, because in the race to win seats, different castes end their unwillingness to sup with other castes by banding together to aggregate votes; it’s also hindering, because castes become vote-banks that also emphasise stronger caste identity consciousness.

Coming back to issue of caste-based promotions in government services, our starting point, let’s see where the arguments are coming from.

The main reason adduced for giving promotions on a caste basis is that there are very few SC/ST candidates in the higher echelons of government. This is why Mayawati introduced a law in Uttar Pradesh to ensure this, but it was struck down last April by the Supreme Court on the ground that it was ultra vires of the constitution. While some constitutional amendments after the Indira Sawhney judgment (which declared this ultra vires) provided for reservations in promotion, the Supreme Court said this could not be done unless a state could demonstrate that a particular caste was backward and grossly under-represented in a service.

This should normally have been easy to prove, but our politicians do not even want to provide even data to support their cause. So, clearly, this is not about giving SC/STs a helping hand against discrimination, but a political ploy to further complicate the reservations issue. Mayawati wants this small caveat squashed through a constitutional amendment that guarantees reservations in promotions with no riders. The rest of the political class, with Dalit vote-bank politics in mind, is willy-nilly acquiescing in this gameplan.

In any case, the question really is this: why are the SC/STs under-represented in central and state services despite 60 years of reservations?

The answer is counter-intuitive. Government jobs usually go by seniority upto a point, and then by merit. The reason why so few Dalits are up there near the top is that their average age of entry is around 29-31, when other candidates enter in the range of 24-26. Little wonder they lose on the seniority criteria.

The solution is clearly not reservations in promotion, but lowering the age of entry of SC/ST candidates in the administrative services. What the government really needs to do is focus on getting younger Dalits to enter the services through quotas, whether by giving them better mentors, or spotting them earlier, or financing better for pre-test coaching, or some other means.

The second argument pro-reservationists use is that the merit claim of the upper castes is bogus. This is both right and wrong. It is a good point to make ” but also beside the point. In competitive exams like the IIMs CAT or the IITs JEE, what is being tested is a certain kind of narrow intelligence, and no less a person than Infosys’ ex-chairman NR Narayana Murthy has criticised the quality of students the IITs are now getting via the coaching classes route. It is also a moot point whether maxing CAT makes you fit to be a manager ” after being processed through an IIM. SC/STs, with no resources to attend coaching classes, clearly don’t face a level field here.

But what is the real argument here? One, that merit may be wrongly defined, and that, gaming the system by attending coaching classes is not the same as merit, for which SC/STs should be excluded.

Nobody is saying that merit is not important; just that what is now considered merit may not be real merit. There is no substitute for competence. We can always redefine what constitutes merit, and use other yardsticks to avoid this kind of bias against Dalit candidates. But the argument for promotions, and reservations based on caste, and not merit, is clearly without merit.

A third argument is to say, œsee, it already works.” In TV shows, we often find Dalits saying that they would never have made it without reservations. The case of Tamil Nadu (where reservations now are close to 69 percent, despite a Supreme Court order capping it at 49 percent) will also be trotted out. See, here is a state making progress due to reservations.

Of course, if you do give me a job, I will say it works for me. Very few interviews are conducted with Dalits who made it even without reservations. This is a selection bias in the sample which talks of reservations.

I doubt if any serious experimenter would accept this logic. The only way one can prove that quotas work better than no quotas is by comparing two states which undertake opposite policies ” one through reservations, and another through mere voluntary affirmative action coupled with growth-oriented, employment-generating policies that benefit everybody.

So when anyone in India says reservations have worked, the answer is that they have no proof. We know a medicine works only when we can show a placebo given to another control group does not work. If the placebo works as well, then the medicine is worthless.

So there is no compelling reason to claim that reservations work ” for we don’t have a placebo case where there was no reservation, and the system worked just as well, or even better.

Reservation In Promotion

Reservation


I would conclude thus:

It is time to abandon quotas and substitute it with a time-bound affirmative action programme.

To give Dalits or OBCs or even Muslims the opportunities that they are justly entitled to, we need to create alternative programmes that allow states, government bodies or even private organisations to do it differently.

Rather than embedding a proviso in the constitution that ensures reservations in promotions, what we need is a constitutional amendment that will give any state or institution currently subject to reservations a 10-year window in which to try out alternate affirmative ideas and plans, subject to periodic reviews.

At the end of 10 years, if the plan is a flop, the amendment can be made to automatically lapse and compulsory reservations mandated instead.

It is time for India to take the road not taken to help the classes that have been most discriminated against. The worst baggage our Dalits carry is the stamp of mediocrity writ large on their foreheads all their lives, thanks to mindless quotas.

If Ambedkar could do it without reservation, it is downright insulting to argue that all his followers are so incapable that they deserve reservations.

Indians need to have the courage to admit that quotas may be mere placebos ” they are not the cure for social backwardness.

(…from FirstPost.com – Original Article Link: http://bit.ly/RGJ5uM )

A World’s View Without Glasses – Siswa Grampanchayat : A Revolution

Recently I came across an article in TOI – Sunday edition about a small village gram panchayat being run by 12 young, educated & mostly unmarried girls.  Thanks to the SAMRAS scheme being implemented by Modi’s Govt. (all secular people can read it as ‘Govt. of Gujarat’). 

I believe, that if this scheme is nationally adopted and implemented, it will bring following advantages to society as whole:

–  All politics related to women’s reservation bill will see a dead end, as this directly without reservation bring women to mainstream activities

–  Devolution of Power, an important step to panchayat raj system adopted by India in early 70’s would become a dream.

–  Young girls getting hands-on of the administrative work will give them more freedom and will help to address the evils of dowry, sati and others which are not even curbed even with all-women favoring  laws

–  Lastly but more important (& I put my male ego aside while writing this), women/girls have always better convincing power and flexibility to compromise for betterment, which is a need of hour for any form of Govt./Administration to effectively function.

I pray let someone in ‘Parliament’ think of replicating this SAMRAS model of social inclusion to entire country and kudos to the residents of Siswa village for openly embracing such a bold step at most unexpected form of government – Gram Panchayat.

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Siswa grampanchayat’s Powerpuff Girls

Soumitra Das drives to a village in Gujarat’s Anand district to meet 12 collegians who will decide the fate of 7,000 villagers for the next five years

The floral tapestry sofas arranged in a semi circle around a smoked glass coffee table that holds a bunch of fabric roses, are not enough to seat all 12 girls. Hinal Patel pulls up a couple of chairs. Twenty three-year-old Nisha Patel adjusts her georgette dupatta to sit firmly on her slight shoulders before she whips out a pen, holding it to a notepad.

It’s a Sunday panchayat meeting. Except there are no members squatting under a shady banyan. And there are no men.

Hinal, the 25-year-old sarpanch of Siswa village in Borsad town of Anand district in Gujarat, Nisha and 10 of their friends meet every weekend to debate over the nitty gritty of running the village administration. The all-girls panchayat was appointed last month as part of the Samras scheme introduced by chief minister Narendra Modi a decade ago. Under it, as many as 254 villages have entrusted their panchayats entirely to women. The goal, say government representatives, is to avoid inter-village enmity; an inescapable outcome of election politics.  

The idea has found its fans. All-women panchayats have increased from 20 in the last elections to 254. On December 29, elections were held in 10,405 villages across Gujarat, of which 2,147 opted for Samras. All members were elected unopposed. Siswa stands apart on a more interesting count. All 12 grampanchayat members are college-going girls, aged 19 to 26, excited at the thought of improving the fate of 7,000 fellow villagers. 

A year ago, Hinal says she was preoccupied with landing a well-paying job after graduating from Bengaluru’s Shree Raghvendra College of Nursing. Today, it’s the challenge of renovating the old bus stand at the far end of Siswa that’s taking up her time.

“I said an instant ‘yes’ when my father asked me if I was ready to take up the responsibility,” says Hinal, flashing a dimpled grin. Her parents Shailesh and Pravinaben Patel have served as village heads too.

For the last three terms, Siswa has been unanimously electing a woman sarpanch under Samras, says Shailesh. “Five years ago, we appointed an all-women panchayat and it worked wonderfully. Women are convincing. Villagers tend to listen to them better. This time, we decided to go a step further and appoint young, educated girls who are brimming with fresh ideas.”

The 12 girls on the final list fitted the criteria. They had to be educated, single, and belong to the same village. Twenty-year-old engineering student Radha Patel went to the same school as Hinal, and lives a two-minute drive away in an oldworld home that boasts high wooden beam ceilings. On the drive there, past a string of temples (“there are 15 in all!”), she makes it a point to mention her father, Vijay Patel, who despite being a modest farmer made sure she stuck to academics. Radha calls the opportunity a “Godsend”, leaving her overwhelmed at the thought of thousands backing her in support. It’s the primary healthcare centre that tops her list of priorities. Equipping it with new-age facilities, and setting up an educational institution that will offer Siswa’s students the option of pursuing science without having to relocate to Vidyanagar, are number one and two on her checklist.

For Nisha, working in a team is hardly a bother. The manager at a motorbike showroom heads a group of 25 staffers. “But I wasn’t sure if I’d manage to balance both. My mother was adamant. She convinced me, and I’m glad she did,” she says, sharing their latest plan of putting Siswa on the e-map with launching a website to help the community converge on a common platform. “And yes, we’d like to increase employment opportunities through gruh udyog (small scale entrepreneurship).”

In indigenous Indian fashion, the team picked the palanquin as their election symbol. “It symbolized the idea of carrying on our administrative responsibilities even if we relocate after marriage.” Ironically, the thought of wary elders inching away from the girls, hardly keen on taking empowered women home, is far from their minds. “No one is forcing them to marry us. Times have changed,” says Radha.

And for critics who point fingers at the incentivedriven scheme (the Modi government has raised the incentive for an all-women Samras panchayat controlling a village with a population of 5,000 to 15,000, to Rs 5 lakh), Siswa’s sarpanch has this to say: “When they select all-male panchayats under Samras, nobody seems to have a problem.”

Author of Article Soumitra Das

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