Lok Satta Junction

For better governance in India.

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)

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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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What did Loksatta do till now?

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JP is the lone MLA from Loksatta, elected from Kukatpally. The party has formulated a clear plan to develop the constituency by identifying the problems, fixing a definite time-frame to solve these problems and tracking the results. The activities of the party in these four months (June 1, 2009 to Sep 30, 2009):

Update:

Brief Translation: The problems in the constituency have been classified into several categories:

  • depending on the estimated time it would take to solve them: solvable in 3 months, 1 year or 5 years.
  • depending on the scope of the problem: state-wide issues, constitution-related issues, deficiencies related to the laws and Govt. policies, injustice from the Govt.

These issues have been tackled by taking up the solutions with the various levels of the Govt. and trying reforms by proposing appropriate policy changes where necessary.

Actions taken in Kukatpally till now (June 1 – Sep 30, 2009: 4 months):

Completed Actions:

  1. Dr. JP conducted 4 face to face programs with people (at IMAX garden no. 4) to know the problems faced by the people and took appropriate actions.
  2. Took 99 samples of drinking water and showed to the water-board authorities, that the chlorine levels are not appropriate and directed them to take actions.
  3. Free eye and thyroid test-drives have been conducted.
  4. Free Health-care center is organized and medicines are provided in Balanagar with the help of two doctors.
  5. The construction of the under rail bridge in Safdarnagar, which has been neglected for several months has been completed.
  6. 20 new borewells in the Kukatpally area colonies, where people did not have access to daily water supply.
  7. 95% of the pipeline construction from Vasantnagar to Bhagat Singh nagar, to regulate drainage problems in the rainy season, has been completed.
  8. Booster pumps in Satyanarayana Swamy colony, Parvatnagar, Motinagar divisions to complement the irregular drinking water-supply that has been there for several years.
  9. Street lights between Vasant nagar and Satyanarayana colonies.

JP is available in the constituency every Saturday for discussing the problems and issues faced by the people.

Actions in progress:

  1. Underground drainage system: Works worth Rs. 4.4 crore have been started in 11 colonies/bastis. This helps nearly 2 lakh people, and prevents the mixing of sewage and water supply. Will be completed by Dec 31, 2009.
  2. 300 mm pipeline construction in Moosapet division for Manjeera water supply. Another 400 mm pipeline construction to make use of the neglected overhead tank.
  3. Road construction work has been started in Kukatpally ninth phase.
  4. Arrangements have been made to restart the swimming pool, indoor stadium construction in Kukatpally sixth phase.
  5. Started the road-widening work in Kukatpally phase road number 1.
  6. Started the system of Citizen Help Centers for the people to solve the municipality and Govt. related problems.
  7. Kukatpally circle receives only 9 mgd water (5% of the city) even though it has 56000 water connections (10% of the city). Arrangements have been proposed to supply atleast 16 mgd water. Work is in progress.

Proposals submitted to the Govt.:

  1. To construct four foot-over bridges for pedestrians in JNTU, Balanagar, Kukatpally, Moosapet areas.
  2. To move HUDA truck park from Kukatpally to Miapur and construct an auditorium for cultural and entertainment programs and a commercial center in its place.
  3. To have 3 sulabh complexes in areas with high population densities.
  4. The messy drinking water-supply situation in Kukatpally has been reformed to a certain extent. Proposals have been sent for full-fledged reformation.
  5. To construct 6 sewerage treatment plants near ponds/lakes and to fence the ponds/lakes to prevent illegal occupation.
  6. To build service roads from Moosapet Y-junction to Miapur to reduce traffic congestion on NH-9.

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Written by jujung

October 25, 2009 at 6:41 AM

Posted in Agenda, Loksatta, Telugu

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KPS Gill: How can the bureaucrats sit in Delhi and decide what the development model for the Chhattisgarh tribal will be?

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This is what he said in the context of the Govt response to the Naxal problem in Chattisgarh. Do read this whole interview with KPS Gill, for valuable insights into how every problem is different and how local problems need local solutions.

What Delhi cannot accomplish, Hyderabad cannot accomplish either. Governance need to be brought to the people’s localities. The failure of an excessively centralized governing system is more often due to lack of information about local needs and local problems and what works in a particular region. The local self governing bodies exist in name, but are stripped of financial resources and power to tackle the issues. This centralized governance also leads to situations where no single person can be held responsible for any failure (the credit for successes is all taken by the political families in charge of course, be it YSR/Nehru-Gandhi/Babu) or negligence, leading to no motivation among the bureaucrats to take control of any situation. Decentralizing spending responsibilities and clearly identifying a single person to be in charge of affairs goes a long way in fixing the duties and responsibilities, while leading to better tailored solutions for the problems. This will also lead to fast response and a more responsible resource utilization.

Loksatta on decentralization:

Speaking on governance reforms, Dr. JP pointed out that many districts in India are bigger than 50 percent of the countries in the world and the metropolitan cities are larger than 80 percent of the countries. Yet the local governments have been made irrelevant. No wonder, most people in the country do not know the names of Mayors of even large metropolitan cities in India, unlike those of London, New York or Mexico City.

Dr. JP said that power had been concentrated so much that there are only three decisions makers in India – the PM, the CM and the DM (district magistrate).

He called for genuine decentralization with devolution of powers, responsibilities, resources and personnel on the local governments. The people would not realize the importance of their vote unless they appreciated how it was going to transform their lives. Otherwise they would succumb to short-term sops or money and liquor offered by political parties.

Dr. JP underlined the need for civil service reforms. India is perhaps the only modern democracy in the world, which clings to institutions created by colonial rulers a century and half ago.

The Lok Satta President said that decentralization should provide for local policing and local courts. There has been a market demand for criminals and thugs because the people could not depend on the police and the courts to render them timely justice.

Written by jujung

October 20, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Lessons from Gandhi

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For Gandhi, man was the measure of all things. The basic purpose of human life was to reach higher levels of consciousness. Gandhi realised that if the embodied human spirit was to progress, man must be free, full of dignity, and earnest about his own advance. The greatest quest in life is to reach one’s potential. Gandhi’s ambition is much greater than India’s independence. He wrote in Young India, “my ambition is much higher than independence. Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so-called weaker races of the earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation… India’s coming into her own will mean every nation doing likewise.” This has proved prophetic.

For Loksatta to become successful, it should be able to attract such ambitious and motivated people. Goodness in heart or empty idealism is just not good enough to become leaders. They need ambition, drive and a great desire to bring upon change.

Written by jujung

October 4, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Posted in Ideas

Is YS Jaganmohan worthy of his father?

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He surely looks like a match to his father, going by this Tehelka article:

Jagan Reddy is sprouted of this stock. In 2005, he was accused of orchestrating the murder of controversial TDP leader Paritala Ravindra. The police filed an FIR against him, but a CBI enquiry exonerated him. Still, many lesser stories abound of him unleashing his fury on police constables or inspectors who dared stand up to him. In one such incident, a police inspector caught several men hunting rabbits without license in Simhadripuram town. They turned out to be Jagan’s acolytes. When he landed up at the police station to rescue his friends, there was such a violent melee, the inspector locked himself inside the cell, refusing to come out.

Like Rayalseema, Sakshi channel too offers many clues about Jagan. A capacity for violence is only one of the attributes people ascribe to him – the other is meteoric wealth. In June 2008, two months after he had launched his Telugu newspaper, Sakshi, Jagan gave a proud interview to an online publication. “It feels great that Sakshi is currently the largest circulated Telugu daily with a 13 lakh circulation. What Eenadu achieved in 30 years we have accomplished in 60 days,” he said. According to this interview, he also said Deloitte had valued Sakshi at Rs 3,500 crores. But Sakshi newspaper is only part of it. Media professionals also marvel at the money Jagan poured into his television channel. Some quick ballparks tell their own story: an average national channel has 10-12 DSNGs (smaller versions of OB vans) because it is an expensive proposition. Jagan got one each for all 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh and for the four metro bureaus. Jagati Publications, which owns Sakshi newspaper and television, is only Jagan’s most visible venture. He also has interests in power generation plants, uranium and bauxite mining corporations, cement plants and SEZs. There are also real estate investments and mining interests in Karnataka, where he is closely associated with the famous ‘Reddy brothers’ of the mining lobby.

He might have gone through the public charade of asking people to stop clamouring to make him CM. But in private, unperturbed, Jagan continues to assert his right to the post. Meeting TEHELKA briefly at the chief minister’s camp office in Begumpet, Hyderabad, he talks candidly of how he is best placed to carry forward the dreams of his father. With YSR’s towering portraits behind him, he says: “I have observed him at close hand for many years now. I was there at the meetings when people thronged the house, when he went to the villages. I know more than anyone else how he conducted his affairs.”

Written by jujung

September 19, 2009 at 6:09 PM