Lok Satta Junction

For better governance in India.

Archive for November 2009

Idealism is not enough to win elections

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For Loksatta to become successful, it should be able to attract ambitious and motivated people. Goodness in heart or empty idealism is just not good enough to become leaders. They need courage, drive and a great desire to bring upon change. Winning an election requires selfishness and great ambition – the quality which drives all individual achievement. That which induces the extra bit of commitment to win the race.

Who are Loksatta candidates running against?

  • Candidates who typically invest a lot of their own personal money in elections. A lot more is at stake with these candidates and that is an indicator to how ruthless they can be to win an election.
  • Having spent so much, these candidates expect much more in returns running into several crores over a period of just 5 years. Such potential personal profit is an indicator of how aggressive they can be to win an election.
  • A potentially lucrative and powerful long term political career with the established parties. It is this promise which drives them towards success in an election.
  • Most of the candidates are typically high risk-takers who don’t care for a regular job either because they have loads of money or they are incapable of one. They spend their entire time in party politics.

On the other hand, who are typical Loksatta candidates?

  • Idealists: they want to do something good for the society. They have a regular job and only marginally affected by any politics. Good education, job and family. Risk-averse.
  • Social workers. Not ambitious. Mild-mannered.
  • No promise of lucrative long term career in the party. Difficult to attract a full-time cadre. Some are novices in politics testing waters.
  • Some use the party for its novelty factor, before they move on to greener pastures (read traditional parties).

And ultimately, people do not yet vote on issues. (The only exception is when the prices rise, they vote for the other side which is different only in name. Not that they have a solution. It’s just a punishment for the existing side.) As JP says, “A majority of people continued to believe in hero worship without appreciating each one is a hero in his own life. That’s why the Lok Satta’s call to people to grab the opportunity for self-rule as detailed in its manifesto did not click. Voting based on political parties’ policies and programs is yet to take root.”

Loksatta party needs to seriously introspect on how to attract ambitious people in its ambit. Without the promise of a lucrative career, such people who can work full-time will be hard to find. However, the promise of a long political career which has the potential to significantly alter the course of modern India is an interesting bait which will work if the party can show some visible results in the coming few years.

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Written by jujung

November 26, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Posted in Ideas, Loksatta, politics

Story of the decline of socialist nations

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An economics professor said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, 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 socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.  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.

But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied only a little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied less than what they had. The second test average was a D!  No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.  All failed, to their great surprise, 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.

(Source: here and here)

Written by jujung

November 19, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Posted in Ideas

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Loksatta’s internal dissent

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Loksatta’s DVS Verma does not seem to be comfortable with some of the internal issues in the party. Here’s some discussion regarding the same with Katari Srinivas Rao and DVS Verma on Sakshi channel:

Written by jujung

November 16, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Posted in Criticism, Loksatta, Videos

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Feudal scientific establishments

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The first appointment in a scheme to recruit expatriate scientists to senior positions in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — India’s largest science agency — seems to have misfired badly.

“Our interaction with CSIR scientists revealed that they work in a medieval, feudal environment,” says Ayyadurai. “Our report said the system required a major overhaul because innovation cannot take place in this environment.” …

“I am more worried that the incident will dampen the enthusiasm of Indian institutions to hire expatriates in the future,” says Valangiman Ramamurthy, the former science secretary of the government’s Department of Science and Technology, who recommended Ayyadurai’s selection.

“I have seen many cases of vindictiveness in the CSIR, but this is the worst,” says Pushpa Bhargava, founder director of the CSIR’s Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). Bhargava, who has also written to Singh supporting Ayyadurai, says: “Ayyadurai’s report tells the truth about how the CSIR is being run today. The fact that CSIR administration is impervious to healthy and fair criticism is bound to send the wrong message not only to expatriates but also [to scientists] within the country.”

One would think, of all the people atleast the ones with a supposedly scientific bent of mind will actively invite frank discussion and criticism. Not so in our country, where people still take pride in their source of birth and teachers feel it’s an insult when someone questions them.

Written by jujung

November 13, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Posted in India

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