Thursday, August 29, 2013

Narendra Modi's words of another kind - Cutting through propaganda

No I am not defending Narendra Modi. I don't oppose him either. However, I think it is ridiculous when everyone takes it for granted that Narendra Modi has said nothing. Let us see a blog entry by ad world worker Preet Bedi put up on Firstpost as an article, and try to deconstruct what we have and what is not reported in an otherwise shrill mainstream media of our country.

1. What is Modi's big idea for India?
Modi has so far expressed two big ideas for India - Minimum government maximum governance is one, The other is 'Indian Talent' plus 'Information Technology' is equal to 'India Tomorrow'. To each its merit, but to say that he has said nothing is sheer injustice even by the Devil's standards.
2.  What is the Gujarat Model? Will It work for other states as well?
Gujarat model is one where the state administration does not depend on the Centre to ensure its development, as Tamil Nadu saw during much of India's independence. The Gujarat model is about doing something on your own. The Gujarat model will work when states are given enough independence and the leaders have guts to take tough decisions. No one asked them not to reform labour laws. His idea is letting the power go to the states.
3. Opposing the GST for all your reform bluster makes you look silly.
The so called stand on GST is a result of more Congress ruled states including now Karnataka dancing around the fire instead of talking concrete objections and concerns. Plus if you keep hounding ministers from Gujarat who represent the state you cannot have a steady ship from the state. Remember Amit Shah? Bail grants mean there is something not right about the case. If you do not agree with that, then neither Binayak Sen nor Abdul Madany is innocent.
4. What is his stand on Parliamentary obstructions?
Parliamentary obstructions are being caused by the ruling party. Please be honest about it. The media too has behaved liked morons and bought the government line lock stock and barrel. Why blame the Opposition when it is always the UPA members who rush into the well at the drop of a hat? Clearly not one 'journalist' watches Lok Sabha TV, else they would think before saying anything about 'Opposition' disrupting the Parliament. Yashwant Sinha has been heckled repeatedly at the behest of Sonia Gandhi. Is he in the government or she part of it?
5. Stand on Lok Ayukta in Gujarat
This one deserves an entire blog article on it, but suffice to say that the Lok Ayukta appointment was highly visceral. The Governor and the High Court Chief Justice's role was more than harmful to democratic spirit. Has anyone cared to read the SC verdict? It was upheld only because the Gujarat HC was involved. The judges of Supreme Court themselves criticized the manner in which the selection was done.
6. Perspective on the value of the Rupee
Rupee value has been a problem. It is easy to talk rhetoric. Any politician worth his salt will do that. Modi is no exception. However, he thinks it is important to expand the manufacturing base, hence he has stressed more on prices of essentials. Essentials and commodities being priced reasonably (not given away for free) will ensure that manufacturing can pick up within India. That also means that we need a smooth legal system, clearly not understood by 'economists' in North Block in Delhi.
7. Does he have a solution to the Ram Janmabhoomi problem?
BJP as a party is committed to the SC verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case. Even the RSS and VHP have said that they will respect the SC verdict. Why should it fiddle around otherwise? What have all those 'out of the box' solutions done so far? Nothing!
Regarding the author's complaints about not enough interviews, you just don't watch Hindi news channels. Watch them and you will see more of Modi's interviews. He is smart enough to talk to the 'aam aadmi'. Plus, his interview to Nai Duniya, the largest Urdu weekly, makes more sense than Arnab, Rajdeep and Barkha's total viewership put together and doubled over.
Criticize certainly; but ensure you have facts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Delhi Technological University will never really be world class - Here's Why

Here's a sample of why the institution, from where I graduated, will touch global nadirs.

DTU is certainly one of the many educational institution in India that is run by the public administration that does not even possess a Complaint Register. This, when these institutes hire people through the government channels and follow those procedures, are run by money paid by taxpayers, and charge significant quantum of fees today (especially in the engineering colleges and MBA institutions). The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi enacted THE DELHI (RIGHT OF CITIZEN TO TIME BOUND DELIVERY OF SERVICES) ACT, 2011 and enforced it the same year, but conveniently excluded educational institutions under its ambit from this Act. Thanks to this divine loophole, students run helter-skelter in hope of collecting relevant documents, ranging from transcripts to degrees to marksheets and even minor documents like a semester was dropped liked headless chicken. The laxity ensures that the lower level officials do not take your requests seriously. What is worse is that when the complaint is raised to higher levels, everyone gangs up to protect their turf and starts indirectly intimidating you. Sample this conversation piece verbatim I had on August 7, 2013 with Mr S.K. Garg, Dean (Academic) and Placement Cell Head at DTU concerning my complaint:

"...Main kya kar sakta hoon? (What can I do) If I set up an inquiry against the officials, I may even find fault with you....."

A transcript in DTU costs INR 1000 per copy. Comparing to the other institution, National University of Singapore (NUS) where I studied, this is 1.5 times higher. What makes it worse is the fact that NUS charged only for the postal charges, while the transcript was free (I paid SGD 6 for the transcript, which at the exchange rate of 48.29 stands at INR 289.73), whereas in DTU I not only pay for the transcript, I also have to post the sealed envelope myself.

The staff of all divisions in DTU think they are nothing less than God. Filing a complaint in writing means you are someone very 'hi-fi' in India, whose father must be some 'raees baap ki aulaad'. Forget past students, the absolute condescension in the tone of these people when talking to current students clearly highlights their contempt of the tensions and worries of students. Having seen other educational systems outside India, it is unbelievable to see just how rudely these employees behave.

Next comes inquiring from the college. As is the norm, the telephone lines either don't work or remain unanswered. The only functional number  is not the one displayed on the official website (which too has gone defunct now) but one that is listed in the Yellow Pages Directory. This functional number is for the office of the Vice Chancellor. The rudeness continues even there. Barring one or two people, everyone else remains permanently oblivious to change, and impervious to concerns of past and present students. Orientations are meant to bamboozle parents into believing that The Heavens have bestowed great honour upon their children of being the chosen one. Never mind that many of these children will have a harrowing time later with the same staff and administrators.


The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

The Buck Stops With the Duo (Courtesy: Bloombergquint) The fracas in Maharashtra notwithstanding, things are at a critical juncture ...