Friday, February 14, 2020

Can Good Governance Fetch better Ranking for Erode City?

This is my 3rd article on the issues and challenges faced by Erode City which is situated in western part of Tamil Nadu. It is a tiny city with few lakh population, a highly dynamic city with global markets link but the city's basic infrastructure services are pathetic. Full article is here.

This article explains about the ranking of Erode city at national level on different parameters over the past years, very bad shape!

I have lived last few years in Erode city experiencing the worlds of involving closely with the city corporation as development professional. At the end of it, it does not make any sense of most of the efforts taken in the name of Development at city level without involving citizens participants and taking advantages of technology in reforms of governance systems riddled with corruptions at all levels. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

School Vouchers for RTE Access to Poor Students

"During the last decade, many states in India have implemented the voucher system for the targeted beneficiaries in healthcare services by collaborating with the Union Government and International agencies. By introducing the voucher system in school education, the school governance system enabled with information technology would ensure universal access to primary school education for children belonging to economically weaker sections of the society. There will be positive incentives both from the private schools’ point of view as well as parents’ point of view and it would be a win-win situation ensuring that no child is left behind."
This is my last of three part article series on Right to Education Act of ten years implementation. Its time now to make amendments in the 25 per cent reservation of seats in private and unaided schools for economically poor children through "School Vouchers for RTE Access to Poor Students"

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Centenary of Liberal Thinker Nani Palkhivala

This is my token of remembering the great thinker with courage - Nani Palkhivala (1920-2020), a scholar making of his own style and skills... I end with the following paras:

To advance the liberal democracy in India towards a more prosperous country for all citizens, we have to remember and foster the following Five Doctrines of Nani Palkhivala (From February 1971 Issue of Freedom First Magazine):
  1. The Constitution believes in the distribution of wealth, and therefore it not only permits but encourages the creation of wealth by enterprising individuals who with their vision and expertise are prepared to take risks and develop their country. That is why our Constitution confers on all citizens the fundamental rights to acquire, hold and dispose of property and to carry on any trade, business, and profession.
  2. The right to property is often derided as the “least defensible” right in a socialist democracy. Yet a little reflection should show that this right is of the essence of a sound body politic and of a democracy which aims at marching forward economically….. Countries, where freedom has become a way of life, can do without the luxury of a constitutional right to property. But in India where economic fanaticism has become a way of political life, it is imperative to retain the right to property.
  3. There are times in a country’s history when inaction and silence can be a culpable wrong, and we are living in such times. It is not enough that we believe in our national motto that truth with ultimately prevail. We must take active steps to see to it that falsehood does not have a very long inning before the ultimate moment of truth arrives.
  4. The survival of our democracy and the unity and integrity of the nation depend upon the realisation that constitutional morality is no less essential than constitutional legality. Dharma (righteousness; a sense of public duty or virtue) lives in the hearts of public men; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no amendment, can save it.
  5. National integration is born in the hearts of the citizens. When it dies there, no army, no government, no Constitution, can save it. States of mind precede States. Inter-faith harmony and consciousness of the essential unity of all religions are at the very heart of our national integration.

Friday, January 17, 2020

RTE Access to Poor Students: Cases of Four States

This article, second part of the series, gives details about the school admissions under the 25 per cent reservation of the RTE Act in four major states during the academic year 2019–2020 and looks at the reasons for the failure of the implementation of the provision.
and the first Para starts..

The RTE Act, 2009, was one of the landmark laws in primary education. But the implementation of the Act has been facing many challenges across the states in the country, especially the implementation of the provision for 25 per cent reservation in private and unaided schools for children belonging to economically weaker sections. This part discusses the school admissions under 25 per cent reservation of the RTE Act in four major states during the academic year 2019–2020.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The path to Dharma AND path of Adharma

The most critical aspects of humanity facing ever since the human common senses are used purposefully for bettering are two things which also often get infuriated or fanatical in the public debates all over the world: these are religion and the ideology of politics.

I write this post after reading a small article by a senior advocate R Venkataraman who has such an amazing skills to put down the complex things into a clear and lucid manner.

Sometime back, he wrote a article on senior advocate's legal skills and the impact of certain principles of religion in his arguments of cases in court for decades. 

I find some of the his lines of thoughts most interesting and compelling to read and read again to ponder and understand the meaning of the words (m)used by R Venkataraman.

The following are some of the excerpts from the article:

"Religious philosophy is neither caste specific nor gender biased. It only imparts the transformative process to every human being, from the path of Adharma to the path of Dharma. Like Adharma which has universal belonging, the opposite of it namely Dharma has universal application and is relevant in law. The core of Dharma is free from both gender and caste discrimination.Self realisation or emancipation is again free from the clutches of either caste or gender sensitivity.

It is critical to look at religious philosophy as one that is broad-based in its practice and classifies human attitudes on the basis of Dharma and Adharma.....

It is important to remember that religious philosophy is concerned only about Dharma and Adharma and prescribes the method without any favor or bias towards any class or gender."


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

RTE Access to Poor Students: Challenges Faced by the States

I am writing a three part articles in a series on the challenges faced by States in implementation of Right to Education Act, especially the 25 per cent reservation in private and unaided schools for children from economically weaker sections. 

It has been a decade the RTE Act came into enforcement, we need a comprehensive review on the process promises vs achievements.

This article, first part of a series, discusses the challenges faced by some of the state governments in implementing the RTE Act and analyses how they have failed to prioritise the needs of primary education of children belonging to economically weaker sections of the society as mandated in the constitutional provision. The following parts will explore alternative ways to ensure universal access to quality primary education to poor children.

VS Srinivasa Sastri – Forgotten Liberal Intellectual – Part 2

This is second part of my article on the forgotten liberal, VS Srinivasa Sastri. 

Historians like Ramachandra Guha has painted with wild castiest views rather than looking at objectively.

This is example how well read historian fails at times. Zareer Masani has given right reply through review of Guha's Gandhi book!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

VS Srinivasa Sastri – Forgotten Liberal Intellectual – Part 1

I have new article about VS Srinivasa Sastri (1869-1946) in the Spontaneous Order Online Publication of Centre for Civil Society- a top Free Market Economics Think Tank in New Delhi. This is first of two part serious on Sastri's life and works.

Almost all of us know about MK Gandhi's prominent role in India's Freedom Struggles. However, very few people know about the freedom struggles pursued by leaders like M.G.Ranade, GK Gokhale and VS Srinivasa Sastri.

Sastri opposed mostly Gandhi's politics for good reasons!

In his home land, Tamil Nadu, VS Srinivasa Sastri was ignored in the post independent period because he was Brahmin despite the fact that he had given financial assistance to several poor students for their education. He even adopted poor students!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019-Year End Reading - Books and Good Works

Every new year has several new things to note and look back. But certain aspects are more important to remember for near future. Here are some odd things that I would like share as first post of year end things.

Few basic economics books for making work our commonsense works better for understanding the world better.

This book on Indian Economy gives a beautiful narratives "draws parallels between China, Europe, East Asia, United States, Independent India

A collection of year-end reads to give you food for thought

The era of right’s might

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Review Of The Indian Constitution

Recently, the Indian Free Market Economist Atanu Dey has given a talk on the review of Indian Constitution at Srijan Talk, New Delhi. 

His talk beautifully covers the underpinning issues and challenges of Indian Constitution and Economy both historically and in evolutionary approach. 

It is a must watch for anyone interesting in understanding the art and science of evolution of humanity, wealth creation, why poor countries are poor, the rules of free society with what the State should do and should not do., etc.

The entire talk is at video. There is also a brief clip of Q and A for quick grasp.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Planned Chaos of Erode City

I have new article published on The Planned Chaos of Erode City by Centre for Public Policy Research. The below are some excerpt of article.

Unsound Cities

Out of 100 big cities in India, 10 cities are in the State of Tamil Nadu (Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Tirupur, Erode, Thirunalveli, Vellore and Thoothukkudi) in terms of population size with four lakhs and above. Tamil Nadu is the most urbanised state in the country. These cities are Tier I, Tier II and Tier III and have become rattled with many challenges and critical issues that were debated for decades. But few were piloted for plausibility in implementation and fixing the gaps to scale it up. In the last 25 years, hardly anything achieved in Tier I cities in Tamil Nadu substantially to showcase as “The Model” for Tier II &III cities and towns for implementing the so-called “Best Practices” on public civic deliverables. The age-old centralisation of power and control mechanisms are still a daunting factor to defeat the 18 delegated functions envisaged in the 74th Constitutional Amendments made in 1992 to strengthen urban local bodies.  
However, in order to shackle the redundant decades-old challenges and critical issues of cities such as solid waste management, construction of toilets for individual houses/community, quality drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, sewerage management, protecting water streams from pollution, streamlining streets for all kind of people and not merely for mighty vehicles, Green Parks, streets lights, etc., there were few initiatives in the last five years mainly driven by the Government of India’s initiatives to identify ways and means to address by streamlining city governance structure with the aid of technology and institutional collaborations.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

CAA Myths Busters

The following are my views on the recently passed The Citizenship Amendments Act, 2019:

India is a land of peaceful living for all those humane brothers and sisters only.

Blood sucking of any types will not be tolerated in the land of India. Every responsible citizen of India has both moral and constitutional responsibility to defend our country’s laws.

BJP- concerns about minorities refugees of neibhouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Congress & opposition- concerns about only Muslims in India whose rights are protected equally to others in the country.

BJP- Talks about refugees of three neibhouring countries.

Congress & opposition- mistakenly link with Muslims in within India.

CAA- provides legal solutions to recognize the citizenship of minorities’ refugees in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Congress & Opposition- argues that minorities’ refugees of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh should not be given citizenship unless otherwise majority communities of those countries are given citizenship. Will the same Congress and opposition argue for Hindus in those countries? It is evident that in the past, several policy mistakes were done by Congress & others which failed miserably to protect the rights and lives of these minorities in those countries.

BJP- in the last several decades the Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian as minorities’ communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were prosecuted (more in invisible manner other than legal, decline of these communities population is evident)

CAA- is aims to provide remedy to the evils systems created by Congress which now misinterpreting and misleading the innocent people in the country.

CAA -is meant to enable and empower minorities’ refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and is not meant to deprive any Indian citizen.

Congress- which did not do anything worthwhile to empower the Muslims in India in the last several decades, that is why they are now asking the BJP government to empower the Muslims of India first, its petty and shameful.

BJP- provides solutions through CAA to correct the mistakes done by Nehru, his family and party.

Congress- hides the truths of CAA and misleads the public so that the public cannot recognize the folly of Nehru, his family and his party.

BJP- the logic behind excluding the Muslims in the CAA is very clear that in all three countries they are the majorities, and is obvious.

Congress- leaders makes mockery of CAA and failed to understand that simple logic. Even though, they all understand that very much but wanted to play the bad politics over it to gain the foolish psychic profits with which they are miserably struck for quite long time!

Congress- failed to articulate in the parliament debate on the Bill and lost the debate. Now, it wanted to play indirectly with life of public for their private gains. Some innocent students are victims of this indirect game play with bogus analysis.

When B.R.Ambedkar was studying in Columbia University for his Masters degree in 1913, Freedom Fighter Lala Lajpat Rai met him outside the university library and asked to join the politics. But Ambedkar refused saying that he has come to study with scholarship, which is a strong indication that a student in colleges or universities should mind themselves to study well only.

The students should not misunderstand the law making vs bad politics by which the lives of students, police etc would be in danger.

It is evident that in the last hundred years, all revolutions led to dictatorship or authoritarian regime.

Jai Hind

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Reading on Veteran Statesman -Rajaji's 14st Birth Anniversary

On 10th December, 141st Birth Anniversary of Rajaji was celebrated across the country albeit in a small way. He was one of the great modern India's free market economic thinker Statesman. The social media attributives went too late recognizing the birthday of Rajaji!

The following are some of the major remembrance of Rajaji's great contributions to the Indian economy, society and polity by various people:

From Swarajya Magazine- On Rajaji’s Birthday: Four Must Read Articles

Saturday, December 7, 2019


The Indian media both print and electronic are very sacrosanct about giving importance to political news and negative news for publication rather than giving a much needed importance of liberal ideas. The article like the below would not get published in right time in Indian media including at regional level. That is the sad state of affairs. Approximately, every media gives at least 60 percent of the publication spaces to the political and advertisements rather than the much needed deserving matters and things. Hence, I am producing the entire article below for record:

When Nehru passed away, Rajaji was devastated and paid tributes to Nehru stating that Nehru was "Eleven years younger than me, eleven times more important for the nation and eleven hundred times more beloved of the nation”.

Rajaji (C.Rajagopalachari) was born on 10th December ,1878 and passed away on 25th December, 1972.

In the month of December, on the occasion of the birth and death anniversary of Rajaji, as one remembers his life history that was marked by robust thinking, simple life style, principled approach to the issues and guidance for the nation, one can see that most of the far sighted thoughts of Rajaji are highly relevant to the present time.
Let us highlight some of the actions and thought process of Rajaji that have stood the best of time.
Conscience Keeper :

Rajaji had close friendship with Mahatma Gandhi that was marked by mutual respect.
While speaking about Rajaji, Mahatma Gandhi said that Rajaji was his conscience keeper. What can be greater tribute to Rajaji’s sagacity more than what Ganhiji said about him ?.
Gandhiji led a glorious life of activities that was guided by his conscience. When Gandhiji said that Rajaji was his conscience keeper, it reflected on Rajaji’s brilliant intellectual capability combined with ethical and moral force.
Inter caste marriage :

Several critics of Rajaji, then and now, in Tamil Nadu made castiest remarks about Rajaji in a motivated manner .
However, it has been seen that most of such critics and some politicians in Tamil Nadu pay only lip support for inter caste marriage, though they speak loudly about the need for it to eradicate casteism.
On the other hand, Rajaji gave his daughter in marriage to Gandhiji’s son, though Rajaji and Gandhiji belonged to different caste. In this process, Rajaji ensured greater respectability and approval for the inter caste marriages in the country.
India Pakistan relationship:

Due to several historical reasons, it appears that it is almost impossible task for India and Pakistan to live in peace and harmony.
Rajaji realized such situation immediately after independence and said that people to people relationship was the need of the day between India and Pakistan. He said that development of mutual good will and understanding between citizens in various walks of life in India and Pakistan would force the politicians in both the countries to strive for amity.
Even today, this Rajaji’s suggestion appears to be the only way for India and Pakistan to live without animosity in the long run.
Opposition to Hindi :

During the pre independent days, Rajaji strongly advocated that every person in Tamil Nadu should learn Hindi language.
However, after the independence, when central government took measures that amounted to imposition of Hindi in non Hindi speaking states, Rajaji took strong objection and started opposing imposition of Hindi very strongly. At the same time, Rajaji repeatedly pointed out that he did not hate Hindi language.
When central government realized that even Rajaji was opposing the imposition of Hindi, it reversed it’s policy.
Prohibition in Tamil Nadu :

Rajaji was a strong advocate of prohibition and wrote several articles and made speeches in support of prohibition.
Rajaji was shocked when the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Karunanidhi decided to lift prohibition to boost government ‘s income.
In spite of his ripe old age and inspite of the fact that Rajaji had the status of the former Governor General of India and in pouring rain, Rajaji went to Karunanidhi’s house and Rajaji appealed to Karunanidhi not to lift prohibition. However, Karunanidhi rejected Rajaji’s appeal and went ahead to lift prohibition.
Today, Tamil Nadu’s social fabric is severely disrupted, as large number of people have taken to liquor habit. Life of several women and many poor families have been shattered, as many menfolk have become liquor addicts.
Many people in Tamil Nadu think that Karunanidhi’s decision to life prohibition has become a curse for Tamil Nadu’s future and it’s social stability and progress. If Karunanidhi had listened to Rajaji’s appeal and refrained from lifting prohibition, perhaps Tamil Nadu would have emerged as model state for India.
Simple life style :

It is known that inspite of the lofty government positions he held , Rajaji used to wash his own clothes everyday.
Can we see today any politician or minister adopting such simple life style?
Population control :

Today, there is widespread concern in the country that level of population in India is increasing at alarming rate.
Inspite of several steps initiated by Government of India over the years, population growth could not be brought to acceptable level.
Rajaji anticipated this problem and said that population cannot be controlled by spreading contraceptive awareness amongst the people.
Rajaji said that with the spread of education and poverty eradication and better awareness of the issues involved, people themselves would realize the disadvantage of having large family and reduce the family size.
This is already happening in some parts of the country to some extent.
Political culture :

In the independent India, Rajaji and Nehru had serious difference of views with regard to economic development programme for the country.
While Nehru strongly believed in promoting public sector enterprises, Rajaji was of the view that without strengthening and encouraging private sector, Indian economy would not improve to the desirable level. As a matter of fact,Rajaji founded Swatantra party to spread his views and there were strong exchanges between Rajaji and Nehru on matters of economic approach.
However, their mutual respect and admiration remained intact reflecting the civilized political culture of both these leaders.
When Nehru passed away, Rajaji was devastated and paid tributes to Nehru stating that Nehru was “Eleven years younger than me, eleven times more important for the nation and eleven hundred times more beloved of the nation”.
Economic programme :

Rajaji strongly advocated the promotion of private enterprises in a big way and said that private initiatives are much needed for industrial and economic growth. He also criticized Nehru’s economic policies as “permit license quota raj”
Today, it is seen that central and state governments in India are taking special care to encourage private sector and are adopting industrial economic policies almost similar to what Rajaji advocated.
Pride of Tamil Nadu :

Tamil Nadu has seen in the past great personalities with blemishless personal life and strongly committed to the cause of human welfare , disapproval of division of society on any ground and they had unflinching loyalty to the cause of India.
Such great personalities who hailed from Tamil Nadu in the pre independent days include Kamaraj, Bharathiar, V.O. Chidambaram, Periyar, Rajaji and others.
Periyar and Rajaji were often thought by people as political adversaries. However, it was known that Periyar consulted Rajaji on personal matters and both of them had healthy relationships, inspite of different political views.
When Rajaji passed away , in his ripe old age sitting in a wheel chair, Periyar went to the cremation ground and wept inconsolably.
Today, we see in Tamil Nadu some political leaders belonging to different parties even hate to meet or speak with each other. They need to learn from Rajaji and Periyar about political culture.
Appeal to indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
While India remembers Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and a few others on their birth and death anniversary, Rajaji does not get such national attention which he richly deserves.
On forthcoming birth anniversary of Rajaji on 10th December, I appeal to the Prime Minister Modi to remember Rajaji and pay his tributes to this great man that will receive national attention and the younger generation will understand and appreciate Rajaji’s high qualities of wisdom, honesty and intellectual brilliance and contribution to the national cause. Such role models are the need of the day.
N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.