Friday, February 26, 2010

Evaluation of inclusive economic growth

Dr Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, is the main contributor to the pre-Budget Economic Survey for 2009-10. The 420-page document, tabled in Parliament on 25 February 2010, has on its cover a diagram depicting the concept of “coupons equilibrium”, a theory that plays an important role in providing the micro-foundations for Keynesian macroeconomics. Dr Basu turned a new leaf, defining the parameters to evaluate the inclusive economic growth, so important for the country like India. Here are the parameters proposed by Basu:


(a)Economic growth: Instead of GDP measure the growth in per capita income of the bottom 20% (quintile) population.


(b)Food coupons: Help the poor directly, instead of trying to control process. He suggests that the subsidy on the food should be given directly to the household or the farmer, respectively, instead of giving to the public distribution system or the fertilizer manufacturer.


(c) Labour rights: Create market conditions that result in greater demand for labor sothat their demands can be realistically met by the market forces.


(d)Food inflation: During the periods of high food inflation, release small quantities of food grains in multiple locations at prices substantially below the market, instead of distributing grains through millers and traders.


(e)Cost cutting: Instead of managing then nitty gritty, create conductive environment to manage the costs.Justify Full


(f) Social awareness: Spread awareness about the positive social qualities for progress. Societies endowed with personal integrity and trustworthiness have natural advantage geared to progress, as the third party regulation is not needed.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Common entrance test: welcome move by MHRD

Kapil Sibal, after taking charge as a HRD Minister, revealed his big plans in a short time period and confused the common man. He appeared to be a minister in a hurry and even PMO got scared. As a clever supreme court lawyer, he seems to have pursued over all those who matter and now the policy looks to be taking a shape. The announcement of uniform plus-2 science and math curriculum and a common entrance test for engineering and commerce shows we are moving in the right direction. The common entrance tests for engineering are currently conducted by the respective States, following the Supreme Court ruling on the issue. The standard is not uniform and the applicability is restricted to the State only. Although all the details are not known as yet, the new system will have many advantages.


(a) The results will be acceptable to all the engineering colleges in India

(b) It will give a level playing field to all the aspirants, irrespective of the State Board through which they pass out.

(c) The deemed varsities currently conduct their own admission tests. They should also be asked to conduct admissions as per the common entrance test.


I think uniformity in biology curriculum will also be introduced, leading to common test for medical students as well.


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Friday, February 5, 2010

Mud slinging on Marathi


Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray has been getting shriller in his keep-outsiders-away-from-Mumbai campaign. The new pitch is attributed to the success his estranged cousin and political rival, Raj Thackeray, has enjoyed in recent elections, mainly as a result of his Marathi Manoos campaign.


In the last few days, Rahul Gandhi has taken on the Thackerays over their migrant politics for Mumbai. Gandhi said that "Mumbai belongs to all Indians." He also said that during 26/11, many of the commandos who fought to save Mumbai were from North India. Gandhi's remarks were made in Bihar, a state whose residents have repeatedly been targeted by the Shiv Sena in Mumbai.


It is painful see our leaders engaged in such acrimonious, non-productive but potentially harmful debate, when number of pressing problems directly affecting common man lie unattended. I think both the quarreling parties need to see the light. The constitution of India allows all citizens to move freely, settle and pursue livelihood in any part of the country. The mother India should count first for every citizen; region, state come only next. On the other hand, it should be seen if "Marathi Manus" has a genuine grievance. There is huge unemployment in Maharashtra, despite its rapid growth. The common man thinks outsiders grab jobs which legitimately belong to them. That is the reason why hate campaigns in the name of language, region gain ground.


Being a commercial capital of India, citizens from different regions have settled in Mumbai and also made substantial contribution towards its growth. But why oppose Marathi ? The best way to assimilate with the local population is to learn the local language. The leaders who oppose Marathi should in fact encourage their followers to learn the language. That will only help foster brotherhood and goodwill.


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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.