CORRUPTION

PHATA HERO, NIKLA POSTER!

Posted on September 21, 2012. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , , |

Many years ago I watched a Bollywood movie where the hero enters a scene by tearing a film poster apart.Now, in the context of the so-called ‘big-ticket’ reforms, the hero of the movie has been torn apart but there are posters all over proclaiming him as the messiah.

For long the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been touted as the great reformer and the saviour of the Indian economy.For long, he has been seen as the odd man out in the murky world of Indian politics.For long, he has been the darling of the media-both domestic and international.

But all hell broke loose when the Prime Minister and his government were criticised for inaction and policy paralysis especially in the context of the economic reforms in The Washington Post.

The Prime Minister has been accused of being a silent spectator to the allegations of corruption and wrongdoings of his ministers.He even had the gall to refuse any explanation.More appalling was the fact that he questioned the credibility of the CAG in estimating the loss to the exchequer arising out of the scams relating to 2G spectrum and the allocation of coal blocks.It is interesting to note that a man who always wants us to believe estimations regarding economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction can question estimations made by others.

Like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Prime Minister has attempted to relaunch himself in going the distance when it comes to economic policy.Predictably, he is being hailed as being courageous enough in biting the bullet.Suddenly, the international media set the record straight in their appreciation of the work done by the Prime Minister.

I wonder how the poor Indian farmer would benefit from the FDI in multi-brand retail.I wonder how the average Indian would benefit from the FDI in the civil aviation sector.But I am not wondered by the boost that the FDI is going to do for the ‘untarnished’ reputation of the Prime Minister.

Today, the Prime Minister took to national television to explain to us poor Indians the rationale behind the reforms.He sought to highlight the benefits for the people.

Tomorrow, there will be posters in all the newspapers saying the same things in bold print.

Truly, the hero has gone and there are posters.

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PORTRAIT OF THE TEACHER AS A BUSINESSMAN

Posted on April 29, 2012. Filed under: CORRUPTION, HIGHER EDUCATION, OFF -BEAT, PERSONAL | Tags: , , |

Every year we college teachers are required to give a written undertaking to the effect that we are not giving any private tuition to our students. It is another matter that most who give such undertakings do merely consider it only as a piece of useless paper.It is also quite another matter that people who are engaged in other professions having no proper qualifications want to cash in on this situation.

Over the last 18 years, I have been witness to many of my colleagues who have no qualms in making money by providing their ‘valuable time and knowledge’ to the needy students ostensibly to help their pupils. So much so that a senior colleague who was not in the habit of taking classes while in service is showing keen interest in classes even after his superannuation.

There have been instances where the whole tuition exercise has become a business. In Economics, costs( expenditure) are classified under two heads: fixed and variable.The costs that remain constant irrespective of the quantity of output are called fixed costs while the variable costs are those that are related directly to the quantity of output. When it comes to tuition at home, the fixed costs mostly relate to the use of electricity for the fan and the light.Even when no tuition is in progress, the use of electricity remains the same for the teacher and his family needs it. On the side of the variable side, the costs remain very less at almost zero, since most students are not even provided with chairs or tables.So in my humble opinion, the costs are as good as zero while the benefits in terms of the money paid by the students is great. Economic theory explains that the producer finds it profitable to produce as long as the marginal revenue (benefit) exceeds the marginal cost (expenditure). In this way, it is most profitable to give tuitions from the confines of the home.In terms of Opportunity cost also, they are on a sound wicket with them putting their time and effort to good use.The teachers very often outsource talent from outside their homes to ‘educate and discipline’ their own children.

The teachers often come up with ingenious plans to overcome competition. Cartels and alliances are formed to drive away rivals out of business. Very often, the cartels are shortlived but the rivalries provide a lifetime of bad blood. Discounts are offered for carte blanche packages. When things become hot, the teachers form tutorial centres with someone else being put in charge to run the operations. This is proxy capitalism.If both the husband and wife are teachers, then it is profitable in more ways than one.A few years ago, when the authorities wanted to take stern action against the offenders, the students had to go at odd hours, sometimes even before the sunrise. Some teachers forbid the use of shoes and cycles so as not to attract the attention of others.

It is the teachers of the Science subjects that command the most of the tuition market primarily owing to the practicals. It is common knowledge that students going to tuitions are often rewarded with good marks in the practical examinations.The teachers of Mathematics and English make the students quake in their shoes in the classrooms. The teachers make the subjects more difficult than what they are in reality. The English teachers make the students believe that knowledge of Grammar is essential to succeed in the examination for which tuition is the only alternative.

Whether it is the revised scales in line with the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission or the UGC, the tuitions still matter to these wise men. It is only money and the greed for it that drives the teachers to give tuitions although the givers give different and often ludicrous justifications. One former colleague of mine, a Lecturer of Mathematics pointed out that he was doing a service to the society by helping out the needy. On the other side, a Chemistry colleague wants teachers to give tuitions in order to have ‘a grip’ on the students.It is not uncommon to find students often at the receiving end of the teacher for not going to the house of the teacher.The Chemistry colleague of mine does not shy away from predicting the failure of students who are not obliging. I can cite two examples.One student who went all the way to qualify in the IIT entrance was called arrogant. The other student who is very well placed now was so much harassed that he went to the teacher. These people do not shy away from giving lengthy discourses on corruption and favouritism and that too in public spaces! Some even had the gall and temerity to ask others to send text messages in support of the movement led by Anna Hazare and company.It is all the more easy to get students when the college is granted autonomy where the ‘grip’ of the teacher is considerably stronger.

The society also in a way encourages this practice where teachers are more proactive in tuitions rather than in the classrooms.The quality of a teacher is often estimated on the basis of number of bicycles in front of his house.This is what I call a ‘cycle index’. Students are often chided by their parents for spending more time in the college for they learn more from the tuition teacher directly.

Then there are the ‘professionals’ who are not engaged in the teaching profession but give tuitions either on a full time or a part time basis.Some of them have really made it big on the fiscal front and they get more respect in the streets in relation to a teacher who does not give tuitions. They make it a point to ensure that their students do not go to the college for the classes by scheduling their tuitions in parallel to the college timings. This leads to situations where the students even do not know the names of the teachers in the college. The college teacher is simply known by the subject.The tuition teacher is more respected for he has the ability to teach many a subject while the college teacher can claim knowledge of only one subject.

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OF BABUS

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , |

Scams involving cash and other kinds of benefits have become the order of the day. Politicians cutting across party lines have more than their fingers in the sticky pie. There have been allegations regarding the ‘undue’ favour shown to some while others who chose to remain straight are often left behind. Nepotism is also something that is nothing new in this country.

No one knows what fate will befall on the politicians who have been shown the door-pending further enquiry- a phrase that Indians should be proud about. There is a growing cynicism and justified also that the guilty would eventually come clean with no allegations proved-something that is the envy of the manufacturers of detergents and non-stick cookware!

There has been a hue and cry in the media about the misdeeds and the misdoings of those in power. But not much thought has been given to the role of the Officials or the Bureaucrats or the Babus. The media highlights and rightly so the sincere efforts of the Babus whilst no time or space is given in exposing their wrongdoings.

I am not suggesting that all Babus-relating to the State Level Administrative Services or those appointed by the Union Government are unscrupulous, corrupt or hand-in-glove with the politicians who are scam prone. At least a few are involved in shady dealings.

It is not uncommon to find the Babus misuse their power and influence to get things done for self or the near and dear.

In some cases, the politicians and their friends are so powerful and influential that the Officials do not want to take any risk. The files are cleared fast and without any objections. In certain cases, the Babus just seize the opportunity and join the ranks of the corrupt. When there is corruption everywhere with no fear of any punitive action it pays to swim with the current. It is a cost versus benefit analysis- the benefits in the form of riches and connections that can be encashed anytime are more powerful than the costs-postings that are not rewarding and at ‘dangerous’ places.

Whether it is Adarsh scam or the CWG loot or the 2G scam, some officials were involved in the murky dealings. It is not possible for the politicians to go through every piece of paper that comes their way and take the call. There is also the issue relating to the clearances given by the state or the central governments for various projects. Once the Courts step in and decide that something illegal took place, the projects are grounded but no action is deemed necessary action the Babus who put their signature either for fear or for favour.

We do not want those kind of Babus who are not able to do what they are supposed to do and for what they are paid for. Things have come to such a pass that urban legends and myths are created and circulated when a Civil Servant does his/her duty sincerely.

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OF BABUS

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , |

Scams involving cash and other kinds of benefits have become the order of the day. Politicians cutting across party lines have more than their fingers in the sticky pie. There have been allegations regarding the ‘undue’ favour shown to some while others who chose to remain straight are often left behind. Nepotism is also something that is nothing new in this country.

No one knows what fate will befall on the politicians who have been shown the door-pending further enquiry- a phrase that Indians should be proud about. There is a growing cynicism and justified also that the guilty would eventually come clean with no allegations proved-something that is the envy of the manufacturers of detergents and non-stick cookware!

There has been a hue and cry in the media about the misdeeds and the misdoings of those in power. But not much thought has been given to the role of the Officials or the Bureaucrats or the Babus. The media highlights and rightly so the sincere efforts of the Babus whilst no time or space is given in exposing their wrongdoings.

I am not suggesting that all Babus-relating to the State Level Administrative Services or those appointed by the Union Government are unscrupulous, corrupt or hand-in-glove with the politicians who are scam prone. At least a few are involved in shady dealings.

It is not uncommon to find the Babus misuse their power and influence to get things done for self or the near and dear.

In some cases, the politicians and their friends are so powerful and influential that the Officials do not want to take any risk. The files are cleared fast and without any objections. In certain cases, the Babus just seize the opportunity and join the ranks of the corrupt. When there is corruption everywhere with no fear of any punitive action it pays to swim with the current. It is a cost versus benefit analysis- the benefits in the form of riches and connections that can be encashed anytime are more powerful than the costs-postings that are not rewarding and at ‘dangerous’ places.

Whether it is Adarsh scam or the CWG loot or the 2G scam, some officials were involved in the murky dealings. It is not possible for the politicians to go through every piece of paper that comes their way and take the call. There is also the issue relating to the clearances given by the state or the central governments for various projects. Once the Courts step in and decide that something illegal took place, the projects are grounded but no action is deemed necessary action the Babus who put their signature either for fear or for favour.

We do not want those kind of Babus who are not able to do what they are supposed to do and for what they are paid for. Things have come to such a pass that urban legends and myths are created and circulated when a Civil Servant does his/her duty sincerely.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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