भाषा, अभिव्यक्ति और गणतंत्र


आप सभी को गणतंत्र दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनाये |

जब हम अपना ६६वां गणतंत्र दिवस मन रहे रहा तभी मन में एक बात कौंधी की हम किस दिशा की तरफ जा रहे है|

वाकिये एक किस्से से शुरू करते है| दरअसल हुआ ये की जब राजपथ पे परेड देख रहे थे तो एक महानुभाव जो कमेंट्री कर रहे थे उन्होंने कहा ‘ हम सब भारतीयों को घमंड होना चाहिए’ | परन्तु वास्तव में वो कहना चाह रहे थे की हम सब भारतीयों को गर्व होना चाहिए|

वैसे देखने में ये कोई बड़ी बात न लगे और शायद हो भी न | गलती हर किसी से हो सकतीहै और शायद ये भी एक छोटी भी भूल/गलती हो| पर ये एक बड़े बदलाव की और संकेत करता है जहाँ हम अपनी मातृ भाषा से नियंत्रण खो रहे है | ये सिर्फ महानुभाव तक सीमित अनुभव नहीं है जो अपनी कमेंटरी में कई बार ऐसे सबको का प्रयोग कर रहे थे जो हिंदी में पूरा अर्थ ही विपरीत सा प्रतीत हो रहा था | रोजमरा की जिंदगी में भी हमें ये देखने को मिलता है|

बहुत बार खुद को भी लगता है की हम अंग्रेजी के सबको को हिंदी में नहीं बोल पाते | हम पानी बात को सही तरीके से अपनी मातृ भाषा में ही नहीं व्यक्त कर पाते | इस से कभी -कभी आत्म ग्लानी भी होती है | हम जरुर अपनी भाषा से अपनी पकड़ खो रहे है | इसके पीछे मुझे कई कारण है | मेरे अनुसार कुछ कारण निम्न है

  1. शिक्षा व्यवस्था जिसमे गुणवतापुर्वक शिक्षा सिर्फ अंग्रेजी में उपलब्ध होना
  2. अंग्रेजी का बाहुल्य व हिंदी भाषा के में अधिक अवसर न होना
  3. भारतीये चीजों को ज्यादा मान सामान ने देने की प्रवर्ती व विदेशी को कुछ जरुरत से ज्यादा ही महत्व देना
  4. हमारी राजनेतिक व्यवस्था का लोगो की असली समस्या की तरफ ध्यान न देना | यही कारण है की हम भाषा केंद्रित राजनीती तो देखते है परन्तु भाषा के विकास के लिए कोई कम नहीं देखते
  5. धनाड्य वर्ग (खासकर राजनेतिक , नौकरशाह ) का अंग्रेजी पे अच्छी पकड़ होना – इस से उनका एक निहित स्वार्थ छिपा है की हिंदी को प्रशाशन और शिक्षा में बढावा ना दे ताकि आम लोग उनसे बराबरी न कर सकते और वो अपना आधिपत्य बनाये रखे|
  6. वैश्विक स्तर पर अंग्रेजी का दब दबा होना

ये एक कटु सच है की आज के वैश्विक युग में हम नाही अंग्रेजी को नकार सकते और नाही पूरी तरह से हिंदी को अपना सकते है | इस के पीछे एक बड़ा कारण ये भी है की आज का वैश्विक व्यापर और लेनदेन अंग्रेजी में ही होता है | विश्व में आपस में ज्ञान के आदान प्रदान की भाषा भी अंग्रेजी है| यहाँ तक की ये विषय वस्तु भी रोमन लिप में लिख के उसका अनुवाद करके लिखनी पद रही है|

परन्तु हमें ये भी याद रखना होगा की हमारी बहुत सारी समस्याओं और कमजोरियों के पीछे भाषा का भी एक योगदान है | आज के दिन हमें कुछ अमूल-चूक चीजों पे विचार करने की जरुरत है | क्या स्कूल में पढाई के निम्न स्तर के लिए भाषा और उसका माध्यम एक हद तक जिम्मेदार नहीं है ? क्या गणित और विज्ञानं बचे को मातृ भाषा में अच्छे से नहीं पढ़ा सकते ? क्या हमें अपनी शिक्षा व्यवस्था में सुधार लाने के लिए भाषा के मध्यम पे गहन विचार करने की जरुरत नहीं है ? क्या प्रशासन की भाषा आम लोगो की भाषा नहीं होनी चाहिए या वो भाषा होनी चाहिए जो सिर्फ १०% लोग भी आराम से नहीं बोल सकते और नाही अच्छे से समझ सकते है ? क्या हम हिंदी के बिना भी एक विकसित राष्ट्र का सपना पूरा कर सकते है ? क्या हिंदी इस सुचना और प्रद्योगिकी के युग में एक प्रभावी और उपयोगी भाषा के रूप में उभर सकती है या फिर हमें अंग्रेजी पे ही निर्भर होना पड़ेगा| हमें इन सब विषयों पे गहन विचार विमश करने की जरुरत है |

हमें ये भी सोचने की जरुरत है की अंग्रेजी भाषा के बड़ते प्रचलन के बावजूद , हम क्यों कोई बड़ा आविष्कार/खोज नहीं कर पा रहे है ? क्यों हम तकनीकी के लिए हमेशा विदेशो पे ही निर्भर रहते है ?  क्यों हमें अपनी सुरक्षा के लिए भी दूसरे देशो पे निर्भर रहना पड़ता है ? क्यों हमें परमाणु ऊर्जा के लिए अमेरिका और रूस के आगे हाथ फलने पड़ते है ? क्या हम थोरियम , जिसके अथाकभंडार भारत में है , को विकसित कर (ऊर्जा के स्त्रोत के रूप में )सकते है ?

शायद इन सब के लिए कुछ हद तक हिंदी/ अंग्रेजी की बहस भी जिम्मेदार हो! क्या विदेशी भाषा में दिशा निर्देश(पढाई) उत्पादकता कम कर देती है ? क्या विदेशी भाषा हमें एक रचनात्मक सोच की क्षमता में बाधा साबित होती है ?

कुछ विचारों अनुसार ,‘संज्ञानात्मक’ कौशल/क्षमता अपनी भाषा में अच्छे से विकसित किया जा सकती है | इस से बच्चों में रचनात्मकता, नवाचार और सिखने की लालसा व भावना भी अच्छे से विकसित की जा सकती है| उनके अनुसार , बेहतर ये होगा की शुरूआती वर्षों में सिर्फ “संज्ञानात्मक क्षमताओं” के विकास पर ध्यान केंद्रित किया जाए और एक निश्चित स्तर के बाद, भाषा कौशल प्रदान किया जाए | विभिन् भाषा कौशल के बावजूद बुनियादी शिक्षा मातृभाषा में ही होनी चाहिए।

एक तरफ हम कहते है की हमारे यहाँ ‘नवाचार’ नहीं हो रहा परन्तु दूसरी तरफ कोई भी रचनात्मक सुझाव को हम सिरे से ख़ारिज कर देते है | किसी को पुराने/ रुदिवादी कह के तो तो किसी को बहुत ही क्रन्तिकारी कह के | शायद ये हमारी शिक्षा प्रणाली का ही प्रभाव है की हमारा दिमाग कोई नए सुझाव या तरीके के लिए असल में खुला ही नहीं होता | जो हम से सहमत नहीं होता उसे हम अपना दुश्मन मान बैठते है |

आज के दिन जब हिंदी व अंग्रेजी दोनों के बारे में मान्येताये बदल रही है , जब देश के मंत्री परिषद में ज्यादातर सिर्फ भारत में पढ़े लोग है , जब सुचना प्रद्योगिकी उद्योग की वैश्विक कंपनिया हिंदी भाषा पे जोर दे रही है तो क्या हिंदी के प्रयोग को बढाने और देश के एक बड़े तबके की जरुरत को पूरा करने के लिए व उनकी काबिलियत को अच्छे से प्रयोग करने के लिए हम सब क्या कर सकते है ?

मेरी ऊपर की बातों का ये मतलब कतई ये नहीं है की हमें सिर्फ हिंदी को ही बढावा देना है फिर किसी क्षेत्रिये भाषा या अंग्रेजी को कम महत्व देना है | सबका अपना-अपना महत्व होता है और हिंदी का अपना महत्व है | यहाँ हिंदी मैंने मातृ भाषा के सन्दर्भ में किया है ना कि सिर्फ हिंदी भाषा के लिए |

आज इस गणतंत्र दिवस के मौके के दिन जरुरत इस बात की है की हम एक खुले मन से भाषा के मुद्दे पे एक व्यापक बहस करके किसी आम सहमति पर पहुंचे | जब हम सही मायने में आत्म निर्भर हो जायेंगे तभी असली गणतंत्र की प्राप्ति होगी !

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Rajasthan PRI Case: Election and Educational Qualification


Does Democracy’s performance depend on quality of elected leaders? Is the quality and competency of leader correlated with formal education? Is formal education better parameter to judge the appropriateness & competence of public officials than street smartness and grassroots experience? Whose responsibility it is to impart education to all –society, individual or state? Can educated leaders be better able to effectively enforce the public policies meant for social welfare and public goods?

These are some of questions which have come to fore after Rajasthan government passed an ordinance, just days before the notification for Panchayati Raj election, fixing the minimum educational qualification for contestant in PRI election.

Ordinance makes it mandatory that a contestant for panchayat samiti and district council election must have passed Class X; Gram Sarpanch, class VIII; and in Scheduled Areas, Class V.

Educational qualification is not the criteria in the elections at any level and Rajasthan is the first State to have introduced minimum qualification criteria. It was even seriously debated in constitutional assembly but none was adopted. Universal adult franchise without any qualification attached was adopted. But many things have changed since independence. Can same criteria continue to work or is there need for amendment to improve the quality of democracy in 21st century?

The major arguments in favour of ordinance by Government and its supporter are

  • Positive and progressive reform to further the cause of education and it would act as catalyst to bring social change.
  • It would bring forward better educated public official and ultimately it would ensure better enforcement of public policy
  • It would bringing more accountability and transparency as they can no longer take excuse behind the veil of ignorance. Standard excuse that ‘I am illiterate and put my thumb impression on whatever papers were given to me’ would no longer work.
  • check embezzlement of funds at the hands of illiterate panchayat level representatives

But opposition is not convinced and dissenting voices (including civil society, activist and disqualified people from such move) have put forward following points to counter the move:

  • Ordinance route (which preclude deliberation and discussion) for such a radical change is un-democratic.
  • Government is utilizing brute majority to stifle the debate and discussion in house and outside.
  • It’s not their fault that they don’t have educational degree. State has failed in its constitutional duty to impart the education.
  • Is formal degree more important than competency acquired through experience?
  • Introducing selective disqualification is hindering inclusive participation of all in the grassroots development and governance of the country.
  • move is discriminatory to a large section of the rural population, particularly women, dalit and Adivasi among whom the literacy rate is the lowest
  • aimed to garner political advantage

Some relevant facts: – Literacy rate of Rajasthan is 66.11 percent; Female literacy is 52.12 per cent, only 46 per cent of the rural women are literate.( The Census of India, 2011).But literacy rate and educational qualification among the young population is much more than elder population.

Intent: The main Intent shown intent reform was to bring more qualified people in politics. Nobody can fault with intent but many are questioning the method adopted.  Also move has political connotation which was visible when opposition congress struggled to find the better educated candidates.

Contentious issues

  • Can the ordinance stand the legal scrutiny?
  • Status: So far none of court has entertained the petition to cancel the notification for election and declare the ordinance unconstitutional or ultravire. SC refused to entertain the PIL & (SLP) writ petition on issue and has asked the concerned parties to go to HC. SC asked the petitioner to knock the doors of HC. High Court has fixed date of 2nd march while refusing to cancel the election process. Meanwhile AG has opined in SC that entire election would be void if ordinance is declared unconstitutional.
  • Main legal issues involved are
    • Can differentiation qualification for voter and candidate be imposed?
    • Can pre-requisites like having a toilet facility at home and not having more than two children stand the judicial scrutiny?
    • Does it impose unequal burden on marginalized section of society and benefit the well off?
    • Why for PRI when no such qualification exist for MP and MLAs
    • Shouldn’t state be held responsible for failure to perform its duty?

Impact: So what could be possible impact and consequences of such move?

  • Congress which have traditional leadership & most of them are dynastic in nature struggled to find the candidates. It was even admitted by PCC chief Sachin Pilot that we are having difficulties in selecting candidates due to last minute ordinance. This was more pronounced when considering the women candidates.
  • This has one side effect- families with educated girls /daughter-in-laws were approached for ticket even when they don’t have previous political background.
  • Whether other states would follow the example or it would remain one of case? Will courts find something unconstitutional in proposed move?
  • It would surely reduce the average age of elected representative. Even if we set aside the eligibility criterion, more young people contest the election this time. It has also to do with higher political consciousness and engagement of youth.

The level of public discourse in India can be judged by fact that some so called Liberal Intellectuals projected it as fight between elite’s vs masses. But can 8th pass be considered elites in today’s knowledge society?

Anecdotes are oversold in this world. This is especially more applicable to mass media and liberal intellectuals. The case of ‘’Naurati’’ was highlighted as if she was icon of ‘non-literate’ but competent India. As if a grave injustice was done by making her non-eligible for election. As if she was destined to rule forever. As if all the illiterate person are going to do the good job. This was repetition of Lalu-love of media and so called liberal intellectuals.

It’s just matter of time but there is definitely need to fix educational qualification for all elected leaders from grassroots to parliament. It would improve the quality of discourse and debate and lead to more informed policy choices.

Through some accuse that more educated person would find the more ways of corruption but such arguments and logics can’t cut ice in modern, rational, young and aspirational India.

The need of hour is to fix the educational qualification for all level of public officials, improve the quality of public discourse and policy making, and making democracy more participative in both structure and process.

Liberal intellectuals need to comprehend the aims, aspiration and dreams of modern youth who are forming the base of demographic dividend and need to attune their thoughts and thinking accordingly to mobilise this huge latent energy for productive use. Only a visionary leadership with exposure to grassroots and constant engagement with people can mobilise this latent energy and enthusiasm for nation building.

Dreams, Ambitions and Aspiration


How dreams and ambitions are shaped by our surroundings, experience, exposure & circumstances? It is a mute question, how ambitions and dreams shape and fold our life?

Aspirations, Opportunities and Environment are concomitant variables. They are inter-linked in cyclic and dynamic fashion. The hopes, aspiration and ambitions of all the citizens make up the vision of nation. They play a crucial role in determining the fate of nation. As we are approaching another Republic Day, below is my conjecture on these philosophical sounding topics.

In today’s fast moving world, every young person is branded as ‘ambitious’ guy or girl. Frequently it’s taken in negative sense e.g when ambitions are attached as reason for committing various crimes. Ambitious person is shown as willing to compromise with ethics and values to achieve his/her goals and objectives. He is ready to walk extra mile even if it involve the using unfair means.

The negative connotation associated with ambition often resulted in hearing that ‘My goal in life is to live a simple middle class life. Not much ambitious.’

New exposure, experience and events give a new direction to our life’s trajectory. We got influenced and molded by Peers Group (company we keep), thoughts & ideas we come in contact with (Intellectual Discourse we have) & physical surrounding around us (Oh does it also play a part, I am not sure!).

Dreams and aspiration varies depending on physical origin (Rural or Urban Background), Social Background, Upbringing of a person and many other factors.   A girl from rural background would be starkly different from a high class cosmopolitan society. Their different path of socialization got manifested in their world view, values, and ethics and even in their accent, dressing sense, lifestyle & profession. IN modern world, they may have common elements but it would most probably influence of common factors like influence of mass media, subsequent upbringing (Attending same college) etc.

The width & depth of ideas, action and achievements act as booster to further expand our ambition. More dynamic we become more energy we get. Lazier we become more we restrict our activities, less productive we become. Multiple tasks at a time may dampen our concentration power, but doing many things in day may actually help us to achieve more.

Everybody is ready to offer advice (even me included: P) but why few people act on them?

Fear of failure, the fear of unknown prevents us from charting an independent path. It prevents us from taking risks. It forces us to move along a defined path, set by others, often as compulsion.

Self doubt is biggest enemy of our progress. Gradual process of casting apprehension by others lower our ambition and we start settling for less rather than striving for excellence. It may be done intentionally by rivals or unintentionally by neutral person or sympathizers.

On other hand having wider exposure, interaction with successful people having positive mindset broadens our thinking and aspirations. Both Self confidence (and lack of it) and motivation (lack of it) are contagious elements.

To constantly innovate and evolve ourselves is a difficult constant challenge. There is no definite guide. Everybody has his/her own way of learning during this turbulent, exciting and unknown journey of life.

Human tendency is to believe all the wrong things or shortcoming (ever thought why conspiracy theories/rumors spread so fast) but it takes hard persuasion to convince about talent, capabilities and strength.

‘If you say to your friend that you are looking ‘dashing’ he would most probably reply that don’t make joke. (Mazak mat uda)

Normally we take positive things lightly but negative things more emotionally & personally. We attach too much importance on self–perception. It affects us in two ways- firstly, through inter-personal relations & people management skills (we may lose temper or get angry). Secondly, it affects our personality in fundamental ways in long run.

Sure we need to be aware of our shortcoming, limitations and. we need to introspect on them to evolve ourselves as better person. Striking a right balance between positive thinking and working on shortcoming is crucial not only for profession and personal success but to live a comfortable, joyful and harmonious life.

If we start celebrating small success, achievements & joy, and don’t take every criticism emotionally and personally it would open new avenues to the life which is more fulfilling, enjoyable and livable.

  • Pretending to be busy doesn’t mean we are busy
  • It’s not everybody’s forte to go out of comfort zone every time nor its required but everybody need to be come out of self defined enclosure or at least strive to expand the boundary of enclosure.
  • Exploring the unconventional and diverse things in diverse way opens up new avenues for our thinking and creates excitement in life.
  • Do different things, do things differently.

Detailed Analysis of Budget with Focus on Budget Speech


Detailed Analysis of Budget Speech with Comments

Here is an attempt to analyse the budget with special focus on budget speech of Finance Minister. First the relevant portion of Budget Speech is reproduced and them comment on that subject is appended.

1. “towards a sustained growth of 7-8 per cent or above within the next 3-4 years”

Comment: Mr. FM is aiming too low; its show approach is incremental rather than disruptive. It also shows the lack of innovative thinking. Playing by same rules of games doesn’t always work. No one would have blamed him if he had stretched finances for year or two but without substantial fiscal stimulus, path of higher growth trajectory is not feasible.

 

2.” it would not be wise to expect everything that can be done or must be done to be in the first Budget presented within forty five days of the formation of this Government.”

Comments: That’s lame excuse. This is what happens when lawyers defend their weakness/incapacity in areas outside their domain. This show the lack of preparedness on part of opposition (now party in govt.). It shows the opposition didn’t have the institutional knowledge of budget and condition of economy. The people who were involved in such process like former finance minister and Chairman of ‘Standing committee on finance’ were entirely shunted out, so were the people with some innovative thinking. Need to institute the practice of ‘shadow cabinet’ which is common practice in Westminster system of government. If such an attitude continue then public be get ready to get the typical campaign of next election centred on ‘5 year is not enough to show the result. We have provided direction the results of which will be seen in next years to come. So please vote us again to deliver.

 

3. “While higher growth is a sine qua non, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that there is a large population of this country which is below the poverty line.”

Comment: What he is smoking. It show the same thinking as of Mr. Rahul Gandhi who used to say redistribution is priority rather than growth. The subsidy is solution rather than infrastructure. People’s mandate was not for this. They were looking for growth. Growth benefits all not just rich. It is even more important for removal of poverty. It is the poor who suffer the most from lack of growth. (Suffer from what? Poor Growth, right?)

 

4. “We also must address fully the problem of black money which is curse of our economy”.

Comment: Just a cursory pass on the main election issue. It show even the intention are not serious. Just after formation of government, there was some controversy on appointment of Attorney General. The MP & crusader against the black money Mr. Ramjethmalani has protested against appointed of anyone who is against the drive of bringing back black money. But Mr. Mukul Rohtagi – ‘Member of Club 160’ was nevertheless appointed AG. In public life perception matters lot and if present government depends on same set of people who are ineffective in opposition for last decade then it can’t hope of build a sustained positive perception & deliver on commitment made to people.

 

5. Faced with these adversities we have no option but to undertake some bold steps in order to enhance economic activity and spur growth in the economy. These steps are only the beginning of our effort to revive the growth spirit of the Indian Economy. They are directional.

Comment: But there weren’t much old steps nor there seems to any direction in budget.

 

6. Committed to provide a stable and predictable taxation regime that would be investor friendly and spur growth.

Comment: Isn’t it cliche when everyone talks about investor friendliness. Government is supposed to public-friendly who elect them. Why give such an undue emphasis on Investors. Let them treat just a set of public. They are just instruments not the end in itself. The end objective is welfare of people, whatever instrument is required in that they should be treated equally.

 

7. “Tax demand of more than ` 4 lakh crore is under dispute and litigation before various Courts and Appellate authorities.

Comment: That is about 1/3 of annual Tax & Non-tax receipt.  This is not just serious concern of taxpayer but also general public. Even if half of that is realised in fair manner it would not only make budget surplus but also bring the economy back to double digit growth rate if same amount is put to right use.

The only aim should not be reduction of litigation. Tax evasion is common practice and it would be wrong on part of government authority to convey the message that all these litigation are baseless & taxpayers is right in all cases. In most of cases the IT department is correct in initiating the proceeding but the system is too complex and rigid and incentive to close the proceeding in time bound manner should be focused. The corruption & pervasive incentives should be done away with not the litigation process. This would create an environment of impunity among the tax-evaders or avoiders.

 

8. I propose to set up a High Level Committee to interact with trade and industry on a regular basis and ascertain areas where clarity in tax laws is required. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central Board of Excise and Customs shall issue appropriate clarifications, wherever considered necessary, on the tax issues within a period of two months.

Comment: This is positive measure which incorporates the feedback mechanism and prompt action.

 

9. To encourage development of Smart Cities, which will also provide habitation for the neo-middle class.

Comment: Which show the lack of comprehensive approach? Cities are vibrant places where all section of society is present. It can’t be targeted at particular class. It is opposed to be inclusive rather than exclusive for particular class. A sustainable city contains people from all socio-economic class with basic amenities of life and job opportunities.

 

10. Requirement of the built up area and capital conditions for FDI is being reduced from 50,000 square metres to 20,000 square metres and from USD 10 million to USD 5 million respectively with a three year post completion lock in.

Comment: This is basically- in plain term- increase in FDI in real estate sector which can be speculative. (What was need of hiding this behind the smart cities cliché?) Without simplification and streamlining of land related procedures especially anarchic practice of conversion from agriculture to residential, it is not going to work. Also the Real estate regulator is need of hour. Most of FDI would come in High Range Luxury Building rather than affordable housing. The main requirement is in affordable housing which is near to impossible to take off without above reforms.

 

11.Projects which commit at least 30 per cent of the total project cost for low cost affordable housing will be exempted from minimum built up area and capitalization requirements, with the condition of three year lock-in.

Comment: This would serve as effective conduit to bring back black money & nothing else. Otherwise which foreign investor is going to invest less than $5 million in any real estate?

 

12. The Prime Minister has a vision of developing ‘one hundred Smart Cities’, as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernizing the existing mid-sized cities. To provide the necessary focus to this critical activity, I have provided a sum of `7,060 crore in the current fiscal.

Comment: Here there was big opportunity to reform the JNNURM and launch the next phase of urban renewal mission. But alas, FM was caught unprepared on this front also.

 

13. Kissan Vikas Patra (KVP) was a very popular instrument among small savers. I plan to reintroduce the instrument to encourage people, who may have banked and unbanked savings to invest in this instrument.

Comment: Need to read the report of committee (Usha Thorat Committee) which recommended the discontinuation of these small saving instruments. What was the rationale? Then can comment critically. One of possible reason was that KYC was not strict so it was used as conduit for investing black money.

 

14. Skill India A national multi-skill programme called Skill India is proposed to be launched. It would skill the youth with an emphasis on employability and entrepreneur skills. It will also provide training and support for traditional professions like welders, carpenters, cobblers, masons, blacksmiths, weavers etc. Convergence of various schemes to attain this objective is also proposed.

Comment: But there is financial commitment for this? No budget allocation? What kind of skill will you provide to cobblers? To blacksmith?? It is more of waste of money if they are not being prepared to work with modern technology which can only be possible with change in institutional set-up. One possible way forward can be association of such trades on lines of Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO))

 

15. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana – I propose to set aside a sum of ` 1,000 crore for this purpose.

Comment: what will happen to existing schemes of Micro and Macro Irrigation in which central government was providing financial support in tens of thousands crores. What would be architecture and what would be focus …nothing is spelt out clearly. Just Rs 1000 Crore for Irrigation? It’s just peanuts. Also it is one of biggest area prone to corruption. The recent Maharashtra Irrigation Scam & Scam of Andhra during tenure of Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy? What is accountability and monitoring mechanism to ensure that it doesn’t become a conduit for politicians to make money though public contracts.

 

16. Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission will be launched to deliver integrated project based infrastructure in the rural areas, which will also include development of economic activities and skill development. The preferred mode of delivery would be through PPPs while using various scheme funds for financing.

Comment: What will happen to PURA scheme? It wasn’t just UPA legacy but idea of our former president Mr. A P J Abdul Kalam. Either you need to absorb PURA within it or make formal announcement of closer of same. Most probably it would be continuation of PURA scheme with new name.

 

17.Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana” for feeder separation will be launched to augment power supply to the rural areas and for strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems. I propose to set aside a sum of ` 500 crore for this purpose.

Comment: Rs 500 for transmission and distribution at national level. Mr. FM must be joking. He has allocated Rs 200 for improvement in transmission in NCT Delhi & Rs 500 for overall India. Also when distribution infrastructure in Private Sector , why Government of India is investing in transmission infrastructure in NCT ?

 

18. Gender MainstreamingGovernment would focus on campaigns to sensitize people of this country towards the concerns of the girl child and women. The process of sensitization must begin early; therefore, the school curriculum must have a separate chapter on gender mainstreaming.

Comment: This doesn’t have any relevance in budget speech. Budget is not for setting the social and whole agenda of government. May be he had forget we is just Finance and Defense Minister and not Education Minister presenting Education Policy!

 

19. In keeping with the Government’s focus on improving affordable healthcare and to augment the transfer of technology for better health care facilities in rural India, fifteen Model Rural Health Research shall be set up in the states, which shall take up research on local health issues concerning rural population.

Comment: This is one novel step in right direction. Such thinking is needed in all the sectors to solve the pressing issues facing the country. Such contextual approach with local needs in mind is need of hour.

 

20. A School Assessment Programme is being initiated at a cost of ` 30 crore. .To infuse new training tools and motivate teachers, “Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme” is being launched.(This is also a welcome initiative to improve the quality of education in country.) I am setting aside an initial sum of ` 500 crore for this.

To take advantage of the reach of the IT, I propose to allocate a sum of `100 crore for setting up virtual classrooms as Communication Linked Interface for Cultivating Knowledge (CLICK) and online courses.

Comment: Move to initiate School assessment is very good. When, I was going through Economic Survey, these though come to my mind after seeing lot of mention of ASER.

First we should not put too much reliance on one particular survey that is done by Private NGO while formulating public policy. The questions were earlier raised about its methodology and sample by NCERT. They may have very good intention but what if their methodology is flawed. It should be subjected to critical scrutiny. As next step, government should set up an independent assessment agency for all India survey. It could utilise the existing infrastructure of existing agencies like CBSE, NCERT, and State Boards in this large logistically difficult task. Design should be formulated by best educationist in Country.

It should give a more accurate picture reflecting the widest geography and socio-economic group. It would also have much higher legitimacy.

Also the survey should be design keeping in mind what government want to measure, what possible alternative scenario projections are and how their design could be optimised. It should be comprehensive assessment which could be utilised for developing suitable pedagogy, teaching model and financing model based on feedback.

De-facto place of ASER in any public policy discussion on primary education quality show lack of alternative. Monopoly can have devastating inefficiency whether it’s in private sector or public section. Competition always brings efficiency. Most of advocates using ASER are anyway advocating market based model. Competition in assessment should be starting point to provide more accurate picture.

 

21. It is proposed to launch a pan India programme “Digital India”. This would ensure Broad band connectivity at village level, improved access to services through IT enabled platforms, greater transparency in Government processes and increased indigenous production of IT hardware and software for exports and improved domestic availability.

Comment: Again insufficient fund allocation. Where will the fund set aside for Bharat Broadband Limited go? Is it different from scheme for connecting Panchayats to internet or just tweaking of same scheme? Clearly there is lack of knowledge or understanding of existing governmental schemes as most of schemes announce and fund allocated are just variant of existing running schemes. If such is case, why not merge them with new scheme and use full money to achieve the target.

 

22. Pooled Municipal Debt Obligation Facility: This facility was set up in 2006 with participation of several Banks to promote and finance infrastructure projects in Urban Area on shared risk basis. Present corpus of this facility is `5,000 Crores. …..it is proposed to enlarge it to ` 50,000 Crores with extension of the facility by five years to March 31, 2019.

Comment: This could be catalytic in ushering the reform in municipal finance. Step is move in right direction. This could kick start municipal bond market in indirect way but more reform would be needed in financial reporting and auditing procedures at municipal levels.

 

23. Urban Metro Projects in the PPP mode, which will be supported by the Central Government through VGF. In the current financial year, I propose to set aside a sum of ` 100 crore for Metro Projects in Lucknow and Ahemdabad.

Comment: Present experience of PPP mode metro in Delhi Airport line and Mumbai Metro doesn’t augur well. Public transport facility is something which needs to support by government. The financing facilities of Multilateral institutes & bilateral support like from JICA should be enhanced and focus be kept on their operational profitability. The Delhi Metro model is kind of exemplary with focus on customer service, operational efficiency & fine management. Need for rethink on PPP model for Public Transit. Within a broader public mode components can be outsourced.

 

24.Malnutritionnational programme in Mission Mode is urgently required to halt the deteriorating malnutrition situation in India. A comprehensive strategy including detailed methodology, costing, time lines and monitorable targets will be put in place within six months.

Comment: If Food Security Act could be suitably amended with focus on nutritional security that would be much more practical and targeted approach rather than starting parallel mission.

 

25. India has emerged as the largest PPP market in the world with over 900 projects in various stages of development. …An institution to provide support to mainstreaming PPPs called 3P India will be set up with a corpus of `500 crores.

Comment: it is a welcome move which would help to build the institutional capacity of government to handle the PPP contracts.

 

26. India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation as an Industry. I propose to create 5 tourist circuits around specific themes and set aside a sum of ` 500 crore for this purpose.

Comment: Travel, Tourism & Hospitality is one of biggest job creating sector world over and In India tourism is one of most neglected and underdeveloped sector with tremendous potentials. There is need for comprehensive and holistic approach to promote the tourism in India. A substantial funding is needed to provide the impetus especially in improving public facilities at tourist places and improving the system of governance in tourist cities to make it convenient & safe for tourist.

 

27. While preparing estimates of plan expenditure, attention was paid to the absorptive capacity of the Department and on achieving greater outcome with the same financial outlay. In 2013-14, plan funds to the tune of ` 4, 53,085 crore could be utilised. Plan allocation of `5,75,000 crore in the Main Budget 2014-15 mark an increase of 26.9% over actual for 2013-14

Comment: This is being mischievous. in same budget you say previous government cut the plan allocation to meet the fiscal deficit target and then go on to define same in terms of absorptive capacity of department. This is not done. If FM is cutting budget then how can you say the department is lacking the absorptive capacity?

 

28. In the interim Budget 2014-15, my predecessor had set revenue collection targets for direct taxes as well as indirect taxes, which appear to be ambitious. I propose to retain these targets and it shall be my endeavor to achieve the same.

Comment: It reduces the credibility when you play with books like the previous FM Mr. Pranab Mukhejee did by putting oil bonds off the balance sheet & Mr. Chidambaram did by postponing the expenditure and bringing forward the receipt like dividends by PSUs. It is also result of lack of financial oversight or scrutiny of budget that beside a minority, general public didn’t come to know about this at all.

 

29. To provide investment allowance at the rate of 15 percent to a manufacturing company that invests more than ` 25 crore in any year in new plant and machinery.

Comment: This is good move. Since there is no dedicated lobby for MSME sector, it may not be that much appreciated by lobby groups like CII & FICCI but would provide them level playing field.

 

30. The concessional rate of tax at 15 percent on dividends received by Indian companies from their foreign subsidiaries has resulted in enhanced repatriation of funds from abroad. I propose to continue with this concessional rate of 15 percent on foreign dividends without any sunset date.  This will ensure stability of taxation policy.

Why we treat Dividend Income different from Salary Income? Is it due to effective and organised lobby of High Net Worth Individuals and Industrial families? How Selfish they can become can be seen from response of Mr. Rahul Bajaj yesterday on RajyaSabha TV. When asked about increase in DDT Tax Rate from 10 to 17.5% – His response was ‘are we stupid that we would be happy after increased in tax rate’. This is typical approach of these high class elites. They don’t care that salaries individual’s pay 30% of their taxes of their hard earned money while promoters of company pay just half of that as they receive most of money in dividends & even then they don’t stop cribbing. From this you can gauge the strength of their lobbying power.

 

31. To set at rest an on-going dispute, I propose to exempt PSF and PFY manufactured from plastic waste and scrap including PET bottles from excise duty with effect from 29th June, 2010 to 7th May, 2012.

Comment: We need to look at history of who is beneficiary here. It is also retrospective legislation even in tax exemption! This brings us to another required reform wherein such trivial duty matter should be settled through administrative machinery and Budget should be used to provide strategic and structural guidance to economy.  

 

Analysis of Union Budget 2014-15


Our mentality of gauging the any programme based on financial outlay is deeply ingrained in our psyche & is not going away anytime soon. This basically means we judge everything in budget by amount of money allocated to different schemes. Higher the allocation and better it is. On the other hand we also look out for tax rebate. Lower the tax & higher rebate, more it is better for us. We didn’t care much about what was actual output? How effective money was utilised? Did it created any impact? Or how much is imbalance (Difference between earning and spending)? Nor do the common men is concerned about the amount of outstanding loan or % of total spending government is spending on the interest payment?

 There are several reasons for all of above. First of all we think it’s not directly going to impact it. Secondly financial literacy is very low especially when concerning the too much technical matters like budget etc. Thirdly Finance Minister Play around the numbers and terms that it become even difficult for an expert to gauge the correct figures.

Also the level of debate on budget is parliament is usually very short and devoid of serious discussion on core issue. The debate focused on peripheral issues like why some scheme is not allocated Rs 100 Crore more or why budget was reduced for other scheme. This was evident from post-budget media debates and discussion where it revolved around the 3-4 issues which hardly covered more than Rs 500-1000 Crores. But total budget was for Rs 18 Lakh Crores!

To address the above concerns and to make more people engage in broader budgetary process we need to make things simple. The jugglery played by all the finance ministers need to be stopped and people need to informed in simple terms things like – what is total budget, how much is government paying in Interest Payment , How much is Subsidy , how much is budget going for running the government services and payment of salaries & how much is government borrowing from market. Also how much we are investing in education (in % terms, increment from last term and what we are planning to achieve from that spending etc.). All these need to presented in layman’s language not in some excel sheets. This will also set the ground for effective debate in parliament. Many MP shy away from taking part in debate as they don’t understand all these things (Its truth!). For this we need to set-up a Parliament Budgetary Office which can do all analysis in non-partisan basis.

Lack of scrutiny of output and impact created by schemes is one of reason for underdevelopment, corruption and ineffective implementation. We need to focus on how to create more from same bucks. Neither any government organisation nor any independent organisation work on these fronts. Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) created last years is one such initiative. But we are not sure how it would perform and whether government would take its recommendation seriously. One of first report of IEO is on planning commission in which it has recommended to take away financial allocation function and restructure it into a think-tank for government mainly working in areas of policy & knowledge sharing.  

Now coming to Main Point, what are key take away from this budget. Here are some of my observations:  

1. Total Expenditure (TE) for Budget =Rs 1794892 (~ 8% increase from last BE & 13% increase from RE)

Revenue Expenditure is Rs 1568111 (87% of TE)

Capital Expenditure is Rs 226781 (13% of TE)

So basically only around 13% is going towards the investment in creating new assets and major portion of our expenditure is going towards the everyday running of government, interest payment, subsidy etc.  

2. Borrowing & Other liabilities = Rs 531177 Cr. ~30 % of TE (This basically means out of Rs 100 spend, government is going to borrow Rs 30 from market. This would add up to existing debt and we would continue to pay interest payment on this amount & please not we are not investing it in creating any new assets).

& how much are we paying toward the Interest Payment =Its 24% of Total Expenditure. This is almost double of Capital Expenditure. Almost all of government borrowing is going only in interest payment.

3. Just to give a glimpse of assumptions used to arrive at these numbers. You can guess credibility of this number for yourself.

*”GDP for BE 2014-2015 has been projected at `12876653 crore assuming 13.4% growth over the Advance Estimates”

So considering the real growth rate of 5.4 % as FM said in Budget. So Government is assuming 8% Inflation in their numbers. Now don’t complain again about high inflation. This is government’s official target for inflation. Whatever be RBI’s target (Monetary Policy Board and Monetary Policy Frameworks blah blah) & policies it doesn’t matter much.

4. Drastic Increase in Capital receipts target: There is 245% increase in other capital Receipts (mainly comprises the licensing fees and disinvestment proceeding). Rs 63425 Crore is target for this Year. The last year it was proposed at Rs 55814 but actual was just Rs 25841 (46%) of budget estimate.

5. Something about assumptions about tax receipt. The Assumed increase in current years is 18% over the last years while last year increase was just 12%. This despite the fact that a number of extra tax exemptions were given. As per budget, tax loss from only direct tax concession is Rs 22,000 Cr.

But then our FM says “I have decided to accept this target as a challenge. One fails only when one stops trying.”

6. Few Words about Subsidies.

Total Allocation for subsidies = Rs 260658 Cr. i.e. 15% of Total Expenditure (Don’t get fooled whey the express the number in terms of % of GDP!)

Off course, this is higher than last year. (Hopefully it includes deferred component of last year but who know same will not be done this year also)

So we are paying about 40% of Expenditure in Interest payments and subsidies.

7.  Loans to State and U.T. Governments under the Capital Expenditure.

Last year there was drastic reduction of about Rs 3400 Cr. So this basically means States are now borrowing more from market, usually at higher rate than centre. This would continue in current fiscal year.

8. There is major restructuring of Central Sector Schemes (CSS). So Central plan is drastically reduced & Central assistance for State Plans has increased correspondingly. This would provide more flexibility to state in designing schemes and spend fund to meet their specific requirement within broader parameters.

Last year there was one subhead “Direct release under Central Plan to State/District level autonomous bodies/implementing agencies” (of amount Rs 107015 Cr). This has been reduced to nil and same amount is being transferred to Central Assistance for State Plans.

So direct devolution of fund to third tier of governance is thing of past, at least for now.

9. Budget Support for PSU has decreased by ~40% (from 356493 last year to Rs 216760 CFY) basically a huge saving by Cutting Budgetary support to PSU and this is where the money for newly introduced token scheme and tax exemption is going to come.

10. You must have observed some around 30 odd new schemes in this budget with allocation of Rs100-200 Cr. Some may interpret this is making attempt to kick-start the implementation of things promised in manifesto, then just for your information Fund Allocated for equity infusion of Air India is Rs 6500 Cr – almost double of what is allocated for all these schemes.

These are few preliminary observations. I would post more in coming post especially one on comment on budget speech and contents in its. 

Security Strategy to tackle the Insurgency in India


The past week has been dominated by insurgent of ISIS in Iraq. I came across one interesting articles (http://www.vox.com/2014/6/13/5803712/11-things-iraq-crisis-isis) providing the background information about the Group and how it operates. Immediately I was struck by similarities in operation of this group and various insurgent groups operating in India especially Maoist groups which has now spread to about 200 districts (the infamous red-corridor).   

Based on facts provided in articles I propose a short security strategy which could be employed to solve the insurgency and prevent them from further expansion. The basic of this strategy is to understand their modus operandi and then cut the roots of their bases. The correct diagnosis is first step towards the solution of any problem.

  1. The articles mention that “ISIS raises money like a government”. The same applies to Maoist operating in most intensive areas of Red corridor. (Same goes for insurgents operating in north east region of country). So how do we tackle this?

 As articles state

“This money goes a long way: it pays better salaries than moderate Syrian rebels or the Syrian and Iraqi professional militaries, both of which have suffered mass desertions.”

 Sustained revenue source allows insurgents like Maoist to pay better salaries (in relatively underdeveloped areas where employment opportunities are few, insurgent recruitment become a lucrative professions/vocation in absence of alternatives), provide rudimentary public services to people in local areas (off course lack of government apparatus is fertile ground and provides the base for start of their activities) and procure modern weapons and machinery besides spending a chunk on spreading the propaganda and logistics.

 So basic and starting point need to be cutting the financial nerve. Without sustained finance no one would be able to operate such a huge operation against the state.

Chock the funding and constant revenue stream and they will die natural death. While it need the analysis (probably various govt agencies already have information about different revenue streams) of source and then their modus operandi to cut the linkage. One of starting point can be cutting the extortion racket these rebels run with help (or helplessness) of corporate operating in these areas (Hafta Vasuli from businesses operating in mining areas and other industries). Beside it they operate various kind of illegal activates ranging from selling the forest timbers, illegal mining operation and taking share of vast amount of development expenditure in region ends up in pockets of rebels.

 One way to secure that no development money end up in Maoist hand is giving the Military and Paramilitary Forces (Organisations like BRO, Military Engineers Corps.) the power to execute the Infrastructure work. This would end the practice of involving (almost compulsorily) local contractor who are no on but their sympathisers or local cadres themselves. Can we, say for 5-yr, not involves any private contractor in developing local infrastructure work in these areas. Recent Govt of Chhattisgarh’s decision to hire the services of Technical Personals with central support for this cause is step in right direction.

 2. Article also states that

“it’s also hugely important as a safe zone. When fighting Syrian troops, ISIS can safely retreat to Iraq; when fighting Iraqis it can go to Syria. Statistical evidence says these safe “rear areas” help insurgents win: one of the best predictors of insurgent success that we have to date is the presence of a rear area,”

 The same factor is one of main reason for continued existence of Maoist rebels in border areas or in proximity to interstate borders. This is where the Effective Inter State Coordination could play a crucial role. So far centre has been reluctant player in whole security strategy. Central government has limited its roles to providing the financial and manpower support with not much focus on hand-on approach which involve ensure effective inter-state coordination (i.e. national Strategy). The Central Forces operating in these areas need to be provided the mandate to operate in inter-state region without any procedural hindrance in pursuance of their goal. Also there is need for better coordination among the various ‘special Anti-Naxal Squads’ to work across the border and make their operational collaboration effective.

Failure of lack of coordinated approach was most visible when ‘effective action in AP leads to shift of their base in other bordering areas’.  Today Andhra based cadre is providing the main central leadership to Maoist movement.

 A coherent integrated national strategy to tackle the issue of inter-state coordination at conceptual & operational is urgently required.  

 3. Article further states that

“Yet Iraqi troops ran because they simply didn’t want to fight and die for this government.

The morale of forces plays a very important role in any combat operation.The psychological war fare is big part of actual warfare whether it is conventional or sub-conventional /guerrilla warfare. The forces need to provide comfortable living conditions along with financial and logistic support. Since these serve in high risk zone and difficult terrain, extra remuneration needs to be provided for those serving in hard territories. It is a open fact that forces need to fight battle simultaneously on two fronts- one fighting the local conditions (lack of logistics , basic health services, danger of diseases like malaria) and other with the rebels operating in familiar terrain. We need to avoid this double combat by provide better logistics, finance , equipment , technology to make their life comfortable and a assurance that people of country are with them if something happens to them. They need to be assured to financial security.

Providing basic facilities to security forces along with extra remuneration would help to raise the morale of forces, which play a crucial role in their performance.  

 I have restricted myself to providing some of points of possible security strategy which need urgent attention to tackle the previous Prime Minister has descried as ‘Biggest threat to National Security’. It is not a exhaustic and nor it includes the developmental strategy which need to be at core to address the issue of underdevelopment (which hopefully present government would focus on if manifesto and campaign is yardstick to measure) 

Use of Social Media in Governance


Social media have become new craze in Delhi Durbar.  Seems, someone has realized that it is going to be one of most influential medium in coming times. To stay in tune with public opinion, to build a competitive advantage (Considering the new youth generation is tech-savvy and constitute majority of peoples & voters), the new government has issued dictate to all the ministers to become active on social media. They informal guidelines have also instructed them to use social media widely in policy formulation.

Some of issues which need deeper analysis in this context are: Are these new norms going to fundamentally alter the way government function? How is it going to influence the efficiency and efficacy of government? Will it allow having greater say of ‘Mango Man’ in public policy formulation? What are positives and negatives of such a strategy? Can it be substitute for real discussion, deliberation and debate which were till now used in governments to handle the various issues by previous governments ? Can we reconcile old way of working with this new ‘Ginny’?

First let’s guess what are possible negative impacts expected. What are the negative externalities on government and nation? Some of possible pitfalls/Shortcomings are:

  1. It would most probably create another set of elites (Urban, Higher Educated, and Middle class & English speaking) who have predominated influence in policy making. Policy makers may take interest of this section of as real interest of people of India, which may not be entirely true. The social media users are not representative of microsm of India though it is much broader & closer to India’s microsm than traditional elites on whose opinion the policy makers have depended so far.  

 

Ok, wait a second, with new guidelines for use of Hindi in Social Media in Hindi by Ministry of Home Affairs to all the ministries and departments of GoI that could alter significantly. This has potential not only to reach a much wider audience but may also force companies (from social Media sites to phone makers to app builders) to alter their strategy by focusing more on vernacular languages rather than just being limited to English.

  1. Exclusive reliance (or over reliance) is just like putting all your eggs in a bucket which is not a good strategy.
  2. Social media is ‘Double edges sword’. The reputation can be fast damaged by unknown person hiding behind the veil of anonymity in cyber world. The focused groups with ulterior intentions (including the hostile countries & non-state actors) can influence (or distort) the opinion in social media.   
  3. Instant reaction, condemnation and criticism may have chilling impact on governance. Long term goals may be traded with instant glorification.  Such short term tactics may prove counter-productive to long term strategy and goals of nation. Nature of immediate response makes it harder to focus on tasks/decision which may have bitter reaction in short term.
  4. There is always temptation to play to gallery.
  5. Too much reliance on social media reduces the attention span. The governance focus may shift to short term goals and making immediately followers happy rather than focusing on long term strategies which in short term may be bitter in taste.
  6. Probabilities for backlash are even greater. The even a minor mistakes or goof-up got hyper-exaggerated response.
  7. Off course, it is too much time consuming. If ministers devout such a valuable time in formulating policies to tackle the diverse problems facing the country, it would be more wise and prudent use of time.
  8. It doesn’t need highlighting that social media is one of non-productive use of new technology. It doesn’t add to output, production or people’s in earning bucks to make their life comfortable. On other hand, people waste (Am I not doing the same by writing this blog!!!) a great deal of time in social network which could be put to more productive use to improve the standard of living. It is fast becoming a type of new addiction with negative externalities for both individual and society.
  9. Many Ministers may not be fully acquainted with this new technology. Even if they are aware of how to use, they may not be fully aware of how to make best use it. They may not be able to differentiate between official and personal matters in absence of clear set of guidelines.

After highlighting the possible negative impacts of use of social media in governance, let’s also appreciate the fact that it has potential to change the rules of games. It can make governance more accessible, approachable, transparent and participative. It could be transformative in establishing new norms of governance where ministers are accountable to people not just in every five year but every second. They are even responding to a query or grievance from ‘Mango man’ (two political parties have already claimed and in some extent maligned the Hindi word ‘Aam Aadmi’ so it’s better to stick to Mango Man). If properly utilized it could become potent tool to engage directly with citizenry and reduce the influence of traditional inter mediatory/brokers like TV Journalists.

Most of Ministers in new Cabinet are technology savvy with substantial active engagement in social media. So far they have shown openness to ideas and suggestion and some even providing proper medium for such ideas (HRD minister has created the specific email Id for suggestion and disseminated the same on social Media).

The guidelines on use of social media can be effectively used & their impact be enhanced if they are coupled with real intention to engage the Citizenry in governance by online as well as offline institutional mechanism.

It makes much more sense when social media is used as one of many mediums at disposal to government to make conversations with citizens. It would be productive when suggestions on social media are utilized to improve the working of system. The Happy Synergy between Offline and Online Engagement can make a long lasting marriage with both partners enjoying the benefits of married life. It adds values to both the partners (Government and Citizens).

What it requires for long lasting two ways relationship is, not adhoc initiative, but a institutional set-up.  One possible way of institutionalizing the integrated online and offline engagement is arrangement where in Open Forum is organized by Ministers regularly in close association with Bureaucrats with specific pre-defined agenda on regular interval. This forum may have meeting open to public or to selected person who have previously shown interest in particular agenda/issue. This could serve as forum for interaction between diverse stakeholders like Common citizens, advocacy groups/think tanks, political parties and government can interact to discuss, deliberate and dialogues on various issues. This would help to better implantation of policies.

Tough I have not advocating completely disregarding the opinion of older stakeholders (like News papers columnist, few Civil Societ organizations, University professors of selected universities) but you can’t solve the problems with mindsets which created it. This age-old coterie was responsible for much of mess so you need to widen the base and involve the more and more youth. Dual strategy of online connect with offline conversation and dialogues can sustain the motivation on both sides and serve the beneficially to both sides.