Aldona Bus Accident Tragedy

This kind of tragedies dont happen in Goa that frequently and hence when this news was out I am sure every Goan must have got a bit shocked and sad. This is just a beginning, as time goes by I am sure we will have more occasions to get shocked.

Hindu religion has a saying “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah” the one who protects Dharma gets protection from Dharma. It is stupid that people relate dharma with going to temple, worship and mindless following of some stupid religious books. Under this saying lies a very simple lesson. Dharma is a subjective duty of each individual. This duty is essentially different for different people and is different at different times. This major term remains without any objective definition in our scriptures.

What happens when you fail to protect Dharma, that is to do your duty and help others do their duty ? You stop getting protection from it.

This concept is not specific to Hinduism, western Philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote the book “Leviathan”. In his book he described the need for government. His arguments might be more radical but the point is noteworthy. If we give it a thought, the concept of government is completely man made. All human being have equal right our all the natural resources. I mean why the hell do you own just 1 acre of land where as your neighbor own 10 ? In the absence of government, Hobbes argues that each individual will be at a constant war with another individual. Yes, you will be much more free to do whatever you want. You can kill, steal without the fear of punishment but then it will be a chaos as the strongest will always kill the weakest. This will bring society to a standstill.

The idea of government is an attempt to bring order. But we have to pay a price. The price is that of freedom.  Now you cant have as much land as you want, but certainly whatever land you have can not be taken away from you even by the strongest. You accept court’s judgements, you surrender to police and you go buy the rules. In return, all these institutions help protect your rights.

All this is a delicate balance. What happens when people stop believing in the institutions created by themselves? What happens when courts fail to deliver justice, police fails to apprehend the culprits and rights of weak are not protected from the stronger ones ? The system tends to go towards the chaos.

The idea of “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah” now makes a lot of sense. If as an individual you dont do your duty, you might get benefited in short term but the long term consequences will eventually catch up with you. It is because in the mechanism of society you happened to be one of the gears. If you fail, many more and there will be a cascading effect.

You can also look at the whole argument through the perspective of Karma. Karma is a bitch, she always catches up with you.

Now let me come back to the original point of Aldona accident. A few kids died. I dont know them, may be the parents were perfectly good people who had done nothing wrong in their life. But there are reasons why the kids had to die. They were paying for someone else’s failure with their own life. Decades after independence we still have the ferry system in Goa, we have built enough bridges. The bus was probably in bad condition that it’s breaks had to fail at that fateful moment. The emergence response teams were either non-existent or were ill trained.

All this is nothing accumulate negligence towards governance. This is caused by wrong people getting elected. These people were elected by ordinary folks because they saw a personal benefit in electing them and not the Dharma. Both the elected and electorate failed to follow their Dharma and in retaliation the kids had to die.

If the same corrupt people like Digamber, Churchill, Rane, Dhavalikars, Babush and Co.  get elected we will get to see more such incidences. These people get elected because they give unfair advantage to their favored vote-banks. Each time the grant such favors they are disturbing the balance of Dharma. Which will inevitably get paid. You might be a contractor winning contracts because you are in good books for a minister but remember your son is more likely to die in a road mishap or getting addicted to drugs because of your deeds.

The connection between these factors is subtle but certainly not farfetched.

 

Upcoming elections in Goa – Part 2

What constitutes freedom ? What is that compelled us to throw out the British/Portuguese rulers ?

Today I wonder if it was just the difference in skin color. We thought freedom means being rules by someone who resembles us in appearance.

What happens under a foreign rule ?

1. You are not treated as equal to those who are in power.

2. You need to take explicit permission from government before doing whatever you want, from building the house to purchasing a gun and govern tries to discourage you from it to the extent possible.

3. There is no assurance of your life and property.

4. There are restrictions on things you can talk about and write about.

5. Women in your house are not really safe.

6. Natural resources are exploited mindlessly to benefit those in power.

7. The entity in power does build roads, railways and so on but only to addresses their own concerns and interests and not those of people.

Now wait for a second and think our current situation. Almost all above point applies to current government as well.

We lack the freedom to achieve our dreams. You are thinking of building a home? Take a zillion permissions and bribe 100 people. I dont see why that fucking clerk in government office is entitled for monies when you build a house out of your hard earned money.

We are far away from the freedom that a society needs to prosper. We are growing but that growth is of cancer which will eventually implode if we dont ampute the cancerous parts of our society.

 

 

Upcoming elections in Goa – Part 1

Goa will vote on March 3rd. We dont need any rigorous proof that what Goa saw in last five years has been nothing but an example of kakistocracy. That is rule my most corrupt and least principled.

Let us look at few examples.

Political achievements

1. Education ministers educational qualifications were questioned.

2. His son was involved in alleged rape of a minor.

3. There were allegations of home ministers son being involved in drug trafficking.

4. Chief minister was seen partying with a person charged with rape.

5. One minister went absconding after charged with murder. Later he surrendered.

6. Allegations that PWD minister is charging 15% over every tender awarded.

Given these serious crimes, other crimes such as PWD minister distributing free water tanks without any scheme or approval from government money would seem like petty thefts.

Current congress government has been taking pride in it is so called “inclusive growth” and “secular” (whatever it means) principles. Let us look at achievements in that direction.

Society and Culture

1. Two people belonging to SC/ST category were burned alive. This almost Bihar/UP type incident happened few months back.

2. Goa’s first riots (in recent times) took place in Savordem under Digamber’s rule.

3. Margao escaped a similar riot almost twice.

4. Community stands divided over the medium of instruction issue. Despite sever opposition from majority of the population the government tried to force it’s policy under people’s throat.

5. Uncountable number of temples in Goa were vandalized be elements that are yet to be caught.

6. MINING. This is single most important problem of Goa.

Law and Order

1. A major drug traffickers was caught and let off by Goa police.

2. DGP Arya was illegally transferred because of his tough stand against prostitution and drug trafficking.

3. A lot of Goan land was usurped by land sharks and mafias.

4. Several tourists raped and killed.

5. Serial killer Mahanand is being let off over many murders because of lack of evidence.

6. Once the police attacked an MLA’s home and ransacked his house, in another incident two Police group fought among themselves.

The real problem I feel is yet to come to public notice. Ask yourself the simple question. Who are the richest people in Goa? What is their source of income? How they are benefiting the society ?

Let me be very clear that I do not subscribe to the thinking that rich people are bad. But in the current scenario the richest people in Goa are the people who owns mines. They are not engineering firms, service firms , retailers and so on. This suggests that we have not climbed up the value chain at all. Secondly, this source of income is not entirely legitimate. Few miners have colluded with politicians to form a nexus where very few of them control all aspects of the business which involves digging the earth, transportation and export. These few people have created their monopoly via every possible means.

There is a lot of money in mining and a lot of mining activities are not fully legal. Hence the MLAs and other people in the power have developed a rent seeking attitude. They think that because they are in a powerful position it is their right to seek commission over everything. What is started and encouraged by mining industry is spreading to all other aspects of the governance.

I feel the rent-seeking attitude of people in power is at it’s maximum today. This is counter productive to economic activity and hence single biggest hurdle that Goans need to overcome before they pull themselves out of poverty.

People are to be blamed for this. They elect the people who gives them maximum dole. They themselves have legitimized this rent seeking attitude. The moment government advertizes a job, there are people who line up to “bid” for the post. These people are loathsome and in a way they get what they deserve. It is just that I feel bad for them for they dont know what they are doing.

 

 

 

Goa assembly debate and agitation in curchorem

Two news items from Goa have caught my attention. One shows how corrupt our leaders and society has become while other shows hope. Interestingly I see a pattern in this.

The first video is of Goa assembly debate where opposition M.L.A. Mr. Damu Naik claims that the P.W.D. minister Mr. Churchill Alemao has distributed free water tanks to people at government’s cost without any approval from finance department or cabinet approval, leave aside the issue of whether a scheme is formulated for the purpose. Now for a naive mind it would seem that if Mr. Alemao has certainly done such a thing it is equivalent (or rather is) a scandal for which he needs to be punished.

The question of whether Mr. Alemao actually did it does not require discussion because both Mr. Alemao and the Chief minister himself agree that it is the case. Chief minister however brushes aside the demand for a probe because he claims “Mr. Alemao’s intention was good”.

Please see this video

Ideally chief minister should have taken a serious note of Mr. Alemao’s misdeeds but here he defends Mr. Alemao. The conclusion one can make here is that Mr. Alemao is more powerful than the Chief minister and chief minister will never act against Mr. Alemao in his sane mind. That also explains why Mr. Digamber Kamat manages to stay in office. He is weak and he loves his chair. Which means people like Alemao can get away with whatever they want to do.

In a more developed society people would have got outraged and would demand Alemao’s resignation but here I am sure many will now try to get one free water tank for themselves.

The second news if of people of curchorem. It is a taluka in Goa infamous for the mining activities. Ore carrying truck have so far claimed many untimely deaths in the area, damage to health of citizens due to pollution is not accounted for. For many years now the people in this are have been demanding that a separate bypass road be built exclusively for the mining trucks. Read more about the issue on Prof. Sanjay Dessai’s blog.

The demand is legitimate and very easy one to grant. It is not affecting anyone’s interests in adverse way. But despite that people from Curchorem had to sit on indefinite hunger strike. In my opinion the stuff like hunger strike is more like a tantrum. One person sits for hunger strike and suddenly he gets space in news, politicians visit him and so on. In short hunger strike is not a solution but a stratagem for getting attention to the issues. Will it build the necessary willpower among the concerned people to pursue the bypass road? I doubt.

Having said that I dont think the efforts will go in vain. It will serve a larger purpose. In fact this is part of the pattern I was talking about. Gandhiji was first to highlight this.

I am not aware of all the aspects of the existing agitation in Curchorem but I do hope it is driven by people and not some political pressure group.  This is important because in Mr. Shourie’s words

Second, we must never take up an issue because we think doing so will please our employer or leader, or our party or group. Nor should we take up an issue out of the politician’s disease: “We must stall the House today on fertiliser shortage. It will send a good signal to farmers.” The reason is simple: the calculations of the employer, of the leader will change; the interest of the people will shift. For us the tests should be two — both are ever so visible in Gandhiji’s campaigns. First, the issue, to use his phrase, is “an intolerable wrong.” Second, we are personally committed to undoing it. “Committed” not in the sense that we are prepared to shout slogans about it. Committed in the sense that we are prepared to shoulder the consequences of taking a stand on it.

Taking a stand is not as simple as it seems. For most of the agitations we see are driven by few people who are just to easy to be lured by personal gains. A free flat, a free car or may be even a free water tank and the agitation will disappear in thin air. Believing in a cause means what? It means we are ready give up other important things for it. That is where heroism lies. I hope the people who are agitating fall in this category. It is a must for them to succeed.

Next the most important thing

Third, Gandhiji insisted that we must pitch our demand at the minimum. In Champaran, his demand was merely that the government appoint a committee to look into the distress of the indigo cultivators. That was enough to put the British rulers into a bind. If we set up the committee, they reasoned, everyone will conclude that we cannot stand up to this little troublemaker. When, on this reasoning, they don’t set up the committee for months, the people get to see the nature of the British government in India: if they won’t even set up a committee to examine our condition, how can we believe their professions about being our concerned guardians? All that was necessary this time round was to request that an honest, open appraisal be undertaken, one that fixes responsibility for the electoral outcome. The leaders were immediately in the same dilemma: If we concede the demand, went the rationalisation, we will be seen to be weak, and everyone down the line will conclude that we can be bullied. How will the party be run once that happens? But by not agreeing to that simple request, they proved the point!

I am feeling good about the agitation of people from Curchorem because it has got this important feature. They are demanding a very simple and minimum concession. If the government doesn’t concede it, it will be clear to most of the people that government is least bothered about their life, property and welfare. Such a feeling can make the political scenarios change drastically.

I hope more and more people from Goa make such reasonable demands with the government. The highway bridges on Talapona and Galjibag river, widening of NH 17, 6th pay to professional college teachers and there are so many simple things that people can demand and government can easily concede. The only reason why government does not do it is because of their sheer incompetence and it might cause of inconvenience in their existing setup. There is no way government can rationalize why these demands can not be met. I think that should ring bell in many heads.

 

 

 

CAG reports on IFFI

Manohar ParrikarBhagwan ke ghar der hoti hai ander nahi. so goes the adage. But in the Andher Nagari of Goa, where the Choupat Raja Digamber Kamat is ruling, there is both der as well as andher.

Mr. Manohar Parrikar who is largely responsible most of the good things in Goa that exist today, was summoned by CBI on April 16, 2010. An FIR was filed by Mavin Gudinho (Congress Legislator) with local police but when the case was handed over to CBI he withdrew it.

Why would Mr. Mavin Godinho do so? Answer is simple. Mr. Parrikar had unearthed the multi-crore power rebate scam done by him. I am not aware what happened to that scam and the inquiry involved in it. Had Mr. Parrikar been in power possible he would have been behind bars.

Navhind Times reports that the CBI’s assertions against Mr. Parrikar as ascertained from the questions he had to face were based on the 2005 CAG report.

Why of all Mr. Parrikar is held guilty? There can be two reasons

1. Mr. Parrikar in his capacity as a chief minister was the chairperson of Goa Infra. Dev. Corp. which was the nodal agency responsible for building necessary infrastructure for the film festival. The additional secretary budget was holding the managing director position.

2. Mr. Parrikar was part of the committee formed to make policy decisions for IFFI. But there were more people on it. Who exactly?

The Core Committee comprised the Chief Minister, Ministers for Urban Development, Health, Town and Country Planning, Revenue, Tourism and Art & Culture, Shri H. Zantye, MLA and Government Officials being the Chief Secretary, Secretary to the Chief Minister, Principal Director Information,
Publicity & Films and the Managing Director, GSIDC. All other Ministers and the Chairman Kala Academy were special invitees.

CAG generally advises government on the matters that involve spending of money. Irregularities are brought to the notice of government and government has to respond to them over which the CAG also comments in it’s final report.

CAG has noted down several points where irregularities were observed in the execution of pre-IFFI works. CAG has not blamed any specific person but only the company  (GIDC ).  While we read through the notes it must be noted that government had only 6-8 months to build all necessary infrastructure and it was achieved in that time frame.  CAG report is here.

Bidding for Multiplex construction

3 bids were received.

Adlabs 3 screens 16 crores

INOX 6 screens 21 crores

PVR 34 crores

20% weight-age was given to the technical competency and 80% to financial bid. The consultant appointed was HOK Canada Inc. After the committee saw the presentations based on HOK’s advice the bid was awarded to INOX. HOK also suggested that  the screens should be 4 but the total seating capacity should be same as quoted. INOX reduced the original bid by 1 crore because of one less screen and renovated old GMC for 2 crores. This was despite the fact that there was major original rework in the construction design. The superstructure was changed from RCC to steel.

CAG’s contention is that the clause for renovating old GMC was removed without changing the bid amount. The government’s reply to the same was that, the change in superstructure based on HOK’s suggestions resulted into extra cost and the multiplex was shifted away from old GMC hence the clause was dropped. The government’s explanation in this case is acceptable given that government had not time to renegotiate the price based on the the minor modifications.

The show stopper here however is ICICI bank. This bank was a special invitee by government to give their expert advice on financing multiplexes. CAG notes that ICICI bank advised that a “World Class” multiplex costs Rs. 2000 per square feet.  CAG also notes without any references that multiplexes in other cities were built in 6 crores. I searched google to find the truth in this claim. Those who didn’t get the joke try searching for price of an ordinary office space in Goa.

ICICI Bank, who were special invitees for giving their 

professional advice on the cost of multiplexes financed by them, had informed

the Company that the cost of a world class multiplex would be around Rs.2,000

per square feet. Accordingly, the cost of a multiplex of 30,000 square feet would be around 6 crores.



Kala Academy’s Exceeded budget



Kala academy renovation was estimated by consultant Uttam Jain at Rs 24.18 crores. The contract was awarded but the budget exceeded by 9 crores. which is 41%. Jain was paid Rs. 1.5 crores for making this estimations. Though the CAG is silent on why this could have occurred probably because of acceptable replies from government has problem with not issuing a separate tender for the additional 9 crores. Isn’t the pressing deadlines could be the reason?

But Goan news reporters are overenthusiastic. For them things are crystal clear. Goan Observer reports



Unity Infraprojects Ltd. will be conferring the Infrastructure Award on Shri Manohar Parrikar for giving them Rs 24 crores to convert the toilet in the Old Kala Academy into an state-of-the-art Art Gallery. The award will bear the legend “ United we can loot and plunder the Government of Goa.” Simplex will be inaugurating the new bridge from the special IFFI jetty at the Kala Academy to the official residence of the Chief Minister in Altinho. So that the Chief Minister does not get caught in traffic jams on his frequent trips to the Kala Academy and the tarted up old GMC complex which houses the offices of the Entertainment Society of Goa.

What work did the company actually do? If one can trust their word for it here it is for a curious mind. Notable point is that CAG has not casted doubt on the figure itself, his only contention is that the government lost competitive advantage of bidding while exceeding the budget by 9 crores.

What happened in 2006?

Let us see what happened in 2006 when Mr. Pratap Singh Rane was the Goa CM.

Let us see what CAG has to say.

The ESG approved (September 2006) the proposal of EMA for engaging popular artists for various events like opening and closing ceremonies, concerts, etc. at a total fee of Rs 4.92 crore subject to the EMA generating sponsorship of the like amount. The actual expenditure on artists’ fee was Rs 5.05 crore as compared to the expenditure of less than Rs one crore spent on the artists for IFFI 2005.

Artist’s ? Who Artists? See what government had to say.

The Department stated (July 2008) that the increase in expenditure on artists cost was that the artists were internationally renowned, and charged a huge premium. The reply is not tenable as the huge expenditure on artists and low sponsorship resulted in extra burden of Rs 2.05 crore on public exchequer. [Source]

Internationally renowned? If you can find any in the entertainment event list of that year please let me know. Do not get fooled by the name Bony M. Its just a group name.

Conclusion

Certainly IFFI 2004 was not executed in a flawless manner with everything bang on. Budgets were exceed is the only conclusion one can draw. Mis-appropriation of funds can be claimed only if money was spent without taking it through required scrutiny and procedures.

The artist’s 5 crores fee in IFFI 2006 is one prime example, where EMA got paid Rs. 5 crores for giving a service which was exactly same (rather inferior) as previous year only to cost Rs. 4 crores more.

Mr. Parrikar built all the necessary infrastructure within the required time-frame and without any wastage of money. One can not ignore that CAG has nothing to say about the beautification exercise, procurement of additional busses, renumeration given to IFFI artists and so on. Where as when it comes to IFFI 2006 it is compelled to note that even procurement of television sets had a major scandal in their. TV sets were purchased but they were not of the  brand given in the tender.

Also both IFFI 2006 and 2005 involved unnecessary self-promotional advertisements that’s cost around 1.5 crores. The event management company (EMG) was responsible for this. But the leaders were not sure if their photos withe leading actresses and actors would be published in newspaper or not hence they employed publicity department and ESG to publish advertisements worth crores.


Goyenkaar

Regionalism seems to be in air. I am living in a city where every third day either MNS or Shiv Sena is beating up someone because they are not Marathi or they have insulted Balasaheb Thakaray. This was inevitable. When one brother gets spoiled parents should keep him under check else other siblings follow his path. The way our government is refusing to abolish article 350, no wonder every other state is demanding a similar provision.

But then I look at my state. I miss Goa a lot. I am very proud of that part of geography called Goa. But then I feel it is the nationalistic spirit that is preemptive on all other feelings. I am a goan but that does not stop me from admiring Maharashtrian or Bengali culture. Two other states I really love. One of my room mates happens to be Bengali and other is Maharashtra. The third one however has stayed at almost all over India including the Andaman.

Goa has suffered serious identity crisis. It was ruled by Portuguese for around 500 years. Then it was a union territory then there were talks of joining goa to Maharashtra. Thankfully it did not happen. The reason local leaders opposites this dissolution was because they were aware that, they will lose their importance once that happens. But their personal greed somehow turned out to be good for the whole state as well.

Thanks to Bollywood rest of India has developed a weird image of Goa. I have to encounter it now and then. Rick-drivers here often ask me where I am from, because of my Konkani accent they think I am from Konkani. When I tell them I am from Goa, they invariably ask me “Are you Christian?” I don’t really see how that matters to him but then most of the people do think that Goa has only or largely christian population. In fact only 30% of Goa’s population is Christian.

But then their stereotypes about Goan Christians are even more interesting. I am sure the movies like “Albert Pinto ko Gussa kyon ata hai?” has a lot to do about this. Most of the people are unaware that the possible number of goan Christian sir-names are as diverse as the Hindu ones. They think there are only Pinto, Fernandese and DMello. One girl asked me if the people were names after Mangoes or vice versa. But the funniest question came from a south Indian who asked me “All all Goan females are fat and aunty types?”  I told him not really as much as the south Indian actresses.

There is nothing wrong in forming a group and being proud of it. But as soon as we start blaming other group for our shortcomings we actually shun our own growth. No matter what group/institution/organization it is , it must constantly look within itself and improve instead of living in an illusionary world of “we are the best”.

The world is changing. It is changing with a pace faster than we can imagine. The change comes to pass by the time we really start understanding it. Few years back, you required only some formal education to get a job. Most of the jobs required “unskilled” or “semi-skilled” labor. It was possible to have strategies like reservation for son-of-soil etc. But today job market is competitive. Every job is a super specialty. A reservation strategy means you will have to hired second class people. Will that give us any edge in global market?

When we claim special treatment in the world because we are 1.2 billion people we need to make sure that we really have that synergy. If a Maharashtrian and Bihari cant see each other in eye, India will be just a lobby of few states who themselves have conflicting goals.

Goa is facing a serious influx of migrants from nearby poor states. We see most of the businesses are no dominated by non-Goans. Eg.  Kannadigas in restaurant business, Rajasthanis in tiles and flooring, Gujarati in Sweets business and of course Bangladeshi & Russians in prostitution.These people are so good in their business that they feel the gaps leaving the Goan youth jobless.

The solution is not reservation. The real solution is in enabling our youth to do their job better than rest can. Aren’t Goan Schools of hotel management a preferred ones outside Goa? Isn’t our fluency with English giving us an edge over rest of India? We need to figure out more such skills and power ourself to increase our employability.

I think our identity as Goans if at all we want to maintain it, is likely to undergo change. Resisting that change i futile because we dont understand it fully. We can only make sure that in the process we dont become helpless and submit ourselve to greedy and stupid politicians like the Maharashtrians have done.

 

 

 

Regulating Higher Education In Goa?

In today’s Navhind Times, Dr. Nandkumar Kamar, a noted and genuine scholar from Goa argues the “need” to “regulate” the higher education space. I think the whole argument of regulating education is completely misplaced.

A DOCTORATE in any subject for Rs 2 lakhs, an MPhil in languages, natural or social sciences for Rs 1 lakh, any post-graduate degree for little less than Rs 50,000

Why would someone buy a Doctorate for Rs. 2 lakh instead of spending 4 years? The incentives are simple, you get a degree in so little time. Certainly thats illegal but people buy it because it works. The reason such fake degree manufacturers exist and flourish has two very important factors behind it.

Firstly, the acute shortage of educational resource. Our universities are abysmally equiped to meet demands and aspiration of our students. 4 lakh students appear for IIT-JEE, 8000 get through. The remaining 392000 students are not suckers. Most of them do deserve something equivalent to IITs but they dont get into it. They then try to opt for other opportunities, including buying out a degree.

Secondly, it works! The people who pass out from an institutes like Goa Engineering college, are not really in practice smarter than someone who has done a good course from NIIT or SEED. Both of them are considered as equivalent in Industry. In fact I can show examples where people with absolutely not engineering background have fared far better in real world than those who have degrees. Clearly, the fake degree is useless and doest make any value addition to individual, but then neither does the real degree.

Before blaming the mushrooms of educational institution promising quick and sure degree, we must question if an institution like Goa University is any better. Instead, Goa University is run by public funds. It is a complete farce. It is just a government authorized degree sale center where degrees are cheap but one has to only spend time in there. That is why people prefer to buy degrees instead of earning them.

Though Dr. Kamat argues that Goa needs more laws and regulations in Education field in order to prevent these malpractices, the solution he suggest doesnt go well with me.

The trade of selling degrees is booming because the government has not shown any practical interest to amend and arm the Goa University Act, 1984 suitably to bar competing profit-making private interests in higher education.

What scares me is that several intellectuals seem to be opposed to the idea of institutes making profit by providing education as a service. The taboo word being “profit”. I believe that India’s education policy is not only harmful for growth of private educational institutes but the degree with which government has controlled and regulated education and higher education is just scandalous.

Government has failed completely in building system of education which will give wise man to society. While it is hiding its failure by painting glossy fake pictures of India, it has prevented other people in building any alternate system. They have restricted access to the most vital resource of the country as well as an individual. No wonder the individuals find work around to get it.

The sorry state of higher education in India can be understood from Atanu’s posts.

Of the ten percent who do get post-secondary education in India’s around 300 universities (comprising of 17,000 colleges), their results are disheartening. India produces around two and a half million college graduates, including 400 thousand engineers annually. But the quality is so poor that only a quarter of them are actually unemployable. Stark statistics reveal the oversupply of raw graduates and the under supply of unemployable graduates. Infosys, an IT giant, last year sorted through 1.3 million applicants only to find around two percent were qualified for jobs, according to a recent report in The New Yorker.

The remaining 98% one must remember are mostly passed out from reputed institutions across the country with good marks spending 3-4 years of graduation. But what they have learned in those 4 years is as equivalent to getting a fake degree by paying 2 lakhs.

If we take Goa’s case, where industrialization is not a common phenomenon, if you want a better future you need to get out of this place. If you need a government job one has to show proof that he has so and so degree and pay a bribe to minister. Minister takes care of everything else. What you have learned, your competence in the subject hardly matters. Obviously buying a degree is much easier and better than earning it.

I think Goa has good potential to become an education hub for the country. Certainly laws can be passed and committees can be set up. But it should be to free education from Government control and make it more open and accessible. Once you allow private colleges to compete freely with government one’s, the only differentiating aspect will be the usefulness of degree awarded. The attempts to improve this usefulness will lead to improved quality of education.

What applies to India generally applies to Goa, but I feel Goa can always take up pioneering work because it is a small state. Atanu Dey’s Policy brief on the topic is an eye opener and I wonder why our policy makers cant accept it.

Education forms a very important feature and pre-requisite for economic and social development. A more and better educated society is likely to prosper and be peaceful than others. For this excellence should be the goal of system. A governmental setup can not struggle for excellence, it needs to happen by letting the entrepreneurs of our country invest in education. Let the Tatas , Ambanis start universities, also let the educational start-ups come up with sufficient funds. Government should act only as a facilitator and not a controller.

Who can put this in better words if not Mr. Arun Shourie?

he first thing to do is to stop counter-positioning primary, universal education against higher education. We need both. We can afford both. Second, we must see both — the threat as well as the opportunity: the threat that we may lose our best minds at an even faster rate than the rate at which we have been losing them in the past decades; on the other side, the opportunity that we can be educators to the world.Third, to ward off the threat and to tap into the opportunity, we require the same sort of measures. To arrest and reverse the alarming deterioration of standards in most of our institutions of higher learning. To ensure that in regard to both – students as well as faculty – merit, performance here and now, alone counts. To ensure that rewards are strictly commensurate with performance.

And resources. A large proportion of these will have to come from the government – for instance, private entrepreneurs just do not have the long horizons that basic research requires. Equally, government alone will just not have enough resources for this sector. Thus, one service that finance ministers can do is to give the most generous incentives and tax-breaks for industry to invest in education and in R&D. For every trifling misuse, a Manipal will come up.
And the resources have to be defrayed not just on equipment – that is what is done ever so often: and by the time the underpaid, under-motivated faculty learn to exploit the equipment to its full potential, the equipment is obsolete. A good proportion of the resources have to be set apart for making salaries and allowances of faculty and researchers and their work-environment attractive enough for them to forgo careers in private industry and to choose instead to be in universities and research institutions. [Read Full at Atanu Dey’s Blog]

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Steve Bucknor of Goa. Aka Shakuni Mama of Goa

spt4-a.jpgIf you think cricket is the only game where umpires go out of their way to make a team loose or win I think you haven’t read newspapers recently. Goa-ki Giri huee government firse gir gayi kyaa? Asked me a friend on Gtalk.

Apparently the government had fallen not for the first time but like innumerable times before. And the way Bucknor supported Australia in cricket, Mr Jamir the governor of Goa was as prompt as Porter on the railway station to come to the rescue of his parent party’s government. Without any notice to any one he suspened the assembly house session for the day (it can be the whole sssion as well) without citing any reason.

The assembly house is not a circus, I beg your pardon. It is a circus now! but constitutionally it is not meant to be a circus01_010904.jpg. But like in all other legal cases since the constitution doesn’t explicitly mention that assembly can not be converted into circus (sometimes I wonder if the constitution mentions anything explicitly, apparently all decision taken are based on the implied meaning, I think it was written by taking inspiration from the Ramayana and Mahabharata where the text says something but the it’s implied meaning is well beyond common man’s perception) I think His Highness thought that he can make one of it.
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When the nation was moaning Tsunami’s disaster this man danced in a party with his wife. He gave just three days to Parrikar to prove his majority but more than a week to Mr. Rane(Sr.).

Panjim 2nd Feb, 2005. At 5.40 p.m. vote of confidence was won by the BJP government which had apparently been rendered into minority after the resignation of four MLAs. Yet, in a more than prompt response, the Congress governor dismissed the BJP government at 6.10 p.m. without even hearing out both the sides and a new Congress government was hastily sworn in at 11.30 in the night. Under the Indian Constitution and also as per the established norms of democracy, the Governor has no powers to annul the ruling of the Speaker and judiciary is the sole forum before which an appeal can be made against the Speaker’s ruling. But an outrageous assault on the Constitution was committed and democracy was murdered.”

I think for the first time in History the sworning in of the chief minister happened at midnight. As convention midnight is the time reserved for thieves and ghosts. Ministers have already replaced thieves in daytime, at least night should be kept for them.

I am not concerned about the government falling or saving itself. I am concerned about the trends that Mr. Jamir is setting. Governor is supposed to be like an elderly figure who will always be there to sort out issues between the opposing parties. Someone like Bhishma Pitamaha. At least he shouldn’t behave like a Shakuni Mama. He was posted in Goa by removing earlier governor (in an insulting way). He showed his intentions pretty well. Besides his uncooperative behavior he extravagantly spent the public funds.

Assembly is a house of public representatives. It has a honor that can not be insulted. Power comes with responsibility. Transparency in governance can not be assured through rules but through strength of character. He perhaps only tried to listen to his master’s (or madams) voice (does this phrase remind u of something?) .

This is not the first time the congress is making similar mistakes. In their whole history person has always come before constitution or ideology. See this

In the year 1938 Subhas Chandra Bose was unanimously elected President of the Congress and re-elected the following year. But owing to his differences with Mahatma Gandhi he was made to resign his Presidency in April 1939. The democratically elected leadership of the party budged under the pressure of a powerful lobby within the party and democracy was murdered.

Then we all know the history of Indira Gandhi and her emergency to save her chair. Perfect example how misplaced egoism can take the whole nation at ransom even in democracy.

When she died (or murdered by a Sikh) riots broke out on the streets of Delhi killing 2000+ sikh (number of people died in Gujrath were less than 1000). The secular Rajiv Gadhi leading the secular party after his mother officially made a statement “When big tree’s fall they shake the Earth”. If ‘Maut Ka Saudagar” phrase was written by a bollywood script writer for Sonia Gandhi , the media should have found who wrote that poetic phrase for Rajiv Gandhi.

It will interesting to see to what level His Highness can go. Still deeper? Can he go below this?


Note: The two paragraphs appearing in different font were taken from http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_050212.htm written by Shachi Rairikar. His permission is awaited.