Education – Promise vs Fulfilment

One of the great myths prevalent in today's India is that we are home to the third largest technological manpower pool in the world.  Many enthusiastic and well-meaning advocates of India as a world hub for value-added services are building their hopes on this belief that we have a vast pool of technically competent manpower.

Services Sector – Myths and Realities

Over the past few years, there has been a major debate in India on the relative importance of services sector vis-v-vis manufacturing and agriculture. Economists say services now account for nearly 50% of our GDP, and their growth at 8 to 10% per annum is outpacing both industry and agriculture. Some claim that the rise in service sector's GDP marks a structural shift in the Indian economy and takes it closer to the fundamentals of a developed economy.

Rhetorical Flourishes as Substitutes to Resolute Action

dir="ltr">With the nation's attention riveted on the dastardly terrorist attack on Parliament on 13th December, the recent talk of universal literacy has receded to the background.  For every failure of ours we have two easy alibis of global recession and cross-border terrorism.  An occasional rhetorical flourish is taken as an adequate substitute for resolute action in respect of all our long-standing domestic problems.

IT IS THE SCHOOL EDUCATION, STUPID!

Economists are rightly concerned about the slowing down of our growth. But they are wrong when they link our slow growth with global recessionary trends. And lately, 11th September has become the excuse to explain away our own sluggish economy. The problems of our economy are far more fundamental, and have little to do with global cycles.

Good governance is key to prosperity

The news on the economic front is somewhat disconcerting.  The last quarter growth rate has fallen to 3.8%.  What is worse, the revenues of Union government in the first quarter are   Rs.10, 000 crore below estimates and the fiscal deficit has risen significantly.  Two major credit rating agencies have down graded India’s creditworthiness. There are early days yet, and things could improve in the remaining fiscal year.  But news from manufacturing sector is not very happy either.  In fact, if services sector is excluded, there is stagnation in much of agriculture and industry.

Poverty not cause of problems but result of misgovernance

EXCLUDING the local governments’ expenditure and inter-governmental adjustments, the combined total expenditure of the Union and state governments, according to the Budget estimates for 1999-2000, is a whopping Rs 524,000 crore.

The actual expenditure was in excess of Rs 550,000 crore. Judging by past experience, next year it could well be Rs 600,000 crore. This amounts to Rs 1,644 crore a day, or in terms of purchasing power it is equivalent to $2 billion a day!

New IIT will benefit entire society

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We all know how difficult it is to get through the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and study at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).  It probably is one of the most restricted selection procedure in the world.  The total number of engineering graduates produced by the five IITs at Kharagpur, Kanpur, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi together, since 1956, is less than the number of JEE applicants in a single year!  In 2002, more than 178,000 students appeared for the JEE.

Medical Education System Needs Specific Reforms

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Admission into medical colleges is like an agnipareeksha even to the most motivated teenager.  Even after securing admission, obtaining good quality education remains a dream to many others.  Before entering the IAS, I was trained to be a physician and had to endure a similar procedure. Now, I am deeply concerned by the state of our medical colleges and the quality of education imparted to our medicos.

A Young India – Problem or Opportunity?

Some of you might have seen the recent media hype about the Goldman Sachs report, which projected India to become one of the 6 largest economies in the World along with Brazil, Russia and China by the year 2050. The report projects that among the current members of the G-6 only Japan and the US will remain in the top six by that time.

Our Education Crisis is an Opportunity

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Lakhs of candidates are appearing for the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) exams in our city alone.  You must have heard about the sea of humanity that assembles at the Secunderabad station seeking these jobs.  There were nearly 11 lakh applicants for 2,700 positions that need a minimum qualification of eighth standard. Many of the applicants had bachelors’ or master’s degrees and are clearly over-qualified for such jobs.  Their plight is obvious.