Agriculture is most profitable and lucrative profession


For the first time in many years, the Indian agriculture received its share of space in mainstream mass media. It’s not that there have been some sea change or transformation but it has suddenly become lucrative and attractive profession (to highlight agricultural distress, farmer’s suicide and off-course Padyatras of Young Emerging Political Scion).

Suddenly all the punditry become expert in agriculture and started to offer their opinions and expert advices on how to improve agriculture and how (illiterate & ignorant) farmers should do the farming.

But if we take critical view and take benefit of hindsight, we can see that agriculture has always been most lucrative profession, after all we are known an ‘Krishi Pradhan Desh’ and it become a instant social media hit when someone put his/her photo in lush green mustard farm. It’s also miracle that most of photos have mustard in background while it’s grown in very small areas and oil-seed are one of agricultural product which India imports.

After a bit of sarcasm, now let’s takes hard look at harsh, brutal and dark realities of agriculture in India:

  1. India’s planner never wanted to promote agriculture. They have same disdain for agriculture as Urban Indian has for people coming from rural areas (normally addressed as ‘Dehati’). This is sole reason that we have always set targets for agricultural growth much lower than manufacturing, services and overall economy. Take example of 12th Five Year plan – The growth target for agriculture is set at 4% while target for overall economic growth is set at 8%. It’s another matter that even these lower targets are rarely met.
  2. This deliberate, planned and sustained efforts to (de)promote agriculture has resulted in reducing share of agriculture in economy from ~50% at time of independence to less than 15% in 2015. Since it has happened by deliberate neglect, we didn’t care to create employment opportunity for populations depended on agriculture which continues to remain almost same (more than half of total population) as at time of independence.
  3. But in democracy, its majority which rules. Why such a large population lost its clout and repeatedly ignored? The reason lies in fragmentation and division among them by identity of region, language, religion and caste.
  4. While we routinely blame the skewed subsidies in form of power, fertilizer and MSP to farmers but don’t see the invisible subsidy provided to urban dwellers in form of assured electricity, piped water supply and transportation facilities. We don’t see and question lakhs of Crore subsidy to Metro rail as subsidy (here urban commuters need not pay full fare. Its infrastructure creation not subsidy!) But power provided to farmers needs to charged at market rate. We blame farmers lobby for all the ills of state distribution boards, power sector and economic woes while ready to elect a government in National capital (having largest per capita income in country) which promise them free water and subsidized power.
  5. Well, these are not double standard! It’s their legitimate right, because urban dweller pay taxes so they must have claim over the resources. Why the hell on earth, we should care for Nange Fakirs living in hinterland. What do they provide for us? Oh yes, we can express solidarity with them when one of them commits suicide. Suicide would make interesting story , especially if it happens in full public view, and we can always find motley crowd of activist who care for global food security & campaign for rights of poor and marginal farmers without even having any iota of understanding about how it feel to remain a hungry even for a day.
  6. Now take a look at some aspects of agricultural economics. We complain about food inflation. Governments have been toppled on this very serious issue. Why the dumb, non-responsive government is doing when onion is sold at Rs 30/kg in urban area? The political class & bureaucratic, mainly coming from this crowd itself, take steps to reduce price. But we ever see the government moving into action when potato are sold at Rs 2/kg by farmers. Where the government did goes? Oh I forgot, the Price stabilization funds are meant only to subsidize urban consumer, not to compensate farmers for their distressed sell.  Stupid they are, as they have produced bumper crop.
  7. Oh, now come to main point of farming being a very lucrative profession. One simple way to measure profitability of any profession is ratio of output/input prices. In farm sector, this is measured by Terms of trade. Here are some sample statistics to see for yourself :  harsish
  8. Very newspaper editorial and economic expert have blamed high MSP for runway food inflation in past year. But have you ever care to read how MSP are calculated? I would just provide some of novel assumptions followed in calculation of MSP
    1. Only the number of hours that bullocks work on farm is used for calculation, as if the animals don’t need to fed on other days of year.
    2. Interest on working capital is calculated for half the cropping season, presuming that farmers would repay the loan when the crop is half grown.
    3. Post harvest expenses are not accounted for
    4. .All members of a family engaged in farming are valued just as non-skilled laborer. No concept of managerial remuneration leaves apart the profit, oh after all what they contribute?  Industry requires manager, not farming.
    5. Cost of factors of production is one essential component. But it is presumed that farmers own hereditary land, so they are not entitled to seek market rent for their land.
  1. Ok well, this is story behind the much celebrated MSP number. Now come to much broader issues of farmer’s subsidy. You must have heard that more than 1 lakh subsidy per year is provided to farmers. Its pure misnomer and deception. When world cotton prices are at Rs 8000/ per tonne, the farmers are paid Rs 4000/tonne. Shetkari Sanghathan has done some background calculation to show that government is extracting lakhs of rupees from farmers and distributing it among affluent urban consumer directly (by suppressing prices of cereals, pulses, vegetables) and indirectly (by ensuring cheaper industrial raw material e.g. cotton for textile industry). By governments own admission (as per submission to WTO), the farm subsidies to wheat are in negative.
  2. It’s not a new story. Farmers are always there to sacrifice for the national development. They should readily provide land for affordable housing and social infrastructure without their consent. They should produce pulses and oilseed, even if they are not remunerative, to meet national demand. Their property rights do not matter. If we adopt non-discriminatory attitude, we should build affordable housing in Lutyens Delhi rather than by acquiring land in NCR periphery.
  3. Come to Economic reform. We demand reform, choice and liberalization in all sector but farming. Farmers are not capable of making independent and informed choice. They needs hand holding. This is reason that they can’t sell outside designated area (due to APMC restrictions) , they can’t sell directly to customers & then can’t share global price rise due to export restriction but need to share losses due to fall in global prices.
  4. Need more proofs on why farming is most profitable and lucrative profession and business? You need to ask this question to our political farmers who have fortunes out of farm land. They can earn crores; yes you heard it right, in between their election cycle from their farming land.
  5. But previous government has not much to alleviate the status of farmers. Oh yes, MNREGA did wonder for farmers as per studies of social scientist and activists. It is responsible for rising farm wages. Oh, then its good na! that a labourer is benefiting from higher wages. But their impact wiped out for laborer by high inflation.
    1. If 100 days of labour has been reserved for 250 days of lean season, it would have doubled the employment generated, without more investment.
  6. Oh if not MNREGA, then Farm Loan waiver was definitely good for farmer. The sad reality is that it helped only those farmers who have defaulted on institutional credit (not the regular payer or nor the non-institutional debtor).
  7. Unfortunately the sad and hard truth is that no one cares for so called Ann Data (grain producer). There is no organized body to represent their interest, they are given short-shrift by political class and bureaucrats are simple unable to comprehend the complex problems due to their elitist background. The same failed policies which haven’t changed anything are advocated by media punditry and social activist.

All these problems ultimately comes to the Niyat’ or Intention of policy makers and other stakeholders. If there is sincere intention, nothing is impossible as being shown by excellent performance of Agriculture in Madhaya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Gujrat who have delivered more than 7% agricultural growth for more than decade from 2001-02 to 2011-12.

India’s farmers would be better served if they are left to themselves. Yes, there is scope for extending irrigation, providing high yielding seeds. removing restriction on trade of agricultural commodities and creating a national market for them,  extending credit facilities in simple & convenient ways and creating a viable income insurance and weather insurance to reduce unpredictability. But above all , what is require are honest and genuine intention. Political dramabazzi or scoring political points to secure their vote are most fatal for farmers.

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. 

New Cabinet of India


The New government has sworn in after a historic election. People gave a historic mandate for stable government after 30 years of coalition governments at centre.

Obviously there were many expectations after such a mandate that new ‘Team India’ which will run the country for next 5 year would comprise of best of people from different walks of life. Off course, the question of who would be captain was already settled. Revolution of rising expectation was at its peak. But when cabinet was declared, there were not many surprise elements. Innovation quotient was also rather average.

Tough it would be premature to pass the judgement but preliminary comments on cabinet formation:

1. Cabinet Free From Coalition Compulsion. Not Really!

People were expecting absence of Coalition compulsion. But they were too eager to do so & disappointment was on expected line. Most of coalition, evens the smaller one with 2-3 seats, was accommodated in cabinet -which interestingly was one of smallest in recent years. This resulted in denial of due share to various states which gave historic mandate in favour of ruling party. Also the ministers chosen were not entirely choice of Prime Minister, as it should be, but were recommended people from Party bosses (in case of Shiv Sena & SAD) or Party Bosses themselves (Mr. Upenra Kushwaha, Mr.Ramvilas Paswan).

The coalition compulsion didn’t stop here. The Shiv Sena Minister didn’t join the ministry on day one citing that they sought different ministry (so it’s no longer prerogative of PM on either who should be minister & what ministry should be allocated…& after-all Heavy Industries doesn’t seems to give Heavy Return !). The same happened during the previous coalition government. More interesting is audacity of people from coalition partners like SS to put forward such demand in public despite the fact that BJP alone has majority at centre. This shows coalition compulsion didn’t end at majority at centre. It continues to operate due to compulsion of coalition at state level or state politics.

2. Representation to various geographies! But many left out

Cabinet have representation from various parts of India. It has people from Kashmir in North to Kanyakumari in South, from Gujarat in West to Arunachal Pradesh in East.  But in process many regions were entirely neglected one such example is Rajasthan which got only one MoS despite sending 25 MPs to winning party. On other hand, states like Maharashtra, Haryana & Delhi NCR Region got disproportionate share. This doesn’t augur well.

Yes, you can talk about India being one nation so it doesn’t matter from where the cabinet members come but it does. Representation based on geographies and various social groups not only have symbolic value but also substantial value.

3. Mandate was for LokSabha but Rajya Sabha would Rule!

Many sane people like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in past had demanded that RajyaSabha, a historic  relic, in which money power dictate the seats (otherwise what explain the number of industrialists like Vijay Mallaya, Anil Ambani , Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rahul Bajaj & list goes on.. occupying RS seats) , should be disbanded. But alas! The power that is – RS rules. It is way to accommodate Delhi coterie, the leaders who don’t have any mass base, who are not responsible or accountable to anyone except their financiers. 

Things don’t stop at being MP. They are there to rule the India. It doesn’t matter if they lose the battle in Loksabha, even by a bad margin. RajyaSabha would provide avenue to rule India. Even our Prime Minister has done that in past. 

One clearly noticeable trend in present cabinet is ‘Disproportionate Share of Rajysabha MPs in Cabinet’. While the overwhelming mandate was for Loksabha but it was Rajysabha MPs who cornered important and lucrative portfolio. These include Finance, Defence, HRD, Power, Coal, Legal, Urban Development etc.

Mind that this was despite the fact that BJP has announced earlier that those who want ministry should contest the election & that was one of reason why former party president Nitin Gadkari decided to fight the LS election.

Hidden within the RajyaSabha membership is fact that People who were more in media than at ground got disproportionate share of ministries including three spokespersons (Mr. Prakash Javdekar, Ms. Niramala Sitharaman & Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad) & one treasurer (Mr.Piyush Goyal) & off course media darling Mr. AJ.

Never Mind, even if you can’t fight election you have chance to rule the nation. The only requirement is you should be loyal to power that be, visible in media & good rapport in Delhi Durbar.

If you want to fight election, you are welcome. You didn’t need to worry about winning at all. Because if party comes to power you still have chances to rule the country provided you fulfil the above criterion. That was reason people like Mr. Arun Jaitely, Ms Smriti Irani, who lost elections are given plumb posting!

Off course in politics you have freedom to taunt your opponent (like Mr. AJ used to do to Mr. MMS) but same principle don’t apply to you. ‘One core principle of politics is Principle of Double Standard.’ 

3. Delhi coterie and ultra-loyalist (not necessarily organisational man) co-opted.

People were desperate for change and they gave chances to outsider in anticipation that there would be some drastic changes (for better). But alas! We forget one of Maxim “More the things change, more they remain same.”

How can anyone run the Delhi Durbar without presence of people from Delhi coterie, who speaks for whole India but aren’t able to win even one LokSabha seat. Beside they have added advantage of being proficient in English & language of diplomacy which many MPs who won from hinterland didn’t have. Off course they do have organisational network, how does it matter, if they are expert in manipulating and manoeuvring with press, PR & lobbyist rather than the real masses of dusty hinterland. 

4. Loyalty is more rewarding than competence & capabilities

It pays to be loyal in politics. This was very clear from shape of council of ministers filled with loyalist to Prime Minister. Very few baiters may have been accommodated but that was just to show that you care for party & to not get distracted by rebellion. Competence and capabilities can’t deliver without core element of loyalty to power that is. Nor can Domain Expertise or Special knowledge or experience or exposure of different facets of governance.

There is nothing wrong in appointing loyalist as minister, Prime Minister has full freedom to do so especially after he has won mandate on his leadership. He should be provided full freedom to choose his team to translate his vision into reality. The only hiccup is that there is only thin line between being loyalist & toeing the line on every issue. The later can turn hazardous as once flattery start it doesn’t take long to become appendage. Then the only causality would be the public opinion. Lack of serious dialogue, debate & deliberation within cabinet – filled with all yes men -can play havoc.  

Some Silver Linings within the above scenario are:

1. Not many dynastic faces find the space in new ministry. May be a good start and it would broaden the political talent available. It certainly sent the message that people with certain capabilities can expect important position even they are without connections but it certainly expect the loyalty to the power that to be

2. Lack of politically heavy-weight in minister may reduce the friction in government. The only thing they need to do is remain attuned to ground for continuous feedback through various channels. They shouldn’t become complacent.

3. There is for first time talk of accountability of individual ministers for their performance. This can put pressure on them to perform or perish. If it is actually implemented then it is good change. You can expect change of guards in coming years if they don’t perform.

4. People not having baggage of previous experience & not having domain expertise may eventually prove very good minister. As they have enough experts for advice at their disposal. Only thing they need is sincerity in their work & a bit of common sense. Off course, they need to be open minded for ideas, suggestion and feedback to deliver the agenda of people.

5. PMO is going to be much stronger and playing a coordinating role between the ministries. Having loyalist in various ministries allows the PM to implement his agenda without any hindrance and it also provides much needed coherence in governance.

6. Anyway, the real obstacle is implementation and that is job of bureaucrats. Clear, decisive leadership at top can mobilise the government machinery & that can work wonder. Some encouraging sign are appoint of people like Mr. Nripendra Mishra – Principal Secretary in PMO, who has earlier worker under Mr. Arun Shourie to bring telecom mess to end.  

7. Off course, this is just a start & more is going to come. Domain experts & specialist (or technocrats) can always be engaged in various capacities in implementation and deciding the vision for future.

People who were looking for Power-shift with drastic overhaul are certainly disappointed.

Now time for true Citizens is to put the new govt under scrutiny for every action and putting them on toe to deliver them for what they have promised. Only sustained efforts on this front despite our much reservation along with constructive cooperation can help to translate vision intro reality.  

“Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development”. (From Press Briefing of Prime Minister)

Will New Politicians and Bureaucrats have better vision of India?


Change is the only constant thing. But to find out what kind of change is more suitable for particular context and condition is very difficult preposition. It is dynamic and complex process but sometime the pace of change is clearly visible and people adore the change (or new system). The recent trend in recruitment of Political leadership and Bureaucrats is one such visible change. The recent state elections have brought some innovation is process and similar seems to be case with changed pattern of civil services exam. The method of recruitment along with rules of games plays a very important role in creating the incentive structure of any institution. It also have impact on the behaviour of position holders. The final outcome delivered by any institution depends on such incentive and institutional structure.

Many pundits have lauded the emergence of New Political front Aam Admi Party(AAP) in the recently concluded Election of Legislative in City state Delhi(Officially Delhi is still a Union Territory not a state and Subjects like Police and Public Order comes under the Union Government rather than Delhi Government). The reason for fascination of people is that notice something new (whether it is something new or just the old wine in new bottle will be tested in coming times!). The newness and freshness is most of time welcomed , many times without going into the nuances or details of such institutions & without close scrutiny of propositions offered by such players or institution or process, by many people.

On closer examination the Innovation observed in political recruitment process are following:

1. It is clear mandate for the strong leadership which can feel the pulse of grassroots workers and people. The importance to the local leadership (Effective delegation and Decentralization) rather than focusing on the Central leaders may work more effectively in future.

2. The local leadership is better able to capture the imagination of people. They sense pulses of common man on street much better than people imposed by High Command or Central Leadership.

3. Aspirations of People are rising. The people are not satisfied with the status quo rather they want the more from governments. But increased demand focuses on the quality rather than quantity. They are not just satisfied with manual work (under MNREGA) but they want skilled jobs. They are looking for social mobility which is impossible with manual work. They are also looking for good provision of public amenities like 24 hour electricity.

4.It is mandate for the good governance . The people are demanding effective and good governance. They can’t be fooled by loosely and vaguely designed welfare schemes launched to gain the electoral support during fag end of tenure of government. The voters can no longer be intimated by doling out the money or benefits, people prefer the government which implement the well designed welfare policies. The governments which are able to maintain not only the Rule of Law but also ensure the social security with long term prospective in mind are rewarded.

5. In terms of rule of game the transparent political funding can play a very important roles in combating the menace of corruption . The retail funding of election over the wholesale funding may provide the incentive for talented and capable individuals to enter the arena of politics. Some of view regarding the increasing the transparency in political funding are outlines earlier by me were used by the AAP. It was good step in right direction which can level the rules of game for all.

6. The other visible factor used by AAP in Delhi was offline utilization of online media. The social media can play multiplier role when it is utilized to harness the people’s energy for offline activities. The combination of online and offline method of mobilization of support is going to be potent factor in future election processes. This connect will also bring the different strata of society more closed and provide them better understanding of each other.

The Civil Services Mains Examination (CSM) got concluded on the same day the counting for four states was going on. As election brought new legislatures with new vision, energy and enthusiasm. Similarly, hopefully, the New CSM pattern is expected to bring new set of permanent executives with vision, capability and mindset to implement the new visions of political class. The harmonious relationship is very essentials for any successful implementation of policy. The Indian civil servants are considered the paragon of virtues of handwork and process driven. But if measure the success of bureaucracy in terms of output, the results has been dismal. Especially if we consider the risk taking and innovative ability, ignoring the sporadic and rare successes, there has not been many break-through in Independent India.

Failure of Independent India in providing the dignified lives to the Indians needs to be shared by both the political class and bureaucratic class. Bureaucracy has been mute spectators of everything what is going on, rather than being change makers.  They become a vested interest in existing system, first in ‘License Raj’ and later in ‘Inspector Raj’. The method of recruitment may have played a very important role in shaping the attitude of people and selecting the people of that particular attitude. The conservative mindset of bureaucrats can be attributed to the kind of selection process.

It was first Mains after introduction of new pattern and overhauling of previous pattern. The process of change was not a smooth sailing and it involved lot of dialogue, negotiations and give & take between different stakeholders. The tussling and muddling through may have increased the anxiety of of aspirants but it is reflection of reality of diverse society like India. The Some of Changes observed in New Pattern are:

1. It would disrupt the traditional candidates who preferred only a fixed pattern or thing. The changed pattern provides the equal opportunity to the new entrant and old guards. Levelling of field would bring fresh minds.

2. It is transitory phase but lack of predictability and kind of orientation of exam would encourage the people who are inclined to join the services but don’t want to dedicate the full time for preparation. (This would result in better utilization of talented youth in other sector rather than just preparing for a particular exam)

3. Such kind of pattern would bring people with open mind. By de-emphasizing the factual or bookish knowledge it would encourage the people with aptitude for innovation and having a pulse of surrounding.

4. The questions asked were mostly from the current trends. The candidates are expected to have a holistic perspective of surrounding and able to navigate the complex and fast demanding job profile of administrator in contemporary India. The administrator doesn’t have luxury of time and expertise of others to take the day-to-day decision.

The role of Political class and Bureaucracy is complementary in nature.  but lack of compatibility or synergy has also been issue since Independence. The difference in social background and outlook of politicians and bureaucracy has been one of issue. The difference in attitude is exacerbated by the different incentive structure of both classes. While the harmonious relationship is prosperous for the people, the lack of trust & compatibility bring the disaster. The continued tenure of various governments (or Pro-incumbency) across the state is seen where bureaucrats are generally offer the freedom in policy implementation. The role of political leadership is not to set the vision and direction and it should be left to experts to design tools and techniques to meet the desired vision.

The effectiveness of such change or impact of such changes on wider society can be judged only as time pass. It’s difficult to predict whether the changes would really bring the benign people who are more empathetic to the public interest. The real challenge for intellectuals or Pundits is to scrutinize the impact these kind of changes make on the wider society rather than just concentrating on the process. As the saying goes,’ Road to hell is paved with good intention’, so its better to focus on analyzing the impact rather than judging the someone by just intentions.

Independence Day : Reflections on Economy , Politics and Society


I am writing this post after about 2 years of hibernation from writing . As we are approaching another Independence Day I would like to reflect on the current status of Economy, politics and Society.

We Indian used to brag a lot about our economic performance but sky-scrapper with shaky foundations are rarely able to withstand the storms and cyclones. While Amartya Sen may have rightly project Indians as “Argumentative Indians” but he just stopped there. Just the Arguments are not enough to win the game. To use diplomatic parlance, you may win many arguments in room but that doesn’t ensure victory in game. To win the game, you need to have a clear vision , know your strength and shortcoming and use the strategy to achieve your full potentials while exploiting the vulnerability of opponents. To cut short, implementation is key in winning the game. This is where we fail miserably.

Tough some people have rightly identified the implementation gap and are working to bridge the same. “Ib-In” or India Backbone Implementation Network is case in point

On economic management India is classic example of “To kill the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs“. While India was struggling to climb the stairs of growth the ‘coteries of crony capitalism’ disguised as voteries of inclusive growth killed the Goose in search of a Golden Egg. They advocated re-distribution giving a scant regard to sustainable revenue generation or growth.  While they may advocate that  programmes like MNREGA has doubled/tripled/quadrupled the wages for Rural and Urban Manual laborer for whom only source of subsistence is their wage and this has actually led to inclusive growth. what they ignore is productivity increase of Economy which has actually declined in recent years  indicating loss of competitiveness in Economy. This is hindering the growth of India as a manufacturing hub , which can create large employment opportunities to effectively leverage the Demographic dividend, at a time when MNCs are looking to diversify their manufacturing base as china is becoming costly. To grow at a rate that pulls more people out of poverty, India needs to invest more, create more non-farm jobs or manufacturing jobs . but who cares about growth as long as they are able to grow their personal empire  classic example being crony capitalism witnessed in series of scams from 2G , Mining, Commonwaelth , Sarkari Damaad & list goes on….  A very good technical analysis or procedural details on working of crony capitalism can be found in Sarkari Damaad case aka Rober Vadra land deal case.

This loot of national resources will go unhindered as long as public doesn’t understand or care about their rights and duties and continue to think on basis of their own short term interest /benefits /advantages (by demanding reservation/ subsidy /allowances) rather than keeping public interest(which would includes demanding governance, basic infrastructure, accountability from public officials including politicians and bureaucrats) in mind. As in case of change of presidentship from George W Bush to Barack Obama has demonstrated, behind much of the chest-thumping of politicians, there usually lies a continuity of policy between different administrations.” This is where the vigilant , conscious public & citizenry come into picture. We have every right to know the vision and strategy of our political leaders which includes government as well as opposition. In this hyper-informative digital world we can hardly remain aloof from Public affairs , but consciousnesses of public affairs also bring with its own set of views, prejudices and biases. But we can greatly overcome the shortcoming of these biases and prejudices if we make a conscious efforts to make us aware about them. As rightly & timely inquired by one sympathizer of Mr. Narendra Modi in a column in newspaper, we need to ask tough question from our politicians rather than believing in spin given by their sympathizers . This is kind of vigilance we required to make politician accountable to general public. While many present their views through columns as done by one of MP in today’s paper on foreign policy but nuanced , critical public discourses on issues of relevance are largely missing from Indian Public life.

On the social front we have witnessed huge churning happening in last year which included mobilization on the issues of corruption, anti-rap protest. but we are yet to see any impact of these mobilization on actual social life. while reporting of corruption & rape cases may have gone up temporarily but we are hardly seeing any change of heart in general public or increased morality in public life. We have scant regard of sensibility of others. we are not used to think critically during our socialization process whether it is at home or in school and society.Only a enduring, sustained long term efforts on the parts of public to create awareness accompanied by institutional change can bring a societal transformation.

India is society of confrontation and conflict. There are ideological, political, religious, regional and caste based division present at every moment in every hook and corner of country ample evidence of which we see in form of communal violence(whether it is in J&K, UP or Assam), political blame-game( on transferring of bureaucrats to who is writing the speech ) , Caste rivalries or honour killing which are just another manifestation of existing wide gulf in different castes  in society, Regional movements for creation of new state of Telenagana, Gorkhaland , Bodoland & half a dozen others. This list is unending and ever expanding.

In spite of these division , conflict and confrontation, what had united the people living from Kashmir to Kanyakumari , Silchar to Porbander – this is Idea India and belief of people in this Idea of India. Some discomfort and struggle makes us comfortable & tough, removing every discomfort make the species fragile. e.g. extreme hygiene , by destroying the body’s natural ability to fight with germs and adapt to environment , we become vulnerable. we counter it by ingesting probiotics , the good ‘dirt’ that we denied the body in first place. Similarly we can’t just wished away from reality and live in a Utopian world but we can achieve a true Independence for India only if  the “common problems of India” could become “common concern for all”. This will create shared sense of understanding and give all of us a stake in progress of nation . only then we can prosper, develop and realize the true independence, independence from our ignorance, our hatredness towards other, independence from our parochial thinking , independence from dogmas, independence from bad habits and above all independence of mind.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat.

Independence Day – Time for Introspect


Today we will be celebrating 65th Independence Day. Most of us will be greeting each other with message of “Happy Independence day “ but actually many are not happy with present situation of country. Governance is in state of disarray, no measure development work is being undertaken and above all Inflation has made life measurable for million of common man (Aam Aadmi).

The increased awakening about prevalent corruption in political and administrative system has created a feeling of self- guilty among many elites and middle class. Magnitude of loot by politicians and their cronies has increased many folded in recent past or may be earlier general public was not being able to track such huge loots.

Inflation, corruption, black money, poor Governance has made life a miserable affair for both Aam Aadmi and Khas Aadmi. Aam Admi has been at receiving end in form of inflation & poor governance. The growing frustration with government and administration was channelized in form of protest, Candle Marches & heated TV Debates. The public support for Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev is case in point. The successful mobilization of public anger & judicial activism has been able to make troubles for Khas Aadmi. This has created a state of panic among cronies (or Khas Aadmi). First times in independent India, the khas aadmi, were competing with each other for a birth in EXECUTIVE SUITE of TIHAR ASHARAM. Others also started to realize that their turn may be next. Suddenly the TIHAR ASHARAM becomes the hot destination for the Business honchos & political mavericks. The public anger and judicial activism was being able to put VIP (Khas Aadmi) behind the bars for time being. But it seems all is not well with this approach. It has been creating anarchy like situation than a ideal democratic state. People are being made scapegoats & real beneficiaries are still outside the Net. This all is just a stop gap arrangement rather than systematic reforms to address the root reasons for corruption.

All said , what can we do to improve this situation ? what can be our role in Nation Building ?

We, Citizens of country, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and region needs to adopt following things in habit in order to make India a better place to live:

1. Recognize responsibility as citizens before demanding any rights

2. Criticize but don’t blame – Be a constructive critic – propose the solution

3. Be vocal – express opinions freely without considering the political correctness

4. We have to be proactive not reactive if we want a prosperous nation in next 10 years

5. Be empathetic not sympathetic with underprivileged

6. Society is made up of individuals so don’t just blame others for wrong things happening in society. Accept the fact that we are part and parcel of problem.

7. Need to re-look and introspect “Chalta hai attitude”

8. Give preference to merit over connection/acquaints

9. Rational before emotion in decision making (day to day or political decision or Business decisions)

10. Be part of process of change

We as a nation need to introduce the following systematic reforms with urgency to ensure a prosperous future for our next generation:

1. Transparency in government decision making

– What is need of RTI if process itself is transparent?

– What is need of Ombudsman (or Lokpal) if big contracts are made in transparent manner and arbitrary discretion power to Ministers or Senior Officials are removed

Technology can be a leading factor in bringing transparency in government system.

2. Education reform – not just passing Right to Education bill – Need for Quality

Education is backbone of any society. We need quality education with universal access. Education creates the opportunity. it is the greatest equaliser for income disparity.

3. Focus on Basics

– More people have died in Rail Accidents than the terror strikes in current year. Yes we may not be able to stop all terror attack but can we stop every single rail accident?

4. Revival of Agriculture:

The One very important and crucial segment of our populations is Kisans. They provide the food to eat. Both these segments have been ignored by the leaders of country and the representative class. Farmer’s constituent more than 50 % of our population. We set the target of Agriculture growth to be 4 % while the overall growth target is in double digit. This way we are systematically creating a gap between Rich & Poor. This could be in future utilised by same political class for electoral gains as seen in case of Garibi Hatao & Inclusive growth slogans. Only few states like Gujrat have been able to put agricultural growth on par with overall growth rate. No fresh investment has been made in the agriculture sector. Even the irrigation projects are also put aside. There is an urgent need for second Green Revolution or “EVERGREEN” Revolution with increased focus on productivity with no harm to ecology.

5. Address the leadership vacuum

Leaders are called leaders because they are supposed to provide much needed direction and leadership to masses. “If leaders fail to lead, their followers will take over the leadership and lead instead.” It seems to perfectly suits in current situation of India. Political class has failed to provide the needed leadership to carry the country forward. There is need for youth who can provide the much needed leadership in this process of development. The emergence of a vocal and assertive voice against the political elite (dynasty) is essential for healthy democracy.

We need to avoid falling in trap of fake leaders. There is need for independent thinking for every individual before accepting anyone as our leader. We, the youth of Country, have stake in future and needs to take active involvement in day to day happening and take leadership roles otherwise usual cronies will continue to rule the country.

We always focus on problems without proposing any solution. I have tried to propose one solution for ending or reducing the corruption in public life.

Problem

– The main source of Corruption is political

– Politics have become a family business (irrespective of party line except a few)

– Big Mullah are spend on election – No retail contribution here only wholesale ( So you don’t have any right to ask for detailed funding and cost of political party as you rarely contribute )

Solution – Individual contribution from able citizens and Supporters

Why this will bring down corruption

1. Stakeholders will demand more transparency as their money is involved

2. Politicians will no longer be able to give silly arguments like money is needed to fight the next election

3. Capable, Honest candidates (without financial capability) will also be able to come to parliament

4. As a stakeholder we can ensure that our interest are protected – Concerned issues are raised by our party (No rant of serving only corporate India)

5. Last but not the least sense of participation will awaken the ordinary men making him more honest in day to day conduct.

All is not well with our country but this everything is also not bad. Growing anger and different voices are sign of change and its upon our hand to decide the future. Whether we are happy with status-quo or we want a better India- Its upon us to decide and make that happen.

We need to realize our potential and there is a big opportunity to make this nation a ideal place to live.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat!!!

Election results postpartum


A Great Election period is over and now the market of some MLA  is picking a new height particularly in the Haryana.There were not many surprises except the Haryana where the INDL had buried all the pre-poll estimation and exit-poll results.

Well,this was a first major election after the Loksabha election and many people took interest in it.Some of Enthusiastic people volunteered and tried their best to educate the people about the importance of their vote.This helped some young minds to get their electoral Id first time and some also exercised their option.Some loudly announced after the results "why No-Vote were not taken into consideration".

Well,this will continue to happen in every election and stories will keep repeating with some twists.

Here are few my observation from this election

  1. Dynastic Politics is OK-After the victory of many political successor of their family people (Specially media and elite class) started to believe that Dynastic politics is here to stay(in India) .People with desirable credential without political backing of family have very little Chance of survival in this political battle.
  2. The Haryana poll has shown that Caste based politics is here to stay and Media has very less sense of people’s thinking in the Rural and Non-metro areas.Omprakash Chautal’s Journey could be  described as "Rise from ashes like a Phoenix".Where the Exit poll results gone?This can be related to some extent to the influence of Media over the decision-making power of public !Media play an important part in opinion making