Labour intensive industrialisationIn order to ensure that benefits of economic development reach one and all in India, labour-intensive industrialisation is the urgent need of the hour. Express your views on the subject.
Despite the fact that Indian economy has been surging ahead and the GDP growth showing a steady rise over the years, the spectre of unemployment and imbalanced development among various regions still keeps staring us in the face. Unless the fruits of economic development reach one and all, there is every likelihood of the tremors of unrest erupting every now and then.
Undoubtedly, we need credible policy solutions to reduce imbalances. Industrial development must spread to new regions so that the feeling of neglect and alienation among people living in the least developed areas of India is adequately addressed and pacified.
The hold of ‘crony capitalism’ must yield to capitalism with social concerns. In the present economic-cum-market dispensation, industrialisation ought to be a winning process of social transformation, intensive employment and economic development. A developing country like India cannot afford to view industrialisation as a negative phenomenon. There are areas of concern, like displacement of persons, environmental damage and alienation of working class. These concerns must be dealt with and remedied before the situation gets out of hand. If our labour laws are inhibiting the growth of new ventures, they have to be suitably amended without harming the larger interests of workers, both skilled and unskilled. It should be clear to one and all that without labour-intensive industrialisation, there can be no lasting and meaningful solutions to the problems of unemployment.
There is an urgent need to impress upon research institutions to come up with all possible solutions on how to prevent ‘crony capitalism’, inject greater competition in the industrial sector and tackle problems faced by domestic enterprise. All said and done, efforts are required to ensure that markets remain competitive by curtailing monopolistic practices.
Making India Knowledge SocietyHaving maintained steady economic growth over the years, it is time to make India a knowledge society/hub. Comment.
When the goal is to excel, expediency is ruled out; when the only course open is merit, mediocrity is out of reckoning; and when the competition is cut-throat, compromise on quality is out of the question. Making India a knowledge society is not a pipe dream but a reality, both actionable and achievable. We have already taken the first step in this direction by establishing the ‘National Knowledge Commission’. Since the objective of making India a knowledge hub is closely linked with the setting up of World Class Universities and Institutions undertaking high ranking research, it is imperative that we focus on right perceptions and correct practices, irrespective of the compulsions of electoral politics or other petty considerations.
The master plan of establishing World Class Universities may hit many a roadblock unless and until the three key agencies—Human Resource Development Ministry, University Grants Commission and National Knowledge Commission—agree on the need of allowing the proposed universities to prosper and excel in pursuit of the highest standards of academic and research achievements. Since public finance is an integral constituent of universities worldwide, most of the new universities shall need significant initial financial support from the government, without any political and bureaucratic control or interference. Once it is admitted that the universities shall grow without any covert or overt outside influence, and there will not be any automatic career advancement but through open competition, the goals envisaged now will begin to appear after some years and India will be on top as the fountain of knowledge.
We need intellectuals and original thinkers and for this to happen we must provide facilities to our universities at par with world standards. Granting intellectual freedom to universities, Vice Chancellors and faculty members is also the prerequisite of making India a knowledge hub.
Moral PolicingMoral policing is bizarre and banal, besides being a criminal act. Comment.
There is no denying that any act, done individually or collectively, that results in violation of rights of others is a crime that deserves no leniency or mercy, however compelling the circumstances may be to commit such an unlawful act. On the face of it, both ‘moral policing’ by some self-appointed guardians of morality or culture and ‘honour killing’ of girls by parents or their kin, are not only bizarre and banal in nature but also anachronistic . Of late, incidents of ‘moral policing’ by some misguided youth have become quite common and their occurrence, especially on New Year Eve, Valentine Day, in or around ‘Pubs’ where women visit in non-traditional dress, have rightly invited criticism and condemnation. No one has the right to indulge in hooliganism or molestation of women by way of protest or agitation against the so-called ‘obscenity or immorality’.
In a democratic set up like ours, people have the right to differ and disagree on any issue but do not have the right resort to violence to have one’s way.
To stop the cross-cultural currents by venting one’s ire in the form of burning shops, forcing theatres to close down and misbehaving with women, is both illegal and illogical for which the law of the land must effectively intervene and bring to book the miscreants stalking the streets as ‘moral police’. Once the goons realise that they will have to pay heavily for breaking the law, more and more of them will be unwilling to indulge in such activities.
Tackling Violence in SocietySuggest some effective measures to deal with the growing menace of violence in Indian society.
The irony of life has been that ‘the more we change, the more we remain the same’. If in the past violence resulted from ignorance and irrational behaviour based on petty parochial prejudices, now it emanates from ‘bad blood, blinkered biases and perceived wrongs’ that have no basis, either now or in the past. It is both shocking and shameful that in the land of Buddha and Gandhi, the cult of violence has made deep roots, not only in people’s psyche but also in their day-to-day dealings.
Knowing fully well that violence vitiates social climate and violates human rights, the scourge continues to grow. No doubt, we live both in the best of times as well as in the worst of times. If we have the state-of-art technology at our disposal to render life less boring and painful, we have an easy access to arms and other means of violence to make life equally unsafe and unpleasant. It is a matter of deep concern that the curse of violence is no longer, confined to criminals and anti-social elements; it is very much evident among students in schools, colleges and universities that are supposed to be nurseries of knowledge and civilisational values.
In order to re-inculcate the spirit of tolerance and understanding among those who easily lose self-control, the teachings of Gandhi can work as balm to pacify the ruffled ego of the prospective violators of social norms and laws of the land. The time has come to re-discover Gandhi in our mental make-up and convince ourselves of the relevance and reverence that Gandhi symbolised as the supreme symbol of non-violence, both in thought and action.
Meditation and Yoga have also proved their efficacy in controlling one’s agitated nerves and dubious desire to wreak vengeance. India is fortunate enough to have been the home of both meditation and Yoga and there are examples aplenty to show how these twin gifts have worked wonders in bestowing mental and physical health and harmony on those who practise them.
Decontrolling Higher Education
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has advocated the removal of unnecessary controls on higher education in India to produce better quality human resource. Comment.
The proposal has come from a reputed body representing India’s well established captains of industry that merits cool consideration if not immediate consent. Since education, both secondary and higher falls under the ambit of ‘Concurrent list’ of the Constitution, the control and finances for its spread, promotion and excellence are the concerns of State and Central governments. Competition and competence are the buzz words today and due emphasis is required for the production of quality human resource, both for domestic and global purposes. It is also an admitted fact that no institution can flourish under the weight of rigid rules and unnecessary controls. The earlier they are done away with the better for the healthy growth of all innovative ideas and their prudent implementation.
However, there is always a possibility of higher education sans controls degenerating into commercial enterprise. We should have some regulatory mechanism to keep a watch over the working of colleges and universities, which otherwise enjoy near complete autonomy to give out degrees and run courses that are in tune with the requirements of industry and other sectors. If we are aspiring to be a knowledge society, there is no choice but to make a clear distinction between controlling institutions of higher learning and regulating them as isthe case with financial institutions, insurance sector, shares and mutual funds sectors.
We must follow international patterns to permit private universities and colleges to operate for producing better human resource. Lest the poor are denied the opportunities of requiring higher education the State and Union governments should arrange funds for those who belong to poor families.
All said and done, both policy planners and educationists must sit together and work out a system that enables us to strike a balance between the best in life and the best in our educational institutions of higher education.