Thursday, August 8, 2013

Supremacy of Politics: Telangana

Telangana has been in news recently after the decision by the Government of India to make it 29th state of the country. I had a conversation with few friends about the decision and discussing various factors on the basis of which the decision of forming a new state is taken. The factors during our discussion ranged from backwardness to ease of administration to states too big to govern to language and cultural identity. However, in my opinion formation of the state has once again proved supremacy of politics over all other factors. Had the decision been taken based on the above mentioned grounds there are genuine demands of formation of other new states such as Gorkhaland, Bodoland, Purvanchal, Avadh Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Vidarbh, Maru Pradesh and many more. The current count of demand of new states could take the number of states in the country to 50. Ironically, demand of few such states has involved even violence and insurgence and the magnitude of the matter has increased after the decision on Telangana. The question is what is it that makes Telangana a unique case for bagging the status of a new state and others not to qualify? I join the group of many who believe the recent decision makes a stronger case of politics rather than the development of the region which should ideally be the case. Indian National Congress has taken the decision to harvest political advantage in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The recent decision also raises the question of having a uniform method based on principles for all such demands instead of taking decisions as a favor for political gain or other vested interests.

The government has declined the request of creating ‘State Reorganization Commission’ which in my opinion is anti-democratic and against the constitution of India. I am of the opinion of creating ‘State Reorganization Commission’ with immediate effect to look into demands in greater details taking a decision based on the above mentioned factors to control the raising violence. May be all the demands can’t be accepted but as many of those can be, should be. There are concerns raised by some thought leaders such as danger to the unity and integrity which is beyond my understanding. People are mostly concerned for the basic services reaching to them and not so specifically whether it comes from central, state or local government irrespective of its size and functioning etc. Only when development and public services for long time didn’t reach to people, they realized that in the current political set up their interest wouldn’t be looked into in lack of appropriate representation and political advantages and started demanding separate state which better represents them. There are several advantages of having a small state which even comes as learning from Chattishgarh, Uttakhand and Jharkhand. And even if the policy makers don’t see many advantages, they need to respect the sentiments of people in Indian democracy. While their concerns can be too small states making it difficult to administer rather than giving it ease, I am sure people would also learn from their mistake and will also demand for unification. We do have a wonderful example of European Union to learn from where countries voluntarily decided to come together to make a larger union.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Issaq reminds me of my days far from home. One day, I was trying to cook dinner with my mom’s constant guidance on phone. I had all the good quality ingredients, followed the process and did everything according to the instructions. While I thought I had done a wonderful job, when I sat down to eat with my friends I found the meal insipid. I wasn’t an expert cook and that’s why I was clueless as to why the food wasn’t tasty. Similarly the movie, in my opinion, has good story line, hard working team, actors who have done fairly good job with their roles, wonderful background of Varanasi, dialogues and scripting that gives it close-to-reality touch and even some good music too. However, the film is insipid and hardly connects to audience. I am not an expert movie critic and that’s why once again I fail to understand why so. What magic my mom does to food and I can’t do is the similar to what magic some expert film makers do what Manish Tiwari fails to do.

I think what product sells today in market depends upon its user friendliness. One would fail to understand logic and sequence of the incidents unless he is much focused (and in many cases not even then). I didn’t like at all unnecessary humor added. In fact it actually ruins the work. There circumstantial incidents that brings out humor and we enjoy it, not just to make it funny. By the way I liked the work of all the actors in the movie and the Benaras it has portrayed to some extent. The movie can be watched as several small clips by the students who learn film making but if you go to see it as entire movie, one would certainly be disappointed. Therefore, I find the film maker has wasted all the great talent the movie had to make it a wonderful movie in the same way as I wasted quality ingredients trying to prepare dinner.

Directed by: Manish Tiwary, Produced by: Dhaval Gada, Shailesh R. Singh.
Starring: Prateik Babbar, Amyra Dastur, Ravi Kishan, Makarand Deshpande, Neena Gupta, Prashant Narayanan, Sudhir Pandey, Prashant Kumar, Amit Sial, Vineet Kumar, Yuri Suri, Malini Awasthy.
Music by: Sachin – Jigar, Krsna, Sachinn Gupta.
Background score: Prashant Pillai
Cinematography: Vishal Sinha
Studio: Pen India Pvt. Ltd
Release date(s): 26 July 2013
Country: India

Language: Hindi

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

From Mid Day Maut to Food Tragedy

Since I am on break from work and get enough spare time to do things I have always longed for doing. One of the things that I make sure I do is to spend time with youth around my neighborhood. It helps me to understand more about what youth of a third tier cities these days, at the same time it also helps me share my learning to enrich their experience.

One fine evening I was on evening stroll of the town with one of boys of my neighborhood. While we passed the stinking public garbage, the boy was compelled to think of some solution to solve the problem which erupted an intense discussion among us which I think needs to be shared with others too. The discussion also is significant to other issues of contemporary public policy discourse in approaching election environment. While the boy immediately came out with his hypothetical solution of government doing more to solve to the problem of public garbage, I was more focused on helping him think of an alternate solution. Here is a sneak pick of our conversation:

Boy: The stinking garbage causes so much inconvenience to people. Government must do something about it.
Me: Why government should work on it?
Boy: Because it’s government’s responsibility to clean our garbage.
Me: Isn’t it our responsibility to clean our garbage.
Boy: Yes, but government has taken up this responsibility and has staffs to do so. We even pay for this.
Me: You are right. Government has an entire big department to maintain cleanliness in town and even after paying for this we don’t get satisfactory result. Doesn’t this give us a learning?
Boy: What do you mean?
Me: We usually in our personal life give more responsibilities to the ones who give us good result and curb the responsibilities of the ones who fail to deliver. Applying the same logic shouldn’t we take away the responsibility from government and figure out another way to maintain cleanliness and shouldn’t we even punish the government for failing to deliver? The thing is the moment we say government should do this or that, we must understand that we are making an expectation from an inefficient system to deliver which has never delivered. Can you give me an example of any public service delivery work where government has done really well?
Boy: Well, I am not sure if there is any such thing.
Me: Right. I am not sure whether this big stinking garbage existed here and how it was managed before government took over the responsibility of garbage management but I am very sure that the more you put this on government, the bigger would be the size of garbage management problem here.

While I tried to explain the boy what should be core function of government and what should be put back to civil society to do on its own, I got more examples from recent crisis to substantiate my point. One of the flagship schemes of government to provide Mid-Day Meal to students in government schools happened to prove killer for more than two dozen school students recently. News channels have filled up the screen with numerous stories of how inefficiently the scheme is managed since the incident took place. MNREGA has spread the corruption from big offices in city/state centers to far away rural areas.  Practically, it can be seen as the largest government program in world to decentralize corruption. And now I am wondering what would happen with the attempt of providing Food Security to us. Can anyone guess how this act can kick off artificial food grain shortage, inflation rate, budget deficit, politics entering into our daily personal lives, increase in corrupt practices and most importantly how many lives it would claim? It would be very interesting to calculate actual price that the country would have to pay for few Kilograms of subsidized food grains…

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Simple Way to Explain Evils of Socialism

An economics professor at a local University made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that  socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on the socialism principles".. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (Substituting grades for Ranks - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were HAPPY. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.