Reality Check India

Inclusive growth tutorial

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 29, 2009

To start your week, here is a brilliant piece that gives you unprecedented insight into how a political system of stationary bandits work.

We constantly hear the phrases ‘inclusive growth’ in the electronic media, but have always wondered what it meant. Does it mean everytime an Indian citizen grows from a bicycle to a  motorcycle, a tiny ‘vacuum of inequality’ gets created ? If there really is such a ‘vacuum’, does it necessitate the involvement of the great socialist state ?

Check out this article, I have highlighted the excellent parts.

In a few days from now the first Budget of the new United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will be presented in Parliament. This Budget would surely try to provide the financial support to a roadmap of policies spelt out in President’s address of June 4. “In 2004 my government had set before the country a vision of an inclusive society and inclusive economy. My government sees the overwhelming mandate it has received as a vindication of policy architecture of inclusion that it put in place. It is a mandate for inclusive growth, equitable development and a secular and plural India”.

Well this really is not the first budget, they have been doing this for the past 60 years.  Let us see what this ‘political architecture’ (gotta love this one) of inclusion means.

What is exactly meant by inclusive growth, which has been presented as equivalent of equitable development as the mandate of the government? Are the two concepts similar, implying a similar set of policies? Are there differences even for the same country and for the same period of time? An examination of these issues would allow us to evaluate the policies of the next Budget, meant to fulfil the mandate of the government.

Highly ambitious of the author to be able to answer all these questions in a tiny op-ed. Good, we can look forward to the rest.

Development literature, however, went much beyond in the 1980s and 1990s and brought in the concept of equity, in terms of reduction of inequality and the promotion of distributive justice. That meant a redefinition of poverty encompassing not only the lack of adequate income or purchasing power but also education, health and other determinants that sustain a rising standard of living. The reduction of inequality thus became an essential determinant of increasing welfare and development.

So, we are now being told that poverty is not just about being poor, but also being unequal in other ‘mysterious ways involving other determinants’. This means you could be in poverty, yet arrive to work in a car. Despite all of this, make no mistake that all arguments in favour of state intervention will advance ‘being poor (the without enough dough version)” as the reason for their intervention. Any state redistributive intervention will of course be via the sponge-like socialist machine.

 To conclude,

They are expecting equitable growth — with a larger share of the pie today to compensate for centuries of deprivation.

Source : DC

Thats more like it !

HRD does away with Std X board

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 25, 2009

Mr Kapil Sibal makes Class X boards optional. Apparently, it is causing sleepless nights :

“We must detraumatise education. It cannot be traumatic for parents and children. This is unacceptable,”

This is how it is going to work !

“If a student wants to go for pre-university course, he may appear for 10th board exam. But in case of a student pursuing the course in the same school, he need not appear in the class-10 exam for promotion to class-11,” Sibal said, adding that an internal assessment would suffice.

Source : IE

Even on cursory examination, this makes no sense. If a Std X student can take her place for granted in the same school and her chosen discipline, then surely the Std X board exam is not traumatic at all.  If the student cannot take her place for granted, then this “internal” exam will be just as traumatic as the boards. In fact, it will be even more traumatic because the internal exam of one school will never be accepted by others.So it is here or nowhere. Besides elite schools will simply lock down their admissions at KG level to XII leaving no room for entry at XI level.

Like all issues in India, this one too will escape scrutiny.

I cant find it in the online media, but Mr Sibal also mentioned that eventually even the Std XII exams will be done away with.  More on it when I can cite a news story.

An even more significant announcement is this :

Government will also introduce a system to replace the present assessment procedure of giving marks with grades which will reduce stress, he said.

Source : IE

Reader of this blog will know that we are incorrigible. We first start by assuming that the nature of the socialist state will root all its policies in creating and then nurturing narrow interests. So bear with us, while we analyze this.

Without marks, an ‘A grade’ will cover both the 99% student and 92% student. It may be a stress buster for the 92% student, but it will leave the 99% student stranded.

Remember we have a shortage of quality higher education options. With this smoothening system (ie grades) in place,  suddenly the claimants for a single seat will shoot up. This means artificial devices created by the politicians like caste benefits, deprivation index, religious benefits assume monumental significance. You simply cannot study your way out of the political pipewrench.

The idea of a single board sounds good on paper, but tough to implement. I cant see any state agreeing to this.

Bottomline : I am not even sure there is a problem with the current system.  It just aint broke.

See related post : The exam difficulty control knob (What do dead easy exams mean ? )

Online deprivation index calculator

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 24, 2009

Okay, there is no such online calculator. But soon we will be seeing something along these lines.

Here is announcing the Equal Opportuninty Commission of India,

“The Bill (to set up EOC) is a commitment of the government. It’s a high priority Bill for us and a landmark Bill for the country and we have to move forward,” Khursheed said maintaining that EOC’s establishment will not just be a boon for the minorities but for all sections of society.     
..

Khursheed said the proposed EOC will conduct its operations in a “comprehensive and collective manner”, to do away the exercise of dealing with key issues in a segregated manner at other levels. EOC suggests identifying the deprived groups against deprivation index cutting across caste and religious lines, he said.     

“After setting up EOC, the majority and the minority will be on the same track, not being looked as separate entities but being looked as together. They can have a common future,” he said.

Source : Business-Standard

In summary, this bill will provide the politicians with the ultimate power. To pamper or prosecute an individual based on whim. Until now, the quota-without-data system only prosecuted or pampered groups. 

Of course, young Indians will be faced with the familiar conundrum. How can we possibly oppose something with a noble name like “Equal Opportunity Commission” ?  We will be branded in no time as “social terrorists”.  Again the devil is in the data or lack of it.

It appears everyone in this socialist paradise will be allocated a “deprivation index” even before they get a  “citizen ID number”. This index we are told will be sensitive to caste, religion, sex, language, disability, food preference. Without batting an eyelid, the minister tells us that such an index will cut across caste and religion.  Well, even a SSC child can tell you that, if variable X is used to calculate an index, then the index is not independent of variable X.  These variables are simply weights attached to various groups you may belong to.  In fact, the weight proposed for religion is 45% – 55%, for caste 25% – 35%, and gender 15% – 25%. (Refer to the Kundu committee report here).  How does it look now ?

Can this system be made to work if we had the data ?

Maybe, but what is the experience we have with data so far. Can anyone even tell us how the beneficiaries of the quota system have progressed ? The government surely does not propose to collect this because this is a political game changer. We cannot sidestep group data, which is the primary social justice platform, and jump directly to an individual deprivation index. How can you assign weights to a caste or religion without this ?

So, how does the Congress government pull this off ? How to appear reasonable when common Indians are given a number like “72% deprived” ?  What is the platform for addressing day to day anomalies. Can a 80% deprived person be taken to court by a 20% deprived person ?

In true socialist style, they will simply take it indoors. A bunch of retired officials will come up with a number of each religion and caste, leaving the question of data to the court. We all know what will happen after that based on recent precedent.

Of course the lawyers support it, this is a legal goldmine.

Please do not blindly sign any online petitions in support of it. First, ask the above questions and be convinced of the answers. We may be social terrorists but we think this is nothing but a blatant intrusion by the government into our private lives.  If we go down this route, the next elections will see political parties promising a 5% raise in our deprivation index in addition to quota.

We have had enough of this !

Other peoples stuff, Maharashtra SSC

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 23, 2009

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that the quota system forms the foundation of Indian society. As a people, we are beginning to expect to be able to take other people’s stuff .

All you have to do is to cite some grievance and hold “taking other peoples stuff” as the only remedy. Since, our primary quota platform is devoid of data and placed beyond mandatory rational examination by our judiciary, everyone else gets to ride along.

Maharashtra recently reserved 90% seats for their state board students for junior college (Std XI) admissions. Since we are slicing the loaf of bread along multiple planes, we are not sure about what happens to SC/ST/OBC who happen to be in the remaining 10%.

A quota of the pie, Indian pizza slice child

A quota of the pie, Indian pizza slice child

Just a few days before the Std X results are to be announced, the state government suddenly takes away 90% of seats from competition and gives it to one group. This is highly immoral, illegal (not sure about India), and arbitrary. None of these CBSE,ICSE students knew about this beforehand. They would not have opted for the board then.

The point is : the casual attitude we are developing towards other peoples stuff.

Speaking to TOI soon after the decision was announced by the state education minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Vasant Kalpande, former chairman of the chairman of the Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education said, “I am happy with the scheme. Comparison on the basis of marks led to disadvantage for SSC students when the percentile formula was implemented last year. Such a step was essential to bring them all at par. Some students might face problems in getting admission, but they will have to face it.”

Source : TOI (emp mine)

They will have to face it. Wow! You are talking about 14-15 year old kids here. They are tasting arbitrary majority justice for the first time in this socialist wonderland.

Some more examples , see the emphasised parts:

Ram Panse, principal of Bharat Vidyalaya, congratulated the government on its decision on two counts. He said, “Firstly, hats off to the government for making this move and secondly for implementing it even after resistance and major criticism from across the state.”

Mr Panse is lauding the government for not giving in to protests. Lets move on.

Panse further added, “I think it is a right decision as majority of the students hail from the SSC board. If the government says that 90 per cent of SSC students should get preference then there’s no harm in having reservation.”

If the government says group X needs quota, then group X should be given quota. This is a familiar pattern. No country in the world has such an casual attitude towards equality and justice.

Vikhe-Patil said the state would ensure that every student got a seat but added, “Students should not be choosy about the colleges they want to get into.’’

Source : TOI

Mr Patil, if students should not be choosy, there is no need for this quota. You only want the CBSE students not to be choosy. Again an example of expecting to be able to take other peoples stuff.

Sanjay Kher and his son Nimoy, an ICSE board student have decided to fight the government’s decision in the Bombay High Court.
“This decision is in clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution,” says Kher, who is a lawyer.

Source : IBNLIVE

Is Mr Kher  living in a cave ?  We wonder what makes him think this government action will be subject to strict scrutiny.

Vinayak Shukla, secretary of Maharashtra Education Society remarked, “If the government statistics say that there are only 10% students from non-SSC board schools in the state then the reservation is fair. But if the figures differ then it will create problems. The government, however, has to take responsibility of every student studying in the state, hence, every decision taken should be implemented carefully.” 

This is what passes for a sane voice here. Mr Shukla’s stand is that there is no harm is capping a specific group to their numeric strength while not capping others to their numeric strength.  This is the same logic that says, “caste X is only 3% but has 10% of occupation Y, so we have 7% work left to do”

In other words, everyones equality in India only extends to the numeric strength of the rigid grouping of the politicians choice.

You already know where all this is going, right ?

Focus on inclusive growth – Murthy

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 21, 2009

Bangalore, June 20 (IANS) Infosys Technologies Ltd chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy Saturday hoped the union budget for 2009-10 would focus on inclusive growth, which he termed as ‘the need of the country’.

‘I don’t have any specific expectation for the IT sector from the budget. But I hope the government will try to bring in an inclusive growth, as it is the need of the country to make sure the poorer people will also benefit from the economic progress,’ Murthy told reporters here.

Source : Wire

I dont think Mr Murthy needs to worry.  We give the inclusive growth for sure.

Inclusive growth is not about including the poor, it is about extending or promising concrete benefits to rigid groups of people, some of whom may happen to be poor. This is the great Indian rope trick that is the engine of our current politics. Holding them hostage to such benefits prevents the Indian people from ganging up or developing fraternity (depending on how much peace you have made with socialism).

The IT industry can easily make their peace with socialism by taking a bite out of competition and tax concessions.

But you all already knew this. Right?

Womens quota and bread

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 17, 2009

Even before the ink has vanished from the voter’s fingers, the legislators are back to the quota business. See unlike you, me, and Swapan Dasgupta they know this is the bread and butter of Indian politics.

Speaking about bread, here is what I think of the womens quota.

Try slicing this length wise now

Try slicing this length wise now

After you have sliced the loaf of bread , can you turn it around and slice it again length wise ? You could but , it would leave a mess on the table.

The quota intervention is only on the basis of caste. Now that would be fine if the system was put under scrutiny. The main perversion helped by all pillars of democracy is the go-by given to even basic burden of data or evidence. It is so openly flawed that even a 10th standard child can pick it apart. The central policy that determines elections in a wannabe superpower is unable to withstand the scrutiny of a 10 year old. When the Outlook screams, in a sudden fit of epiphany, “Are OBC women not women ?” – they are shutting their eyes to the main anomaly which is the caste-quota-without-data system.

Given this state of affairs, in our primary social justice platform, can we expect to discuss the womens quota logically ? No way. It too must be ad hoc. It too must take its bite out of whatever is left of the central constitutional theme of equality.  This time it is worse because if shrinks choice.  Only women candidates from Bangalore South will be a reality.

A 10 year old might ask, why have womens quota in parliament and not in government jobs ? There is no leader in India who can answer this child other than saying, ‘it is our wish, kid‘. The very definition of ad-hoc.

—-

Other news from the real India.

The Kerala and TN governments are against any quota help to economically backward (read poor people from reverse discriminated classes).

BJP again caught on the wrong foot. Says something incoherent about muslims. It must remember that it cannot align with the Congress on the quota issue. Sure fire way to irrelevance. What is wrong if Muslims get their share of ad hoc quotas ?

OBCs capture topper slots in CPMT UP Exams. Not only this, about half of the candidates in the top 100 were OBCs while, 60% of the top 1000 positions were bagged by candidates from the segment.  Normally, this would be taken as evidence that the castes in this group need a closer look. If some castes can bag topper seats  in the open competition they will absolutely clobber the OBC seats, leaving out the really weak communities with nothing.

But then, you all knew this already, did’nt you ?

Bengal Muslim quota tug of war

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 10, 2009

There is really little more to Indian politics than benefits to rigid groups completely at the mercy of a few formations. We call these formations “benefit protectors”. Benefit protectors come in all shapes and colours. Most are political groups. Some are  legal commentators, some hold high positions in government institutions, some are socialites, some run temporary blogs and magazines. Their task is the same, to somehow keep data from entering the social justice equation. They would rather deal with blind anti-reservationists than promoters of real social justice like this blog! No data = no justice. If you dont believe me ask the stone breakers near your locality. No one on TV will admit it or even talk about it in the context of politics. It is our dirty lil Indian secret.

In this backdrop, we have been saying that the Bengal case is a grand anomaly. The communists have kept large swathes of their society out of the quota system.  As the no-data-only-adhoc benefit regime is set to explode in all spheres of society, there is deep resentment in Bengal. The communists need to attain benefit-protector status to atleast a few large groups if they wish to stay relevant. 50 years of disciplined cadre building will crumble in a second against the classification of citizens. With the exception of excel spreadsheets, there is no force that can confront  it. 

It seems the Communists have realized the impending disaster.

 While the government has gone slow on the question of land acquisition, it has taken upon the task of getting as many groups of Muslim community as possible in the category of Other Backward Castes (OBCs) so that they have reservation in government jobs.

..

Seven per cent of government jobs are reserved for the OBCs. At present out of 2.4 crore Muslim population in the state, 11 castes which amount to 2.4 per cent of the population have been declared OBCs. 

The government is following the model set by Kerala where more than 99 per cent of the Muslim population are OBCs. In fact, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee advocated the idea for reservation of Muslims about eight years ago when Andhra Pradesh first introduced quota for Muslims in the state.

Source : IE  (Emp added)

Not to be beaten in this game, the Congress has come up with this :

Muslims can be backward community only if all states do so

Minority affairs minister Salman Khursheed has said if Muslims are declared a backward community in all states, it would only be a 
procedural formality to dub them so at the Centre.

Else, he told TOI the Constitution does not permit reservation to any group beyond SCs, STs and OBCs, rejecting demands that there be reservation for Muslims per se. He said even the Andhra Pradesh policy to give reservation to the community by declaring all of them as backward had been struck down.

The newly-appointed minister was commenting on the fate of Congress promise in the poll manifesto that the party would replicate at national level the policy adopted in Karnataka, Kerala and AP of giving reservation based on social and economic backwardness.

Source : TOI

Now, none of this makes any sense of course.  If all muslims in Kerala can have this status, then there is no logical argument you can extend that denies this benefit to Muslims of East Midnapore or Gujarat. Politically, there will be a tug of war now between the CPM and Congress for Muslim quota in Bengal.

Time for another season of ‘Equality Olympics’.

—-

Programming note  : The Wife Quota (as the womens quota ought to be called) has the full support of the BJP. The BJP does not even have any amendment to offer. This is their strategy of going along with the Congress. The hope is the pretty media girls in Delhi will take a liking to their new Congress-lite hair style. Wont work ! !  (More on this twisted womens quota in the next post)

Illiteracy after 60 years should shame us all

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 9, 2009

See this article by Jayanthi Natarajan in the Deccan Chronicle / Asian Age,

Congress, a party with a conscience

I would like to focus, however, on just one aspect — the promise to convert the National Literacy Mission into the National Mission for Female Literacy. As the speech tells us, the 2001 Census found that 75 per cent of India’s men were literate but only 54 per cent of India’s women were. This is a figure that should shame and embarrass us all.

Source : Asian Age / DC (emp added)

Whoa !  Why should this shame us all ? This should shame the party that has been in power for 47 years.  It should shame us that as a people we are not mature enough to “politicize” this.  It should shame us that we cannot see through a brazen attempt to not only dust off responsibility but to actually use this to as more evidence of the Congress partys credentials.

I do not want to pick on Jayanthi Natarajan. This is a theme that is shared by a lot of Indians.  Whenever CNN-IBN or NDTV or your favorite opinionist seeks that you do not politicize (terrorism/illiteracy/poverty) – this is the logic behind their thinking. It is assumed that poverty and third world status is our fate. The Congress cannot be held responsible for a country of losers.

As a mother, I cannot think of a greater curse, as a human being, I cannot think of a greater tragedy. The social consequences of this extend beyond just one individual or one generation.

Source : Asian Age/ DC (emp added)

Yet another illustration of the level of distortion in the Indian version of democracy. This pathetic literacy statistic is seen simply as a ‘curse’ or a ‘tragedy’. It is something that is pre ordained, a spell cast upon the country solely due to the loser-like status of the people living there. How can one blame the political dispensation of 47 years ? 

You ask ; What about poverty, illiteracy, pathetic roads, rampant power cuts, general third world living conditions ? Why cant we have after 60 years what people in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Korea, Tanzania, Zambia, Turkey and countless other countries have attained in much less. Why do we have to step over sewage everyday on our way to work ?

They say; Yes, all these should shame us all too.

Also read Gaurav’s post A Nation of Comatose

Of course, readers of this blog will know this. The root distortion in Indian democracy is social justice without data.

The vote magnet

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on June 3, 2009

I really need to dump all the ideas buzzing in my head into a coherent post later this week. The central question is : What impact does our system of benefit protection impact whatever we have by the name of democracy ?

My opinions on some events.

1) The PMK loss : 

This is an example of getting punished for working for a larger interest. There is no question that it was Dr A. Ramadoss who was instrumental in the OBC quota. Is anyone amazed they were rejected ? Even R. Velu who was arguably the real performer in the Railways lost to Mr Jadadhratchagan.  According to the theory of this blog, Mr Ramadoss’s work was commendable – but for the OBC group, not for the MBC group. There is really nothing by way of benefits for his voters. Result : His voters were picked the next larger group or were turned into free agents (either vote on issues or vote for cash) Repeat lesson for Laloo and Mulayam.

2. The Congress sweep of urban India :

Barring Bangalore, the Congress swept all urban areas by a huge margin. What happened here ? Do these people really want more power cuts, pathetic living conditions, zero municipal development. Do not believe the pundits. Our word is that urban India responded very favourably to the divisive quota policy. The reason is simple, they are the most equipped to take advantage of it. The media did a commendable job by completely suppressing any discussion of this issue.  Again, many of skeptical about this theory. Arent ‘middle class’ people supposed to vote on issues ?   No they arent we say. If you dont believe us please poll the student body of DU and their parents this year.

3. The hero – the media

The recent sickening coverage of the ‘racist australia’ make people wonder whether they are really subject to any checks. Hello, seven guys are accused of raping an American girl in the Congress paradise of Mumbai. Can you imagine what hell would have broke loose if something like this (god forbid) happened in Oz? 

If you accuse them of hopeless bias, exagerration, dramatization, and working up a frenzy, the perplexing defence the media will offer you is : “Hey let us go, only 1% of 3% watch English electronic media”. The fact is, the media still sets the table at dinner. What they dont like isnt even on the menu. Competition is laughable as they are mostly from the same gene pool.  For example : they could have easily pursued the spectrum scam as vigorously as Varun. This would have dramatically changed the colour and the mood of the free agent voters.

4. The BJP

The BJP cannot hope to be a Congress-lite. It does not work that way. Did they wheel-deal on various scams ? Why are they completely silent on the SEZ issue ? I do not remember them raising the corruption issue seriously on even one occassion. The Swiss bank stuff was funny : someone remarked that the BJP’s swiss bank plans made the other guys get their cash out and defeat them soundly.

I agree with the must-read Indian blogger Barbarindian that the BJP cannot move closer to the Congress on key issues and hope to be relevant.  No one is going to be nicer to them for doing that.

Now the Congress is really consolidating by these schames (scam schemes). The vote marshals are motivated. There is a lot of cash moving around. Good times.