In Higher Education: The Cop Is The Culprit

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This article written by Baladevan Rangaraju, Founder Director of India Institute was published by Swarajya on 23rd September, 2014. Higher education in India is considered among the poorer in the world. Every ranking has critics who find fault with its methodology for under valuing or over estimating some parameters. But our tertiary education fares low in every ranking there is, …

Is loss of autonomy trapping higher education?

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In our last weekly your view, we asked you whether higher education institutions not enjoying autonomy in matters of policy is an important reason for poor quality graduates in our country. Out of 18 poll takers, 94 % of you agreed with the above statement while the remaining 6 % of you disagreed. Today, when India has achieved almost universal …

War and Peace: The Trade Off

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Today, world military expenditure is estimated to have reached $1.756 trillion. This corresponds to 2.5 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $249 for each person in the world and this total is still higher than in any year between the end of World War II and 2010.But even more devastating has been the widespread loss of …

Robots vs. Teachers – Who can salvage the future of education?

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In our last weekly poll, we asked you whether teacher-training facilities or developing innovative educational technologies should be the priority investment area to improve quality of education quickly. To this tough question, of the 21 poll takers, 62% vouched for teacher training facilities while 38% believed that precedence should be given to innovation in educational technologies. The status of education …

The “Master” Plan : Do centralized planning agencies help?

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In the last Weekly Your View, we asked you whether having a centralized planning agency has helped the country. Out of 22 poll takers, 52% said yes while 48% did not think that the agency has helped the country. Some of you even pointed out that due to inefficiency, issues in implementation or just inability to adapt planning strategies, the …

Landing It – Private property and larger public interest

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In the last Weekly Your View, we asked you whether the government’s power to use a person’s private property in the name of “larger public interest” has benefited us more or harmed us more. Out of 25 poll takers, 64% believed that it has caused more harm while 28% were of the opinion that it has benefited more. The other …

Outsourcing out of poverty

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Almost 1/10th of the world’s products are made in India. This was done using a workforce of 1,430 million people in 2012 according to a survey by Sourcing Line Computer Economics. Their study also shows that on an average, a junior BPO employee in India costs a company 10% of the cost incurred to employ a person at the same …

Flooring the Market

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Last Thursday we asked you if there should be a minimum price fixed by the government below which a supplier should not be allowed to sell a good or a service as airline companies sometimes do. 70 % of you disagreed to minimum price control by the government, while 30 % of you wanted the government to set floor prices …

Tax-o-money: How the government robs us

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Whether an individual or an organization or a group or a society, those who squander away what they have, have never grown wealthier. This is true for governments too but they are the ones who most forget this basic principle. Ideally, they should be working within our means but they have worked beyond means, leading to a very large fiscal …

Un-cashing Votes And Keeping Politics Popular

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The need for electoral reforms is evidenced by the many PILs filed every year demanding transparency and accountability of politicians and the process through which they are elected. Last Saturday, we asked you what according to you is the one major electoral reform that India most urgently needs. The top two in the list of 7 reforms we got from …

Beating Democracy with Democracy is not Democratic?

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Democracy-rule by the people, of the people, for the people- is a superior form of government because it is based on fairness, natural justice and equality. It offers the most conducive political climate for peace and prosperity for all. Violence is anathema to the concept of democracy, in which rule of law protects people’s life, property and rights, preempting most …

Should we kill death?

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Is the unavoidable politicisation of the execution of death sentence a good enough reason to abolish death sentence? In the last Saturday Poll, we had posed the question whether politicization of the execution of death sentence is a good enough reason to ban death penalty. 85% of the 41 poll takers said “no”. Clearly, most people that this sample represents …

Silence of the Law

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In last week’s Saturday Poll, we had asked you whether the right to freedom of speech should include the right to express contrarian views on religion. A mere 8% of the poll takers said it should, against a whopping 92% who feel that the right to express contrarian views should not be considered part of the right to freedom of …

Whistle in the light

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In a world which glorifies vigilantism, how many people would come forward to expose a crime putting their lives and safety at stake? In last week’s Saturday Poll, we asked you whether you would expose a corrupt authority if you had evidence against them and what factor would influence your decision most. A meagre 8% of the 26 poll takers …

What should we teach our teachers?

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A strong education system is the backbone of any country and teachers are the vanguard of national development . Considering the current poor status of education in the country, the Indian policymakers really need to focus on the crux of the problem, which is the poor quality of teachers in our schools. The Indiangovernment, up till now, has been more …

Poor Guarantees

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Do minimum wage laws help or harm the poor? This article is the analysis of the results of the Saturday Poll posted on India Institute’s Facebook page on 11 January, 2014 which asked the above question. There has been a consistent debate on whether the idea of having a minimum wage law is helpful or harmful. In our opinion poll on …

Teach the Hungry Man to Fish

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Is Subsidizing Basic Amenities a good Long Term Policy? The AAP government in Delhi has already made good their promise of 700 litres of free water per day per household and halving the electricity tariffs. This policy choice has come for appreciation as well as criticism. The supporters of the policy argue that the provision of these services now allows …

Managing Management

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Is depriving the private schools of management quota a good policy? 

There perhaps has hardly been a set in India that could satisfy all the needs of all the parents. For schools, keeping at least a few seats to be filled up at their discretion is necessary to cater to the needs of people who have helped them. There normally …

At Arm’s Length From Prosperity

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Should India’s defence production industry be fully opened to private Indian players? India is the world’s largest arms importer, spending nearly 70% of our defence expenditure on purchases from foreign players and accounting for 12% of total global arms imports. The hold of the public sector over the domestic defence manufacturing industry is total, monopolistic and highly lacking in excellence. …

Quality Qualifications

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A strong education system is the backbone of any country and teachers are the vanguard of national development . Considering the current poor status of education in the country, the Indian policymakers really need to focus on the crux of the problem, which is the poor quality of teachers in our schools. The Indian government, up till now, has been …

Wronging Gay Rights

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How would you categorize the recent Supreme Court verdict on Section 377? The recent Supreme Court upholding of Article 377 has sparked widespread reaction across the nation. So we dedicated last week’s Saturday Poll to understanding our level of acceptance for sexual minorities and to what extent the petitioners in the case were representative of public opinion. We asked you …

Are We Man Enough?

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Should male rapes be brought within the definition of rape? The pressure of public opinion brought about several welcome changes to the Indian criminal law in the 2013 amendment. It widened the scope of the definition of rape of a woman, expanded the list of sexual offences and increased the punishment for the offences. However, an equally repugnant violation of …

Suo-Moto Cognizance

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Should the police have the power to investigate an offence without any complaint being filed for it? This article is the  analysis of the results of the Saturday Poll posted on India Institute’s Facebook page on 23  November, 2013 which asked the above question. As the general interpretation of the law stands today, even when the police come to know of …

Private vs Government Schooling

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Assuming that the quality of education in a low cost private school is the same as in a government school, which two of the following five facilities should not be denied to a child at any cost (choose 2 options)? If you do not think any two can be prioritized at all, choose option 6. This article is the analysis …

Ain’t No Body High Enough?

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Is there a need for a supreme regulatory body for higher education in India? This article is the analysis of the results of the Saturday Poll posted on India Institute’s Facebook page on 9 November, 2013 which asked the above question. The results for this week’s poll on higher education regulating bodies showed that 25% of you think that India needs …

Hi-Tech Polic(y)ing

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Assuming a robust IT infrastructure can be put in place, will a facility to file FIRs online be a viable solution to this problem? This article is the  analysis of the results of the Saturday Poll posted on India Institute’s Facebook page on 2 November, 2013 which asked the above question. In Nirbhaya’s case the police was apparently fighting over jurisdiction. …